Your first line of defense is to select a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system working correctly. Every part of the body, plus the immune system, functions better when protected from environmental strikes and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as taking vitamins and some natural herbs that are evidence-based and fit you.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani
In this episode, we cover:
0:35 Benefits of Glutathione and NAC
7:31 Vitamin D Levels
9:14 Zinc and Quercetin
11:11 Vitamin C as an antioxidant
13:38 Herbal Compounds
15:41 Medicinal Mushrooms and Herbs;
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey, guys! It’s Dr. Dr. Justin Marchegiani here today. I’m with Evan Brand and we’re going to talk about the top five ongoing immune supports. These are nutrient and or herbal compounds that we use to our patients to support a good, healthy, strong immune system. It’s obviously a couple of different areas and avenues we may use these preventively and as well as acute onset issues. So we’ll kind of talk about our experience clinically and how we use these in our practice. Excited. Evan, how are you doing today, man?
Evan Brand: Awesome! Doing really great and ready to dive in. So it’s going to start out with maybe that most important nutrient of all time, and certainly the most important nutrient for the past one to two years which is glutathione. And you and I did a podcast early on, I think it was last spring, all about glutathione and how we use oral acetylated glutathione. We’ll use liposomal glutathione, we’ll even used nebulized glutathione, and it’s been an absolute game changer for so many people. I would even go as far as to say I’ve saved lives using glutathione. I will just leave it at that but, it’s an amazing compound, probably the most important compound, and our our mentor, awesome guy, Dr. Kalish. He did a great talk very recently about glutathione, and he was showing how important glutathione is with the body, and the body will prioritize production even over methylation and how important it is to really get this system working properly, and everyone is focused so much on methylation and they’re ignoring glutathione production. Everyone gets so caught up in mthfr, and genetic defects, and all that but they’re totally missing the boat on glutathione and this is your master antioxidant that is depleted during times of stress and during toxin exposure. So that could be any type of pathogen that could be mycotoxin we know that moltoxin will deplete glutathione, and you and I measure this routinely on urine testing, and I see low glutathione all the time. If we see organic acids that are too low or too high, we know that there’s a dysfunction going on, and this is something that can easily be remedied and supplemented and we have very very high quality sources that we use for people.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100%. So glutathione is a tripeptide, right? So when we use glutathione, we’re going to kind of put glutathione and NAC in a similar camp. It’s good to have both, NAC helps with your, helps your body with endogenous production. Meaning, helps your body make it, as cystine tends to be the rate limiting amino acid in making glutathione. So glutathione is a tripeptide. So it’s got cysteine, glutamine, glycine. Glycine is really great in collagen and bone broth. Um, glutamine you’re going to just see in a lot of gut healing formulas because glutamine is needed for healthy gut function. So if you have healthy guts, or you have an unhealthy gut and inflamed gut, you can see how glutathione, one absorption, and um, of course stress is going to deplete a lot of those amino acids just in the stress process. And so then uh, you make glutathione via those three amino acids and then also you have exogenous glutathione that’s giving someone’s acetyl glutathione or liposomal, or some kind of a reduced glutathione which are all great. Um, those are all going to be exogenously you know, from the outside in. Endogenous is making it inside with the amino acid. So it’s good to help with both. We know the data on glutathione, it helps with inflammation, it has and effect on modulating the immune system, modulating the or t regulatory cells and balancing that th1, th2 immune response . Th2 is going to be the antibody response the, the th1 response is going to be the natural killers of the special forces of our immune system, and then of course, glutathione helps produce compounds like um, catabolic enzymes like catalase and a lot of good natural disinfectants like superoxidise mutase and things that help with lung, and inflammatory health inside the lungs. You’re going to make a lot of these compounds with glutathione which are very powerful on the immune side. Excuse me, I need some glutathione now. On the immune side and also on the anti-inflammatory side. So like for instance, with a lot of lung health issues or breathing issues, we may even give reduced gluathione and a nebulizer because, that is shown according to research, to help with inflammation, and help with vasodilation in the lungs. So very powerful anti-inflammatory, very powerful disinfectant because of the superoxide dismutase, and that catalase enzymes which is really important for inflammation.
Evan Brand: Yeah, well said. I mean every hospital, especially every ICU, especially when it with luncg issues, I mean, every ICU should be passing out glutathione nebulizers. It’s amazing that that’s not standard practice, that’s not standard procedure. We would see much, much, much healthier people faster recovery times if that were part of the protocol.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. That’s a patient with some serious lung issues who we nebulized some reduced glutathione and within a day, we saw a massive massive improvement. And we know things like NAC for instance is shown to reduce virus replication. So that’s very powerful. So when you’re, when a virus kind of gets into your cells, it replicates and that’s how it create symptoms. The viral load has to replicate and if you have nutrients in there like NAC , android glutathione that’s going to prevent the virus from replicating the higher number. So very very important there and of course, the higher the viral load is, the more you can spread it. If you keep the viral load down, the less chance of spreading and infection so that’s powerful there. Anything…
Evan Brand: An you and I take that ongoing. Yeah, you and I take that ongoing. We do depending on what’s going on. We’re not telling you to do this dose but, what you and I are doing, at least I know for me, I’ve got a combo product. So we’re using glutathione, give or take a couple of milligrams per day of an s-acetylated glutathione which in studies is just as good if not better than liposomal because with liposomal, we have some really sensitive people, me included. I don’t really do well with ethanol, and a lotof the alcohol that is in some of these liposomal formulas so I personally stay away from those. I like the acetylated, I fell great. It works really really well. Papers prove how well it works and then about a gram of give and take of NAC. So that’s kind of my on going protocol. And also for toxin exposure, that also helps protect against the oxidative stress that also helps to deal with mold tox and we know glutathione can help mobilize toxins. So that’s something we use in detox protocol too. Not just for immune and viral support .
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100% and virus replication, prevention, prevention, acute respiratory issues, all wonderful applications. I do about two grams a day of glutathione of and acetylcysteine, and one to two hundred milligrams of a glutathione whether it’s reduced as acetyl or liposomal. I’ll kind of rotate between the two. So that’s powerful out of the gates.
Evan Brand: Last call. Let me make one comment on the NAC and then we’ll move on. So at the time of this recording, uh, amazon has taken all NAC off of its marketplace. And there’s a lot of reasons that I could get into and probably and get deleted for but, we’ll just say that NAC is gone but, you and I, we work with professional healthcare companies. We do still have availability so we will put link in the show notes because this is something I would recommend you have on hand, and if amazon’s going to take it away, at least we have it. So I think that’s important to know.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think so too. I like it, NAC. In my product detox aminos, we have reduced glutathione plus NAC in there as well. I know you have a product similar as well. We’ll put links below so you guys can see that. And we’re gonna kind of a lot of the compounds like five herbals slash immune compounds and then we’ll kind of look at the nutrients. And I always tell patients like focus on the nutrients first just because they’re nutrients. They have other roles in the body and it’s good there. So NAC and I think glutathione are going to be there. Low-hanging fruit, next is vitamin D. If you’re not getting enough sun, or you have darker skin, you’re going to need some vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a major role in th1 th2 balance. And also helps modulate t-regulatory cells which keep your immune system in balance. A lot of studies showing people that have lower, higher vitamin D levels are more resistant to different virus, infections. Our vitamin D also produce an antibacterial enzyme called cathelicidin which helps decrease bacterial load so there’s a lot of powerful benefits of vitamin D and of course, in the winter months, when colds and flues are at the highest. Guess what? That’s when the vitamin D is the lowest on average because of the sun. So vitamin D is very powerful there out of the gates.
Evan Brand: Man, I just got my blood work back. My vitamin D was like a 45 which is too low. And I was kind of putting a false sense of security I guess into my sun exposure. I mean, I’ll get my legs exposed, my chest, my back. I mean, I’ll be outside for sometimes, couple of hours few hours a day, during the peak hours and my vitamin D was still below optimal. We like poeple give or take, we want to be 60 to 80, and I was at a 45 so I’m back on supplementing 5000iu plus a k1 k2 formula just to try to make sure I get up to that peak where I need to be so if you’re like oh, I’m outside in the garden. Don’t use that as your reasoning for not supplementing. If you have to supplement, it’s okay. Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, absolutely. And I would just say 50-70 on an average is probably reasonable. If you have an autoimmune isse, or any cancer issues, you know. Being 70-100 is probably even better. But at least 50 I think is good. So you’re not too far away from that but yeah. If you’re like below 20s or 30s, or below that, you get problems for sure. So vitamin D is really good. Obviously, I think next low-hanging fruit is gonna be zinc. Zinc has major effects, zinc fingers have a major effect on your genetics and DNA activation. Zinc also plays a major role in hormones, making testosterone, making uh, stomach acid. So zinc helps with digestion. Zinc helps with on the hormone side, and zinc also plays a major role on helping viral loads. So lots of studies on zinc losses, zinc helps get into the cells, and it decreases virus replication, so we have natural zinc ionophores, right. Their medications that do it but there’s also some natural compounds like quescitin that actually help zinc get into the cells at higher level and zinc, zinc levels when higher can prevent the virus from replicating kind of like NAC. So zinc is a very important natural compound and so is quercitin as well. We could add quercetin and zinc together ro really help flood ourselves with good high quality zinc.
Evan Brand: And we don’t go too crazy. I mean, we’ve had people that are doing like 50-100 milligrams of zinc long term. That’s too much. Maybe on going for females, maybe 10-15 milligrams, males maybe a tiny bit higher but, I had one lady doing 100 milligrams of zinc and she was not feeling good. So that was too much.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. If your’re doing that much probably 50, it depends on the type, right? If you’re doing a crappy like zinc acetate or something, if you’re doing like a zinc biscynade or eally good zinc bound to an amino acid, probably 50-70 acute like an acute type of situation. But outside of that, probably 10 to 30 max kind of from an ongoing basis. You’re gonna get zinc in pumpkin seeds and a lot of your grass-fed organic meat and or high-quality animal products.
Evan Brand: yeah. That’s the question. I mean, if you’re eating the way we are, I mean, I’m doing a grass-fed steak for breakfast some mornings. I mean, I wonder if I even need extra. I guess it depends on the situation. I will throw a little in; I’ll sprinkle a little in but, it’s not a big one I take all the time.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I mean it’s more going to be during stress and your immune system being more compromised, your nutrient levels are going to need to be higher and so that’s powerful there. I would say next out of the gates, vitamin C is important. Vitamin C are really important nutrients. Obviously, it has major role in oxidative stress; it’s an antioxidant. I would say the macrophages which are like the little pac-man, pac-woman that gobble up bacteria and viruses in the bloodstream. There’s a docking station for vitamin C on to that macrophage. And vitamin C can help potenciate the strengthof those little pacmen and pacwomen; very powerful. Now vitamin C has a molecular structure; very similar to glucose. Guess what happens if you consume too much glucose or I.e sugar. That glucose can dock on to that macrophase and actually weaken it. And so it’s important when you’re sick and your immune system is compromised, higher levels of glucose will mimic vitamin C and kind of dock on that receptor site and will make your immune system weaker. So keeping your immune system stronger by keeping the glucose under control is important. And then getting that good vitamin C in there is going to be important especially you know, acute right? You can always work on what I call a vitamin C callibration where you get your vitamin C levels up to just before, or just past the point where you have loose stools and then back up until they solidify, and you can do that during acute phase, if you’re sick, to keep your immune system nice and strong.
Evan Brand: I love my vitamin C but, I over did it because then, my iron was too high and I think I was doing like three grams of vitamin C for a long time and I was drinking my vitamin C powder with my grass-fed bison steak so that will increase iron absorption. So for anemic people, that’s a great strategy but, for males if you irons are really high, that’s one thing to consider and just track it with blood. Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Retract your blood. You know, the natural solution for high iron if you’re a guy is gonna be therapeutic phlebotomy. So getting your blood tested, giving blood all those things are wonderful out of the gates. So we talked about zinc, we talked about vitamin C, we talked about NAC, glutathione, we talked about vitamin D… Is there anything else we missed there? We can add more nutrient. What would it be, Evan?
Evan Brand: Mm. I would say the B vitamins would be very important because, B vitamins are going to be helping mitochondria; we know that a lot of the toxins and things we’re exposed to damaged mitochondria. B vitamins can help support the kreb’s cycle. So in a roundabout way, I think that would be part of an ongoing protocol. If I wanted to keep myself up, keep myself feeling great, I think some Bs would be in the picture.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I think some B vitamins are always good. So I think we have vitamin C , D, zinc, NAC, and glutathione so we have five there and we’ll add a little bonus with um, with what you just said with the B complex. So that’s fine right there out of the gates. Why don’t we switch gears and talk about herbal slash compounds? So we have silver, colloidal silver or we use a nano silver so it’s better absorbed; you need less of it. Silver is very helpful because it can it moves through your body; it’s very small in its molecular structure; you’re not going to worry about algeria, or turning blue when you use a high quality silver because, the silver molecules are so small, they flush right by your body and go out through your kidneys, no problem. If you make silver, you have really big silver molecules, you know. Bigger than 20 part per million; like in the hundred per million plus then maybe that can get stuck in yous cells and turn you blue; but most of the archery are turning blue and turning blues and come from home made crappy silver. Uh, we use manufactures that have been around decades, and have never had a case of argyria or turning blue because one, we’re just using high quality silver and it’s going to be tested, so we know the exact ppm-part per million. And so silver is great. Natural antiviral, and it also um, actually an anti-biofilm; so it actually helps the body deal with bacteria better because it decreases bacterial biofilms, which are the little protective shields if you think of the movie 300, right? The spartans, they have their shield and their spear, right? Well biofilms on bacteria are like the shield, right? So imagine like in the movie 300, you pull away their shields, now they’re a lot more vulnerable to attack. Well that’s what silver does to a lot of these biofilms on bacteria; and so it can allow the herbs that you’re using to actually kill that bacteria better. So silver is really powerful. Conventional medicine is even using silver. They use a lot of silver cellophane now. So If they do a total joint or total hip, or total knee, they’ll actually take the joint and they’ll wrap the cellophane around the joint because they found that it prevents mersa or antibiotic resistant bacteria which is powerful.
Evan Brand: Wow! That’s cool. I didn’t know that. So it’s funny a lot of things we talked about eventually will be mainstreamed. Like we talked about, I think glutathione with nebulizers should be in every ICU especially for long and viral issues and it’s not. So maybe one day that will become true just like the silver.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100%. So we have silver there, I will also hit some medicinal mushroom. There’s a couple that are out there. I mean, I like reishi. There’s some other ones that are really good but, reishi and a lot of these mushrooms one have an affect on in increasing the immune system. Whether it’s usually the th1 immune repsonse, uh some of them can actually deactivate viruses, right? A lot of the beta 1, 3 glucan, or the tritipines that are in there can deactivate viruses. That’s pretty powerful out of the gates.
Evan Brand: Yeah. I’d say turkey tail. I think turkey tail and reishi. Those would probably be my top two. I mean you and I do cycle in some mataki and chaga, and some lions maine. I really love lions main for cognitive issues or for helping with ngf which is called nerve growth factor. I had a woman who had chronic burning tongue for 20 years, and we’re able to completely reverse that using lion’s maine mushrooms. So we suspected it was a nerve injury because after a general procedure, her tongue was burning, and dealt with there for 20 years. Lion’s mane took care of it. So I just love lion’s mane but, for this conversation I think rishi, and I’d say turkey tail would be the best if you are having issues with oxygenation, and chronic fatigue, a lot of people having some post viral chronic fatigue, cordyceps, I love cordyceps mushrooms. I use that quite often as well. So those three would be awesome. Turkey tail mushroom, uh, rishi, and cordyceps.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100%. So rishi, cordyceps, I like other compound like golden seal’s wonderful. I had that on my Gi Clear four. That’s kind of in the berberine family. Um, that’s wonderful. I see a lot of berberines do amazing, working great, barbary. I like golden seal; it gets wonderful out of the gates.
Evan Brand: In what form? What are you referring to the berberine compounds for? What are you talking about?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well it’s an antibacterial. Berberines mix with wormwood. If you look at Stephen Buehner’s book, he talks about that having a very powerful anti-viral kind of synergist? So berberines with artemisia are very powerful there as well so I like that too. I would also say um, astragalus is also powerful. It’s a good blood cleanser, it helps with the spleen, it helps with B cell antibody production; helps clean out the blood a little bit. Any feedback on astragalus?
Evan Brand: Oh, love astragus. I’ve got tons of bottles of it and we made, we made astragalus for, for a long time. We had really good quality source, glass bottle, good stuff. I take astragalus all the time and especially for tick bites. If you’re listening and hey I want to improve my immune system and all of a sudden, I got a tick bite, uh per Stephen Buhner’s protocol, he recommends three grams of astragalus for the first 30 days to really ramp up the immune system. IF you have chronic lyme, though that would be a situation where you don’t do that because it can send the immune system the other direction. So that’s a one of my favorite herbs. I’m glad you brought it up and it’s often the root. Technically, we say the herb but astragalus root is what’s being used.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Correct. So we hit astragalus, we hit golden seal, we hit some of our medicinal mushrooms, we hit silver. Let’s hit one more out of the gates. Andrographis is another good one. And again, a lot of these herbs work by one, supporting or stimulating your immune response, and typically, a lot of them are going to work more on the th1 side, so they’re going to really help mobilize natural killer helper cell production and of course, that the also help support antibody production later in the game. And a lot of these herbs can also decrease the virus from being able to replicate. And so that’s helpful because the more replication of the virus we have, the more the symptoms increase. So we can decrease virus load while improving our immune response, then we kind of hit it in both angles. Now, people that are autoimmune, some of these herbs could make you feel worse right? But the way I look at it, as most people are going to be th2 dominant in a lot of these autoimmune issues and so naturally supporting th2 could be a good thing out of the gates. So I always say, work on supporting the nutrients first, and then you can kind of come in there with the herbals come in there one at a time and just see how you deal with them, and then add that to your medicine-functional medicine toolbox later on down the road. So if you get sick, you know different strategies that are going to help you.
Evan Brand: Yeah. It’s a good point. You’re hitting on the multiple mechanisms right? You’ve got vitamin D increasing the immunity, and reducing cytokines storms, you mentioned some of the antimicrobial benefits to it, you’ve got the biofilm support in there, you’ve got the intracellular support with the zinc and the quircetin, you’ve got just the standard immune support with your mushrooms, you’ve got your protection from glutathione and NAC. You know, last thing I’d like to mention on the herbal front, I would say some sort of adaptogen, we kind of talked about this off air.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, yeah.
Evan Brand: Adaptogens in a roundabout way, would be very beneficial and that’s something you and I take every single day, as far as I know you do at least.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right here! Ashwagandha is one of my favorites. My ashwagandha supreme. Um, ashwagandha has been shown to be taken long-term, very helpful for immune function, immune modulation. Obviously, ashwagandha can help cortisol surges too. We know that high cortisol stress can decrease you immune function. So if you’re having high cortisol due to some kind of acute response, ashwagandha may be a good solution to help get that cortisol response under control.
Evan Brand: If I had to pick two, I I think ashwagandha is up there. Maybe number three for me. I’d say number one based on what’s going on, rhodiola because of the antifatigue effects, the anti-anxiety, the anti-depressive effects. Also, amazing for hypoxia. For athletes, for anybody struggling with oxygenation issues, rhodiola is amazing. Second, I gotta go with eluthero, I love siberian ginseng, that combo of eluthero, and rhodiola, oh man. Holy basil’s also awesome too! I mean, God! You know we love adaptogens. So I would just say that any or all of those could be worked into a protocol, would provide an extra support to keep you up on your feet.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100%. And also with vitamin D, yeah. Taking vitamin D with k2 is going to be helpful or at least vitamin k. Again, if you’re going to have a tablespoon or two of high quality grass-fed butter or ghee a day, that’s great. If you’re getting any sauerkraut or good greens, that’s gonna be more k1. So you have those good quality fat soluble vitamins in your diet, you’re probably going to be okay. But if you’re not, that’s where it’s good to just have a little bit of vitamin K2 in there as an insurance policy.
Evan Brand: Cool! I think we covered it unless you want to throw any other herbs? And I think that’s a good, good stack though.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I mean, yeah. We hit a good amount, you know. Now regards to the amounts, I mean typically we may double or triple that the typical recommended dose on the back of the bottle if it’s an acute type of phase depending on what’s happening. And so that’s kind of a goo I think rule of thumb out of the gates, is at least double or triple for the first few days to a week during an immune response. Evan Brand: Yeah. On going though, for me rhodiola a couple hundred milligrams is plenty for me too much. I get over stimulated, same thing with elutheral couple hundred milligrams typically per day, early in the morning. And ashwagandha, I mean, you could go up to 500 milligrams or so would be I think a great ongoing dose for actually.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think, I think 500 to a 1000. You can go up to 2 grams on that, and again, it matters if it’s like, this is a whole herb right. Some are like a standardized extract but much smaller that could be more concentrated but, if it’s a whole herb you know. A gram to 2 grams is usually going to be fine, a gram on the lower one’s fine.
Evan Brand: Yeah, and we’re not. Yeah, and we’re not making your protocol here, so like if you go and you look at the bottle, and like well this is 80 milligrams of ashwagandha, so I’m gonna go take freaking 40 to get to what he recommended, no. You gotta pay attention like you mentioned to the label. Because like you said, standardized extracts , 80 milligrams could be equivalent to 800 milligrams if you’ve got like a 10 to 1 extract. So you gotta pay attention to your labels and know what you’re getting.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And also if you’re really night shade sensitive, and you have a lot of autoimmunity, be careful because ashwagandha is a night shade. But again, if you’re really sensitive to nightshades and via tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, then be careful with that. Do it one at a time.
Evan Brand: Yes.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So outside of that, today was a great chat. I’m just, for the listeners here, if you guys want to reach out and get specific functional nutrition, functional medicine care, by either Evan of Dr. J myself, feel free to head over evanbrand.com, you can reach out to Evan there; there will be a link for you, as well as my site, justinehealth.com. We are available worldwide via phone, zoom, facetime, we’re here to provide all your natural health services if you need that. Also, click down below, send us a review, give us a little comment on today’s podcast if you enjoyed us. Let us know, kind of put down what immune support is your favourite and what’s been helpful for you in the past. We’d love having clinical experiences shared. That’s how you learn a lot. Anything else, Evan?
Evan Brand: Absolutely. I think it’s, I think you covered it all. Just keep your head up. Keep moving forward. That’s all you can do. So I hope these tools will help people.