Top 5 Adaptogens to Improve your Brain Performance | Podcast #272
Welcome to Beyond Wellness Radio Podcast! For today’s episode, Dr. Justin and Evan talked about one of their favorite topics- the adaptogenic herbs. They shared how they personally use it and how it’s good for the body. Also included in the topic are the families of adaptogens, different uses and benefits. Check out this podcast to know more.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani
In this episode, we cover:
1:08 Families of Adaptogens
7:15 Adaptogenic Herbs
11:26 Adaptogens’ Different Use
23:24 Social Anxiety
31:15 Dr. Justin’s Top 5 Adaptogen
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And we are live. It’s Dr. J here in the house, Evan Brand, how we doing today, my man?
Evan Brand: I’m doing great. We’re diving into like my favorite episode ever. This is like your favorite jam to adaptogenic herbs, we probably I’m not going to say probably I’m going to say we definitely could not work as much and as hard as we do if we were not taking adaptogens. Now maybe you’ve got some secret sauce behind the scenes that you could continue working as hard as you do. But for me, adaptogens are the thing that keeps me going and they keep me feeling refreshed. Even in the most difficult of cases. you’re reviewing labs all day. You’ve got to focus you got to think about the symptoms that the clients reporting to you and you got to make the accurate protocol. You can’t slip up on dosing, you got to make sure you gauge it all right. I mean what we do is brain intensive. So for us, I think adaptogens are like essential but for other people to At these are very, very amazing compounds that should be worked into your to your life and your protocol wherever you can.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100% man, so there’s different families of adaptogens. You know, there are some that have immune modulating benefits, there are some that have stress modulating benefits. And then there are some that are going to have hormone kind of sex hormone modulating benefits. So we kind of use them in different criteria. So the ones that help manage stress are going to be things like ginseng, or ashwagandha. And they’re really going to help modulate cortisol. And the big thing about adaptogens that I love is it helps modulate their perception of stress. So much of stress is perception based, where if you internalize something as being stressful, you make more of a negative hormonal response to that stress, where if you can perceive that stress as being less threatening, your hormones respond accordingly. So that’s part of the benefit of adaptogens. You can do it with meditation. And mindset is you perceive stress differently. But you can also modulate your body using herbs that have a similar effect. And guess what? If you combine the two, it’s even better.
Evan Brand: So give us an example. Like, are you talking, let’s say somebody cuts you off on the highway, and that really would have pissed you off before. But now, it’s like, Oh, you know what they’re in a rush.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You’re just able to keep your cool a little bit better, right? It just makes it, it makes it a little bit harder for you to fully lose your your sh it. Right? It makes it harder for you to lose it. All right. And that’s, that’s nice. People are in stressful environments, work and stuff. Everyone wants to keep their composure, especially if you’re dealing with your kids, you don’t want to yell at your kids and all that stuff, right? So you want to be able to keep your cool. And so ashwagandha is one of those things that I use daily, it helps modulate the immune system, but it also helps change and D help me deal with stress better and again, ashwagandha literally is Sanskrit that means to impart the strength of the horse. That’s kind of cool little saying there and a lot of adaptogens they have they’ve been used for a long time. They kind of have a little bit of a saying around that, you know, imparting energy and strength and, and stabilization.
Evan Brand: Yeah, so ashwagandha is something that has benefits with the adrenal system too. So when you’re talking stress, obviously, there’s this connection between the brain and the adrenal. And what you’re saying is when you’re using these adaptogens, it’s almost like you can sort of either short circuit or maybe the better word is down regulate that stressful connection, meaning like that guy on the highway, who cuts you off, before your fuse would have been so short that that brain is going to go alert, alert, alert, the amygdala, the fight or flight system sets off, and then boom, you get a big shot of cortisol. But in the research we’ve looked at ashwagandha literally can help stabilize that cortisol response to where you might not get as much of a sharp hit of cortisol, it’ll still happen. It’s not like you’re going to be sedated. And if somebody puts a gun to you, you can’t get scared and run. It’s not that it’s just that it’s going to help blunt an excess response of hormones.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100% and that’s really, really important. That’s very important. And then of course, they’re going to me just things like ginseng adaptogens whether it’s [inaudible] ginseng, American ginseng, or red ginseng, or Korean ginseng, they’re going to just help us deal with stress as well kind of similar in that adaptogenic quality. And they’re also typically what they’re doing is they’re modulating cortisol output. They’re modulating HPA access. And of course, when you modulate HPA access, remember that means hypothalamus pituitary, aka your brain. And the a part is your adrenal. So that feedback loop from the brain to the adrenal is modulating, so one, it’s going to make sure that we don’t over yell or over signal, stress hormone production, but it’s also going to help us when we made stress hormones, it’s going to provide what’s called a negative feedback loop back to the brain. That’s it’ll allow us to come down from that stress versus stay chronically elevated. It’s like the air conditioning comes on. It hits 70 degrees, right? It lowers that temperature, but imagine the air conditioning continuing to stay on until it’s at 60. It’s like, Well, hey, I don’t want it to go that cold. I don’t wanted to stop at 70. So think of that’s kind of what your stress responses we manage. We produce those stress hormones, but we just keep ratcheting it up above and beyond what’s needed for that moment.
Evan Brand: Yeah, I think another way to say it is you’ve just lost that homeostasis and adaptogens can help you to find that balance more. So for example, if something frazzles you here’s an interesting thing I’ll you know, I think people relate to stories, right. So, my wife took my daughter’s summer to Whole Foods last week, and we get my daughter adaptogens all the time. Just different liquid tinctures with blends, we’ve probably got her on, I don’t know five or 10 different things, you know, reishi mushroom and astragalus and licorice and Eleuthera row and quarter seps. And, and all of it right? And so normally, she if she heard a very, very loud, startling sound, she’d get startled from it. And in this case, it was the fire alarm that went off. And my wife was like, wow, you know, something crazy. She goes, I know that These herbs are working for summer because if something were that loud before, before we had another supplement, she’d cover her ears. And she’d be like, Oh my god, what is this loud sound, but instead the fire alarm goes off. And all she says is, Mommy, what’s that? And just super chill. She didn’t overreact. She didn’t cry. She didn’t scream. She didn’t cover her ear here, the fire alarms just blaring. And she was super cool. So like I said, it’s not that it’s numbing you. It’s just that it’s gonna allow you to not have a big response. They have another example. When I was out at this piece of property, looking at this piece of land, I met the builder out there, and there was a dump truck behind us. And you know how when the dump trucks open up in the bank, and they let all the gravel out, and then the dump truck Door slams, he jumps so hard, and I kind of joke with my wife afterwards, like man, he needs some he needs some adaptogens he overreacted. He acted like he was getting shot, but instead it was just a loud sound. So that’s kind of a sign if you’re somebody listening, how do I know my HPA system is dysfunctional. Well You’re overreacting to things like you said, you’re getting mad at your kids easily. Your fuse is short or you have a very very sensitive startle reflex. Like a loud sound. Oh my god, your heart’s pounding. You need some adaptogenic herbs.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. And David Winston, I think he has a book on this. It’s literally called ‘Adaptogenic Herbs’. It’s actually online free, you can totally get it. There’s 15 recognized adaptogens that he has in that book. I mean, some of the big ones are ginseng, ashwagandha, asian ginseng, astragalus and cortis apps are great because they modulate the immune system. Eleuthera holy basil licorice is actually considered an adaptogen, Rishi, rhodiola, schizandra, [inaudible], these are different adaptogens that have kind of been well known. So this book is excellent because it really talks about you know, a lot of the the science behind these adaptogens and really to kind of summarize it, the science comes down to this. immune modulating affects stress modulating affects brain communication to Oregon, to adrenal or thyroid affects a better communication from the brains of the organs, better homeostasis, and adaptation to stress, immune modulation, and then also sex hormone modulation. So for guys and women, there’s certain herbs that will use to help reestablish cycle communication and women or help with progesterone, or how modulae estrogen receptor sites and then guys, too, there’s ones that will use to help modulate Lh and testosterone secretion as well. So there’s different ones that we use for stress, mood, sex hormones, and then of course, when you modulate the stress and the sex hormones, guess what happens, you start sleeping better, which then feeds back into the rest and repair and then you your hormones aren’t as stress therefore, the adaptogens have even a better modulating effect because your hormones and your stress is less off kilter. Right? It’s It’s It’s more balanced because the sleep and that is already stabilizing you.
Evan Brand: Yeah, that’s what I love about ashwagandha for example, is that you could use During the day to help with stressful events, but you could also use it at night. So I’ll take a shot of it or if I’m using a capsule, I’ll do some during the day. And then I’ll also take one or two doses of it before bed. And I tell you, I wake up a lot more refreshed when I have that in my system.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, and get adapt like the Russians did a lot of research in the mid 50s and 60s on adaptogens pretty cool. One of the Russian Research Scientist he kind of described and adaptogen like this, this is what the definition was, and this is going to be available I think in Winston’s book called adaptogenic herbs. He said, they must be innocuous, they must cause minimal disorders in a physiological function of an organism, they must have a nonspecific action and usually have a normalizing action. Irrespective of the direction of someone’s pathological state that’s really important. So someone could be moving towards a, you know, a disease state and it’s still going to have a modulating benefit, which is really cool.
Evan Brand: I love that. That’s a nice elegant, elegant statement and People may think, well, if these things are so awesome, then, you know, why aren’t more people talking about it? Why aren’t doctors talking about it? Well, in general, as you mentioned, in the 50s, and 60s, Russia is doing all this research. But in America, there’s not any money in this because, you know, you and I, we’ve got our own formulas, which, which will eventually talk about and plug in hope that you all can experiment with. But the money’s not in a bottle of rhodiola that we may sell to you for $20. Right, like there’s just not that huge profit margin incentive. And you can’t patent these things too, because they’re herbs so when you can’t patent something, then you can’t excessively market up and make a ton of money like you can with the pharmaceuticals for example.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100%. 110% Yeah, there’s less money there. And you know, of course, when the education is primarily driven by by mainstream companies, if there’s no money there, you’re just not going to get the education on it. So the cool thing about the internet and podcast and and YouTube We can provide a lot of these videos and it’s easy, we get it, we just do a recording and it’s out. We don’t have to go through a big publishing process and have everything all, you know, go through a publisher and editor all that we can just put this information out there raw in the flesh, and you guys can enjoy it and digest it even live if people on YouTube listening live right now, which is pretty awesome.
Evan Brand: Do you want to tell any stories about your use with adaptogens? Have you experimented with different things for different issues with mood or sleep or stress?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so in my line, I have a product called ashwagandha supreme so ashwagandha is gonna be one of my favorite ones. I find that really helps with stress and sleep and really helps modulate my stress response. Like I find if I get an argument with someone if I just hit some ashwagandha within 20 or 30 minutes, I’m adapting to the stress of that conversation or whatever’s going on in my environment better. Now it’s really important. Quality with adaptogens is very important because a lot of countries that they grow adaptogenic herbs, they don’t have the best let’s say environmental there’s a lot of mercury or lead in the soil because of what’s going on with the pollution in that environment, and of course, the herbs, then we’ll take on that pollution, because what goes in the soil comes up in the roots. So it’s very important. You want to use herbs from people who test the herbs independently. So Evan and I, myself, for instance, we test the ashwagandha that we put in capsulate. And I found a couple of times where there’s been high levels of lead, and we’ve had to send the raw material back and and use the different manufacturer that that’s it. So really important. You don’t want to just jump online and get the cheapest adaption actually, you know, you pay a little bit more to have higher quality and to have the, the independent analysis done. So that’s important. So ashwagandha and then of course, it’s my favorite blend of rhodiola ginseng ashwagandha, eleuthero a little bit of liquid, that’s my favorite one that’s on my adrenal revive. I love that because there’s enough immune modulating benefits sex hormone modulating benefits. And I’ll go back and forth between those two. And then every now and then I’ll just go into individual ones. I’ll do some gotu kola. Do some Holy Basil, I’ll do just some regime quarter steps. And I’ll just do some individual ones. I think it’s pretty cool people should biohack and test some individual adaptogens per month, and just see how you feel with it, see how you deal with it. But for myself, personally, I have seen amazing benefits and how I can deal with an adaptive stress. Having seen thousands of patients in my career, I see amazing benefits. And again, it depends. I see a lot of hormonal imbalances a lot of women with PMS, so we’ll use different herbs depending on what’s happening there. What we may use things like chaste tree or white pod, or specific phenotypes of maka that are very helpful. And that just it’s amazing the things that you can do, especially when you’re dealing with the woman’s cycle that’s off I mean, it can really create a lot of, you know, havoc in her in her life and mood and such like that. And then obviously it can create menstruation issues, which then create anemic issues so you can have a whole bunch of things spiral out of control. So big fan of what you can do with these adaptogens from a hormonal mood and Energy sleep, stress modulating effects.
Evan Brand: Yeah. And the good news is, as a general rule, they’re pretty synergistic. So the one that I have that similar to your adrenal is mine’s called Adapt. And this is where we’ve got a little bit of B as in Bravo, vitamin added. The cool thing is, is you can have synergistic benefits. So your average person walking down the street, probably knows that B vitamins are good, right? They think B vitamins equals energy. But when you combine adaptogenic herbs with the B vitamins, then you really get the magic happening because you’ve got not only are you helping to fuel the mitochondria with some of the bees and the nutrients, their vitamin C can be added. But then now you’ve got the modulating effects with the adaptogens. And then when you throw in amino acids, then you really get amazing benefits. So if you’ve got nutrients, like your vitamins, mixing it with your adaptogens and then you’re throwing in for example, like a little seed oil tyrosine we use, that’s when the magic happens and then you can really just take on life. Now I do want to say one thing about rhodiola rhodiola changed my life. You know, I was depressed all Throughout my teenage years, mainly due to my gut issues, I think, my mood issues. Yeah, probably gut and toxicity issues. I remember. You know, I spent a lot of time growing up in my grandma’s house who her basement flooded many times. So now, after you and I’ve talked about this for the last year, now my mold journey, I think I had a lot of mold that was causing me depression too. So it’s probably a combination of toxins and gut issues. But one thing that I found really, really early on was rhodiola. And I noticed immediately that my mood was lifted, and the clouds that had been over my head just basically disappeared. But the only caveat to it is if you’re somebody who you have an unstable mood, like you’re possibly trending more towards bipolar rhodiola can make you more manic. So that is one adaptogen where I think you have a little caution. So that’s where you’d want to work with your practitioner. And then I just want to state something a little differently than the way you’ve already said, which is about the supplement quality. So part of you and I’m part of clinical practices, we do implement these herbs into clinic. And then we sell these supplements to the public as well. But we’re using professional healthcare companies that only manufacture and sell supplements specifically to doctors and healthcare practitioners. So we’re not doing what is very common in the nootropic. And the adaptogenic herb community, which is contract manufacturing, which is where you’ve got random supplements for you calm in the middle of Florida, and they grab 30 different herbs from China, and then they put them in a bottle and slap your label on it and sell it. That’s not what we do at all. We have to have professional grade made by professional practitioners. Sometimes our formulations are are created with the help of other functional medicine people natural pass, and on and on and on. And then that stuff is all extremely vetted and tested because at the end of the day, if we don’t get people better, then we can’t keep doing what we do. So we have to make sure we have a therapeutic benefit. So if you go on Amazon, for example, You just type in rhodiola. And you see here some random brand with a label, and it’s 9.99 versus you see a professional brand for 29.99. That 9.99 may not be the same. You’ve got specific alkaloids and parts of the different plants that you need for the act of benefits. So if you look at Justin’s labels, if you look at my labels, you’re going to see the same thing, which is you’re going to see a percentage, and that’s where the magic happens. So, for example, with rhodiola, you have to have a standardized form that’s going to have multiple alkaloids. For example, [inaudible] is one thing we look for in rhodiola. Not all rhodiola standardized to have particular percentage of rosebuds. With ashwagandha. You’ve got the I think you pronounce it with analyze. Yes, the active component on so I just trying to just point this out not to say hey, we’re the best but we pretty much are with the adaptogenic herbs because there’s nobody else doing professional manufacturing like we are.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100% now really interesting this is straight from Winston’s book, he talks about adaptogens help the body achieve an adaptive response to stress, they increase the body’s ability to cope more effectively with stress. They work with the body’s reaction to stress and alter the release of stress hormones. When the body’s under stress, it is using more energy and the body’s energy supplies being depleted because nutrients are being converted to energy. This can cause fatigue. So what Winston saying here is that the more stress you perceive, the more you actually deplete other nutrients to make those stress hormones and then you have less nutrients to run other energy systems in the body whether it’s cardiovascular or gut or neuro endocrine, right. So you kind of robbing Peter to pay Paul, it’s like you’re increasing your debt over here. Therefore you’re using a credit card and you’re spending outside of your monthly budget. So one other side benefit that we are getting Using adaptogens is we are a lot with it’s preventing us from using other nutrients in our body to deal with that stress. And now we have a nutrient reserve we can use for other things such as focus on our job performance at the gym energy with our family and friends, which is really cool because we just think about it in the moment, but we forget what that stress does to other nutrients. And now they aren’t available to us.
Evan Brand: Yeah, well, and people may argue, well, why now like my grandparents or my great grandparents, they lived on a farm. Why did they didn’t take adaptogens they weren’t just you know, pop in capsules of ashwagandha. Well, we have more toxins than we’ve ever had. The EPA is not doing their job. You’ve got flame retardant chemicals and antidepressant drugs and you’ve got fluoride, and other pharmaceuticals, you’ve got pesticides and herbicides, damaging the gut, which kills bacteria, which then creates nutrient deficiencies and bacterial overgrowth which in damages the gut barrier, and then you don’t have enough nutrients from it. Mitochondria, you’ve got neurotoxins, you’ve got air pollution. So to me, the 21st century is the century for adaptogens. I think these can be our saviors to help us cope with the stressors that even just a generation or two ago, we didn’t have.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 110% also, we know that we have a lot more oxidative stress in our environment, just from pesticides and chemicals that are more readily available already, you know, just just they’re kind of indebted in our environment. Winston also highlighted in the book here very interesting. He says another effect of normal metabolism is the creation of free radicals. Right? If the concentration of free radicals exceeds the body’s capacity to neutralize them, this can be harmful and can put damage on the mitochondria, the cells energy powerhouse, he says they are neutralized by antioxidants. So Said another way is you’re going to have oxidative stress from you’re going to have free radicals from all this extra stress. Okay? And that extra free radicals is going to cause your body’s antioxidant reserve to go in overdrive as well. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, really important the oxygen, so then your body has to use more antioxidants to deal with the free radicals from that perceived stress. So kinda like the nutrients getting depleted up, we’re also depleting a lot of our antioxidants to deal with the free radicals from that perceived stress. So it’s pretty cool.
Evan Brand: And we measure this too, right? This is not just stuff you’re you’re spouting out of a book, this is stuff that we verify thousands of times over looking at the various testing we run, for example, organic acids testing, I would say 90% of the time or more, we’re seeing vitamin C levels burned out we’re seeing vitamin B as in Bravo, low, we’re seeing nutrients across the board low. So this is not just theory. This is proof. I mean, we’ve got the data of these labs and people even if they’re trying really hard, they’re eating whole foods paleo template, they’re still nutrient depleted and they still need help. They’re still burning the candle at their job. So they need adaptogen. So here’s one question just for people listening on the podcast that didn’t make it to YouTube. Justin host these videos live on his YouTube channel. So make sure you’re checking that out just type in Justin health on YouTube, and you’ll find it so that way you can join us. And if you want to chime in live, you can. But there was one question here from Dennis. He said Can adaptogens help with social anxiety? The answer, of course, is 100%. Yes. Specifically, I would focus on more calming adaptogens. But possibly mixing it with more stimulating so like an ashwagandha rhodiola combo, that would probably be an awesome social anxiety stack. But I would often use amino acids they are too so we’d want to figure out why is the social anxiety happening? Right? There’s probably an underlying thing there. And then, of course, you could use the nutrients as kind of a support.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, it just depends. Are you more socially anxious because your HPA access is just an overdrive and then just calming that down helps or is there some kind of subconscious trauma that needs to be resolve them, then we’d use a combination of EMDR, EFT and NLP to address any root cause stuff, right? while we still use the adaptogens to calm down that fight or flight response, so we do both. If it’s if there’s a stronger connection to a root cause then we do those techniques I just mentioned, if not, then we we just address the hormonal and neuro chemical mill you underneath the surface?
Evan Brand: Yeah. And then just taking the question a little further. So is the social anxiety Could it be from self confidence issues or self esteem issues, which would be related to neurotransmitter issues? So for example, if you have low serotonin, you’re going to be more prone to social anxiety, you’re typically going to have lower self esteem, you’re going to be more of a worrier. So we may address that and we would measure that on organic acids testing. And then what about the skin? Like what if your skin is part of the reason you’re socially anxious because you feel like you don’t look good enough or something like that? So then it becomes Well, why is the skin bad? Is it the gut is it the diet so that’s Why we love doing these podcasts to try to zoom in on stuff, but you always have to zoom out to focus on the whole picture
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 110% and then a couple other things I want to highlight. So we’re talking about connecting things to kind of more theoretical, but one also connect the theoretical into into reality. So Evan kind of highlighted the organic acid testing. So we’re actually testing the adrenal like I’m running a hormonal panel to look at the cortisol rhythm, to look at that, what how that cortisol fluctuates throughout the day, when we start to see HPA access issues, we started to see a disruption in the cortisol rhythm so instead of that nice high, to low to lower to lowest kind of gentle ski slope taper, we start to see either a flattening or we start to see irregularity in the rhythm throughout the day. We also are going to run organic acids that will look at catecholamines, whether it’s a vandal Mandalay that looks at adrenaline or Homo vandelay which looks at dopin mean, or we’ll look at five hydroxy and dolo acetate, which looks at serotonium will look at urinate, or urinate, or kind of urinate or xanthi [inaudible] B6, we’ll also look at eight hydroxy to deoxy guanosine, or fennessy to acid to look at oxidative stress. So again, these are, you know, really big words, they’re kind of foreign. These are organic acids, and they give us a window into the metabolic demand of what the stress is doing to these nutrient pathways. And so from that, we can come in there and we can create targeted supplement programs that support these specific nutrient deficiencies. But the difference is, we’re not just trying to give you a supplements, we’re trying to fix the underlying root cause. So if there’s poor digestion or food allergens, we’re fixing it. If there’s poor sleep or stress management, or blood sugar instability during the day that has to be fixed to blood sugar is a big one. Most people are on this blood sugar roller coaster ride, where they’re constantly having a catecholamine hormonal rush. Every time this blood sugar is going up and down right on the high side. It’s insulin The low side it’s adrenaline and cortisol and then we’re in this insulin adrenaline, cortisol, glucagon, insulin, adrenaline cortisol glucagon roller coaster that’s very energy depleting, like Winston talks about the B vitamins, the nutrients, the antioxidants. So we have to get to the root cause and it’s not just giving you a bunch of supplements. That may be part of it. But we got to have the big picture where we connect the symptoms upstream to the body systems, hormonal gut infection, detox nutrients, mitochondria, and then also connected to the underlying stressors, physical, chemical, emotional, that may have gotten the ball rolling to begin with, we got to go upstream, above below, inside out.
Evan Brand: Yep. And you could take all the ashwagandha in the world, but if you’re eating gluten free muffins for breakfast, and that’s it, you’re going to have blood sugar problems, you’re going to have mood issues, and I don’t care how many adaptogens you take. So, you know people listening to this, they may think, okay, you know, now I’m just going to go out and buy all these adaptogens maybe not You know, we like you to implement these things with the clinical picture. And the clinical framework is Justin kind of outline because you want to be more targeted, I promise, this whole supplement graveyard that I talked about people building up this supplement graveyard, it’s not a good idea. And you’re going to spend much more money in the long run, if you’re just buying this and buying that, and trying this and trying that you need to figure out what is underneath the hood. So that blood sugar issue is so critical. And if you don’t address that, man, I tell you, you’re going to be angry, you’re going to have a short fuse, you’re going to get mad at your kids when you’re having a blood sugar crisis. So getting that under control. And then on top of that, using adaptogens to support you is how we would do it. But this is all within that clinical framework. So 99.9% of you all listening, you’re not doing that. You’re just trying this, trying that try that but you’ve got no framework, so you really need the testing to see what are you up against. And that way, you know, for example, you may use this herb if it’s a low cortisol, we may use this herb if it’s a high cortisol, what if it’s an inverse pattern now we’ve got to start to Let’s say raise morning cortisol but lower evening cortisol. So there’s a timing to this to the circadian rhythm, time of the day framework as well. It’s not just licorice. licorice needs to be known at the right time. So then you get into timing. So once you add all the different layers on, this is why it’s best to hire us. I mean, that’s why we do what we do.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so definitely diving in deeper and and quantifying everything and then measuring it and then coming back in three to six months or nine months later and re evaluating it. Yeah, I 100% 100% like that live question here that came in and want to get your take on I have my opinion, too. I’ll get your take first. So there’s different adaptogenic mushrooms that we talked about, like Reishi and cortis apps, right? What’s your take on using those medicinal mushrooms as adaptogens? If you have Candida, would that make your Candida worse? Or is the benefit from those medicinal mushrooms outweighing any potential Candida effects?
Evan Brand: I would say in the case of cordyceps specifically, I don’t see why it would be a big deal. I mean, there’s been a lot of benefit on cordyceps regarding the adrenal system. So to me, if you’re thinking, adrenal stress, higher cortisol, potentially damaging the gut barrier, aka creating increased intestinal permeability, creating leaky gut, then leading to more bacterial overgrowth and Candida to me, I think it’s a no brainer to use adaptogens. And you and I do this every single day all day in the clinic, we use adaptogens during these gut issue protocols, so I would say, Yeah, absolutely.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, my general recommendation is isn’t alignment with yours as long as you can add it in and you’re not seeing any symptoms getting worse. Meaning if you have can’t specific Candida symptoms in and around bloating or gas or white coated tongue or [inaudible] or athlete’s foot, or tinea versicolor rash or cognitive issues from the brain fog from the Candida, and it’s not like getting worse. I think it’s okay of course I leaned on some of the other let’s just say fun, guys. Free adaptogens first, but if we have a benefit there, that’s totally cool. Sure the question came in, I want to highlight is there, someone wasn’t really clear, is there an adrenal leaky gut parasite issue? And then what’s the best test to look for this? So off the bat for me, we’re running a GI map test to look for gut issues, whether it’s bacteria, parasite or Candida, but we’re also running an organic acid test, because I’ve seen time and time a lot of systemic Candida issues that may be outside of the gut will show up on an organic acid test as [inaudible] and that are the [inaudible] and that’s a fungal metabolite that comes out in the urine. So that can give us a bigger window to a more systemic, deeper fungal issue. So it’s good to look at both. Yep. What are your thoughts?
Evan Brand: My thoughts are with organic acids. I’m also running michael panels almost every single time now I am looking into mold toxin quite a bit. It’s rare that I find someone negative and I’m finding that mold toxin is contributing to candida overgrowth. So I’m also adding in a lot of that and a lot of binders support to so protocol. Once you get all the proper labs run on someone, the protocol may look like this, maybe some adaptogenic herbs to support the HPA axis, possibly some micronutrient multi support, possibly omega or some type of anti inflammatory herbal protocol, and then the specific detox and or gut work. So anti parasitic, antifungal, anti microbial herbs, liver support, binders, possibly digestive enzymes. And of course, that’s all according to what’s going on. If they’re too inflamed, they might not be able to do HCl, so you gotta heal the gut first. So, you know, obviously, it’s too complicated for us to just say, Hey, here’s exactly the protocol you people listening need to do. There’s 1000 different ways to skin a cat depending on what’s going on on your lab.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100% and it just my last comment is hey, this is a About the top five adaptogen. So what are the top five my number one ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is number one just for overall stress and sleep. Mood, ginseng, eleuthero excellent for mood. Number three for sex hormone modulation we’re using chase tree or vitex we may also throw in some mock in their white peony. For immune we may be throwing in Rishi or a [inaudible] cordyceps for immune which is very helpful. And then also for additional sleep you may be throwing in something like a holy basil or something a very common kind of adaptation. gotu kola. And we may also throw in licorice depending on cortisol rhythm aberrations during the day higher low fluctuations, we may balance off some of those low levels of cortisol with licorice. Just be careful, you don’t have high blood pressure already because that can increase that that’s kind of my top five on there. Evan, do you concur? Do you want to add or amend anything?
Evan Brand: I mean, I love them. I mean, honestly, if you ask me, it depends my answer or my my list is going to depend on the time of year a lot to, like if I’m doing a lot more hiking and such in the summertime, I’m probably going to hit the rhodiola harder if it’s more winter, less sunlight, just more stress in general from the winter the cold temperatures, you know, some of these adaptogenic herbs have benefits in regards to how you adapt to cold weather. So when we say adapting, we’re not just talking emotional stress and your bad boss or, or your spouse. No, we’re talking literally, you can adapt to colder temperatures, you know, so so the cold-
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Which herb is that the cold one?
Evan Brand: Rhodiola can help. Great. Yeah, so if you just look up like cold tolerance or cold intolerance, adaptogens I believe rhodiola is number one, but I’m rarely doing them in isolation these days. So I would just tell you as a whole, when I’ve got a full protocol loaded up, I could be out in five degrees and it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to and your average person who’s going to say I’m freezing to death. I’m at five degrees and I feel okay, so we got to wrap this thing up, but let’s do it will Do more on adaptogens if you guys love this, you know, please give us your feedback and review the podcast on iTunes. We need your help so we can stay on top of the charts spreading this functional medicine knowledge to the masses. So please review our podcast it takes like two minutes. We will love you forever. So go to JustinHealth.com and then forward slash iTunes. That should or if you’re just listening on the podcast app, you should be able to click write a review, give us the stars you think it deserves. And click Send. And then my show it’s the same link or if you’re on the Evan Brand show on your podcast app, click right review. Give us some stars. Let us know how we do and then if you want to reach out, we can help you make a customized protocol where you’re not spending all of your money guessing the philosophy is test don’t guess so you can reach out to Justin clinically. That is JustinHealth.com. We work with people around the world my website EvanBrand.com. And we’ll be back next week for more fun.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Excellent Evan. Will you did a great job closing things up. You guys have a phenomenal week. And we’ll be back. Take care.
Evan Brand: See you later. Bye now.
Understanding the Benefits of Adaptogenic Herbs for Your Adrenal Health
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Stress is at the root of many modern illnesses. Though some stress is necessary for keeping your immune system agile and for helping you stay alive in dangerous situations, prolonged and persistent stress can contribute to anxiety, insomnia, heart disease, leaky gut, adrenal fatigue and many autoimmune conditions.
Unfortunately, most of us are exposed to chronic and persistent stressors, such as long hours at work, traffic, and worrying about finances. While some stress is normal, its impact on your health can be minimized by managing and relieving stress in a healthy manner. More and more people are turning to adaptogens for stress relief and adrenal balance!
What Are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are herbs and plants which have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions for helping the body react healthily to stress. Non-toxic in nature, adaptogens manage all kinds of stressors whether they are chemical, biological or physical. They help to balance the body and support the adrenals.
While some adaptogens are used for stimulating the body and enhancing mental performance, others are used for their calming effects. Adaptogens can boost strength and vitality, combat adrenal fatigue, and treat various issues- from asthma to infertility! These special plants and herbs can also support the natural circadian rhythm of the body and help promote more restful sleep.
How do adaptogens work?
To understand the working of adaptogens, you need to look at the “HPA axis”. Your hypothalamus is the part of your brain which recognizes stress. When you are feeling stressed, your hypothalamus sends signals to your pituitary glands, which signals to your adrenals to produce and release stress hormones. This is known as your Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal or HPA axis.
Chronic stress keeps your HPA axis engaged on a constant basis. This can affect your sleep, mood, immune system, blood sugar, thyroid, appetite and much more, which has a bad effect on your overall health. Being in a constant state of biological stress is also quite taxing to your adrenal glands and micronutrient reserves.
Your adrenal glands have to work extremely hard to keep up with the demand of being constantly engaged. Chronic stress can fatigue your adrenals, leading to adrenal dysfunction and burnout.
Adaptogenic herbs promote a more balanced response to persistent stress. They also help regulate the production of stress hormones and cortisones, which protects against adrenal fatigue and HPA axis dysfunction. By modulating cellular sensitivity to stress hormones, adaptogens encourage a healthier response to stress overall.
The following are some of the best adaptogens which have been studied for their positive effects on stress relief and adrenal balance.
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen which has been shown to reduce inflammation, calm the mind, and lower blood pressure. It also enhances the activity of immune cells which help to fight off infections and cancer. Its anti-inflammatory effects help to relieve pain associated with arthritis.
Ashwagandha boosts adrenal function, and is a favorite for balancing stress hormones, enabling anxiety relief, and increasing energy in those who are suffering from adrenal fatigue.
Maca is both an adaptogen and superfood which makes it unique. It is grown in the Andes Mountains. Maca is a root vegetable which is rich in protein, calcium, fiber, magnesium and amino acids like arginine and glycine. It has been used medicinally for centuries for improving mood and symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Maca regulates hormones by increases hormone production when your body is under-producing, and brings down hormone production when your body is over-producing hormones. With continual use, maca nourishes and enhances the function of the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, which helps to restore the adrenals.
Maca is very tasty and can be taken both as a food or in supplement form. It has a nutty, butterscotch-like flavor which can be mixed easily into smoothies or even baked goods for a strong energy boost!
Ginseng Chronic stress can contribute to inflammation and trigger many illnesses on account of an imbalanced immune response and hormone dysfunction. Ginseng has the ability to greatly reduce chronic stress by regulating the HPA axis, and decreasing depression, anxiety and other HPA axis related disorders. It can also help to prevent autoimmune disease by suppressing proinflammatory cytokines which are generated by chronic stress.
Rhodiola Excessive cortisol (primary stress hormone) can cause depletion of your nutrient reserves, impair your memory, and can have damaging effects on your blood sugar, blood pressure and metabolism. Rhodiola is an adaptogen which has been proven to lower the secretion of cortisol during stressful situations. It can increase energy and concentration in people who have been suffering from adrenal fatigue. It also has anti-depressive and cardioprotective effects.
We hope that this article has helped you better understand the benefits of adaptogenic herbs for your adrenal health. Do you use any adaptogenics? Let us know your favorites in the comments section!