Low Serotonin Signs, Symptoms and Natural Solutions | Podcast #325

Serotonin deficiency has common symptoms, including low mood and poor sleep quality. Most of the time, taking antidepressant medications called selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can improve serotonin deficiency symptoms. So in this podcast, Dr. J and Evan talk about the root causes and presentation of this condition. 

Our serotonin helps regulate a wide range of bodily functions, including sleep, bladder and bowel functions, orgasm, and emotions. It plays such an essential role in the body, it can be hard to determine whether low serotonin is causing a problem. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

In this episode, we cover:

1:22        Serotonin Neurotransmitter

5:17        PMS for Females

9:00      High Serotonin Symptoms

15:13     Neurotransmitter Nutrients

19:42     Herbals

25:47     Products for A Better Serotonins

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Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We are live! It’s Dr. J here in the house with Evan brand. Today we’re going to be chatting about low serotonin signs, symptoms, and natural functional medicine root cause solutions to get to the root of why everything’s happening, why these mood issues, energy issues, cognitive issues could be a play, Evan, how you doing today, man? 

Evan Brand: Doing really well. I’m excited to dive in with you here. This is an issue that I suffered with when I had gut issues. And, you know, once I figured out the connection between gut and mood, it was a game changer because I was focused so much on mood supplements, right? I would take like rhodiola is a natural antidepressant helped to boost energy. I would take ashwagandha to help with hormones and adrenal support. But I didn’t realize that I was missing the smoking gun, which was all the gut infections I had. So I was playing with adaptogenic herbs, long before I had the knowledge I have now about gut infections and serotonin. And so what I first want to tell people is that you can come in and you can spot treat things like you can use different nutrients and amino acids to help serotonin. But in reality, we really need to be focusing on the gut you and I’ve discussed this many times, but a large percentage of serotonin is going to be made in the intestines. And if you’ve got bacterial overgrowth are parasites or other infections, that pathway is not going to be working as optimally and no, this is not a deficiency of antidepressant drugs. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly right. So serotonin neurotransmitter helps a lot with motility helps a lot in the digestive tract, right. Also, a lot of serotonin supposedly does not cross the blood brain barrier. There’s a lot of people that talk about this, a lot of the precursor amino acids like five HTP, or even dopamine or tyrosine, the precursor amino acids can actually cross the blood brain barrier and then also convert. So of course, there’s some people that say like, like Kevin just said about the serotonin being made in the gut really important, helps motility probably does have some mood influences just because the guts so important for absorption of all these nutrients, and we need serotonin for reasonably healthy gut function. But we also need to be able to break down all of our protein and amino acids because all these amino acids are the building blocks for all of our neurotransmitters, whether it’s serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, GABA, whether it’s our beta endorphin, all these are really, really important and we have to be able to break them down. So of course, things like low stomach acid, low enzymes, gut inflammation from food allergies, gut bugs, infections, being overly stressed over a sympathetic nervous system output, adrenal dysfunction, high chronic, higher, low cortisol, all of these things are going to shift our nervous system, it’s going to act our activate our fight or flight, nervous system response. And those things can play a major role, and being able to digest, absorb and assimilate. So that’s like kind of a foundational thing, I want to just kind of start with off the bat because we need that to be in place. And then once that’s in place, that gives us a good neurological foundation to not overly activate our sympathetic nervous system response, have the enzymes and the acids. And then of course, we’re making an assumption that we’re eating really good foods that are anti inflammatory, nutrient dense and low toxin to kind of provide those building blocks out of the gates.

Evan Brand: Yeah, well, you just highlighted something important here, which is this serotonin issue. And other neurotransmitters too, can be a vicious cycle, in the sense that if you have gut infections, reducing stomach acid levels, now you’ve got this malabsorption issue, so you’re not going to get the amino is any way to manufacture the neurotransmitters. So you could come in, and you could use amino supplementally to try to spot treat. But in reality, if you don’t fix the infection, creating the malabsorption in the first place, it doesn’t matter how well you do on the diet. It’s not about what you eat. It’s about what you digest from what you eat. And I think that’s the important piece of the conversation that’s missing with people is they focus on do this food do that food, but it doesn’t take into account Are you actually absorbing and assimilating that and we know based on Dr. Wright’s work in his amazing book, why stomach acid is good for you that by age 30 40 50 60 and beyond you make less stomach acid just with age alone. And that doesn’t even account for the fact of modern life stress, circadian rhythm issues adrenal issues not chewing your food, that kind of stuff. So your regardless of the lifestyle factors just age alone is enough to create a bigger problem. So let’s just run down the list real quick together here of too low of a level of serotonin. Now you may see various lists across the internet, Justin and I found one that we like from a respected source. So I’m just going to kind of run down the list here of two low serotonin. Course depression. Everyone thinks about that, but also anxiety, insomnia or sleep problems, nervous or worried, poor response to stress, negativity or pessimism, irritable or impatient, self destructive, potentially even suicidal thoughts, low self esteem or self confidence you feel worse in the winter. So you could call it a winter depression if you’d like younger, rage, explosive behavior inflammation. Here’s one that’s interesting. We need to, I think, talk about this further PMS. And then OCD or eating disorders as well have a link to serotonin. So the PMS is interesting. What do you think the meccan mechanism is there? 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, a lot of female hormones like progesterone, for instance. And or just healthy progesterone, estrogen balance, have major effects. Basically, they’re like mono amine oxidase inhibitors. So essentially, they almost are like mini antidepressants, they help kind of keep a lot of the neurotransmitters in between the post and presynaptic synapse. So you kind of have this presynaptic synapse, we have a postsynaptic synapse. And this is what’s called the synaptic cleft, right? This is these are where the neurotransmitters accumulate between the two. Okay? And things like progesterone, for instance, they have a mild serotonin reuptake inhibition effect. Now, when you do medications, the problem with medications, the longer you keep those neurotransmitters between the synapses here, the faster those neurotransmitters are recycled and broken down. That’s why over time, people that are on antidepressants, or SSRIs, their dose has to go up, not down, especially if you don’t fix like underlying root issues. So I think a lot of these hormones like progesterone, we know is a GABA chloride channel inhibitor. So GABA is big, because it promotes relaxation, the more relaxed and calm your nervous system is, the less chance you’re going to be burning through serotonin because you’re less stressed. And there’s a mono amine oxidase inhibition effect, right, MAO, inhibitor, so it’s almost like a mild antidepressant in a way for sure. 

Evan Brand: Oh, cool. Totally interesting. Yeah. So I mean, it sounds like, you know, part of the protocol could be both, it could be using potentially some hormones, like maybe some progesterone, but also coming in with the amino acids. And then once you figure out what’s going on, after you test, then you could come in and start fixing the infection. So let me just tell just a brief story. I think people relate to the stories here. So I just remember, you know, when I was down in Texas, and I had gut infections, I had just a baseline anxiety level that was so high. Now granted, I was away from home, I had some homesickness, I missed my family, that kind of thing. But this was different. This was related to my gut, because as soon as I was doing no microbial herbs, the anxiety was 25, maybe 50, maybe even 75% better. So I can just tell you, personally, you know, you and I’ve seen it clinically as well. But just personally for me, you know, I was doing supplemental gabbeh, I was doing motherwort passionflower, all the calming herbs. But it didn’t matter how many calming herbs I did, it was just a band aid. It wasn’t root cause. So I just want to make sure people understand that there’s a difference between natural and functional. So natural medicine is like, hey, you’re anxious take passionflower functional medicine is like okay, fine, take passionflower. But why are you anxious? And that’s the secret. The secret sauce?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Correct. I think with you mean, part of the underlying reason was you had multiple gut infections that were not being addressed. Yeah, there was there was that kind of thing in the background, I think that was really important. And so fixing that played a big role, you had some potential mold stuff that was hiding as well. I think there was also some blood sugar stuff that was happening with you as well, that we were looking at, I think you also had like really low blood pressure, too, didn’t you? 

Evan Brand: Yeah, my blood pressure was like, maybe 100 over 70. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So on the lower side, so there was definitely very weak adrenals where your mineral corticoids were paying a price and you weren’t able to hold up a lot of the holding a lot of the minerals that your blood pressure was dropping, and so you weren’t able to really perfuse blood flow adequately. Right. So yeah, all these things play a big, big, big, big role. 

Evan Brand: I was peeing a lot too. So I was up in the middle of the night, three, four or five times to pee. I now know that that was related to mold, because since using appropriate binders, I no longer wake up in the middle of the night to go pee. So just folks listening, you know, could be an adrenal component as well. But, you know, for me, the excess urination was definitely a mold thing, and it’s luckily resolved. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. So you already kind of talked about a lot of the symptoms. Let’s just kind of go over those real quick. So we have our high serotonin symptoms just briefly here. Let’s hit them again. So too high depression, anxiety, nervous being a worrier. 

Evan Brand: And these are low stress. These are low. You said to- 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’m sorry. Yeah, I’m sorry. These were too low depression, anxiety, nervous worry. Anger, PMS, right. And then on the high side, let’s go over the high ones again, briefly. There’s no high Okay, there’s no high for those. Okay, so those are the big ones with the seratonin. Right. Now, we already talked about the foundational things. So when we talk about nutrients, just kind of make sure everyone that’s listening understands Foundation has to be in place, good foods, good digestion, good hydration management of stress, and we can talk about different techniques that help decrease stress. I won’t go into specifics but I’m a big fan of EFT, EMDR, NLP a lot of times techniques or eye movement techniques that can help rewire the nervous system that can help dampen sympathetic nervous system responses. There’s another one that you like Evan, that you did that does a lot of rewiring as well. Which ones that? 

Evan Brand: You talk in the brain retraining? 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, brain retraining, a lot of that requires NLP? 

Evan Brand: Yeah, I’m playing with a couple of them. Yeah, some of it is kind of NLP strategy. There’s one called gupta. There’s another one called dnrs. They’re just doing our online one. Yeah, they’re online brain retraining, I’m gonna work through the Gupta, the one and I’ll have feedback for people, but I have done the dnrs. It’s basically just trying to rewire your brain, right, you’re trying to tell your brain that your issues are fine, and all of that. So I like it. But I personally, I think EFT is better. I like the tapping aspect of EFT tapping is nice-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You can feel a nice reduction of that nervous system response. It’s like when your brains are used to firing a certain way. It’s like, if you have a big backyard and you go on a hike or you go for a hike, where your local park, there’s a path kind of carved out when you go into the woods and that paths there. Where do you go, you naturally walk on the path, you don’t just go randomly go in the woods with all the sticks and trees and ticks, right? You kind of go on that carved out path, your brain kind of works the same way. So when it’s used to thinking about something a certain way, it carves out a path. And when you jump on that when you jump in the woods and you see that path, you naturally go down that way. And so essentially, the tapping is kind of like it’s a way of like pulling out the machete and kind of carving out a new path in the brain to fire a little bit differently. 

Evan Brand: That’s that’s a great analogy. Yeah, that’s a great analogy. You’re saying how basically with this low serotonin that you can get stuck in these pathways of like, pessimism and negative thinking and all of that. So it’s harder to break out.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I’ve listened to Julia Ross lecture one time, because she does. He’s an MFT marriage family therapist. And she has done counseling on lots of people. And she has had clients and patients for decades, where they just couldn’t get over certain issues. And she just started utilizing nutrients and amino acids and these problems that were problems, just naturally, were non issues, they they just became they just people were able to get over them so much easier. And a lot of that is is you need the mental neurological equipment to be able to process and handle them. You know, my my analogy, I get patients, it’s like staying up all night and then trying to do your taxes the next morning, like you just may not be able to have that mental capacity to handle it. And so I look at neurotransmitters, it’s giving you the equipment, you need to deal with these issues, it’s like giving a child adult level problems like they just going to be overwhelmed, they’re not going to be able to handle it and process it. And so if you have the right neurological equipment on board, that gives you the ability to handle it. And then also having these extra strategies in our back pocket. Like I mentioned with the EMDR. EFT Now the easiest thing is you just talk about the problems and you just kind of tap all the different EFT spots, side of the eyebrows, middle of the eyebrows underneath the eyes, underneath nose and chin, collarbone, underneath the nipple area, under the armpit, right. And those are just those are the really good spots you can do you can do right in the parietal line in the center of the brain here. Those are all good spots. And you can just kind of talk about the problem, whatever the problem is, let’s say you’re at a seven out of 10 and 10. Being you know the most sensation or irritability or emote, you know, palette of emotion that you could feel, ideally you want to get below five. So I always just say talk about the problem, talk about the fear, talk about the emotion you’re feeling and try to get it below a five. And ideally, if you can get below a three even better. And so you just keep on doing that it’s a good way out of the gates. And then also NLP kind of comes in where you you really are focused on the pictures that you have in your brain, right? That the pictures that you have in your brain are very important. So you really want to put pictures of yourself succeeding doing the thing, right? And then an easy kind of NLP technique is you can do the stop sign. Have that stuff sign flash in front of your, your, your mind’s eye when you start thinking things that are negative or you can do no stop. Right you there’s a DNR s one that you can tell about to. 

Evan Brand: Yeah, yeah. And then that’s what they do. You basically just kept pace. tell yourself that your brains sending your body false messages. So it’s like this negativity, it’s this fear. It’s this hyperstimulation it’s the overreaction, you’re trying to just shut that down. And the mind is powerful. And I think it’s I think it’s an underappreciated thing. Now, you made a great point, which is that you got to have the fuel in the fuel tank, right. So you could do all the the physical tapping and all that stuff. But if you simply just don’t have any neurotransmitters in the tank, it’s going to be tough to focus on this, it’s going to be tough to have drive to get this done. So that’s where you and I are going to come in. And you know, let’s talk about some of the testing now. So we’re going to be looking at like an organic acids testing. And we’re going to look and measure some of the various aspects. We did a podcast recently on low dopamine, so check that out if you’re interested. But in that same category, we’re going to be able to measure the serotonin marker. And once we look at that we can see where people are at. And then of course, we’re going to factor in what’s going on with the gut to because rarely is the serotonin good To become a dysfunctional problem, unless there’s a gut issue as well. So we may see Candida bacterial overgrowth parasites, H. Pylori, gut inflammation and low serotonin. It’s rarely just low serotonin by itself.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100% and so it’s good to have the foundation it’s good to have some tapping techniques. Now let’s go talk about some of the other nutrients. So we know things like five HTP, or triptophan is a precursor to serotonin and serotonin. You know, obviously, that neurotransmitter that helps with focus and feeling good. It’s a very, you know, happy neurotransmitter. A lot of times dopamine can overlap because dopamine helps with focus, it’s an I love you neurotransmitter. So a lot of times there can be an overlap in those symptoms. And a lot of times people that have low serotonin could have low dopamine as well. And also the enzyme that metabolizes serotonin that metabolizes five HTP, and converts it downstream to serotonin is the aromatic decarboxylase enzyme. And that enzyme also metabolizes dopamine. So if you constantly take five HTP support chronically, you probably want to have a little bit of dopamine tyrosine support as well, because you can create some functional deficiencies long term. So just kind of keep that in mind. Like in my line, we have a product called brain deplete that has a 10 to one balance of tyrosine to serotonin. And if you’re taking a lot of serotonin, it’s probably okay especially if you’re testing it on the organic acid, but just long term, you probably want to throw a little bit of dopamine, whether it’s tyrosine in there to provide some building blocks, that’s excellent out of the gates. And then there’s a couple of really important methyl support that needs to be there, B six and B 12 are very, very important. B six is incredibly necessary for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, we need B six is an important cofactor and so is b 12. b 12 is methylated B 12. Really important for the methylation of these neurotransmitters. Well, we attach a carbon and three hydrogen to it. That’s methylation. Very important. Also, vitamin C is very important because vitamin C tends to be burnt up and overly utilized when there’s a lot of adrenal stress as well. We talked about five HTP, we talked about some potential tyrosine. And then it’s also nice to throw in a little bit of an adaptogen. Because adaptogens help with the stress response, they help with perceived stress. So even if you’re stressed right now, just giving you some support on the adaptogenic herbal side, will change your perception to it. And so things like rhodiola or ashwagandha, or ginseng, or eleuthero are amazing to help kind of or even macca, especially women do very well, macca are very good for stress perception and stress modulation. 

Evan Brand: Yeah, great, great calls. So just to back up what you said, there was a trial done. We’re not fans of drugs, we prefer to try to come at it the natural functional way whenever possible. However, there was a study done that compared antidepressant use, and just in a depressant by itself, compared to antidepressant plus b 12. And 100% of the subjects that got the B 12. And the antidepressant showed at least a 20% improvement with their symptoms compared to the antidepressant alone. So just to tell you one more time, and a depressant plus b 12 20% improvement in the outcome, as opposed to just the antidepressant by itself. And then also Foley, same thing. There’s a paper on Foley, and how that also boost things up. And then I don’t know if you’ve, you’ve played with this one much, but have you seen some of the Selenium extracts? You’ve got some of these saffron and selenium blends like this? Yeah, so it’s pretty cool. I’ll put it in the chat for you. So you can look at this tech sheet, you might have to log in, but I’m gonna send it to you. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep, I’ve put those links to the studies. And we’ll put it in the description notes after the show. So you guys can take a peek at it. 

Evan Brand: Yeah, but so just, I just put it for you in the chat. If you want to see, like I said, you may have to log in to see this tech sheet. But this is a cool product. And I’ve used it with some people that were previously on antidepressants, and they got off of it. And many of them reported they felt just as good. And so the Sceletium plant, it’s kind of an indigenous South African plant. Indigenous people used it says for relaxation, stress reduction, calming thirst and hunger prior prior to long hunting hunting trips, which is pretty cool. And it acts like an SSRI. So the Sceletium binds to the serotonin transporters inhibiting the uptake of serotonin from the synapse, resulting in increased serotonin concentration in the synaptic cleft. That’s the same mechanism of prescription SSRIs. So this is a game changer, potentially. And like I said, I’ve had clients that were previously on the pharmaceuticals, and then they did this one, and they like this one much, much better.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s good. Yeah, there’s a lot of good options. It’s nice to have some herbals, whether it’s adaptogens or the sceletium, whether it’s the saffron and I think in that the important cofactors need to be there B six b 12. You can maybe even throw in some full weight in there because full weight tends to interact. So I tend to have you know, products that will Be six, we’ll have the seratonin have the dopamine support. And then we always like, I think you’re in the same place always having a really good molti there in the background just to make sure all those cofactors are there. And then of course, having a really good solid diet as a foundation that kind of gives you that insurance policy that the building blocks are there, the cofactors are there, and then you can really hit things more therapeutically after. 

Evan Brand: Yep, absolutely. Now, have you played with any of the other testing? You know, we already hit on the test. But there are some companies that do just neurotransmitters Have you ever played with those at all? 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, the whole idea with some of those is that you may not get a good window, what’s happening in the brain, right. So supposedly, you have the idea one is going to be some kind of like a spinal tap, right, where you really get a window into what’s in the cerebral spinal fluid, which is kind of flowing to the brain, that’s kind of like your ideal, obviously, that’s invasive. And then the urinary metabolites, I think, are pretty good. Because you kind of get a window like, if someone’s buying a whole bunch of food, you kind of get a window by going into their trash what they bought last week, right? It’s kind of like that. So you get a pretty good window of how you’re doing. So if we don’t see a lot of stuff in the trash, or we see too much stuff in the trash, that gives you a window what your body’s utilizing. And so that’s organic acids, we’ll look at with serotonin and we’ll look at five hydroxy and dolo. Last day five HIIA. So that’s helpful to give it give a window into it to know what’s happening. And then we’ll apply some of those nutrients, maybe 100 milligrams of five HTP at a time. And we’ll kind of go out from there. And I like doing it more, you know, at the last half of the day, especially if it’s more calming and relaxing, because some people they may get too tired because of it during the day. So you got to individualize it. And if you’re on a medication, it’s really important if I’m having people that are on meds like SSRI medications, amino acids will help the drugs work better because these drugs work by blocking re uptake ports. And if you’re blocking a rehab, take a port and you’re providing more substrate. Well guess what happens that substrate now is going to increase the symptoms or the potential effects of the drug which can also increase the potential side effects. So I always tell patients, look at the medication that you’re on, make sure you know what the side effects are. And so if we add things in, we look for those side effects to occur. If they do, we go back to the prescriber, and we gently nudge down the dose of the medication under the prescribers controls, we got to look at what those side effects are. That way, if it happens, great, we adjust or we just go slower to so my goal is if we’re going to adjust medication, we’re always doing it from a point of stability, not instability, and we’re always utilizing the prescriber that prescribed it. And if you’re on some of these meds long term, whether it’s an SSRI, or maybe even benzos are the worst, we may need a very, very long term taper, it just really depends. Could be six months up to a year, depending on what the medication benzos tend to be worse, SSRIs tend to be less. And it depends on how long you’ve been on them for Okay, so But either way, we don’t touch medication dosages, unless we have everything in order, we’re stable, and then we have a prescriber that’s involved in the prescription of the medication, monitoring and tapering the dose. 

Evan Brand: Well said and there’s a link between antidepressants and gut bacteria to if you just look up and depressants, microbiome, you can find some studies on this. But we now know that these antidepressants are negatively affecting the gut. And we’re seeing changes with bacteria. And in particular, we’re seeing clostridia and other pathogenic organisms that we test for via stool and urine. We’re seeing these pathogenic bacteria overgrowth. So there is a link now between antidepressants and bacterial overgrowth in the gut. So just keep that in mind. If you’re somebody who’s been on these prescriptions for a period of time you’re having gut issues, maybe you’ve worked through some protocols, whether it’s with us or other practitioners, maybe you’re not to the finish line yet, you know, consider the drug could be a contributing factor, I’m not telling you stop the drug, I’m telling you that it needs to be factored in, and we got to try to counteract what that drug is doing. And we’ve seen cases like that, where clostridia just keeps coming back. And the drug, if the doctor was able to remove it from the protocol, then boom, they were able to get well and stay well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, totally. I mean, my personal opinion on medications like SSRIs, or drugs like that. The only, you know, real good application, in my opinion, is some kind of a short term where someone may commit suicide or harm themselves. That’s the only I think, you know, valid reason to be on it at all, is for just pure stabilization. And then working with someone with various therapies, whether it’s talk therapy, whether it’s then I think, combining EFT or EMDR, with that to kind of calm everything down and then utilize the diet and nutrients and then get off the medication. The problem with most medications is once you’re on it, you kind of get stuck, and the prescriber doesn’t want to take you off and they’re also not fixing the underlying root issue. So, you know, my general application is if something’s incredibly acute, that may make sense. But outside of that, you want to always try to work on coming off that way responsibly with all the foundational support underneath, and with the prescriber involved. So if anyone’s listening and they’re on a medication like that, and they just want to come off, don’t do that work with the functional medicine doc, and then we’ll also work with your prescriber to get you off because there’s always going to be some kind of a relapse that happens. And we don’t want anyone to be in a position where their neurotransmitters just really go wonky with a major, something they regret. 

Evan Brand: Yep, absolutely. Well, I think that’s all I have to say on it. So if you have any more than let me know, otherwise, we’ll give people some info here where they could reach out if they need help, I know you’ve got some products to mention, I’ve got some too as well. So in your show link in your show notes on the podcast app, you should be able to click there and then boom, check out some of these products. You know, if you’re on drugs, you know, consult with us or consult with your practitioner, how you may work some of these in. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, the big ones that I use in my line, of course, a good multi multi support pack excellent brain repletes to have that 10 to one ratio of tyrosine to serotonin with some of the cofactors there I’ll also use serotonin with B six. So in my line, serotonin replete or dopa repletes, are going to be the big ones and the dope replate Plus is my bigger l dopa, which is a it’s let’s say, a little bit more down the line in regards to dopamine synthesis, so it can have a better effect on improving dopamine levels. So those are my big ones. We’ll put the links down below. Evan, what are some of the ones that you have in your store that you use with patients? 

Evan Brand: Well, a lot of them I’m ordering through third party, so I don’t have any on my store right now. And we’re moving warehouse. So I don’t have any right this second. But you know, if you’re working clinically with me, I will definitely educate you on those. And then some of the Zimbra and some of those, there’s different professional manufacturers that will use so there’s a couple different brands. But either way you could reach out and we’ll we’ll let you know what we’re going to use. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, maybe a good idea. You have a category on your website, like say, like maybe neurotransmitters so people are listening to this down the road, maybe look for a category on brain nutrients, or neurotransmitters. And some of those will be there too. I have a category on brain nutrients too. So we’ll try to make it easy for you all to navigate. If you need support, we’ll put links down below. 

Evan Brand: Awesome. If you need help clinically, you can reach out Dr. J works with people worldwide via phone, FaceTime, Skype, however you need to chat. So please reach out to him at JustinHealth.com. And if you need me, Evan Brand, EvanBrand.com is the website. And we love working with this stuff. I mean, we’ve been able to transform our own lives with these products, we’ve been able to transform 1000s of other lives. And so this is really just a sigh of relief, when you can fix these issues. And you can help people take back not only their mood, but take back their life. I mean, when you optimize these things with brain chemistry, you can allow people to become more focused, you can allow them to become more calm, they can sleep better, they become better parents, they become better husband, better wife, better workers, better CEOs, better entrepreneurs. So it’s just incredible what you can do when you optimize this stuff. And so we want to test not guess, figure out what’s going on, look under the hood. And you can help modulate these things. So please reach out if you need help. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, and if someone’s coming into this, they don’t know where to go. They’re not quite sure where to start, keep it really simple. Start with the food. Start with a good healthy paleo template out of the gates, maximize your ability to break down protein with HCl, good digestive acid enzymes just start there out of the gates because that’s the building block for everything. And then from there, definitely get a practitioner in your corner to really work on all the building blocks, all the supplements support all the other precursor support so you have that good foundation, and then maybe also dive deeper into a lot of the gut, which could be a lot of bottlenecks. If you have chronic digestive issues. That’s gonna be an important part of the equation as well. 

Evan Brand: Totally, totally Well said, well, always fun. I love these brain neurotransmitter episodes. They’re always a blast. I think they’re very helpful, very empowering for people. So please give us a review. We would love it. If you can review Justin’s show on iTunes or my show on iTunes. We really appreciate it. Give us some stars. Let us know what you think. Share it with your friends and family people who are dealing with issues we know that depression anxiety issues are massively increased over the last year. So the thing that we can hope here is that this is a beacon of light to help people know that there is solution to this problem.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100% we’ll put some review links below so you guys don’t have to hunt it down too far to do that. We really appreciate it guys have a phenomenal day. Take care y’all. 

Evan Brand: Take care. Bye bye.


References:

https://justinhealth.com/

https://www.evanbrand.com/

Brain Replete

Serotonin Replete

Dopa Replete

Dopa Replete Plus

Audio Podcast:

https://justinhealth.libsyn.com/low-serotonin-signs-symptoms-and-natural-solutions-podcast-325

Brain Chemistry, Mood and Amino Acids – Podcast #57

Brain chemistry is the sum of all the chemical messaging that takes place in the brain, which allows it to carry out its daily functions, such as generating movement, speaking, thinking, listening, regulating the systems of the body, and countless others.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand begin this podcast by sharing patient stories that deal with blood sugar issues and eliminating sugar cravings as well as patientsbrain chemistry
with autoimmune conditions being treated with dietary work and adrenal work. You can reach out to either of them so they can help you put together an action plan on the next steps to do to improve your health. Discover the differences between conventional medicine and functional medicine and how patients’ symptoms are being addressed and what treatments are being given. 

They also get into in-depth discussion about brain chemicals and neurotransmitters. Dr. Justin effectively demonstrates the process of the action potential and the neuro conductivity that take place. Find out how long a person should use amino acids therapeutically in order not to create any deficiencies as Dr. Justin explains it thoroughly in this interview and he tells us what other nutrients you need to be taking while on this type of treatment.

In this episode, topics include:

1:15   Patient stories

8:15   Deeper look into amino acids, brain chemistry and mood

17:45   Difference between conventional medicine and functional medicine

19:45   The length of time to use amino acid therapeutically

24:58   Recommend method to get off medication like SSRIs, etc.

 

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Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hey, it’s Dr. J.  Evan, what’s going on, man?

Evan Brand:  Hey, not much.  I just finished up some matcha, some organic matcha and schizandra, so I’m feeling pretty turned on in terms of my brain function today.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Turned on.  I like it, man.  That sounds good.  That sounds really good.  Yeah, I’m having–

Evan Brand:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  A pretty spectacular morning.  It’s Friday.  It’s–it’s hot.  It’s sunny in Austin, so I mean I can’t really complain.  Actually flying out in a few hours to go up to San Francisco here for the–for the weekend, so I’m pretty excited about that.

Evan Brand:  That sounds good.  What are you doing up there?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You know what?  We’re just doing a little bit of R&R, gonna travel a little bit.  I lived in San Francisco for 5 years so heading back to the old hood.

Evan Brand:  Wow, so it will feel like going home then?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Getting’ away from some of this Texas heat.  Yeah, I know.

Evan Brand:  True.  I’m sure it’s hot.  That’s one thing I’m glad to be back in Kentucky, man.  We’re not burning up like–like I was there.  I was waiting for the snow to come and it never came.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, well, I hang out in the lake a lot in the summer and that kinda cools off.

Evan Brand:  That’s true.  That’s true.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Go down at the Barton–Barton Creek Springs downtown there, it’s really nice.

Evan Brand:  Yes, it is.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Awesome, buddy.  Awesome.  So anything new with you?  Any patient stories this week?

Evan Brand:  Yeah, actually I just posted a testimonial on my YouTube page or my website if people wanted to see it.  It was a patient that I saw inside of the chiropractor’s office.  One of my very, very few in-person patients that I see these days because I’m like you, a lot of people are not in the local area that need help.  So anyway, she basically eliminated her sugar cravings–I guess I would say I eliminated or maybe she just felt the effects, within 2-3 days of her supplement protocol.  So when I did the initial symptom gathering process on her, I saw that she had some blood sugar issues going on which surprise, most people do and–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right, exactly.

Evan Brand:  So I recommended some supplements that were gonna some blood sugar.  Some Aqueous Chromium and a couple different other biotics products that have some good, you know, blood sugar support nutrients in there and her testimonial was verbatim to this.  “I usually have trouble going through the candy aisle, but I went into the grocery and I felt like going straight to the vegetable section.”  I was like, “Wow!”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, wow!

Evan Brand:  That’s pretty cool!  So–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That is awesome.

Evan Brand:  She said her stress is already better.  She had a lot going on with her husband.  He’s got some pretty bad health issues and so that stress bucket is full, but she’s already feeling a little bit calmer which has then in turn reducing her amount of emotional and stress eating that she identified with on the questionnaire.  She was one of those people that she feels stressed out, she’ll go and eat like a candy bar and now she is able to–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Evan Brand:  To work through those times.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, that’s awesome, man.

Evan Brand:  What about you?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s a great story.  Well, I had a patient.  I’ve actually had a couple of patients in the last week where they had some severe autoimmune conditions.  This one patient I saw has an autoimmune condition called hidradenitis suppurativa.

Evan Brand:  Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So this is a–a really interesting autoimmune condition that like attacks the skin and creates these major boils or welts, almost to the point where they have to be, you know, surgically removed because they become so massive.  This patient had some surgery scheduled to actually get some of these hidradenitis suppurativas removed and we talked and we just did a little bit of dietary work and a little bit of adrenal work off the bat and within 1 month when she got ready to see the general surgeon to have the lesions looked at, they were gone.  And the surgeon was like, “What did you do?”  This–that happened?  The surgeon was flabbergasted and this it really comes down to a lot of the chronic conditions that medicine is seeing are autoimmune and medicine is not addressing the underlying issues of autoimmunity which is stress, which is a leaky gut, which is a lot of food-induced stuff, and there’s a lot of infections and underlying issues on top of that, and now with this patient, we didn’t even have a chance to dive deep enough into the real deeper functional medicine issues but just an autoimmune diet made a massive difference.  And this is just so cool because, you know, conventional medicine doesn’t really have a solution for this but in the functional medicine world where we live, there’s so many things we can do.

Evan Brand:  That’s awesome.  That’s a great story.  Yeah, I’ve actually had a podcast on that topic.  I can’t remember the name of the book now but there’s an author that wrote a book about that and she struggled a ton with it and it’s crazy because it’s a very underrecognized condition.  Some people at first think they have eczema and–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  These other kind of generic skin issues and then they really have an autoimmune skin issue which sounds terrifying.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh yeah, and the cool thing about our podcast, I’m really loving our dynamic.  We’re getting a lot of great feedback on your show, on my show, and I think the podcast that we’re producing is just different than most because we’re having a lot of clinical feedback and we’re really helping people walk away with a lot of action items.  I don’t want people just to walk away feeling like they just got some brain candy and it’s like, you know, they got some stuff for jeopardy, right?  I want them to feel like they got some brain candy but they also got like an action item that they can walk away with and make their life better, performance-wise, whether it’s a biohacking thing or a clinical pearl.  Just something they can walk away with.  They can be like, “Yeah, I’m gonna–I’m gonna be better after listening to this podcast, healthier in some way.”

Evan Brand:  Right.  Yeah, I mean, I’m coming up on 150 episodes of my podcast and I’ve really felt for a while that I’m helping people but in a certain way some of these episodes that I’ve put up and I’ve even not up an episode since with some people because I feel like it was blabber and too much about them and not enough about action and things like that, and so I’m really trying to shift the show.  So hopefully, people are enjoying that on my end as well, and I’ve gotten some feedback that that verifies it and the downloads are, you know, higher than ever.  So apparently, something’s working.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, and anyone listening to this and feeling like, you know what, maybe they’re at a crossroads at their health where they’re not quite sure what to do, reach out to Evan or reach out to me, and we can kind of put together an action plan on what the next step so we can move forward on to get to the underlying cause of your health issues versus just covering up symptoms which is really the only option in the conventional medical model.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, or ignoring them or saying they don’t exist like Lyme disease for example.  That’s a whole another podcast topic, but very timely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, or just numbing you out and give you an antidepressant or again, being a functional medicine doctor is stressful, too, because you get to hear all the horror stories.  I can’t tell you how many patients that come see me each week, have seen their medical provi–you know, medical provider, their GP or whatever, and they’ve been told it’s all in their head.  I just–I can’t-

Evan Brand:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I mean, 4 or 5 times a week it makes me wanna pull my hair out because I see people suffering and we see it, they’ve come back on tests where they have functional issues and their conventional doctors are just like, “Yeah, it’s all in your head.”  And then they look at them like they’re making it up and I’m like, “Oh, my God.”  There’s a physiological and biochemical explanation, and just because it doesn’t fit into the mold of, you know, cutting it out or drugging it, it doesn’t mean it’s all in their head.

Evan Brand:  Totally.  Yeah, I’ve seen that, too.  It’s always crazy to look at the symptoms and then you look at the prescriptions they’ve taking, and it’s like, “Why?  Why Lexapro?  Why Valium?”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  Wh–why do you need this stuff?  And I know there’s a time and place for that model for some people and maybe there’s extreme scenarios but oftentimes there’s a much better alternative that happens to come from a plant or some type of botanical extract or something, so there are options out there.  I guess that’s–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  Kinda what you’re getting at.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And it may be in their head from the perspective of their gut’s inflamed and inflammation in the gut creates inflammation in the brain, and there may be some brain inflammation meaning it is in their head.  But not from the perspective that the MD is meaning that they’re making it up, right?  There may be an underlying etiology and biochemical issue that is partly affecting the brain but they’re not making it up though.

Evan Brand:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Cool.  Well, let’s dig in.  We chatted a little bit about amino acids and brain chemistry and mood.  I wanted to dive in deep to that because conventional medicine for the most part it’s anti-depressants, it’s anti-psychotics, it’s benzodiazepines like Xanax and such.  It’s Wellbutrin, right?  SSNRIs, things that modulate norepinephrine or dopamine or the reuptake of serotonin or increased GABA receptor site sensitivity, all these drugs they do nothing but change the location of a lot of these brain chemicals, which I might add all come from protein.  So this is powerful, right?  In the conventional medical kind of field, we have drugs that change the location of these brain compounds or these neurochemical compounds, and in functional medicine world, from just the supplement standpoint, when we give specific amino acids to alter brain chemistry we’re trying to change the amount of these brain chemicals by altering building blocks versus conventional medicine’s just changing the location, and this is a fascinating kind of comparison.  You wanna break it down a little more?

Evan Brand:  Oh, yeah.  Neurotransmitters are basically brain chemicals.  That’s the easy way to remember them and scientists–I haven’t identified per–personally any but I know they’re out there.  Scientists have identified over a hundred and they actually have no clue how many neurotransmitters there are in total.  But typically when we’re talking about helping people with health symptoms, we’re focusing on just a key group of neurotransmitters such as the GABA, the serotonin, you have the dopamine.  You have your adrenalin and then you have your noradrenalin or your epinephrine and norepinephrine, wherever you are in the world, whatever you call it.  And these basically to me, they run the show.  Hormones are equally if not more important, but to me, neurotransmitters are huge and I’ve–I mean, I just wrote an entire book.  It’s not out with the publisher yet, but I just wrote an entire book on neurotransmitters, basically talking about the way that different herbs and supplements interact with this brain chemistry and how you can tweak it towards your benefit, whether somebody listening that just wants some cognitive enhancements, some, you know, brain power, some focus ability or if you’re somebody who can’t go out of your house or go to the grocery store without having a panic attack.  There’s a wide spectrum of people that are struggling, that can get help once they first measure with lab testing and then accurately treat or align or balance those underlying brain chemical deficiencies or imbalances.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.  So the first thing we have to look at is that all of our brain chemicals for the most part are made from protein and protein is like the pearl necklace and the individual pearls are like the amino acids.  So amino acids, especially L-tyrosine which gets converted into dopamine, L-trytophan and 5-HTP which gets converted into serotonin, so these are like our master neurochemicals and they all come from protein.  So first step is making sure the diet is protein-rich, good quality, natural organic sources of protein.  That’s number one.  Number two, are we digesting these proteins, right?  Do we have enough hydrochloric acid and enzyme secretions to be able to break it down.  And then number three, if we aren’t able to break it down, what are the underlying infections, dysbiosis, SIBO, parasites, H. pylori, etc. that are creating this malabsorption?  So we kinda look at the front-end how’s the supply chain coming in?  Are we putting enough good amino acids and proteins in our mouth?  Are we breaking them brown?  Is there an infection in the gut that’s affecting that breakdown?  Once we know that front-end chain’s okay, the next is well, where are our protein levels at in our brain?  Where our amino acid level’s at in our brain and we can use symptom surveys that look at dopamine or serotonin symptoms and we can also look at organic acid tests which I think are really cool that can give us a indirect indicator of the metabolites of dopamine which is like vanillin mandelate or homovanillin mandelate or we can look at serotonin in which a good metabolite is 5-hydroxy and doloacetate.  So we can look at these from a empirical perspective, symptoms, but also from a lab perspective.

Evan Brand:  I like to do both.  For me–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  It’s really fun to look at the symptoms and see how accurate some of those symptom questionnaires can be.  I really enjoy Julia Ross’ symptom–symptom questionnaire I guess we’ll call it.  It’s amazing.  I’ll sometimes laugh at some of the symptoms I’m going through and I’ll tell Hannah, my wife, instead of saying like, “I’m feeling blue or low, I’ll just say, ‘Oh, God, I’m low on serotonin today.’”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, exactly.  And again, conventional medicine, right?  Let’s kinda break it down here, alluded to it briefly.  So I’m gonna do a little demo here, you being able to see me on video, it’ll make more sense to you, I’m gonna try to describe what I’m doing.  So I’m putting my–my two knuckles together like this.  So you can see here, I have one fist on the left side connecting with the other fist on the right side, and I’m gonna leave a little gap between the fists.  So my left arm here, this is my presynaptic neuron, the little gap between my left fist and my right fist is my synapse or the synaptic cleft, and then my right fist here is my post synaptic neuron.  So again, the action potential and the neuro conductivity is happening from this left arm over this little synaptic cleft into the right arm which is my post synaptic neuron.  So I know, big talk, we’ll try to put some demos or pictures in the transcription, so head over to beyondwellnessradio.com for that.  So you’re gonna see all of the serotonin and dopamine precursors are all up here in–in this presynaptic neuron, it gets released out into this synaptic cleft and that serotonin and dopamine hangs out and it kinda helps bridge that gap from that action potential from that presynaptic neuron to that post synaptic neuron.  Now most drugs, they prevent the reuptake, so the whole idea here is these neurochemicals sit in this synaptic cleft and they get pulled back up into that presynaptic neuron and get recycled.  And what these drugs do is they prevent the reuptake of these neurochemicals so they accumulate and they sit longer in between that synapse where they could have a–a physiological effect.  Now the only problem with that is it works but in the short run it works, but in the long run it doesn’t work because all these meds are doing, they’re just changing the location of where these compounds live.  So instead of being up in that presynaptic neuron, they’re now in that synaptic cleft.  Now the problem is, these neurochemicals get recycled and broken down faster the more they’re in that synaptic cleft.  So the more, the longer you’re on these medications, you actually create more deficiencies with these brain compounds because they’re being recycled faster and that’s why anyone that’s on one of these medications, they’re gonna have the experience of having their dosage–their medication either changed to a stronger one or having an increase in the dosage.  So the whole idea of being able to come off, unless that underlying cause is fixed, typically those symptoms gets worse when you come off these meds.  So that’s why the amino acids are so different because we’re coming in and actually changing the supply, not just the location.

Evan Brand:  Incredible.  Yeah and that explains why–you know, I’ve had some people that have had prescriptions for benzo–I’ll always just call them benzos for short.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Evan Brand:  But the Xanax or–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Evan Brand:  Valium, you know, that are mostly acting on the GABA receptors, if I’m not mistaken, since those are GABA antagonists, that would be downregulating your actual production of GABA so when they try to come off, they have less GABA than they had before they even started the Xanax and now their panic attacks and their anxiety is tripled or quadrupled what it was before they even started the medicine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely, plus the underlying physiological, the underlying biochemical reasons of why they were having anxiety to begin with is just totally ignored, whether it’s excessive stimulation by the adrenals because they’re making too much catecholamines or adrenalin or because they’re gut’s on fire and they’re burning through their neurochemicals, those underlying reasons are ignored.  So the problem only gets worse and worse overtime and then they are reliant upon this constant stream of medications just to control the symptoms so they can function.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, if I go back to the lady that I was discussing at the beginning of the podcast, you know, she was having a lot of blood sugar issues, to me, you know, there’s a piece of the adrenals that are going–that are going haywire because the piece of the blood sugar is going haywire, she’s in her mid-50s right now so she has been dealing with this stuff for a long time, and she has gone to the mainstream doctor before and said, “Hey, I’m completely overwhelmed with my husband.  I’m trying to take care of him.  I’m very sick, etc., etc.,” and the only thing they had to offer her was a) either an anti-depressant or b) an anti-anxiety medicine to handle the stress.  And she said flat out and–and they can see it on the video, she said, “I don’t want the drugs,” and she wouldn’t have gotten better because the blood sugar is the issue or her stress bucket is too full and she doesn’t have enough stress bucket, so that’s kinda where I’m trying to help fix her as opposed to leading her astray.  I mean, it’s just–it’s really scary to be honest with you, how quickly some of this stuff could get derailed.  I’ve talked to you about my blood sugar stuff being–being low in the middle of the day and you’re like, “Dude, Evan, go eat, man,”  Like, “What are you doing?”  Because if I–say, I went to the doctor for some reason and said, “Hey, I’m feeling low and fatigued and maybe a little bit anxious in the middle of the day.”  They’re not gonna ask, “Are you skipping meals and you’re blood sugar is low?”  They’re gonna say, “Well, hey, let’s get you on something.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.  Exactly.  And that’s the difference between conventional medicine and functional medicine.  So the first pillar is gonna be blood sugar, right?  Because blood sugar is gonna create your–or is gonna stimulate your adrenals to make more adrenalin or more cortisol to help bring that blood sugar back up and stabilize it which can cause the jitters.  Anyone, you know, gets that feeling where they get those–the little–little Spidey senses going or they get that little tingling, that little butterflies because of stress, well, one of the biggest hormonal stressors is blood sugar imbalances.  That’s number one.  Number two, most people have chronic stress that has now affected their gut and they have malabsorption, they have infections, they have inflammation in their gut and inflammation in the gut creates inflammation in the brain.  Alright?  Now it’s important, right?  A lot of like–like people talk about serotonin in your gut, well, serotonin in your gut–serotonin can’t cross the blood brain barrier, it can’t, same with dopamine.  But the precursors, the substrates to serotonin and dopamine can, meaning the 5-HTP can cross that blood brain barrier.  The L-tyrosine can cross the blood brain.  So these are important things because when we have malabsorption and gut issues and stress, we can therapeutically use these amino acids at specific doses together.  We don’t wanna use them single at least not longer than 2 or 3 months and we can therapeutically boost up brain chemicals.  And it’s important you never wanna take these without B6 as well because B6 is an important carrier, it’s gonna escort that helps these things cross the blood brain barrier and convert into their end-stage neurochemicals.

Evan Brand:  It’d be good to go a little bit deeper on that.  You said don’t take for 2-3 months and I’ve had people that have been on 5-HTP for 2-3 years and they’re wrecked.  And I want you to explain why, because like, “Huh?  Why–why not?”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well%2

Susan McCauley on Addiction and The Stress Connection – Podcast #46

The effects of stress can cause major damage to your psychological and physical make-up.  When people are unable to deal with these stressors, they may resort to using alcohol, drugs or any other form of addiction to manage their stress levels.  While these can provide temporary relief, it is ultimately self-destructive.  Read the rest of this entry »

Improve Your Mood Part 1 – Podcast #28

Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Baris Harvey reviews why your mood is off and shares with the listeners some simple things you can do to help get it back on track. Basically, this is a discussion regarding mood and neurotransmitter health. So if you have overthinking and anxiety issues, listen to this podcast learn how to deal with them. Dr. Justin also explains the importance of female hormones and the adrenals working for PMS, mood issues, or disruption of cycle.
mood disorders

Find out about the key foundational principles that will definitely help with mood changes.  Also learn about the types of food you should eat to keep your blood sugar regulated which is greatly improve your energy and mood throughout the day. Discover how neurotransmitters allow us to feel good in this podcast. Get information on the recommended ratio when taking 5-HTP and L-tyrosine.

In this episode, topics include:

4:58   Fixing your mood with foundational principles

12:27   Foods to eat and to avoid

15:19   Protein, amino acids, and neutrotransmitters

24:40   Female hormones and supplements

33:24   5-HTP and serontonin & L-tyrosine and dopamine

 

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Baris Harvey:  Welcome to another awesome episode of Beyond Wellness Radio.  Before we go into today’s show, I wanna tell you guys about our newsletter.  Go to BeyondWellnessRadio.com and hit the button that says Newsletter Sign Up.  By doing this, you’ll never miss out on an episode.  Be the first ones to hear it as it is sent out to your inbox each week.  Want even more?  Make sure that you go above and click on Just In Health or Really Healthy Now or access straight to us the practitioners.  You can go ahead and send us an email and talk to us one-on-one and even get yourself a free 15-minute consultation.  Dr. Justin even has a free video series on How To Fix Your Thyroid.  So that being said, thank you guys for listening to another episode and coming on.

How’s it going, Dr. Justin?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Baris, it’s going great, man.  How are your holidays?  How was the New Year?

Baris Harvey:  It went awesome.  Got–got some–some new clothes, some new jeans, I’m looking a little dapper so I appreciate that shout out to my mom for that.  How’s it going–how was your holidays?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Holidays are great, very good. I’m restful, got a little–little bit of a cold just kinda leading into the holiday but I was kinda got back on my immune-boosting protocol and I was able to get over it in just a few days and–and I’m, you know, definitely better for it.  I mean, most of the conventional solutions for getting a cold really there aren’t much.  I mean, it’s either get a flu vaccine ahead of time or Tamiflu for the most part.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  But there’s a lot of nutrients in the national medicine realm and that probably is a good podcast that we should do maybe next week.  We’ll–

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Add that to the queue.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, we’ll definitely add that one.  Alright, as a matter of fact, I’ll write that down right now–immune.  Alright, so I–I know one thing for me was like I actually did really well when it came to vaccines because I know a lot of people got sick because, you know, the weather and oftentimes it–it might not even have been the weather, maybe because they’re staying inside more and all that dust accumulates and what not.  I stayed pretty–pretty healthy, to think that I messed up because I didn’t eat that great and that’s when I started feeling like, “I don’t feel like myself.”  So I know people say like, “Oh, does food really make that much of a difference?  And I could tell you, I–I was not–I’m not in my greatest shape, just in, you know, just in that stress off of a couple of weeks.  So, yeah, food makes a big difference.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.  I’ve been off a little bit with my exercise but I find diet is, you know, 80% of the game, just choosing some good movement patterns, adding some–some resistance in there, doing some good movements.  You don’t need too much once you’re at a high level to really maintain.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, definitely.  So–and today, well, before I get to today’s podcast, what did you have for breakfast?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Today was just 4 eggs, sunny side up and some–some butter and MCT in my coffee.  Today was pretty simple.  I’ve been doing a lot more collagen recently because to help, just kinda with hair and skin and just anti-aging and also to help with some of my joints.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So I’ve been kinda just really rocking out the collagen.  I actually just got my organic acid test back so I’ve tweaked my supplement program a little bit to help improve my health and there’s some things on there, I think we’ll–we’ll talk about in today’s show regarding mood and neurotransmitter health.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.  Now for the listeners out there, yeah, I remember we’re on a–me and Dr. Justin are on a 2-hour difference right now, so usually for my Friday I kinda, I might have been more relaxed when my–my day’s not always as busy so sometimes I don’t–I don’t wake up as early, so sometimes I usually just wake up and just hop on–hop on the call.  You know, compared before and I hop on the call, so I don’t always eat anything.  So I’ll tell you what I’m gonna eat after.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Nice.

Baris Harvey:  So after the show, I’ll also have some eggs and then I’ll have some organic, you know, not a lot of ingredients because I think when I say sausage, somebody’s gonna think of like, “Oh, sausage, that’s not healthy,” but alright, if you go to the healthy food store, you’ll notice there’s high quality sausage out there and I just keep it simple like that and just, you know, I think so–I think, well, II do fine with dairy especially if it’s higher in fat, so sometimes I like putting in some organic sour cream, and I do fine with that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Nice.  Awesome.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, so today’s podcast we’re gonna talk about fixing our mood and this is something that can be–can either–either be like sleep, it can be PMS, that’s something that’s almost joked about, and it–and–and people might joke about it but it–but it’s a real concern, a real matter.  And there are other things that, and–and we gotta be careful here because there’s a–there’s a gray area.  We mention things that might sound a little bit more psychological.  We wanna remember that, you know, we don’t wanna say that all drugs are bad or anything of that fashion.  We just have to be smart that there are some people with more severe cases that–that might need more treatment but you can be on the borderline with some of these things and maybe there’s some underlying things that you can fix yourself.  So if you have like a mild depression or like a mild–or even if you do have severe, there are still things you can fix, but just understand that, you know, also talk to your doctor about these things as well.  So, if you have like some depression issues or some obsessive overthinking, anxiety, today is a show for you, and make sure, you know, that you consume as much of this knowledge that you can and because when you’re mood is off, it–it kinda changes who you are.  And I’ve–I’ve noticed myself like get–not get enough sleep and become irritated and all of a sudden like, “That’s not me, I don’t wanna be mean to other people,” so-and I’m pretty sure you–you’ve had that every once in a while, Dr. Justin, where you just–you don’t get enough sleep and maybe ate something bad and all of a sudden someone’s like, “Whoa!  That’s not you.”  And you’re like, “Oh, I’m sorry, that’s totally not how I act.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.  So when we deal with these issues we have foundational principles, right?  These are things that we cannot ignore these if we wanna feel good and have a good mood.  So you kinda have already to it sleep.  Sleep is ridiculously important because sleep actually helps us have good sensitivity to blood sugar.  So what that means is they’ve have done studies where they took healthy college kids.  They cut their sleep in half to 4 hours a night.  After 1-2 weeks later, they were insulin-resistant, meaning the cells in their body were–the receptor sites were numb to sugar, to glucose, and they weren’t taking it into the cell properly and the glucose was accumulating in the blood creating free radical stress, right?  And free radical stress are like it’s basically when the body kinda comes in there and can damage the DNA, right?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So it’s when the body can chip away and–and chip away at the electrons essentially.  Ox–oxidation is nothing more than the loss of electrons and that creates damage to the DNA.  So we wanna really make sure that we have good stable blood sugar and the first way we do that is to getting to sleep on time ideally 10 to 10:30, definitely before midnight, that’s gonna be a great way to make sure our mood is dialed in.  That’s one, from a foundational perspective.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Two, blood sugar.  So if you have thyroid issues or adrenal issues, we don’t wanna be skipping meals, having enough food that can last us 4-5 hours a day is gonna be huge–or sorry, 4 to 5-hour in-between meals, so having your breakfast within an hour of getting up, eating the right ratios of protein and fat and carbohydrates for you is very important, and you should go about 4-5 hours and you shouldn’t be starving at 4-5 hours.  So those are just some really key foundational principles.  Blood sugar and sleep.  You wanna add to that, Baris?

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, that’s some night we should always make sure that we have down at a basic borderline if you’re not.  If your blood sugar is off, that’s an easy way to get irritable and if you’re not sleeping enough, those are I guess basic foundational thing that you already mentioned so as long as people know that, “Hey, make sure you’re getting enough sleep.”  Those two, basically if those two things aren’t on point, any of these other stuff we’re gonna talk about is just minutia at that point, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly, and regarding all the blood sugar stuff, most people are kind of brainwashed regarding blood sugar.  “Oh, my blood sugar drops,” like “Eat a candy bar or something,” or like “Have some candy.”  Like that’s not what we’re talking about here.  So I use a lot of analogies and I think you do as well with your practice and with your patients.  But I always tell patients imagine you got a campfire in front of you, right?  You want that campfire to–you wanna ignite that fire, but you want it to stay lit for a while so you don’t get cold, right?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And just think of the heat from the energy is like–the heat from the fire is analogous to your energy throughout the day and in-between meals.  So for the most part, the logs in the fire are gonna be really important.  So the logs are like the protein and the fat.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And by protein, we’re just gonna go out there with the assumption, organic, high quality, you know, grass-fed meat, chicken, fish, beef, skin on, good quality fats from like grass-fed butter, ghee, coconut oil, you know, tallow beef, things like that.  So that’s kinda already lumped in to when we say protein and fat, the quality is already built into that.  So that’s are like the logs in the fire and if anyone’s lit a fire before, they probably know they maybe used a little bit of kindling.  And some of that kindling–

Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  May be some paper and that paper in real world terms may mean, maybe some low glycemic fruit, berries, things of that nature.  Or maybe eat some vegetables.  Maybe eat some vegetables like broccoli or spinach, right?  And then sometimes we have things like gasoline that we use in the fire and that maybe like sugar, refined sugar or even–

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Alcohol.  So if you ever just like have like your match lit and you put a whole bunch of gasoline on it, it goes up and then out.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And that’s kind of analogous to how people’s moods are, right?  They go out, they’re like bouncing off the walls, feeling super good, and then they’re crashing with their head on their desk just a little while later.  So we wanna make sure when that fire’s there, maybe we have 80% to 90% good logs, and then we put maybe a little bit of paper in there, using the right carbohydrate, you know, for your metabolic needs.  If you’re working out that morning, you may put a sweet potato in there.  If you’re trying to lose weight or you’re trying to, you know, eat according to healthy thyroid and adrenal function, you may go lower carb in the morning and ramp up carbs later in the day, kinda like an adrenal reset diet where you go higher carbs at night when cortisol is lower and you maybe go lower carb during the day when cortisol’s higher.  So that’s kind of a good analogy there and just thinking you light that fire, right?  The logs are like the proteins and fats and maybe the kindling is like some of the carbohydrates and just choosing the right kindling that’s appropriate for your metabolism.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, definitely.  So that sounds great.  You also did a podcast on blood sugar in the past as well, so I’m gonna advise all your guys out there to, you know, search that one up.  I can also put a–a link in there as well on that.  We also–we’d talked a lot about different supplements that you can take or–or foods that can help with–helping your blood sugar and what different cravings mean and how to–how to kind of fix these because yeah, low blood sugar, you’re–you’re gonna end up being stressed out and cranky and irritable and have a headache.  So, yeah–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  No good.

Baris Harvey:   Yeah, no good.  Alright, we mentioned making sure that our–our diet’s right and you know, avoiding the sweet foods and could there also be some specific foods that just might throw people off?  I know some people just don’t do good with caffeine.  Some people might be allergic to certain foods.  What are just some certain foods that are just like no-nos for people?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, of course, we have foods like gluten.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And for the most part I kinda reverse the effects on gluten where gluten is guilty until proven innocent.  Because there’s such a majority of people out there that will benefit from cutting gluten out.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  The fact that gluten is a nutrient-poor food, it’s inflammatory, it doesn’t have the nutrients that we need, it can spike our blood sugar, it’s–can also create leaky guts, and then also it is highly refined with folic acid which a lot of people don’t have the MTHFR genes so then they convert folic acid–they–they can’t convert it and it’s actually can be pretty cancerous.  So there’s so many reason to cut out–

Baris Harvey:  And why and why not eat it versus–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Baris Harvey:  To eat it, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So a lot of people are like, “Oh well, you know, you’re just being a zealot, you know, not everyone’s gluten-sensitive.”  In my experience, the majority are gluten-sensitive, so I air on the side of cutting it out and keeping it out, that I’m gonna help more people than I hurt from that perspective.  But from the other perspective, the foods you eat on a continuous basis should be nutrient-dense, low in toxins, and anti-inflammatory.  And gluten gets a–a failing grade for all of those category and then we add on the whole folic acid thing and the MTHFR SNP–we’ll save a podcast specific for methylation and MTHFR, but most people can’t covert whether they’re heterozygous MTHFR or homozygous, meaning one gene or two genes, they’re gonna have a hard time converting folic acid into active folate or MTHFR folate.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So gluten’s gonna be a big way there.

Baris Harvey:  And any other foods you can think of that are inflammatory foods or anything–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, anything, omega 6 fatty acids, refined vegetable oils, trans fats, refined sugars.  What sugars are gonna do–the reason why sugar’s so addicting is because when we spike up insulin because insulin gets spiked up because of sugar.  So insulin’s kinda there to pull all that sugar into the cells.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And so for the first part of that when you’re eating some protein and a whole bunch of sugar, it’s gonna shuttle as much sugar into the cells and into the muscles.  What happens is 5-HTP, L-tryptophan and L-tyrosine tend to have an affinity to cross the blood brain barrier faster while all the other proteins are being shuttled into the muscle and into the cells.  So what happens is we get this huge rush of serotonin and dopamine being converted in the brain because L-tyrosine and 5-HTP, we’ll talk about this, but they are amino acids.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And all amino acids–let me say it another way–all neurotransmitters are actually made–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  From protein and amino acids.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So all that protein is, imagine a pearl necklace, right?

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  A pearl necklace is the protein and all of the pearls connected to the necklace, those are like amino acids, so a string of pearls together, each individual pearl being an amino acid and then the whole necklace as a–as a whole will be the protein.  So all those amino acids, they actually make up our neurotransmitters.  And neurotransmitters are the little cellular communicators that go in between neurons.  So like take a–kind of give you an analogy here–make a fist, make two fists.  A fist with your left hand and a first with your right hand, and kind of put your knuckles like they’re gonna touch each other right in front of your body, so your knuckles are meeting–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right in front of your sternum and pull them apart just about an inch or two.  So your left knuckle will be like the presynaptic neuron, that’s where the action potential or the currents, the nerve connectivity flows down.  The space between–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Your left fist and your right fist is called the synaptic cleft or the pre–the pre-synaptic space.  That’s where a lot of the neurotransmitters accumulate and then–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  The right hand or the right fist will be the post-synaptic neurons.  So again, the currents flowing from the left fist then we have the neurotransmitter, the pre-synaptic cleft that space there where the neurotransmitters accumulate and the neurotransmitters are like a bridge, a bridge of action potential from the left fist to the right fist.  So we have the pre, which is the one leading up to it.  We have the space, which is the–the–the space in between there where the neurotransmitters accumulate.  And then we have the post-synaptic neuron which is the right fist.  And all of these neurotransmitters actually accumulate in between the pre and post-synaptic neuron.  And these neurotransmitters allow us to feel good, so we have serotonin which allows us to feel kinda happy.  We have dopamine that allows us to feel the “I love you” feeling.  It’s that when we get when we’re in love or what we get when we’re eating a bunch of sugar, we have GABA which can relax us, so these are really important neurotransmitters that allow us to feel good.  Do you wanna elaborate on that, Baris, or break it down a little more?

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, I–I think the analogy you used was great, you know, like either–you wrote down some good notes when you were taking anatomy or you had a great anatomy teacher, like I this–I went ahead and did it myself with the two hands and like that’s almost exactly how like it looks, it’s–it’s–has little bulb at the ends–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Baris Harvey:  And your spinning neurons and that’s where–and so–so basically for people to know we are bioelectrical-chemical beings so there are electric surges that get sent to other cells, our–our neuro cells have these little–actually, you know, just where your–this little space, these little gaps in which their communication that actually happens and then, you know, they send the chemicals and depending on if they can’t absorb it or reabsorb that’s where, you know, problems are gonna happen, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Baris Harvey:  So like if someone’s either overstimulated or they can’t reabsorb something appropriate, that’s when, you know, for an example, if someone does cocaine often.  Dopamine is–is the one–the–is gonna shoot out very often, right?  And it’s in–it keeps it in that rather than getting reabsorbed, it keeps it in that synaptic cleft.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Baris Harvey:  And it’s overstimulated and that’s why people feel amazing, I hear.  I’ve never done it before, but I hear people feel amazing and that’s probably why it–it’s extremely addictive.  Not to the same level but that kinda happens with sugar as well, so I’m not saying that sugar is cocaine but there is a similar mechanism and that’s just why, you know, sometimes your sweet tooth wins the battle when it comes to your willpower.  So–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, also from that standpoint, there had been studies where they fed rats–the rats had to chance to choose cocaine or Oreo cookies and they found the rats were choosing the Oreo cookies over the–the cocaine and they found the same areas on the brain that were being lit up with the cocaine use were being lit up by the Oreo cookie use.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So at the same standpoint, you know, one is just, you know, more societally accepted than the other, right?  You know–

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  We don’t look too, you know, friendly on, you know, drug abusers in society.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  In my opinion, we should treat them like severe obese people that just can’t–that have no self-control.  It should be looked at between that because people aren’t really getting helped.  Throwing people that are like just neurontally damaged in jail.

Baris Harvey:  Damaged in jail.  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It’s just not–it’s not fixing the problem and they come out as violent criminals.  So we don’t do that with severe obese people that just can’t–can’t stop eating because that’s like a societally accepted thing.  But what happens is the same parts of the brain are being lit up.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And what we’re doing with food, what we’re doing with dopamine–excuse me, what we’re doing with cocaine to increase dopamine, what we’re doing with SSRIs or all these drugs, they have one thing in common.  And that is they are changing the location of where these neurotransmitters are.  So again, left fist, right fist, the in between space that’s where the neurotransmitters accumulate.  What they’re doing is, they’re taking all the neurotransmitters that are stored up in this left fist and they’re bringing it out into the middle.  Now here’s where it’s interesting.  When we change the location, when we pull these neurotransmitters out of that left fist and we put it in between in the middle, we get that really good feeling.  But the problem is, the longer they stay outside of the fist and in this space, they break down faster.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So let me say that again, most habits that are drug-induced or sugar-induced, or let’s say it’s like CrossFit extreme exercise-induced or like jumping out of airplanes, any type of like crazy addiction that that’s bringing you negative results in your life, that’s just changing the neurotransmitter location.  And the more you rely on changing the location, the faster these neurochemicals break down, we set you up for long-term destruction because then the amount of neurochemicals that are there drop and those neurochemicals can’t carry the signal from the left fist to the right fist or for the science junkies out there, the pre-synaptic neuron to the post-synaptic neuron.  And that’s important so in–in functional medicine world, we wanna work on things that don’t just change location but actually build up the amount of neurotransmitter in that location.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.  Because that’s when you start to getting–that’s where it starts to get insensitive, right?  Or–or it’s not communicating the signal strong enough and all of a sudden what used to be, you know, super powerful now you–now the only way you get happy is  with cocaine because nothing is strong enough to–to–to have that feeling, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.  It’s like those Einstein balls.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So like if you’ve ever seen them in the museum or on like, you know, cooler places there like the little balls that like swing and like hit a ball and the other ball kinda goes up the exact same place and it kinda swings back and forth and hits?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So if you’re on Google Image, just type in Einstein balls and you know what I’m talking about.  But imagine that first ball hitting and that second ball barely moving.  Like that’s what happens if there’s not enough neurotransmitter in between that left fist or that right fist and most of the drugs, let’s just break down a few drugs like Celexa or Lexapro, you know, these are selective serotonin, that means they’re working on increasing serotonin in the synapse, reuptake inhibitor, that means it’s blocking the body’s ability to pull it back up into the pre-synaptic neuron or that left fist.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then you look at other drugs like Wellbutrin, that’s gonna be more of a dopamine inhibitor and there are other drugs for migraines that are norepinephrine inhibitors.  So a lot of these drugs work on just blocking the uptake which in essence changes the location of where these chemicals are.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.  Yeah, definitely.  And yeah, and–and with our–our brain chemicals, too.  There–there are two different kinds and dopamine being so awesome and so powerful, it kinda fits in both categories but, you know, the inhibitory neurotransmitters and the excitatory neurotransmitters, so making sure that we’re stimulating and the right ones are firing in the brain at a certain time like you don’t–you don’t need norepinephrine firing off at midnight when you’re trying to go to sleep unless, you know, someone’s breaking into the house, and yeah, that would totally–but unless something, you know, is bad happening, you need to–I guess and that can be an–an another way to help with some of our mood issues as–as I guess that’s back to our foundational start we talked about the blood sugar and getting good sleep but relaxation and exercise, you know, exercising is a healthy way to one, get your body moving, get the hormones pushing the right direction but also it might not always feel good when you’re doing it if it’s hard but you feel really good after when you get really good sen–sensation and you’re kinda fixing some of your neurotransmitters but also making sure that regular relaxation, you know, if you’re stressed out all the time you’d–if you’re in a crisis we know that we feel–we don’t feel right, but if it’s–if it’s daily, that’s chronic, and we’re letting maybe that person at work or relationship hinder how we feel in our relaxation and you go to sleep every night not feeling well, you kinda create this vicious cycle. Well, now you can’t, you know, maybe that–that’s causing some longer term depression or it can even cause like other problems.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Those are some really good points, Baris.  So, Baris, let’s talk about some things we can do from a supplemental perspective.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, that’d be awesome and real–real quick, too.  Just for so some resources that people might wanna know about right before we get into the supplements that I know you’re gonna, as well people the mute them–if I can speak English, The Mood–The Mood Cure by Julia Ross.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Julia Ross, right.

Baris Harvey:  And also Change Your Brain, Change Your Body by Dr.–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Daniel Amen.

Baris Harvey:  Dr. Amen.  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Baris Harvey:  So those are other great resources, but you go ahead and–and knock some supplement or advice to our listeners.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely, very good.  So it really depends on what the problem is because a lot of hormones actually–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Are natural kind of reuptake inhibitors.  So for instance, females especially if they have PMS or any mood issues or disruption in their cycle for instance, you really wanna make sure the hormones and the adrenals are working.  So if a woman has PMS or has issues with progesterone in the second half of the cycle which female hormone symptoms have to do with the combination of estrogen dominance which has to do with progesterone being lower than its ideal ratio in relation to estrogen.  Typically there should be like a 23 to 25 time more amount of progesterone to estrogen and when it drops–when it drops in that ratio, we can start having symptoms.  We can start having excessive bleeding.  We can start having moodiness.  We can start having breast tenderness.  So all of these things can easily be fixed by getting the adrenals and the female hormones working again.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Now on that note, we talked about blood sugar and sleep earlier if you don’t make those changes, the sleep and blood sugar and stuff, you will never ever, ever and I hate using absolutes, but for the most part it’s just true and I think you would agree–if you don’t get the blood sugar and the sleep on track, you will never be able to get the hormones on track no matter how fancy a supplement program we make.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, definitely.  Or you can’t sleep 4 hours a night and eat candy all the time and then take a pill.  It’s not gonna work that way.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.  So at most females for instance, we really wanna make sure that we get the hormones dialed in and the adrenals are gonna be an important component of that.  So that’s gonna be one of the most important parts right there.  And also if a woman has low progesterone that second half of the cycle, they’re gonna be excessively.  When they bleed excessively, then they’re gonna be low on iron and if they’re low on iron, they’re not gonna be able to carry oxygen properly which then–we’re not gonna be able to have aerobic metabolism when we’re burning fat and oxygen for fuel efficiently and then iron’s needed to make thyroid hormone as well.  So it’s like this vicious cycle when female hormones get off, all of these other problems start to occur.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.  Yeah, definitely.  And–and I know, you know, a lot about this topic and the thyroid is gonna have–have in accord with our energy and our mood, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Baris Harvey:  You feel lethargic and you’re probably not the happiest person in the world.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.  So that kinda leads us into the next thing, we have kind of our hormone centers.  We have ATF for females and ATM for males, meaning–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Adrenals, thyroid, male hormones or adrenals, thyroid, and female hormones.  And we wanna make sure those are balanced at some level and by balance, we can kinda push the female hormones or the thyroid back into the right place but if there are other issues pulling it out, we really have to make sure the root causes are–are being addressed.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So on that notes–on that note, looking at thyroid is important.  They did a study where a third of the people who are depressed, they found had low thyroid function and when they just got their thyroid fixed, depression was gone.  So a lot of mood issues can be fixed just by getting the thyroids or getting the adrenals or getting the female hormones working better.  So that’s why you really don’t want to have like a symptom-based approach.  You really want a systems-based–based approach because if you look at the systems that are out of balance and you just start nudging them back into balance and you make the diet and lifestyle and sleep changes along with it, half of those people with mood issues are gonna be fixed off the bat.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, okay.  A real big one that we can all–and I–I think we talked about–we might have talked about this before so I’m gonna go ahead and–and look it up and link it if–if necessary, but PMS that can really throw off some–someone and I know one thing that I notice a lot with the women in my life that have had that, they also sometimes have heavy cycles and end up being anemic or need to watch their iron because iron totally make an interplay with like PMS or what are some other things that a woman can do if she has PMS?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So off the bat–off the bat there with PMS, you really want to get to the root cause–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So the blood sugar and the sleep is kinda really important, the adrenals are really important.  With some patients depending on their progesterone, we’ll use a cyclical augmentation program where we actually modulate and give small amounts of progesterone during the second half of the cycle to really get the progesterone levels back on track.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Now once that kinda gets on track, we also see that the bleeding becomes less and we can even use herbs such as Chaste tree or Vitex agnus.  We can even use estrogen-modulating herbs like Dong quai or black cohosh and such to really help kind of modulate those things, and remember these hormones actually have an effect on the reuptake of neurochemicals.  So we kinda already talked about how when we block the reuptake of neurochemicals that may be a bad thing–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  But if we’re blocking the reuptake by just restoring normal physiology that may not be necessarily be a bad thing because we’re just trying to push the body back into balance.  We’re not trying to make it–we’re not trying to use hormones or supplements like a drug, we’re trying to use them to push normal physiology back and if–if those hormones help and provide enough blocking activation to make the person feel better, well, the issue may have just been hormonal imbalance driving that neurochemical imbalance and that neurochemical imbalance is restored to normal function.  So maybe it’s just the hormones that are actually causing the reuptake issue.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Like monoamine oxidase or MAO is a specific drug out there.  Now if we can do something via natural means, it’s always better because natural means tend to have more, how should I say it?  They have more homeostatic mechanisms involved.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So there’s more sensors, if you will, to make sure things are working properly.  When we use the drug, there’s just one objection.  It’s to block–

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  An enzyme or to inhibit some type of pathway and there aren’t quite as many feedbacks letting things to know that, you know, we’re imbalanced.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, I hear this would be like fix even one specific thing but if the body doesn’t–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  They whack ‘em all.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, exactly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Whack ‘em all.

Baris Harvey: Your body is like–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You pop one down and another one comes up.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, like “Okay, why did that happen?”  We don’t know.  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Baris Harvey:  Whereas, you know, you eat a food and there are so many different chemicals and signals in there and helps boost certain area but it also just like works in rhythm with your own body.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Baris Harvey:  Right, definitely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So the next perspective is we can actually give amino acids to help–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  With boosting up the location of these neurotransmitters. So for instance we have 5-HTP which is a precursor to serotonin and we have L-tyrosine which is a precursor to dopamine.  Now when we do this with a lot of patients, I–I recommend using 5-HTP over L-tryptophan because there’s an enzymatic regulation where you only can make so much serotonin from L-tryptophan.  With some people that may have damage or made them in higher amounts than normal, you wanna use 5-HTP because you’re not gonna have that capacitor or that–what do they call it when–when it prevents it from getting higher or they have it in cars for instance that prevent the engine from going too hot?  I forget the term.  It will come to me in a minute there, but it’s–it’s basically preventing the transmission and the conversion of serotonin.  But if you use 5-HTP–I’m sorry that term is governor.  If you have a governor on something–

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  The governor prevents it from going too high.  So the governor is taken off when you give 5-HTP so you can actually get higher levels of serotonin than if you just gave L-tryptophan instead.  So I like 5-HTP.  The key is we have to give it with B6, that’s really important.  We need B6 to actually help convert 5-HTP to serotonin and I always give for the most part starting out 5-HTP and L-tyrosine in a balanced formula of 10:1 so 10 times more L-tyrosine than 5-HTP.  So if we’re dealing with 100 units of 5-HTP, we wanna have a thousand units or 1,000 mg of L-tyrosine.  And that’s important because the same enzymes that metabolize 5-HTP which is the amino acid decarboxylase enzyme, that amino acid is the same one that metabolizes L-tyrosine.  So if we’re stimulating this enzyme to–to break down 5-HTP and we’re giving more 5-HTP and this enzyme’s upregulated and we don’t have an additional amount of L-tyrosine there along with it, we can start creating deficiency because of us upregulating that enzyme.  So you always wanna give this long-term, right?  More than a month or two.  You wanna give them in conjunction and ideally with B6 and ideally being on other good multivitamin with B12 and folate and all the other nutrients as kinda there as a blanket to make sure that there’s no nutrients that are missing for neurotransmitter metabolism.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, definitely.  That sounds good.  And I know that that some people will do really good with 5-HTP like you mentioned and whether that be in a smaller or a larger dose of L-tryptophan, but also there are some people that do–do really well with a GABA.  The gamma-aminobutyric acid–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Baris Harvey:  Which is our–that natural tranquilizer like a chemical which kinda relaxes us and loosens us up kinda and–and I know I’ve used before in the past as well.  So I–I’ve actually taken–I think it’s Source Naturals, but they had this Theanine Serene which have like–had a little bit of GABA and theanine and I think some magnesium and some other natural herbs, those are really nice.  I forget the formula off the top of my head.  But tell us a little bit about GABA and how that can help you sleep.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So GABA can be helpful, there’s a–this is kind of a controversial school of thought so–

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I’m a big fan of Marty Hinz.  He does a lot of research on neurotransmitters.  Basically, he’s like the catch-all guy that neurotransmitters can fix everything.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And in the functional medicine world, we wanna be careful of absolutes.  I think neurotransmitters can be a real powerful tool in your tool belt to address any type of mood-related issue.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  But I think we also need a good functional medicine model where we don’t, you know, throw the baby out with the bathwater.  So I think it’s important.  So without the GABA, if you look at Marty Hinz’s type of perspective, he says that dopamine and se–serotonin are gonna be the master regulators of GABA.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Meaning that if we work on dopamine and serotonin, the GABA kind of takes care–takes care of itself if you will.  Now on that note, I’ve seen patients that do well with GABA.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  But on the same standpoint, you talk to other people like people that are in Dr. Kharrazian’s camp, they’ll say that GABA cannot cross the blood brain barrier, it is too big, it is too large, the research paper say this, and the only reason why you’d have an effect with GABA is because you have a leaky gut/leaky brain–

Baris Harvey:  Leaky brain.  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then the GABA is passing in there and having that type of an effect.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Now personally myself, GABA does nothing to me.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I have a lot of patients where it’s done nothing and I have had some where they swear by it.  So is that true or is it not?  Well, it’s hard to say.  And with so many people–

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Having leaky guts, maybe there’s more people out there that have leaky brains than we think–

Baris Harvey:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  They actually benefit from GABA.  But I like Hinz’s school of thought that we really wanna deal with the master neurotransmitters because a lot of times when we deal with the masters, everything kinda gets taken–

Baris Harvey:  Taken care of.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And can put back in balance, taken care of, exactly.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, definitely.  Sounds good.  That sounds good.  And I know that there’s–there’s, you know, a lot of stuff when it comes to all these things and–and we talked about the making sure we get the basic functional–make sure you get your sleep, make sure you relax, make sure you have a healthy mood, and your blood sugar’s regulated.  I mean some–some other functional stuff, you know, anti-inflammatory diet, you know, making sure your vitamin D levels are in check, and you know, you’re taking your fish oil and–and there’s a lot of specifics.  So for–for people that might have a specific question, I urge you to go to beyondwellnessradio.com and we have a tab that says Questions.  You can leave us a question.  You can click on the tab that says Just In Health and Contact Dr. Justin for a one-on-one consultation if you wanna look further into this, you can also contact me as well.  So yeah, you wanna go ahead and–and–and add–and add some?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, absolutely.  So we also look at some of the neurotransmitter conversion with dopamine and according to Dr. Dan Kalish who has done thousands of neurotransmitter testing with DBS Labs, he’s found that most people tend to be dopamine dominant–or sorry–I’m sorry dopamine­-deficient, meaning they actually need more dopamine.  So when we look at dopamine, we were thinking L-tyrosine.  That’s gonna really improve dopamine conversion.  Now if we’re doing this whole 10:1 ratio, that’s a good starting point, right?  Maybe 100 mg of 5-HTP to 1,000 of L-tyrosine, maybe bringing that up to 300 mg 5-HTP to 3,000 L-tyrosine, that’s a good place.  We also need sulfur-based amino acids for healthy conversion of dopamine.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Okay, what that means is this.  We have dopamine that gets converted from L-tyrosine, and that dopamine that goes from L-DOPA to dopamine and then it goes to norepinephrine.  And norepinephrine to have that conversion from dopamine to norepinephrine, we need some certain nutrients there, alright?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So norepinephrine to go to epinephrine needs sulfur-based amino acids and there’s two main ones that you could use.  SAMe or methionine or cysteine.  So cysteine’s a pretty rare one.  Dr. Hinz uses cysteine.  I’d use little–I use L-methionine instead because it’s a little bit more cost-effective than SAMe.  SAMe is pretty expensive.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, it is.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So I’ll use L-methionine with patients instead and L-methionine will really help with that conversion of norepinephrine to epinephrine, right?

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So one more time, right?  We need dopamine to go to L-DOPA.  L-DOPA then goes to norepinephrine and then to get norepinephrine to epinephrine, we need the sulfur-based amino acids and that’s where SAMe, cysteine, or L-methionine.  And I urge you not to use NAC.  The research had been kind of on the fence about this, but most people just say, “Hey, NAC is not gonna be what you need to make that conversion.”

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I think you’re just better off from a cost-effective perspective, if you could go with the methionine anywhere between 1,500 mg to 3–3 g or 3,000 mg is a good way to go.

Baris Harvey:  And the–so you–you probably recommend not using like L-DOPA itself as a supplement using the precursors instead, correct?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So regarding using pure L-DOPA, it’s possible there are things such as mucuna pruriens or velvet bean where you can extract L-DOPA directly from that which is actual L-DOPA.  Now that’s really interesting.  I’ve had an experience using L-DOPA.  I don’t recommend using that unless you are working with a practitioner.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I used it and I literally felt like–

Baris Harvey:  Literally, too strong.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I felt like I was incredibly spacey, felt like I was walking around drunk, like it was a terrible experience and I’m like–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Alright I’m gonna do this–this was like 5 or 6 years ago when I was like in the middle of finals–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And studying for a really big exam and I’m like, “I’m gonna boost up dopamine because dopamine helps with focus.”  And I just overdid it and it was terrible because I couldn’t study the whole day because I felt so spacey.  I felt like I was drunk.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So I said, “Alright, this is a lesson learned.”  So I strongly recommend you do not use L-DOPA unless you are working with a trained functional medicine physician.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.  Right.  I know that–I forgot when I first saw that  and I-I’ve never used it myself so I can’t really give my 2 cents on it but I remember, it’s gonna probably like a–a long time ago when I was just looking for supplement–like workout supplements and those like supposed to help with boosting testosterone and what not, and that’s when I first–but after researching it, I mean I might do a little bit of that but it’s more so with the–with the dopamine-like response.  Yeah, you-you know the opposite like effect, gotta be careful with that, what you supplement with.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly and this whole sulfur-based amino acid cascade adrenal fatigue, right?  Where we’re hyper secreting or maybe it’s fatigue where our cortisol’s actually bottomed out, we’re also gonna be kinda whipping the tired horse of adrenal or norepinephrine to epinephrine, so that’s gonna be low as well.  So that’s why adrenal fatigue is really important to helping to fix this whole pathway.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, definitely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So I think a good starting dose for anyone here that says, “Alright, well, what–I wanna use some of these sulfur amino acids.  I wanna use some of these neurotransmitter supports.”  I think a safe dose would be 300 mg of 5-HTP followed with 3,000 mg of L-tyrosine with some sulfur-based amino acids, anywhere between 1500 to 3 grand of L-methionine will be a really good starting point.  And just to make sure the 5-HTP you’re getting has B6 in it and make sure you’re on a high quality multivitamin with B12 and activated MTHFR folate and if you need support with this, feel free and you can reach out to either Baris or myself because we do this stuff with patients every day.

Baris Harvey:  Definitely make a part 2 to this because–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Baris Harvey:  I know, I mean we could so long ahead of this stuff and I–I think we got a good foundation here.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Baris Harvey:  We got some things for people with irritability.  I know like myself and also like, I know mentioned in the beginning like anxiety and some of the overthinking like stuff.  We’re gonna make a part 2 for you and we’re gonna, you know, go into the hormones, estrogen, and the different supplements and neurotransmitters to help you with anxiety and mood and that as well.  So kinda like you had the depression on one side and then the overthinking on the other side and we’ll get to that one as well.  But again, go to beyondwellnessradio.com, go to Sign Up to the Newsletter.  You know, make sure that you won’t miss part 2 and you’ll get it right in your inbox.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, we’re gonna really work on increasing the frequency of the podcast.  We’re gonna try to do 1 a week to really kind of get everyone’s brain candy addiction in for the week hopefully.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And if you guys got any feedback or have any feedback on show tips or topics you want addressed, feel free and reach out beyondwellnessradio.com and I think it’s question, slash question, and you can speak your question to us or you can drop us a line and we’ll be more than willing to, you know, listen to what people wants and–want and create show topics based on the needs of our listeners.

 

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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.