Other strategies to lose weight and reduce stress – Podcast #92
Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand talk about weight loss secrets and weight loss mindset in this podcast episode. They discuss about weight loss being the effect of good health. Get educated about your body so you can effectively lose weight.
Discover why weight loss is more challenging for women and how hormones affect it. Learn about how excessive exercise and/or cutting calories can send stress signals to the body. Find out why you need to get nutrients 100% dialed in and eating organic and grass-fed or pasture-fed as much as possible, avoiding hormones and pesticides and GMOs. Learn about forest bathing, the Nature Pyramid, breathing exercises, body fat percentage and body water content, as well as the waist and hip circumference when you listen to this interview.
In this episode, topics include:
02:00 Female hormones
03:50 Stress in women vs stress in men
10:23 Diet and quality of the macronutrients
13:47 Forest bathing and Nature Pyramid
21:42 Breathing exercises
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Evan, what’s going on? It’s a fabulous Monday. How you doin’?
Evan Brand: Hey!
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: How’s your weekend?
Evan Brand: Oh, I’m doing great. Our weather was just incredible. I was outside probably 23 out of 24 hours throughout the weekend and it was just a blast. What about you?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Same here. I was—went for a little hike on Saturday, went on the boat yesterday, did some water skiing, and then went to Whole Foods and get some shopping done. So I’m ready for my week, man.
Evan Brand: Sweet.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool. Well, we talked pre-show that were gonna touch upon some weight loss secrets and weight loss mindset issues because we have so many patients that come in to us initially really wanting to focus on weight loss and weight loss really is the effect of good health and all the things we’re doing and it may not be the cause. Essentially, we don’t lose weight and then we get healthy. We get healthy and then we lose weight. The problem is a) which is getting healthy and then b) the effect of losing weight, it can be different for some people. Especially women, there can be a lot of lag time between a) getting healthy and b) losing weight. And we have to make sure we have the right mindset so we can stay the course.
Evan Brand: Definitely, then that’s something that it’s on our Top 5 list for most of the people that we work with, weight loss is a goal, and a lot of times it’s just really an education process for you and I to really tell them, “Look, with this type of adrenal health or with this type of thyroid health, or with this gut infection, etc., it’s gonna be hard for you to lose weight, if not impossible.” And so a lot of times it’s just patience, honestly, and sometimes if people try to bail out too early and they don’t stick through their program to fully get better, the weight loss may never come. So sometimes it does take 3 to 6 months, and that’s pretty good if it took you 40 years to become overweight, if it only takes you six months to start turning, to dial the other way, then that’s pretty good.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely and I would say with a lot of my female patients, because females tend to have a harder time losing weight if they’ve gained weight just because of the fact that hormonally there’s fluctuations that happen throughout the month, especially if they’re still cycling, meaning they’re progesterone and estrogen’s falling, they’re having a period every month or ovulating, it’s gonna be a little more difficult because excessive exercise and/or cutting calories can send stress signals to the body. And when those stress signals happen to the body, that can throw off the hormones, that can cause increase in PMS, lower thyroid function, and just more metabolic stress on the body. With guys, guys can kind of up exercise a bit, maybe even tweak calories down a little bit, maybe even lessen fat a little bit and then really drive weight loss in a more non-sustainable way per se, meaning it’s nothing that you do forever, and they will have less ramifications because of the fertility and the hormonal fluctuations. Men’s hormones are kind of like a foghorn. It just kinda goes, “Eeeee” throughout the month; where women you kinda get this orchestra going on and anything who listens to an orchestra, you know, you have the strings, and you have the—the percussion instruments and the horns and if one of these things is off, that orchestra can really go and sound like noise pretty fast.
Evan Brand: Yeah, so that’s a good point that you already hit on is there are a lot of sources of stress that women honestly may not be aware of in terms—in terms of the obesogens for example, the hormone-disrupting chemicals that are out there that can cause you to gain weight. Some of the skincare products, that’s something that I always try to get to, maybe it’s not top of the food chain issue, but if you’re somebody listening, maybe you’re working with one of us with a program already, take a look at your skincare products and make sure that all the parabens and all of the thalates and all these other chemicals are gone because that can be roadblock. Maybe not a huge one, but definitely one that I’ve seen.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely and in stress affects women and men differently, right? You know we also talk about women and men they’re equal but not the same, and by—when you mean not the same, there’s different biology and biochemistry happening. So Dr. John Gray talked about this at a lecture I attended recently. He talked about men under stress—and again obviously prolonged stress is gonna affect person. It’s gonna lower their hormones. It’s gonna create a more catabolic environment, meaning more stress hormones and that will eventually drop down their anabolic, they’re rebuilding hormones. So they’re more catabolic, they’re breaking down faster, with less anabolic hormones where they—they don’t heal and repair as fast. So men under stress, they actually can get a bump in testosterone from a little bit of stress. So you get actually a little bit of a boost of their repairing hormones and in the same lecture, Dr. John Gray talked about women under a little bit of stress like that, that can actually drop down their testosterone and may make them a little bit harder to recover and can also decrease their libido and such as well. So we just gotta be careful. There’s a fine balance in which women will be under so much stress where it may start dropping down their anabolic hormones, and again some—with different women, it’s gonna be, you know, different for each. Like I have—my wife for instance is an executive. She runs a massive company and she—when she’s under stress, it affects her just a little bit. It affects her a little bit. Now in the beginning after a vacation, after more meditations and more lifestyle strategies, she can deal with it better but that anabolic hormone definitely declines, her ability to exercise and repair is less. Now I have some women that are attorneys and they work hundred-hour weeks and they can do it up to a period of time. So because of the fluctuations in hormones with women, not everyone is gonna handle that stress the same. So we gotta be careful of how much stress that we’re under at work, and we also have to make sure that the harder we’re working, the harder we’re resting. So there’s that old analogy like “work hard, play hard”. I don’t like that. It’s—it’s “work hard, rest hard, play a little”. So if you’re working hard, especially as a female, because of the hormonal fluctuations you’re under, we just have to be very careful of that. Men don’t have quite the same issues. They do—I mean I see a lot of men who are stressed out but because their hormones aren’t fluctuating as much and because fertility is a little bit easier for a man, because the main goal of fertility is just having good sperm that—that have good shape and a good amount and good movement. Outside of that, we don’t have this beautiful flow of hormones that need to be present to have that—that sperm fertilize that egg and to have it stick. So we gotta be very careful of women and gotta make sure stress is dialed in and the constitution, meaning how much stress we can handle, is different for each person. I see women who are attorneys who work hundred hours a week and their adrenals actually look pretty good, and some women working 40 hours a week and their adrenals look like crap. So it’s different for each person.
Evan Brand: Yeah, or stay-at-home moms. I’ve seen it both ways–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh!
Evan Brand: Being completely wrecked or being pretty good.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Being a stay-at-home mom is—is a full-time job especially in the beginning when their sleep is declined. That is like—you might as well be, you know, an executive working a hundred hours a week, because when you’re getting up like that—you might as well be a doctor on call, right? You know, getting called in, because your sleep’s getting interrupted which is gonna throw off your blood sugar and you may not have the time to exercise and move because the baby needs to be fed all the time. So we kinda have a couple of different aspects there. That’s why I said, the harder you’re working, and being a stay-at-home mom especially in that first year, it’s super stressful. We gotta make sure the diet is 100% dialed in and we can’t use the excuse of eating for two is a reason to eat junk food. We gotta make sure you’re like a prized fighter, getting all of the nutrients in that you can.
Evan Brand: Yup. So that was the first good piece there is—is the stress component, how that could a stall in weight loss, the different sources of stress, the chemicals, etc. Maybe we should talk about some of the nutrients that are helpful, too. You know, some of the zincs and the seleniums and the other, you know, trace minerals that are imp for the thyroid because every time you hear some woman that thinks that they’re overweight, they think, “Oh, there’s something wrong with my thyroid. Do I need to put—be put on thyroid meds?” And a lot of times, that’s not—that’s not the answer, right?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We wanna make sure the nutrients, they’re 100%. So when it comes to that fat-soluble nutrients, especially vitamin A are gonna be really important for the thyroid, especially with the thyroid receptor sites. Zinc’s gonna be vitally important so if we have issues with losing our taste, I find a lot of people that are really craving a whole bunch of sugar. What’s happened is their taste buds have downregulated because of deficiencies in zinc and poor digestion and poor HCl and the higher amounts of sugar foods, they don’t even notice the overpowering sugar. Like if I engage in some kind of refined sugar ingestion, I’m just like, “Whoa! What the heck is this? This is so overstimulating, just from a taste perspective, forget a hormone perspective.” And some people I find their taste buds have really downregulated. We get them off of a lot of that sugar and we get them on a good high quality multivitamin with 20-30 mg of zinc in there per day and we get their diet full of really good zinc rich foods, high quality meats, etc. that their taste buds get more sensitive and they need less sugar to have the same type of mouth-feel response.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So we talked about zinc. Selenium is gonna be a big one especially for the thyroid and thyroid conversion, and a lot of women have autoimmune thyroid antibodies, so getting this—the selenium out there where it’s 1-2 Brazil nuts a day is a pretty good backbone. Good quality organ meats, oyster, seafoods are gonna be very helpful to get the selenium and get some of the nutrients in there. Iodine’s helpful but we don’t wanna go too high and if you are autoimmune currently active, we wanna be careful at boosting it up, you know, outside of 500mcg because we don’t wanna stimulate more autoimmune reaction. So the thyroid’s really important for fat loss and energy and the nutrients that connect and help with thyroid function, to name a few are gonna be zinc, to name a few are gonna be magnesium, selenium, vitamin A. We can even throw in copper as long as we’re not getting an excess. Typically, if we’re getting enough selenium, that will help balance the copper out as well.
Evan Brand: Yup, so what comes next? I mean, is it the nutrition piece? Is it watching out for too many carbs? Is it the exercise, not too intense? Not too long duration, like what’s the next keystone for you?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, I always look at the diet piece first. And we’re always starting with a Paleo template and most people in their head, I say the word Paleo, they go to meat—meat diet. And that’s basically brainwashing from conventional media, so we have to like hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete and put that in the trash right there. So a Paleo template really is just talking about the quality of the macronutrients. Macronutrients being PFC—proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. So it’s talking about eating organic and grass-fed and pasture-fed as much as possible, avoiding hormones and pesticides and GMOs and then dialing in the macronutrients meaning proteins. How high are we gonna be? Are we gonna have maybe just a palm serving of meat twice a day? Or are we gonna have 5 full hand servings throughout the day, you know? A full hand, maybe 4 or 5 times throughout the day, like where are we at with that? Also, how much starch can we handle? Can we handle a sweet potato once or twice a day? Or are we gonna primarily be more on a keto or gonna crank the fats super high, 70-80%, keep the vegetables as the majority of our carbohydrates and primarily eat, you know, moderate to lower protein and food? So we have that dialed, the PFC dials there, and we’re gonna dial that up accordingly and just kinda hit that delete button about pro—Paleo meaning high amounts of meat. It can but it also doesn’t have to be.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So that’s important because that aspect right there allows us to have the nutrients coming in. It allows us to not drive inflammation because people forget, right? We’re either driving inflammation or we’re not. So it’s kind of binary. If we’re driving—if we have an inflammatory diet, that’s great. But we’re also not doing something that’s just as important. We’re not driving inflammation which a lot of people are gonna be driving with their typical diet and if we’re stabilizing the blood sugar, we’re also gonna be taking less stress off the adrenal glands, which the more stressed we are, the more we trigger our epigenome, our epigenetics, right? These are the things that turn on our genes to be in a stressed out state. The more stressed out we are, the more we wanna hold on to calories especially as fat so we have them in times of famine if you will.
Evan Brand: Yup. To me, I mean stress has popped up time and time again in every conversation I think we’ve had. I think honestly, this is probably the biggest root of it, because I feel like a lot of people listening, they already have the diet pretty dialed in, but they’re not resting as much, you know, they’re not resting hard like you say, and maybe not playing enough at all. You could have a perfect diet and a good supplement program, but if you just come home from work and you’re just completely tanked and then you go straight to more emails at home or straight to TV or some other distraction and you’re not really actively resting, your brain is still stuck in that Fight or Flight sympathetic, I feel like that’s gonna be the biggest roadblock that’s gonna make you or break you, it’s the nervous system. I feel like that if your endocrine system is stressed, it’s stressed, no matter how much you tweak your sweet potato or whatever. If you’re stuck in that mode, I feel like you’re gonna continue to struggle.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, that’s why things like stepping out and getting a 5 or 10 medit—5 or 10-minute meditation during the day is helpful. Also you talked a lot about forest bathing, kinda getting out in–
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Nature for a few minutes. You wanna touch upon that?
Evan Brand: Yeah, I mean, the—the science has proven if in case people want it, but the fact is you’re built to be outside. There used to not be such a thing as indoors, maybe the cave was indoors, but now we have ability to hide ourselves from the outdoor environment which is good if there’s a bad storm, but otherwise we wanna be out there where we’re getting tons of negative ions out there when you’re talking about being around water or sources of trees, you’re gonna get exposed to these phytoncides, these aromatic compounds in nature. Now if you’re—if you only have the beach available, then that’s awesome. If you don’t even have that and you just have the dessert, well, you have to just work with—with what you have. I had people email in, “Well, I don’t have a forest. What am I supposed to do?” Just use the nature that you have around you. But the forest specifically is something that they’re doing a lot of research on. It’s called Shinrin-yoku in Japan, and they’re seeing reductions in cortisol. They’re seeing reductions in blood pressure. They’re seeing all sorts of other biomarkers that are indicative that we’re shifting people into the parasympathetic state, and to me that’s like the biggest top of the food chain issue is whether you’re in the parasympathetic or whether in the sympathetic, and for me modern life it is very tough to stay having a balance between those two. So anything that you take away from it, anytime you’re out, you know, even in the grocery store—let’s say you’re at Costco and there’s tons of people everywhere and it’s madness. You have the ability to respond to that situation with that Fight or Flight mode or you have the ability to say, “Man, we’re spoiled. This is a first world problem that I have to wait in line to buy my organic food.” And then you just shift yourself out of that Fight or Flight, and if you can control your nervous system a little bit better with your mind, that’s gonna help you because everybody’s gonna get exposed to similar forms of stress issue, but if you have built up yourself, whether that’s with the supplements that we talked about, or whether that’s with a mindfulness practice and you have the ability to disengage the trigger so to speak at this loaded gun—that you’re gonna disengage—you know, not gonna pull the trigger of that Fight or Flight, you’re gonna be a lot more powerful that someone else who’s gonna break under a stressful time.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I agree. So getting out, like what’s the dose? Are we talking like, something like 5 or 10 minutes even out there, getting out there enough? Is that okay? Or are we talking like we need 20 minutes? How much you think?
Evan Brand: Yeah, it’s a good question. There’s a cool thing that people should look up and maybe you can put this on the show notes. It’s called a Nature Pyramid, and I’m not sure if this was a national park service or who came up with the Nature Pyramid but it’s kinda like the old food pyramid converted for nature and it shows sort of the dosage of nature that you want. So daily, you know, you wanna be getting exposed to your city parks and your urban environments, and then it goes up to I believe it’s like monthly. You wanna get exposed to like State Parks or National Forest, you know bigger places. And then whether it’s a couple of times a year, you wanna get exposed to even bigger sources of nature, and then at the very tip top of the pyramid, it’s like, you know, National Parks and massive places where you’re just completely in undomesticated wilderness and that’s sort of the top of the food chain. So it’s sort of like you do the best that you can during your normal work life, but you do want to make some time to actually just completely get disconnected from the grid and just go into pure wilderness, you know, as much as possible really but they have kind of a recommendation there that I—I can’t remember right now.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it, because my wife went for a walk this morning pretty early. I think walking can be great. I look at it more as restoration and stress-reducing than exercise to put on muscle per se, you know, I wouldn’t consider that like exercise like going in doing some sprints or doing some kettlebell swings, but I see it more as a restorative type of exercise versus a—a stimulus to build muscle from that sense. Does that make sense?
Evan Brand: Oh, yeah! You could walk your way to weight loss if you wanted to. You don’t have to beat yourself up and wear silly ankle weights–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: And carry little dumbbells with yourself either. If you just walk, I mean, that’s what you’re designed to do and if you’re not walking, you have a deficiency of walking—let’s say if you like numbers, you’re not getting 6,000 steps a day, you’re getting less, then if you’re hitting that number, you’re gonna guarantee your success rate, you know? It’s gonna go up a lot more than if you’re just being sedentary, I mean, let’s face it, that’s not—that’s not good.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I think it depends, too, where you’re at. Like if you’re getting close—the closer you are getting to the weight you wanna be, those—those last pounds are gonna be harder to come off, so walking may not get you there because of the fact that the muscle that you need to stimulate fat loss and put on muscle, you have to have a higher level of stimulus and especially like the glutes for instance, these are phasic base muscles, meaning you need a lot of hip extension and deep angle at the hip joint to stimulate them. So like a box jump or a sprint where you’re really moving that hip joint through a larger range of motion. Where if you look at a walk, you know, you’re kinda only moving your hip joint through like maybe a 50-degree range of motion, but you look at a sprinter who’s leaning in at a 45-degree angle and that knee coming all the way and then kicking all the way back, it’s just—I mean, you’re almost moving that hip joint at 160 degrees.
Evan Brand: Yeah, sprints are amazing.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, you’re getting a lot more stimulation so I think walking is great, then once you plateau on it, doing a walk, sprint, walk, sprint, even if it’s a few minute walking followed by a 10-second sprint, that is a phenomenal way to go. And if you’re starting out, it could even just be a power walk, like you just going all out for 10 to 20 seconds is helpful, just to get those muscles stimulated because certain muscles are tonic muscles, meaning they’re more endurance, low threshold, low stimulus muscles. Others are gonna be phasic, meaning we need a higher level of stimulation, that’s where box drop—box jumps, plyometrics, sprints, and resistance training with heavier weights is gonna be what’s needed to get those muscle recruited.
Evan Brand: Yup, and that’s what I do. I mean, I—I do, I’m not currently in a sprint, I mean, I’m pretty lean right now so I’m mainly just lifting weights, but a lot of people, you know, this is also gonna depend on where you’re at in your journey with your adrenals, because you know Justin and I would never recommend going straight into sprints if you’re stage 3 adrenal fatigue. You’re just gonna tear yourself up and make yourself feel awful. So this is sort of like, I don’t know, what would you call it, Justin? Like phase 2 of your program if you’re already kind of working towards health, then you may be ready for the sprints, but right out of the gate it might destroy you.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Correct. If you have symptoms right now of fatigue and sleep issues or mood issues, or inability to perform at work or in—in your house and living, then we wanna always follow my three rules. Number one, choose exercise that allows you to feel good after it. So–
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Again, if you’re going to CrossFit and doing your AMREP, right? As many reps as possible and feeling like really depleted afterwards and not energized, well, that’s already strike one. Number two is you wanna feel light emotionally after you do it, like you wanna be able to step back and say, “Yeah, I could do that again.” Like, “That’s doable. I can do that.” And then number three, if it’s a morning workout, you know, later on that night, how do you feel? Or if it’s an afternoon or night workout, how do you feel that next morning? Do you feel like run over by a bus, or do you feel like, “Yeah, I feel okay.” You know, barring all stressors being stable and sleeping stable, how do you feel? So three positive answers have to be there. Do you feel energized? Can you emotionally repeat the movements? And then number three, how do you feel later on that day or that next morning?
Evan Brand: Yup, that’s perfect. That—you—you ought to make like a little poster or some type of little visual for that. I think that’d be cool for us to share to people.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think it’d be good idea. I’ll put that on my queue.
Evan Brand: Alright.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And then also one last thing to add to that, start out with a restorative. If you’re in doubt, the restorative movements are gonna be walking, and I’m a big fan of like breath walking so it’s kind of a walking meditation where you take 4 breaths into the nose. And then 4 breaths out. Yeah, I like that because nose breathing is very powerful for the parasympathetic stimulation. The olfactory nerve is I think olfactory is either 1 or 2—I think it’s number 1. I think the optic nerve is number 2. But that olfactory nerve, that’s like inside your nose, inside your nasal cavity, and those nerve fibers are actually parasympathetic. You know, they’re helping that rest and digest side of the nervous system, which is great because a lot of people are in the sympathetics and they’re chest breathing, meaning they’re breathing through their neck muscles and their check—their chest, and it’s really simple. You can just put your hand on your—your stomach and your chest and breathe, and see which hand moves first. And a lot of people, their top hand, their chest hand moves first. So that cranial nerve number 1 really is a parasympathetic fiber. So we talk about activating the parasympathetics to rest and digest is really focused on good nose breathing, deep nasal breaths throughout the day.
Evan Brand: Yeah, you want that diaphragm or the belly, when you’re putting your hand down there to pop out first. I just read a book this weekend called Medical Meditation and it was great, all about like Kundalini yoga and tons of different breathing exercises and different poses that you can do for different things. So balancing out the nervous system was one of them. So if you just, if you’re sitting in a chair, you can do that, too. And you would just put your thumb on your index finger and you would have this pose here, they call it like a—a mudra where you have—put your thumb on the index finger there and you literally can just sit and you have your hands on your knees and you don’t have to be in what they call the easy pose. You can’t just be sitting in a chair, sitting upright with your spine straight. And the breath work for that was just inhaling through the nose, holding for 10, and then exhaling. And that was it and it suggested that you do that for 11 minutes. And so if you just do that, and you turn off that Fight or Flight, in a way maybe we can’t directly prove that you’re gonna start losing weight because of it, but if you can just do these little minor shifts in your nervous system state throughout the day, that can be enough to prevent you from getting into that fat storage mode like you talked about because your body thinks it’s getting chased by a bear and it needs to put you into a storage mode, because you never know when you’re going to eat next. So better store that body fat because you might need it for protection on all sorts of other things. So it is a protective mechanism. Your body’s not stupid and a lot of self-hatred and you know, self-abuse, negative self-talk comes up from this for women when they have excess body fat but the body’s doing what it would have needed to do to keep you alive pre-historically. Now it’s just not cool to store fat, so you know, it’s not sexy to do that in a lot of women have pressure on them. Your body is doing what it’s told to do. So if it’s being told to run from the bear and be in Fight or Flight and store fat, that’s what it’s gonna do. So don’t, you know, beat yourself up, don’t talk down about yourself. You just have to look at what’s going on hormonally and biochemically, and then try to tweak that as best you can.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I like that and that breathing pattern was what again.
Evan Brand: That breathing pattern is inhaling through the nose, you hold it for a count of 10, which is a little bit long if you’re not used to breathing exercises and then exhaling, and then repeat. And you do that for a total of 11 minutes with the thumb on your index finger and those hands resting on your knees, sitting straight up or sitting in what they call the easy pose where you’re in like Indian style, and you just sit there and that’s it. And I did this morning and it was a trip like I was sitting outside on the chair outside by the patio, just—and by the time I opened my eyes, which is super bright green, the trees were green, the birds sounded louder, like I was tuned in, so I know that I made a significant shift.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great. And there’s something called box breathing as well which is pretty similar, where you’re doing that 4-second breath in through the nose, 4 in and then it’s a 7-second hold and then an 8-second out. Now the hold is important because you actually ho—by holding, you actually build up CO2 and CO2 is actually a vasodilator to the brain so it actually increases blood flow to the frontal cortex. So that’s why like people that hyperventilate, they actually get too alkaline and that’s why they take the bag and they put the bag over their mouth, and they breathe into the bag because the whole goal is to increase CO2, right? So if you kinda take that concept, people get stressed over breathing, over exhaling, then they get this kind of panic attack going and they use the bag. So, you say, “Okay, now what can we do from a breathing strategy when we’re stressed to help that?” Well, the good deep breath in through the nose that activates the parasympathetic nervous system, the PNS, and then that hold for a bit of time followed by a slow, breathe out so we don’t go too alkaline with getting that CO2 out. Now I find though just focusing on the breathing timing is actually a little bit stressful–
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So I kinda do it, get like a rhythm of what it feels like and then once you understand the feeling of what it feels like, go more of the feeling versus the counting. Because I find if you’re trying to relax, it’s actually stressful trying to count this stuff out. So I kind of just breathe in as deeply and as comfortably as I can through my nose. I try to just have a nice comfortable hold and a nice slow breath out, but count for a bit so you know what it feels like and then go back, reach for the feeling versus the counting number.
Evan Brand: Yeah, I—I’m glad that you called that out. That’s something I did but I wasn’t aware that—I should have made the distinction there, yeah, definitely for me, once I get in the flow, I don’t ever—number don’t even exist.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.
Evan Brand: It’s just a matter of feeling your body and you’ll know when you need to exhale.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: You’ll know when you’ll need to take the next breath.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. And then also I think it’s important that we get a baseline. A lot of women especially, they’re fixated on the scale. I think it’s good to have an idea of where your weight’s at from a starting point, but remember weights on scale, cannot look at the quality of the weight. It does not break up fat from water from muscle. So we gotta keep that in mind. Now if you’re gonna use a scale, a better scale to use is a Tanita scale. That will actually look at fat percentage. It will even look at water percentage. So that’s helpful because if you see you know, someone eating a whole bunch of gluten one day, that will drive inflammation and their water percentage will go up. Women before menstruation, their water percentage will go up. Even potentially around ovulation, things can happen, too. So because of the hormones fluctuating, that can cause fluctuations of water going up which can increase weight 3 or 4 lbs, like that. And then number two, stress will cause water retention. Eating inflammation foods will cause water retention, and we don’t know if we’re putting on muscle because if we started some of these strategies when we’re getting inflamed, our body is in a less stressed out state. The less stressed out we are, the more our body favors putting on muscle, because muscle is very metabolically active. Our body only wants to put muscle on when it’s safe, meaning when there’s an abundance around us because why put calories and nutrients into tissue that’s very metabolically expensive and muscle is very metabolically expensive. So think about it. When you go into debt, the first thing you cut out are gonna be vacations and maybe going out to dinner and extra fun little excursions. Well, think of your muscle as the fun excursions or the nice restaurant, or the vacation. It’s the first thing that gets crossed off the list when you go into debt, or when you go into adrenal debt, or stress debt if you will.
Evan Brand: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Comments on that?
Evan Brand: No, that was great.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, more analogies. So get the analogy—get the anal—get the analogy down and forget—forget the—the route facts of what’s happening in your body. Get the analogy and you don’t have to worry about memorizing this stuff. That—that’s me and your job, Evan.
Evan Brand: Yeah, I’m getting better at it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, you’re doing good. So the scale, body fat percentage, also weights—I’m sorry waist and hip circumference. Take the widest part of your waste and the widest part of your hips. A good place to do it around your waist is the belly button because it’s stationary. It’s always there and just make sure the tape that you use is flat and parallel with the ground. I like a tape called MyoTape because it has a set bit of tension to it and that tension allows it to be consistent each time, so parallel MyoTape around the belly button, and then choose the widest part of the hips. Use the MyoTape as well, pull the slack out and let it come to a homeostasis of where it’s naturally at resting tension. Write down that where it’s at. Do it first thing in the morning before water and after your first, you know, morning pee, and then you’re set. So that you have a good baseline.
Evan Brand: Now did you say something about dividing those numbers like a ratio there?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, you could do that but that’s fine—I’m fine with that. And maybe we know if the numbers go down. Here’s the problem, if your numbers go down equally, well, the ratio stays the same, right?
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So I think it’s still good to look at it, but where the ratio really is helpful is if women typically have that—I think that—the Marilyn Monroe ratio is like 0.78 to 0.8. So meaning your waist is 20% less than your hips. I think that’s kind of the—the overall metric. For men it’s closer to a 1:1. But when your tummy is so big that it’s closer to your hips, that’s where you get closer to a 1:1, right? Like let’s say a 35-inch—let’s do like a 38-inch hips for women with a 38-inch waist, where that’s like a 1:1, right? That’s not good. So you wanna drop the waist in a bit, ideally you know, around 30 or so or even maybe below to get that ratio at, I’d say an upper 0.7 to lower 0.8. Now that’s like optimal, right? Like they’ve gone back and they’ve actually measured a—a lot of the Greek, Roman sculptures of women that were, you know, thousands of years old. They even looked at Marilyn Monroe, right? And she was I think today’s equivalent of like a size 8 or size 10 or 12, like not like your typical 0 or 2, right? But like an 8 or 10 or 12 in that area. And they found that this ratio like 0.78 to 0.8 is like the ideal ratio and they measured all these different sculptures. In ancient Rome, they found this ratio is kinda consistent. So keep that in mind. It’s nice to look at it. Now I like ratios because guess what? As—if you get bigger, if your hips get a little bigger but your waist stays in that ratio, that’s actually a good kind of thing. So it’s not 100% based off of how small you are, but how proportionate you are.
Evan Brand: Exactly.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So I like that, so it—it kinda adds a level of—of individualization to it.
Evan Brand: Yeah, and you’re not just looking at a poster or a magazine to think you need to look like that and most of the time, they are sickly skinny.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right. Exactly. I think for me, too, there’s like a ratio of like hips to—hips to—to shoulder ratio like 0.9 or something. There’s another—a famous ratio with men but that kind gives you the idea of the ratio. So get your ratios down with measurements, get a good Tanita scale if you’re gonna use it, look more at the body water content as well as body fat content, and just try to exercises that are gonna focus on putting on muscle once you get out of that restorative phase, right? Restorative phase, muscle building second, and then just ask those three questions first.
Evan Brand: Say the questions again.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Number one, do you feel energized with the exercise? Two, can you emotionally repeat it after a workout? And then number three, how do you feel later on that day or that next day?
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s the word.
Evan Brand: I just got a—I just an email this morning from a female patient who ran a 10—was it a 10K or a 10-miler, might have been like a 15K, closer to 10-mile—anyway, retested her adrenals significantly backtracked—surprise, surprise—from this race and all the training that she was doing. She was running like 6 or 7 miles a day or something for weeks, I mean, just awful. And I, you know, basically told her, “Look, this is gonna destroy you. But if you wanna do it, then that’s fine, I’ll support you and I’ll let you live out your dream of, you know, completing this race,” and then she emailed me this morning and she says that she threw in the bib. She was gonna run another 10-miler or a 10K or something in a couple of weeks, and she has been convinced and she—she threw in the—the bib and she’s not doing it anymore. So not to say don’t chase your dreams, but I mean, that’s something that is just really unnecessary and is really not gonna help your weight loss. I can’t count the number of massively overweight men and women that I’ve seen and they’re running these long endurance races thinking that it’s gonna help you. It is not gonna help you. It’s gonna destroy you.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I agree and you gotta fine tune, you know, goals and achievement versus what’s sustainable in the long term.
Evan Brand: Yeah. So–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Because that’s—you gotta have to, you know, you gotta balance that out and figure out what’s more important for you. But getting back on to the calorie standpoint, I know a lot of women that have—may have done the standard American diet or like a WeightWatchers or a low-calorie diet, may have done a lot of the conventional exercises like running marathon-type of training, you know 5, 8, 10 miles a day. And they’re like, “Yeah, I lost a lot of weight,” and that can happen initially. Like I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that type of exercise doesn’t help you lose weight in the short run. I mean, in the first few months you will definitely lose a lot of weight. The question is, is it sustainable? Number two, is it healthy for your hormones? And then number three, does it—is it gonna be something that creates realistic expectations? Meaning, women do it for 3 or 4 months, and then they lose this amount of weight and then what happens is let’s say they’re at 160, and now they’re down to 140 or 130. Now that 130 becomes like the dragon they’re always chasing. That’s like the baseline in their head of where they should be at.
Evan Brand: Right.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And that’s tough because that may not be where your body wants to be when everything else is dialed in. That may be kind of like, you know, a body builder or a fitness trainer, they—they dip down to that weight they wanna be at for competition and then they come out of it. And I think people need to—to realize that you could probably dip down 20 lbs below where you’re at but it wouldn’t be something you’d wanna be at all year-round. So we wanna make sure you have a sustainable weight that you can be at and it’s tough because we have ectomorphs in society that can stay very lean all the time, especially we see it like the runway model-type figure that Hollywood has chosen to be like, you know, what’s hot and sexy, but again it’s a very small amount of people that are this ectomorph body type that they can be less selective of what they eat, less selective on exercise, and they keep this, you know, very tall, lean frame year-round. Now I see a lot of these people, once they hit menopause especially as females, things go downhill fast, and I’ve—I have that perspective of seeing women literally gain 100 lbs over a few years without really doing much different.
Evan Brand: Wow.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So this can look nice, you know, when you’re below age 50 and you can have a lot of latitude and flexibility, but as you go up in age, that can change. And I see a lot of women do that are at this runway model physique and they have so much gas and bloating and digestive issues that you would think, “Oh wow! They—they must look—they must be healthy because they look, you know, stereotypically healthy but they have a lot of internal health issues and they may even have brain fog and fatigue, so they’re health challenges may be manifesting more internally especially as they’re younger, and then will sometimes express more externally especially once they hit menopause where their hormones significantly shift.
Evan Brand: That’s a killer point. I’m so glad you brought that up. Just because you look beautiful or you look ripped as guy or something, generally those people are not that healthy. I’ve seen plenty of ripped guys, you know, eating Lucky Charms and you know, Reese Puffs. They look ripped and guys are idolizing them, “Wow!” But I guarantee, their brain probably doesn’t work good. I guarantee their sex drive’s probably not healthy. They probably have some mood issues, depression, anxiety, etc. I’d rather look a little bit like a normal person, still have some muscle, but my brain and my gut work good. Because I’ve been there and done that with IBS for years, and it sucks and I looked better or more ripped and had more muscle when I had the worse of my health issues compared to now, maybe a little less ripped just because I’ve been so busy I’m not working out as much, but my gut’s better and my brain’s working better. So I’m happy to take that sacrifice.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally, and I think everyone especially the females because of the—the pressure of society on them, go watch my video on body typing, because you wanna know what kinda body type you are first because that kinda really sets the expectation, to be the ectomorphs which are the—the leaner, you know, it’s so hard to gain weight. These are the runway models, these are the super lean skinny guys. It’s just harder for them to put on weight.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Number two, we have the mesomorph which are kinda like the in-between, they’re kinda like the hybrid. They can kinda go either way so to speak. And then we have the endomorph, these are the people that are definitely more rounder, you know, rotund, you know, people that we would just, you know, typically say I’m big-boned, right? You know, the South Park expression. They’re just easier to keep fat on and when we—when you know what kinda body type you are, you just know that you have a more upward or an uphill battle if you’re an endomorph and you’re trying to get leaner, you’re just gonna have more of an uphill battle and you may have a lot less latitude to cheat. So then when you hang around your ectomorph friends and they’re able to do different things and have not the same result as you, not the same ramifications, you gotta just be realistic at the cards you’re dealt with.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And it doesn’t mean you can’t be healthy though. It doesn’t mean you still can’t perform well. It doesn’t mean you can’t be at your optimal leanness and have good muscle mass. It doesn’t mean that. We just have to know the card you’re dealt with, play them to your best. So if you’re like a—let’s say an endomorph and you oscillate between 160 and 200. Let’s say you’re like a 5’5” frame, well, you know, there’s a lot of things we can do to be at that lower side, but we just gotta make sure you know, if you’re at 160 and then you’re comparing yourself to your ectomorph friend who oscillates between 100 and 130, and you’re comparing their 100 to your 160, right? You know, or let’s say their 130, their bad side of the—of the fence to your good side of the fence, you’re always gonna feel like a failure. So you have to get your mindset, where’s your body type at, and then you gotta get your diet dialed in. So the Paleo template will always be the template and then within that template, we adjust the macronutrients and then we adjust the exercise according to where you’re at and then the next level on top of that is where you see a functional medicine doctor or practitioner to get the hormones and the thyroid and the gut and the detox and the nutrients looked at if we’re still having health challenges beyond that.
Evan Brand: Absolutely. Great way to summarize there.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Any last comment you wanna make? I have one more I wanna make before–
Evan Brand: Yeah, last one. Drink more water. Dehydration could be an issue and it’s surprising how many people are not drinking enough water because they’re drinking say Bulletproof coffee or herbal teas all the time, so hydration is—is another important factor that you can kinda tweak a little bit and see if anything changes for you.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely and I always say a death rattle for a lot of women is too much fasting.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: If you’re doing a lot of intermittent fasting or fasting that can create a stress response because of the hormonal fluctuation and fertility, that can create some problems with women. So we gotta be very careful. Men can have it, too, but because of the delicate orchestra of female hormones, we gotta be careful with that. The next I will say is counting your calories isn’t important per se. I try to make sure people are getting enough calories, but for the most part, if we’re eating the nutrient dense, low toxin, anti-inflammatory Paleo type of template, we’re—and if we’re using our appetite as a gauge, we’re always gonna get enough calories for the most part. There are exceptions to every rule. Where I get concerned is if people really ramp up the fats too much and they’re having an issue with gaining a little bit of weight, I like to look at the calories, see where the calories are at, total-wise, look and see where your macros are at. So let’s say you’re at like a 20% carb, 15% protein, 50 or 60% fat and your calories are at 2,100 and you’re a female and we found out that based on your height and weight and activity you could probably be at 1,900 to 2,000, we may drop the calories a hundred at a time and just make sure you’re not feeling hungry throughout the day. Make sure you’re not missing meals and sometimes just dropping the calories just a bit like that as long as we’re not getting hungry can make a big difference. So drop the calories a touch, be in touch with yourself. Look at the extra fats like the nut butters, it’s really to overdo those. Maybe putting too much fat in your coffee. Take a look at those but do it with a doctor’s or nutritionist’s support. Because you wanna make sure you’re not starving yourself. You wanna make sure you’ve calculated how many calories you need based on your activity level and then you wanna do an assessment of what your macronutrient percentages are, whether it’s a 20, 15, 60 and then you wanna where your total calories are at and then just try to tweak it down just a little bit per week and see if that makes a difference as well as you know, the exercise should already be dialed in, too.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Any comments on that?
Evan Brand: No, I think that’s good.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, Evan, anything else you wanna say here?
Evan Brand: Not today. I mean, that was a lot. That was a lot of information to take in. I think we’ve—I think we’ve—we gave double the amount of info that I thought we may have given. So you may have to go back and listen to this one again.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And we got the transcriptions up here, so go to Evan’s site, NotJustPaleo.com. Go to BeyondWellnessRadio.com. We got the transcriptions. Leave us a review on iTunes. Again there may be one thing in here that resonates with you so try to just pick one thing that works for you. Again, men have these issues, too. And all the strategies that we talked about and we kinda of dialed in and we spoke to maybe more of the female crowd, all men listening, these—these things still apply for you as well. So still, you know, we’re not ignoring you, we’re just really reaching out to the women because I feel like they have a little bit of a harder time in this area but all of these things still apply to all the—the males listening, too.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright, Evan. Great show. Anyone that really liked it. Go on iTunes, go to the click below your video or your mp3 listening to on iTunes and just click the review button. That’ll bring you right to the iTunes page and you can leave us a great review. And just you know, sharing is caring. We appreciate it.
Evan Brand: Definitely. Take care.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Evan, Sound good. Take care, man.
Evan Brand: Bye.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Bye.
Natural Solutions to Infertility
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
When the female body is stressed, one of the main things that occurs is the hormone progesterone gets converted into a stress hormone called cortisol. When this happens, it causes the progesterone to estrogen ratio to go out of balance. This is also referred to as estrogen dominance. The body naturally should have about 25 times more progesterone to estrogen which can be assessed via a salivary lab test.
The Female Cycle
If you look at the female cycle, essentially it can be broken down into two phases. The first phase is referred to as the follicular phase, in this phase the hormone estrogen predominates and helps to thicken the endometrial lining so an egg can be implanted. Once estrogen levels drop between day 13 through 15, this signals ovulation where a corresponding rise in progesterone occurs. The rise of progesterone is a hallmark of the luteal phase and in plays a role as a pro-gestational hormone that helps the egg grow.
With many patients that have PMS, many are not getting enough progesterone in the second half of the cycle. This lack of progesterone causes symptoms just before bleeding such as breast tenderness cramping headaches etc. The solution is to not just give progesterone alone. It’s because if the underlying stressors are not addressed, the progesterone will just be used to fuel the stress response.
How we address the underlying cause of the problem is to reduce the prominent stressors the person is dealing with. Stress causes the body to convert progesterone into cortisol. Getting the predominant stressors under control prevents the body from burning itself up. So doing simple things such as addressing blood sugar and handling issues helps regulate cortisol. Addressing infections such as parasitic, bacterial and fungal infections can help address the underlying cause and put cortisol back in the balance.
The adrenal glands are primarily responsible for producing cortisol. At the same time, producing a good portion of the woman’s sex hormones. So to address PMS is vitally important that the adrenals are supported so they can function optimally to provide hormonal balance. The female hormones never spontaneously go out of balance by themselves. So to produce a lasting change, we need to address lifestyle, diet, and female hormone support all the same time. The solution comes from doing the right things, in the right combination, at the right time.
Sign up below for our free Female Hormone Video series where you will get more great information like the video above! You can also click here to schedule a complimentary consult!
Dr. Lauren Noel – IV Nutrition, Female Hormones, and Leaky Gut – Podcast #37
IV nutrition is very vital to female hormones and preventing conditions like leaky gut and others. Find out how these additions to your nutrition can help your hormones become more balanced, prevent yourself from having complications and adverse conditions, and help your reproductive health.
Intravenous Nutrition (IV) is basically securing that your body is thoroughly nourished. We need food. But not all of us can eat enough food because of certain circumstances like illness, or lack of access. Sometimes, even if you think you have eaten enough, a lot of the nutrients from the food might not be absorbed by your body.
Your digestive system might have some certain problems that make you unable to absorb these vital nutrients that keep your body working to its optimum performance. With IV Nutrition, you make sure that you get all the vitamins and minerals needed and they surely will be received by your body. It’s a lot better than taking oral supplements because, well, sometimes you might have some absorption problems.
Dr. Lauren Noel is a Naturopathic doctor who has helped thousands of patients with their digestive disorders, thyroid, and reproductive problems. She also has great knowledge about functional medicine and overall wellness.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey there! This is Dr. Justin Marchegiani and welcome to another awesome episode of Beyond Wellness Radio. Again, we have a great show in store for you. Before, go to BeyondWellnessRadio.com, click on the Newsletter Signup button and you can sign up for our newsletter and get show updates right in your inbox before anyone else. You can also click on the questions button and even speak questions live, and we’ll be able to answer it on the air for you.
You can also click on the Write A Review button. If you really enjoy this show, write us a review. Let us know on itunes. Let the world know. Think of one person that would benefit from listening to this show and share it with them. Sharing is caring.
Also, check out JustInHealth.com, which is my personal site. And I have some complimentary functional medicine consults available. You can also sign up for the Free Thyroid series and Female Hormones Series as well.
You can also go to ReallyHealthyNow.com. That’s Baris Harvey’s website where he has some great articles and blogs and videos for you there as well. And even some consultations.
Again, we have an awesome show in store. Stay tuned.
Hey there it’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani with Beyond Wellness Radio and we got Dr. Lauren Noel here in studio. Well, kind of. At least over Skype. And we’re really excited to have Dr. Lauren here. She actually rescheduled on me twice because she’s so busy but I’m so happy we’re able to get her in. Dr. Lauren, how are you doing today?
Dr. Lauren Noel: I am lovely. So excited to finally be here. Third is a charm. Thanks for asking.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: No problem. So tell me, what’s going on with your clinic? I know we chatted a little while ago and your clinic’s been off about, I think, a year and a half, and you’re rocking it, helping lots of people. Can you tell me about how the clinic’s doing?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Oh man, it is-. I am beyond amazed at how it’s taken a life of its own. It’s just so amazing. I started the clinic Shine Natural Medicine a year and a half ago and my vision was creating a place that is not only empowering to patients but also to the staff, and a place where we all get to come together to and really just develop ourselves personally, with our health. I wanted it to be a hub of community and it’s completely done that. We have events here at the clinic. We just had our anniversary party a few months ago and it was so much fun. And we had a photobooth. Patients were coming in and taking pictures and we had healthy foods and drinks, and music, and a DJ playing. It’s just become a place of so much fun and health, and it’s exactly what I envisioned and more. So, I’m pretty happy about it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s really good. Awesome. And I see you got a new website up at ShineNatural Medicine.com. Site looks super awesome and I see you got a newsletter on there. So are you starting to send out blogs or videos every week now?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yep. We are sending out weekly tidbits, recipes, health tips. Just keeping people in the loop of what we’re doing at the clinic. And we send out fun videos – just something to inspire you and give some good little pearls for your health. We like to keep it simple, but also some useful information. So, yeah. It’s a lot of fun.
Female Hormones, Libido, Sex Drive, and Fertility
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s awesome. Really cool. Well, now I have you on here, I’ve really wanted to talk about female hormones and especially the area of libido, sex drive, and fertility. So I’m just going to open it up there. And why don’t we touch we touch upon fertility right now? Just [talk about] some of the things that you know need to be in place with the patients to be really fertile and have the best chance of having a healthy pregnancy.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. God, don’t you see so much in your practice? There’s so many issues with fertility nowadays. It’s amazing.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: All the time.
Dr. Lauren Noel: All the time. And I think couples are embarrassed sometimes to talk about it because they think that as soon as they start to try to get pregnant, boom. It’s going to happen and they’re going to have this beautiful joyous pregnancy and no stress. And a lot of times it doesn’t necessarily go that way. Infertility is on the rise a lot more than it’s ever been before and I think there’s a lot of things that are involved with this.
But the first thing that I start with patients is a pre-fertility kind of cleanse. So, we’re getting the hormones balanced. We’re getting space created in your life so you actually could have a baby. I just had a patient the other day, about a week ago, came in. She’s very, very busy lawyer and she works like 70 hours a week and she’s like “I want to get pregnant!” and I go “You have no room for a baby right now. You’re not going to get pregnant because you just cannot actually take this on in your life right now.”
And with our follow-ups, she’s been creating more space in her life to do this. She’s getting acupuncture. She’s taking more time to cut back on her hours and meditate, and relax a lot more. And her hormones are starting to get a little more balanced and it’s been just basically cutting back and saying No. And I think that’s one of the biggest takeaways for women, especially, because if you’re stressed, you’re going to have a hard a time getting pregnant. So, we live in a very stressful day and age. So much on our plates now. And, you know, cutting back and really balancing out life is really huge for fertility. I’m sure you see a lot of this too.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Absolutely. And you know we know from like a lifestyle perspective, like the meditation, sleep, blood sugar, like these are kind of foundational. But what are some the things that you’re doing from a functional medicine thing? You mentioned hormones. I know you do a lot of IV nutrition in your office too. What are some of the extra things that you do that you find really help improve a woman’s fertility?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. So, first thing is getting a baseline to see where we’re at. So, definitely looking at Hormone Testing, doing a good Day 21, seeing where your progesterone is looking at, your estrogen, adrenal panels, to doing a salivary adrenal test. And if you have healthy adrenals, you’re much more likely to get pregnant. If you have that flat line adrenal, your body is just trying to keep up with life right now. You’re just not going be able to sustain a pregnancy as easily. So, doing the salivary cortisol test is really important. I use bio health. I think that’s probably what you use as well.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, exactly.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Just really good hormone testing and then also looking and seeing if you have any nutrient deficiencies. So specific ones. Magnesium is huge for fertility. B vitamins, you know, the Methyl H. And you probably touch on something higher. Your foliate levels, your B12. B6 is especially important for hormones for women. And so, getting your nutrient levels on track before you get pregnant. Because once you get pregnant, that baby’s going to be sucking up those nutrients for you. So, you’re going to get just the leftovers. So getting to a point where you’re just optimally well, you can get pregnant and stay healthy during pregnancy. You’re not going to have the post-partum and just feel so depleted after having your baby. So, testing for nutrient levels, I run labs with Specter Cell. I like them a lot. You can also use the nutri-Eval from Genova. And just getting on a good program.
Typically for my patients, I do a 10-week plan retests to see where we’re at. And oftentimes, within like one or two plans, I mean, it’s a big difference with how the nutrient levels are looking, how a patient’s feeling a lot more energy, feeling like sex drive is a lot better. You know, cycles are more regular. But I love using IVs for the reason of absorption. You know we know that there’s so many digestive issues for patients nowadays. So getting a good dose of those nutrients right in the bloodstream is so much more effective than a supplement.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, that’s great. So kind of hit upon two different topics I really want to touch upon. So, let’s hit the first one here. Let’s hit libido and sex drive. We can talk about it from a male perspective. We can talk about it from a female perspective. But why don’t you address some of the underlying hormonal imbalances that you see in a lot of your female patients with low libido? And is it just about getting the hormone to fix that, or are there other things you’re doing in conjunction with just maybe hormone support?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. Yeah. And this is one especially for women, I think, they kind of have some shame around this. They go “Oh I have this amazing boyfriend, amazing husband. It doesn’t make any sense. How can I not have a sex drive? And yet I just don’t really feel it. Yes, I’ll have sex because I want to make him happy but I’m just not really enjoying it”. And it’s just so common seeing this, even in women in their 20s and 30s sometimes. You know, who are younger and having regular cycles will just feel like don’t have this kind of sex drive happening. So, one of the biggest things I see, I know you see it too, is stress hormones. Cortisol is the best killer for sex drive. You wanna kill your sex drive, get your cortisol levels out of balance. I mean it makes a lot of sense for when women say they’ve gone on a vacation and then they feel more sexual, because they’re relaxed. They’re in a place where they’re able to then, you know, be in that more sexual kind of space. And so that’s first and foremost you want to help this sex drive, you’ve got to balance your stress. You’ve got to cut back on what you’re doing.
You know, if it’s meditation that’s going to start your day in a more mindful kind of way. I started doing meditation recently and it has completely changed my life and I’m able to have a sense of calm in the midst of chaos. It’s crazy.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. I’ve been trying to meditate, literally, trying to meditate for years.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Are you using an app? Are you using one those apps right now?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. I use an app called Headspace. Have you heard of that one?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I use Calm and Headspace. I’ve got to go back and forth with them. Headspace kind of has the Ozzy guy and the Calm has the cool English girl in there.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Ooooh! I haven’t heard of Calm. Is it just C-A-L-M? Calm?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: C-A-L-M. Yeah. It’s a good one.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Okay, cool. Yeah. Headspace has been amazing for me because I think before, I would use different mindfulness apps and I would get a little ADD trying one and trying another. But I like how Headspace was like you build one day at a time. And that really worked for me. So, yeah. I’ve on, I think, Day 40 (Dr. Marchegiani says “Wow”), and I’ve been actually really consistent with using it. And I tell you I have more in my plate now than I ever had and doing that has made it to where I can keep up.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool.
Dr. Lauren Noel: So building in more of that, kind of stress report is especially important. And then get your hormones balanced. So low testosterone? Huge for women. Most women typically think, “Oh, that’s a male hormone. I know I don’t need testosterone”. But no, women do need testosterone. So, that can be really, really helpful for getting your sex drive on track. And then DHEA too.
So DHEA for sex drive, also for the quality of the eggs, actually. So doing kind of a higher dose of DHEA for women can improve the quality of the eggs in order to get pregnant.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And won’t DHEA also affect testosterone that kind of flows downstream and eventually increase it?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yep, exactly. So, I won’t really put a younger woman on testosterone typically. We’ll do some pregnenolone and some DHEA to give you those, you know, kind of the precursors and they have that flow into the testosterone. But huge, huge benefits.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s the same approach that I have. Cool.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: What about herbs? What kind of herbs do you do? Do you like maca, like Peruvian Ginseng? I’ll let you kind of just touch upon some of the herbs that you like.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah, Maca’s a great one. I’ve recently started using Mighty Maca. You know Dr. Anna Cabeca?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah, she’s put together a really good product in Mighty Maca. I love that. It’s a good Adaptogen blend. It has some greens in it too. And then the specific kind of Maca that she’s used is just of very good quality. And so we just start with one scoop and ramp up to maybe three or four scoops. You can put a little water and drink that down and that’s awesome for sex drive. And I’ve used that.
Also Femanessence. I love using that as well. And that’s also for men and for women. I know that NHI has put a good product with Femanessence for women. I think men’s is called Revolution Pro. But Maca’s so great. Because it works on the HPA axis. So it works on that whole, you know, stress kind of loop. It’s not all about, you know, we’re just going to boost your testosterone, right? We want to have your brain, your adrenals, the ovaries all communicating with each other. And so Maca really works on that kind of axis in a great way to firm up those pathways.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool. What’s your experience with Horny Goat Weed?
Dr. Lauren Noel: (laughs)
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Have you tried that one for him?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Ha ha ha. I just love that it’s called ‘Horny goat weed’.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I know, I know. It’s hilarious. There’s a story about this.
I was 22. I had like, chronic fatigue. I was in college. And the naturopath-slash-chiropractor I was seeing recommended it to me. And I remember like “what the heck is this?” And I just, I thought I got amazing results from it for me personally. So what’s been your take on it?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Um, I’ve found the same thing, actually. There was one patient who [is] on it. We had to take him off because it was like too much for him. Hahaha. So, I don’t know if you had that experience. But yes. I haven’t used it as much for women. I don’t know if you’ve used it for women. But for men, it’s been really good results, actually.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay. Alright. Very cool. Any other herbal secrets you have?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Uh, let’s see. For sex drive, um what do we think about this one… Um, yeah, I think those are the biggest ones – the Maca, the DHEA, the Pregnenolone, cutting back on stress is the biggest one. I work mainly with women and then getting into the feminine, I think is huge. So, the more that a woman really works on her masculine and just trying to be that forceful kind of masculine nature. I think that’s a big killer for sex drive too. So getting more into your feminine, getting more into your body, whether that’s, you know, using more dancing, or you know, belly dancing actually. One of our new doctors in the clinic, she’s actually a professional belly dancer. She actually does workshops on that. And she’s very vibrant and has this very sexy kind of nature and it’s inspiring. So I think for a woman, really getting into your body. And one think I say is dance naked to music every day. Pick one song and dance naked to it every single day and you’ll get used to being in your body a lot more.
Because I think we have a lot of body issues. We see a lot of images of how a woman should look and that’s a big killer for sex drive too because you see yourself in the mirror and you go “I don’t match up. I’m not pretty. I’m not sexy.” And that’s just such BS. Get into your body, and really own that. That feminine power.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool. And especially, talking about fertility, a lot of women that have these super skinny body types – a lot of them, they may not even be fertile because their body fat is so low.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yes.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Can you touch upon low body fat and fertility as well?
Dr. Lauren Noel: I’m so glad you said that. Eat fat.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Dr. Laurn Noel: Huge. For me, it’s such a no-brainer. I almost forget to mention it sometimes. Low-fat diets, that will give you a low sex drive, because you’re not gonna be making the hormones that you need. So the building block for your hormones is cholesterol. I’m sure your listeners know this. But, it’s like if you think of legos – the big main lego piece is cholesterol. And you add one little piece onto it, you get, you know, progesterone, and estrogen, testosterone. It’s all with that main piece of cholesterol. So, you want to have those good healthy fats in your diet. If you’re eating some chicken, eat the skin. If you’re having some meat, eat the fat. Have butter. Have coconut oil, ghee. I mean, these kinds of fats are so incredibly helpful.
And I’m going to say from experience. Back in the day when I was a vegetarian, my hormones were crazy. My cycles were, I mean, I was having a period every two months. And now, my cycles are right on track. At 34, my cycles are more regular than when I was 24.
So, nutrition is really fundamental for fertility, and fats is really where it’s at.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, that’s really cool. I never knew you were a vegetarian. That’s the first time I heard that.
Dr. Lauren Noel: I think all of us, at some point, were. But were you a vegetarian?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You know what? I was on this super low-fat kick for a while, thinking fat was bad. And that like, screwed me up and I was super gluten-sensitive because I have autoimmune conditions. So I’m eating light. I remember being in my Exercise Science class, Freshman year in college and they gave us this, like, nutri-calculator, and they would basically give us these assignments and they would track all of our food. And I remember coming in so proud to the professor, being like “Look! I ate 12 servings of grains yesterday” and I was so proud. And everyone’s like high-fiving me and I was like “Yes! 55% of my carbs are grains. This is perfect. And then I looked back, and I’m like “Oh my gosh, no wonder why I had all these health issues and brain fog.” So I’ve made mistakes on the other side of the coin there for sure.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Oh my god. I totally relate to that. Yeah, I mean, back in the day. Those days I was vegetarian, lots of grains. I had raging acne. I was on Acutane twice. I had irregular cycles, you know, digestive issues, a sorry condition and so much of it was related to diet. And after even being on Acutane twice, my skin still did not clear up. It wasn’t until I cut gluten out of my diet, cut out the grains, added in more fats, and then boom. My skin is clearer than it’s ever been, my cycles are regular. Nutrition is so powerful.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It is. It totally is. And on the topic of fertility, can you touch upon digestive health? How important is digestion with fertility? Can mal-absorptions and digestive issues drive fertility and libido issues?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Oh my gosh. Well, as a naturopathic doctor, I’m always saying that your digestive tract is the center of the universe. It controls so much. Not only in your absorption but in your immune system, your neurotransmitter balance, your hormone clearance. If you have chronic constipation, you’re going to have issues with balancing your estrogen. So there’s a big connection there that most people have no idea about. You also activate your thyroid hormones, a good percentage of that in your digestive tract.
So if you’re having continual constipation, diarrhea, absorption issues, you know. Again, you’re not only going to have deficiencies, but your hormones are going to be majorly affected by that – testosterone, and your thyroid, estrogen levels for sure.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That makes sense because you’ve mentioned cholesterol being a building block of our hormones and if we can’t break it down and metabolize it, well then, we’re not going to be able to make the hormones. And so, I think you talked about zinc earlier, and zinc’s so important for our sex hormones too, right?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Exactly. Zinc is important for sex hormones and for your thyroid. You need sufficient zinc levels. Yeah. And actually zinc for fertility. Hello! Zinc for sex drive! Right? That’s why oysters are an aphrodisiac. It’s just loaded with zinc. I personally prescribe oysters all the time. I don’t know about you, but I’m always telling my patients “Low in zinc? Eat some oysters.” And that’s my regular routine at the farmers’ market – have maybe five or six oysters, and I’m good to go.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool! Do you ever do a Zinc tally test with your patients?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. You know, I did that a lot in medical school. I haven’t done it as much now because I do run the Specter cell. But I think I’m going to bet back to using that. Yeah, it’s a fascinating test and it’s so easy and it’s so interesting because it’s like if your zinc levels are good that zinc is going to taste nasty. But if your zinc is down in the dumps, you’re not going to even taste it. It tastes like water. It’s so amazing.
Dr. Justin Marchgiani: I know. It is really cool. So, people that are listening to Dr. Noel saying “the better it tastes means the more deficient you are, the worse it tastes, less deficient you are, and the faster it tastes good, mean the more deficient, the slower it tastes bad, and it’s kind of in the middle”. So, the faster it’s good, the more, the slower it’s bad, that’s the best. Cool.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. So if it tastes nasty to you, that means that you have a good amount of zinc in there.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes, absolutely. Very cool. Well, Doc, I know you do a lot of IV nutrition and we know today with leaky gut and chronic gut infections. Can you talk about, you know, leaky gut a little bit and some of the things that you’re doing in your office with IV nutrients and even B12 and intramuscular injection work as well?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. So, nowadays, I mean, so many of us are having digestive problems. The culture that we live in, the standard American diet, and the environment that we’re in with environmental toxins, we just have the kind of life setup right now that is very conducive for leaky gut, unfortunately.
Antibiotics, medications, birth control pills, all of these we know can really set up the digestive tract to have inflammation and permeability. So I think, especially that we’re kind of in a Paleo sphere, we hear leaky gut so much. It’s almost like this buzz term. I think some of these people kind of roll their eyes at it. They think that it’s not a real thing. But it’s super real. And now, finally conventional doctors are coming on board and actually seeing it as something that’s legit and medically sound.
So finally, the gastroenterology journals are now being at the information for that and it’s translating over to the conventional medical realm and it’s just great. Not fast enough, but it’s starting to happen.
So leaky gut is really huge and like I said before, leaky gut contributes to everything else – nutrient deficiencies. If you have leaky gut, you’re going to have some nutrient deficiencies. And if you have leaky gut, you’re also going to be more likely to have issues with low enzymes, low stomach acids, dispiarosis of your gut. So imbalancing the flora. And this also contributes to things like parasites. Candida, you know, infections in the gut which kind of worsens sort of this whole cycle because you get these infections and then it feeds back into damaging the digestive tract even more.
So, the benefit of injectable nutrition is it completely bypasses the gut. We don’t have to worry about, are you going to get this supplement absorbed? Are you going to get the benefits of changing your diet absorbed? So, going right into the bloodstream, it’s a hundred percent absorption. So we use both intramuscular shots, and also IV nutrition. And we decide to go one or the other based on the patient, based on the condition, based on cost. But I live using it on patients especially like with inflammatory bowel disease. So ulcer, Crohn’s disease, Celiac. I mean it’s just really especially good for those kinds of situations, autoimmune disease. I’m such a believer and I’ve done IVs in about 5000 patients now. I know how to see what works, what doesn’t work, and for those specific patients it can be pretty miraculous.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I remember seeing you back in the fall at the Bulletproof conference and you were with lines of people and you were doing IVs on back then.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Well, that was a perfect crowd for that because whatever Dave says to do, they’re like Sign me up! We said “Okay, do you want a Bulletproof” which means do you want an I-Glutathione, and they would be “Yes. Whatever you want, we’re going to do it.” And so, yeah, it was a very captive audience. But I think we did like 50 or 100 IVs in 2 or 3 days we were there. It’s a lot, yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s cool. Very cool. So can you talk about why you would do an intramuscular injection over an IV and what the benefit is?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. So most things we can put on an IV. There are a couple of things not so good in an IV like something that’s fat soluble. So Vitamin A for example tends to do better in a shot. You don’t really want that droplets in your IV. Doesn’t really absorb as well. And also Vitamin D is one we don’t typically do in an IV. But generally speaking, in an IV we can do magnesium, which is very important for female hormones, we do zinc, we’ve talked about that. Selenium, we can throw in there too. All B vitamins, so B1 through 12. Uh, trace minerals calcium, Vitamin C, and then we can get really specific and throwing in things like glutathione which is hugely important for autoimmune and for anti-aging. Amazing detoxification stimulator. And so the IVs we can do a lot higher dosage in the bags but with the shots again, so things like Vitamin A or Vitamin D, I resort to a shot because it’s more of a fat-soluble nutrient. Also, there are some things in an IV you cannot put in a shot. Like, Vitamin C tends to hurt because it’s ascorbic acid and it doesn’t feel as good. Zinc, I’ve never done in a shot. I think that would probably be pretty tender.
So, it just depends on the comfort for the patient, the way that the delivery would go. But for most people, I usually use IVs and shots because we can get really strategic on what can go on each one.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, that’s very cool. Regarding, like, an IV, if I were to get an IV, is just your basic Meyer’s Cocktail good enough, or what would you recommend to the average person that’s just stressed and just wants to get a little boost?
Dr. Lauren Noel: I would probably get our Toes in the Sand formula. So, our clinic Shine Natural Medicine kind of has a beach theme. All the different formulas have a beach name to it and so Toes in the Sand is really geared towards stress relief.
So I know you’re a busy guy. You’re running a clinic. You’re a husband. You’re doing a lot with Real Estate. So, you have a lot on your plate. So I would, for you, probably add in a little bit more magnesium, and also Vitamin B5. B5, dexpanthenol or pantothenic acid. You know, B vitamin for adrenal function. I’d probably do double Vitamin C for you because the adrenals love the extra vitamin C. Um, yeah, but I’d do basically do sort of a modified Meyer’s cocktail for you and do more stress support.
And then also things like L-carnitine is great for something you know, like fat burning and for the muscles. And probably extra taurine too. Taurine is a great amino acid that really works to drive the minerals into the cells. So, even though we’re doing some good minerals, helping to drive them into the cell with taurine can also be really useful for that.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s cool. So, Toes in the Sand. What are other awesome names that you have. I look forward to hearing these. What are they?
Dr. Lauren Noel: We have our lifeguard formula. That’s for immune. So if you’re getting sick, that’s an amazing formula for that. We also have the motion of the ocean. That’s a sex drive formula.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hold on, we have to stop for that. So what’s in the sex drive formula. Is it Maca and zinc or what do we have?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah, we have extra zinc and also we have extra B6. Because that helps to support your estrogen level. So, yeah. And then for the Motion of the Ocean, we have clear waters, that’s our detox formula, so we do extra glutathione with that. We can also add in molybdenum, it’s an important mineral for detox. And then, going off the top of my head, we have, what was the other one? We have Toes in the Sand, Motion of the Ocean, Clearwaters, and there’s one for energy… Oh! Uhm, Seas the Day.
So S-E-A-S so Seas the Day. That on is a lot more for energy. So definitely, it has some extra B5 and some homeopathic so we can add in to do that too.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool. So whoever’s doing your branding is doing a really good job.
Dr. Lauren Noel: You’re talking to her! Hahaha.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome! Very cool!
Dr. Lauren Noel: Thank you!
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And do you still have your little bus thing where you kind of drive around and give the happy hour shots?
Dr. Lauren Noel: That was on my previous practice. We’re not doing that right now. But you know, the IV therapy laws have been taking some changes. I don’t know if we’re going to be able to do that. It’s unfortunate but if we can get around to doing that again, we definitely will. But I love doing the mobile IVs and the shots just coming to where you are, it’s just more convenient. So, yeah, we may visit that again.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That is so cool. So let’s talk about B12 injections. So, we have lots of stuff out there. We have Ben Lynch, we have all these people talking about methylation and folate and B12. Should you do B12, cyano B12, adenosine B12, you know? Should you activate folate? What’s your take on that and how are you essentially giving it the injection?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. That’s a really good question. I test patients for methylation defects. I’m doing testing to see what their MTH or potential mutations would be. And then from that point, we can see, okay, is it important that we do methyl nutrition for them. So for people listening who are familiar with this, for example folic acid, we hear of that being super important for fertility. And the women, when they want to get pregnant, they take folic acid, but unfortunately, folic acid is a synthetic form of the vitamin. It’s not something that your body really recognizes. So it’s important to use a methylated form of that and so in any supplement that we use at the clinic, we’re always using methyl folate.
But the cool thing is that’s the kind of folic acid or folate that you get in dark leafy greens. So if you’re eating a really good diet, you’re eating a lot of dark leafy greens, you’re already going to get that in your diet anyway. Now when it comes to using methyl, versus non-methyl like for example, B12, what I typically do, I will use methyl B12 on most people. I find in my practice most people do best with that. Occasionally there is someone who will go say “That kind of made me feel a little bit, maybe too anxious, to have me feel just a little bit overstimulated” if that’s the case, then we’ll switch to doing the hydroxocobalamin. I’m typically not using the cyanocobalamin. It’s not even something I carry because I find we don’t usually need to use it.
What about in your practice? What do you find with the methyl B12 versus the cyano? I’m curious what you’re using.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, a lot of times with patients that have methyl issues, we’ll use the methylonin where it’s a B12 and AL-MTHFR and LMTHFR. And we’ll do it sublingual but we’ll run the organic acid from time to time and we’ll see people needing Adenosil B12 and then we’ll use Zymogen It makes it really good.
Well, I think Ben Lynch’s company Seeking Health has a really good Adenosil B12. Allergy Research has a good one but they messed it up because they put a little bit of folic acid with it in there. I’m like “ah, you guys gotta pull the folic acid”.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Amateur move.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I know. So, typically, the methyl, the MTHFR, the L-form will do and then if it says, we’ll do the adenosil.
Dr. Lauren Noel: And what percentage of patients would you say are doing methyl versus adenosil?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You know what, I would say a smaller percent. I would say maybe a quarter to a third are coming back with adenosil. But most of the time, you can’t go wrong with the methyl and I think cyano isn’t as good. Methyl is, I think, the best way to go. Would you agree?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah, totally. I concur. And I’ve been wanting to run more of the organic acids. That’s on the organic acids panel, right?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, that’s on the methylation site which is really cool.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Okay, yeah. You sold me on that. Yeah. And I love zymogen. I think it’s a good product. So it’s – what’s the specific product by zymogen that has the adenosil?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s the—it’s actually Seeking Health. Again, I think Ben Lynch uses a lot of Zymogen stuff it’s the Seeking Health adenosil product.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Okay. Awesome. Thank you.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: If I find it after the show I’ll show it to you.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Thank you. Yah. That’s very useful. It’s very rare that I see an issue with the methyl but occasionally, they’ll say “I just felt a little bit kind of sort of jittery or wired with that shots”. So I think that might be that subset of people that could use the adenosil.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. There’s actually been a lot of patients coming in this week, myself. We were testing them and they’re coming back anemic. And not the B12 folate kind that we just talked about but iron-based.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Oh my gosh. Huge.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And what’s your experience using IV Ferritin or IV Iron?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Miraculous. Miraculous for patients who especially have maybe tried the oral iron before, and it can be very constipating and just caused a lot of digestive upset. And also too, with like the whole leaky gut thing. If they have leaky gut, getting their iron levels turned around, it can take a long, long time to do. So IV Iron is like the clouds part, you know, angels are singing opera. Huge, huge difference. And some patients just tend to need a little bit more support on going with that. So what I’ll do first thing is do an iron panel, see where they’re at starting point, look at the ferritin. If I see a Ferritin below a 20, I’m probably going to be looking at doing some injectable iron. So I’ve seen it as low as, I think, 4. So, what’s the lowest Ferritin you’ve seen?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’ve seen like right around there, where like Lab Core will highlight it in red and say “Alert”.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yes. Yah. And the important is when you’re starting IV iron or iron shots, starting very, very low, and working up because it does have a higher possibility of allergy. So we’ll start with just a fourth a milliliter in IVs. Start very, very low and just gradually work our way up and we’ll even get up to 1 to even 2 milliliters and within 1 to 2 months we see the levels, like, completely different. And usually maybe once or twice a week, occasionally I do three times a week if they’re really, really anemic. But it’s my favorite thing that we have for people who are really anemic.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And do you ever do injections for Ferritin?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yes, yes. So we’ll do. Um, what I use is Dex Ferrum in the clinic. That’s what I’ve used and I found that it works best in terms of pain. We used to use something called Iron 59 and that was really painful. So switching to something that’s a little less painful is expensive so that the cost can be a little issue to some people. But yeah, so we’ll do the iron shot – it has to be done in a specific technique called a Z track just to prevent any bruising or iron stain marks. So make it sure, the doctor is really trained to do that. But yes, we’ll do it either in the bum, kind of like in the hip area, or in the IV.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Can you go in to what that Z track was again? I’m really curious.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yah. So, normally when you get a shot, you basically do perpendicular. So, just insert the needle right in and you have a lot more cushion back there than you might think. You can actually use pretty much the full length of the needle.
With the Z track, what the goal is to create basically a traction where you’re-. How can I explain this? So basically, you’re going into a patient, I’m going to use, say, my left hand, let’s say it’s on their right butt cheek, so I’ll my left hand to traction up. It’s sort of like stretching the skin up and then I’ll insert the needle. And then, I will insert the contents of the shot and then once the shot is done, I’ll actually keep it in there for 10 to 20 seconds or so. And then as I release the needle out, I let go of my left hand so that basically what happens is it sort of like traps the contents of the shot deeper in the skin so that when I release the hand the skin that is going back to its normal place its uh–. How do I explain that? Am I explaining that okay?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes. That sounds good. Yeah.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah, so it traps the contents of the shot so it doesn’t leak back out from where it was injected from. Sometimes when you give a shot, you’re going to have a little bit of the vitamin, you know, you’ve got to kind of wipe it with a little cotton. So you do that Z track, it’s much less likely to get that. So it traps that deeper and so you’re not going to get that staining, basically.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool. I know that was a very nerdy question. I may have caught you off guard with that.
Dr. Lauren Noel: It’s probably easier with the video, which we do to show patients. But it’s something that we do ourselves. I mean, I don’t even let patients take iron shots at home. For many patients, they’ll take home the B12 shots. We can show them how to do it. But that one we just do in the clinic, so we don’t get the staining.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool! And I’ve been seeing a lot of patients come in at me, like I just mentioned we had a couple of different causes. You know, maybe if you’re a vegetarian, it could be one. It could be a malabsorption from low stomach acid. It could have been even just a leaky gut thing. But one of the things I’m seeing a lot especially with my female patients that are estrogen-dominant is excessive menstruation. So when I’m interviewing my patients and I go into this area about how many tampons? How many pads are you using? How many days are you bleeding? They’re always kind of like “Wait a minute. You’re a male doctor. How do you…” So it kind of like freaks them out a little bit.
So now that I got a female doctor that’s skilled in this area, I want to get your take on, hey, you know, if you’re going through this many tampons per day and bleeding this long, maybe it’s too much. Maybe that’s a sign of estrogen dominance that could lead to anemia. Can you touch upon that?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. That’s a huge one. So if you’re continually having a period, you’re obviously going to losing a lot of blood. And with blood goes iron. So, another clue that you could sense from estrogen dominance is maybe spotting between your periods. Also, if you have really difficult periods like cramps, maybe breast tenderness, just also issues like maybe some emotional things before your period. You feel more weepy and just feel like a lot more kind of irritability. Those are just potential clues that your hormones could be a little out of balance.
And the reason why estrogen dominance can lead to heavier periods is that because estrogen is a proliferator of tissues. So it makes the lining of the uterus become thicker and progesterone works sort of like a, uhm. I see that estrogen builds it up and the progesterone kind of pats it down. So if you are too dominant on estrogen you’re gonna be building too much of a tissue and if you’re low on progesterone you’re not gonna pat that down so you can get some spotting.
So really working to balance out the hormones is super important. It goes back to, like you said, the digestive tract, also the liver is your main filter for hormones and doing some work on resetting the liver pathways doing the methylation support. Multisol would be a great herb to add in to help with liver clearance. And then also looking at maybe doing some specific supplements like Dim or I3Cs, doing some specific estrogen balancers. Have you talked about Dim on your show before?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I haven’t really talked about it but I will leave the floor open to you here.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah, so one of the great benefits of broccoli or the brassica family is that it helps balance your estrogens actually. It helps to clear excess estrogens from the liver. So that’s something I’ll use in my practice a lot when there is some estrogen dominance kind of picture, and typically just a capsule twice a day of Dim. I use Estro Dim from Orton Molecular but there’s some great supplements from various companies. But, it’s taking one of the ingredients from broccoli in a highly concentrated form and you’re doing that for about three to six months and you’ll see that those dominant estrogen issues oftentimes gets resolved. So that’s hugely important. And then, I don’t there’s anything else about estrogen dominance.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s also helping that 2 to 4 to 16 ratio, right?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah, so preventing that potential breast cancer risk.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: How does that ratio flip? I always mess it up. I don’t really get the specifics. Is it we get less of the 16 more of the 4 and the 2?
Dr. Lauren Noel: You want more of the two. I think you want to be 2 good. That’s it. 2 good.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I always confuse those. So more of the 2. 2 good. I’ll never forget that now.
Dr. Lauren Noel: You wanna be 2 good.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Haha. 2 good. Perfect. Love it. So, looking at just objective markers here, because I always kind of ask my patients this every time they make a patient call. So what would you consider too much for tampon usage? Like it’s market that you know you’re bleeding too much. 4? More? Maybe kind of that threshold?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. I would say 4 is a good threshold marker. But it’s more than that. I look in to see what’s going on with the hormones.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And then 3 days would be kind of more like your cut-off?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. I mean, you want maybe your first 2 or 3 days to be typically more in the heavier side. But if you find that after three days, you’re still going through like 4 or more tampons, I would look into things. Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. Alright. That really helps. I see a lot of patients that are anemic and then you also got some patients that may have fibroid issues and they’re anemic and they’re also taking iron with the fibroid. Can you talk about why taking iron might actually make that fibroid grow bigger?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Well, it can affect your estrogen levels, your hormones. Is that the pathway you’re thinking of?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well I’ve just seen some patients where the iron will actually fuel the growth of the fibroid and the fibroid will continue to grow. And you can give all this around and this will get sucked up by the fibroid so it never really gets into the blood where it needs to go. Have you seen that before?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Right. Yeah. That’s a good one, Doc. I haven’t seen that one as much but that makes a lot of sense. I mean, iron can contribute to growth and we know that iron can feed dispiosis and infections. So that’s why I’m always testing to see that it’s not one of the things that I give very casually. You don’t really want to take iron unless you really need it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right. You’re gonna give iron and then you’ll follow up with like a ferritin or like a saturation or a UIVC kind of thing, am I right?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yup. Every time. We’re doing ferritin, iron saturation, total iron binding capacity, and transferrin, I mean the whole thing. I’m looking at the blood cell count, if you have healthy counts. If you’re anemic, you tend to have lower red blood cells. Your hematocrit tends to be lower which is basically what percentage of your total blood is made up of red blood cells. And if that’s low, that’s also a clue for anemia or low iron. And then your hemoglobin. So your iron is attached to oxygen in the cell and if you are deficient in iron, you’re also going to be low on oxygen too.
One little trick to see if you might be low on iron, for you guys listening, you want to look in the mirror. You want to look at the inside of your lower part of your eyelids. That’s your conjunctivus. So just go ahead and look in the mirror. Pull down and look at the inner part of your eyelids, if you see that it’s actually really pale, it should be a nice pink color. If that really pale, it’s a clue that you could be anemic. Also looking at your fingernails, if you push on your fingernails and then release you want it to turn pink again really quickly, and if it stays white for a while that’s a clue that you may be deficient in iron.
And then another little trick too is that if you find yourself yawning a lot, like let’s say you’re doing a workout and you just yawn all the time, that could be a clue that you’re just not getting enough of that oxygen and that it might be a clue of low iron too. So, just something to pay attention to.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s really cool. I love the little clinical takeaways, the physical exams. The takeaways are so great.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Really helpful.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, one of the best parts of natural medicine are those little pearls right there.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Mhhmm. And also one for zinc that we didn’t mention before is the white spots on your fingernails. That could be a zinc issue. Or if you have vertical ridges or just ridging on your nails, that could be a mineral issue. So another thing to check out.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool. And also one last thing that I learned to is if you take your hands and you extend your fingers back like if you’re pressing them so that you’re extending them back, that lifeline across there should start turning more read and if it doesn’t turn red and if it stays white, that’s another sign of anemia too.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Oh yea. I like that.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool. Awesome, Doc. You’re giving us a lot of information. Last question here. I want to touch upon. It’s such a hot question, especially with thyroid patients and such. Can you talk a bit more about iodine and how you use it with your patients and how you kind of be a little more ginger about it with autoimmune patients. What’s your take on iodine?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. It’s such a hot topic and it’s so confusing for people because you hear of iodine being so good for the thyroid. But then you hear that most thyroid conditions are autoimmune related. So is it okay with autoimmune is it now okay?
The camp of people that say “Never ever get iodine with autoimmune”. To me, the way that I go about it is I always check a full thyroid panel including antibodies. And if I see that there’s autoimmune issues and there’s elevated antibodies I tend to not do iodine like that.
Sometimes I will. You know when I do iodine or have some C vegetables, I feel really good. I listen to that. So sometimes I will make an exception for patients but I tend to not especially if I’m seeing elevated antibodies. If I over and over check antibodies and see that the levels are very low, and the patient is still having thyroid issues, then I will add in some iodine and just very, very slowly work up to it.
For myself, I had a very bad experience with iodine. I did too much of it and it really affected my thyroid very negatively. So you don’t want to take iodine unless you need it. So for many of my patients, I will do a blood test and see where their levels are at. But I’m a little bit cautious about using just a lot of iodine.
For women who have fiber-cystic breasts, it can be very helpful for them to actually apply iodine unto the breast. Dr. Jonathan Wright, he says to apply on the bottom of the feet, which is kind of a funny place. But that can be very helpful for those fibrocystic issues of painful breasts with your cycles.
But that’s how I tend to view iodine. I’m curious about you though.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, very, very similar. I always look to see if there are antibodies. Again, with iodination which is the process of making thyroid hormones – the body binds some thyrosine to the iodine molecule. And in that process, it spits off a whole bunch of hydrogen peroxide. And if we have Selenium deficiency, well, selenium normally comes in there and it pulls off some of the oxygen molecules and making it water and O2. And if we don’t have the selenium there, then the hydrogen peroxide can stimulate that immune system to go attack it.
I think really focusing on, especially when they’re autoimmune, really the selenium first. It’s really the best way to go. I’m totally in sync with exactly what you’re saying there.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. And are you testing iodine?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You know what, I don’t really test it too much. Again, I’m familiar with Doctor Status, got a really good 24-hour iodine test. They got a spot test as well. I don’t do it too much. I kind of start with the potassium iodide and I just start up very gently and I just load up very slow with patience. And it tends to work. I’ll also look on the tests if their T4s and the lower end of the range, you know that’s a building block for T4. So then, we’ll start using just a little bit of iodine there as well.
Dr. Lauren Noel: And you’re using it as the potassium iodide?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yah. I’ll use potassium iodide and iodine. I like the new Lou Gaal Socket Generation because it’s got the Selenium and the B vitamins and the folic minerals and the vitamin C. And I like that because the thyroid really wants the iodide but a lot of times the breast tissue really wants a lot of the iodine so I really give it both together because a lot of times that breast tissue will take it all up and clogs it.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Because you were giving pearls. I just wrote that down. Thank you!
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, I got little pearls written down for myself. So I’m super stoked.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Sweet. Give and take.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I love it, I love it. So Dr. Lauren, today’s interview was awesome I want to have you back real soon. I just want you to talk about a little more about your clinic. I know you’re seeing patients abroad via Skype and the phone. I know some have the happy hour specials for shots and IVs. And I’m actually looking forward to coming down at Salona Beach for you clinic and get an IV really soon.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah, so I work with patients all over the country. That’s the benefit of how really with this radio show we can reach people all over the world. It’s such a good bonus that I get to work with patients out of the state and out of the country. So, I do that. About half my patients are not even in California. But for local patients, we do have the local IV therapy program. We mentioned we have the whole IV menu, shot menu, and on Wednesday afternoons, we have the happy hours. We call it happy hour. It’s really about getting patients in the door it’s kind of catchy. But then we can really do the work of doing the full naturopathic care. So yeah, we’re doing that every week. Like I said, we finished our website ShineNaturalMedicine.com. But I work with patients over phone and Skype all the time. So for anyone listening, if you feel like you’re not jiving with your doctor, maybe it’s been a while since you’ve looked into things, and you resonate with some of the things we talked about. I’d love to talk to you and help you feel a lot better.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Plus, how could you not love those happy hour IVs? Those names are awesome, like the motion of the ocean? How could you not want that?
Dr. Lauren Noel: They’re pretty awesome. I love them. They’re so addictive.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: How about your podcasts. I know you’re like almost over a million hits and stuff. How’s that going?
Dr. Lauren Noel: Yeah. So Dr. Low Radio. I’ve been doing that 4 years. And it started as a hobby and it turned into my main patient generator. It’s amazing. It’s sort of taken a life of its own. But yes, every week, I do my show. Every week is a different topic. You can find me on itunes. Search in the podcast directory Dr. Low Radio. And we have had you on the show a few months back. And we have to get you back on because that was an awesome show. So yeah, it’s amazing. It’s free content. I think about 133 shows. It’s so much information. I have listeners who listen to every single show and I swear they probably know more than most doctors at this point.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I know you had some good naturopathic doctors out there. You had Dr. Sherry Ten Penny on there. That’s a really high-quality show and you do a great job hosting it too.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Thanks. Thanks. Takes one to know one.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, I look forward to seeing you next month at Paleo FX. Super stoked and looking forward to hearing you talk and I love the new site. It looks so good.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Thank you so much. I’m looking forward to catch up with you and seeing you in person.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great, Dr. Lauren. I’m looking forward to chatting with you really soon.
Dr. Lauren Noel: Thanks guys. Thanks for listening, you guys.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Thanks. Take care.
Improve Your Mood Part 1 – Podcast #28
Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Baris Harvey reviews why your mood is off and shares with the listeners some simple things you can do to help get it back on track. Basically, this is a discussion regarding mood and neurotransmitter health. So if you have overthinking and anxiety issues, listen to this podcast learn how to deal with them. Dr. Justin also explains the importance of female hormones and the adrenals working for PMS, mood issues, or disruption of cycle.
Find out about the key foundational principles that will definitely help with mood changes. Also learn about the types of food you should eat to keep your blood sugar regulated which is greatly improve your energy and mood throughout the day. Discover how neurotransmitters allow us to feel good in this podcast. Get information on the recommended ratio when taking 5-HTP and L-tyrosine.
Baris Harvey: Welcome to another awesome episode of Beyond Wellness Radio. Before we go into today’s show, I wanna tell you guys about our newsletter. Go to BeyondWellnessRadio.com and hit the button that says Newsletter Sign Up. By doing this, you’ll never miss out on an episode. Be the first ones to hear it as it is sent out to your inbox each week. Want even more? Make sure that you go above and click on Just In Health or Really Healthy Now or access straight to us the practitioners. You can go ahead and send us an email and talk to us one-on-one and even get yourself a free 15-minute consultation. Dr. Justin even has a free video series on How To Fix Your Thyroid. So that being said, thank you guys for listening to another episode and coming on.
How’s it going, Dr. Justin?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Baris, it’s going great, man. How are your holidays? How was the New Year?
Baris Harvey: It went awesome. Got–got some–some new clothes, some new jeans, I’m looking a little dapper so I appreciate that shout out to my mom for that. How’s it going–how was your holidays?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Holidays are great, very good. I’m restful, got a little–little bit of a cold just kinda leading into the holiday but I was kinda got back on my immune-boosting protocol and I was able to get over it in just a few days and–and I’m, you know, definitely better for it. I mean, most of the conventional solutions for getting a cold really there aren’t much. I mean, it’s either get a flu vaccine ahead of time or Tamiflu for the most part.
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: But there’s a lot of nutrients in the national medicine realm and that probably is a good podcast that we should do maybe next week. We’ll–
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Add that to the queue.
Baris Harvey: Yeah, we’ll definitely add that one. Alright, as a matter of fact, I’ll write that down right now–immune. Alright, so I–I know one thing for me was like I actually did really well when it came to vaccines because I know a lot of people got sick because, you know, the weather and oftentimes it–it might not even have been the weather, maybe because they’re staying inside more and all that dust accumulates and what not. I stayed pretty–pretty healthy, to think that I messed up because I didn’t eat that great and that’s when I started feeling like, “I don’t feel like myself.” So I know people say like, “Oh, does food really make that much of a difference? And I could tell you, I–I was not–I’m not in my greatest shape, just in, you know, just in that stress off of a couple of weeks. So, yeah, food makes a big difference.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. I’ve been off a little bit with my exercise but I find diet is, you know, 80% of the game, just choosing some good movement patterns, adding some–some resistance in there, doing some good movements. You don’t need too much once you’re at a high level to really maintain.
Baris Harvey: Yeah, definitely. So–and today, well, before I get to today’s podcast, what did you have for breakfast?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Today was just 4 eggs, sunny side up and some–some butter and MCT in my coffee. Today was pretty simple. I’ve been doing a lot more collagen recently because to help, just kinda with hair and skin and just anti-aging and also to help with some of my joints.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So I’ve been kinda just really rocking out the collagen. I actually just got my organic acid test back so I’ve tweaked my supplement program a little bit to help improve my health and there’s some things on there, I think we’ll–we’ll talk about in today’s show regarding mood and neurotransmitter health.
Baris Harvey: Yeah. Now for the listeners out there, yeah, I remember we’re on a–me and Dr. Justin are on a 2-hour difference right now, so usually for my Friday I kinda, I might have been more relaxed when my–my day’s not always as busy so sometimes I don’t–I don’t wake up as early, so sometimes I usually just wake up and just hop on–hop on the call. You know, compared before and I hop on the call, so I don’t always eat anything. So I’ll tell you what I’m gonna eat after.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Nice.
Baris Harvey: So after the show, I’ll also have some eggs and then I’ll have some organic, you know, not a lot of ingredients because I think when I say sausage, somebody’s gonna think of like, “Oh, sausage, that’s not healthy,” but alright, if you go to the healthy food store, you’ll notice there’s high quality sausage out there and I just keep it simple like that and just, you know, I think so–I think, well, I–I do fine with dairy especially if it’s higher in fat, so sometimes I like putting in some organic sour cream, and I do fine with that.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Nice. Awesome.
Baris Harvey: Yeah, so today’s podcast we’re gonna talk about fixing our mood and this is something that can be–can either–either be like sleep, it can be PMS, that’s something that’s almost joked about, and it–and–and people might joke about it but it–but it’s a real concern, a real matter. And there are other things that, and–and we gotta be careful here because there’s a–there’s a gray area. We mention things that might sound a little bit more psychological. We wanna remember that, you know, we don’t wanna say that all drugs are bad or anything of that fashion. We just have to be smart that there are some people with more severe cases that–that might need more treatment but you can be on the borderline with some of these things and maybe there’s some underlying things that you can fix yourself. So if you have like a mild depression or like a mild–or even if you do have severe, there are still things you can fix, but just understand that, you know, also talk to your doctor about these things as well. So, if you have like some depression issues or some obsessive overthinking, anxiety, today is a show for you, and make sure, you know, that you consume as much of this knowledge that you can and because when you’re mood is off, it–it kinda changes who you are. And I’ve–I’ve noticed myself like get–not get enough sleep and become irritated and all of a sudden like, “That’s not me, I don’t wanna be mean to other people,” so-and I’m pretty sure you–you’ve had that every once in a while, Dr. Justin, where you just–you don’t get enough sleep and maybe ate something bad and all of a sudden someone’s like, “Whoa! That’s not you.” And you’re like, “Oh, I’m sorry, that’s totally not how I act.”
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. So when we deal with these issues we have foundational principles, right? These are things that we cannot ignore these if we wanna feel good and have a good mood. So you kinda have already to it sleep. Sleep is ridiculously important because sleep actually helps us have good sensitivity to blood sugar. So what that means is they’ve have done studies where they took healthy college kids. They cut their sleep in half to 4 hours a night. After 1-2 weeks later, they were insulin-resistant, meaning the cells in their body were–the receptor sites were numb to sugar, to glucose, and they weren’t taking it into the cell properly and the glucose was accumulating in the blood creating free radical stress, right? And free radical stress are like it’s basically when the body kinda comes in there and can damage the DNA, right?
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So it’s when the body can chip away and–and chip away at the electrons essentially. Ox–oxidation is nothing more than the loss of electrons and that creates damage to the DNA. So we wanna really make sure that we have good stable blood sugar and the first way we do that is to getting to sleep on time ideally 10 to 10:30, definitely before midnight, that’s gonna be a great way to make sure our mood is dialed in. That’s one, from a foundational perspective.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Two, blood sugar. So if you have thyroid issues or adrenal issues, we don’t wanna be skipping meals, having enough food that can last us 4-5 hours a day is gonna be huge–or sorry, 4 to 5-hour in-between meals, so having your breakfast within an hour of getting up, eating the right ratios of protein and fat and carbohydrates for you is very important, and you should go about 4-5 hours and you shouldn’t be starving at 4-5 hours. So those are just some really key foundational principles. Blood sugar and sleep. You wanna add to that, Baris?
Baris Harvey: Yeah, that’s some night we should always make sure that we have down at a basic borderline if you’re not. If your blood sugar is off, that’s an easy way to get irritable and if you’re not sleeping enough, those are I guess basic foundational thing that you already mentioned so as long as people know that, “Hey, make sure you’re getting enough sleep.” Those two, basically if those two things aren’t on point, any of these other stuff we’re gonna talk about is just minutia at that point, right?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly, and regarding all the blood sugar stuff, most people are kind of brainwashed regarding blood sugar. “Oh, my blood sugar drops,” like “Eat a candy bar or something,” or like “Have some candy.” Like that’s not what we’re talking about here. So I use a lot of analogies and I think you do as well with your practice and with your patients. But I always tell patients imagine you got a campfire in front of you, right? You want that campfire to–you wanna ignite that fire, but you want it to stay lit for a while so you don’t get cold, right?
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And just think of the heat from the energy is like–the heat from the fire is analogous to your energy throughout the day and in-between meals. So for the most part, the logs in the fire are gonna be really important. So the logs are like the protein and the fat.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And by protein, we’re just gonna go out there with the assumption, organic, high quality, you know, grass-fed meat, chicken, fish, beef, skin on, good quality fats from like grass-fed butter, ghee, coconut oil, you know, tallow beef, things like that. So that’s kinda already lumped in to when we say protein and fat, the quality is already built into that. So that’s are like the logs in the fire and if anyone’s lit a fire before, they probably know they maybe used a little bit of kindling. And some of that kindling–
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: May be some paper and that paper in real world terms may mean, maybe some low glycemic fruit, berries, things of that nature. Or maybe eat some vegetables. Maybe eat some vegetables like broccoli or spinach, right? And then sometimes we have things like gasoline that we use in the fire and that maybe like sugar, refined sugar or even–
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alcohol. So if you ever just like have like your match lit and you put a whole bunch of gasoline on it, it goes up and then out.
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And that’s kind of analogous to how people’s moods are, right? They go out, they’re like bouncing off the walls, feeling super good, and then they’re crashing with their head on their desk just a little while later. So we wanna make sure when that fire’s there, maybe we have 80% to 90% good logs, and then we put maybe a little bit of paper in there, using the right carbohydrate, you know, for your metabolic needs. If you’re working out that morning, you may put a sweet potato in there. If you’re trying to lose weight or you’re trying to, you know, eat according to healthy thyroid and adrenal function, you may go lower carb in the morning and ramp up carbs later in the day, kinda like an adrenal reset diet where you go higher carbs at night when cortisol is lower and you maybe go lower carb during the day when cortisol’s higher. So that’s kind of a good analogy there and just thinking you light that fire, right? The logs are like the proteins and fats and maybe the kindling is like some of the carbohydrates and just choosing the right kindling that’s appropriate for your metabolism.
Baris Harvey: Yeah, definitely. So that sounds great. You also did a podcast on blood sugar in the past as well, so I’m gonna advise all your guys out there to, you know, search that one up. I can also put a–a link in there as well on that. We also–we’d talked a lot about different supplements that you can take or–or foods that can help with–helping your blood sugar and what different cravings mean and how to–how to kind of fix these because yeah, low blood sugar, you’re–you’re gonna end up being stressed out and cranky and irritable and have a headache. So, yeah–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: No good.
Baris Harvey: Yeah, no good. Alright, we mentioned making sure that our–our diet’s right and you know, avoiding the sweet foods and could there also be some specific foods that just might throw people off? I know some people just don’t do good with caffeine. Some people might be allergic to certain foods. What are just some certain foods that are just like no-nos for people?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, of course, we have foods like gluten.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And for the most part I kinda reverse the effects on gluten where gluten is guilty until proven innocent. Because there’s such a majority of people out there that will benefit from cutting gluten out.
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: The fact that gluten is a nutrient-poor food, it’s inflammatory, it doesn’t have the nutrients that we need, it can spike our blood sugar, it’s–can also create leaky guts, and then also it is highly refined with folic acid which a lot of people don’t have the MTHFR genes so then they convert folic acid–they–they can’t convert it and it’s actually can be pretty cancerous. So there’s so many reason to cut out–
Baris Harvey: And why and why not eat it versus–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: To eat it, right?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So a lot of people are like, “Oh well, you know, you’re just being a zealot, you know, not everyone’s gluten-sensitive.” In my experience, the majority are gluten-sensitive, so I air on the side of cutting it out and keeping it out, that I’m gonna help more people than I hurt from that perspective. But from the other perspective, the foods you eat on a continuous basis should be nutrient-dense, low in toxins, and anti-inflammatory. And gluten gets a–a failing grade for all of those category and then we add on the whole folic acid thing and the MTHFR SNP–we’ll save a podcast specific for methylation and MTHFR, but most people can’t covert whether they’re heterozygous MTHFR or homozygous, meaning one gene or two genes, they’re gonna have a hard time converting folic acid into active folate or MTHFR folate.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So gluten’s gonna be a big way there.
Baris Harvey: And any other foods you can think of that are inflammatory foods or anything–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, anything, omega 6 fatty acids, refined vegetable oils, trans fats, refined sugars. What sugars are gonna do–the reason why sugar’s so addicting is because when we spike up insulin because insulin gets spiked up because of sugar. So insulin’s kinda there to pull all that sugar into the cells.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And so for the first part of that when you’re eating some protein and a whole bunch of sugar, it’s gonna shuttle as much sugar into the cells and into the muscles. What happens is 5-HTP, L-tryptophan and L-tyrosine tend to have an affinity to cross the blood brain barrier faster while all the other proteins are being shuttled into the muscle and into the cells. So what happens is we get this huge rush of serotonin and dopamine being converted in the brain because L-tyrosine and 5-HTP, we’ll talk about this, but they are amino acids.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And all amino acids–let me say it another way–all neurotransmitters are actually made–
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: From protein and amino acids.
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So all that protein is, imagine a pearl necklace, right?
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: A pearl necklace is the protein and all of the pearls connected to the necklace, those are like amino acids, so a string of pearls together, each individual pearl being an amino acid and then the whole necklace as a–as a whole will be the protein. So all those amino acids, they actually make up our neurotransmitters. And neurotransmitters are the little cellular communicators that go in between neurons. So like take a–kind of give you an analogy here–make a fist, make two fists. A fist with your left hand and a first with your right hand, and kind of put your knuckles like they’re gonna touch each other right in front of your body, so your knuckles are meeting–
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right in front of your sternum and pull them apart just about an inch or two. So your left knuckle will be like the presynaptic neuron, that’s where the action potential or the currents, the nerve connectivity flows down. The space between–
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Your left fist and your right fist is called the synaptic cleft or the pre–the pre-synaptic space. That’s where a lot of the neurotransmitters accumulate and then–
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: The right hand or the right fist will be the post-synaptic neurons. So again, the currents flowing from the left fist then we have the neurotransmitter, the pre-synaptic cleft that space there where the neurotransmitters accumulate and the neurotransmitters are like a bridge, a bridge of action potential from the left fist to the right fist. So we have the pre, which is the one leading up to it. We have the space, which is the–the–the space in between there where the neurotransmitters accumulate. And then we have the post-synaptic neuron which is the right fist. And all of these neurotransmitters actually accumulate in between the pre and post-synaptic neuron. And these neurotransmitters allow us to feel good, so we have serotonin which allows us to feel kinda happy. We have dopamine that allows us to feel the “I love you” feeling. It’s that when we get when we’re in love or what we get when we’re eating a bunch of sugar, we have GABA which can relax us, so these are really important neurotransmitters that allow us to feel good. Do you wanna elaborate on that, Baris, or break it down a little more?
Baris Harvey: Yeah, I–I think the analogy you used was great, you know, like either–you wrote down some good notes when you were taking anatomy or you had a great anatomy teacher, like I this–I went ahead and did it myself with the two hands and like that’s almost exactly how like it looks, it’s–it’s–has little bulb at the ends–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Baris Harvey: And your spinning neurons and that’s where–and so–so basically for people to know we are bioelectrical-chemical beings so there are electric surges that get sent to other cells, our–our neuro cells have these little–actually, you know, just where your–this little space, these little gaps in which their communication that actually happens and then, you know, they send the chemicals and depending on if they can’t absorb it or reabsorb that’s where, you know, problems are gonna happen, right?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.
Baris Harvey: So like if someone’s either overstimulated or they can’t reabsorb something appropriate, that’s when, you know, for an example, if someone does cocaine often. Dopamine is–is the one–the–is gonna shoot out very often, right? And it’s in–it keeps it in that rather than getting reabsorbed, it keeps it in that synaptic cleft.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.
Baris Harvey: And it’s overstimulated and that’s why people feel amazing, I hear. I’ve never done it before, but I hear people feel amazing and that’s probably why it–it’s extremely addictive. Not to the same level but that kinda happens with sugar as well, so I’m not saying that sugar is cocaine but there is a similar mechanism and that’s just why, you know, sometimes your sweet tooth wins the battle when it comes to your willpower. So–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, also from that standpoint, there had been studies where they fed rats–the rats had to chance to choose cocaine or Oreo cookies and they found the rats were choosing the Oreo cookies over the–the cocaine and they found the same areas on the brain that were being lit up with the cocaine use were being lit up by the Oreo cookie use.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So at the same standpoint, you know, one is just, you know, more societally accepted than the other, right? You know–
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We don’t look too, you know, friendly on, you know, drug abusers in society.
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: In my opinion, we should treat them like severe obese people that just can’t–that have no self-control. It should be looked at between that because people aren’t really getting helped. Throwing people that are like just neurontally damaged in jail.
Baris Harvey: Damaged in jail. Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s just not–it’s not fixing the problem and they come out as violent criminals. So we don’t do that with severe obese people that just can’t–can’t stop eating because that’s like a societally accepted thing. But what happens is the same parts of the brain are being lit up.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And what we’re doing with food, what we’re doing with dopamine–excuse me, what we’re doing with cocaine to increase dopamine, what we’re doing with SSRIs or all these drugs, they have one thing in common. And that is they are changing the location of where these neurotransmitters are. So again, left fist, right fist, the in between space that’s where the neurotransmitters accumulate. What they’re doing is, they’re taking all the neurotransmitters that are stored up in this left fist and they’re bringing it out into the middle. Now here’s where it’s interesting. When we change the location, when we pull these neurotransmitters out of that left fist and we put it in between in the middle, we get that really good feeling. But the problem is, the longer they stay outside of the fist and in this space, they break down faster.
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So let me say that again, most habits that are drug-induced or sugar-induced, or let’s say it’s like CrossFit extreme exercise-induced or like jumping out of airplanes, any type of like crazy addiction that that’s bringing you negative results in your life, that’s just changing the neurotransmitter location. And the more you rely on changing the location, the faster these neurochemicals break down, we set you up for long-term destruction because then the amount of neurochemicals that are there drop and those neurochemicals can’t carry the signal from the left fist to the right fist or for the science junkies out there, the pre-synaptic neuron to the post-synaptic neuron. And that’s important so in–in functional medicine world, we wanna work on things that don’t just change location but actually build up the amount of neurotransmitter in that location.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm. Because that’s when you start to getting–that’s where it starts to get insensitive, right? Or–or it’s not communicating the signal strong enough and all of a sudden what used to be, you know, super powerful now you–now the only way you get happy is with cocaine because nothing is strong enough to–to–to have that feeling, right?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. It’s like those Einstein balls.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So like if you’ve ever seen them in the museum or on like, you know, cooler places there like the little balls that like swing and like hit a ball and the other ball kinda goes up the exact same place and it kinda swings back and forth and hits?
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So if you’re on Google Image, just type in Einstein balls and you know what I’m talking about. But imagine that first ball hitting and that second ball barely moving. Like that’s what happens if there’s not enough neurotransmitter in between that left fist or that right fist and most of the drugs, let’s just break down a few drugs like Celexa or Lexapro, you know, these are selective serotonin, that means they’re working on increasing serotonin in the synapse, reuptake inhibitor, that means it’s blocking the body’s ability to pull it back up into the pre-synaptic neuron or that left fist.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And then you look at other drugs like Wellbutrin, that’s gonna be more of a dopamine inhibitor and there are other drugs for migraines that are norepinephrine inhibitors. So a lot of these drugs work on just blocking the uptake which in essence changes the location of where these chemicals are.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm. Yeah, definitely. And yeah, and–and with our–our brain chemicals, too. There–there are two different kinds and dopamine being so awesome and so powerful, it kinda fits in both categories but, you know, the inhibitory neurotransmitters and the excitatory neurotransmitters, so making sure that we’re stimulating and the right ones are firing in the brain at a certain time like you don’t–you don’t need norepinephrine firing off at midnight when you’re trying to go to sleep unless, you know, someone’s breaking into the house, and yeah, that would totally–but unless something, you know, is bad happening, you need to–I guess and that can be an–an another way to help with some of our mood issues as–as I guess that’s back to our foundational start we talked about the blood sugar and getting good sleep but relaxation and exercise, you know, exercising is a healthy way to one, get your body moving, get the hormones pushing the right direction but also it might not always feel good when you’re doing it if it’s hard but you feel really good after when you get really good sen–sensation and you’re kinda fixing some of your neurotransmitters but also making sure that regular relaxation, you know, if you’re stressed out all the time you’d–if you’re in a crisis we know that we feel–we don’t feel right, but if it’s–if it’s daily, that’s chronic, and we’re letting maybe that person at work or relationship hinder how we feel in our relaxation and you go to sleep every night not feeling well, you kinda create this vicious cycle. Well, now you can’t, you know, maybe that–that’s causing some longer term depression or it can even cause like other problems.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Those are some really good points, Baris. So, Baris, let’s talk about some things we can do from a supplemental perspective.
Baris Harvey: Yeah, that’d be awesome and real–real quick, too. Just for so some resources that people might wanna know about right before we get into the supplements that I know you’re gonna, as well people the mute them–if I can speak English, The Mood–The Mood Cure by Julia Ross.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Julia Ross, right.
Baris Harvey: And also Change Your Brain, Change Your Body by Dr.–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Daniel Amen.
Baris Harvey: Dr. Amen. Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.
Baris Harvey: So those are other great resources, but you go ahead and–and knock some supplement or advice to our listeners.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely, very good. So it really depends on what the problem is because a lot of hormones actually–
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Are natural kind of reuptake inhibitors. So for instance, females especially if they have PMS or any mood issues or disruption in their cycle for instance, you really wanna make sure the hormones and the adrenals are working. So if a woman has PMS or has issues with progesterone in the second half of the cycle which female hormone symptoms have to do with the combination of estrogen dominance which has to do with progesterone being lower than its ideal ratio in relation to estrogen. Typically there should be like a 23 to 25 time more amount of progesterone to estrogen and when it drops–when it drops in that ratio, we can start having symptoms. We can start having excessive bleeding. We can start having moodiness. We can start having breast tenderness. So all of these things can easily be fixed by getting the adrenals and the female hormones working again.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Now on that note, we talked about blood sugar and sleep earlier if you don’t make those changes, the sleep and blood sugar and stuff, you will never ever, ever and I hate using absolutes, but for the most part it’s just true and I think you would agree–if you don’t get the blood sugar and the sleep on track, you will never be able to get the hormones on track no matter how fancy a supplement program we make.
Baris Harvey: Yeah, definitely. Or you can’t sleep 4 hours a night and eat candy all the time and then take a pill. It’s not gonna work that way.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. So at most females for instance, we really wanna make sure that we get the hormones dialed in and the adrenals are gonna be an important component of that. So that’s gonna be one of the most important parts right there. And also if a woman has low progesterone that second half of the cycle, they’re gonna be excessively. When they bleed excessively, then they’re gonna be low on iron and if they’re low on iron, they’re not gonna be able to carry oxygen properly which then–we’re not gonna be able to have aerobic metabolism when we’re burning fat and oxygen for fuel efficiently and then iron’s needed to make thyroid hormone as well. So it’s like this vicious cycle when female hormones get off, all of these other problems start to occur.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm. Yeah, definitely. And–and I know, you know, a lot about this topic and the thyroid is gonna have–have in accord with our energy and our mood, right?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.
Baris Harvey: You feel lethargic and you’re probably not the happiest person in the world.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. So that kinda leads us into the next thing, we have kind of our hormone centers. We have ATF for females and ATM for males, meaning–
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Adrenals, thyroid, male hormones or adrenals, thyroid, and female hormones. And we wanna make sure those are balanced at some level and by balance, we can kinda push the female hormones or the thyroid back into the right place but if there are other issues pulling it out, we really have to make sure the root causes are–are being addressed.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So on that notes–on that note, looking at thyroid is important. They did a study where a third of the people who are depressed, they found had low thyroid function and when they just got their thyroid fixed, depression was gone. So a lot of mood issues can be fixed just by getting the thyroids or getting the adrenals or getting the female hormones working better. So that’s why you really don’t want to have like a symptom-based approach. You really want a systems-based–based approach because if you look at the systems that are out of balance and you just start nudging them back into balance and you make the diet and lifestyle and sleep changes along with it, half of those people with mood issues are gonna be fixed off the bat.
Baris Harvey: Yeah, okay. A real big one that we can all–and I–I think we talked about–we might have talked about this before so I’m gonna go ahead and–and look it up and link it if–if necessary, but PMS that can really throw off some–someone and I know one thing that I notice a lot with the women in my life that have had that, they also sometimes have heavy cycles and end up being anemic or need to watch their iron because iron totally make an interplay with like PMS or what are some other things that a woman can do if she has PMS?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So off the bat–off the bat there with PMS, you really want to get to the root cause–
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So the blood sugar and the sleep is kinda really important, the adrenals are really important. With some patients depending on their progesterone, we’ll use a cyclical augmentation program where we actually modulate and give small amounts of progesterone during the second half of the cycle to really get the progesterone levels back on track.
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Now once that kinda gets on track, we also see that the bleeding becomes less and we can even use herbs such as Chaste tree or Vitex agnus. We can even use estrogen-modulating herbs like Dong quai or black cohosh and such to really help kind of modulate those things, and remember these hormones actually have an effect on the reuptake of neurochemicals. So we kinda already talked about how when we block the reuptake of neurochemicals that may be a bad thing–
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: But if we’re blocking the reuptake by just restoring normal physiology that may not be necessarily be a bad thing because we’re just trying to push the body back into balance. We’re not trying to make it–we’re not trying to use hormones or supplements like a drug, we’re trying to use them to push normal physiology back and if–if those hormones help and provide enough blocking activation to make the person feel better, well, the issue may have just been hormonal imbalance driving that neurochemical imbalance and that neurochemical imbalance is restored to normal function. So maybe it’s just the hormones that are actually causing the reuptake issue.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Like monoamine oxidase or MAO is a specific drug out there. Now if we can do something via natural means, it’s always better because natural means tend to have more, how should I say it? They have more homeostatic mechanisms involved.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So there’s more sensors, if you will, to make sure things are working properly. When we use the drug, there’s just one objection. It’s to block–
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: An enzyme or to inhibit some type of pathway and there aren’t quite as many feedbacks letting things to know that, you know, we’re imbalanced.
Baris Harvey: Yeah, I hear this would be like fix even one specific thing but if the body doesn’t–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: They whack ‘em all.
Baris Harvey: Yeah, exactly.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Whack ‘em all.
Baris Harvey: Your body is like–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You pop one down and another one comes up.
Baris Harvey: Yeah, like “Okay, why did that happen?” We don’t know. Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.
Baris Harvey: Whereas, you know, you eat a food and there are so many different chemicals and signals in there and helps boost certain area but it also just like works in rhythm with your own body.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.
Baris Harvey: Right, definitely.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So the next perspective is we can actually give amino acids to help–
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: With boosting up the location of these neurotransmitters. So for instance we have 5-HTP which is a precursor to serotonin and we have L-tyrosine which is a precursor to dopamine. Now when we do this with a lot of patients, I–I recommend using 5-HTP over L-tryptophan because there’s an enzymatic regulation where you only can make so much serotonin from L-tryptophan. With some people that may have damage or made them in higher amounts than normal, you wanna use 5-HTP because you’re not gonna have that capacitor or that–what do they call it when–when it prevents it from getting higher or they have it in cars for instance that prevent the engine from going too hot? I forget the term. It will come to me in a minute there, but it’s–it’s basically preventing the transmission and the conversion of serotonin. But if you use 5-HTP–I’m sorry that term is governor. If you have a governor on something–
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: The governor prevents it from going too high. So the governor is taken off when you give 5-HTP so you can actually get higher levels of serotonin than if you just gave L-tryptophan instead. So I like 5-HTP. The key is we have to give it with B6, that’s really important. We need B6 to actually help convert 5-HTP to serotonin and I always give for the most part starting out 5-HTP and L-tyrosine in a balanced formula of 10:1 so 10 times more L-tyrosine than 5-HTP. So if we’re dealing with 100 units of 5-HTP, we wanna have a thousand units or 1,000 mg of L-tyrosine. And that’s important because the same enzymes that metabolize 5-HTP which is the amino acid decarboxylase enzyme, that amino acid is the same one that metabolizes L-tyrosine. So if we’re stimulating this enzyme to–to break down 5-HTP and we’re giving more 5-HTP and this enzyme’s upregulated and we don’t have an additional amount of L-tyrosine there along with it, we can start creating deficiency because of us upregulating that enzyme. So you always wanna give this long-term, right? More than a month or two. You wanna give them in conjunction and ideally with B6 and ideally being on other good multivitamin with B12 and folate and all the other nutrients as kinda there as a blanket to make sure that there’s no nutrients that are missing for neurotransmitter metabolism.
Baris Harvey: Yeah, definitely. That sounds good. And I know that that some people will do really good with 5-HTP like you mentioned and whether that be in a smaller or a larger dose of L-tryptophan, but also there are some people that do–do really well with a GABA. The gamma-aminobutyric acid–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.
Baris Harvey: Which is our–that natural tranquilizer like a chemical which kinda relaxes us and loosens us up kinda and–and I know I’ve used before in the past as well. So I–I’ve actually taken–I think it’s Source Naturals, but they had this Theanine Serene which have like–had a little bit of GABA and theanine and I think some magnesium and some other natural herbs, those are really nice. I forget the formula off the top of my head. But tell us a little bit about GABA and how that can help you sleep.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So GABA can be helpful, there’s a–this is kind of a controversial school of thought so–
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’m a big fan of Marty Hinz. He does a lot of research on neurotransmitters. Basically, he’s like the catch-all guy that neurotransmitters can fix everything.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And in the functional medicine world, we wanna be careful of absolutes. I think neurotransmitters can be a real powerful tool in your tool belt to address any type of mood-related issue.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: But I think we also need a good functional medicine model where we don’t, you know, throw the baby out with the bathwater. So I think it’s important. So without the GABA, if you look at Marty Hinz’s type of perspective, he says that dopamine and se–serotonin are gonna be the master regulators of GABA.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Meaning that if we work on dopamine and serotonin, the GABA kind of takes care–takes care of itself if you will. Now on that note, I’ve seen patients that do well with GABA.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: But on the same standpoint, you talk to other people like people that are in Dr. Kharrazian’s camp, they’ll say that GABA cannot cross the blood brain barrier, it is too big, it is too large, the research paper say this, and the only reason why you’d have an effect with GABA is because you have a leaky gut/leaky brain–
Baris Harvey: Leaky brain. Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And then the GABA is passing in there and having that type of an effect.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Now personally myself, GABA does nothing to me.
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I have a lot of patients where it’s done nothing and I have had some where they swear by it. So is that true or is it not? Well, it’s hard to say. And with so many people–
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Having leaky guts, maybe there’s more people out there that have leaky brains than we think–
Baris Harvey: Right.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: They actually benefit from GABA. But I like Hinz’s school of thought that we really wanna deal with the master neurotransmitters because a lot of times when we deal with the masters, everything kinda gets taken–
Baris Harvey: Taken care of.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And can put back in balance, taken care of, exactly.
Baris Harvey: Yeah, definitely. Sounds good. That sounds good. And I know that there’s–there’s, you know, a lot of stuff when it comes to all these things and–and we talked about the making sure we get the basic functional–make sure you get your sleep, make sure you relax, make sure you have a healthy mood, and your blood sugar’s regulated. I mean some–some other functional stuff, you know, anti-inflammatory diet, you know, making sure your vitamin D levels are in check, and you know, you’re taking your fish oil and–and there’s a lot of specifics. So for–for people that might have a specific question, I urge you to go to beyondwellnessradio.com and we have a tab that says Questions. You can leave us a question. You can click on the tab that says Just In Health and Contact Dr. Justin for a one-on-one consultation if you wanna look further into this, you can also contact me as well. So yeah, you wanna go ahead and–and–and add–and add some?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, absolutely. So we also look at some of the neurotransmitter conversion with dopamine and according to Dr. Dan Kalish who has done thousands of neurotransmitter testing with DBS Labs, he’s found that most people tend to be dopamine dominant–or sorry–I’m sorry dopamine-deficient, meaning they actually need more dopamine. So when we look at dopamine, we were thinking L-tyrosine. That’s gonna really improve dopamine conversion. Now if we’re doing this whole 10:1 ratio, that’s a good starting point, right? Maybe 100 mg of 5-HTP to 1,000 of L-tyrosine, maybe bringing that up to 300 mg 5-HTP to 3,000 L-tyrosine, that’s a good place. We also need sulfur-based amino acids for healthy conversion of dopamine.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, what that means is this. We have dopamine that gets converted from L-tyrosine, and that dopamine that goes from L-DOPA to dopamine and then it goes to norepinephrine. And norepinephrine to have that conversion from dopamine to norepinephrine, we need some certain nutrients there, alright?
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So norepinephrine to go to epinephrine needs sulfur-based amino acids and there’s two main ones that you could use. SAMe or methionine or cysteine. So cysteine’s a pretty rare one. Dr. Hinz uses cysteine. I’d use little–I use L-methionine instead because it’s a little bit more cost-effective than SAMe. SAMe is pretty expensive.
Baris Harvey: Yeah, it is.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So I’ll use L-methionine with patients instead and L-methionine will really help with that conversion of norepinephrine to epinephrine, right?
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So one more time, right? We need dopamine to go to L-DOPA. L-DOPA then goes to norepinephrine and then to get norepinephrine to epinephrine, we need the sulfur-based amino acids and that’s where SAMe, cysteine, or L-methionine. And I urge you not to use NAC. The research had been kind of on the fence about this, but most people just say, “Hey, NAC is not gonna be what you need to make that conversion.”
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think you’re just better off from a cost-effective perspective, if you could go with the methionine anywhere between 1,500 mg to 3–3 g or 3,000 mg is a good way to go.
Baris Harvey: And the–so you–you probably recommend not using like L-DOPA itself as a supplement using the precursors instead, correct?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So regarding using pure L-DOPA, it’s possible there are things such as mucuna pruriens or velvet bean where you can extract L-DOPA directly from that which is actual L-DOPA. Now that’s really interesting. I’ve had an experience using L-DOPA. I don’t recommend using that unless you are working with a practitioner.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I used it and I literally felt like–
Baris Harvey: Literally, too strong.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I felt like I was incredibly spacey, felt like I was walking around drunk, like it was a terrible experience and I’m like–
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright I’m gonna do this–this was like 5 or 6 years ago when I was like in the middle of finals–
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And studying for a really big exam and I’m like, “I’m gonna boost up dopamine because dopamine helps with focus.” And I just overdid it and it was terrible because I couldn’t study the whole day because I felt so spacey. I felt like I was drunk.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So I said, “Alright, this is a lesson learned.” So I strongly recommend you do not use L-DOPA unless you are working with a trained functional medicine physician.
Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm. Right. I know that–I forgot when I first saw that and I-I’ve never used it myself so I can’t really give my 2 cents on it but I remember, it’s gonna probably like a–a long time ago when I was just looking for supplement–like workout supplements and those like supposed to help with boosting testosterone and what not, and that’s when I first–but after researching it, I mean I might do a little bit of that but it’s more so with the–with the dopamine-like response. Yeah, you-you know the opposite like effect, gotta be careful with that, what you supplement with.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly and this whole sulfur-based amino acid cascade adrenal fatigue, right? Where we’re hyper secreting or maybe it’s fatigue where our cortisol’s actually bottomed out, we’re also gonna be kinda whipping the tired horse of adrenal or norepinephrine to epinephrine, so that’s gonna be low as well. So that’s why adrenal fatigue is really important to helping to fix this whole pathway.
Baris Harvey: Yeah, definitely.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So I think a good starting dose for anyone here that says, “Alright, well, what–I wanna use some of these sulfur amino acids. I wanna use some of these neurotransmitter supports.” I think a safe dose would be 300 mg of 5-HTP followed with 3,000 mg of L-tyrosine with some sulfur-based amino acids, anywhere between 1500 to 3 grand of L-methionine will be a really good starting point. And just to make sure the 5-HTP you’re getting has B6 in it and make sure you’re on a high quality multivitamin with B12 and activated MTHFR folate and if you need support with this, feel free and you can reach out to either Baris or myself because we do this stuff with patients every day.
Baris Harvey: Definitely make a part 2 to this because–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: I know, I mean we could so long ahead of this stuff and I–I think we got a good foundation here.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: We got some things for people with irritability. I know like myself and also like, I know mentioned in the beginning like anxiety and some of the overthinking like stuff. We’re gonna make a part 2 for you and we’re gonna, you know, go into the hormones, estrogen, and the different supplements and neurotransmitters to help you with anxiety and mood and that as well. So kinda like you had the depression on one side and then the overthinking on the other side and we’ll get to that one as well. But again, go to beyondwellnessradio.com, go to Sign Up to the Newsletter. You know, make sure that you won’t miss part 2 and you’ll get it right in your inbox.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, we’re gonna really work on increasing the frequency of the podcast. We’re gonna try to do 1 a week to really kind of get everyone’s brain candy addiction in for the week hopefully.
Baris Harvey: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And if you guys got any feedback or have any feedback on show tips or topics you want addressed, feel free and reach out beyondwellnessradio.com and I think it’s question, slash question, and you can speak your question to us or you can drop us a line and we’ll be more than willing to, you know, listen to what people wants and–want and create show topics based on the needs of our listeners.
Natural Remedies for Hormonal Imbalance, Infertility, PCOS and PMS
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
There are many natural remedies for hormone imbalance in the functional-medicine world, yet they tend to the be the last line of defense most women reach for. It’s easier to get a birth control pill or antidepressant to fix the symptoms of hormone imbalance, but this does nothing to address the underlying cause.
If you’re a female and suffering from infertility, PMS, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or other hormonal symptoms, this is a strong sign your body is out of balance and not expressing optimal health. Fertility and hormone balance is a natural by-product of health, and without it, our species wouldn’t be here today. I urge every woman to dig a little deeper into what’s driving her infertility and/or female hormone imbalances.
Just 30 to 40 years ago, women would routinely get pregnant on their honeymoon. Today, women are spending upward of $15,000 per in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, some needing multiple treatments to conceive.
Why can’t I get pregnant?
It is possible to mimic your hormones with Follistim, Lupron, or Clomid to manipulate your brain into thinking you are healthy enough to get pregnant. Your body is wise, and is not letting you have a child for a reason; it knows the hormonal environment is not optimal to produce a healthy baby.
The hidden chemical stressors in your body can activate certain genes epigenetically. When these genes are activated, it predisposes you and your child to autoimmune/chronic inflammatory conditions, like asthma, heart disease, allergies, and learning disorders (1, 2, 3).
When we look at the underlying cause of infertility, 40% is on the woman’s side, 40% is on the man’s side, and 20% is unknown.
Both men and women should adhere to similar dietary and lifestyle principles to help support and nourish their bodies. A diet that is nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory, and low in toxins is essential for optimal health and for a growing a baby.
Factors to Consider
Women who are trying to get pregnant need to make sure their diet has adequate fat for the formation of their soon-to-be child’s nervous system; adequate meal timing to stabilize blood sugar; and the avoidance of all toxins from pesticides, grains, and refined foods.
If you are trying to get pregnant, you need to form a cohesive team with your partner. There needs to be a combined effort of the couple engaging in health-sustaining habits. Though the female grows the child inside her body, the quality of the sperm and the support regarding nutrition and lifestyle habits are just as important.
As long as your partner’s sperm count, motility, and morphology have been assessed and there are no issues regarding the female’s reproductive anatomy, then you are a great candidate to start a natural female-hormone-balancing program.
There may be 5% of women that need IVF treatment to conceive. I personally would recommend IVF last. The natural hormone-balancing diet and lifestyle programs can work over 90% of the time. IVF may help you get pregnant, but it does nothing to ensure a healthy pregnancy and optimal health for your child.
According to research, as well as my clinical experience, women that have IVF or go into a pregnancy unhealthy to begin with tend to suffer from more hormonal related issues post pregnancy, have a more difficult time losing weight, and have an increased risk for postpartum depression (4).
To All Men out There
Sperm counts have been dropping over the last 40 years significantly and so have the reference ranges regarding what normal may be. Due to these drops in the reference range, I urge men to be in the top 25% of the range to ensure adequate health. Consider anything in the middle of the range inadequate to standards just 30 to 40 years ago. (5)
Women’s Cycle: The Two Phases of Your Cycle
The first half of your cycle is the follicular phase. This is where estrogen predominates. The second half of your cycle is the luteal phase. This is where progesterone predominates.
The Domino Effect of Healthy Hormones and Pregnancy
Progesterone and estrogen drop at the end of the cycle, which signals bleeding, or your period. The sloughing off of your endometrial lining is important to reset your body so it has a chance for pregnancy the next time it ovulates.
The bleeding that occurs during your period stimulates FSH—a brain hormone. FSH stands for follicle-stimulating hormone which stimulates the follicle to start growing.
As the follicle starts growing, it stimulates estrogen to increase. As estrogen increases, it starts to thicken the endometrial lining. Estrogen stimulates growth, which is needed for the uterine lining.
As estrogen reaches its peak around day 12 or 13 of your cycle, ideally, it stimulates an increase in LH (luteinizing hormone).
When LH increases, it stimulates progesterone to increase around day 15 of your cycle.
The rise of progesterone, which was preceded by a rise in estrogen, signals ovulation. This when you can get pregnant, and it’s only about a three-day window. Progesterone causes the uterine tissues to mature (to grow up), which provides the right environment for the egg to implant into it.
Step 7 (optional)
The egg is ejected into the fallopian tube where it has the potential to come in contact with sperm as the egg makes its way down to the uterus.
Step 8 (optional)
The fertilized egg embeds itself into the uterine lining as the corpus luteum (the scar from where the egg formed in the ovary) stimulates progesterone through the production of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).
Progesterone and estrogen drop out around day 27 or 28 of the cycle, which then signals menstruation (your period). The whole process then repeats itself again.
Fun Fact: HCG is what is typically tested to confirm pregnancy. Elevated HCG will get you a positive on your home pregnancy test.
Problems in the Luteal Phase
The luteal phase needs to be at least 12 to 15 days long to ensure there is enough time for adequate progesterone to be made. If progesterone levels fall off early in the luteal phase (symbolized by the red lines above), it’s because of stress. Stress comes in physical, chemical, and emotional factors. Essentially, progesterone, your pro-gestational hormone that holds the egg in place, actually can get converted downstream in the cortisol.
With chronic stress we see progesterone falling out early in the cycle, which can make it very difficult to sustain a pregnancy. This progesterone deficit makes it very difficult for the egg to stay implanted, and it will eventually slough off causing a potentially thicker period that particular month, or maybe even no period at all. Low progesterone over time can cause your cycle to be anovulatory (without a period), or you may have even been told you have premature ovarian failure.
Throughout our cycle, on average, we have 22 to 25 times more progesterone than estrogen. This is a normal, healthy balance. When stress occurs and progesterone gets converted downstream, we start seeing a state of what’s called estrogen dominance. We start seeing an excess of thickening of the uterine lining. Women may notice fibroids, endometriosis, and fibrocystic breasts.
These hormone imbalances may manifest themselves at the end of your cycle as PMS, headaches, fatigue, migraines, breast tenderness, and uterine pain. All these symptoms are primarily driven by a state of estrogen dominance.
PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) occurs when androgens in the female cycle become elevated. As androgens elevate in the cycle, it throws off the upstream brain hormones, so communication from the brain to the ovaries becomes disconnected (6).
One of the most important triggers of PCOS is chronic ups and downs in blood sugar (reactive hypoglycemia), or insulin resistance. The elevation in insulin up-regulates certain enzymes in the body (17–20 lyase), which can accelerate the conversion of female hormones to male hormones (testosterone). That’s why it’s common to see acne, abnormal hair growth, and ovarian cysts as a by-product (7, 8).
What’s the Deal with Birth Control Pills?
When we take birth control pills (BCPs), we shut down the upstream signaling to our brain known as the HPG axis (hypothalamus, pituitary, gonadal axis—see picture below). FSH and LH, essentially, are the conductors of this beautiful hormonal orchestra. In this orchestra we have the strings, the flutes, and all the different instruments you can imagine. If the conductor of the orchestra goes on vacation, it’s very easy for this beautiful music to sound like noise.
Taking this analogy back to hormone land, as hormonal imbalances occur due to physical, chemical, and emotional stressors, they essentially mug the conductor. They knock the conductor off the stand, and the hormones start to go awry.
Women who take BCPs do see a benefit. Their hormones may stabilize, which may help their mood, PMS, and skin issues in the short term. The ups and downs of the hormones in the cycle are somewhat leveled out by this artificial, yet steady, bombardment of hormones.
The symptom-relief experience from BCPs is real. There are ways to produce the same results, if not better, through natural hormone-balancing protocols that address the underlying cause of the issues. When the underlying cause is addressed, there is less chance of the typical side effects of BCPs, including weight gain, blood clots, increased risk of a breast cancer, and potential difficulty conceiving down the road.
“Women who were on oral contraceptive birth control pills may experience a few months of being infertile while the synthetic hormones work their way out of their body. Women who were on the Depo shot on the other hand, can experience infertility between six months to a year.”
~Dr. Lauren Streicher of Gynecologic Specialists of Northwestern
Other Available Methods
If you are using a BCPs to prevent pregnancy, there are other natural non-hormonal methods out there. My favorite is the rhythm method (if you are in a stable long-term relationship). Other methods can be used, including a non-hormonal IUD (ParaGard). This can be used in conjunction with a diaphragm and/or a condom for extra security. If your hormones are stable, there is only a small window in your cycle when pregnancy can occur, so make sure proper precautions are made.
What You Need to Do!
If you are struggling with hormonal-related symptoms and are looking to get pregnant, there are some action items you should make ASAP!
Make the right diet and lifestyle changes to stabilize your hormones and blood sugar for success.
Avoid common toxins that may come from pesticides in your food and chemicals in your makeups and hygiene products. The toxins in these products are xenoestrogens in nature and can mimic the hormone estrogen. Most women are already in a state of estrogen dominance, and this bombardment off additional synthetic estrogen only makes the problem worse.
Get assessed! If you are not assessing, you are guessing! If you are having hormonal issues and you want to get pregnant, you need to see where the root of your hormonal issues are coming from.
Are the hormonal imbalances coming from a thyroid issue, adrenal issue, female hormone issue, or chronic infection? It may even be a combination of all of them like I see with most patients.