Natural Ways to Avoid and Beat the Flu Fast
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Every year the flu makes its way back around, rendering millions of people unable to work and play. If you are sick of being sick, read on to learn natural ways to prevent the flu (or if you’re already sick, shorten the duration of your illness) that really work!
Vitamins and Supplements
Vitamin C is the tried and true vitamin for a strong immune system. Vitamin C is not only effective at preventing illness, it has also been proven to shorten the duration of a cold and reduce the severity of symptoms.
Elderberry is able to neutralize viruses so that they are unable to enter your cells and replicate. In addition to elderberry’s amazing immune-modulating and antioxidant properties, it also contains vitamin A, vitamin C, quercetin, and various other flavonoids which boost immune function!
High levels of zinc are correlated with better T cell function, which are the white blood cells that work on behalf of your immune system. This antioxidant also helps regulates the production of powerful killer cells which beat off infections.
Echinacea is an anti-inflammatory herb that can fight off fungus and yeast. If you think you might be coming down with something, echinacea is best taken as soon as your symptoms appear. Echinacea is able to treat respiratory infections without causing the resistance that conventional drugs cause.
Immuno Supreme is a blend of elderberry, echinacea, and several other immune boosting super stars such as goldenseal. It also includes medicinal mushrooms which have been used for centuries to keep populations healthy: cordyceps, reishi, maitake, and shiitake.
Curcumin is an antioxidant found in turmeric which supports the liver, allowing for proper detoxification. Curcumin also helps regulate immune cells!
Glutathione, often referred to as “the master antioxidant,” is one of the best immune-enhancers you can take to remain at optimal health. What makes it so special is that it is actually found within your cells, and is essential for healthy immune function.
Vitamin A is also important for T cell function, and also helps keep mucus membranes strong and able to defend against airborne infections.
Herbal and Plant Antibiotics
Oregano oil, garlic, and eucalyptus oil are antiviral and antifungal. They can be taken as a supplement, diffused as essential oils, or raw garlic can be taken orally for an immune-boost.
80% of our immune system is housed in our gut! Since our microbiome is responsible for keeping us healthy, taking high-quality probiotics is an important part of keeping a healthy immune system.
Other Ways to Boost Your Immune System
Reduce Alcohol and Sugar Consumption
Alcohol and sugar both impair the body’s ability to fight off infections. Studies show that every time you indulge in something sweet, the immune system is depressed for hours!
Manage and Reduce Stress
Stress has a profound negative effect on more than just our mental health. Feeling stressed, upset, and overwhelmed affects our physical health, too. In order to avoid crumbling our body’s natural defense system, it is imperative that we use meditation, journaling, taking walks, and other methods to reduce stress.
Get Enough Sleep
Our bodies repair themselves while we sleep. If you are sleep-deprived, your immune system is deprived of the time it needs to build itself up!
Getting Sunlight for Vitamin D
A vitamin D deficiency is linked to a wide range of health complications; we are just beginning to discover just how crucial vitamin D is for our health! While getting the full amount of vitamin D that your body requires from the sun is optimal, it is not always possible. During the winter and other times when it isn’t possible to spend time outdoors, taking vitamin D as a supplement is crucial.
Remember, it’s impossible to avoid germs altogether (and research is starting to show that exposure to germs actually helps your immune system to get stronger!). Instead of becoming a germaphobe, focus on keeping yourself healthy from the inside out. Eat your organic veggies, supplement appropriately, get adequate rest, and don’t stress the small stuff!
How to Overcome the Flu! | Podcast # 167
Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand talk about ways on how to overcome the flu in today’s podcast. Learn about the different natural and healthier ways to support your immune system and combat the flu without turning to the flu vaccine and its unnecessary side effects.
Know about the importance of vitamin D in strengthening your immune response and find out about the negative contributions of sugar to your immune system. Also, gain additional knowledge about stress, autoimmunity, and IV therapy in relation to the flu.
In this episode, we cover:
07:06 Natural ways to up regulate your immune system
11:07 Vitamin D effects on your immune system
14:03 Cons of Flu Vaccine
23:47 What sugar does to your immune system
28:08 IV therapy treatment
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And we are live! Dr. J. in the house with Evan Brand. Evan how are we doing today, man?
Evan Brand: I’m feeling much better. You help me get through my weekends so I’m grateful for your help. Uh—we’re doing a podcast on this soon. I got my stool test results back. Will do a whole show on it likely. And I showed up with Cyclospora, SPP, which is a parasite infection and I also showed up with a bunch of other bacterial bugs. So it happens to the best of us and uh—luckily, Dr. J was there to help me through the weekend. I felt terrible. My head was killing me. My freakin’ blood pressure was going high. I was like, “Dude, help me out here.” And uh— luckily, you and I were able to implement some protocols and I’m feeling more sustainable today than I was.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Were you able to work in and be able to do a podcast and have some logical back-and-forth conversation, must be doing pretty good, for sure. Yeah, that’s good. So let’s kinda chat about it. I know number one; the first thing that happens is when you’re having a lot of diarrhea, right? That was the first thing that happened.
Evan Brand: Yep. So loose stool came up. That was first symptom.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.
Evan Brand: Thought it was completely unrelated, then went to sleep, woke up in the middle of the night with just a throbbing headache.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.
Evan Brand: And got up the next day and I thought, “You know what, something just doesn’t feel right.” I’m feeling a bit dizzy, just feeling out of it. Got the blood pressure cuff out, tested my blood pressure and it was above 140/100 at the time. I continued to track it a bit obsessively, but ended up maxing out in the 150’s with my blood pressure for my top number about 110 was the highest for the low number. I’m like, “Dude, at what point do you start worrying about major issues with blood pressure being that high.” And you’re just like, “Don’t worry too much about it.” So did a bunch of electrolytes, bunch of magnesium, bunch of vitamin C vitamin D, bunch of adaptogens, mushrooms, the whole 9 yards. Got it down I was able to finally go to sleep over the weekend. You know, getting the levels down to about 130 something, then during the day, blood pressure went right back up. So I started doing some more deep diving, which is the stuff I sent you in a text message about Cyclospora and turns out, basically, every symptom I had from headaches to nausea to just general G.I. upset/dizziness, it could all be tied into this—this parasite. So, now we have our answer and then I’ve got some herbs on order and uh—hopefully, gonna knock this thing out in a few weeks.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hundred percent. So, off the bat, it sounds like you—you had the flu, some kind of a viral infection going on there. Now, leading up to it, right? Let’s kinda chat about some of the big stressors. Number one, you got a new puppy.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And now puppy is like can be harder than babies, right? So that was a major stressor that I think was you know, screwing up your sleeve. You had to wake up two- three times to take the—you take the puppy out to pee at 0° weather, right?
Evan Brand: I wish. I wish it was two or three times a night. It was like five or six. And it was like 0°F. I was up every hour and a half for a week out there in the freezing cold with the dog. And then the dog wants to play and it’s not playtime at 4 AM. So then you’re trying to get the dog back to sleep. That was a recipe for disaster like you— like you and I talked off air. No matter how many adaptogens I take, if you are—if you’re not sleeping, you can’t— you can’t replace that. There’s no pill for that— for sleep deprivation.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: No. So, of course, you know we try to keep it simple. We go down to the diet and lifestyle simple things. So your diet, I imagine was pretty good. You weren’t cheating with a whole bunch alcohol during the stressful period. You weren’t consuming a whole bunch of junk food, right? You don’t—
Evan Brand: Yeah. I don’t drink alcohol so—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right. So you have the major stressful event, which is just the sleep, like the six times a night. The freezing cold kinda temperature thing that kinda compromises your immune system. And we know that there is a massive flu going around you know, I think 36 different states have this flu infection and it’s you know, it’s everywhere and potentially you could interact with it. What it sounds like to me.
Evan Brand: I wonder if I did you know I guess it doesn’t matter at this point, but I tell you, based on the way I was feeling how they say a flu makes you feel like you got hit by a train.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: That’s how I felt. I wouldn’t be surprised if I picked it up. But I felt like my turnaround time was pretty quick. I mean, it was what? Maybe 48 hours or so.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. If you, I mean the thing is the benefit is you’re doing some of the Reishi mushroom supports. So I’m gonna take some Reishi right now. You were doing that during the whole treatment and before. And again, you were doing some adaptogens. I’m gonna take some adaptogens and some Reishi mushroom right now. And then we chatted— we just really up your dosage significantly. We get you a lot of sleep. One of the big things that I think is just incredibly underrated but really strong potent fresh juice ginger tea where you actually get the little ginger pieces. I call them cloves but ginger pieces. It’s like a clove size, like a garlic clove size. Two or three of those. You juice them, right? In like a Vitamix or actual juicer or ninja and blend them, right? You blend them. So if it’s a juicer, you juice it. If it’s a blender, you blend it. And then you can run it through like a coffee strainer or a coffee filter or French press. I like the French press, right? Add 12 ounces of hot water to it. Uhm—add a little bit limejuice, little bit of uhm—honey. The honey really makes it palatable. If you don’t do a little bit of honey, it’s really spicy and really abrasive.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Honey makes it a little bit more soothing and makes it a little bit more softer on the mucosa of the throat and the tissue. And it has some great viral adhesion qualities of ginger really helps with antiviral. Ginger also helps the blood pressure. So I wouldn’t be surprised if you— we’re going back in time if we really hit the ginger out hard, that that would help with some your higher blood pressure issues. And we were really concerned about your blood pressure partly because you don’t have a cardiovascular history, you don’ have heart disease; you don’t have chronically high blood pressure. So we were just kinda postulating. The blood pressure probably because your sympathetic fight or flight nerves has activated inflammation coz of the virus. And you probably losing some electrolytes and minerals because of the diarrhea. So—
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Of course like more sea salt, more mineral, more electrolyte formulas, more bone broth. Get the extra minerals in your system that you’re losing and try to make the food easier to process and absorb if there’s some kind of a stomach virus that’s causing the loose stools.
Evan Brand: I’ve got something else cool to share too. Uh—you and I had chatted over the weekend about some literature on PharmaGABA.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.
Evan Brand: And hypertension and I ended up finding out 200 mg of PharmaGABA—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: ..was able to reduce blood pressure by about 15 points. So, I went from I guess it in the 150’s down to like a 130. Of course all the other stuff was a factor, too. Electrolytes etc. etc. but the PharmaGABA really, really turned off the fight or flight nervous system and all the sudden I felt much better. I feel like my head was being squeezed in a vice. I could feel the pressure of the relieving after 10 minutes chewing one of those up.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love it. I mean that’s great. You can use things like that. That’s kinda like an artifact of the infection, right?
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: This blood pressure stuff and the head—that’s kinda like artifacts of it. So, of course, you know, there’s couple of ways to look at it. Like there is immune support. We can talk about the various immune support. So in my Immuno Supreme, there’s a couple of things I put in there. Medicinal mushrooms, right? Reishi, Maitake, Shiitake Cordyceps. These are immune booster. It makes sure immune system is stronger, right? It help kill different things. There’s herbs like Astragalus and Echinacea and Golden seal, which up regulates certain natural killer cells and immune antibodies to help go after the infection. And then there’s things like ginger, which can actually hit on or you know, kind of start attacking the virus. We can increase things like Monolaurin, which digests the viral envelope, which then exposed—exposes the virus coz it’s glitz cloaked in this viral envelope that prevents the immune system from seeing it. So Monolaurin extract can help undo that cloaks. Now the immune system can see it. And we can also do things like silver. So like in my line, we use Monolaurin Supreme or Monolaurin Synergy. And that’s gonna help with the viral envelope. I put a little bit of Monolaurin in the Immuno supreme. We do the ginger, which really helps with the virus from sticking and then we do the silver as well which really helps attack on the virus as well as. So there’s things that we can do to attack the infection and there’s things we can do to up regulate the immune response.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So I’m a fan of doing both. If we can hit it from both ends, that gives us the best chance of success.
Evan Brand: Yeah. I agree. Plus fixing my sleep. You know, it was tough sleeping when your head feels like—once I’m able to sleep, I felt so much better the next day. And day time, you know symptoms would come back only really had the loose stool that one day, though, just the first day. It didn’t happen again, so—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: So it was just like a one—a one time deal. And we chatted about it, too. You know, I said, “Hey, this may be a good time for you to use the Ibuprofen because you’re doing all the natural stuff and again, I don’t think you did ginger at the time.
Evan Brand: No.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: The ginger may have helped with the headache. Maybe that would’ve helped. But if you’re doing all this stuff and the headache is preventing you from sleeping, in my opinion, you’re better off getting the headache suppressed so you could sleep.
Evan Brand: You know what I did? I forgot to tell you the help was the Bragg’s Apple cider vinegar drink.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: The Apple Cinnamon one, it’s got like 8 g of sugar, but at that point—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Evan Brand: I didn’t care. I was like, “You know what, I need some cinnamon.” My blood sugar is off. My appetite wasn’t as good. I could use the— the blood sugar help with the chromium and the cinnamon there plus the Apple Cider vinegar. I felt probably 10% better just based on those.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. So, you know, there’s a couple different things you can do there. So, of course, that’s gonna be helpful in general keeping the sugar down. I mean if you do a little bit of uhm— carbohydrate maybe that’s in the honey that you put in the ginger tea, I’m okay with that. If you’re using a really good quality honey, there’s gonna be some immune benefits from the Propolis and the bee pollen in the honey. So I’m okay with that. So, in general, right? Like we crossed off all these things that we were doing and maybe if we added the ginger earlier, maybe the headache would’ve gotten better. But, in general, like if you’re in that crossroads if we— sleep is so important that if we have to use a pharmaceutical or over-the-counter thing to get you to sleep, I’m okay with it in the shortest term possible.
Evan Brand: Yeah. I ended up—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It really maximize all the natural stuff first. Cross everything off your list first, though.
Evan Brand: I may have considered it. I didn’t even have any luckily. I mean I just—I don’t stock Ibuprofen at the house so I couldn’t go to it. But luckily, once I just quadrupled the magnesium, it let up enough where I could sleep.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And again, like for me, same thing. Like I may use ibuprofen once a year because I maybe consume too much alcohol one night, which I very rarely drink. But I find that if I’m going to consume alcohol, guess what I do now? I do more detoxifying herbs and amino acids for glutathione and then charcoal. If I do that and maybe some vitamin C, I can probably have a couple extra drinks and be fine in the morning coz I’m detoxifying and binding up a lot of the toxins. Plus, I just choose cleaner alcohol versions. You know, a dryer champagne, a dryer Prosecco, uh—clean alcohol version. Not any gluten-free, crappy, sugary drinks.
Evan Brand: Let’s chat about Vitamin D, too. Can we hit on this? Because vitamin D— there’s some literature now that showing that vitamin D is more effective than—than the flu vaccine and many people, I mean what? 90 percent of people are too low with vitamin D and then the cold and the flu when does it happen? January— in the middle of that the dead of winter when everybody’s vitamin D production is minimal because they’re covered up and the sun’s not over here on the northern hemisphere.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes. So there’s a combination. Number one that is a lot of holidays around wintertime. Thanksgiving, New Year’s, Christmas. So people are consuming a lot of sugary crap, right? Which also includes more alcohol, too. Uhm—there may be more stress because you’re traveling right? You’re in this like going to the airport, there are lots people, you’re in a plane, which is basically a recycle tube of oxygen for 3 to 5 hours, right? So all of those things compound and make your immune system more stressed. And then you have the bigger stress, which I think is the lack of vitamin D. And vitamin D is so important because when you have adequate vitamin D levels, you increase this antimicrobial enzyme or peptide called that k__ And that’s like a natural antibiotic. And that can really help digest uhm— bacteria in your body that may be you know like a staph or strap or a pneumococcal infection in the –in the making.
Evan Brand: Yeah. I took 10,000. I’m sure I could’ve done more but I didn’t want to take all of uh— my wife’s supply. She has her little cute pillbox organizer with all the vitamin D laid out. And I was like uh, “I’m gonna just steal your vitamin D for a few days.” And so I was doing 10,000 a day uh— for what was it? Two or three days and I think that probably move the needle little bit.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love it. Smart. Typically, what I’ll do is I’ll do uhm—vitamin D, a 100,000 IUs and will do that for three days straight. And then will drop down to 10 to 20,000.
Evan Brand: Wow.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You really want to do it like super high for full days to really get the immune system up regulated.
Evan Brand: That’s crazy. So I could have__ then just fine then.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Yeah. I mean you’re gonna make just in sunlight, you know, getting a full minimal erythemal dose, you’re gonna get about 20,000 in the sun anyway.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, I’m okay with that for a short period of time, for sure.
Evan Brand: Are you a bigger fan of going with uh— capsule or you like in the— the drops? like some of the emulsion drops that we can use?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I have an Emulsi D Synergy that I use. It’s great. Uhm—that’s helpful or you do some capsules, too. But I’ll typically do the drops coz I can just knock it down, throw it in a drink and can be done with it.
Evan Brand: Yup. Cool. Well said. Do we hit on Zinc at all?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Zinc is great. I mean 30 mg a day is excellent. You can do it in a l__ form. Can be very helpful for the throat. And again, we did like uh—an immune boosting podcast recently. We’re just trying to really take this one, this podcast and focus it more on the flu. And again, there’s flu vaccines that are out there. Not a big fan of the flu vaccine because number one, they’re basing it off of the flu that was in Asia the previous season. And 70 to 80% of time, it can be wrong. And number two uh— flu vaccines and tools they have mercury in it, which is not good for your immune system. And it’s a live virus a lot of times. You have to go look at some of the most are live viruses that you can actually give someone the flu if you just got the vaccine. And if you look at some of the side effects of the flu vaccine, again, you have to go to your local pharmacy asked the flu vaccine insert. I’ve done this. Go read the side effects of the flu vaccine. Side effects of the flu vaccine are actually the flu. They will not call it that, but they will say headaches, fever, chills, fatigue, you know, lethargy, right? They’ll say all of the symptoms that—
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: What we classify as the flu, right? So the vaccine can actually give you the flu. And then number two is uhm—Coker database is pretty clear that a majority of flu-like symptoms aren’t from the flu. They are from other types of viruses—adenovirus, rhinovirus, paramyxovirus. These types of things that are out there. So the question is the flu vaccine is only going to help you 10 to 20% time for that flu virus but the things that we’re talking about are gonna up regulate your immune support for all viruses. And that’s why the natural way, in my opinion, is so much better.
Evan Brand: It is better. It’s not even an opinion. It’s a fact. I mean, look, here’s a piece of literature right here from the CDC this year. This article was the December 29 and it states that this year and I think it’s probably all years, but they’re saying their flu vaccine is anywhere from 10% to a maximum of 30% effective.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.
Evan Brand: 10-20%? That’s terrible.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s awful. I mean the placebo effect is 20% effective. So, basically, you know, the flu vaccine is in the same realm of effectiveness as a placebo.
Evan Brand: Wow!
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You’re gonna get a little bit of mercury in there.
Evan Brand: Why, though, when you go to like Whole Foods or maybe not Whole Foods but some of these other local groceries, it’s like, “Oh, we’re gonna donate of a meal to a child in need if you get a flu vaccine or we give you like a gift card.” It’s like are they just making that much money on flu vaccines? I don’t understand.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, I mean, they’re highly government-subsidized, right? So they’ve already, you know, people already bought these things so there’s an incentive to unload it, right?
Evan Brand: Uhh.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s really the big thing. Yeah. I mean they’re subsidizing. That’s part of the reason they’ve got to unload them. So they’re doing everything they can in the power to unload them. And again, the issue really is, let’s say the flu vaccine is 100% effective. Let’s pretend it’s not 20% effective. Let’s pretend it’s a hundred percent. I already mentioned that other symptoms that are out there aren’t even flu- based, right? 80+ percent aren’t flu based like I mentioned. So even if that vaccine’s a 100% effective, there’s still 80 to 90% chance that your issue isn’t even flu-based. And that’s really the key point coz we want to really work on up regulating the immune system making it stronger.
Evan Brand: Yeah. The immune system’s—It’s this time of the year plus the sugar like you mentioned, the travel, the time zone stressors. It could be flu, but it could be flu plus Streptococcus and Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas and Cyclospora like me.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Evan Brand: And everything else.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hundred percent. And also, the other component is uhm—timing. So if you have all the stress going on, let’s say you wait like a day or two to start hitting on your immune support that can make all the difference in the world. So like, imagine, like something happens, like you don’t wait for like the infantry to come in like two days later, right? You get the Navy SEALs, you get the Delta force, you get the Army Rangers in there now to surveil and start coming up with a plan. You don’t wait and hold back for a couple of days. Same thing with your immune response is you really want to get the—you know, the A-Team out there right away and that’s why getting the immune supported within a few hours is important. So I recommend everyone have, you know, at least one or two, maybe three things on hand that you can really hit. So like for me, Immuno Supreme. That’s kinda like medicinal mushrooms, little bit of Monolaurin, some Echinacea, some Goldenseal, a little bit of Astragalus, little bit of Elderberry. That’s kinda like my multi-tasker right there. And again, you can find a link down the show notes, justinhealth.com/shopimmune support Number two, you can do something simple like either a vitamin D or a vitamin C. Vitamin D, hundred thousand IUs for three days and then bring it back down to 10 to 20. Uh—number three, vitamin C. Allison asks, “How much vitamin C during the flu?” I would go up to about 8 to 10,000 g, I’m—8 to 10— 8 to 10 g a day, 8 to 10,000 mg a day. And probably be right around bowel tolerance. And if you hit bowel tolerance, where you have at least two stools, back off a bit. So we have the Immuno Supreme, we have vitamin C, we have vitamin D, and then, of course, something at home we can do the ginger tea. So we’re gonna actually juice pieces of the ginger 2 to 3 ounces of ginger juice. Add some hot water 10 to 12 ounces. Add a little bit of honey teaspoon to a tablespoon and a little bit of limejuice. And that will be a great first step. Sip that throughout the entire day. And I think that’s a great first step. And if you want to be like an extra good student, you know, you can do some additional Reishi mushroom by itself. Uhm—you can do silver by itself. And that’s I think it’s a really good starting point. I—I even go little bit more. I’ll even do Astragalus by itself, too. That makes a really good starting point in like, you know, I was maybe down for the count for day and a half to two days but I was still able to work 10 hour a day, see patients, do my thing at home, cook, do all my stuff and I was still able to function even though I was starting to feel it because I hit it hard. Day and a half- two days later, a hundred percent gone.
Evan Brand: Yup. That’s the goal. And obviously, the functional medicine testing is important, too, because if you feel like crap, you’ve got to figure out, “Okay, what are the biomarkers that are going on that allowed me to get to this level?” Yeah. It could just been a fluke. Something you pick up and then it’s gone.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: You don’t have to worry about it. But, you know, the G.I. map that we both use has been upgraded. So now we’re able to test for other things. So, we’re able to actually test for things like Epstein-Barr now on the stool panel, which is cool and worms.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: We’re seeing hookworms and thread worms and these parasitic pathogens, the H. pylori piece, bacterial overgrowth, fungus, Candida. We’ll look at the immune system, gluten antibodies to see if you’ve been cheating. I mean, there is so much available on the testing that if you get sick, consider that your— your time. Okay, now I need to go run an OAT test as well and go look at my nutritional markers. How’s my mitochondria? How does my B vitamins look? How is my liver detox function? That’s the excuse that you may need to get yourself tested. So if you’re trying to do self-treat, you’ve got that medicine cabinets. It’s full or you’ve got that supplement graveyard, you can whittle that down to just the foundations like Justin and I’ve done. We’ve got just the key component. But that’s because it’s based on labs. It’s not just guessing and checking. So you always wanna make sure that you guys know you have to get to that next step. I know what’s going on. I knew that I had the Cyclospora plus the stress. It filled up my bucket. And my bucket overflowed and now I’m draining that bucket with your help. And now I’m sleeping better and uh— my stress load has gone down significantly. So now I’m able to—to come out of it, but as you see, if the stress doesn’t go and I’m still not sleeping and I’m still stressed and other things are my bucket, I won’t get well. But I saw it coming, the train hit me, I called you, you help me through it. I made it out. Now the train’s gone. The train is leaving the station and I’m—I’m coming back to normal.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Hey, we’re able to have a high-level conversation. You are able to see patients today. You are able to do uh—you know, all the work you got to do. So that’s phenomenal if you can function that level. And I get people on the Facebook live. Again, we only can do this conversation two way on YouTube, right? We have to choose your media, Facebook or YouTube. We like YouTube better. So feel free, uhm—if you’re on Facebook, you know, go to the YouTube channel— justinhealth.com/YouTube Y-O-U-T-U-B-E subscribe. Hit the bell and you can watch the whole back and forth conversation with it. I’ll put a link in the show notes description on Facebook afterwards. So you can subscribe at Justinhealth.com/YouTube subscribe. Hit the bell. Pound that bell so you get the notifications and then you can watch this conversation and you can ask questions as well.
Evan Brand: I think were done. I think we can wrap this one up. If you want to reach out for help, get a consult with Justin or myself. You can look us up. Justinhealth.com that’s for Justin. You can check out the store, too. We’ve got some cool herbs on there. Myself, Evanbrand.com and look us up. Stalk us. Study our content. We’ve got hundreds of hours of other free stuff so go study and become the smartest person in your family so that you can help them when they’re down and out.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’m gonna drop a couple more knowledge bombs but as a little collateral here, I’m asking everyone listening now smash the bell because the bell is what’s gonna tell you when we come up again. And were gonna try to consistently be on Mondays and then Fridays I’ll do live FAQ’s. I’ll try to give like a 24-hour note on this. But if you smash that bell, that’s gonna help you to know when we’re going live so you can get your questions answered. Number two, give us a thumbs up and the share right now so more people can get access to this information. By you sharing, your helping other people get healthier, which is going to be better for everyone.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: My philosophy is anytime your healthier, you’re a better employee you’re a better CEO, you’re a better mom, you’re a better dad, you’re a better parent, you’re a better neighbor, you’re a better everything to everyone when you’re healthy. So this is kinda how we ask that you help us get you healthy. And outside of that, uhm—phenomenal. So outside of that, also, sugar is a big one. We already talked about it before. Sugar is going to decrease your phagocytic activity. So phagocytes are these little Pac-Man that go around in the bloodstream and try to gobble up bacteria. When I was coming back from Kansas City, it was January 3rd, I overcome my infection. I was like sick for a day or two, I knocked it out. I was like feeling it. I was like getting better and getting better, getting better. Uhm— sleep was good. Number one key is for three days after you start feeling good, continue with immune support like you’re sick. That’s number one. Number two, be very careful of alcohol. I was on the plane Southwest gave me these like free drink cards and they have really nice sparkling wine in the menus like a Cava, you know, it was like a dry one, like, “This is great.” I love sparkling wine like the holidays are coming over, let me have a glass of champagne on the airplane.” Have a nice little glass and the throat issue just started coming back.
Evan Brand: Oh.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And at 9 o’clock, I juiced some ginger, I hit hard. I hit the immune support. I hit ginger the next two days. Gone. So it—it kinda like creep up a little bit, but I went and pounded it down by doing all those things that I practice. So just to keep that in the back of your mind if you feel that.
Evan Brand: It’s like, “Hey, don’t be doing that yet. We’re not ready for that yet, Justin.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes. Exactly. So I think some of the alcohol or maybe some of the carbohydrate just started weakening my immune system. And whatever like little virus or a bacterial critter that was in there, it was to peek his head back up.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We showed him who’s boss, so—
Evan Brand: Nice.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, anything else you want to mention here, Evan?
Evan Brand: I don’t think so. Just make sure that you’re asking these questions. You know, your— your symptoms are not a deficiency of antibiotics or steroids or whatever other ace—ace inhibitors and all these other drugs that I mean think about it, if I would’ve ended up going to a conventional Doc for my blood pressure, I mean, just based on one high reading, they’re likely to throw you on some type of a blood pressure medication. And we know the side effects of those are just huge. So, I mean, really just trying to take a deep dive into the natural perspective first. It’s much easier to pull somebody from sickness if they’re not already on 10 or 15 drugs. If you’re already that deep into conventional medicine, you’ve already been on acid blockers and steroids and antibiotics. I mean it’s like, “Oh, good Lord!” It’s just—it’s extra work. We can do it, but man, natural medicine is superior for these type of issues.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100% I got a couple more questions. Let’s hit them real quick. “So after the flu, I really have sugar cravings. What’s causing this?” Well, number one, it depends, right? If you took in antibiotics that could be a yeast overgrowth that’s happening. So, did you take antibiotics? yes or no? Number two, typically, when you get sick, you to tend to lose a lot of weight coz you have no appetite. So if you’re throwing up, you’re easily nauseous, you may have the under eating, so your body is craving a lot of nutrition. So you gotta get back in the swing of good proteins, good fats, extra bone broth, minerals, tea to kinda get things going. And then get the blood sugar stability back on track.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Next, just stress in general make anyone more susceptible to infections or some people just more vulnerable to others. Uh, Robert, in general, yes. Stress will make you more susceptible because high levels of cortisol, right, will suppress your immune system. And “Is ginger tea safe to drink every day?” Yes I’ve no problem drinking ginger every day. It’s a tonic, really good. If you look at uhm—a lot of Chinese restaurants or Asian restaurants that serve like sushi, they typically always have a little bit the ginger on the side. Why? Because it helps with digestion. And it’s also anti-parasitic as well. And “What would you do if you’re already dealing with an autoimmune disease?” Well, you know, get rid of the infection, right? Support the infection but then you gotta get to work and reach out to someone, Evan and myself to get to work on the underlying autoimmune disease, body systems that are not working and the underlying stressors above that.
Evan Brand: Yeah. There’s probably other stuff going on outside of that. It could be co-infections, could be bacteria, yeast, fungus, parasite, H. pylori. All that stuff in your bucket. The leaky gut situation has to happen for autoimmune disease to be present. So if there’s still gluten or some other food trigger, you gotta address all those. I mean obviously, yeah you knockdown the flu, but you still got other work to do. So, yeah, functional medicine guy’s important.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. And also, Xander writes about the IV therapy and the cocktails. Yeah, IV therapy, I think can be great like if you’re sick, like there’s an acute like one-day thing, especially if you have loose stools, or Myer’s cocktail or a nice vitamin C drip, I think can be helpful acutely. Problem is, it’s not sustainable longer-term. You know, if you’re paying 50 or 80 or a hundred dollars an IV and your sick, you need it every day. May not be the most cost-effective way, but I think if you know, it’s a one-day kind of acute thing, is it totally okay? Yeah. I much rather see you run to your natural path and get an IV then run to your ER and have them put in antibiotics. Especially most of the time, if it’s a virus, you’re just destroying your gut for no reason. If it’s a virus infection and they’re giving you antibiotic, and most times, they don’t culture it. So they’re not gonna run a culture. They’re not gonna even see if it is. They may just diagnose off of symptoms. And there’s some overlap between virus and bacteria where it may be hard to know the difference.
Evan Brand: Sure are. And it’s not gonna do nothing but give you potentially fungus and yeast to come right back with a vengeance. And you got more stuff to work on.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. Yup.
Evan Brand: You’re creating more work for yourself if you do that.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And then Matt talks about DXM. I think the one deficit is the herbal extract, but it helps with mucus. It helps kind of decrease mucus. Matt was mentioning that it’s a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Uhm— so regarding “Would 5- HTP be dangerous?” I mean, in the short run, uhm— I wouldn’t worry about it. Again, I typically only recommend things like Mucinex or the Guaifenesin extract if the cough is keeping you up at night. Like if you’re coughing all night and you can’t go to sleep, you’re kinda in between a rock and a hard place. Coz we know how important the sleep is for the immune system. So I would use an herbal extract or I would use a Mucinex product uhm—or is the one that I used by another company called Mucopect, which is phenomenal. It just has the herb without all the dyes and colors and crap in it. Coz that can decrease the mucus. But again, the body is trying to use the mucus to kind of like flush out, you know, the viral adhesions. So I will just use more ginger tea and natural toxins, you’re anti-toxins that kinda can help with the cough reduction. Uhm— but again, if you’re sleep is being impaired, you got to get the sleep on track. And I would err on the side of using those if the sleep is being impaired.
Evan Brand: Yup. Well said.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Anything else you wanna add, Evan?
Evan Brand: I think that’s it. I’m sure I could keep blabbing, but I think we killed it at this point and uh—I think we should wrap it up.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome. I’ll see you this coming Friday for my live FAQ. So be there, be square. And give us a share and a like and smash that bell right now. Appreciate everyone’s time. Have a great week.
Evan Brand: Take Care.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Thanks. Bye, Evan.
Evan Brand: Bye.
Why You Keep Getting Sick, and What You Can Do about Those Flu Symptoms | Part 1
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
When most people start to get sick, they feel the flu symptoms start to come on, it’s easy to feel paralyzed regarding what to do next. The common phrase, “Hold on tight and enjoy the ride!” comes to mind, probably because you feel like you have no other choice.
More importantly, people need to be aware of what can happen the next time their immune system is compromised and they feel a cold coming on. The more the supplement and lifestyle recommendations in this article are applied, the better chance you’ll have to avoid getting sick and the common flu symptoms that go along with it.
The wintertime is unlike any time throughout the year. We have extra stressors around us all the time, especially during the holidays. These stressors include shopping; changes in weather, such as less sunlight; and increased consumption of sugar and processed foods from all the desserts and holiday goodies.
I am going to try to keep things simple, so after reading this post, you’ll have some excellent action items (AI) you can then use to apply to your health, and for those interested, some additional information on your immune system so you can better understand how things work.
Your immune system has two branches. You can think of it like a seesaw: as one goes up, one goes down. Understanding the basics will help you understand how these changes are affecting your body. If this is too much information, just skip down to the action items for the meat and potatoes.
To keep things simple, you have two sides to your immune system, Th1 and Th2
Th1: This side provides the frontline military defense for bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens trying to gain access to our bodies. These cells are typically known as natural killer cells. It’s important to note the vaccines have absolutely no effect on the Th1 branch of our immune system.
Th2: This side is primarily responsible for making antibodies (soldiers that are specific to whatever is making us sick) to the various bacteria, viruses, and pathogens that have already invaded our body. In other words, this provides the backup defense for our body when we have already been compromised. Vaccines work on this branch; more on this on a separate post!
It usually takes about one week for our Th2 side to get ramped up (i.e., it takes about one week for the backup soldiers to get called into action to help us out). That’s why the average cold lasts about one week. In summary the Th1 side is the wall that prevents things from coming in, and the Th2 side is the backup soldiers there to help in case the bad guy break through the wall
So after learning a bit more about your immune system, the suggestions I am making below should make a little more sense to you. I am going to break up my recommendations into two categories: diet & lifestyle, and supplementation. Part 1, this post, will be on diet and lifestyle, and supplementation will be covered in part 2.
Diet & Lifestyle: Actions Items
Sleep is the primary time where your immune system recharges. Our bodies are naturally on a light and dark cycle, so the prime time to tap into natural repair is right around 10 p.m. At this time our body is making human growth hormone (which helps repair our body) and is going through a process known as cellular autophagy, which is repairing our immune system. Sleep deprivation is considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the only nonsubstance carcinogen in the same league as cigarettes and asbestos. AI: Sleep before 10 p.m., and make sure it’s in a dark environment.
2. Vitamin D
With less sunlight our body has less ability to make vitamin-D on our own. So if you live in a warmer climate in the wintertime, get some healthy sun exposure without burning. For the rest it will be a necessity to rely on a vitamin D3 supplement; stay tuned to the supplement post coming later!
3. Avoid sugar
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100 g of sugar will inhibit your immune system by 50% for up to five hours. The specific immune cells that are inhibited are known as neutrophils, the common immune cells in the body. Your neutrophils produce certain cells know as phagocytes that gobble and eat up bacteria. If the cells are not able to do their job properly, it’s going to be very easy for bacterial infections and immune suppression to occur (2).
Research also shows that other immune cells, such as lymphocytes (our second most common immune cells), are also reduced for 30 to 60 minutes after an acute ingestion of 75 g of glucose (3).
Do yourself a favor and avoid sugar, which includes grains, starches, alcohol, and wine. In the end all of these items are broken down by your body into sugar.
AI: Healthy organic meats and vegetables, especially cooked in a Crock-Pot, can be really helpful. Try chicken soup minus the noodles; grandmas everywhere would be so proud!
4. Listen to your body
Your body will tell you when it’s starting to get sick. Your energy will start to decline, and you may start to feel a slight twinge in the back of your throat as well. “If you can listen to your body’s whispers, you won’t have to endure its cries…”
This isn’t a time to be tough and power through it. Your immune system takes a lot of energy when it ramps up the Th1 side to fight an infection. Instead of fighting your immune system, try a more gentle approach, like a lite yoga session or a walk, or even take an off day and try to get some extra rest.
“If you listen to your body’s whispers, you won’t have to endure its cries…”
5. Sauna session
Your body will naturally try to increase its body temperature to increase the effectiveness of the Th1 side of the immune system . This is why a fever can be a very beneficial thing, as long as the fever isn’t going >105 F there really is no need to worry. AI: You can mimic this state naturally with a sauna session, which can help get your immune system ready to go!
I recommend increasing your water consumption during these sick times. One-half your body weight in ounces is a good baseline, so even a little more can be helpful. Teas can be good, too; just avoid the ones with caffeine. AI: Drink up! “The solution to pollution is dilution!”
7. Manage stress
Stress comes in many shapes and sizes: emotional, physical, and chemical. The above suggestions already address the chemical and physical, but the emotional is not something we have dealt with yet. Research has shown that after a fight with a spouse, your immune system can be weakened for up to two days (1). AI: Avoid unnecessary stressful conflict with your significant other when feeling under the weather.
8. Wash your hands
This is the main vehicle in which viruses and other bad guys are transferred. Washing your hands throughout the day can decrease the spread of these pathogens.
9. Introduce fermented foods into your diet
A real easy way to do this is start consuming sauerkraut or kimchi from your local health food store. The fermentation processes, the way in which these foods are prepared, produce beneficial bacteria (probiotics), which have an important role in your gut health. Seventy percent of your immune cells are located in you gut (MALT & GALT). The healthier your gut, the healthier you immune system. Antibiotics can destroy the beneficial bacteria that we get from probiotics and fermented food. That’s why antibiotics should be a last resort.
10. Fasting can really help rev up your immune system
Fasting can help increase neutrophil activity, which in turn stimulates more phagocytes to gobble up more bacteria and potential infections. Many of the benefits of fasting seem to come from a reduction in glucose levels. I still recommend consuming protein when you’re sick, especially in the form of grass-fed whey protein, or if you are autoimmune, pea protein may be a better choice. These types of proteins are highly absorbable and very easy for your digestive system to break down.
While fasting and sipping on bone broths or various herbal teas, one of my favorites is “ginger tea.” Start off by grading some high-quality ginger, or purchase some ginger teabags, a small amount of wildflower honey, a lime or lemon rind, and a little bit of cayenne and combine to help support your immune system and even break down bacterial biofilms.
Your immune system requires high amounts of amino acids and proteins to mount an immune response (make antibodies). If you are not consuming enough protein, your immune system may be more susceptible to infection. Adding in some high-quality proteins, especially from whey or pea protein, can provide you with a valuable boost of amino acid while, at the same time, making it very easy for your digestive system to break down, absorb, and assimilate.
Antibiotics do not make your immune system stronger; they just kill the bad guys that are suppressing your immune system and keeping you sick. All of the suggestions mentioned in this blog post will increase your immune function thus helping your immune system to kill off all of these bad bugs on your own. A little help from supplements can’t hurt either! More on probiotics in part 2!
3. Bernstein J, Alpert S, Nauss KM, Depression of lymphocyte transformation following oral glucose ingestion. Am J ClinNutr 1977;30:613.