Can Functional Medicine Manage Headaches? | Podcast #301
In this podcast, together with Evan Brand, we’re going to be talking about functional solutions to headaches. We’ll be looking deeper into what we can do to headache issues.
Our diet can be the first one to consider and ergonomics to keep our body structures relaxed and align, therefore, maintaining our good posture. But how can these factors connected to headaches? Since many people are experiencing headaches, let’s talk about the things we can work on before we go straight to taking medications.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani
On this episode, we cover:
0:59 Why Headaches Occur
4:27 Diets and Supplements
13:11 Possible Root Causes
18:52 Food Allergies
24:55 On Nutrition and Blood Sugar, Dehydration
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey guys, it’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani here. I am with Evan brand. Today we’re going to be talking about functional medicine solutions for headaches. Evan, what’s happening, man? How you doing?
Evan Brand: I’m doing really well, we were looking through some little papers here on headaches is a big problem. I remember when I was actually working out of a chiropractor’s office, which feels like a long time ago, and it was a pretty long time ago, there were so many people that would come in there, and they’d have headaches, and the chiropractor would lay the patient down on the table, and he’d do the adjustment and they’d say, Oh, my God, I feel better. But then guess what, they came back next week for the same adjustment for the same headache. And this guy never got to the root cause and then when I started bringing just simple nutritional strategies into the clinic, all of a sudden the people that need the adjustment every week for the headache anymore, and of course, that quickly affected his his bottom line, and he’s like, Hey, stop getting my people off gluten. You’re fixing their headaches, and I thought, Well, isn’t that the goal of what we’re doing here? So now funny little backstory on headaches for me.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It totally I mean, there’s definitely a mechanical structural aspect to headaches. So if the joints in the spine aren’t moving properly, if there’s a subluxation, or a fixation, they’re just not good movement. That can be a problem, right? Especially like if the, the Atlas that c one and C two aren’t moving properly, because your head sits on top of that, that can create a lot of neurological imbalances and muscular imbalances, of course, and then just people sitting all day, right, what does that do, that’s going to just create this forward head posture, and that takes these muscles here and makes them really tight. And then you have a lot of these muscles, they can create trigger point pain referral, up the side of the neck, so like trigger points in the SEM, this muscle here, the sternocleidomastoid, or the upper trapezius, or the give us plenty of capitas muscles in the back that go up and that hit right in the back of the occiput there. These muscles get tight or they have trigger points they can cause referral into the face so you have subluxation joint issues, and then those can cause neurological disturbances. And blood flow issues. And then of course all the trigger point referral from the muscle. So good chiropractic care can be helpful on the structural side. Ideally, you want a chiropractor that one can either do some kind of myofascial release or active release therapy, some kind of a soft tissue or refer out for it. And then also taking a look at the postural stuff like you mentioned, like making sure like I’m at a stand right now so I can stand half my day. I have a really good chair that has really good lumbar and cervical support. So you want to make sure postural is good. You can do good exercises like the foundation training. Eric Goodman does that he does a lot of these the founder exercises like this, I love-
Evan Brand: Cobra training is a game changer for the back. People that are on audio that they’re not seeing him the founder pose is pretty cool. You basically put your arms up like you’re praying to the sun Gods above your head and then you end up bending over and then you open your chest up and then you kind of stand up. It’s a very, very good. Oh, it feels great.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, basically, it’s just putting stress on that whole posterior chain and working that whole post. exterior side together in unity. So, some structural standpoint soft tissue, make sure joints are moving properly. And then of course, look at the trigger point referral, the adhesions. The problem with chronic muscle pain is you have poor movement, poor movement in the joints means poor communication to the brain. You have lots of postural disturbances and people sitting all day. And if you sit, invest in a good desk, a good good desk as well as a good chair, spend a couple hundred bucks, get a really good chair that has cervical and lumbar support. That’s huge. Don’t don’t get a cheap thing like that. And then also soft tissue chiropractic, and then good exercise support to really make sure that whole posterior chain is working well.
Evan Brand: So you’re saying the the experience I was witnessing where the chiropractor was adjusting someone that could have been legit in terms of the therapy meaning if someone was sitting on a terrible chair all week, every week they come in Friday for their headache adjustment. The headache goes away for the weekend, and they’re back next week for the headache you’re saying yeah, look Gently that could have been a structural postural thing that he was addressing. But then at the end of the day, maybe it was the the diet piece. Like I mentioned, even just simply getting a lot of these patients off gluten, they noticed that they only had to come in every two weeks or every three weeks. So is it would you then say that the the food allergens were contributing to increased inflammation, maybe triggering these nerves to be more sensitive? Or what do you think the diet? How would that link into the structural components?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so the diet is two things right? The diet one increases an environment of inflammation, the more inflamed you get the the the the least amount of blood flow, less blood flow, you get to the muscles, less blood flow, you get to the nerve, so there’s going to be less communication, right? It’s like, it’s like you’re on a microphone and you start to get in your static, right and you start getting static. It’s kind of like that. So if we have a lot of inflammation, what starts to happen is the muscles start becoming more less pliable, more like beef jerky, versus soft and supple. And then that affects the nerves as well because the more inflammation there is that’s going to affect nerve communication. And then of course, the more inflammation there is. And if we have bad posture we don’t move, then the joints can become a little bit stuck, and maybe out of a line or subluxated. So it can aid to the inflammation, which then makes it harder for the muscles to work, thus harder for the joints to work and the nerves to work. That’s number one. And then number two things like gluten have shown to actually decrease blood flow to the brain to the frontal cortex. So you have blood flow up the garden hoses on the side of your neck called the carotid artery. And there’s studies on this talking about gluten decreasing blood flow and and creating inflammation in the brain. So one, it’s going to do it via structural mechanisms of the nerves and muscles and joints. From an inflammation standpoint, structural to it’s going to affect blood flow, and drive up inflammation to the brain which then can create more neurological activation, immune activation in the brain, which can create symptoms. Have head pain there too.
Evan Brand: So if you want to be smarter and make better decisions, make sure you’re not eating gluten. That sounds pretty convincing to me. Also, let’s get into the nutrient deficiency piece. If you’re eating a meal, let’s say you’re eating pasta and chicken, you’re probably not going to be getting much magnesium. And you’re probably not going to be getting many B vitamins that are going to be essential. Magnesium is probably the most famous mineral for headaches and muscle cramps and things like that. And we could pull it up, but it’s very easy to find in the literature, the link between magnesium deficiency and headaches and of course, the muscle cramping too. So, I mean, that’s an easy one to from the diet perspective. It’s not just the inflammation piece, it’s the absence of the nutrition that you need to help, you know, fuel these these pathways and then also what about like fatty acids? So you know, I remember several people were all we did is give them a high dose omega three couple grams a day and their headaches were gone, just based on adding in some omegas.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so there’s a couple other components with headaches, right? So of course, like you’re just highlighting nutrients like your brain needs certain nutrients to run and function. So if you look at a lot of these migraine, these natural migraine supplements, you’ll see a couple of common things. You’ll see like B vitamins, especially like nice and in there, you’ll see things like magnesium in there, you’ll see B six in there, these are really important things. Also koku 10s very important for headaches and migraines. So just from a nutrient standpoint, the more nutrient dense anti inflammatory low toxin your foods are, the more these nutrients are going to be present. Okay. And the other component is, the more refined and processed your foods are usually there’s gonna be okay and then also the fat start fats are also anti inflammatory. So remember, inflammation affects the muscles, the nerves, the joints, and the more of an anti inflammatory environment you create with good fats like you just highlighted, that’s going to help. And the other component is blood sugar. So the more poor diet is, usually there’s more processed food, you’re lacking those nutrients but you’re also typically eating more processed refined carbohydrates and junky fats, which causes your blood sugar to go up and down. And these ebbs and flows of blood sugar, especially on the way down, can really create headache issues. So this reactive hypoglycemia kind of blood sugar issue response can create surges of adrenaline and cortisol and those things can definitely create headaches too.
Evan Brand: Yeah, and that could be it could be shakiness, right. It could be irritability, there could be some mood changes, there could be possibly fuzzy thinking, you know, from a cognitive perspective, too. So people may not connect the dots like oh, I had oatmeal and a banana for breakfast. And now here it is. 10am Three hours later. My blood sugar’s crashing. Not only am I irritable and anxious, but all of a sudden I’m getting a headache. What is it? Is it the fluorescent lights in my cubicle at the office? Which Yes, it could be fluorescent lighting is a big trigger for headaches. So it could be some environmental cause too. Is it the moldy office building you’re sitting in is causing the headache maybe? Or is it simply just a blood sugar crashing and it could be all of it. So that’s the thing that you and I do really a good job at is we try to look at all the variables because if you go to like a conventional doc for a headache, maybe they give you an ibuprofen recommendation, or if it’s bad enough, they’ll give you some type of prescription medication, if it’s to the migraine level, like a topamax or something like that. And then you get stuck on these medications. There’s not really any sort of root cause game plan. But if they referred you out to possibly an allergist, if they thought that your headaches were from an allergy problem, the allergist is likely going to recommend some over the counter anti histamine or some type of drug like that or possibly a prescription. And once again, they’re not addressing any of the root cause stuff and you could have gone to several practitioners and no one brought up magnesium deficiency. No one brought up vitamin D, which is critical. No one brought up getting off gluten, getting off grains, getting rid of potentially nuts and seeds if you have histamine type issues. So it’s just amazing how far you could go down the conventional rabbit hole with this issue and still not even get close to the root cause.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, that’s the hard part. Like any Functional Medicine world everything’s like three dimensional right? So you have medications that are like anti inflammatory you have SSRI medications that are affecting serotonin or dopamine or adrenaline. I’ve had really great success using amino acids for headaches too. Now, why are there amino acid deficiencies? Usually it’s a combination of stress burning up serotonin, and dopamine, or it’s a combination of not breaking down and digesting good amino acids, right? So you can see amino acids play a very powerful role. I think you also see it with DLP as well. And headaches. These are all amino acids and if we have poor digestion, and we have poor nutrition to begin with, we got one deficiency coming in, but we also have a deficiency on being able to digest assimilate and utilize these nutrients as well.
Evan Brand: Yeah, so you’re typically going to be using like a complex right, you’re probably not going to spot tree where you’re going to come in with like just the LPA by itself. You may come in with like a, maybe a good quality protein or like collagen or some type of amino acid blend. When you’re talking about amino is correct?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, it depends. So if I have organic acid testing showing serotonin and dopamine is off, we may spot those with specific amino acids. And then of course, you got to have B six there with that and those other nutrients in the background. So, of course, we’re going to be doing a good quality multi, and then we’ll be hitting those amino acids up for sure, especially if we have lab data on it. But we’ll be like, we’re never going to go all in on one thing, right? We’re going to do a good history. And then we’re going to make recommendations. Maybe there’s some structural stuff we got to look at, maybe there’s some diet stuff we got to look at, maybe there’s some supplement stuff we have to look at. And we will kind of get a plan for all three of those things going at once. If we see those issues could be active.
Evan Brand: Yeah, what we do is so fun. It’s not just fun. It’s very effective, because as you mentioned, we’re going to be looking at organic acids testing to try to investigate this issue. We may be looking at stool testing, too, because I know you and I both seen countless times where we’ll see gut inflammation, and that may manifest in terms of headaches too. So gut inflammation is not just Hey, my gut feeling inflamed or irritated? It could be the whole system. You could have headaches, you could have increased fatigue, you could have increased joint pain, and depending on what kind of infections you have, whether it’s I know when I had parasites and H. pylori, I had headaches. Now, what was the mechanism? Well, hard to say. But I would say one mechanism was my digestion was terrible. I had diarrhea, I, you know, you could diagnose me with IBS. That’s what the conventional doctor actually said was, Hey, this is just IBS. Of course, that doesn’t address the infection. So I think that’s one other thing that we should bring up is that if the diet style then we’ve got someone listening saying, hey, look, I’m doing paleo or autoimmune paleo or I’m doing magnesium supplements. My vitamin D is good. I’m off gluten. Why do I still have headaches? Well, you know, then I would look at the gut and then I would look at some of these environmental causes as well because we do know the toxins of various types whether it’s mercury, cadmium, aluminum, any kind of heavy metals, those can affect the brain. Those can affect headaches, mold, toxin, mycotoxins lines. co-infections them opening up a lot of can of worms here, but this is what we do, we try to get all of the potential puzzle pieces and then arrange those in the right order to get you feeling better.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally, totally 100% agree. So you got to look at everything kind of get to the roots. The root cause for sure. So very important. So in regards to different headaches, of course, we have like cluster headaches, we have regular headaches, which kind of you know, cause pain in the head, upper neck. Of course we have migraines, which are more going to be extremely painful headaches, right? Usually there’s gonna be more intense, there’s gonna be kind of that open book kind of sensation, maybe you’ll have a little bit of an aura, there’ll be some eye issues more intense. Obviously with women this can be a big issue when there’s ebbs and flows and estrogen in your cycle. Or you can see it premenstrual Lee, especially when there’s a big premature drop and progesterone or inadequate levels of progesterone. You can see it hormonally. So when you have headaches too, if you’re a female listening, make sure you see if you time it up in your cycle if it’s happening at around simulation, we’re at a specific time. Your cycle. Typically it’s gonna be preventively right before you bleed or right at around menstruation there’s probably ebbs and flows with the hormone. So, you know, we may use herbs to help modulate the upstream signaling from the brain to the ovaries. And we may use some specific hormones that kind of buffer out the ebbs and flows. And then of course, we’re trying to get the adrenals and the HPA g t access all better. So those symptoms are going to be less prevalent.
Evan Brand: Yeah, and you’re saying this could be related to the progesterone dropping too much or prematurely that would also then assume that that’s an estrogen dominant situation going on too, right. So maybe something like calcium D glucerate, which we use, not only for mycotoxins and other things that could also help with the hormonal piece and therefore potentially help with headaches.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep, that’s correct.
Evan Brand: Glutathione’s have been very helpful for me. I don’t want to divert too quickly away from the hormonal thing because I think you brought up a big smoking gun for a lot of women. But you know, Glutathione did a lot of good for me when I first was dealing with headaches and it related to toxicity, just two to 300 milligrams a day, and it would significantly help However, if you do too much I know you remember that night I called you I’m like, Hey, I took a double dose of glutathione My head is frickin killing me remember that? Yeah, I was just experimenting and and I messed up and I mobilized too many toxins. So that could be something to talk with your practitioner about as well as, Hey, are you doing binders? Are you doing some type of collation? Are you doing Glutathione because if you’re pushing too much out, that can also overwhelm this detox system, and it’ll result as a headache.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep. 100%. I don’t love like classifying a lot of these headaches because, okay, whether it’s a cluster headache or attention, headache or a migraine headache, it doesn’t really tell me a lot about the root cause, right? Like someone could have a hormonal issue and could have just a general tension headache while someone else could have like kind of a migraine headache, right. And so it doesn’t tell you like a whole bunch about the root cause. So like, I just kind of when I deal with patients I kind of make a note of what’s going on, I try to connect it to things that are happening day in, day out, like meaning if we see it happen like right after a meal, we may think blood sugar. If we see it happen at things throughout the cycle, it could be if we it could be more hormonally base. If it’s just kind of random. Then I’m going to be asking about physical what’s physical stress look like in regards to posture in regards to muscle tone in regards to seeing a chiropractor in regards to what your office life like is like, when you’re sitting in a chair, like, I’ll try to connect the dots with those things. But the kind of headache you have, for me, doesn’t matter as much, but try to connect it to the onset. For me, that tends to matter a little bit. But even if we can’t really get a big connection there, I just still do all these things that I mentioned and I still get amazing results.
Evan Brand: Yeah, that’s the fun thing is we kind of fix stuff by accident sometimes meaning we’re going to run you through our protocols and procedures to get a good workup on you and then oh Hey, by the way, look at these major deficiencies and B vitamins. Oh hey, look at these neurotransmitter imbalances. Oh hey, look at the hormones. Oh, hey, look at the gut infections. We need to fix all this and then boom, guess what? The headaches went away. Now I agree with your comment about we don’t really care about where or what the category or classification of the headache is. I would agree except for the occipital, the back of the head headaches because for me that definitely is 100% linked to bartonella which is a type of infection that you can get from fleas. So if you have cats, if you have dogs, if you’re not keeping up with their flea preventatives, and you get a flea on you, they do transmit bartonella mosquitoes, there is some talk about mosquitoes transmitting bartonella. And then, of course, most infamous, are ticks transmitting bartonella. And I can tell you on the back of the head, man, it gets really tender. Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of issues of bartonella. And I will notice just it’s it’s tender back there and I haven’t really linked it to to anything else. No, maybe it’s structural. Maybe I’m talking to you, right Now and I’m kind of turtle heading forward by accident to make sure I’m talking into the microphone. But I think, I think part nail is definitely a big back of the head.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, it’s good to know, it’s good to know that’s good to have that history. I mean, you could have back of the head issues, though just from, you know, forehead posture, and then these muscles, these capitas muscles that connect in the back could also get overly tight as well, just from poor posture. So it’s good, it’s good to kind of look at everything right? And then who knows, right? It’s kind of like with gluten, when you have an infection like that it can drive more inflammation, when there’s more inflammation, you’re going to have less blood flow to the muscles, the muscles are going to be less pliable, and they’re more easy to get, you know, taut and tender fibers and develop trigger points because of the inflammation. So everything’s connected, but I think it’s good. You know, it’s something that you add to like kind of your differential diagnosis as a clinician. Okay, good back of the habit. We’ll keep an eye out for co infections. We’ll keep an eye out for these underlying issues as well. I get smart.
Evan Brand: Do you want to talk about any of the other food allergies I mean, we’ve seen people with like Nightshade issues where peppers tomatoes could cause some issues, potentially headaches. What about dairy? Do you want to talk on those at all?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I mean, I see dairy, I see potential nuts and seeds. I see all those things as as a potential driver. It’s unbelievable. Because like having done you know, this job for over a decade and seeing thousands of patients, you have common things that are just like the most common like gluten and dairy right? And blood sugar issues been there. Sometimes there’s just weird things like, okay, eggs, eggs cause a problem. While eggs are a really awesome kind of Paleo Food. You know, it’s sucks that you can’t eat eggs. But eggs are a great food. And that’s crazy that that’s causing your headache. Wow. Okay, so we’ll just keep an eye on that. That’s why, you know, we have a pretty strict elimination diet that we follow in the beginning just to rule out those variables. Because even things that I want that patient to be able to consume, and I’m like, and I wish I could have eggs, but sometimes they can’t. And that can get better over time as we heal the gut. And as the immune system gets better, and the gut gets better, so even that can still be healed over time for sure.
Evan Brand: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know if you remember you and I talking about this, but For a while I was doing avocados like every single day. And then all of a sudden I just had major pressure in my temples. I mean, it was like my head was being squeezed in a vise I thought, oh my god, what is this? So I just went through the diet and started tracking things and discovered it was avocado. So I think I was just doing too much histamine.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, you have you’ve tired mean stuffing is like chocolates and wines and cheese, right? The tire mean kind of amino acid compound can drive headaches in some people as well. Right? And so that’s where it’s nice to do that kind of investigation. Hey, is it connected to avocados? Is that a food allergy thing? Is it a histamine thing? Right? Could it be a histamine, right? We know headaches. You would think there’s a lot of constriction in the brain vessels, right? with headaches. It’s actually the opposite. There’s a lot of vezo dilation in the brain vessels and things like histamine actually Dr. Faisal dilation that’s why like when you bump your elbow, right, well, there’s a histamine immune response happening Well, does your elbow become more swelled or less well when you bump it or more swelling or Why is that? Because histamine is actually a strong vezo dilator. It opens things up to help get those immune cells in there to go after the inflammation. So, you know, if we see things like histamine being a driving factor, we’ll keep an eye on that. I mean that that’s important to look at. Anything else you want to add about there?
Evan Brand: Yeah, let me comment on that. So that would explain why. Back in the day when my wife and I first got together, she had major, major headaches, you know, and we were trying to track it through the diet. And at the time, she was using the excedrin which was that pain medication with the caffeine?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep, that cause constriction.
Evan Brand: And that was the only thing that helped her with the headache. And then Luckily, she finally listened to me and we got her off gluten and got her diet dialed in and got her got taken care of and cleaned up all of her personal care products and Hooray, no more headaches. So.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. So that’s a big thing. So if you’re doing caffeine and you have a headache, could it help? Yes, definitely could help may not be your root cause and it may be A palliative thing, right? But definitely can help.
Evan Brand: On withdrawals too right caffeine withdrawals if you were on a bunch and then tried to get off caffeine that would also cause kind of a rebound headache as well. And then what about blood pressure? For a while, you know, I was noticing blood pressure spikes, and that was directly linked to headaches. I mean, that’s an easy one. If you’re walking around with 145 over 95 or higher as your as your blood pressure and you’re in kind of a stage one or stage two hypertension, that’s a big, big thing. And that’s easy, low hanging fruit to address as long as you can find the root cause of it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. Yep. So that’s really important to look at. Also, um, just minerals like hydration and minerals are a big thing. I did a big long fast I fasted for two days, and when I was about 36 hours into it, I really had a strong headache like really bad headache. I was doing minerals, I was doing hydration. I was even testing my blood sugar like my blood sugar was around 80 By the way, but I personally Believe I felt an inner tremble and inner bit of jitteriness, so I believe my blood sugar was lifted to 80 by adrenaline and cortisol. So that’s the thing like fasting could create a blood sugar issue may not show on it like I got my keto Mojo, like meter right here. So I was like testing my blood sugar and I’m sitting around at like, that’s not like 60 or 50 like, and I even tested my ketones. My ketones were like around point five to one millimoles so that-
Evan Brand: -was that was that where you would expect to be or the ketones lower indicating that the body with the stress response kind of kick you out or prevented you from being in a deeper?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think it kicked me out a little bit because I’m typically at about point five anyway without fasting. So and I tested you know, I tested every now and then I was at point 5.7 last week. Now I keep a very low carb high fat breakfast, right? And I’m typically around point five 2.7 and I was over a day in and I was around point five 2.7 I didn’t see a huge Drop. Now, in two days, I dropped six pounds of weight just from water and not having any anything on my body. So I was losing a lot of weight on that side of the fence. But in general, fasting could potentially be a blood sugar stressor, even if it doesn’t show up on the meter. Because you could have other hormones picking it up. Yes, and adrenaline and then that could potentially cause more issues. neurologically,
Evan Brand: That’s a super, super good point that 99% of people don’t know. Hey, wait a second. I don’t have a blood sugar problem. But you didn’t see it. You didn’t see that on paper unless you had like a continuous monitor. Right? And then it crashed and then you saw the spike later. That would have been interesting.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And I broke my fast with bacon and eggs and within one to two hours, headache gone.
Evan Brand: Cool. So what do you think I will what what was the magic remedy and the bacon and eggs that cured the headache?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, I mean, it’s gonna be nutrition and blood sugar. Yeah. I mean, it’s just stress response if your body isn’t getting nutrition for two days, like actual nutrients, your body’s gonna be like what’s going on here. So there’s gonna be a stress response there, especially when I’m used to having a nutrient dense diet. So just getting lots of good fats, lots of good proteins in there. Just stabilize things out. So that’s why if you’re going too fast, you know, if you’re going to do a fast also, I worked for two days when I fast it. So I generally recommend keeping your fast on non stressful days where you can relax and chill out. That way, you’re not under as much stress. And you’re not because the fast is already a stressor. So you don’t want to add more stress to that. And so ideally, finding days where they aren’t that stressful if you’re going to do a 24 or 36 or 48 hour fast, if not intermittent fast, are probably the best because then you can still get all your nutrients in like a six hour window and still have a lot of that those fasting benefits, which is probably better. It’s more it’s easier to do.
Evan Brand: Yep. And it would be nice if we could get everyone to somewhat of a stable level. have health because since fasting has become kind of a popular, I guess you’d call it a trend. I hate to call it a trend, but I guess it is. You’ve got so many people doing it as a starting place. Like they’ll go from a conventional diet and then they’ll just start doing fasting. It’s like, Ah, you’re already nutrient deprived, you really need to get like healthy with your diet first and then do it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, this is 100%. Like, let’s say the average person is eating this many calories, right? And the nutrient levels are here. So I’m kind of making hand gestures, high amount of calories, low amount of nutrients. What’s the easiest first step here is let’s just increase the nutrients right and balance the macros. Like why are we going to cut all the calories, aka nutrients down? If they already have a lot of calories, and they don’t have a lot of nutrients, but doesn’t make sense. It’s not the low hanging fruit. Right? It’s like taking someone who has an exercise in a while and just throwing them into a CrossFit class, but gonna be overly sore, overly achy, and they’re gonna have an aversion to it in the future.
Evan Brand: That the aversion is key because then they’ll say, Oh, my God, fasting was terrible. It’s like damn, Well, how do you? That’s kind of you got to you got to break that down for me. What do you mean? What were you eating before then? What were your stress levels? Like you said, were you working? Was this on the weekend when you weren’t stressed? What was your blood sugar? Did you did you write before you fasted? Did you do a reset cup? You’re like, I’m gonna have one last piece of cake. And then I’m going to do a three day fast. I mean, what was it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, I mean, like, my favorite kind of fast day in day out is I’ll have like a simple something kind of fat in the morning and then I won’t eat till like five or 6pm that night. And I’ll just do a little bit of bone broth at night or I in the afternoon. I like just something simple like that kind of rest my tummy for eight to 10 hours have a nice bigger dinner. So if I’m going to go out to eat, I’ll do a lot of that sometimes just so I can get my appetite up. And if I consume a little bit of extra calories at night, it’s okay because I’ll have a little more metabolic flexibility to handle it.
Evan Brand: We’ll do a all about fasting podcast soon. If you have questions, specific concerns, experiences you want to share about those. Please if you’re watching on Doctor Justin’s YouTube channel, let us know. But we should do a whole thing on that because I think there are good ways and bad ways to do it. I think we have before but it’s always good to do to do updates on those.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100% totally agree. So blood sugar stuff. nutrients, right B6, B vitamins riboflavin, niacin, thionine, herbs, ginger, feverfew, we already talked about magnesium, I think. And then of course, things like five HTP and tyrosine can be really helpful, but again, not for everyone. Those are really good things out of the gates, kokyu 10s, and other important nutrient keeping the inflammation down via some of the bad foods. We chatted about gluten and dairy and refined sugar out of the gates and then look at some of the structural components, you know, is the structural component a root cause thing, or is it or is it an association with other inflammation stuff happening hormonally or in your diet, so you got to connect the two and sometimes you may have two issues you have to address at the same time. You may need to see the chiropractor or the massage or the soft tissue or make the postural changes while you change your diet and do other things. Sometimes you have to do both. So it’s never just like a one off kind of thing. It’s always good to do both, especially if you want results faster.
Evan Brand: Yeah. Yeah, well said just a couple quick things, dehydration, I mean for all my clients out there listening that are doing binders, charcoal and seal lights and clays, whatever else. I mean, when you’re pulling out toxins, we you and I’ve said this a million times we’ll say it a million in one today the solution to pollution is dilution. So aka drink more clean, good filtered water, whether it’s a Berkey or ro with minerals, whatever you can do to get good filtered water, you got to drink, drink, drink, drink, drink, most people are chronically dehydrated. If you and I look at blood work, we’ll see this all the time. And then peppermint lavender essential oils, those are easy, low hanging fruits. I’m not one of those people that thinks the essential oils are going to cure everything. However, there were times in my life where I had miserable headaches and I would do a couple drops of lavender essential oil on my temples and it would help or I would do a little bit on the wrist and breathe it in and that would help or if it was a tummy ache and headache I would do a little topically on the stomach with the peppermint and that reduce the headache. So those things can be helpful too.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100% Yeah, totally appreciate that. So anyone listening to this, try to you know, grab hold of some of the simple actionable information that we kind of outlined off the bat. If this issue has been going on for a while, feel free to reach out to Evan, EvanBrand.com or Justin, got myself, Dr. J. at JustinHealth.com you’ll see scheduled links where you can reach out to both of us we are available worldwide to provide your functional medicine natural health needs. Also, if you guys enjoyed it, share it with friends and family put down below in the comments, your own experiences with headaches and what’s worked and what hasn’t worked, what things that really move the needle for you. And we really appreciate a review and iTunes review from y’all. So EvanBrand.com/iTunes, JustinHealth.com/iTunes for review. That’d be amazing. And anything else you want to leave us with?
Evan Brand: No, that’s it. You did a great job. Thanks for the conversation. It’s always a blast and we’ll be back next week.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Excellent chat. Give a good one. Take care. Bye.
Fragrance: The New Secondhand Smoke
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Have you ever walked into a bath and body store, full of scented bath bombs and candles, and left with a headache, sore throat, or itchy nose? Those of us who are more sensitive may have already connected the dots between artificial fragrances and feeling foggy. While scented products are generally used with the positive intention of changing the scent of a person or a room, many people don’t realize the consequences. For the more sensitive among us, reactions can be immediate, but we are all at risk for the long-term effects of toxic fragrances.
What is “Fragrance”?
“Fragrance” (or “parfum”) is listed as an ingredient in practically everything these days: body wash, shampoo, soap, perfume, laundry detergent, fabric softener, hairspray, dish soap, household cleaning products… the list goes on and on. While any of these may list the ambiguous “fragrance” as an ingredient, they all have very different scents. Which leads us to the question: what exactly does “fragrance” mean?
Seeing the word fragrance or parfum on an ingredient list indicates a “trade secret” recipe that can be composed of hundreds of synthetic chemicals, selected from a database of 5,000 various components. Not only are companies not required to disclose which chemicals they use, none of these thousands of chemicals has to be tested for safety. There are some that have been studied, and the health effects are seriously scary. Reproductive harm, respiratory issues, and some of these fragrance chemicals are known neurotoxins.
Fragrance has been linked to:
- Endocrine disruption
- Hormone imbalance
- Brain fog
- Memory and concentration issues
- Headaches and migraines
- Respiratory problems
- Birth defects
- Damaged sperm
One example we can look at are phthalates, which help chemicals absorb into the body (alarm bells are already ringing). What are the associated risks? Reproductive system birth defects, hormonal changes, reduced sperm motility and concentration, increased damage to sperm DNA, obesity and insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, thyroid irregularities, asthma, and skin allergies, miscarriage, and infertility, to name a few.
EWG product testing found phthalates in nearly 75% of name-brand products, while not a single product listed phthalates as ingredients. This is because phthalates fall under the umbrella of a secret ingredient, and can be slipped into the chemical cocktail that results in one simple word, fragrance, on the ingredients list.
Think about the potential health effects linked to using phthalates that we listed above. This is just one of 5,000 ingredients that are mixed together to create a product’s fragrance. None of these chemicals are required to be tested for safety, yet we are exposed to them every single day!
Some of us are more sensitive than others and have an immediate reaction to scented products, and will avoid purchasing them. However, the majority of the population (unwittingly) still uses these toxic products. Perfume, scented laundry, hair products, air fresheners… Just like cigarette smoke, these fragrances create an aura of fragrance that pollutes the air. At their core, second-hand smoke and today’s fragrance epidemic are both battles over indoor air quality.
What Can We Do?
Shop with your dollars, and purchase products that are fragrance-free or contain truly natural ingredients, like pure essential oils. In fact, essential oils can take the place of a variety of scented products. doTERRA On Guard Cleanser is made of pure essential oils, including cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, and wild orange. A lavender essential oil can be mixed with a carrier oil (coconut, avocado, olive, rosehip, etc.) to create a natural moisturizer. Shopping for fragrance-free products is not hard, but making them yourself adds an extra layer of fun & personalization!
Are Your Migraines Caused by the Food You Eat?
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
The food you eat on a daily basis has a profound effect on your body’s inflammation level. The more inflamed you are, the faster your body breaks down. The faster your body breaks down, the more you suffer from pain, fatigue, headaches, hormonal issues, and other problems commonly attributed to ageing. On the flip side, the more you are putting your body into an anti-inflammatory state, the easier it is for your body to heal and perform at the highest levels possible.
Consuming gluten is strongly linked to migraine headaches. Gluten has been shown to cause a decrease in cerebral blood flow: the blood flowing to your brain. The main role of cerebral blood is to carry oxygen and nutrition to the brain for fuel so it can perform and thrive in its daily activities. When the brain isn’t being fed, migraine headaches can occur (1).
Imagine crossing your legs for 2-3 hours. Do you remember that pins-and-needles feeling you get when your leg hasn’t received enough blood? Now imagine getting up and running across the room— you’re likely to trip and fall. A similar thing happens to your brain when having cereal for breakfast, pizza for lunch, and pasta for dinner. Except instead of a pins-and-needles sensation causing your legs to go wobbly, you get a killer migraine headache that makes driving, taking a test, working, and other daily functions very difficult. A diet high in gluten is likely to cause chronic headaches and oftentimes migraines too, which severely limits your performance and your potential.
Other Simple Causes of Migraines:
- Nutritional Deficiencies: Gut inflammation is caused by common food allergens, such as grains, dairy, and legumes. These common allergens are notorious for preventing important nutrients like iron, calcium, selenium, magnesium and vitamin C from being absorbed. These nutrients are important for everyday health functions and healthy blood flow to the brain.
- Consumption of artificial compounds: Aspartame, Splenda and MSG (monosodium glutamate) are known excitotoxins. Excitotoxins are chemicals that stimulate neurons in the brain to the point that they are destroyed; this is not a good thing! Research from Russell Blaylock MD, a renowned neurosurgeon has elaborated on this phenomenon in his book Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills. These compounds are commonly found in fast food and soda.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals: Personal care and cleaning products can cause serious damage to your health, and are a common cause of migraine headaches too. I recommend all of my patients to thoroughly examine the ingredients in their household cleaners, perfumes, dryer sheets, makeup, and shampoos. The Environmental Working Group has compiled an excellent database where you can personally look up the products you use and the level of toxicity is graded on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst). Whole Foods and other natural grocery store are a great place to find non-toxic alternatives.
- Hormonal and Blood Sugar Imbalances: These can cause migraines in some females. These hormonal imbalances can be attributed to blood sugar disturbances, or the ebbs and flows in progesterone or estrogen that occur throughout the monthly menstrual cycle. Getting an adrenal-cortisol rhythm or monthly females hormone salivary lab test can help assess if this is the cause of your migraines.
- Joint Dysfunction: Any time the joints in your body—especially the joints in your neck and the upper cervical spine—aren’t moving properly, migraine headaches can occur. Getting your neck assessed by a good chiropractor can help you determine whether your joints are the root cause of your headaches.
- American Journal of Gastroenterology, Vol.98, No.3 2003, 626-9.
Is The Food You Eat Causing Your Migraines?
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
The food you eat on a daily basis has a profound effect on your body being in a pro-inflammatory state or an ant-inflammatory state. The more inflamed you are the faster your body breaks down. The faster your body breaks down, the more symptoms like pain, fatigue, migraines headaches and hormonal issues occur. On the reverse side, the more you are putting your body into an anti-inflammatory state, the easier it is for your body to heal and perform at the highest levels possible.
Migraines and gluten consumption have a strong connection. Consuming gluten has shown to cause a decrease in cerebral blood flow, the blood flowing to your brain. The main role of cerebral blood is to carry oxygen and nutrition to the brain for fuel so it can perform and thrive in its daily activities. When the ability to feed the brain is impaired migraine headaches can occur (1).
The analogy I give my patients is, imagine crossing your legs for 2-3 hours. Do you remember that pins and needles feeling you get when your leg hasn’t received enough blood? Now imagine getting up and running across the room, you’re likely to trip and fall. The same rings true when having cereal for breakfast, pizza for lunch and pasta for dinner than having to use your brain to problem solve or take a test. Living your life like this is likely to cause your performance to suffer and potential headaches.
Other Simple Causes of Migraines:
1. Nutritional Deficiencies: An Inflamed gut from common food allergens like grains, dairy and legumes are notorious for causing mal-absorption of important nutrients like iron, calcium, selenium, magnesium and vitamin-c to name only a few. These nutrients are important for every day health functions and healthy blood flow to the brain.
2. Consumption of artificial compounds: Aspartame, splenda and MSG (mono sodium glutamate) are known excitotoxins. Excitotoxins are chemicals that stimulate neurons in the brain to the point where they are destroyed; this is not a good thing! Research from Russell Blaylock MD, a renown neurosurgeon has elaborated on this phenomenon in his book, “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills.”
3. Exposure to toxic chemicals: Personal care or cleaning products can cause serious damage to your health and are a common cause of migraine headaches too. I recommend all of my patients to thoroughly examine their house hold cleaners, perfumes, dryer sheets, makeup and shampoos that they are being exposed to on a daily basis. The Environmental Working Group has compiled an excellent data base where you can personally look up the products you use and the level of toxicity is graded on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst). Whole Foods and other natural grocery store are a great place to find non-toxic alternatives.
4. Hormonal and Blood Sugar Imbalances: These can cause migraines in some females. These hormonal imbalances can be attributed to blood sugar disturbances or ebbs and flows in progesterone or estrogen that occur monthly in the female cycle. Getting an adrenal cortisol rhythm or monthly females hormone salivary lab test can help assess if this is the cause of your migraines.
5. Joint Dysfunction: Any time the joints in your body, especially the joints in your neck and the upper cervical spine aren’t moving properly, migraine headaches can occur. Getting your neck assessed by a good Chiropractor can help see if this is the root cause of your issue.
1. American Journal of Gastroenterology, Vol.98, No.3 2003, 626-9.