Top 5 Reasons You Are Losing Muscle Mass | Podcast #369

Muscles are essential to everyday movements, and if you noticeably lose muscle mass — especially without knowing why — it can be alarming. Losing some muscle mass is normal as you age. However, losing muscle mass quickly or atrophy, especially in the context of other symptoms, can indicate an underlying illness.

In this video, Dr. J and Evan discuss the top reasons you lose muscle mass aside from aging. Preventing a loss of muscle mass can also be achieved by exercising regularly (such as functional strength training) in conjunction with a balanced food template of lean meats and proteins, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains.

However, if the loss is due to an underlying illness, it must also be addressed and mindfully managed with a trusted healthcare professional or your functional medicine doctor.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

In this episode, we cover:

0:00 – Introduction
2:33 – Functional movements
3:37 – Infections
7:21 – Vegan-vegetarian
9:35 – Autoimmune digestive disorders
12:21 – Hormones
15:06 – Types of muscle building


Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And we are live. It’s Dr. J here in the house with Evan Brand. Today, we’re gonna be chatting about the top five reasons you are losing muscle mass. This is really important. All right. If you’re losing muscle mass, it’s gonna be essentially an all-cause predictor of mortality, increased mortality. So, we gotta make sure that we’re keeping our muscle mass and or improving our muscle, especially as we get older, we need good muscle to support and stabilize our body so we don’t get hurt, we don’t slip, we don’t fall, we don’t get injured. We don’t slip a disc so to speak. So, we have to make sure that we are keeping our muscles strong and functional. Evan, how are we doing today man?  

Evan Brand: Doing really good. I talked with a guy actually this morning where his mother, due to age and related muscle loss, fell, broke her hip, got in the hospital, had to get surgery, got an infection, died. So, I’m not saying everyone is gonna end up like that. But my God, look at how quickly something just like a fall due to lack of muscle strength and mobility could turn into something scary where you’re hospitalized, you’re getting surgeries, you end up with a hospital acquired infection then you’re on antibiotics then you go septic, I mean, this is crazy and so I hope we can help people prevent. This is such a common story. I mean, how many times have you heard, like, old granny falls, breaks her hip and that’s the end of her. She never recovers. It’s like, that’s not good. And so, fortunately, in the past, up until the past couple years, both of my grandparents right around 80 years old, they were playing tennis and they were still active in mobile so I just encourage you guys, just because you’re getting grow older that doesn’t mean that you need to become a couch potato. Even some of her friends that she’d played tennis with are in their mid-80s, still playing tennis, still moving well on the court. So, I just encourage you to find something that you love first and foremost. Use exercise as a side effect of having fun, meaning, if it’s pickleball, if it’s tennis, if it’s ping pong for all I care, I mean, basketball, volleyball, I mean, whatever you can do it. It doesn’t have to necessarily be intense. That’s all fun stuff, maybe competitive, fine. But exercise is a side effect of it. But if you’re just trying to depend on willpower to go run a mile, I think that’s a terrible long-term strategy and I don’t think you’re gonna like to continue with it, like my row machine, you and I both, we have the same row machine, we love it. You can go on there, and you can do little games, you could do just row, you could pick like, oh, I’m gonna, I wanna burn 10 calories or I wanna grow 500 meters and you have this like goal that motivates you to do something, but at the end of the day, all this physical performance is gonna pay dividends. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: No. Exactly. 100 percent. So, when I kind of, when I lift weights, I’m always trying to do functional movements, I think as you get older, especially as you know, you move into adulthood, you want muscles, right, you want to look fit or lean or trim right? You wanna feel solid but you wanna have functional muscles. One that allows you to do housework or click pick-up your kids easier and feel more confident or do well at your sport or just be able to enjoy life and feel good like if you think about, like, getting into a car, right? You get into a car, it’s like a one-legged kind of squat, right? So, I’m a bigger fan. As you get older, trying to do more unilateral body movements, meaning like a one-legged squat, a one-legged lunge or a lunge obviously with that, you know, you can look at discrepancies in your body. If you’re doing a squat, you know, you have other sides that you can compensate for but when you’re doing one-legged movements either a dead lift or a squat or a lunge or a step-up, it magnifies imbalances in the body. I like that because most of the time, when you’re moving, you’re actually on one foot in a sense and so it’s good to do movements like that so you start to develop a lot of the stabilizer muscles that support you when you’re moving so you don’t get hurt. 

Evan Brand: Let’s get into the functional stuff, like the functional medicine stuff, not functional movement but like functional reasons, I’m gonna go ahead and say, number one as a category of infections and you and I can break this down as much as you want. Yeah. I’m gonna say infections because you know my story, you saw me, I lost like, 25 pounds without trying and some of it was related to H. pylori. I think the parasite also wrecked me so I would just say infections as a whole. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah so when you have inflammation in the gut, right, it can be cause by infections like a parasite like Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Blasto, H. pylori, bacteria in that category, SIBO, general dysbiosis, bacteria imbalances, right? It creates inflammation in the intestinal tract, right? Whether it’s small intestine, large intestine, if you look at where these nerves sit on the spinal column, they sit in the lower thoracic to lower lumbar spine, and you know, let’s say t10 to L5 or so. Maybe even, maybe even S1 and when you have inflammation in the intestines, it’s on a two-lane nerve root highway from your intestines to your spine back to the muscles, right, so we have what’s called a visceral somatic reflex. So this Visceral means organ, somatic means muscles. So inflammation in the organ can actually take that signal of inflammation put on that two-lane highway to the muscle and it can actually create that muscle to shut down or not be fully facilitated or active and so with inflammation in the intestines can cause that. Now, women know this just think about the average women that has PMS and has PMS symptoms of back pain. It’s their ovaries having inflammation or hormonal imbalance that’s then refluxing to the muscle, right, visceral organ, somatic muscle. So, women know that if they have PMS or if you ever had a gallbladder issue, you feel it in your shoulder, if you have appendicitis, you feel it in that lower right hip quadrant, right? If you have a heart attack, you feel in the jaw down the left side down the left arm so we know there’s this organ muscle connection so a lot of people can have muscle issues because their core and their back gets very weak due to inflammation in their intestinal tract and the more inflammation there is the less likely you’re wanna, you’re gonna, wanna lift and want to do one of them, you know put resistance on your body because you’re just more inflamed and you’re more likely to get hurt and injured. 

Evan Brand: Yeah. So, if you, now, not all people lose weight and I’ve seen many women who gain weight magically 20, 30, 40, 50 pounds, sorry ladies, sometimes it happens that way. It’s where you gain weight due to infection but for me and I’ve seen other men the same, you lose weight, so I don’t know, I would just say this, any fluctuation whether it’s weight gain, including muscle loss so you could gain weight and still lose muscle right. You could gain body fat and lose muscle so whether it’s a significant, let’s say 10, 20 pounds or more weight loss or weight gain with no explanation, I would definitely look into the gut, start looking for infections  and as you mentioned, the strength is important and people don’t want to get strong if they feel like crap and so for me, luckily, my gut’s much better and now I feel good with resistance training whereas before I was just so depleted. So, let’s go into reason number two, I’m gonna say nutrient deficiencies, now, this ties directly into infections right because in the case of H. pylori, if it’s reducing stomach acid. Now, if you’re eating this good grass-fed steak, you’re not really getting as much nutrition from that and so these nutrient deficiencies compound over time because if you don’t have the amino acids being cleaved off the meats to produce muscle mass that also creates a big problem so nutrient deficiency and we could go any direction you want with this even vegetarian vegans, we could talked about the deficiencies there and how they’re gonna have trouvle with muscle mass. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep. 100%. So, of course, if we have vegan vegetarian, we’re not gonna get enough carbohydrate, we’re not gonna get enough protein, typically or if we get enough protein, right, let’s look at the combination of rice and bean which is a pretty common one. Well, you end up getting 70 grams of protein to 15 grams or so of carbohydrates so you get a lot of carbohydrates. Now, if you’re not that active or you’re more insulin resistant, you know some, most people are gonna need probably a minimum of half their body weight and in ounces of protein so if you’re like 200 pounds that’s 100 grams of protein. Well, do the math if you’re getting 15 to 20 grams of protein per 70, 75 grams of carbs that’s you know, 75 times five, you’re looking at like 340 to 400 grams of carbohydrates. Obviously, you can fix some of that by doing, like, a protein shake, like protein or hemp protein, you know, you can fix some of that. But again, you’re still relying on artificial sources, not whole food sources. Now, the benefit of the animal product is you’re gonna get all the protein, none of the carbs and you’re typically, if they’re grass-fed and pasture-fed, you’re gonna be getting excellent good fatty acids along with it and you won’t be getting a lot of the excess omega-6 fatty acids like you’re not gonna get on the vegetarian vegan side. So, you have this nutritional density that you get on the animal side which is wonderful and as long as we’re choosing you know, avoiding the factory farm, you know, we’re doing grass-fed pasture-fed, you’re gonna be in great shape and the next thing after vegan vegetarian is low stomach acid so if we have achlorhydria, low stomach acid, and that typically connects with low enzymes too, we may have a hard time breaking down a lot of that proteins. So, I know when you had some of your gut infections years ago, I think you had what Cryptosporidium, Gardia, H. pylori, that’s it Three Amigos, right? And so, when you had this gut infection, you also had lower stomach acid, lower enzyme levels. So, supplementing the enzyme and the acid so we can break down those amino acids and then also adding in or cutting out the bugs is helpful and then sometimes adding in some amino acids in a free form can be helpful because 40% of the Energy that you get from the protein actually goes into digesting the protein. It’s like having a credit card with a 40% transaction fee, right? Very expensive. So, there is some benefit by doing amino acids, if it’s already broken down but we still wanna make sure the whole food is dialed in and that we’re getting enough, uh, we’re getting access to the whole food nutrients via hydrochloric acid and enzymes too. 

Evan Brand: All right. Moving on to another cause here, and this is inspired by a comment here from Teresa, she said that she has muscle wasting from my colitis. So, we could just say, any gut issues and that one include autoimmune gut issues, right? So, colitis or what’s called pancolitis would be the whole colon, even celiac, Crohn’s, I mean, any of these autoimmune gut issues oftentimes that’s gonna create a lot of muscle wasting that ties directly into what we just said though which is nutrient deficiencies and infections. A lot of these people with major gut issues, like this, there’s usually a trigger. Now, in the case of like, celiac, obviously, that may or may not have a parasite infection involved but this is still part of the equation and we can use gut healing nutrients to work on this, you can put some of this stuff into remission but you know what, I don’t want people to do, you know, what I don’t want people to do is like eat clean all week and then they go eat garbage on the weekend. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Correct. Yep. 100%. And so, of course, if you have colitis, right? Whether it’s microscopic or ulcerative colitis, you know, it’s an extreme irritable bowel disease, you gotta look at the foods and then sometimes the foods could even be in vegetables it could be in the oxalates, the phenols, the salicylates, the FODMAP, so sometimes even healthy foods on paper could be problematic and then of course, you know, the grains and the dairy and he refined carbohydrate and the omega-6 fats of course those right. So, getting the inflammation via food is super important, we talked about dysbiosis, we talked about SIBO, H. pylori, of course is super common because H. pylori is notorious for lowering stomach acid and so of course, if we’re just taking stomach acid and enzymes and we’re not fixing the H. pylori, you know, that may not get to the root cause. So, if we’re taking supplements like hydrochloric acid or enzymes or bile support, we also got to make sure we’re getting to the root cause of any additional bugs that could be present and if we’re chronically stressed like the adrenals if we’re in sympathetic fight or flight the sympathetic fight or flight nervous system tends to be more catabolic than anabolic. So, anabolic is building back up, healing, recovering, getting stronger. Catabolic is breaking down. So, from this fight-or-flight state, our bodies always tend to be it. You know, running versus, building and growing and so if you’re catabolic from the adrenals being over active with cortisol, that’s gonna make it hard to build muscle, you’re gonna be breaking down the muscle instead, making glucose out of it and it’s also gonna be harder to digest because your body’s hard wired to take blood and bring it to the extremity so you can fight, flight or kind of run versus to the organs so you absorb and break down. So, that fight or flight is really important in fir digestion, for where the blood goes and also and how it allocates nutrients. It’s more likely to break down muscle than build muscle back when that fight or flight is really active.

Evan Brand: That’s a good call. That’s exactly where I was gonna go next is hormones, I was gonna talk about maybe low testosterone. We’re seeing that in men in their 20s, 30s, 40s, I mean just low hormone levels and women need some level of testosterone too. So, if you do hormone issues whether that is adrenal related cortisol, thyroid hormone, maybe you can riff on that for a minute because I think people are focusing on gut gut gut, which is great but there’s also this other connection of the hormone piece and I will tell you my cortisol was completely depleted when I did a salivary panel  years ago. My cortisol was flat all day and it was really tough no matter how much I tried in the gym, I was weak. Like, just my God, I could not make progress, fortunately better now, but man I’ve been through it. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Some people, they may be high with their cortisol and we have to use adaptogens to calm it down of course, like good diet and lifestyle things, some may be low and typically you don’t just go low all of a sudden. You ten to be on the higher over stimulated side for a while and then you ten to crash and that’s where that low cortisol kind of comes together and with that chronic cortisol, a lot of times we see low DHEA, and DHEA is important because that’s gonna be a precursor to a lot of men and women’s sex hormones and so women will go more down the estrogen side. Men, it will trickle more down testosterone. These are both anabolic hormones and so if we have lower DHEA, that tells us the adrenal issues that are going on are more chronic and DHEA will go downstream to more of these anabolic building up type of hormones so very important to take a look at your DHEA because that could tell you if you’re more catabolic inflamed place. And also too, if you do exercise, I get it if it’s like your first couple of movements, It’s like a new exercise kind of thing, you may be a little bit torqued. It’s new but you shouldn’t be overly sore after your workouts. If it’s a new thing, fine, or it was really you know, an acute hard workout but in general you shouldn’t be overly sore, you know, more than two days or so later. You really shouldn’t, you should still be able to function like maybe you feel it like it feels like you did something but it’s not overly sore if you are um and it was a reasonable amount of exercise, it wasn’t like you did too much you’re probably in a more catabolic state, and it’s also you could be over exercising too. So, you gotta make sure you’re not over exercising.  

Evan Brand: Yeah or I’m thinking like what about lactic acid build-up too due to gut bacteria or a mitochondrial issue due to some sort of toxin where they’re just depleted, they’re not recovering well, they’re not performing well. So, maybe not directly related to muscle mass but I think mitochondrial issues could be something to look into. You and I measure this and look at this on an organic acid test and we often find a lot of issues, I mean we’re in a toxic world with a lot of chemicals, metals, pesticides and so these things damage the mitochondria which to me would directly impair your ability to perform. Is it directly reducing muscle mass? If your mitochondria are damaged, I’m not sure on that. I’m sure we could look into it but it makes sense. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep. Absolutely. So, a couple different types of um ways you can build muscle, right, we talked about resistance training is obviously gonna be my favorite, right? So, we can do resistance training that kind of acts like cardio so if we do let’s say three or four movements back-to-back to back-to-back that kind of acts like cardio like or instance if I do like bicep curls, right, this is resistance training, you’re probably not gonna see a big bump in your heart rate which is bicep curls, right? So, there’s resistance training where you’re not getting a cardio effect and it’s resistant training where you’re actually getting a cardio effect. So, just like, people think cardio, like, oh, I’m gonna try them all that’s cardio. It’s well no, you can do exercise that’s resistance and still have a cardio effect. So, if I just did like bicep curls or tried extensions probably not a big cardio effect. Now, if I did like bicep curls and then I paired that with the next exercise, let’s say kettlebell swings, right and then the next exercise being some type of full body row or a lunge, you can see how you start getting more muscle groups involved. Your heart rate starts to go up significantly. So, that’s nice because there’s some benefit if you look at some of the zone two exercise theories that are out. With zone two exercises, essentially, when you’re working at about 60 to 70 percent of your max heart rate so if you’re at typically like you know, typically around if you’re like max heart rate for most people in their 40s or so will be like maybe around usually, it’s 225 minus your age and so if you’re like 40 that’s like what 225 minus 40 would be like what 185 and so you do 185 times 60 or so that should give you then you’re around like typically around 120 or so for your heart rate so they want you to stay around 120 for about 30 minutes. Now, you may find that you kind of have that zone 2 type of benefit while you’re actually doing lifting, if you kind of do it in a circuit fashion, then you choose movements that are more compound, you may find your heart rate stays that high. Now, the benefit of zone two is you get this really nice drop in your resting heart rate. There’s a lot of people that are reporting a lot of their data from like their fitbits or their or rings where they just have a significant drop in the resting heart rate that they wouldn’t necessarily see for like interval training or I’m sorry like a type of a tabata training where you’re like high intensity low, right? So, this kind of steady state thing for 30 minutes, you know, could have some cardiovascular muscle benefits and you may also be able to get some of that like if you do circuit movement so you can, you know, get one of these fitbits and measure your heart rate while you’re doing it and see if you can stay around 120 for that 30 minute phase that kind of put you in that zone two category around 120 or so. 

Evan Brand: Very cool. There was a comment in here from Selena, what about muscle wasting with chronic Lyme? Yeah. 100%. Unfortunately, I’ve dealt with Lyme with co-infections from many tick bites over the years and that’s a big big factor because Lyme loves collagen. It really likes to eat up your collagen reserves and then the inflammation it creates, that invites other things like the Bartonella to move in and create more inflammation in your joints. I’m sure that is a big big factor for you. I think you can get better from it. I’ve certainly gained muscle mass even with the infections, I would still throw it in the infection category though. I think the gut infections are a big one too so don’t go all in online and forget the gut bugs because if you’ve got H. pylori, I think that’s a bigger smoking gun for your digestion. Lyme could still wreck you and cause you to lose muscle, I know one of the girls that I used to work with, I saw her recently at a park and she was so skinny, skeleton skinny and she’s had Lyme for like a decade so I know it really affected her in that way but I do think some of that is reversible if you work on the bugs and get your gut better. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And also, people that have Lyme, it’s very rarely it’s just Lyme. It’s like Lyme but then they have, like a ton of dysbiosis, really poor digestion, so it’s usually people are already in this kind of not so great state and then Lyme comes in there and it’s the straw that breaks camel’s back and because it was the thing. They pushed them over the finish line. They just look at Lyme as being the culprit for all of it and therefore, I think it’s all then all they do is focus on that one thing because they think, oh well this is the root cause because this is what happened when everything went sideways and they get myopically focused on just that and then they’re on these crazy herbal antibiotic protocols for years and they don’t fix the other thing so still get back to the basics with your digestion with your, you know addressing the guts, um, really addressing all the stressors, the adrenals, make sure all of that’s kind of dialed in. Also, how did you do with collagen, I mean I found collagen it’s just great for building up that connective tissue because even like in today’s day and age, we’re getting a lot of muscle meat from our protein source, we’re very, we’re not getting enough of our connective tissue or skin or hide or those type of things like the soups and bone broths probably our ancestors used to do. We’re not getting a lot of those amino acids which are really important for connective tissue. 

Evan Brand: I do good with it. I do it every day. I do collagen protein every day so it helps man. I don’t have any elbow problems anymore, my knees are better so like my joints are like so much better, my skin is probably better, hopefully that’s helping with the muscle too. She commented that she did have Bartonella and Babesia. So, yeah, that’s a triple whammy, I mean, you gotta keep working on it, I’m not a fan of the antibiotics, this is a topic for another podcast but you had mentioned that you were doing antibiotics and you know that typically causes the Lyme to go into like a cyst form where it hides from the immune system and a lot of people rebound and relapse on that so I prefer herbs.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And also, if you go look at all the antibiotic side effects, they all match Lyme as well and so it’s like joint pain, fever, malaise, and so there’s like you see a lot of these conventional or should I say more natural minded medical doctors like oh that’s just 

Herxheimer, that’s like but it’s like you literally are giving something that has the same side effects of the disease you’re trying to treat and so that’s why we tend to like herbal treatments that are more gentle and we’re trying not to hurt and we’re trying to kind of choose a low dose of herbs that are gonna allow us to support the immune system, still have an antimicrobial benefit, we’re still providing a lot of antioxidants and nutrients in the herbs which is the benefit of the herbs and they don’t cause as much mitochondrial damage while we work on everything else. So, we’re still not gonna ignore everything else and we’re gonna find a treatment that makes sense and doesn’t make you feel sicker and have this self-fulfilling prophecy that the side effects actually match the disease that you’re taking.  

Evan Brand: No joke. I mean, we do a whole podcast. Let’s do one sometime on this but she said that she was tired of antibiotics, it’s been three years. Yeah. I mean, that’s affecting your gut which is affecting digestion. We know antibiotics damage the mitochondria so if someone had muscle mass and they had done antibiotics, obviously, you got to look at the gut so I would recommend that you do a stool panel. Do organic acids, try to uncover it, somebody said I look like Arnold Schwarzenegger with the beard, I hope that’s a compliment. Thank you.     

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. There you go. I like it. Very good. So, I hope this helps everyone out of the gate here. I mean, just kind of like start from the basics like all right, so to keep your muscles strong you have to have one not be stressed, right? So, do not put yourself in a catabolic state. Think of like, your adrenals being an overdrive, think of like good sleep, good hydration, good food, allowing yourself to be in a parasympathetic nervous system state. Deep nasal breathing, right, appreciation, gratitude, right, make sure we have good digestive support enzymes, HCl, we’re eating a really healthy anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense, low-toxin template, again, I have some patients that have autoimmune conditions where they have to be even more carnivore because they’re really sensitive to the plant nutrients then after that, looking at all the bottlenecks that could be absorbing things or causing absorption problems in the gut, right, like Evan mentioned, Evan had three Amigos, right, Giardia, Crypto, and H. pylori. And then looking at any of the other bugs there and then of course what types of movements are you gonna do, right? You can start out with just walking if that’s kind of a foundational level then you could start off with some type of a you know circuit training, picking three or four movements and going back-to-back-to-back. You could do some kind of a zone two cardio thing where you do about 30 minutes or so at 120 beats per minute and you can do something non-impact. I like rowing because rowing devices you’re using upper and lower body and you’re putting your body into extension or most of the times on like cardio, you’re kind of like hunched over and like doing your elliptical or you’re running like this or you’re kind of in this flexion state where a rower you’re kind of opening up so that’s kind of cool so those are a couple of tools you know to stimulate the muscles and to um make your heart work as well as make your muscles work. 

Evan Brand: I love the rower. Hiking too. I mean, hiking is so easy. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep. Hiking is great.

Evan Brand: I really love it because there’s a lot more variability in your movement as compared to walking on a flat surface so I’m having to like bring my leg up more to go over that rock to go over that tree root like it’s a lot of more leg involved than a flat surface so I love it as long as I’m not getting a tick bite, I’m happy in the woods. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And my favorite functional movements would be like a one-legged squat, uh, it’s excellent and you could just have a chair underneath you where you sit, touch and come back up and you could put up like a phone book on it or something so you don’t have to go all the way down to parallel, uh, a single leg deadlift is excellent and step up. I know, right. I know you can just grab whatever book right. I’m thinking up like the thickest book I could think of right. You know something like that. And then, you could do that and then you could do a step up which is great like on a plyo box and step up. That’s what this is.  

Evan Brand: How about, I mean the jumps? Obviously, that’s more intense but man those jump boxes, my God, that’ll, you talk about workout, that’s intense. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Yeah. I mean those plyo boxes are wonderful, I mean, I like is that 

Evan Brand: What it’s called the plyo like p yeah how you spell that? 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Like P-L-Y-O like a plyometric box

Evan Brand: That’s where you’re jumping up and down up and down? 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I actually like going on top of those and then just jumping off and then get into a squat because then you’re teaching your body like I’m generating all this force and I’m trying to absorb it so you’re teaching your body to be a shock absorber like just soak up energy which is great.  

Evan Brand: To think about that, that hurts my knee. Thinking about jumping off, I used to, I screwed up my knee years ago though you know, I was jumping off loading docks like behind warehouses when I was a kid with a skateboard and when you bail off the skateboard I would land flat on the concrete, my God. That hurt. That was done.  

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: No. Totally. But yeah, if you’re putting your joints in that kind of intensity, make sure your form is good. Some people say don’t go knees over toes, there’s a whole knees over toe guy on I think Instagram that talks about knees over toes but if you do that just make sure your form is good and you’re not causing any inflammation. Make sure you have enough protein and collagen, amino acids on board as well so you’re dialed in. 

Evan Brand: Yeah. And if you need help please reach out, we work with these issues all the time. We’ll help you investigate what’s going on. You may have this root cause, you may have that root cause, you may have multiple root causes but we’re happy to help find the puzzle pieces because you can’t fix what you can’t find so that’s where we come in, we’re happy to help you with this issue. If you want to reach out clinically, we work around the world with people we’d love to help. You can reach out to Dr. J directly at justinhealth.com and there’s consults available everywhere, lab testing, we can get it to your door. It’s no problem. If you’d like to work out with me, not physically but work out with the labs, let’s do it at evanbrand.com. So, justinhealth.com, evanbrand.com, we’re happy to help. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. We’re here to help and we’ll put some of the products that we talked about like collagen and some of the nutrient support, we’ll put them in the description below so if you wanna access some of the things that we recommend for our family and patients and take ourselves, feel free and access that. All right guys, hope you have a phenomenal day. Take care of you all. Peace. 

Evan Brand:  See you. Bye-bye. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Bye.

Evan Brand: Bye. 

Healthy Meal Tips – How to Create a Healthy Meal

Healthy Meal Tips

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Keeping in mind that what we eat should be nutrient-dense, toxin-free and high-quality is what this video is about. Gain beneficial information regarding the three macronutrients which are proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Know more about the different types of carbohydrates that we need depending on our activity level. Learn how to set up your own quality, nutrient-dense and toxin-free meal with the variety of foods discussed here.


Macronutrients

macronutrients

Every single meal should have a combination of three macronutrients –  proteins, fats and carbohydrates. We are just taking  fully into account that quality is really important.  A lot of people just talk about macronutrients like proteins, fats and carbs and do not emphasize the quality of nutrients that are very important. So, obviously organic, chemical-free pesticide-free, free-range, GMO-free. All these things are really important present in macronutrients.

The big thing is I’m going to emphasize macronutrients that also don’t have a lot of toxins in them. A lot of toxins are just phytates, oxalates, various fibrin compounds. Things that trip an inhibitor. Our enzyme-blocking inhibitor compounds can also affect digestion and your ability to breakdown and utilize B proteins and nutrients for food. And next is we also want to make sure that food are anti-inflammatory.

Three Prostaglandin / Eicosanoid Pathway

  1. Prostaglandin 1 (anti-inflammatory)
  2. Prostaglandin 2/ Arachidonic Acid (pro-inflammatory)
  3. Prostaglandin 3 (anti-inflammatory)

I’m going to be talking about various proteins and fats that are going to stimulate the anti-inflammatory 1 and 3 pathways vs. the refined vegetable oils, GMO vegetable oils to stimulate the prostaglandin 2 pathway.

PROTEINS AND FATS

Proteins and Fats

We’re going to have protein, fats typically come together when you eat at lunch or eating protein powders or once you’re eating rabbit protein. They have rabbit starvation up in the  in the wintery areas because the rabbits are so lean. They develop rabbit starvation of this protein hydro excess with no fats, and you actually need fatty acid to be able to help absorb proteins and amino acids so you can develop rabbit starvation without enough fat. But typically, in mother nature, you’re going to have protein, fat together. I’m a big fan of at least making half your meal, put half your plate with protein and fat.

If you are very active or if you’re a wall closer to the equator, you may be able to use more carbohydrate for fuel. So you actually see yourself in 3 quarters to 16% carbohydrates. But if you’re relatively leaner, you’re not exercising too much, and you’re living a pretty good lifestyle, typically about half protein, half fat. And that can change based on your activity levels, your kinetics, whether you have an autoimmune condition or not.

CARBOHYDRATES

Carbohydrates

We have a couple of different kinds of carbohydrates. We actually have starchy carbohydrates. This would come in the form of white potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, tubers, bananas, etc. We also have non-starchy carbohydrate.

I’m a big fan of non-starchy varieties because it tend to be higher in nutrition. But they don’t have all the sugar that you may get with the starchy carbohydrate. This tend to be a really good place to get all the nutrients, all these anti-cancer compounds in the non-starchy variety.

Now again, if you’re more active, you may need some of the starchy carbohydrates. So this is kind of dependent upon your activity level, as well as your genetic predispositions and also you know, assuming that you are healthy. If you’re diabetic, you have metabolic syndrome, if your waist is greater than 40 inches for male or greater than 35 inches for female, you may want to think about really keeping those starchy carbohydrates down, if not out of your diet completely.

High Glycemic

This can be pineapple, this can be banana, papayas, dates, mangoes, maybe more of your tropical fruits. Now people- but, of all the more tropical environment, they may have the genetic ethnic and biochemical individuality to process those carbohydrates at a higher level. Now if you got more wintery environment, you haven’t had those type of fruits. So you maybe a little bit more sensitive to it, you may not be able to eat as much.

Low Glycemic

Low glycemic may be your berries, maybe your apples, like your green apple. Things like that, usually below above 40 glycemic index are going to be your berries or apples, maybe more of your Granny’s Smith apples and such. It kind of gives you a good idea of what your low glycemic fruit maybe.

So myself, I typically try to consume more non-starchy and more low glycemic fruit. If I’m more active, then I will do a little bit more starch, at least more of these sweet potatoes. And again, out of the starchy ones, the sweet potatoes are actually lower on glycemic index than your white potatoes.

So just kind of keep that in mind. And typically all of my carbohydrates are still gluten-free. So I typically try to consume gluten-free carbohydrates just because we’re trying to keep up with the fact that our goal’s anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense, low in toxins, and gluten-free. These are all gluten-free here.

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WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR HEALTHY MEAL

Healthy Meal

So proteins, fats, carbohydrates- from there, you can create your meal.

Proteins

If you’re looking at proteins, it could be fish, it could be turkey, it could be grass-fed meat, it could be lamb, a good quality steak or beef. When we look at our fats, typically protein and fats are connected. So we’re looking at beef, and maybe a 76% grass-fed beef and maybe a dark turkey leg or chicken thigh, or the chicken breast- we’ll leave the skin on. If it is a leaner meat like a chicken breast, maybe we put a scoop of coconut oil in there; or we cut out the half to a whole avocado and put it on there. We can also have a handful of nuts or almond to get that extra fat. And again, we can obviously cook with fat, too.

Fats

Good healthy fats, maybe coconut oil or ghee. If you’re autoimmune, you may want to avoid the grass-fed butter or use something like ghee without the P casein protein in there. Also nuts, it could be good quality bacon fat and duck towel,  macadamia nut oil, avocado oil which are pretty good fats. It could be olive oil. Using olive oil as the salad dressing. That kind of gives you an idea of proteins and fats.

Carbohydrates

Our starchy carbs are going to be our sweet potato, our yams, berries, tubers,  squashes, white potato.

Non-starchy ones are going to be our spinach, its’ going to be our salad mix, our broccoli, our kale, our asparagus, our cauliflower, and spinach, etc.

Our high glycemic fruits of foods are going to be obviously, our white potatoes are going to be our high glycemic index. Obviously, sugar in general. We are keeping this list gluten-free here, just in case.

Low glycemic are going to be our berries, our passion fruit and our Granny’s Smith apples, our grapefruit, as well as our lemons and limes.


So I hope this video is really helpful. From here, you should be able to create an anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense, low toxin meal. Start pushing your body into anti-inflammatory state, which is essentially your body building up faster than you’re breaking down.

So if you’ve hormonal issue, or digestive problem, if you’re in chronic pain, if you have fatigue, or depression or a mood issue, this is going to be the kind of diet template-wise, maybe a couple of tweaks regarding macronutrients. This is the kind of diet you want to be on health, bring yourself back out well.

For more information about myself, feel free to visit the information bar below. If you need a consultation regarding what tweaks you can make to your diet or what lab test, feel free to reach out and I will be able to help you out.

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Amino Acids can help Brain Chemistry, Depression and Anxiety Problems

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

About twenty percent of the human body is made up of protein. Protein plays a crucial role in almost all biological processes. The building blocks of our protein is what we call our amino acids. And so today’s video is going to be on amino acids and brain chemistry. 

Again, I had a podcast recently over at Beyond Wellness Radio. Check out Beyond Wellness Radio for a little bit more in-depth discussion. I’m going to go into some different nuances we didn’t really cover in that podcast.  I’m going to break it down on how amino acids can make a difference. I will compare just the conventional and the natural treatment options. It will also include getting to the root cause without all the side effects.

amino acids and brain transmitters

Protein Composition

Amino acids are the breakdown of proteins.  So imagine protein is like the pearl necklace.  So, here’s our necklace and you can see when the necklace is complete, this is your protein.  And the amino acids are nothing more than one link in that necklace.

The protein has to get broken down into the amino acids and then the amino acids can get converted into the neurotransmitters, NT.  So the breakdown is protein to amino acids to neurotransmitters.  And there’s a lot that happens to get this broken down into this.

When we’re under stress, we can take a lot of this and we can shoot it downstream to glucose.  You’re going to see here, we can take a lot of our amino acids even dopamine, and we can even shuttle it downstream into adrenalin.  So we have to be a careful with that because we can easily burn through our amino acids easily.

Digging deeper, we have tyrosine or L-tyrosine, which can get converted into Dopa.  Dopa is the intermediary between L-tyrosine and dopamine.  And you can see the enzymes and the nutrients that are involved in this conversion are essential.

Anemia

Going back to the chemistry of an anemic person, we will consider the following: low red blood cell count, low hematocrit, low haemoglobin or maybe low ferritin. Maybe your TIBC and UIBC are high and your ion sat is low or maybe your ferritin is below 30.

Again, any of these signs could be an iron-based anemia. So don’t get tripped up doing all this fancy brain chemistry work if you have an anemia.  You have to get that looked at and treated and diagnosed first.

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Amino Acid Conversion

So we have the conversion of L-tyrosine to Dopa.  Dopa then gets converted to dopamine.  Now when we’re supporting someone in their brain chemistry, we’ll use the amino acid L-tyrosine by itself. We will also use the extra Dopa support via mucuna pruriens or velvet bean extract.  So we can use pure Dopa via these herbs and we can even use the upstream compounds with the L-tyrosine.

This is the same thing with tryptophan.  We have tryptophan down here.  So you can see tryptophan gets converted to 5-HTP.  5-HTP is the intermediary in between tryptophan and serotonin.

Nutrients needed for conversion

Both of these require certain nutrients.  We have iron for tyrosine to Dopa and we have B6 in both intermediary conversion.  So when we’re at Dopa or 5-HTP, we need B6 to make that conversion from 5-HTP to serotonin.  We need B6 to make the conversion from Dopa to dopamine.  Very important, these nutrients can easily get burnt out via stress.

Also, you can see the iron nutrients here, too.  They’re involved.  And again, we both have TH enzymes that are involved in the conversion of tyrosine to Dopa, that’s the intermediary for dopamine.  We also have L-tryptophan and 5-HTP, which is the intermediary for serotonin.

Again, the TH enzyme down here stands for tryptophan hydroxylase, where up here, it’s actually tyrosine hydroxylase.  So 2 different enzymes, the abbreviations look the same so don’t get confused on that.

We have this enzyme called the amino acid decarboxylase enzyme and you can see that it’s the same enzyme for each one.  So these abbreviations look the same but they’re actually different enzymes.  These enzymes right here are exactly the same.

Serotonin deficiency

So here’s where it gets a little fuzzy.  If we give a whole bunch of L-tyrosine and we don’t give a whole bunch of tryptophan, what happens is we’re going to create tryptophan or a serotonin deficiency because we’re upregulating this enzyme.  This enzyme up here is upregulated which is fine because we have more tyrosine coming in. But at the same time, it’s also up regulating down here. It’s causing us to burn through more of our serotonin, so what actually starts to happen is we start creating a problem.

We start having more dopamine and we create less serotonin, and this is a long run.  If you’re using a little bit of L-tyrosine by itself, not a big deal.  But again, if you’re going to be on amino acids for your brain long-term, you want to be on a combination of L-tyrosine and 5-HTP or the intermediary, maybe even Dopa and 5-HTP.

Dr. Marty Hinz did some research finding that he could prevent serotonin deficiency when he’s working with his Parkinson patients giving 24,000 milligrams of L-tyrosine. We could prevent the serotonin deficiency by just giving small amount, 50 milligrams of 5-HTP. It was enough to prevent the serotonin deficiency when giving these real high amounts of L-tyrosine-dopamine support.

amino acids

Summary

L-tyrosine gets broken into Dopa.  Now when we work with patients, we’ll give a combination of L-tyrosine and Dopa because we want the building blocks, but sometimes we want to be able to override the capacitor. So you can see this enzyme here acting like a capacitor.

So if I give L-tyrosine, only so much can get converted downstream to dopamine.  It bottlenecks so it’s like a governor or a capacitor on an engine when you can only go so fast when you floor the pedal.  So this TH enzyme that has the same effect here is a capacitor on tyrosine converted to dopamine, and this enzyme over here is a capacitor on the tryptophan converting to serotonin.  We will bypass some of that by giving the straight 5-HTP and giving the straight L-Dopa with the L-tyrosine.

So going back, L-tyrosine gets converted to Dopa.  Again, we only can have so much convert here, so we want to make sure these nutrients are present. And then in the intermediary here, if we give extra, we have to make sure we have B6.  B6 is a nutrient across the board.  We need in both reactions. From the food standpoint, sources are nuts and seeds, 4-5 out of the top 10 are going to be meats.  Your chicken, fish and turkey.

Everyone knows that tryptophan will get tired after a Thanksgiving Day meal. That’s the tryptophan in the turkey.  Same thing, 4-5 are going to be meats. So we got to make sure we’re eating good quality meats, nuts and seeds, avocado.  Things like that are going to be really awesome for your B6 levels.

My patients that have brain issues are going to need anywhere between a 100 milligrams to 300 milligrams if you’re at the Parkinson’s spectrum of extra P5P or activated B6, pyridoxal-5-phosphate.

So you can see here, tyrosine we support both the beginning and intermediary nutrients to help dopamine get converted.  And again, we can stress out our dopamine because it can go to adrenaline.

Reasons that Drive Neurochemicals Out of Balance

When we see these problems, all these issues can be genetically based.  They can be nutrient based from a poor diet  or may be autoimmune.  They can be from stress or burning up our nutrients. And it can also be from leaky gut or malabsorption due to SIBO or multiple infections and low stomach acid.

So your big 5 reasons are going to be driving a lot of these neurochemicals out of balance.  And this is the same with tryptophan.  We get tryptophan in turkeys, as the most common, but it gets converted to 5-HTP, we still need the corresponding nutrients, B6, and then we have the corresponding conversion to our active brain chemicals.

Dopamine really goes up when we eat a lot of sugar.  So a lot of people artificially stimulate and burn out their dopamine through sugar.  Dopamine is also the focus and the I-love-you neurochemical and serotonin is your mood, as you’re happy neurochemical.  We need serotonin to feel happy, to feel fulfilled. Typically, we need a combination of them together and they function and dysfunction together.  They’re like brother and sister.  It’s very rare that we just only treat dopamine or only treat for serotonin because of the fact that this enzyme here can create deficiencies.  So we’ll usually use them together as a team.

Now you can see down here we have this quinolinate pathway here.  Without enough B6, we’re going to convert a lot of our tryptophan into quinolinate, which is inflammatory.  Now if we have enough B6, we can actually block this pathway from even happening.  We can block it and we can make tryptophan go more this way, but we can also bypass that by giving 5-HTP.

synapse

Precautions and Recommendations

So if you’re inflamed, be careful of taking tryptophan by itself because you can actually drive this quinolinate pathway which is more inflammatory.  So we want to get 5-HTP. If we give tryptophan, we want to give B6 with it and we always want to give B6 together in any brain program.  Again, if you’re just doing the aminos and you’re not getting the B6, then you’re really missing the boat on that.

Medication

The big take-home feedback is amino acids are super powerful.  Most drugs are just preventing the reuptake.  The neurochemicals, let’s say serotonin, in between the presynaptic neuron and post synaptic neuron. The longer they live out, the more they get broken.

Most medications are actually blocking the reuptake because our body naturally recycles these serotonins. So we can bring them back in and we can have a longer shelf life.  Now most medications actually come in there and they actually block the reuptake. That will allow more serotonin to accumulate between the pre and post synaptic neuron. The longer they’re there, the faster the body starts to actually break them down and recycle them.

So again, what we do is we trade a short-term increase in serotonin or dopamine for a long-term deficiency.  That’s why most people on these medications actually have to increase the drug dosage to keep the effect the same.  Almost anyone you’ll talk to has had that experience. They have to increase the dosage or even change medications as well.


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The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Justin Marchegiani unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Justin and his community. Dr. Justin encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Marchegiani’s products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using any products.