9 Ways to Fix Your Gut Flora
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
What is Your ‘Gut Flora’?
There is a whole community–a whole universe–living within our intestinal tract. Roughly two pounds of microbes live in and on our bodies; the vast majority of these are located in our gut. With many guests setting up camp inside of us, we must take precautions, just as we would if we were hosting guests in our homes, to ensure we are only inviting good company.
How Your Gut Flora Affects Your Health
Our gut flora is responsible for more than you might realize. It can cause cravings, impact our mood, and affect allergies and food intolerances. By keeping our gut bacteria balanced, we can control how fast our metabolism works, boost our energy, prevent disease, and extract more nutrients from our food. If you don’t have a healthy gut balance, your immune system will be severely compromised. Poor gut health is tied to many health issues and diseases, including:
- Asthma and allergies
- Autoimmune diseases (arthritis, IBS)
- Cognitive decline (Alzheimer’s, dementia)
- Fatigue and brain fog
- Fungal overgrowth
- Gluten sensitivity and other food allergies and intolerances
- Learning disabilities (ADHD)
- Mood disorders (anxiety, depression): The human body has a “second brain” that we are just starting to learn about, located in the gut. Breakthroughs in science are being made on how the trillions of bacteria in our gut— the microbiome— communicate with the neurons in our gut lining. This effectively means the bacteria living inside of our intestines have an effect on our mood! Science is showing depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders are linked to the microbiome.
- Parasitic infections
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Type 1 diabetes
Just as bad bacteria negatively affect your health, good bacteria have a positive influence on your health! Good gut flora assists in the following ways:
- Gut flora is responsible for helping your body absorb and store nutrients, like vitamin B.
- It produces vital nutrients. For example, your body doesn’t store or produce vitamin K, and the food you eat can only provide you with a little of what you need. Luckily, your gut flora produces the majority of the vitamin K you require, and since your body isn’t good at storing vitamin K, it’s crucial that your gut flora is always producing more for you!
- Good bacteria keep the walls of your intestines strong and prevent you from developing leaky gut.
- Balanced gut flora trains your immune cells to fight inflammation.
- Good gut flora is energy-efficient. Having an imbalanced (“bad”) gut flora means your body has to hold on to more food to get the same amount of energy, which causes more food to be stored as fat. On the flip side, if your gut flora is in good shape, you get maximal energy out of the food you eat and excrete what’s left over!
Nine Ways to Fix Your Gut
We’ve seen how gut flora is responsible for keeping us healthy or making us sick. How can we make our gut stronger? Here are 9 ways to fix your gut flora!
- Reduce or cut your sugar intake: Sugar is one of the bad bacteria’s favorite foods!
- Avoid inflammatory foods: Some studies have shown that fats and oils ruin your health, but this research studied diets comprised largely of refined vegetable oils, such as soybean oil. On the other hand, grass-fed butter, organic coconut oil, and extra-virgin olive oil have been shown to promote a healthy gut flora and aid in weight loss!
- Eat a variety of healthy foods: Eating a wide range of healthy foods ensures we have a diverse microbe population, which is very important!
- Eat vegetables with every meal: If you can fill half your plate with vegetables and plant-based foods, your good bacteria will have plenty of fiber and nutrition to feast on and use to boost your health!
- Choose organic: Not only are GMOs and toxic pesticides are bad for our microbiome, they also affect the soil they’re grown in, and our gut bacteria and the bacteria in the soil are related.
- Eat prebiotic rich food: Sweet potatoes, asparagus, and other prebiotic foods feed the good guys!
- Incorporate fermented foods into your diet: Sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, and pickles are all delicious fermented foods.
- Take prebiotics and probiotics: The use of pre- and probiotics feed the good bacteria that keep your gut healthy.
- Take steps to lower your stress: Try meditation, yoga, a walk or a jog, or partaking in your favorite hobby to reduce your stress. Studies have shown that stress can actually negatively affect the composition of your gut flora!
The state of your gut is responsible for both your physical and mental health. Luckily, even if your gut is in bad shape, it is easily remedied by following the nine steps listed above. The good bacteria are always ready to move back in, all you have to do is provide them with the right environment.
Optimizing Your Functional Medicine Gut Program – Dr. J Podcast #164
In today’s video, Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand discuss the topic of creating a functional medicine toolbox for your gut health. Learn about the natural ways to modify your diet, improve your digestion, and promote your overall gut health. Watch and listen as they reveal some of the tools in the trade.
Discover some protocols that help aid problems with gut fungus, yeast overgrowth and infection, gut bacteria issues and parasites in your digestive system. Learn about the different steps to take on how to ensure you’re taking the right path for better gut health. Also, stay tuned for more information about how to further catch some knowledge bombs from this functional medicine duo.
In this episode, we cover:
03:30 Looking at the Food
04:23 Digestive Support
06:10 Silver in the Killing Phase
09:47 Probiotics and Antibiotic Therapy
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey there! It’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani. Evan Brand, what’s going on, man? How are things?
Evan Brand: Happy Monday. Life is good. The sun’s gone, though. That’s sad. This time of the year just— gonna start that gray sky, so I’m kind of jealous. I’m sure it’s sunny in Texas right now.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s a little cloudy out here today, but I was actually in Lake Austin yesterday, water skiing. I got a new suit. It’s about a three-four millimeter kind of thickness suit, so it’s great. I go in the water, doing pretty good. I’ve got some little booties, too, that are neo-printed, and some gloves. The worst thing was the week before. I didn’t have the gloves— is you really— you know— ‘cause when you’re squeezing really hard, right? You kind of squeeze a lot of that blood out, right? You kind of like— you know, white knuckled, so to speak. You don’t have a lot of blood, so your hands get really cold with the air. So those new gloves made a huge difference
Evan Brand: Well, that’s awesome.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. How’re things going on with you?
Evan Brand: Things were good. You know, the baby’s running around and keeping me busy. She basically stole half of my lunch. She took all my carrots and almost stolen my peas, so that’s a lot of fun. You know, tweaking her diet. We just actually ran a GI Map on her. So, we’ll make it to Stool Test back. We’ll have to uhh— chat about what’s on there— Actually, no! I take that back. We got the results. She had Klebsiella on there. So, that’s pretty interesting.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome, dude. I got my dog, Butter, here on the YouTube if you guys want to see her. Butter (kisses the dog). We love good healthy fats, that’s why we named her Butter. Uhm— but yeah— so, we’re in the same place. Aden’s doing really good, breastfeeding like crazy. He’s starting to sleep a little bit more, so we’re really excited about that. Really happy your daughter’s going good, too.
Evan Brand: What do you think about the Klebsiella with her? I mean, we’re using some herbs already. It’s like, at her age it makes you wonder. Did she pick up Klebsiella from somewhere? Did she have it? Was that passed through the placenta? I mean, it makes you wonder, her being that young.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I mean, I would say off the bat, uhm— probably something from your wife? From you guys? And, I would utilize some probiotics and, maybe, one oil of Oregano Capsule a day, or something like that, or maybe decent to help. Keep it really low, though. [crosstalk] But use more probiotics. Anything else?
Evan Brand: We’re doing that tincture, I was telling you about, that’s got the uh—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: … I think it’s got the…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. [crosstalk] good one [silence]. That’s a great one. I like that.
Evan Brand: [inaudible] …worked it out. But anyhow— So, I’m sure we can do a whole podcast on that, but I figured, today, you and I should chat about creating a protocol. You know, if you’re trying to create a functional medicine toolbox for gut health, what would that look like? In that could involve things that could help with fungus, yeast, bacteria and parasites. We’ve hit on parasites and— you know, the influence of thyroid health and adrenal health. And we’ve hit on the link between parasites and leaky gut, and leaky gut and autoimmunity. So now, I feel like it’d be good for us to— you know, reveal some of the tools of the trade, which you’ve already mention one, which is the Oregano. So maybe let’s go into the order of operations first. Let’s talk about what comes first, like in this whole Functional Medicine approach. ‘Cause some people, they think probiotics are just be used anytime. And prebiotics, you can just throw them in. But really, there’s a— there’s a Science and there’s an order to herbs. Probiotics may not be the first thing that you should look at for an adult.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I know. I uh— I hundred percent agree with that. So, first things first is looking at the foods. If we have certain foods that are more offending and more inflammatory, that’s gonna potentially create the— the breeding ground on which bacteria can overgrow. There’s lots of different bacteria that can grow, so— I mean, we have more of our pathogenic type or Klebsiella, or Proteus, or Citrobacter, rella— or Morganella. These are our dysbiotic bacteria, not so good. They produce toxins in our body. They can eat up B vitamins. They can prevent our good bacteria from producing nutrition. So, of course, we want to make sure those things are under control. We will look at the foods first. Keep the inflammatory foods down. I think, potentially, in your daughter’s situation. They may have been some foods, they may have been slipping in some, like kind of pseudo-Paleo foods, potentially. [crosstalk] What food were you slipping in for her?
Evan Brand: Well, so we were doing the rice flour.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Rice flour? [crosstalk] Yep.
Evan Brand: Rice flour and also, there was some Tapioca starch and some of these like dried veggie snacks. They had Tapioca in there. So I’m thinking because, remember, I showed you that she had a small rash into her eye.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [inaudible] … improving?
Evan Brand: It’s gone.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And what food change did you make?
Evan Brand: The rice flour. We took it out.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think there’s a gluten-sensitivity component there. So, I think [crosstalk] once you get that better, the gut bacteria will get better. So then, once that’s better, you know, looking at digestive support— so if they’re kiddos— I mean, you know, what can you do? So, typically, we’ll do like uhm— We’ll do some enzyme wafers that are really easy to chew and taste pretty good, for the little kiddos, they can eat.
Evan Brand: Is there any good brands? ‘Cause I looked at some, and it looked like a lot of them had fructose in there, added.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I mean, I like the Vitalzym’s chewables.
Evan Brand: Okay.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s a pretty good one. If they can swallow a pill, Then we’d maybe have them do an HCL enzyme combo if they can get a pill. If they can’t, I’ll do a wafer.
Evan Brand: Ah— okay.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I would do that, and uhm— just really making sure they chew their food up really well. Uh— and then— you know, just cutting out the inflammatory food. So that would be my first two steps right there. And, I would even maybe do a smoothie for one meal a day and really just add some extra aminos, add some extra nutrients in there. So, it kind of gives her digestive system a break for at least one meal.
Evan Brand: That’s a genius idea. Did you know that the Vitalzym chewable has the DPP4 in there. So that would be great [crosstalk] if there is a cross-contamination issue going on.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And that would be helpful. And the chewable— those taste pretty decent, too. Had a couple of kids— Yeah— fed them a couple dozen at least the last few years, do well with those. So, I like those, a lot. And then the next step is, you know, the Killing Phase. We kind of talked about, you know, the foods. We talked about enzyme support. Maybe we add them some gut-healing nutrients. Maybe we add them some collagen peptides. Maybe we add them some L-Glutamine to keep it really simple for the kiddos. Maybe we just put that in our morning shake. A couple of blueberries or berries, maybe a nice scoop of collagen or pea protein to keep it more hypoallergenic, maybe some coconut milk or MCT for some extra good fats, maybe we add some extra L-Glutamine— or like in my Lyme, we use like a GI Restore, some extra healing, soothing mucilaginous herbs, like Aloes, Slippery Elm, DGL Licorice; all very healthy and soothing. And then maybe we start the killing in a month or two later. We could start even with just like a teaspoon of Silver. Right? Twice a day, for your daughter who’s younger, right? Something very, very small. Maybe do one oil of Oregano Pearl, once a day. And over [crosstalk] Yeah.
Evan Brand: Talk more about the Silver. I mean, there’s antimicrobial benefits. I believe there’s antiparasitic benefits, possibly.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I mean, Silver is proven to help with biofilms. They’re actually— My mom’s still a surgical nurse. She’s been a surgical nurse for like 45 years, and she has even— The last couple of years, they are actually adding in a Silver wrap. So, when they do like a total hip or a total knee, they’re actually wrapping the whole joint with this like Aluminum-foil-like thing, but it’s Silver. And they wrapped the joint before they closed it in that, uhm— to prevent, basically uhm— bac— antibiotic or just some bacteria coming from coming in.
Evan Brand: And that stays in?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: No, it dissolves.
Evan Brand: Oh, it dissolves. [crosstalk] That’s cool.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s kind of like a cellophane thing that kind of dissolves. They do it— this one called Seprafilm. They put over like— you know, they do a surgery to prevent scar tissues. So, it’s similar to that. It’s kind of like a cellophane-thin kind of thing they wrap. Not sure of it’s up against the joint directly or if it’s around the fascia and the skin. I’m not sure about that. But it’s definitely enclosed around that joint for sure, to help with the biofilms and the resistant bacteria. Conventional medicine’s getting on board. And they have to, because they have a lot of problems with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. So, they kind of have to.
Evan Brand: Yeah, the C. diff, the MRSA. I’ve even heard of antifungal-resistant. Like this species of Candida diflucan and these other prescriptions aren’t working for even the yeast anymore. They’re— The yeast are evolving and getting too smart. Luckily, in our toolbox, we’re not using pharmaceuticals. We’re using herbs. And in this case, you know, if we’re talking about Candida, you mentioned the silver— We can use Silver against Candida, too. The Oregano can be against Candida. The garlic can be another good choice.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup, exactly. And there’s some liquid garlic options that we could always give her, too, as well. And then we could do some of the oil of Oregano. I like them ‘cause they’re smaller in pearl. So, like in my GI Clear 5 line, we have that, where we use the emulsified 75 percent Carvacrol extract, so it’s very potent. And it’s a pretty small uh— pearl, so typically, that’s easier to get down. And you can do that with the kiddo. You can do the Silver like I mentioned. And then we could always do some liquid garlic. So, those will be like kind of my options for kids that really had a hard time with pills, off the bat.
Evan Brand: Let’s chat about some statistics. I’ve seen kids as young as one, two, three, four years old, and they have infections, parasites, bacterial problems, a lot of Candida problems. ‘Cause the kids were unfortunately exposed to antibiotics early on, and now they’ve got a massive systemic yeast overgrowth.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. So, of course, anytime you have to use antibiotics. ‘Cause there may be sometimes— you know, you’re scared as a mom or dad, right? You’re like, “Oh my gosh! She’s getting out of control.” Number one, like have some things in your medicine cabinet like the Silver. You know, you could do even some ginger capsules is good, or some higher-dosed ginger tea if you can’t get that downward. It’s gonna be great. Of course, keeping the sugar out. But if we uhm— had to come at it with some probiotics during the killing, we can always add in some probiotics, some powder probiotics, and some saccharomyces boulardii. And we can put it in— in their drink, right? We can get them to have a nice little smoothie. We that in there. Or we could just mix it in, maybe their Kombucha or something. Or we could just come up with some kind of a drink they like and put it in there. That could be some really good options during the killing, and of course, we would do it after for at least one or two months.
Evan Brand: So, what do you think about Probiotics. I mean, some of the training I’ve seen and some of the protocols recommend probiotics during a killing phase and then some protocols don’t recommend probiotics. I mean, it— like—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It depends. There is some research showing that probiotics during antibiotic therapy can actually be beneficial. And again, most conventional antibiotic therapies don’t go longer than two weeks. So, I’m not that worried about it ‘cause we’re gonna be giving probiotics afterwards for at least two months. So, I’m not worried about if we want to go do it for two weeks. Do the probiotics while we do the antibiotics. I’m okay with it, especially if you have digestive issues. And let’s say the probiotics really helped and they’re soothing. Maybe they help keep you regular. Maybe you have a history of a lot of rebound yeast overgrowths ‘cause of post antibiotic therapy in the past, then I would. If you don’t, then I would just wait until afterwards. I don’t think you can go wrong if you do. Some people, they have histories of just antibiotics or let’s just say probiotics causing a lot of bloating and gas. And if that’s the case, and I’d probably wait. Yeah. May use some different strains. May use some coil or spore-like strains, or just doing it after the antibiotics. A lot of that flora’s gonna be knocked down. So, maybe the probiotics are more tolerable after that as well.
Evan Brand: And the same thing would apply for just straight herbs. If you were just doing straight herbal protocol. Sometimes, you’re gonna use probiotics during the killing. Sometimes, you’re not. Or you’re always using.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh— I only use probiotics during the killing, if we’re on a repeat protocol, like if we retested and we have new infections or other factions, just because I want to prevent any rebound overgrowth from happening
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Just kind of where you knock them out of the floor down. You even knocked the good stuff back, but we all know, if you do weeding in the garden, you never have to go back and purposefully plant weeds, right? Weeds automatically grow.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, it’s kind of like that. We’re just kind of throwing down extra seeds during the process to take up the space that maybe those weeds would take. So, it’s kind of like a preventative thing, as well as— It can have benefits with inflammation and it can have benefits with regularity and motility as well.
Evan Brand: That’s good advise. And also, too. You and I see the Beta-glucuronidase enzyme on the Stool Test that we’re running. And if that enzyme is elevated, that could mean your recirculating your toxins and hormones and drugs and stuff like that. And one good way that we can get Beta-glucuronidase back down into normal range is probiotics. So, I love that you bring up [inaudible]—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Also— We can also use phages, too. Phages have some really good beneficial effects at knocking down that bacteria. And then, you know, depending on how regular you are, we can even slide in some activated charcoal, too. Some activated charcoal or some like Modified Citrus Pectin, trying to act like a little sponge and soak up a lot of the crap that are maybe sitting around your gut from all that bacteria.
Evan Brand: When would you make the call on that? Would that be like if you have a ton of bacterial infections plus parasites, they could try to treat five or six things at once? Like what if it was just H. pylori? Are you gonna hit the charcoal or not?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Depends on the person’s resilience. If they have a lot of fatigue, and they have a history of being more sensitive, or they have a history of lots of antibiotics and like they tell me like— you have like, in the past, antibiotics have really wiped me out, or I’m just really tired or if in fatigue, then maybe I would add in preventatively. I they’re pretty— like if energy’s pretty decent, then I would say, “Let’s wait and see.”
Evan Brand: Yep. .
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …wait and see. But it’s something that’s always there, you know. Kind of undecked so to speak. So if we need to go, we can go to it. Of course, then one of the first things we can do is ginger tea, ‘cause ginger really helps the lymphatic systems. It’s very anti-inflammatory. Keeps things moving. It’s also a biofilm buster, too, so it helps— it actually helps the uhm— antibiotics work better. There were studies using Silver and ginger and they found that when they used the Silver and ginger, the antibiotics actually work better. So, I tell patients, if you need to use the antibiotic, use the ginger and Silver with it. And then, you can even add in the probiotics to prevent any rebound overgrowth. That way, you get the best of both worlds.
Evan Brand: Nice. That is awesome. And then, uh— I guess the last step in our toolbox— you know, we’re talking protocol, would be another test. Because, once you go through the— you talk us through the process, removing bad foods, replacing enzymes, repairing the gut…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hmmn— hmmn.
Evan Brand: [inaudible] …infections re-inoculating probiotics. Then the last step in this whole protocol is the test itself. Retest and make sure [crosstalk] all the stuff we implemented was successful.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hundred percent, yeah. So, if we have a specific infection we’re going after, we definitely want to put in their crosshairs, we want to aim at it. And then we want to go look to that scope again and make sure we actually hit it right. That’s kind of where that lab test retest would come in. Sometimes, if it’s just insignificant smaller amounts of yeast or smaller amounts of bacteria, and there’s not any major stuff— there’s no H. pylori, there’s no like significant bacterial overgrowth, there’s significant fungal overgrowth or any parasites, then we’ll just based it off of symptomatic relief?
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Is there anything significant, then I want to make sure that we retest for sure.
Evan Brand: Yeah. It’s a great point. People ask it all the time. You know— “Should I retest?” “Do I really need to retest?” Maybe. But if you feel amazing, maybe we can assume. And your hair’s better, and your skin’s better, and your nails are better— like for me, I noticed when I thought my infections were gone because my weight loss stopped. Like, my weight stabilized, but I still did the retest, ‘caused I had the Giardia, Crypto, H. pylori, Pseudomonas, Candida— I had all of it. That was just too much for me to not spend the money on the retest.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I wouldn’t give you the choice for those kinds of infections. But let’s say you had just a little bit of like yeast, or you had just a little bit of Citrobacter. It wasn’t off the charts and you didn’t have really awful symptoms, then I would probably say, “Hey, if you feel and improvement, that’s good.”
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I would say, “Let’s just keep you in the loop to retest once a year.”
Evan Brand: So, people say, “Well, how would I know if I’m feeling good Dr. J? “ That would be things like what? If your brains working? Your…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes. [crosstalk] Everytime I— I chat with the patient, we always go over wins, challenges and corrections, diet, lifestyle, review, supplement review. So, of course, wins and challenges, what’s moving in the right direction at each appointment and what’s moving in the wrong direction. And of course, we have our baseline audit in the beginning. Patient comes in day one. Do patient exam. I got bloating. I had gas. I have diarrhea. We follow up. Make diet changes, lifestyle changes, supplement changes, how much better, what are our wins. “Oh, well. Bloating is down; 80 percent. Diarrhea is down; 90 percent.” And we continue to follow that all the way down. So each time we chat, we’re always checking in. We’re keeping our pulse on everything. I want to know exactly what we’re at, so to speak.
Evan Brand: Yep, well said. So, if those symptoms are still there, maybe the hair’s better but you still got the gas bloating. Well, could still be some yeast or bacteria going on there. Is that safe to say?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And if we’re running— Let’s say, we’re running like our GI Map or our 401H and it’s looking relatively clean, then the next place we’re gonna go is the Breath Test. We’re gonna go Breath Test next ‘cause then, there may be some bacteria on there we not necessarily are picking up. And the Breath Test is kind of more of uh— a broad general spectrum because it’s looking more of the gases that bacteria is producing. So, not necessarily the bacteria, but it just tells us that there are bacteria there, producing gases if you will.
Evan Brand: How about the [crosstalk] organic acid?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: The analogy is this, right? The analogy is this. You’re on top of the water. Is someone under the water swimming? Well, how do you know if you can’t see him? Well, you look for bubbles coming up, right? So, think of the gas that comes back on the Breath Test is like looking for bubbles on the surface trying to see if someone’s in the water.
Evan Brand: So, may I ask you this, too. What if someone’s like, “Aaaah! I don’t want to do SIBO Testing.” What about just coming in and giving some Broad Spectrum Antimicrobial Support— maybe we throw in some of the SIlver or some of the garlic?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. It depends. I mean, typically, when I’m recommending SIBO Testing, people are having more severe issues and the issues have been more chronic, and they’re just more motivated to get answers. So, it just depends, right? The more intense the symptoms are and the more chronic some thing’s been, people typically wanted to know what’s real. They want to be able to put their finger on it, so to speak. So I, typically, will recommend that. Uhm— if they said let’s just try it first, then I can get more to agree that, “Hey. if we didn’t get it to improve, then Round two.” “I don’t want to retest” I’ll try to get that negotiation moving.
Evan Brand: Yeah. So, long story short, you know— we try to base everything on labs cause if you don’t test, you’ve guessed. And we try to minimize guessing and checking ‘cause a lot of practitioners do that. We’re just not huge fans of guessing because you spend more money in the long run and the clinical outcome is not as good. Then that comes back on us. “Hey. Why didn’t it work?” “Well, ‘cause we’re shooting into the dark.”
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: . Well, also like. Let’s say, we come back. Let’s say, we did a Breath Test, right? And let’s say, hypothetically, the person was at a hundred for Hydrogen and 50 for Methane, okay? And then let’s say, we did a protocol. And let’s say those gases cut in half but they were still symptomatic. Well, does it kind of— Isn’t it nice to know that you had 50 percent improvement on some of those gases and that you’re moving in the right direction? Like, imagine you had a map, right? And— like Google map, right? And they only told you, you are on the right path once you got there.
Evan Brand: [laughs]
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, don’t you have to want a confirmation that you’re moving in the right direction, right?
Evan Brand: Yep.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s kind of how I look at it. And the more complex and the more severe someone is, the more I like that because it gives me confidence as the doctor, that we’re doing the right stuff. But the patient is doing really well and some of the things and some of the things are really working well, then sometimes uh— I’ll let that one slide. But, I’ll let them know as a caveat that if— if we go in the wrong direction that’s gonna be our Plan B. And also I want to let people know what our Plan B is, just so they don’t think like, “Uh! Well, uhm— That’s all I got. I’m a one-trick pony,” Right? So, I want to let them know we got second options and third options, so to speak.
Evan Brand: Have you used a BioHealth? I know they’ve got a SIBO. I know they talked about a lot.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s the panel I use. I use the 900 SIBO Breath Test. .
Evan Brand: Oh, okay. That’s the best one.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I like it. It’s a three-hour.
Evan Brand: Okay.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s a three-hour test, and that’s nice to see the three-hour because you can get that whole window and you can see where it transitions at two hours to three, which is nice.
Evan Brand: Awesome. And then, what do you want to see on there? I mean, does that kind of like an adrenal profile where you’re gonna have a reference range?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hmm— Yeah. We want to see Methane three or below, and we want to see Hydrogen 15 and below. Below 15, ideally.
Evan Brand: And— and— So, let me ask you this. If you have an overgrowth of good guys, you know, on the GI Map, sometimes, we’ll see the beneficial bacteria show up high. People always target these bad bacteria, but it— you can’t have too much of a good thing. If you have too many good guys, could that also show up and trigger those?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, if we’re running an Organic Acid Test, we would look at the lactate being elevated and if we saw that there, most people are gonna know because they’re gonna feel more bloated and gassy with probiotics. They’re gonna feel it. They’re gonna be more probiotic intolerant. So, we’re gonna know that, alright? There’s gonna be— you know, We’re gonna have specific symptoms that we’ll be able to see clinically. And then I would just be using more spore-based probiotics, instead.
Evan Brand: Okay.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That I’ll probably use Saccharomyces boulardii and spore-based probiotics. First is— you know, like in my line, we used like the Probioflor, which is like bifidobacteria lactobacillus. The unique thing about my Lyme is we have the Phagen. So, the phage does have some antibacterial effects and it comes from a non-dairy culture. So, a lot of people can tolerate mine. But if you’re just doing a run on the milk probiotics, and there’s no phage and— and there’s dairy in there, potentially, then there may be a problem.
Evan Brand: Yep. Yep. Well said. I think that’s it. I think we killed that one fast, but very effective. Were there any pieces to the whole protocol talk you wanted to mention?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think we hit it pretty good, man. I think we’re really on the right track. Let me just see if we got any questions. I have kept my uh— question window down. I apologize for ignoring everyone.
Evan Brand: Let me see.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We got— Oh, then we do now some questions. Let me see what’s going on here guys.
Evan Brand: Uh, Waled said that he hopes that we talk about Lyme disease treatment. Maybe we can do a whole podcast on that. I mean, Justin and I are continuing to learn more about the different protocols. There’s many protocols for Lyme.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think a lot of people with Lyme are overtreated though. I think there’s a sequence that you have to go and work through. Like if you have a cute Lyme and you came back with uh— a bull’s eye rash, or you got any tick bite and then some symptoms follow right away, definitely go after that right away. But if it’s a chronic kind of thing, you need to get everything worked through. You need to get all your hormones work through, digestion worked through, diet and lifestyle worked through, worked through all the gut stuff, worked through the detox, and then get to the Lyme later. Uhm— so, a lot of people I find, I think, are misdiagnosed. Their immune system’s so screwed up ‘cause of other things, and then they’re seeing some Lyme come back, because, of course, everything’s gonna come back. Their immune system is down, right? It’s like, you open your house up, and you got— you know, you come home one day, and there’s ten homeless people laying in the kitchen. Of course! Your house is wide open, right? [crosstalk] So, think of that as kind of like your gut when your immune system’s super low.
Evan Brand: Yep, well said. And, you know, the thing with the Lyme, antibiotics are very, very, very overused. And if you read some of the work that Steven Buhner’s put out. He’s got multiple books on this subject about antibiotics. Unfortunately, in many, many cases, for chronic Lyme, they just don’t work. And he’s seen a lot of people get sicker from the antibiotic. So, herbs, luckily Lyme and these other bacteria, they are still susceptible and allowed to be killed from herbs. Antibiotics— it’s not working.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And this is really important, too. This kind of dovetails with today’s podcast. If we do a whole bunch of killing, where does that all go? Well, it typically will and get dumped in via the hepatobiliary system and then obviously, some of the killing will happen in the gut. And then, what if our motility is not good? What if our digestion is not good? Well, it’s gonna back you up even more and you’re gonna reabsorb more of those toxins, right? So, that’s why we really want to make sure things are moving, digestion is doing good, our motility is doing good, our immune system is better. And then we have things that really help with uhm— coagulation, meaning, we’re keeping things moving. We’re not letting them— things get like static and coagulated and sticky and stuck. We want to keep it flowing.
Evan Brand: Yeah, well said. I mean, I think we may— maybe oversimplified the protocol talk, but part of that is just making sure that you’re not constipated. I mean, pretty simple, if you create all the garbage but you never take the trash out, that’s not good. You’re gonna have an overflow.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. Totally. So, couple other questions here. Thanks Monmon for sharing the live show on your Twitter. I really appreciate it. Question for me. How old I am? I am almost 34.
Evan Brand: Nice.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Almost 34. Uh— Suggestions for root canals? I would uhm— do your best to try to read Ramiel Nagel’s book. I would do oil pulling and I would do your best to try to avoid it. See natural doctor. If you have to get it, get a full extraction. There is new research or new therapies coming [crosstalk] Stem cell therapy as well. I posted a video on my YouTube and my Facebook channel about it today. Take a look at that, justinhealth.com— I should say, facebook.com/justinhealthwellnessclinic, or click on the the facebook link. I don’t know what the topic is. I came in late. Okay— So, Pheochromocytoma. I think that’s a tumor on the kidney that produces excess aldosterone. I’m going back to like doctorate school physiology class. I think that’s the aldosterone-producing tumor. So, I mean, all the stuff we would do for cancer: Ketogenic diet, uhm— toxicity, coffee enemes, crucumin— all of that. I’ll let you hit the rest of them. Go ahead.
Evan Brand: Yeah. Let’s see what else we’ve got. Uh— Tessa. Wanting to know about starting Iodine, what to do to get started. Uh— Dr. Korosin talks about Iodine a lot in the aspect that many people are doing it, but if they have thyroid antibodies, it’s making the situation worse. So my advice would be get your thyroid panel run. Look for the antibodies first ‘cause you could if you have [incomprehensible], you could make yourself worse if you go start pumping a bunch of Iodine. And uh— Korosin’s got a bunch of literature he link’s, too about that conversation.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Keep the Selenium in there, two to four hundred micrograms. And once you’re stable, if you want to play around with some Iodine, hundred and fifty micrograms to start at one drop or one hun— 150 microgram dose, you know, per week, installing increase. They just make sure the B vitamins, the vitamin C, the Selenium, the Magnesium, and the Zinc are all in with it. And also, stay tuned for my Thyroid Reset Plan book that will be coming out in the next six months.
Evan Brand: Oooh!
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s [inaudible] … draft for the first half of the book, just the other day, so I’m really excited about it.
Evan Brand: Congratulations.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Thank you.
Evan Brand: Alright. Let’s keep going. Uh— Home remedies for flu and what to eat everyday to avoid s—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh— Remedy. Last week’s podcast. We did a whole podcast on it. Also I did a whole blog post: “What to do when you get sick” Part 1, Part 2. Part 1’s on the diet and lifestyle. Part 2 is in the supplements. So, that answers your questions right there.
Evan Brand: Man, Justin is killing it today. All great. Another question. Is it necessary to take HPA Access Support during a Kill Phase if you’re in Stage 1 or 2? I would say, it depends on your constitution. I think Justin would agree and…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.
Evan Brand: … depends on your sleep, your stress level, how many hours are you working, how much rest are you getting. Are you working or are you off from working? What’s your circadian rhythm look like? Are you travelling? What’s going on? Like, what’s in that stress bucket?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I would say yes. It’s always gonna be good. And then depending on how much stress would be what we’d— what specific herbs we would recommend.
Evan Brand: Oh, we take adaptogens everyday, so we’re gonna say yes always.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes. I got some Ashwagandha here. So today, I’m crushing the Ashwagandha Supreme, right here. Absolutely. I’m gonna hit two right up now. I love it. It helps with my mood. It helps with sleep. It helps with energy. I find two. I can take it before bed if I— I get like disturbed or like stressed out, because— I don’t know. I watch the news or uhm— just something happens. Like, I just got some project. I got to do some deadline. Taking that really helps kind of curtail the Cortisol rush at night, along with uhm— some GABA and Magnesium, too.
Evan Brand: Yeah. I’ve been hitting Ashwagandha, the Reishi, the Motherwort, the Ziziphus, Albizia, the GABA, Chewable PharmaGABAs. I love them. Those were all good choices. “Hello, Dr. J and Evan. How much probiotics are appropriate for a two-year old after antibiotic treatment for Bronchitis. If you’re looking into those infant strains that we’re using, some of the infant probiotics, typically— if we’re talking powders, it ends up being about…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Quarter teaspoon, right?
Evan Brand: … about quarter to a half teaspoon per day…
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.
Evan Brand: … for my daughter. We’re doing that currently. And she’s a little less than two years old but we just put it into her drink of water, and she just sips on it all day.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, and then for us, like my son Aden, I’m just like basically tipping my finger a little bit and some— Like I dump some probiotics on like the uhm— the container, and I’ll just kind of slip my finger and I’ll just touch it. And then I’ll apply it to his gums. Or like, we’ll put it on my wife’s breast, where like my child will feed from and just apply it there. And then, when he feeds, he gets the probiotics that way. So, you can do either way, if [crosstalk] they’re still not doing solids.
Evan Brand: That’s a good idea.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: The infant’s strain’s great. That’s really what you want, I think, up to age four. [pauses] Yeah, up to age four, like that’s when you want to be just doing the infant’s strains.
Evan Brand: Uh— Tessa gave us some more follow-up about the Iodine question. She does not have a thyroid and has grave disease. Would that change your—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, Dr. Wright has a protocol for graves where he does really a high amount of Iodine to basically overload the Iodine symport system, and then downregulate uhm- hormone Iodine or let’s just say thyroid hormone production. There’s that protocol. What’s out there? Dr. Wright’s— Jonathan Wright’s Protocol. I personally— and again, you need to be working with the clinician with this. Graves, it’s really serious. I mean, all of these conditions, I don’t recommend just doing Dr. Google. Like, we’re giving a lot of good information, which is great. But you really want to be working with someone in applying it. But for hypothyroid graves, we’re doing L-Carnitine, we’re doing Melissa and Lemon Balm, okay? Blue Flag— We’re also gonna be doing Lithium Orotate. Okay. And of course, an autoimmune Paleo type of template. I did multiple patients over two hands full that I had taken them out of grave-like states, so to speak.
Evan Brand: What’s the Lithium doing?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, Lithium has an effect on modulating the thyroid hormones.
Evan Brand: Oh, wow! That’s cool.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Lithium Orotate, we— I typically just uh— a formula used with the combination of Melissa or Lemon Balm and Blue Flag, and a couple of other herbs in there that are really helpful. The Carnitine, the Lithium; that’s gonna be great. And of course, you know, we added some Selenium, too, to help with the antibodies.
Evan Brand: Nice. Nice. Great. Great follow-up there. Very— Very good. Uh— does oil pulling really help? Yeah. It does. We’ve used uh— oil pulling ourselves. Both of us have, but there’s some— there’s some cool things you can do with it too. And there’s actually some testing you can do to look for all these different infections, like Hidden Cavitation infections. In the oil pulling, there’s some cool literature on like Silver and coconut, and all that, helping with like oral bad guys.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. Vitamin K, too, is gonna be excellent for root canal stuff. Of course, collagen. Your teeth’s gonna be— have protein as well. So, good collagen peptides is gonna be excellent as well.
Evan Brand: Uh— last question here from Roslyn. “My SIBO test results are Methane 60+, Hydrogen 20; probiotics do not agree with me.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Imagine, Roslyn. Are you also constipated, too? Can chime in there? Methane— typically, he put in a Methane diameter and a more constipated Hydrogen, dominate more diarrhea. You’re still positive on the Hydrogen, too. So you may have a— you may also alternate with the two. So, if you can Chime in there fast and let us know what your motility is like, I can answer you more specifically.
Evan Brand: Yeah. And we’ve used that ___[30:51] Formula. It’s got some of the Quebracho extract in there, which can help drop Methane.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Quebracho. [crosstalk] Love it.
Evan Brand: Quebracho. Sounds like a part here something. I don’t know.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I love it. It’s great.
Evan Brand: Like if— If Roslyn doesn’t get back to us, then we’ll just assume that if Probiotics are not agreeing and Methane’s that high.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, of course, you know, if let’s say she is more constipated, then we would do things like ginger and natural prokinetics to keep things moving. We use ginger tea. Uh— maybe some of the Iberogast formula to keep things moving. Another support I used, called MotilPro, which is excellent. And then, we work on knocking down that bacteria. We probably hold off some of the probiotics if it makes it worse. But we’d make sure things are moving. Maybe even some uhm— Magnesium citrate to keep things moving too.
Evan Brand: Yep. Good advice. Vitamin C, too. You could pump by, what? Two to five grams or so. Vitamins C. That should be enough to move the bowels.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Probably a little higher than that, but yeah. I mean, I think, two maybe a little light, but definitely five to eight, five to nine will probably move it for sure.
Evan Brand: Okay, cool. Uhm— more more question here. Why can’t my eyes handle bright light? It could be due to the adrenals.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Adrenals, yup. Hundred percent.
Evan Brand: Typically, weak uh— weak adrenals, so definitely get your adrenals tested and looked at some of the adaptogens to help handle bright light. Like the people, you know, especially the women who come out of the grocery store. The first thing they do is pop down those sunglasses on and they just can’t live without them. That tells me adrenal problems.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I agree. Hundred percent. Alright, cool. I think we answered almost everything. Would spore probiotics Just Thrive be enough to repopulate to the gut after the Kill phase or should you rotate the— I would rotate other strains. I’m not familiar with Just Thrive. I’m a big fan of MegaSporeBiotic. We have it on our site, justinhealth.com/shop, under Gut Section. We’ll put the links in the Show Notes. I like that one. There are a couple of others that are out there that are really good. I know uhm— Primal Defense by Garden of Life is a decent one. I like the MegaSpore, though.
Evan Brand: Yep. Cool.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And then, Sue says, “My—” ‘Kay. So, I don’t know. Yeah, so that’s about the Pheocytochroma. Not sure if you have. That’s a tumor. So, you’d really want to get that uhm— resolved there with your doctor. But you’ve got to go on like anti-cancer protocol for that. Uhm— hope that helped guys. Any other questions, comments, or concerns, Evan?
Evan Brand: I think that’s it for today. If people want to reach out. Schedule a consult with you. Check out Justin’s site, justinhealth.com. You can book a consult with him. If you like to book a consult with me, either of us, we’re happy to help you. You can just check us out; evanbrand.com is me. And make sure you subscribe to the YouTube channel here. We’re what? Thirty three plus thousand so— [crosstalk] Let’s get Justin up to fifty grand, you guys. and then a hundred, and then a million. So, subscribe, subscribe, subscribe, and share, because sharing is caring. And Education is the first step to greatness. How can you approach this stuff if you have no clue. You can’t. You got to learn, and then you can apply.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. And just so everyone know, if you’re listening to us on YouTube. You know, we have the conversation and the video kind of going back and forth, so you can see our ugly mugs. But we also have the podcast link, and we are recording our podcast in super high audio quality. So, if you want to upgrade the audio, feel free and subscribe to our podcast channels. Again, we’ll have them in the show notes if you listen to Evan or I. We have the upgraded audio for you and that’s only been the last month or so. So, we’re really trying to up our game, guys. We want to make sure you get the best information at the highest quality on your fingertips.
Evan Brand: Yeah, so that’s on iTunes. So, look up Justin Marchegiani, or just type in Beyond Wellness on your iTunes or podcast app. And you can subscribe there. Cool thing I’ll tell about, Justin, iTunes just released a Podcast Analytic so now we can check and see our people actually paying full attention for the full episode or is everybody stopped listening after 20 minutes. Now we can see the drop-offs. That’s pretty neat. And then, for my show, it— just type in my name, Evan Brand, and you’ll find it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. I think if you go to evanbrand.com, there’ll be a link for your podcast. If you go to justinhealth.com or beyondwellnessradio.com, there’ll be a link there for the podcast. Click it. It will bring you to the button where you can subscribe. And then, we’ll make sure you get updates as soon as you can. And then also, if you’re listening on YouTube, smash the bell. YouTube’s doing some funny things you’re not gonna get the notifications if you are subscribed. So, hit subscribed and then smash the bell right next to it. That way, you’ll get all the notifications. And we’re gonna try to continue dropping lots of knowledge bombs. Let us know. Give us some comments below the channel if you’re listening on YouTube about this. We want to hear some of your concerns. We’re gonna work on responding on them a little more. And also, we want to get more feedback on what you guys want to talk about. So, let us know. We really want to engage you and bring more information. You know, our goal is to help, you know, ten million people. So, you know, we’re doing in the thousands range right now. We want to help more. So, allow us to help you by figuring out what your needs are and let us help you fulfill it, okay?
Evan Brand: Amen. We’ll see you guys after Christmas. So, I hope it’s good for everyone.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Merry Christmas to everyone. Happy holidays, too. And hope you guys have a happy healthy New Year. And check out our hacking the holidays podcast. Lots of good solutions there so you guys can kick butt, stay healthy and not get sick throughout the holidays.
Evan Brand: Amen, brother.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey, Evan. great chat with you, man. You take care and Merry Christmas.
Evan Brand: Take care. Merry Christmas. See you.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Take care. Bye now.
Evan Brand: See yah.
Jonathan Wright’s Protocol by Dr. Jonathan Wright
Steven Harrod Buhner
How Gut Bacteria Can Help You With Weight Loss?
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Bacteria line your intestines and help you digest food. During digestion, they make vitamins that are vital for life, send signals to the immune system, and make small molecules that can help your brain work. If you have frequent digestive symptoms and/or discomfort, you likely have an issue with the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.
Today’s talk is going to be on bacteria balance and weight loss. I had a patient come to me just the other day. We were knocking out infection in their gut. I noticed a significant amount of weight loss above and beyond the last few months with their healthy diet, healthy eating, sleep, and exercise. They just noticed a 5-pound reduction in their weight and nothing else changed. And I said, “What’s going on?” And we looked through the program and the protocol, and it was really the fact that we were knocking out a couple of infections, H. pylori, but also some dysbiotic bacteria. Also, we saw some weight loss. So I’m going to break that down for all the listeners so they can understand what’s happening inside the guts.
Gut Bacteria: Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes
Gut bacteria can affect weight loss. So we have two different families or phylum. We have the bacteroidetes and the firmicutes. So easy way to remember this–firmicutes is gonna be higher in people that are heavier or more obese. Bacteroidetes is better. B for better. F for fatter or more obese. We’re going to see more people that are lean having more of the bacteroidetes. A lot of the trials and the studies that have happened, they saw more of the bacteroidetes being at higher level with the leaner people. And they saw lower bacteroidetes and higher firmicutes with the more obese people. Part of the philosophy and theory behind that is that firmicutes is involved with more calorie extraction and that can cause more calorie absorption.
Good and Bad Bacteria Balance
But we also know that bacteria affects different things in the gut. So good beneficial bacteria is when we have a healthy bacteria balance. So for instance, we should have this 80-20 kind of schtick happening here where here is our good bacteria. Here’s a good bacteria and then here’s our bad bacteria. And here’s my little see-saw effect here so you can see we typically want to have more of the good stuff.
So the good stuff is weighted down here. We have more good and less bad, and that’s kind of how we want it, about an 80%, 90% good to 20% bad. Good bacteria actually provides nutrients, Vitamin K, various B vitamins. We also have things like butyrate and various acids that come off to keep the colon in a really good place and prevent a lot of the bad bacteria from migrating up from the colon into the small intestine. So we want this nice good ratio.
Most people are totally flipped where it’s actually the other way around. We have a lot of the bad stuff here. The bad stuff is a lot higher and then we see the good stuff a lot lower. Most people are in this place. Why is that? Sugar, antibiotics, antibiotics in essentially a lot of the meats, the conventional foods, pesticides, chlorine in the drinking water that’s not filtered. A lot of these and stress can always throw the bacteria ratios off. So one of the things that we see here in the population is this nice bacteroidetes being higher in the lean. And ideally, the firmicutes being lower, and that switches when we get more obese.
Studies and Research
Now there’s been some rat studies on this. In the rat studies where they implant the bacteria from one rat that’s obese into the lean rat, and the rat becomes obese that was lean. This hadn’t quite shown that replicated in a lot of the human trials. There’s one study I looked at where they give you specific bacteria in this fermented milk culture and they saw an 8.6% reduction in the group that had the beneficial bacteria. So there is some research showing that you can see a significant reduction in weight loss.
How To Get Rid of Bad Bacteria in The Gut
If we have a significant amount of bad bacteria in the gut, it’s like gardening. It’s like washing your car. You don’t get your car waxed before you get it washed. You don’t throw down a whole bunch of seeds before you do the weeding. So in garden analogy, you get the garden tilled. You get the weeds pulled, then you put the seeds down. When you go to the carwash, you get your car washed and then you get it waxed. You don’t want to put a whole bunch of wax on a dirty car. That’s not the way to do it. Same thing with our gut bacteria.
Antimicrobial Herbal Medicines
We want to take specific antimicrobial herbal medicines. Herbs tend to be nicer because we have less side effects. We can take them longer, which is one of the benefits that we don’t get in antibiotics. And they tend to be more cost-effective. So with specific herbs we can take them for a period time. Knock down that bad bacteria. There may even be an infection like H. pylori or a parasite or a fungal overgrowth, too, and knocking that down can significantly allow more space for the good bacteria.
Beneficial Bacteria in Probiotics
And that one trial I mentioned before, this group lost 8.5% taking this fermented milk culture, so there is some evidence. Now I find a lot of people do better if their gut is full of bad bacteria. They could have this histamine response and they may actually feel worse after taking probiotics when their gut is out of balance. So we clean out the gut, they are much more responsive to the beneficial bacteria. And depending on how sick some individuals are, they may even benefit by taking a soil-based probiotic, tend to be a little bit more gentle and little less histamine response.
Bacteria Effects on our Bodies
We talked about the good bacteria and the bad bacteria. That’s really important. Butyrate keeps the colon nice and acidic, keeps the bad stuff from growing. Again nutrients, the vitamin K, the B vitamins, a lot of the nutrients that come from that.
Good bacteria is going to keep that gut from being leaky. A good healthy gut function is going to be with your fingers nice and tight. Inside here is the inside part of your stomach. Outside part is outside of your stomach. And again, more stress, bad bacteria means more infections. Pull those fingers apart, show some daylight.
That’s what’s happening in a leaky gut at a microscopic level. Immune function and bacteria has a major effect on your immune system. Again, your immune system essentially is located in your gut. 70 to 80% in your MALT, in your GALT. GALT stands for gastric associated lymphoid tissue, and MALT, mucosal associated lymphoid tissue. GALT’s in the stomach. MALT’s in the small intestine. A lot of the immune cells live there, so healthy gut bacteria interplays directly with the immune system
Lots of studies of people that have bacteria imbalances and have metabolic syndrome have high levels of insulin, high levels of inflammation, and skewed blood sugar levels.
Brain & Inflammation
We know fire in the gut equals fire in the brain. When we have inflammation especially things like endotoxin and lipopolysaccharides, these tend to be the by-product of a lot of the bad bacteria. So part of the bad bacteria, we see things like LPS. Nasty. We see things like lithocholic acid that unconjugates bile. Not good. We see things like mycotoxins. Not good. We see other biotoxins that come from various infections. I mean critters when they’re being killed, they produce chemicals that make you crave sugar and make you crave the bad foods. It’s kind of their last way of kind of getting a hold of you. So they can get a breath, kind of breathe into them so they can continue to live on.
Now this case study with this patient that I alluded to in the interlude or the first part of the video here. This person’s skin significantly cleared up. We thought their skin was caused potentially by some food allergens and some hormonal issues and adrenal stuff. It may have been but we really had the breakthrough when we actually cut out almonds for a period of time. And also, when we really upped a lot of the antimicrobials, the skin cleared right up.
Again, the skin is the mirror of the gut. Skin is the mirror of the gut. It’s the largest organ in the body and when the body’s having a hard time detoxing or there’s a lot of intestinal stress, we’ll see it through the skin.
We also have weight loss. This person lost 5 pounds and I don’t go around promoting probiotics in gut cleansing programs and knocking out infections as being like the root cause of weight loss. It’s because everyone’s weight loss can be from different reasons.
Some could be from insulin resistance and too much carbohydrates. Others could be from sleep, stress, adrenal fatigue, low thyroid, you name it, so it’s hard to know. But in functional medicine world, we do see common things happen. I have seen a lot of gut bacteria killing programs really help individuals lose weight. Can’t say it every time, but I’ve seen it clinically. The research is coming and showing that. We see animal studies. We see some human studies and there is a connection.
So maybe if you’re struggling with your gut, struggling with weight loss, maybe looking at the gut will be a really good step. And if you have any gut or hormone issues and you’re not quite sure the next step to go. Feel free and click on screen to get more help, and subscribe so you can get more info right away.
Hashimoto’s Disease and The Infection Connection
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Hashimoto’s Disease, is an autoimmune disease, a disorder in which the immune system turns against the body’s own tissues. In people with Hashimoto’s, the immune system attacks the thyroid. This can lead to hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid does not make enough hormones for the body’s needs.
While a healthy immune system resists infection, a weakened immune system welcomes it in with open arms. Infections thrive in unhealthy environments. And once a bug (parasite, bacteria, fungus, or virus) moves in, it can be difficult to exterminate.
Infections can worsen autoimmune conditions of the thyroid (such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Grave’s disease) and other parts of the body. It can also create inflammation, disrupt detoxification, and wreak havoc on the digestive system. So the bug has moved in—here’s what you need to know to minimize infection and protect your thyroid.
Bacteria in the Gut: The Good vs. the Bad
Our gut needs good bacteria to function and thrive. A ratio of 80% good bacteria and 20% bad is a healthy level of gut bacteria.
An imbalance in this bacteria (e.g., 80% bad and 20% good) is called dysbiosis. Overgrowths of yeast (such as Candida) or infections (such as H. pylori) can cause this imbalance.
Good bacteria consume toxins and send nutrients to the body. Bad bacteria consume nutrients and send toxins to the body. Those bad bacteria can lead to a leaky gut.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition that’s driven by bacteria that’s migrated from the large intestine into the small intestine. They’re in the wrong place. This can produce toxins in the gut and disrupt peristalsis (the wavelike contractions that move stool through our intestines).
If we have a delay in peristalsis, we can reabsorb a lot of the toxicity. This is called autointoxication.
Infections in the gut can be particularly challenging and difficult when they accompany an autoimmune condition.
Infection with an Autoimmune Condition (Hashimoto’s)
When we have an autoimmune condition, this simply means the body is making antibodies that can’t tell the difference between the invader and the body itself. Antibodies are proteins that fight invaders such as bacteria and viruses. So while the antibody may fight the invader, it will also attack a specific part of the body.
In the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the body makes antibodies to thyroid peroxidase (TPO) causing thyroid breakdown. In Grave’s disease, the body makes antibodies to thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG) causing thyroid breakdown.
Infection Leads to Leaky Gut Leads to Thyroid Breakdown (Hashimoto’s)
The bad bacteria (overgrowths of infection) in the gut pave the way to a leaky gut.
When our gut becomes leaky, undigested food particles pass through “leaks” in the gut and enter the bloodstream. The surface proteins on gluten, for example, can look very similar to the thyroid and cases of “mistaken identity”. This is known as molecular mimicry. This is true for other body tissues as well. Dairy can look like the pancreas, for example.
So the immune system starts making antibodies for the thyroid because it can’t tell the difference. And then know, the thyroid is under attack.
Infection and a leaky gut are two of the prime mechanisms that exacerbate the breakdown of the thyroid.
Infections That Impact the Gut and Thyroid
A few common infections that are found when dealing with leaky gut and thyroid issues follow:
- Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori)—This bacteria is common in greater than 50% of the population. It can drive autoimmunity in Hashimoto’s. Also, it is linked to other autoimmune conditions. It is transmitted through saliva or fecal contamination.
- Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease)—This bacteria looks similar to the thyroid, so it can exacerbate autoimmunity. It can be acute or chronic and is transmitted by the deer tick.
- Yersinia enterocolitica—This parasitic infection can trigger thyroid conditions and autoimmunity. It is transmitted through contaminated food and water.
- Candida—This fungal infection disrupts digestion, throws off good-bad gut bacteria balance, and creates constipation. It is transmitted through direct contact and can be spread by contact with contaminated objects.
- Epstein-Barr virus (mono, the kissing disease)—This virus causes an imbalance in the immune system and is present in 80–90% of the population. It’s connected to many autoimmune conditions, including Hashimoto’s. It is transmitted through saliva.
Removing the Infection Isn’t the First Step
Addressing infections can be stressful on the body. Being unhealthy means having an imbalance in gut bacteria, poor gut function, adrenal issues, energy issues, a bad diet, poor sleep habits, etc. When we are unhealthy and we knock out an infection, our body has to deal with the dead debris.
The infections are like soldiers fighting on a battlefield. We introduce our natural or herbal antibiotics to destroy the infections. Massive numbers of soldiers (the infections) are falling all over the battlefield.
Our immune and detoxification systems have to send out the medics to help pull the soldiers off the battlefield, but there are just too many soldiers (too much infection debris). The medics (our immune and detox systems) get backed up. And there’s a huge line of soldiers that still need help.
Once our immune and detox systems are backed up, this creates a Herxheimer reaction. In this reaction, the harmful biotoxins from the infectious debris accumulate. Then, they start creating stress on our immune, detoxification, and lymphatic systems. The medics are stressed—they can’t keep up.
To eliminate the stress of infection debris on the body, removing infection should be the fourth step in a five-step (the 5Rs) strategy that can be found in detail at this link, and briefly below:
- Remove hyperallergenic foods.
- Replace enzymes, acids, and bile salts.
- Repair with healing nutrients and adrenal support.
- Remove infections
- Reinoculate with probiotics.
Removing infections can leave the gut empty. It will even knock out some good stuff, too. And weeds (bad bacteria) tend to grow automatically in this world. Gardeners don’t go to Home Depot to pick out weeds to plant. Weeds just happen. So it’s important to reseed the gut with the good bacteria after removing infections.
Studies have shown that when certain infections are removed, we see a significant decrease in the amount of thyroid antibodies. This means that these infections are driving the immune system to destroy the thyroid faster. So if we can knock out the infections, ideally naturally, herbally, and safely, we can reduce the self-destruction of our thyroid tissue. That’s the goal.
Featured image from my.microbes.eu.
Benvenga S, Guarneri F, Vaccaro M, et al. Homologies between proteins of Borrelia burgdorferi and thyroid autoantigens. Thyroid, 2004 Nov; 14 (11): 964–66.
Corapçioğlu D, Tonyukuk V, Kiyan M, et al. Relationship between thyroid autoimmunity and Yersinia enterocolitica antibodies. Thyroid, 2002 Jul; 12 (7): 613–17.
Molina V, Shoenfeld Y. Infection, vaccines and other environmental triggers of autoimmunity. Autoimmunity 2005 May; 38 (3): 235–45.
Tomer Y, Davies TF. Infection, thyroid disease, and autoimmunity. Endocr Rev, 1993 Feb; 14 (1):107–20.
Wentz, Izabella. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause. Wentz, 2013: 238–241.
The Good, Bad, and the Ugly of Your Gut Bacteria
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Did you know that the bacteria in your gut has a huge effect on your immune system? Your gut houses 70% of your immune system. Gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) reside in the gastrointestinal tract, and these lymphoid tissues produce antibodies that fight bacteria, viruses, parasites, and infections.
If you don’t have a healthy gut balance, your immune system will be severely affected. There are three main types of bacteria that determine the health of the gut: beneficial, commensal, and pathogenic.
3 Main Types of Bacteria Involved in Gut Health
Beneficial bacteria include probiotics, such as Lactobacillus and soil-based probiotics. They aid in the following:
- Nutrient Breakdown
- Immune Function
You need certain nutrients and absorption of these nutrients to help run your detoxification pathways. If you don’t have beneficial bacteria, you can produce enzymes known as beta-glucoronidases that can negatively affect how bile conjugates hormones. Beta-glucoronidase and good bacteria levels are an inverse relationship. If you have high beneficial bacteria levels, you’re going to have low beta-glucoronidase.
The good bacteria in your gut also produce acids, like lactic acid or CO2, that can lower the pH. When the pH in your gut is lower, it’s harder for bacteria that are bad, or pathogenic, to proliferate. Yeast infections proliferate more in an alkaline urinary tract than in an acidic urinary tract. That’s why things like cranberry extract and resistant starches can be beneficial. Resistant starches feed butyrate (butyric acid), which helps decrease microbes.
You need healthy hydrochloric acid (HCl) levels in your stomach. Without it, you can’t break down proteins, start protein metabolism, or ionize minerals. If you can’t ionize minerals, you can’t absorb minerals. Protein digestion starts in the stomach, so the first domino falls over in the stomach. If that domino doesn’t fall, then the dominoes in the gallbladder, where fat is emulsified, and pancreas, where lipase and other enzymes and fats are produced, won’t fall. So beneficial bacteria is very important for helping the first domino of digestion fall.
Commensal bacteria are switch-hitters that can become either beneficial or pathogenic. Stressors, the factors shared later in this post, can push them to one side or the other.
Symptoms of Bad Bacteria Levels
If you have any of the following symptoms, there is good chance that your bacteria levels in your gut are tipped more toward the pathogenic side. Unless changes with diet, gut bacteria, infections, and stress are changed, symptoms tend to get worse over time!
- GERD or acid reflux
- Constipation or not having a bowel movement at least once per day
- Stomach pain
- Any active gut infection
Pathogenic bacteria include bacterial infections (e.g., H.pylori), parasites (e.g., C.difficile), and infections. They can produce the following:
These toxins include mycotoxins, endotoxins, or various biotoxins produced by infections. These infections disrupt peristalsis, which can cause bowel movements to take longer and can cause the body to reabsorb a lot of toxins from the bowel, resulting to autointoxication.
If you’re not able to absorb certain nutrients and minerals, it’s going to have an effect on your energy systems, the Krebs cycle, and the electron transport chain. You must have nutrition to run your energy pathways.
Leaky gut drives autoimmune conditions. In a leaky gut, the tight junctions in our bowel start to open up, forming various cracks and allowing food molecules and bacterial infections to slip into the bloodstream. The immune system creates a hate response to these foreign molecules, and because a gluten molecule may look similar to the thyroid tissue or a dairy molecule may look similar to the pancreas, other tissues start to get destroyed by mistaken identity.
Factors That Push “Gut Bacteria”
There are many factors that push gut bacteria in one direction or the other. All of these tend to be opportunistic, which means we start to see a decrease in HCl, enzymes, and nutrition. You aren’t what you eat; you are what you eat, break down, absorb, and assimilate.
The following factors push us in the direction of the pathogenic bacteria:
Proton pump inhibitors (PPI), such as Nexium and Prilosec, shut down HCl production, but HCl production is important for the first domino of digestion. When acidity is low, HCl will trigger the esophageal sphincter to close. If it doesn’t close, it’s very easy for the acids to rise up, burning the throat and creating a reflux disorder. Acid breaks down nutrients, and if you don’t get good breakdown, it creates a downward cycle that only gets worse. A good doctor can find the root cause of the issue and pull you off a PPI responsibly. Don’t randomly take yourself off it.
If you’re eating too much refined and processed sugar, it feeds the bad bacteria in your gut. About one hundred years ago, each person was consuming and average of 3–4 pounds of sugar per year; now it’s about 150 pounds. Too much sugar consumption feeds the funguses and pathogenic bacteria in your gut.
Emotional stress will increase interleukin 6 (IL-6), which is an immune compound that can throw your immune system out of balance. Your immune system and gut are intimately connected, and you should minimize emotional stress to have a healthy gut balance.
Maybe you’re not eating probiotics via fermented foods, like raw milk if you can tolerate dairy. Get natural probiotics from foods you can tolerate.
The consumption of antibiotics wipes out everything in the gut and causes rebound overgrowths to occur. If you wipe out everything in a garden, the first thing that grows back, unless you plant seeds, is weeds. If antibiotic use is an issue, you need to consume good seeds (prebiotics and probiotics) for balance.
Infections tend to be opportunistic, which means they happen when someone already has a compromised immunity. A tick bite causing Lyme disease can drive one person into a pathogenic episode while another can be bitten and recover quickly. Everyone is a little different, but the more stressors a person has, the more complicated the infection can be. Those who bounce back quickly may be feeding, and have a greater abundance of, the beneficial bacteria in their gut. An infection can prevent healing even when these stressors are removed, and the infection may need to be addressed for you to fully heal. Some patients can get exposed to a parasite, like Giardia, or pathogenic bacteria, like H.pylori, and not recover from the infection and get sick.
Foods and unwanted bacteria in the intestinal track can slip through the tight junctions into the bloodstream. This can put stress on the immune system and is the main cause of autoimmune disease for most people.
Most people who have a digestive problem seem to have a higher amount of bad bacteria as well as a potential active gut infection. These problems tend to be active for many years before symptoms start to even show. Getting the gut fixed is one of the most important codes to crack for any functional-medicine doctor trying to get his or her patient healthy again.