Natural Way to Increase Blood Flow And Decrease Inflammation | Podcast #343
For starters, blood flow is why your body can get what nutrients it needs and how it can eliminate what it doesn’t. If you have reduced blood flow, your body will take longer to heal and recover. Reduced blood flow can often result in inflammation, pain, muscle cramps, fatigue, numbness or coldness in the hands and feet, digestive issues, and slower recovery time.
According to Dr. J and Evan, there are three primary concerns to address when looking at improving circulation by reducing inflammation, blood viscosity (blood’s stickiness or thickness), and supporting healthy arterial function (ensure the arteries can contract or dilate needed).
So, how can food help us to do that? While the healthy foods we eat can benefit our blood flow and circulation, some foods are to be aware of as part of a healthy diet. Often, the additives we add to our food through sugars, trans fats, and salt can be tasty but with a few adverse side effects.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani
In this episode, we cover:
1:57: Inflammation and ways to reduce it
4:46: Signs and symptoms of hypercoagulability
11:07: Natural Herbs to improve blood circulation
16:47: Tips to improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation
20:06: Food template, tests, and supplements
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And we are are live! It’s Dr. Justine Marchegiani here in the house with Evan Brand. Today we’re going to chat about blood flow. How do we increase blood flow, decrease coagulation, decrease inflammation. All the natural strategies to get to the root cause. Blood flow is really important. We need blood flow to carry oxygen. We need to carry nutrition to our organs and our body systems. And if we have stress in our body, whether it’s infection, inflammation, diet issues, lifestyle issues, hormonal imbalances that affect circulation, that’s to impair our body’s ability to generate energy, generate heat; right healthy metabolism, feel good, feel energized. And we’re going to dive in on that topic today. Evan, how are we doing today man?
Evan Brand: Doing really well. You know, I had a few friends actually suggest that I had a hyper coagulation problem due to batonella and babesia, and mold toxin, and some other crap I’ve dealt with. And so I ran a coagulation panel. There’s some of these coagulation panels online that you can order and I went and run the blood on myself and my, my panels turned out perfectly. Even according to some of the functional ranges. Now, I don’t have a baseline. You know, several years ago, when I first got exposed to mold to compare to. But I will tell you just in terms of symptoms; my great coagulation blood work results correlates with my symptoms. Meaning, my hands and feet are perfectly warm these days. I told you years ago, my arms and feet are chronically cold . I mean, as long as I can even remember, even as a child, I remember my feet being freezing and having to use a little electric space heater in my grandma’s basement to keep my feet war. I remember that from years ago. So I’m just really happy that the blood showed fine and some of the strategies which we’re going to dive into today that those worked and those actually helped me because, on paper I look great and symptomatically doing much much better in the blood flow department.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Excellent. Yeah, I love that. Makes a lot of sense. So of course, one of the first things that we look at when we’re trying to improve blood flow is reducing inflammation. So when you have lots of cytokines or in interleukines or inflammatory messengers, right? They’re there to kind of say, “hey we have inflammation”. And what is inflammation? Let’s define that. Everyone talks about it but, what is it? So, inflammation is essentially we have this increase in cytokines, interleukines, due to the fact that our body is breaking down faster than it is repairing, okay. There’s natural inflammation that is good. Like think of having a good workout, right? You naturally get a little sore afterwards and then a day or two later, you get stringer and your muscles get more, I don’t know, adaptable. And then you develop more strength, more tensile strength, more power, more output; because your muscles adapted to that inflammation. So there’s a little bit of inflammation but in the end, your body adapted to it and it built up just a little bit more than it broke down on average, right? That’s healthy inflammation. And so, inflammation that we’re talking about is inflammation out of balance. Were let’s say you work out a little bit too hard. And now that soreness is prolonging days later, and now you’re almost a little bit weaker than when you started because the breakdown is now greater than the build up. And so healthy inflammation is the build up is a little bit greater than the breakdown that’s healthy inflammation. Unhealthy inflammation is the breakdown’s a little bit higher than the build up, and that’s what we’re talking about today. And so, of course, too much exercise, too much inflammatory foods, especially in the way of foods that are nutrient poor, foods that are too high in refined vegetable oils, good healthy fats; they become your cell membranes. Every cell has a lipid bilayer in the body. The brain’s you know, 70 fat and cholesterol. So if you are eating junky fats, that’s going to cause your cell membranes to turn over to being very unhealthy. It’s also going to cause your brain to turn over to be very unhealthy and there’s some data showing that you’re going to have those cell membranes hung up to six years with the junky fats that you’re eating. So you’re really want to look at the fat. So, vegetable oil fats not good because they have to be processed in a way that damages those fats in the extraction process. And so you have a lot of oxidation happening, a lot of hydrogenated oils due to either oxidation or the trans fat process that occur. And again, you, why are fats made in the trans fats because they have a longer shelf life, right? And so, we want fats if they’re on the plant side, they’re not going to be denatured, so avocado oil may be okay, olive oil of cold press, and extra virgin and good quality and good brand’s okay. Of course our saturated fats are the best because they’re the most heat stable. So coconut animal fats, maybe some palm, of course like any of your tallows are really good, especially if the animals are healthy and pastured raised. These are going to be your best fat, so at least 50 percent of our trans fats, we want to be saturated, high quality, because it guarantees them not being oxidized and we’re acidified.
Evan Brand: Yep! Well said. And so when you define hypercoagulability, this is a term that’s thrown around a lot now, or you could just call it increased coagulation. What they’re really talking about is some sort of a build up. Like, you know, you mentioned whether it’s inflammatory cytokines, or what’s cal fibrin things that are affecting the capillaries which as far as my research goes, it’s pretty interesting stuff. Capillaries, they’re so small but the red blood cells have to go in single file line to get to get through the capillaries. So if you have a build up of fibrin from some sort of inflammatory reaction, whether it’s to a mold, a virus, or some other pathogen that can affect those capillaries, which then creates some of the cold hands, cold feet. So let me just riff on symptoms for a minute and then we can go there. So, uh, symptoms wise, let’s say cold hands, cold feet, let’s say cold nose, I would say erectile dysfunction, could be a big one too for men. A lot of coagulation issues with men you see, uh, reduced blood flow and of course, side effects-erection. I would say brain fog would be big too. You mentioned, you got to have blood flow to get to the brain. So I would say, brain fog, maybe memory issues, fatigue, I would say muscle fatigue as well. So if you’re noticing that you’re having trouble lifting weights or you’re having a lot of post-exertional malaise, it could be mitochondrial related. We’ve talked about that before but, I think the coagulation could be part be part of it too. So I’m a big fan of lumbrokinase which I think is one of the big remedies that’s really helped me. Lumrokinase is way stronger that nattokinase which is which is commonly sold. Lumbrokinase is like the big daddy, the big brother above natto. And I tell you, it’s been an absolute game changer. If I take that, not only does my brain work better but my hands and feet are warm. So just in terms of like, solutions, you know, you could run a coagulation panel, and I think it’s easiest, rather than trying to run through all the markers, like d-dimers and all that. Instead of running through all that. I think it’d be easier. We could just like, put a link in the show notes for like a coagulation panel app, like you could run through lab corp request, and if people want to dive into it, they can but, I think those…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So on some of those markers, what would some of the markers that you’d look at on the coagulation side?
Evan Brand: Yeah, I wish I had my lab in front of me. I could pull it up.
Dr. Justin Machegiani: I’ll give you c couple that. I give you a couple that. So we talked about inflammation; we talked about interleukinesand cytokines. Why does that matter? Because the more inflammation you have in your bloodstream, the more sticky cells get, okay. Cause think about it, right? From inflammation standpoint, why would your cells get more sticky from an inflammation standpoint, right. Let’s kind of look at what’s, you know. What are the, um, the intentional, like what’s the intention of our creator and making us and why would that happen, right? Because we have to look at the fact there’s an innate intelligence as to why our body does things. It doesn’t do it by accident. And I would say that most of our stress that we experience as we evolve as a species is through a cut, and injury, a fall, something very acute. So our body is trying to stick things, glue things back together, prevent us from bleeding out, right? Allow scar tissue to form to help heal and recover, whatever that damage area is, right? That kind of make sense now. The problem is, we have less acute damage like, falls, crashes, and these things. But we have this chronic, degenerative inflammation that’s happening. So, yeah. Starting to create many bits of scar tissue which again, that is going to be making cells, stick together, so you’re looking at things such as fibrin, increased platelet aggregation. Meaning, platelets are the little cells that flow through your bloodstream that help you create clots, right? Platelets then create fibrin so it creates these clots . And so then you’re having deceased blood flow because of clots, because cells are more sticky because of inflammation. And that’s there to help, help your body do better when it comes to stress or something acute; but we’re having this chronic degenerative stress and of course, high levels of blood sugar, high levels of insulin are going to make your cells more sticky, right? This is why we see in diabetes, right, when Evan talks about a lot of the capillaries when they go a single file, we see that a lot in the eyes, and so we see a lot of eye aneurysm stuff, a lot of eye issues in diabetics, a lot of limb issues because really poor blood flow in the capillaries going on to the finger and the hands. And so high levels of insulin from high levels of blood sugar that also creates the advanced glycation end products which are essentially the sugar coated proteins that are oxidized because the high blood sugar, and that oxidation depletes things like vitamin C and vitamin A, and vitamin E, And so we have less of these nutrients to help our eyes, to help our skin, to help our collagen, to help wound healing, and then you start to have very poor blood flow, decrease immune cells. Getting to the extremities, the hands, and feet; and then you develop a gangrenous lesion on your foot with all this inflammation and poor blood flow, and then you have have it chopped off because it starts to create and infection. So you can see how all these things start to spiral out of control and of course, blood sugar inflammation, um is kind of the hallmark of how all this starts. We’ll go more into things that you can do. So Evan mentioned like the lumbrokinase. Excellent! Seropeptidase, the enzyme from that silkworm, excellent. Right? These are systemic enzymes taken away from food. Those enzymes come in kind of like a rato-rooter or a liquid plumber would for like, a clogged hair in your drain, in your toilet, right? So it breaks it down, okay? Now we have to make sure that we’re getting to the root cause but, in general, that’s helpful because it’s not going to be as inflammatory, it’ll break down scar tissue; it has a lot of anti-cancer immune benefits because when it hits all these cytokines, it kind of dissolves them and breaks them down so it does help reduce inflammation which is great.
Evan Brand: Yeah, you made a great point too about diabetics suffering from this issue quite a lot in the blood sugar component. That’s huge! And then, also, one thing to note too when you do start to dissolve some of the fibrin, you may, if it’s due to the infection, you may have some sort of a die off or like herxheimer reaction. So just keep that in mind, and obviously if you’re working with one of us, we’re going to coach you through that process but, if you have a practitioner that’s maybe not aware of that, then they may not know why your symptoms are flaring up if you start to dissolve some of this fibrin. So for example, when I first started ramping up lumbrokinase, I was also doing some biofilm busting nutrients, and some may argue that you’re busting biofilm with things like this and so I had a reaction. You know, I got some headaches, I got some anxiety, I had some heart palpitations and some other symptoms, indicating I was probably releasing something that was hiding within that fibrin. And so, if you have a reaction, you feel worse on something like the, uh, like you said, seropeptidase or maybe, nattokinase, or lumbrokinase. You could be on to something, and as you mentioned too, you don’t want to just live on this enzymes and not get to the root cause. So for me, I really do think babesia has been a big one for me because, when I’m taking herbs to address babesia, I find that the circulation is much better. For some people, it could be bartonella. They call it small vessel disease. If you look into pubmed, you could look up small vessel disease bartonella. This is an infection that can come from ticks but it can very very easily come from cats. Many many cats, like 90 percent of cats have bartonella and if they scratch you, you can get bartonella from your cat, you can get it from fleas, so there are other vectors that can transmit this. So some people say like, “ oh I never had a tick bite”, doesn’t matter. I’ve seen many many people with bertonella and likely from their cats. And so, you may want to come in with herbs and knock out bartonella while you’re working on the fibrin. And I know you and I use a product that’s a mixture serapeptadase, and ginger and boswella, and turmeric. So we kind of working on the inflammation piece and the fiber piece at the same time, and it’s a great one-two punch.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, any of my patients listening know that I’m always using ginger tea, right? I’ve kind of taken the ginger tea recipe which Is I think it’s pretty famous in the gaps protocol and I’ve used that, and I’ve added in a lot of the, um. Manuka honey because it’s very soothing on the gut, and it has some mild antibacterial properties and anti-inflammatory for the gut. So I do that with a lot of my patients because it sues the tummy, it is an anti-biofilm, so it allows any of the herbs that I’m using with my patients to knock any bugs down. It helps make the herbs stronger, and it’s anti-inflammatory, um, which me, and it’s also an anticoagulant. So the anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, just allows one better blood flow, better flow allows those herbs to kind of work better and be transported throughout the body, and then it also prevents the lymph from being congested. So it just allows things to be kind of move around and excreted from the body. So you have to move things through the liver, through the kidneys, to the guts. So we need to have that good movement to allow things to work appropriately. So that’s, that’s really really important out of the gates; and also on working with a lot of lyme patients or co-infections; all that plays a major role. I would say other herbs you can use are things like bacopa, uh, gingko is also amazing, you can do things that have, um, uh, nitric oxide support in there like beetroot. These are all beets are excellent You can get beetroot powder, that’s very helpful at supporting blood flow. Things like resveretrol are also very good, right; antimicrobial but also really help with good blood flow, so um, that’s excellent as well. Uh, cat’s claw can be really good as well, because anytime it has antimicrobial, antioxidants, and then it reduces inflammation. That naturally tends to improve blood flow. So better blood flow is good. So we can one have good circulation to the hands and feet, we’re carrying nutrition better.; we’re carrying more of the herbs to help whatever the microbial imbalance is, and then we’re supporting lymphatic flow of all the dead debris out. Has to move out to the body, get circulated to the lymph, go back to the kidneys, and the, and the digestive tract to be excreted out. So those are some really good herbs that we’ll also use, skull caps also really good as well. Um, you mentioned turmeric which is really good, and then outside of that, adaptogens can be really powerful too. Because, if we have lots of cortesol from inflammation and stress, cortisol is also going to cause things to not move as well because, it’s there; it’s responding to inflammation but it’s also going to slow down a lot of blood flow. So if we can, and this is kind of more in a chronic um, scenario, right, not talking acute, talking more chronic. Because acute, there is acute blood flow to an injury, because that’s how the body is trying to heal stuff. Let’s try to drive level that’s why when you bump your elbow, it gets swollen right, there’s increased blood flow. We’re talking about more cortisol chronically, and so we’ll use things like adaptogens, whether it’s thodiola or ashwagandha to really calm down that chronic stress response and really get it kind of modulated to help improve cortisol which then helps with blood flow long term.
Evan Brand: Yeah, you made a great point like the bacopa, the gingko. I mean, there’s a reason all all these herbs that we’re talking about are inside of brain formulas. Look at any professional companies, whether it’s ours or any other companies that are using nutrients to support the brain health, guess what? Gingko is always in there so it’s cool because it helps systemically and that of course, improves the brain function. There’s a lot of cool studies about gingko with micro-circulation in the brain. I love gingko. I take it, I take phosphatidylserine, I do choline, acetylcholine, I do acetol cermitine, I do like a blend of all these things and I tell you, it really makes a difference. Do you want to hit on a couple more of the foods you mentioned? The beets…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes, that’s important.
Evan Brand: Okay. I love beats. Like, I’ll do beet powder and I mix it with my vitamin C powder. It’s so delicious that combo, and I’m not joking like, 10 minutes after I drink a scoop of beet powder with vitamin C, my hands are so warm, like they’re alsmost flushed because there’s so much blood flow there. I mean, I feel it instantly. And then, that really helps in the sauna too. So if you’re having issues with sweating, that could be due to poor blood flow, poor nitrate oxide. So my personal advice because I’m historically not a good sweater, I will do beet powder and then do a few minutes of a rebounder, and then I’ll jump the rebounder most folks know what that is kind like a mini trampoline. I’ll jump into the sauna after that, and with the beet powder rebounder combo, I sweat like 50 % faster.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Interesting. Very cool. Yeah, yeah, I like that. I mean, I’d say like from a foundation of people listening like, we’re throwing a lot of stuff out there, right? So what’s the order of operations and how you try things. So the first thing is, get your diet under control. So the first thing is, control dysglycemia, control blood sugar swings, high levels of blood sugar, high levels of insulin are going to cause things to get really sticky when they flow. The second thing is really improve the nutrient density; lot of good antioxidants, so a lot of good green vegetables, uh cutting out food allergens from dairy and from gluten and of course, refined sugar and inflammatory junk foods, really improve the nutrient density in the vegetables if you’re going to choose fruit, choose nutrient-dense fruits are not overly high for what you can handle metabolically of course, really good healthy fats; remember omega-3 fatty acids are natural blood thinner. Quite before surgery, they’ll say like you know, no fish oil or systemic enzymes taken away from you know, taken within the couple of days of surgery because, they don’t want you to bleed out, right. So especially high quality, god healthy, you know, local like maybe while the last guy kind of frozens you know, salmon or a really good clean tuna, just try to choose wild farm type of fish; these are going to have excellent omega-3 fatty acids, and then of course, choosing grass-fed meat, excellent. Because you’re going to get a lot of GLA fat, you’re going to get a lot of good clean fats from the cow eating grass which is super helpful. So fats are really important, they’re natural anticoagulants and then they help make a good healthy cell membrane so your cells can communicate and function optimally.
Evan Brand: Let me make one note about the lumbrokinse because, you see that warning label and you and I kind of heed that warning but, I saw a podcast interview that Dr. Jill Carnahan did with a lady named Dr. Ann Courson. She’s been kind of the bog voice about coagulation and talking about lumbrokines. She said it’s really non-issue and while she still may, and this not verbatim but, while she may pull these things out temporarily, she’s had people that like went into emergency on high-dose fish oil and high-dose lumbrokinase and they had no bleeding issues at all. So this is not heparin or crazy intense blood thinners from pharmaceutical industry. These natural blood thinners even though they may be potent, she said, she’s never seen a single case of anyone bleeding out so that there’s probably too much warning and too much fear about the fish-oil and these enzymes thinning the blood. She’s never seen it cause any major problem.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, heparin, warfarin, they have anew one the plavix one, right? These are different blood thinners that are out there. Yeah, I mean you definitely want to talk to your anesthesiologist last surgeon follow their instructions on these things. I think it’s safe just to be off it, uh, during a procedure and let your doctor know about it.
Evan Brand: And I’m saying just, and by the way, I’m saying just the natural stuff, the drugs, I have no clue about them, I’m not a pharmacist, but like fish oil. Should you take a few days off? Yeah. You probably should but, just foe anybody’s fearing but for anybody that’s afraid like oh my God, I had to go to ER and I had to get this emergency surgery, am I going to bleed to death because I’m on fish oil, the answer looking at her perspective was no, not at all.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, yeah. Probably not. I mean, I am far more worried about someone going into surgery being totally inflamed and developing clots, um, or having a polmunary embolism or a stroke or something like that. The bleeing out, right? You know but, in general, don’t be on high doses of blood thinners that we’re talking about. The natural ones, if you know you have a plan surgery just in general. In general, I mean, consuming fish, eating fish, I don’t see a problem with a lot of these things. And outside of that you know, what other markers we can look at. So of course, we mentioned, um, fibrin or fibrinogen which is a marker. So fibrinogen is the inactive form of fibrin, and so high levels of fibrinogen mean you have a lot of clotting building blocks. Higher levels of platelets could be something to look at. I would say, elevations and inflammatory compounds like homocysteine, ESR-Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate. CRP C-Rective Protein. These are all inflammatory markers that tell us, okay, inflammation is present, the more chances their inflammation is up, cells are going to stick together, the more cells stick together, it’s like trying to walk out double doors, three or four people side by side. It’s just gonna clog up the flow, right? And so that’s gonna help give you an indication that some things are not flowing well, and then you can try different strategies, the ones we’re talking about go back and retest those markers, and that’s helpful. I would say the one marker that’s a little bit different, the homocycteine, that’s going to happen typically due to inactive or not enough high quality methylated B vitamins. Usually folate, usually B6, B12 – these are important vitamins. If you don’t get them, in methylated or more active forms, this metabolite of homocysteine can accumulate and these B vitamins decrease homocysteine. So how it works is, it goes methionine, a dental homocysteine, homocysteine, to cycteine. This is kind of metabolism, a breakdown of methionine into cysteine, and cysteine goes into glutathione. This healthy metabolism requires these B vitamins, right? Folate, methylated B12, right? Um, B6, right. These are important nutrients need to be there so we can take that homocysteine and brign it through all the way down to cysteine and metabolize optimally. If not, it can be inflammatory and affect the arteries and the area where the blood’s flowing and create inflammation and plaquing.
Evan Brand: Yeah. And just to take it a step further just so people are like what the heck is he saying? So when you’re looking at this one blood, you’re saying when you see the elevated homocysteine, or we can even look at some of these metabolism markers on the organics acids. When you see this elevated, you know that there’s usually a B vitamin deficiency, correct? That’s what you’re saying, elevated homocysteine on the blood.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I mean, D vitamin deficiency or you’re just getting a lot of crappy B vitamins right? You’re getting a lot of folic acid, you’re getting a lot of B12 that you may not be methylated. You’re getting a lot of B6 that may not be activated. So we want to make sure you’re getting lots of activated B vitamins, high quality. In my line we use one called B vitamin synergy, we’ll put the link for that below. Of course like your best natural source for these type of vitamins are going to be green leafy vegetables, and high quality grass-fed organic meats right? So sometimes people have an mthfr issue and they need more of those B vitamins and so that’s want to make sure the supplements are great. And if you’re consuming a lot of like processed crappy orange juices and grains, you may get a lot of folic acid and crappy B vitamins there. That’s the case you want to cut those out. You want to get lots of good natural B vitamins from the source I just mentioned. And you want to take a really goof clean B vitamin supplement that’s going to have those in methylated activated forms, and if we’re doing testing on like a um, mthfr blood test. We would look at those phenotypes and see what’s present but organic acids are wonderful too because, we can look at markers like kind of urinate, xantharinate to look at B6. We can look at markers like fig glue or four amino glutamate to look at folate. We can look at markers like methylmalonic acid to look at B12. So there’s different markers. We can look at betahydroxy isovalerate, right? These are all good markers for B vitamins to look at. So we can see if these things are, if we have metabolic demand issues, we can go and tweak those accordingly.
Evan Brand: And most people are depleted and have issues. I mean, obviously we’re a little bit biased because we’re working with people that don’t feel well but, we know that even the people that work with us, they’re doing a hell of a lot better than the average American in terms of diet and lifestyle, and stress, and sleep, and hopefully all of those factors. And so if we see they’re deficient the way we see often, then we know the average American’s deficient too because, you’re burning up these bees when you’re stressed. That’s a whole other podcast but, you did a great job on, on hitting on the markers. There’s a couple more like new ones. Like ther was like anti-thrombin that was on this panel.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep. That’s another one. That’s kind of like fibrin. It’s another type of clothing factor.
Evan Brand: You had the d-dimer which is really tough to get a doctor to actually run d-dimer. That’s why you and I luckily, we run our own blood work but, if you just went to your regular doctor and said I want a d-dimer. Unless they think you’ve got an active blood clot, they’re probably not going to run this for investigative purposes. I don’t know why but even vitamin D, some clients have to beg just get vitamin D so…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. With d-dimer, that’s typically run if someone’s on a blood thinner. I don’t think plavix requires it now but, if you’re on like, one of the older blood thinners that requires you to make sure d-dime are stable. They’ll run that because they’re worried about like, oh my god you eat more green vegetables that is vitamin K, vitamin k increases clotting factors. They’ll want you to want to adjust your d-dimer accordingly. Or they want to adjust your dosage of your medication according to the dimer. So my whole thing is if you’re not eating a whole bunch of green vegetables because, your doctor is worried about it, well I would just say eat some green vegetables, tell them you want to have good, green vegetables but then have them run a d-dimer and adjust your clotting, your medication according to you eating a good, healthy diet. I see people that are scared of green vegetables because their doctors are too lazy to re-test their d-dimer and adjust their medications.
Evan Brand: Oh wow. Yeah. I understand that but yeah. That was most of it, that was most of the stuff there. So you did a good job hitting on it and like you mentioned a lot. We’re throwing a lot at you here supplements and foods, and beets, and talked about nitric oxide. I mean, really I think you’ve hit the messages. Getting the inflammation out of the diet and then looking into the testing because, some of the functional medicine testing we run outside of blood work can provide data on what’s going on. And then obviously, mycotoxins are huge. So for me, when I get exposed to mold, if I stay in the moldy hotel for a weekend, guess what? My hands and feet go cold. I mean it’s almost a direct impact. So I’m not saying that’s everyone’s smoking gun but, it’s a big factor that’s not really talked about.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right, right. So I always try to boil things down to a process, right? What’s the concept, what’s the process? A process is something we can consistently repeat. It’s kind of like in fourth grade, you learn pemdas, right? Remember pemdas? It’s the way you do a math problem. That there’s addition, subtraction, division, all these different things in one line. What’s the process, pemdas right? Well today, what’s the process here? The first thing is one, make sure the food you eat is anti-inflammatory nutrient dense low toxin. That’s the first thing. Second thing is get your blood sugar under control because yes, you can eat really good foods but, your glycemia, your blood sugar can be out of control and that can increase insulin, coagulation, clotting, right? So first thing is nutrient density anti-inflammatory diet. Second thing is get your macronutrients under control. Third thing is get lifestyle strategies under control. Don’t exercise too much. Exercise enough, start making sure sleep is under control. Sight? Start making sure you’re drinking good clean, filtered water with extra minerals. Make sure there’s enough minerals in there. If you can add in different strategies like, rebounding or whole body vibration, or sauna therapy, excellent. Then maybe at that next level, we can start going into, um, supplements, right? What are the easiest supplements to add in? Well, good healthy fats, good healthy fish oils. Maybe some some extra ginger, maybe some systemic enzymes right? You don’t have to start with everything. There’s a lot of things we put out there. It’s like a poople platter. We don’t got to do it all. Just try to start with one or two things but, start with that order of operations. Follow the process; don’t get overwhelmed by everything; just follow the process. And the next thing after that is you know, if you have inflammatory conditions, autoimmune issues, thyroid issues, crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, colitis, uh, lime, co-infections, autoimmune issues, and you have chronic inflammation chronically cold hands, cold feet blood flow issues, you have to look at thyroid, you have to look at your hormones, you have to look at the gut; and this is where it’s good to bring on a good functional medicine practitioner like us. So if you want to reach out to Evan, evanbrand.com or myself, Dr. J – justinehealth.com. That’s kind of where your next step to kind of go a little bit deeper, to kind of you know, hire that trail guys that’s been to the top of mount Everest hundreds of times. So you can have the confidence that we’re going the right way and not taking a shortcut off a cliff so to speak.
Evan Brand: Yeah. It’s great. Well said. It’s just so great to be able to reverse some of these stuff. I mean, I just assumed that was me. I just had cold hands, cold feet, and I thought, okay. That’s just me for some reason, I just don’t have good blood flow here, and I just kind of like owned it, and I think a lot of people are listening. They own these symptoms and they get used to their way of life, and like nope that’s just the way I am. I’m just a depressed person. It’s like no, there’s a reason for that. I do believe that we truly have a baseline of being healthy and optimal, and good blood flow, and good brain function, and good sex drive, and good sleep. If you look at like tribal societies, they don’t have these type of issues. They don’t have these chronic issues with blood pressure and mood issues. Some of these like ancestral people, they don’t even have a word for depression. It’s not even in their language. So I just encourage you if you’re listening, and you’re just owning your symptoms, and you’re like that’s just me, don’t own it anymore. Just know that that’s okay that something’s wrong, there’s a dysfunction going on. There’s likely a cause of it and we’re investigators at heart. I mean, we love this stuff so like you mentioned, if you want to reach out, justinhealth.com for Dr. J, evanbrand.com for me. We’d love to help you, and help you get to the next level of health. It’s totally possible.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I would say don’t own it form the perspective of like, hey this is just me, this is how it it is but, own the process. Like you know, one of the root things that I can be working on to get these things under wraps. I think that’s a really important kind of uh, step to be looking at, okay? Anything else guys, feel free and let us know, comments down below. We’re really happy to help you and kind of get to the next step with you all. Feel free, evanbrand.com, justinhealth.com and we’re happy to help. Anything else you want to add Evan?
Evan Brand: No, that’s it. Just keep moving forward. That’s the goal. There’s not a finish line so just keep, getting to the next level, you know, It’s not like, my life’s going to be perfect when I get cold hands and cold feet resolved. No, you could do that and still be miserable. So you gotta just chipping away, okay? Don’t give up.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: yeah. And then also, kind of one thing. People in the comments asking about couple different questions here. Um, just want everyone to know in our climate today, there’s some off-limit topics that you know, we’re not touching, and people kind of read between the lines on this, and we’ve made a decision that there’s a lot of other information that is so important to um, put out there to everyone. So we’re staying away from some health topics not for the goal of censorship but because, we want to be able to put other health topics like we’re talking about today out there so everyone can take action. So just know uh, you know we’re making kind of a strategic decision to really put more focus on functional medicine. Areas and nutrition people can take action on versus other things that are out in the zeitgeist to the world today.
Evan Brand: I think there’s a time and a place for it and there may be a better place for it. But a lot of those places right now are super dicey in terms of service and stuff. I mean, who knows what can happen to you. So yeah, we’re we’re investigating options though.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. So anyone listening, we’re putting really our focus on all of the functional medicine; all the things that people can take form an actionable standpoint. And so, just that’s kind of the direction because we feel like we can help more at that area. And um, that’s kind of it on that. Any comments, feel free to let us know below and we’re here to help you all.
Evan Brand: Alright. Take it easy.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Take care, guys! Bye now.
Evan Brand: Bye-bye.
Mitochondria 101: The Key to Longevity
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
We all remember the mitochondria as the “powerhouse of the cell” from biology class. While most of us haven’t thought about these organelles since high school, the incredible power of the mitochondria has recently been gaining more and more attention. Today we’re going to take a refresher course in mitochondria, and learn how the mitochondria just might be the key to longevity.
What Are The Mitochondria?
Mitochondria are small organelles floating in our cells that produce about 90% of the chemical energy, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), that cells need to survive. Depending on how much energy a cell needs, some cells have thousands of mitochondria while others have none. These tiny organelles turn the electrons in the food we eat into energy our cells can use to power our bodies. Mitochondria are so important that they even have their own DNA, known as mitochondrial DNA (“mtDNA”).
Apoptosis: Cellular Suicide
In addition to creating energy, mitochondria produce other chemicals your body uses for various tasks, like breaking down waste, recycling waste products, and something called “apoptosis.” Apoptosis is programmed cell death and is crucial for a healthy body. When your body senses viruses and gene mutations, it may trigger apoptosis to prevent these from spreading. Cancer and tumors grow when left unchecked; apoptosis is needed to reign them in.
Take Care of your Mitochondria
Healthy functioning mitochondria are essential for many of our life-sustaining metabolic processes. As essential to life as mitochondria are, they are also delicate and quite susceptible to damage. Mitochondrial dysfunction is currently characterized by a variety of metabolic illnesses.
The following conditions are associated with changes in the structure of mitochondrial DNA or are symptoms of mitochondrial damage or malfunctioning include
- Multiple Sclerosis: A neuroimmune disease, multiple sclerosis patients generally have impaired ATP synthesis, which is evidence of malfunctioning mitochondria. Most MS patients also have chronic oxidative stress.
- Autism, Asperger syndrome, ADHD
- Fatigue: One of the most common symptoms of weak mitochondria is chronic fatigue.
- Motor skill problems, including trouble walking, talking or swallowing; loss of motor control; balance and coordination issues.
- Digestive issues: vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, acid reflux.
- Muscle aches, pains, weakness
- Heart, liver, kidney disease or dysfunction.
- Neurological problems,
- Age-related hearing loss
- Cyclic vomiting syndrome
- Cytochrome c oxidase deficiency
- Neuropathy, ataxia, and retinitis pigmentosa: muscle weakness, vision loss
- Stalled growth and development
- Respiratory problems
- Hormonal imbalance
Supporting Your Mitochondria Naturally
Additionally, it’s important to be conscious of carcinogenic EMFs and minimize your exposure to these man-made electromagnetic frequencies. Healthy mitochondria can protect you from suffering too much damage from acute exposure, but constant bombardment from EMFs including cell phones, computers, Wi-Fi routers, microwaves, etc. will wear down your mitochondria. You can read more about protecting yourself from EMF radiation here.
>>Healthy Nutrition: Eating organic, whole foods is important for everyone. For an extramitochondrial boost, consider supplementation. I recommend Mito Synergy for a packed-punch of antioxidants and mitochondrial supporting nutrients.
Mito Synergy contains:
- Vitamin B: B vitamins are integral to mitochondrial energy production and proper mitochondrial function. A deficiency in any of the B vitamins disrupts normal energy production, leading to an accumulation of toxic byproducts and increasing oxidative stress.
- Creatine: Creatine is a substance similar to amino acids that you find in muscle cells. It can help increase muscle mass, strength, exercise performance, and protect against neurological diseases.
- L-Carnitine: Carnitine is an amino acid produced by the body, and is also found in red meat! It is involved in transporting compounds and also stimulates glutathione production—the master antioxidant.
- CoQ10: In order for our bodies to make use of the food we eat, our mitochondria has to turn food and oxygen into usable energy in the form of ATP. This conversion process requires the presence of CoQ10. Read more about CoQ10 here.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA): ALA has actually been labeled a “mitochondrial nutrient” by researchers due to its ability to improve the structure and function of mitochondria. ALA has also been studied for its ability to increase antioxidant levels, restore vital enzyme activity, prevent oxidative damage, and protect against cognitive decline.
- Curcumin: Curcumin is anti-inflammatory: it works on a control switch called NF-κB. Genes generally aren’t turned completely on or off, it’s more like adjusting the volume on your stereo. Curcumin helps downregulate or turn down the volume on NF-κB, which results in less inflammatory markers and less inflammatory stress. Curcumin also upregulates glutathione, known as the master antioxidant that also protects mitochondria, by up to 600%!
Air Pollution In Your Home: What To Do About It
By: Dr. Justin Marchegiani
When we think of air pollution, we typically think of car exhaust and chemical factory gasses. However, you may be surprised to learn that indoor air is often MORE toxic than the air outside! This is really put into perspective when you realize average America spends about 90% of their life indoors. So, what can you do to make sure your indoor air is healthy? Today we’re going to dive into common airborne toxins in your home, and how to create a healthy indoor air environment!
Indoor vs. Outdoors Air
A growing body of scientific research is pointing to indoor air as more polluted than outdoor air—and yes, this even takes into account the air outside in overpopulated, industrialized cities. Since most people spend about 90% of their lives indoors, this points to indoor air as a seriously underlooked health issue. What makes matters direr: those who are most susceptible (the young, the sick, the elderly) are generally the ones who spend the most time indoors.
Common Effects of Indoor Air Pollution
If you suffer from the following symptoms, it’s time to re-evaluate the air you’re breathing:
- Respiratory problems (cough, chest pain, sneezing, congestion, chronic sinus issues, sore throat, breathing difficulty)
- Digestive issues (bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, nausea)
- Skin problems (rash, itchiness)
- Fatigue, dizziness, headache, sensitivity to noise and light
- Cognitive function problems (concentration, memory, sleep, mood)
Common Indoor Air Toxins
There are a couple of main factors that make indoor air 2 to 5 times more toxic than outdoor air. One of these factors is the lack of ventilation inside the house, which leads to a buildup of toxic compounds.
Smoke: If a smoker lives in your house, the risk of secondhand smoke exposure should not be overlooked. The CDC has reported millions of deaths due to health problems caused by secondhand smoke exposure.
Mold: Mold and mildew can be deadly, and oftentimes go unnoticed. It is crucial to take the presence of mold in your home seriously. Professional remediation, and in some cases even changing residence, may be necessary.
Household Products: If you haven’t already read my article on fragrance as the new secondhand smoke, you’re in for an eye-opening experience. “Fragrance” is listed as an ingredient on at least 75% of mainstream products, ranging from shampoo to toilet cleaner. The word “fragrance” signifies a secret cocktail of hundreds of toxic chemicals that are not subject to safety testing. However, many of these chemicals are known neurotoxins, cause respiratory problems, behavioral issues, and autoimmune disease. When you start using household cleaners and personal care items that contain chemicals such as fragrances, these particles are trapped in the air and you are subject to constant inhalation.
Chemicals: Most people now know that asbestos is nothing to play around with. Asbestos has been linked to lung cancer, Unfortunately, it still lingers in the insulation, paints and floor tiles of many homes. However, asbestos is not the only dangerous compound in your home.
Your furniture, pillow and mattress, carpet, and even the paint on your walls probably contain VOCs, volatile organic chemicals. These household objects outgas dangerous chemicals that stew inside your home and are linked to cancer, heart disease, and lung disease.
And more: There are some things that occur naturally and generally harmlessly in nature (pollen, animal dander, pest leavings), but become problematic when they make their way indoors. The lack of ventilation and fresh air allows allergens to fester and grow.
Steps for Healthy Air Inside Your Home or Office
While the dangers of indoor air pollution sound scary, luckily there are many things you can do to improve the air quality of your home and office.
- Open your windows: This is easy and free! Turning on fans to get the air circulating will do a lot to help move inside air outside, and to bring fresh air inside your house.
- Swap your products: Check the ingredients of the household and personal care products that you buy. Avoiding chemicals, like ‘fragrance,’ will do a lot to bring down the synthetic chemicals in your air.
- Air out new furniture: When you buy new furniture, a new mattress, a new rug, etc. you may have noticed a particular smell that diminishes over time. Rather than letting these toxic gasses released into the air you breathe, put the item either in your backyard, on your porch, or in the garage for a couple of days.
- Get a quality air filter: The Austin Air Filter is one of my favorite home air filters; I myself use the Austin Air filter in my home. These cutting edge units are ideal for individuals or families with severe allergies and asthma, chemical sensitivities, or chronic illnesses such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
- Test for mold: If you suspect you have mold, I urge you to have a professional test. Mold is a leading cause of many autoimmune and chronic fatigue conditions.
Do you have any questions about indoor air quality? If so, leave them in the comments below, or let me know on my Facebook page or YouTube channel, where I answer all your health and wellness questions!
Do You Have the Low Neurotransmitter Symptoms? | Podcast #180
Welcome to another functional medicine video with Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand! In this video, they talk about low neurotransmitter symptoms. Learn the factors that cause low neurotransmitter and some essential takeaways from it.
Stay tuned for some more knowledge bombs!
Dr. Justin Marchegiani
In this episode, we cover:
02:52 Catecholamine Issues
08:20 Gut Bugs and Mental Issues
14:25 Digestive Issues Affects Neurotransmitters
15:25 Dopamine-Caused Versus Serotonin-Caused Depressions
34:50 Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphin, GABA, Glutamine
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey, guys. It’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani. Hey! It’s Tuesday. We typically don’t do
Evan Brand: Oh, I’m doing good. Life is good. The sun is shining today. So, I’m— I’m feeling— I’m feeling happy.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I got this new Little Lemon shirt on, man. I just love Little Lemon. It’s just like, I don’t have to like iron stuff. It just fits good every time. I— We’re talking about getting them as a sponsorship. I got to reach out to them again.
Evan Brand: You should. I’ve— I’ve got this uh— this— It’s like— kind of like a hoodie, but it’s a shirt. Oh, actually, no. This one doesn’t have the hood. But, I— I just wear nothing but wool now. That’s like my whole wardrobe is wool. And this company called Ibex that I was wearing, uh— they— They went out of business but hopefully they reopen. They’re talking about reopening again. Kind of a small company and they make all wool clothing. Dude, wool is so good as a base layer. You never get hot but you never get cold. It’s like the perfect temperature regulator. Now, I’ve also got a wool comforter on my bed. And I don’t sweat at night. You know, like some people, they have to stick their foot out under the covers just to get that perfect temperature and then you gotta put your foot back in because it gets cold. With
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, I love that. Also, I’m looking at the uh— the chilly pad. Have you heard of that?
Evan Brand: I have. Uh—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, for me— you know— being in Austin, when it gets hot— I mean, just for the listeners.
Evan Brand: That the— No. The AC bill thing— that is smart.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [grin] Totally.
Evan Brand: That’s really smart.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, I may look t— I’m gonna probably try biohacking that out and see uh— how it works and I’ll come back to everyone here listening, or report back and let you know what I think.
Evan Brand: Please. That sounds good.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright.
Evan Brand: Cool. So, let’s chat about neurotransmitters. Uh— We already have a question here from Charlie, which we will get into. “How do you know the lack of transmitters due to Dopamine or Serotonin, or Mitochondria related?” And the answer Charlie would be that we test for it. Which is why Justin and I don’t really like to guess and check so much. I mean, we will use some supplements that are sort of like a quick fix based on symptoms, which we’ll discuss today, but thi is why we utilize Organic Acids Testing. ‘Cause you get a read into the Mitochondria but you also get a read into neurotransmitters. So, that’s how you know— is you test. But, what we wanted to discuss today uh— may— maybe, Justin, let’s— Let’s start with Dopamine because so many people have issues with Dopamine. This is gonna be a part of your Catecholamines. Your Catecholamines is your Noradrenaline, or if you call it, Norepinephrine, and your Epinephrine or your Adrenaline, and then Dopamine. That’s the whole class called Catecholamines, and that’s really responsible for your energy, your drive, your focus, getting things done. And many people, including children, and especially teenagers that are addicted to video games, they have issues with Dopamine. And the parents will tell you, “Hey. My kid can’t get stuff done in school. He doesn’t do his homework, and he’s addicted to video games. What are you drinking there?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, I got a nice little green drink. Organic…
Evan Brand: Oh!
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …Green Devotion. So, it’s got Celery, Cucumber, Spinach, Lettuce, Kale, Lemon, Parsley, Berry. No added sugar from any fruits so just those veggies.
Evan Brand: Oh, good. Cheers. So, uh— what I was saying is these neurotransmitters, the Catecholamines as a whole, typically, they’re gonna be low together. So, on the organic acids, you’ll see the markers for…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—
Evan Brand: …Dopamine. And then, you’ll see the markers for Adrenaline and then Noradrenaline. The thing that’s cool about this is there’s an adrenal component too. And so, we often find on our adrenal testing that the adrenals are low. And then, when the adrenals go low, you’re also low with the Adrenaline, the Noradrenaline, Cortisol maybe low. So, the whole thing just falls apart. And we’re gonna talk about some remedies and things you could do to support this. But you’ve always got to make sure you’ve got the full puzzle piece because…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.
Evan Brand: …if you’re just working with the practitioner that does amino acids, which is great, that’s still a limited approach.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: A hundred percent, right? So, you mentioned earlier, we have some of the testing we’re we look at some of the metabolites. We look at— like— the 5-Hydroxyindoleacetate, which is a marker for Serotonin. We can look at the Homovanillate, which is a marker for Dopamine, and we can look at the Vanilmandelate, which is a marker for Adrenaline. These are important. Now, the thing is, when we look at Adrenaline and Dopamine, they’re kind of intimately connected because if we look at the hormonal or we look at the neurotransmitter cascade, we have Phenylalanine, which goes to Tyrosine, and then, Tyrosine goes to L-Dopa. And then, Dopa, it goes to uhm— Dopamine. But then, it also can go downstream into Norepinephrine, right, which is your Catecholamines or your Adrenaline. Right? It’s like three things that are the exact— three different names for the same thing.
Evan Brand: Yep.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Adrenaline, Noradrenaline, Norepinephrine, Catecholamines— They’re kind of in that Adrenaline category, right? Noradrenaline, Adrenaline— They’re just kind of derivatives. Norepinephrine, Epinephrine— They’re just derivatives. So, the more stressed you are, the more you’re gonna burn up your Dopamine. So, if you’re doing like you kind of alluded too earlier, like a lot of intense video gaming. A lot of like addiction behavior, a lot of extreme sports, like you— you’re really pushing that Catecholamine level up, which you will start depleting your Dopamine levels. And, sugar’s one of the biggest culprits. You— The more refined sugar you eat— that increases Dopamine or L-Tyrosine cross in the blood-brain barrier, which then increases your Dopamine and your brain, which is that “I love you” kind of neurotransmitter feeling. So, that can really add stress and burn up your Dopamine. So, we can even see it high on the Organic Acid Testing or we can even see it low. We’re— we’re kind of in this more depleted kind of state.
Evan Brand: Yeah. So, long story short, neurotransmitters— They have a Goldilocks zone to them.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Evan Brand: You don’t want to low Dopamine because then your having an issue with concentration, focus, drive, getting things done. But also, you don’t want too high Dopamine because that’s when you start to seek out— like uh— bad behavior, and you make it aggressive. Now, Great Plains has an article on this, and uh— I just sent you the link
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: A hundred percent.
Evan Brand: Do you see that picture? Did you see that link I sent you?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [pause] Which one?
Evan Brand: It’s greatplainslaboratory.com/clostridia, but I put it— I put it to you in the chat on the—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh!
Evan Brand: …the Google Chat we had.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great. I’ll go grab that. That’s perfect.
Evan Brand: But it’s got a picture and maybe we can put this picture in the show notes. But what it shows is how neurotransmitters— Everything works
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right, exactly. So, let me just go share my screen here so we can get a window of that. That’ll be— That’ll be awesome.
Evan Brand: That would be cool.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’ll do a Screenshare here, real quick, for everyone. Alright, cool. Let’s share.
Evan Brand: There it is.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You see it there?
Evan Brand: I can see it. Yep. [pause] T— Try to zoom in a bit on that picture if it will let you.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. So, let’s go here, for instance. So, anyone listening to this, if you’re listening on the podcast, you should go click on the video link below, or Subscribe on our YouTube site, justinhealth.com/youtube, or go Evan’s site as well. But you can see, we have Tyrosine, right? Tyrosine’s our amino acid building block. And Tyrosine— again, comes from Phenylalanine. But you can see, what happens is Tyrosine can go over here into Dopa, and then Dopamine. And then, this is one of the metabolites we look at, the Homovanillate, which gives us a window into Dopamine,
Evan Brand: Yeah. So, basically, if you’re looking at this, you’re like, “Okay. What does this mean to me? Well, this means that if you have mental health problems, you really need to look at the gut. Because oftentimes, you can add in amino acids. You know— Charlie asked us the question about, well, “For low Dopamine, should you take DLPA or L-Tyrosine?” The answer is, you technically could take either or of them. DLPA would be great because the uh— that’s called DL-Phenylalanine. That can actually get converted over into Dopamine, as well. And that actually can get converted into Norepinephrine-Epinephrine, I believe, too. I believe the whole conversion process. Uh— So, I guess, let’s look at the chart right there, Justin. So, like, if we’re doing DLPA, we’re basically hitting that Phenylalanine button right there at the top so, that Phenylalanine can get converted into Tyrosine. But then, if that other process is working, that can also boost Norepinephrine and Epinephrine, which is your Endorphins.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. What I understand is DLPA tends to go more down the Endorphin pathway than it does the Dopamine pathway.
Evan Brand: Yeah. I would— I would agree, and I think, maybe— I don’t know— if we could divide it up as a pie chart, like 80 percent Endorphin…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Nice.
Evan Brand: Twenty percent Tyrosine. I don’t know if it’s that black and white or not.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Then again, with beta-Endorphin, like the big thing we see with that is gonna be like sensitivity to pain. Uh— we’re also gonna see a lot of cravings and like very emotional, like incredibly emotional. Tends to have some addictive— addictive tendencies to Opiate kind of compounds. On the Tyrosine side, it tends to be more energy. It tends to be more focused, more concentration, more drive, more sweet cravings, more caffeine, more chocolate—
Evan Brand: Yep. I agree. Well said. Well, cancel your Screenshare so we can see your pretty face again.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: H— One last thing. Let me hide this over here for you. So, here’s the Serotonin Spectrum. So, you can see we have Tryptophan, 5-HTP, Serotonin, and then, Melatonin So, you can see, when we have issues breaking down our amino acids over here, that can affect— Just having digestive issues, that can affect, ultimately, getting Serotonin. And Serotonin’s important for mood. And— And then, obviously, the sleep, and sleep s really important for repair. So, of course, you can have the Anxiety, Mood issues, Depression, and poor sleep. This is the Serotonin spectrum. And then, on the Dopamine side, you can see we have Phenylalanine, Tyrosine. So, when we support people on the amino acids, we give them Tyrosine but we also give them L-Dopa, as well, to provide those building blocks And then, you can see Dopamine goes into Norepinephrine, then Epinephrine. This is the precursor. So, the more stressed you are, you’ll pull downstream to make more of your Adrenaline, and that pulls from Dopamine.So, of course, on the Dopamine spectrum, we have addictions like smoking and overeating and excess sugar to the extreme of Parkinson’s over here, which is— which is pretty interesting. Now. I want to show you one more- one more thing over here. This is interesting ‘cause if you look at— This is like people talk about MTHFR. This is basically the cycle that has a major effect on that. So, we have our Folic acid cycle or our Folate cycle, which then turns the cycle of Methionine, win healthy B6, B12, methylated B12— Ideally, we need activated L-MTHF folate, if we have an MTHFR issue and we can’t metabolize Folic acid. But, look, right? Look over here. We have Norepinephrine. Remember it goes Dopamine then Norepinephrine. So, Norepinephrine and Epinephrine, that conversion involves lots of Sulfur amino acids. So, if we have poor digestion of our Sulfur amino acids and a lot of our healthy anima products, that can have a major effect with our stress response. Because these Sulfur amino acids help activating our neurotransmitters for stress.. But also, look. These same sulfur amino acids go down here and become what? They become Cysteine and Glutathione, and Glutathione helps with toxicity. And so, if we don’t have enough Glutathione, we get exposed to lots of Roundup or Pesticides. Well, guess what. That‘s going to cause more damage to the same neurotransmitters we’re trying to support to begin with.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Does that kind of drive the point home? So, digestive issues can affect it on the Clostridium side, the C. diff side, Clostridium difficile. Uh— Also, we have nutrients over here that involve B6, B12, Folate. We also have the proteins, the Tyrosine, and the Serotonin, and the 5-HTP, which we need healthy digestion, and then also, the Sulfur amino acids here, to activate our— our Adrenaline and Noradrenaline, and also our Glutathione. So, I’ll—
Evan Brand: Yeah. It’s a trip and I’ve seen too that, just like you mentioned, the SAmi activating the Norepinephrine-Epinephrine. It also helps like deactivate. So, I’ve read about people that are just stressed out like crazy and they’ve got a buildup of those Endorphins. You can have too much that SAmi can act as a methylator to kind of detox you, if you will, from excess adrenaline. And I felt it. When I take SAmi, I can kind of feel the— I don’t know— maybe the Adrenaline getting out of my body. [crosstalk] And I’ve heard Magnesium…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—
Evan Brand: …can help do that too.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hundred percent. Hundred percent.
Evan Brand: I will. So, let’s— let’s just recap like symptoms. You know— You hit on the Serotonin piece so you had read some off but I want to uh— just read them back to people again. This would be like depression, uh— but the depression you get from low Serotonin…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—
Evan Brand: …is different from the depression you get with low Dopamine. Dopamine depression is more like a lack of energy. I can’t get off the couch. And maybe the Serotonin depression’s that same way but a lot of times there’s also gonna be Worry. You mentioned the Anxiety. Low Self-esteem could happen. And then, like winter depression and then could be Irritability, could be Rage, Panic, Night Owls, hard to get to sleep. Those are all Serotonin symptoms, Whereas the Dopamine is more of just, “I can’t focus. I can’t concentrate. I can’t get anything done.”
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.
Evan Brand: …more like, “I’m emotional. I have negative self-talk.” That type of stuff. And you could be— People may say, “Well I resonate with both of those symptoms.” We see it all the time that you’re low in Dopamine and Serotonin.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I agree. I agree. So— I mean, what’s the take home message there, where we can use to kind of help gauge us? Mood issues, we can use motivation issues, focus issues, concentration issues. We can use Anxiety, right? We didn’t really even touch about GABA. Did you want to highlight a little bit more about GABA?
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: GABA’s kind of that inhibitory neurotransmitter so it kind of helps us turn off. So, think about it like this. When we get wound up, it’s really hard to come down from that and wind down. And GABA’s really important because it helps kind of— Think about it as you’re driving a standard car. You’re on fifth gear. You’re on the highway. You’re going 60-70 miles per hour. You need to now slow down. Imagine if you just keep it in fifth gear. You can’t downshift from fifth— five— to fourth. You know— three to two, two to one, so you can go back at normal speed for driving on the street. You’re kind of stuck in that fifth gear and you know what happens when you got a really small fifth gear and you’re trying to accelerate. Uh— On the street, you can’t do it ‘cause the gear’s too small. It’s the same thing. We’re just wound up too much so we need that GABA to be able to come down.
Evan Brand: Yeah. Well said. GABA’s changed my life. I mean, I carry a formula called GABA Chews, which is just a PharmaGABA, and it’s a natural form of GABA that is…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—
Evan Brand: …actually a bit more effective than just straight GABA. So, I recommend people look into a GABA supplement and have it on hand. I keep them in my coat pocket. Like, if I’m gonna go travel, I’ll have like a little bag here, something of just a few GABAs in my pocket and I’ll just chew that up, like before I go on an airplane. And it can be really relaxing. It can help with sleep, as well. If you take a little bit of GABA…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.
Evan Brand: …before bed.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great feedback. Anything else you want to add here so far?
Evan Brand: Well, let’s look at the questions. We had a couple coming in. Uh— Kim asked, “How do you feel about Mucuna…” She was talking about the Mucuna pruriens, which is I believe it’s a seed, a seed extract. “…for Parkinson’s?”
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. It comes— It comes from uh— the Velvet beans, so— That’s actually pure L-Dopa so in my Dopa Replete Plus product, we— we actually use that.
Evan Brand: Cool.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: What do you feel about it for Parkinson’s?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh— I think it’s great. I mean, again, they’re given the Sinemet drug, right? The Carvit or the— the Levodopa. So, they’re giving a lot of that. The problem is, is when you give medications like that, yo— the enzyme amino acid decarboxylase— That enzyme is upregulated. So then now, you’re also gonna be burning up a lot of the building blocks for Serotonin. So, you can create functional Serotonin deficiencies when you’re giving Sinemet or— or uh— Levodopa. So, then, a lot of these people that have Dopamine issues, they tend to also have a lot of Serotonin symptoms. So, if you give the L-Dopa, you want to be giving at least a little bit of the Serotonin support so you could support both sides of it and you don’t create a Functional Serotonin Imbalance.
Evan Brand: Wow. They are— That’s— That’s— That’s very great advice. We have another question here from Charlie. Uh— He was asking— For one, he was asking, uh— “Rhodiola and other Adaptogens affect neurotransmitters, too, right?” Yes. I believe they can support them. I’m not sure if you can say XYZ is going to crank up things, but for example, with Ashwagandha, we do know that Ashwagandha…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—
Evan Brand: …hits all the GABA receptor, right? So— So that’s good. And then, the other question he had was, “Once Dopamine levels are uh— replenished with Tyrosine, can you stop the supplements forever or will you always be genetically susceptible to low Dopamine. And then, he put in parenthesis, ADD symptoms.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think it comes down to a couple things. Uh— If you have Parkinson’s, then, there’s gonna be destruction in the midbrain area of the cells in the Substantia nigra. So, you’re ability to make Dopamine’s gonna be less. So, you may have to be on those forever, depending on if we can get regeneration. If we can’t get regeneration, then we got to make sure we increase the L-Dopa. We got to increase the Tyrosine to make sure there’s enough building blocks, number one. Number two, we got to make sure that there’s— there’s gut issues and digestive issues then we fix that. So, with Clostridium issues, or if we have malabsorption at all, we have to make sure we fix the gut, the sibo, the SIBO, the bacterial issues, the parasites. We can break down our proteins and fats and— or— you know— utilizing Hydrochloric acid and enzymes so we can break those foods down. And then, number three, We have to make sure stress is under control. So, I have a product that I use here. Brain Replete, which has a lot of the Tyrosine and 5-HTP in a 10:1 ratio, which is balanced. So, I’ll actually do some of these. I do about six capsules a day. I take it with a little bit of the Dopa Replete Plus, which it actually is uhm— It has the Mucuna in there. It’s got some N-Acetyl Tyrosine. And just gives me— I work 12 hours a day and I want to be on for my patient so, I take that partly because I had to do Organic Acid Testing that shows that I still need it. Of course, I try to make sure sleep is good. I mean, I had a newborn six months ago so sleep isn’t ideal but uhm— in general— In general, uhm— taking the amino acids are gonna be key. Higher up we always want to make the diet and lifestyle changes. Wwe always want to fix the gut. We always want to make sure any underlying autoimmune stuff, where we have it addressed by— at fixing the leaky gut, fixing the infection, to getting on the an autoimmune template at least initially.
Evan Brand: Yep. Well said. And— I mean, how many— How many nursing homes are out there with hundreds and thousands of patients in there with Parkinson’s and other neurocognitive problems, and they’re just getting fed biscuits and gravy, and sugar and jello, and stuff like that for breakfast and lunch. I mean, the diet of a nursing home is typically just terrible. So, you’re not getting an— any of those amino acids from the diet to even try to manufacture neurotransmitters on your own. So, that’s just huge. And— you know— the diet piece— If you’re not— Like you spoke about the gut issues, for one, if you’re a vegetarian or a Vegan, you’re not getting animal…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—
Evan Brand: …proteins. You’re not gonna be getting the raw materials necessary to make these brain chemicals. Even if you are eating
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think that’s great. So, let’s look at here, a couple of other questions. Is there anything else you saw that you wanted to see. Uhm— Well, we got a lot of questions coming in here.
Evan Brand: Yeah. [crosstalk] Yeah. There was another question here uh— “GABA versus L-Theanine?” So, L-Theanine can actually increase GABA.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Evan Brand: You can think of Theanine is maybe like a precursor to GABA, and you can find Theanine naturally in like a Matcha tea, which I love because it’s a Caffeine plus Theanine combo
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think Theanine— I mean, again, I use a couple of products that have the GABA in it, and it
Evan Brand: Yep. Goods— good— good— good point there. Uh— Jeff had uh— just a comment and then a question. Yeah. He p— He said he— he thinks he’s had this challenge for a while. Uh— PTSD, so he’s had all sorts of Anger, Anxiety, Irratibility. Uh— Yeah. So— I mean, the aminos are great, but then, one other thing too, which I’ve used a lot with PTSD with veterans and such is the Magnesium L-Thre in a product. Because that Magnesium crosses the blood-brain barrier so it’s the only form of Magnesium that I know of that can get into the brain. So, look it up. Magnesium 3n8. And you can supplement with that. I have a Calm Clarity, where I use two grams of it per three capsules. And you can just take that forever, and it— and it works like a charm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. And if you have PTSD issues, you really want to do some EMDR or EFT type of techniques uh— the tapping. EMDR is more of like the eye movements, where you look left or right, or up or down, whether you’re thinking about the issue. EFT combines that when you’re— when you’re doing the gamut point here. It’ll have you do eyes in one direction, one the other, hum a song— you know— do a number. It’s It’s basically going right-brain, left-brain, right-brain, left-brain. Eyes up, eyes down, which uses different parts of the brain. So, it’s— Evan, you hold that thought while you activate lots of parts of the brain. Then, when you come back to that uhm— thought or that trauma, it’s— the pathway is kind of like messed up. It can’t quite go down easily. It’s like uhm— taking a path in the woods that’s p— that’s perfectly clear, and it’s like knocking a whole bunch of tree branches over it. So, it’s harder to see, harder to walk down it. So, EMDR, EFT— Google that. We’ll put some references in the show notes on it, but that’s gonna be essential. There’s a lot of good uh— videos on that uh— YouTuber by the name of Brad Yates. Has some really good EFT info. Also, uh— Daniel Hill has some great EFT info on that too. Just Google him in YouTube.
Evan Brand: I need to look up the— the— the uh— EDMR, like I said. Do you have any practitioners or anybody you’d recommend for that? ‘Cause I’d like to learn more about that. I know EFT like a charm but the MDMR, I don’t know anything.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Uhm— I— I work with someone by the name of Daniel Hill. He’s out of London uh— and he’s great. He combined the EMDR with the EFT and with the NLP. Uh— danielhill.biz, I think, is his website. So— He’s great. He’s a really good resource.
Evan Brand: Have you had him on the podcast?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhm— Not yet, but I’d— I got to have one soon.
Evan Brand: You should. That would be cool. Alright. Let’s look at
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [crosstalk] That’s great. Magnesium’s great. Absolutely. I think GABA and L-Theanine are also great. I mean— You guys have given some— We got the smartest listeners, man.
Evan Brand: I know.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’m so proud.
Evan Brand: I know.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: They just give— So, that’s great feedback.
Evan Brand: I know.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love it.
Evan Brand: It’s so fun. Charlie said, “So, 10:1 Tyrosine-5-HTP ratio?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s a good starting point, yeah. It’s a good starting point. If you have more issues, more stress stuff, you may have to go a little bit higher on the Tyrosine, but that’s a go— pretty good starting point. And I think, my product— we did it at 10:1, off the bat. But I’ll typically throw in the Dopa Replete Plus if we need it. And again, we’ll look at the symptoms on— on the handout we showed, and then, we’ll also look at the metabolites on the organic acid to make that clinical call. So, it’s a combination of symptoms. It’s a combination of lab testing. And it’s a combination of what works.
Evan Brand: Yes.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And you can typically see some improvement there.
Evan Brand: Well, and you know— just having a clinician hold your hand through this because I’m a huge fan. Both— both you and I are
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And that’s pretty rare in the scientific literature. A lo— I’ve seen a lot of psychiatrists and people like that say, “Oh! Be careful, like don’t take amino acids. Uhm— You’re gonna get Serotonin Syndrome.” You’re not gonna get it with amino acids. You’re gonna primarily get it with drugs, with medication. So, I think a good rule of thumb is if you are doing medication, try to take it away from some of the amino acids. And be aware, if you’re taking like an S— SNRI so uh— Ser— uh— Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake. S— SNRI, Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor that works more on Dopamine or an SNRI that works more on Serotonin, kind of look at the symptoms of the Serotonin drug and the Norepinephrine drug. Because, you may have more side effects because the drug’s gonna work better ‘cause it’s gonna have— It’s a reuptake inhibitor so it’s blocking the reuptake ports. So, if you’re blocking the reuptake ports, there’s gonna be more neurotransmitter in-between the synapse. So, if you’re taking more building block, which becomes that neurotransmitter, that can basically allow more neurotransmitter to accumulate between the synapse. Here’s the presynaptic neuron. Here’s the post. In between here is where all the neurotransmitters hang out. And if we dump a whole bunch of extra amino acids out, they now convert. There’s gonna be more of these guys in between to have that uh— synaptic like— you know— increase in— in those uhm— neurotransmitters. Does that makes sense?
Evan Brand: It does. Now, would you say, “Don’t mix amino acids in these drugs.” Or do you feel like if you were doing it intelligently with the practitioner, you could mix drugs and
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You got to work with the practitioner and you got to be aware of the side effects, and typically, if we have a side effect of the higher Serotonin, you— you can look at the medication you’re on. Just go to rxless.com. Look at the side effects of it. And if you see side effects starts to increase as you incrementally increase the amino acid dosages. Number one, take the amino acids away, and then number two, got to go back to that prescribing physician to have them decrease the dosage. A lot of times, you’re like, “Oh! You know— Let’s— Let’s decrease the amino acids.” Why? I rather use amino acids that are natural than a drug that has lots of side effects and even black box warnings a lot of times. I rather use nutrition. Nutrition always trumps drugs, especially, if they’re having a positive effect.
Evan Brand: Yup. Uh— Charlie had a question about Alpha BRAIN helping neurotransmitters. I use to work at- Onitt, and I actually was working kind of behind the scenes on one of the reformulations of Alpha BRAIN. Aubrey and I were kind of going back and forth. It was funny. One day, he gave me a sample. It was gonna be like Alpha BRAIN 3.0 or something. It was a new formula, and I didn’t know exactly what was in it. I just took it and ran outside. And I felt the supplement kick in and I just like started sprinting out in the field, and I was like, “Oh my God. I have so much energy.” And I came back in. I said, “Aubrey, what did you put in this?” And he goes, “Oh. we added some B vitamins to that formula.” I thought, “Oh my gosh! I could feel it.” So, uh— yeah. Alpha BRAIN— you know— It’s a very, very popular formula. They sell tons of it. I think, for this conversation, because this is more clinical based on like XYZ symptom, you’re probably better off just piecing things together. NOw, I think, an all-in-one solution is good but if you have a certain symptom, you may not need to push the Serotonin button. You may need to just push the Dopamine button. Or, you may need to just push the GABA button. And so I’m— I’m a bigger fan of just trying to mix things based on your symptoms. Now, if all the symptoms that you look at match up with all the neurotransmitters in the formula like that, I think, “Awesome.” But, for me, personally, I just use things in isolation. Justin, do you have a— a take?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. So, in the Onitt A— Alpha BRAIN formula, there’s a lot of things that
Evan Brand: No. It— It— It never [crosstalk]
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: —happen?
Evan Brand: I think it was just…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: …a trial behind the scenes. But I just remember taking it. That was like, “Whoah!” That was uh— That was
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Any thoughts on Acetylcholine.
Evan Brand: Yeah. I mean— So, Acetylcholine, it’s helpful— I know— Like the Huperzine and the Bacopa. I
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: So, I think it’s just something else to put in the toolbox.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. It’s kind of like an SSRI or
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You can get into a supplement whirl like this herb or that amino acid. Like— You have your hierarchy. Diet, sleep, blood sugar stability tied to Insulin Resistance. Work on your digestion. Work on some of the— the nutrients. B vitamins are really important. B6. P5P is really important for activating a lot of our neurotransmitters. If you look at B6, or Pyrodoxyl 5-Phosphate, or Pyridoxine hydrochloride. And if you look at— just Google, and like the neurotransmitters. They’re intimately reso— Intimately involved in synthesizing and these amino acids converting into Dopamine and Serotonin, etc. So, if we don’t have adequate B6 levels, we have a lot of dysbiotic bacteria and our gut bacteria’s not helping out with the B vitamin issues, we can have some issues for sure.
Evan Brand: Yep, well said. So, get tested. Dial in the diet. I mean, you could take somebody who’s— you know— eating processed food and drinking SODA and take a bunch of amino acids and probably not get the success that they’re looking for. So, a— as just a disclaimer, every time we have a conversation together with you guys, it’s always— we’re assuming you’ve got the diet, the lifestyle, the sleep, the meditation, the stress management, the exercise, the good relationships, good stable blood sugar, you’re not skipping meals, you’re getting toxic people out of your life, you’re going to bed on time, you’re not using too much technology at night. Those are all the precursors. Then, amino acids come in.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hundred percent, 100 percent. And now, just a couple other questions here some listeners put in. It talked about Insomnia, 5-HTP. Now, in my line, we have one. Again, you can get your products wherever you want. We’re gonna talk about the ones that we formulated ‘cause we’re the most familiar with it. So, in my line, Serotonin replete, it’s a hundred milligrams of 5-HTP with a little bit of B6. So, if you’re gonna use 5-HTP before bed, I typically do one or two at dinner and then one to two before bed. The B6 is really important to take with it. So, just got to be mindful. B6 helps it go down the Serotonin pathway, not the quinolinate pathway. So, B6 really helps the neurotransmitters move in that right direction. And— you know— start at the 100 milligrams. You can go up to— to 400, even 600. Again, if you’re really having some difficult time, you should work with the practitioner. You don’t want a spot-treated. But in this, I want to give you guys actual clinical information and not tiptoe around all the solutions and hold them back. So, hopefully that helps.
Evan Brand: Yep, well said. I’m out of time, so I don’t know uh— if we have other questions but let’s try to do maybe one more.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [sigh] Yeah. I mean, let’s— let’s see one last thing, Evan. Can we just kind of summarize the neurotransmitters and the symptoms that they correlate with. Just so the listeners have a better idea. Can we— Can we go back? Can we do that?
Evan Brand: Yeah. Let’s do it. Yo— You lead us off. Pick one.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay. Awesome. So, if we go back and we look at Dopamine, right? Dopamine’s important for focus. It’s really important for Cravings, Energy, Mood, Attention— right? Feeling— feeling happy. Okay? Then, we gonna have Serotonin next. Serotonin or 5-HTP precursors is gonna be important for Worry, Negativity, Winter, Sad, Seasonal Affective Disorder, PMS, Chronic pain issues, Sleep, Hyperactive. We have our Chronic Pain issues, or overly emotional can be our beta-Endorphin, our Endorphin, which is important for reward and pleasure. We have GABA, which is our— you know— overstress, can’t relax, can’t wind down, can’t chill the hell out.
Evan Brand: Yep.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Then Glutamine can be sugar cravings and
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’m not really worried about that. And I think we hit it all. So, we have the GABA, the
Evan Brand: That’s good. I think we hit it. Then, we could probably do a part two to this. I mean, I think we hit all the important key takeaways, but if you want to talk about how all of these factors into a full functional medicine program, including the gut work and things we’re doing: working on infections, adrenal support— you know— maybe we’ll save that for part two.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think it’s really important when people talk about functional medicine. Like, imagine we’re building this huge house, right? This huge house, like we just talked about like the third room on the second floor. And a lot of people can come in and be like, “Oh. I’m gonna go after this. I’m gonna just do this thing right here.” But like, we’re building the whole house. Like, just worrying about this one room in this one floor isn’t that big of a deal to us. We’re starting at the foundation. We’re building that first floor and then we’re adding onto it. And then, we’re adding onto it. So, w— we kind of have the big architect picture when we’re looking at it. We don’t get totally absorbed into one. Again, people may say, “I did Serotonin or 5-
Evan Brand: I agree. Well said. And if you guys want to reach out, schedule a call with Justin or myself. Check out Justin’s site. That’s justinhealth.com. You can go schedule a consult. And then, if you want to schedule a consult with me, that’s my site, evanbrand— E-V-A-N-brand like
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. Any last questions you wanted to nail, Evan?
Evan Brand: Tst— I saw one. Somebody mentioned that GABA made them feel…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Evan Brand: …like out of it or something.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Evan Brand: I mean, yo— you would just try something else. Try Theanine. Try Taurine— you know— try something else. Try Ashwagandha; something else that can modulate the GABA receptor but maybe straight GABA is not good for you.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. And then, someone talks about their balance and their legs feeling heavy. Uh— Hard to say. Uh— I would look at
Evan Brand: Yeah. And look at your Ferritin Test. It could be some simple Anemia issue, possibly.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, totally. Totally. Uhm— Also, vitamin D, low vitamin D can affect the— the vestibular system imbalance.
Evan Brand: Wow.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Let’s see here. Anything else? “I want to have my functional medicine
Evan Brand: Let’s do it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright, man. Hey, great chatting with you. Appreciate it. Keeping it real. All the listeners, give us a share. Hit that bell. Give us a share. Let people know. Sharing is caring. We appreciate you spreading the word. Again, it’s our mission to help over a million people a month with these issues, 12 million a year, moving into 100 million next year. So, help us with our goal, guys. We appreciate it.
Evan Brand: Take care.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Evan, take care.
Evan Brand: See yah.
HCL and enzymes to improve digestion – Podcast #64
HCL (Hydrochloric acid) activates pepsinogen into the enzyme pepsin, which then helps digestion by breaking the bonds linking amino acids, a process known as proteolysis. Enzymes break down proteins, cellulose, starches and other foodstuffs. This makes it possible for the intestines to absorb nutrients. Enzymes begin thedigestive process in the mouth, as they’re secreted by salivary glands. They work to break down starch into sugars.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand address some topics around digestion in today’s podcast and also talk about various digestive supports. Learn more about the importance of hydrochloric acid and enzymes needed for digestion. Find out why and how the conventional model does not succeed in getting to the root cause of digestive issues.
This interview really is all about the bases and the foundations of digestion but also touches upon the subject of gallbladder issues and other gut inflammation that can be avoided with proper digestive support. Discover how you can optimize your HCl levels and learn about the various enzymes that help in the digestion process as well as find out what the role of bile salts are.
In this episode, topics include:
00:56 digestive issues and digestive support
8:09 gallbladder stones, flushes and surgery
10:51 hydrochloric acid doses
13:35 enzyme support
16:25 gut infections
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Evan, how are we doing today, man?
Evan Brand: I’m doing great. What about you?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Doing pretty good. Actually just got back from San Francisco. Nice little week up in the Bay Area and back to a nice hot weather here in Austin, Texas. Nice hot summer.
Evan Brand: Yeah, it’s–you can tell that it’s slowly sliding into fall here in Kentucky and I’m not ready for it yet.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Imagine the foliage. It’s probably awesome up there.
Evan Brand: It is when it turns. It hasn’t turned yet. In another month or so it’s gonna be crazy beautiful.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great. So we talked before the show about addressing some topics around digestion. Especially how to use various digestive supports. I got a email question this week where a patient wanted to–want–wanted me to elaborate more on this topic. I think this would be a great topic to discuss today.
Evan Brand: Yeah, absolutely. Everybody–not everybody, but a lot of people have digestive issues and that’s kinda where I like to start with people most of the time. If you fix that, you fix a lot of other stuff.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so regarding digestive issues, there are various digestive supports you can use to help. So HCl or betaine HCl, various enzyme support products whether it’s like protease or lipase or trypsin, like protein or fat digesting enzymes. And then there are things like bile salts which can also be helpful for emulsifying and breaking down fat. So those are kinda like our 3 that we’re gonna contrast with today. So the first foundational one is HCl. And again HCl can vary depending on how much you need, anywhere between 1 to 3 or 4 grams per meal, and HCl is really important because that HCl really helps lower the pH in your stomach and that nice low pH activates a compound, a proteolytic enzyme called pepsin. It takes it from pepsinogen which is inactive to pepsin which is active. And when it’s active, it really starts to hold protein digesting process. So we need this nice low pH in our stomach and that nice low pH activates these protein digesting enzymes and that starts the digestive process and that nice low pH mixes in with all the food and that’s–this is called chyme and that chyme then gets released into our small intestine and without that nice low pH, we don’t get that trigger from our pancreas and gallbladder to release bile salts from the gallbladder, and then various enzymes like trypsin and proteolytic enzymes–that means protein digesting, and then also lipase, fat digesting enzymes. So again, this whole domino rally here of kind of, you know, what has to happen first, second, third, really happens with hydrochloric acid.
Evan Brand: Yup. And hydrochloric acid, if people don’t know, is a good thing. This is a time where acid is more is better most of the time. People may have this idea from the mainstream media––I just a commercial the other day that still makes me gag about Zantac and all these other Nexium and all these companies competing on who has the best acid blocker and 99.9–and correct me if I’m wrong–99.9% of the time, the issue is too low stomach acid and not too much and people that have like a faulty lower esophageal sphincter from stress or whatever, that could actually cause some of that acid to sneak back up into the esophagus where you don’t want it to, but if we have the HCl levels optimized, that could prevent some of that stuff from happening.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, one of the big feedbacks for it, that esophageal sphincter, that’s where the part of your stomach and your esophagus meet. One of the main mechanisms for that esophageal sphincter tightening is nice high levels of hydrochloric acid, but also keeping dysbiosis down in the stomach. So it’s one of these things where if we have inadequate levels of HCl in the stomach, well, we start to have bacterial overgrowth because food sits and rots and ferments and putrefies in the stomach and then part of that whole putrefaction process and rancidification fermenting process, we have various organic acids that rise off of that and then because everything is disrupted, that esophageal sphincter is left open and those acids will rise up and actually burn that lower part of the esophagus and the upper part of the stomach creating inflammation. And then you go to your conventional doctor and they say, “Oh, you have esophagitis or gastritis,” right? All you have to do is just break down the medical speak. Cut the word in half. Esophagitis or gastritis, stomach or esophagus, -itis meaning inflammation. It’s like, well, wait a minute. I already know those inflammation there, right? If you have pain in your throat, it’s probably esophagitis. If you have pain a little bit lower, it’s probably gastritis. The question becomes now, what’s the cause? Now your conventional doc will just throw a–an acid-blocking medication like Nexium or Prilosec or omniprazole, etc. But again, what’s the underlying cause? We already talked about the fact that lack of acid will create this environment where this food rots and then the esophageal sphincter stays open and organic acids rise up. So if you know that mechanism, giving a medication that’s blocking the acid, actually makes the problem worse. So when–once you have this biochemical physiological understanding, you can see how the problem is actually being made worse in the long run. You may get symptomatic relief in the short run but you have a massive amount of other problems because now you can’t ionize minerals. You can’t break down protein optimally. There’s gonna be more dysbiosis, more gut infections because we don’t have the ability to sterilize the environment so now we’re set up for a whole host of long-term issues.
Evan Brand: Yeah, and I’m trying to think of a good analogy. I know you–you’re always killing it with those, but it’s almost like blaming the firemen for the fire.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.
Evan Brand: Does that count as an accurate analogy for that situation?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, most medications are designed to manage symptoms and there’s nothing wrong with that like in the short run. You know, a day or two, right? But the problem is when symptoms are managed and you have the false expectation that the underlying cause was fixed, that’s where problems become long-term because then now you’re stuck using this long-term and then because the–your whole gut physiology is screwed up, you can’t come off it. And the conventional medical model is really about managing symptoms and then essentially you get hooked on these drugs because the symptoms now once you come off are now really bad and you just–you can’t–you can’t deal. Any comments on that, Evan?
Evan Brand: No, I think that’s a great overview of how the conventional model once gain does not succeed in getting to the root cause of digestive issues.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, and these medications, I mean, they’re like in the top 5 every year. These proton pump inhibitors.
Evan Brand: Billions.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, billions, top 5. I mean, right next Synthroid and–and Lipitor. I mean, they’re–and your anti-depressants. They’re right up there in the top 5 every year and like I–the analogy I kinda tell my patients–you know, when you’re stressed and you’re taking these medications, they’re really lessening or they’re really taking off or–or turning off your force field. So imagine like the Star Trek ship, it’s got that nice force field around it so when the Klingons come in there and attack, it’s got the force field up and it can –it can defend itself but when we lower our hydrochloric acid levels and things come into our environment, we’re not gonna be able to mount an attack against it.
Evan Brand: Great. Yeah, I was hoping you would navigate into that territory. What happens then once that acid level is low over a period of time? It’s not just the crappy digestion, it’s not just the burping and the heartburn, indigestion. It’s not all that. It goes way deeper and that’s kinda what you’re alluding to now is that other stuff downstream, these next dominos in line, those get messed up, too, and you run into all sorts of things like biliary stasis, gallbladder issues, and all that.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: So I don’t know if you wanted to move down south, down the system, and talk about that now.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, if we don’t have enough hydrochloric acid, that nice low pH and all that chyme, which is just mixed up food, right? If you don’t have that nice low pH, our gallbladder isn’t triggered to contract. And if we’re not contracting that gallbladder, bile salts sit too long in that gallbladder and aren’t being emptied periodically, kinda like changing the oil in your car, things can get really grimy and get sludgy and that can potentially create a stone over time. And these stones then at some point when you eat a fatty meal, that gallbladder contracts, it’s like wrapping your hand around a porcupine and squeezing. It’s not gonna be a–a good situation.
Evan Brand: That’s a good one. Let’s–if you have–if we have a minute here, I wanna talk about gallbladder flushes real quick, because I know a lot of people do those and they read about them like drinking like a cup of olive oil at the end of a fast and I just, I get asked about that and I just think it sounds crazy. So I don’t ever have a complete answer on it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of doing that off the bat. There may be a desire and a need for that down the road. But if your digestion isn’t working and you’re not breaking down food and then you go do this big flush and there potentially is a stone in there, and that gallbladder is contracting because of all the olive oil and/or apple juice you’re taking in, and that gallbladder contracts down around that stone, right? Visualize yourself grabbing a porcupine and squeezing, that there could be some inflammation and you may end up going to the ER, and then you’re gonna be pushed to have that gallbladder taken out always.
Evan Brand: Mmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I mean, I’ve saved hundreds of gallbladders just because gallbladder issues are almost always due to food allergens and a combination of low level stomach acid which, you know, may be driven by even a deeper infection, but definitely the food and the stomach acid off the bat is the first perfect storm element that really sets you up for gallbladder issues.
Evan Brand: Wow. Yeah, gallbladder surgery. It’s ridiculous how common it is, act like it’s just as simple as getting some stitches on a cut. “Oh, yeah, let me just pull your gallbladder out real quick.”
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, I know, I mean, I wonder–I wonder if most of these medical doctors had the same kind of mindset like if we dealt with our car, like if we just say, “Hey, you know, you’re having a little bit of a issue in your car today with this issue. Let me pull open the hood. “Yeah, oh yeah, what’s this thing right here? Let’s pull it out.” You know, I–I guarantee you they’d be a little bit more selective over their car but when it comes to their patients, they’re just like, “Yeah, let’s pull it out. It’s not working.” I say, “But why? And is there anything we can do conservatively to prevent that?” Like–
Evan Brand: Incredible.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Some of the things we talked about that are virtually free.
Evan Brand: Yeah, we can’t make billions. We could talk about all these supplements and we’ll never make billions off of these things. I mean, a bottle of hydrochloric acid is gonna be less than 30 bucks, you know, so it’s just insane.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I know and on that note, hydrochloric acid is a powerful supplement to start off it with anyone that has chronic health issues. Typically, how we dose it is we start off with 1 capsule per meal and I like to take it in the middle of the meal. Why in the middle of the meal is because, well, if you have gastritis which is that gut inflammation, right? Gastro meaning stomach, -itis meaning inflammation. So if our gut lining is thin and we’re inflamed and we put a nice hydrochloric acid capsule right against that mucosa and it starts to dissolve, well, it’s like touching a scab on your hand or on your arm. It’s gonna be more sensitive. So we take it in the middle of our meal, kinda like an Oreo cookie. It’s like the cream filling, not–not at the beginning, not at the end. And we start off with one and we take it at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We see how we do and then each day we work up to 2, to 3, to 4. Again, there’s this whole idea, we can go up to warmness or HCl tolerance. That can be good. I’m–I’m also very careful of going above 4 or 5 capsules just because I don’t wanna cause a–a ulcer in the small intestine. So it–this called duodenum, that’s where the stomach connects in with the small intestine. When all that acid goes into the duodenum, our pancreas has to make a whole bunch of bicarbonate to start to neutralize that acidity. So if we’re jacking it up really high where we’re doing 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 capsules per meal and you’re not still feeling warmness, I get a little concerned because I don’t wanna cause a duodenal ulcer. So 4 or 5 tend to be a pretty good place that I stay at for patients, especially if they’re seeing a benefit of foods feeling lighter. They’re feeling like it’s digesting. They’re having, you know, better bowl movements. They’re having less burping or gas. We’ll stay at that 4 or 5 mark. I don’t like to go too much above that unless we’re closely monitoring them.
Evan Brand: Yeah, I got nothing to add there. That’s great advice and I typically take 1. I’m great with 1 but I’m still one so I’m still producing a–a decent amount for now.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm. Yeah, yeah.
Evan Brand: Until I get older.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, exactly.
Evan Brand: Like an old man.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm. And it–hydrochloric acid levels do go down with age, so we gotta keep in mind that because a lot of, you know, elderly patients, they’re having all these bone issues and osteoporosis issues and it’s like, “Man, like, you know, Boniva and all these other medications are not gonna fix the issue,” because a lot of times it really starts in the digestive system. We’re just not breaking down and ionizing these minerals and we need good levels of hydrochloric acid to ionize minerals, so we can absorb them into our bloodstream and utilize them.
Evan Brand: I don’t know if you agree with this, but to me, optimizing HCl levels to me is probably one of my top 3 to 5 foundational things I could ever do for somebody.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I couldn’t agree more, 100%.
Evan Brand: So–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Now the next thing on top of that is we’ll also add in enzymes and depending on how–how chronic or how long someone has had gut issues, I either use a combination product with enzymes and hydrochloric acid together with bile salts for my patients that aren’t doing too bad. Like patients that have more chronic issues, we’ll separate them out because a lot of times their gut lining is thinner. They have this gastritis issue where that gut lining has been worn down and they will only be able to handle maybe 1 or 2 hydrochloric acid capsules. But they’ll need a lot more enzymes. So if we package the enzymes together, we kinda hit the wall sooner, because we only can do 2. Where if we have the enzymes separately, we can go up to 3, 4, 5 enzymes per meal and it’s just the enzymes, and because the enzymes aren’t as abrasive we can hit a more therapeutic level with them and have better protein and fat digesting or digestion capacity even when the HCl has hit the wall at a 1 o 2 state.
Evan Brand: Interesting. So sometimes, people can get away with just enzymes and they won’t need the hydrochloric acid and combination with.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I mean, I typically recommend enzymes separately but we’re still giving HCl by itself.
Evan Brand: Right, okay.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So like, we may hit the wall at 1 for instance. Some of my chronic gut issues, they’ll hit the wall at 1, but great, I mean, that doesn’t meant though you’re getting enough enzymes, well, we’ll work on upping the enzymes separately to 3 or 4 or 5 and seeing how we do. And some patients even after that, if I see a lot of fecal fat in their stool test, we’ll even add a separate product by itself that just has high amounts of lipase which is a fat-digesting enzyme and high amounts of bile salts. And with my chronic gut issues, we can–my chronic gut patients–by this combination here of combining HCl and enzymes or HCl enzymes and fat digestive support, we can get their body’s ability to break down some of these nutrients better which buys us time to start getting the gut and the adrenals fixed because if we absorb better nutrients, if we absorb the nutrients from our good diet better, we’re gonna be able to use those nutrients to help heal our body and then if we get to the underlying adrenal stuff, infections, dysbiosis, SIBO, etc., we’re gonna be able to fix this problem long-term so maybe in 6 months or so, we can pull them off from of these digestive support products as long as they’re managing their stress and–and eating well.
Evan Brand: Great point, yeah, and I see that people wanna self-diagnose themselves or they’ll zoom in on this tiny, tiny problem. But sometimes we can’t get to those tiny problems if we don’t zoom out and hit on the foundation that’s going to help improve that tiny problem downstream where we may not even need a specific protocol for X, Y, Z tiny problem because we fixed–we zoomed out and fixed the big thing that’s at the top of the chain.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely, and a lot of my patients have H. pylori infections and H. pylori is this gram-negative bacteria that actually produces toxins called lipopolysaccharide or endotoxins, but it also produces an enzyme called urease which takes the urea which is a by-product of protein metabolism, right? Protein’s di–protein digestion primarily happens where? In your stomach. So it takes that urea and metabolizes it into CO2 and ammonia. Ammonia has a pH of 11, so it will actually lower your stomach acid levels, meaning it will raise the pH, right? Remember low pH, 2 or so, is where you’re–where you’re nice and acidic, where your stomach should be so it will actually raise the pH, okay? And that will make your stomach acid levels go lower, alright? Don’t get that confused, so when pH goes up, stomach acid levels go lower, so it’s kind of an inverse opposite thing and that will affect your body’s digestion. So we can’t just give HCl or enzymes and just say, “Hey, the problem’s fixed, even though I’m feeling better.” Because if there’s an infection, especially H. pylori, we gotta get to the root cause.
Evan Brand: Yeah, what’s your favorite for that? Do you like the breath test?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Breath test can be helpful and what’s the breath test looking at? It’s looking at an excessive amount of CO2 essentially. Well, why CO2? Well, we just mentioned, right? What’s the mechanism? Urease from H. pylori takes the urea and pumps it out to ammonia and CO2. So it’s the–the by-product of what the H. pylori is doing. It’s what’s making the CO2 go up. So breath test can be helpful. We’ll look at stool antigen and stool PCR, which is stool DNA. And then we’ll also look at blood which is IgG, IgM, and IgA and that’s kinda looking at an immune response to the H. pylori. But I like the–the stool the best. That’s gotta be my favorite, PCR and stool antigen which are great. So we’re looking at a piece of the DNA and we’re looking at a piece of the actual infection in the stool.
Evan Brand: Nice.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Anything you wanna add, Evan?
Evan Brand: No, I’m loving it. Keep going.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So I find a lot of conventional docs, they miss the digestive support element and even the functional medicine docs, they miss the digestive support element or they don’t hit it at a therapeutic level, that’s step 1. And then step 2 is they miss that deeper underlying infection. And a lot of times, it may not just be an H. pylori. It may be an H. pylori, a parasite, and a fungal issue. So I see a lot patients because you know, candida programs are really pop–you know, popular these days, or they’re just doing a candida program but they have candida, but they also have an H. pylori infection and a parasite, and again, H. pylori and parasites, they’re more on top of that pyramid in our infection hierarchy where it’s kinda like if you just knock out the candida, it’s like pulling grass out at the surface–I should say, it’s like pulling a weed out at the surface. If we don’t get to the root, that weed’s gonna grow back so a lot of people are treating gut issues even SIBO for instance, but there’s a deeper issue underneath at the root that may be an H. pylori or a parasite, and all the SIBO programs and all of the candida programs may not be enough to get to the root issue.
Evan Brand: Great, yeah. Great point, and once again, cookie cutter doesn’t work, that’s why you need a practitioner to do this stuff. It gets–it gets complex sometimes real quick.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I know you have a lot of experience, too, so NotJustPaleo.com as well as JustinHealth.com if anyone’s like thinking about this and like, “Alright, you know, I’m gonna try some of this HCl. I’m gonna try this.” If you wanna dig in deeper and see if there’s any other root causal issues, that will be your next step to–to dig in at least ensure there’s nothing else lingering under the surface.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Anything else you wanna add, Evan?
Evan Brand: No, I think this is a great overview. I think we can make it a lot longer, but there’s no need to because we have covered the bases and the foundations of digestion pretty well, so good job.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, you, too. And I think, you know, what we’re specializing is really foundational information because you can get minute and you can do this study or that study, or this isolated nutrient or whatever, but again, if the foundation isn’t there, people aren’t gonna benefit. They aren’t gonna get better so I hope people just walk away with a good foundational take home and also, remember one thing. Hydrochloric acid, taking HCl is not gonna lower your own production, okay? So that’s a good thing. It’s not like taking testosterone where your–your, you know, the organs act–that make testosterone actually shrink, right? You’re not gonna have that issue so with taking HCl, it’s not gonna affect our body’s production of it. It actually takes the stress off our gut so we can actually heal. So kinda keep that in mind, too. If we take some of these things, even long term, it’s not gonna hurt our own internal production. It’ll actually only help it.
Evan Brand: Great point. Yeah, I’m sure a lot of people are questioning that. Is it safe long term? And the answer is yes.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, because the–the main signal for HCl production is gastrin and they’ve done studies looking at gastrin levels while on HCl over periods of months and time, and the gastrin levels did not drop while on HCl which is good.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright, Evan, man, hey, great talking to you, bud.
Evan Brand: Yeah, sounds good. You, too.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Bye.
Evan Brand: Okay, bye.