health-fitness-weight-loss-nutrition

 

Like everyone in the healthcare industry, Dr. Justin Marchegiani started with the tools and knowledge passed on to him from the university. And just like his fellow healthcare practitioners, he encountered “humps” or roadblocks with his patients, which were keeping them from achieving optimal health. In search of answers and solutions, Justin turned to nutrition, which led him to functional medicine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani, DC is the owner and founder of Just in Health Wellness Clinic, where he is able to pursue his functional nutrition practice by helping people achieve overall wellness by addressing the underlying imbalances in their bodies. He is also the host of Beyond Wellness Radio, which allows him to reach out to more people to help them improve the quality of their lives through functional medicine.

In today’s episode, Justin explains what functional medicine is and how it can help you detect and address problems in your body. He discusses the importance of finding the right food and exercise which caters to your bodies needs and provides us with tips on how to start living a fuller, healthier life.

“Success leaves clues and footprints.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. You can just see what successful people are doing and fall in line.”
– Dr. Justin Marchegiani

On Today’s Episode of the Low Carb Leader:

  • The difference between conventional and functional medicine.
  • Women have 4-5 times more auto-immune issues than men due to their higher levels of estrogen which affects the immune system.
  • Most people are not even assessed for auto-immune issues because the standard of care in conventional medicine doesn’t change and there is more focus on serious cases.
  • Most people are at an extreme. You need to find exercise and food that cater to your body’s needs.
  • Justin talks about H.I.I.T. (High-intensity interval training) and how to choose the most effective exercise for your body.
  • The more you know about your body, the better off you are. Then you can take steps to make changes.

Health Tips from Dr. Justin Marchegiani:

  • Take your grains and replace them with greens
  • Start by making healthy choices
  • Consult a Functional Doctor or practitioner, if you’re not getting any results.

Connect with Dr. Justin Marchegiani:

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Read Podcast Transcript

022 – Functional Medicine Q&A with Dr. Justin Marchegiani, DC

 

DAN:

Hello, and welcome to The Low Carb Leader. You have joined us for Episode 22. On today’s show we have Dr. J., chiropractor and a functional medicine expert. So today Jacob is joining us. Jacob, how are you?

 

JACOB:

I’m happy to be here.

 

Jacob’s Foray into the Low-Carb Lifestyle

 

DAN:

So Jacob, you have been tinkering with diet and fitness lately, which is unlike you.

 

JACOB:

That’s very unlike me, and thanks to you and from what I’ve learned here and watching you go through some of your crazy diets, and you know I didn’t want to follow the physique challenge diet because I have no physique, which is probably some of the reason why I need to be doing this. And now that you’ve settled into your low-carb knowledge and what you’ve been passed on to me, I realized that my diet needs to change if I want to have a healthier lifestyle as I get older.

 

DAN:

Yeah, so what have you been doing differently?

 

JACOB:

The first thing I did, and the big thing I did was cut out sugar. I was a devoted dessert man, and if you had allowed it I would’ve had dessert with all three meals, including breakfast.

 

DAN:

You did.

 

JACOB:

Well yeah. That’s a little embarrassing. And the other thing I did was I cut out breakfast, so I went to intermittent fasting.

 

DAN:

So you don’t eat breakfast and you don’t eat until about noon, but you changed what you eat at noon as well.

 

JACOB:

I changed what I eat at noon. I don’t eat chips. I used to be a big sandwich guy, and so I’ve stopped eating just a sandwich and that bread all the time, and I get to where I eat a protein and look for a green vegetable.

DAN:

But you do eat dessert occasionally?

 

JACOB:

I eat dessert occasionally. If I eat dessert it’s at night, which is also where I eat the majority of my carbs for the low-carb portion because it is difficult to do this type of lifestyle or this change when you are with a family. And with a wife and two younger daughters to get them to change I would’ve had to go through the house and throw away all the sugar, and then anytime my wife Rachelle wanted a piece of chocolate or anything I would just look at her and yell, “poison,” and see how that went.

 

DAN:

And both of your kids have gained weight because you quit stealing their fries.

 

JACOB:

Yeah, exactly.

 

DAN:

Something like that. Yeah, that’s good. And you didn’t need to lose any weight because you’re six-foot –

 

JACOB:

Six-foot one.

 

DAN:

Six-foot and you weigh 100 and –

 

JACOB:

68.

 

DAN:

– 68, but you actually lost quite a bit of weight.

 

JACOB:

I did. I lost 8 pounds by doing this. So I went to 160, and the realization came when I walked in from work one day and was changing out of my work clothes, and I was like holy cow these pants actually feel loose. And so I ran downstairs and weighed myself, and I was like oh man, this really does change your lifestyle.

 

DAN:

Which is unfortunate because you just bought a bunch of new suits.

 

JACOB:

Those fit.

DAN:

Oh they fit?

 

JACOB:

Those fit.

 

DAN:

That’s good. So one of the things when you do go on a low-carb diet you get rid of water, you get rid of glycogen, and so people do lose a lot of weight their first week or two, which shows you you’re doing it correctly. So yeah, keep it up. You’re doing a good job.

 

JACOB:

Thanks.

 

Join our Tabata Challenge

 

DAN:

So a couple things before we get into the interview. We have a 14-day Tabata challenge. And if you go to the Facebook page, The Low Carb Leader, you can see the sign up button. It’s free, and it should be a lot of fun. Right now we’ve been advertising it for maybe three or four days, and we have 250 people that are going to do it. So this is going to be cool. It’s going to start March 15th, and we’re just going to have some fun events. It’s going to be a virtual type of exercise program, and people can all do Tabata in their homes, then participate in a private Facebook group. And then we’ll have some videos, and we’ll have some extra bonuses. And this is just a way to bring the community together and to get people started on their fitness journey. Or I’m sure there’s some people that are in shape and just wanted to do Tabata, but that’s four minutes of exercise a day, and it’s really good for you, and it’s a great way to start. So check out the Facebook page, and you can sign up.

 

JACOB:

I’m excited about it. I’m going to incorporate it into the workouts that I’ve started, and you’re being modest. You’ve got some really cool stuff planned as the bonuses. So you need to sign up and check that out.

 

DAN:

Yeah, so that’s good. And speaking of the Facebook page, unbelievably we have 40,000 followers on the Facebook page.

 

JACOB:

That’s awesome.

DAN:

That’s crazy. So thank you, everybody, for following. And I am on Instagram, as well, under @thelowcarbleader. So come check out the social media. I think it’s pretty entertaining.

 

JACOB:

I do, too. I love your mix of the recipes you’ve posted and some of the funny memes. I think it’s a good mix.

 

DAN:

Yeah, so come check that stuff out. All right, so without further ado were going to get into Dr. J. He is a very skilled chiropractor and functional medicine expert, and we hope you enjoy the interview.

 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani D.C., Background and Specializations

 

On today’s show we have Dr. Justin Marchegiani. Dr. J. is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a degree in kinesiology and pre-medical studies. Dr. J. has completed his doctorate degree in chiropractic medicine from Life West University. He has completed postgraduate studies in the area of clinical nutrition, rehab exercise, functional medicine, and he also has a years’ worth of specializations, which he can explain as we get into the interview. So Dr. J., welcome to the show today.

 

JUSTIN:

Thanks a lot. It’s great to be here, Daniel. I’m really excited to be on.

 

DAN:

Yeah, and we have Jacob here, not as always, but sometimes now.

 

JACOB:

Occasionally I get to be here.

 

JUSTIN:

Very cool. Excellent.

 

DAN:

Yeah, so you want to just give the listeners a background and rather than me reading all your specializations if you could kind of talk through those because those are very impressive.

 

JUSTIN:

Yeah, absolutely. So off the bat anyone who is a healthcare provider, they kind of jump into the healthcare field whether it’s as a nurse, or as a physician, or as a personal trainer and you have this set of tools that you were given at university, maybe like this conventional standard of tools. And eventually you kind of get tapped out. You have patients where you can’t quite help them get over that hump. And for me it started out as personal trainer about 15 years ago while at university. So I was training, and then you’re working with people on the exercise piece, and then you can’t quite get them over the hump. And then that’s where nutrition came in. All right, well we’ve got to do this exercise stuff, and we’ve got to also change your nutrition. And eventually you’re kind of tapped out there as well. And that’s where the goal and the striving to get functional medicine strategies under my belt was the next piece because it was the bridge, in my opinion, that was preventing patients who were doing the diet okay, doing the lifestyle okay and that kind of got them over the hump.

 

Now for me I was also working in a hospital setting, too, so I was in a surgical field where I was helping the physicians, the surgeons amputate the limbs of these diabetic patients. So I had hundreds of limbs literally pass through my possession to the morgue, and that really got me thinking like how can we get in front of this? How can we start preventing this because these physicians, I mean they were just, it was an amputee mill in there. They weren’t really concerned about the diet and lifestyle and functional medicine implications or how we could get ahead of this and actually prevent it.

 

So having that kind of background is really what motivated me to look for the bridge to get people over the hump of diet and lifestyle, exercise isn’t working. What’s the next step? And that’s where we found, and I found, hormonal barriers being an issue, whether it’s thyroid female hormones or even just adrenal hormones as well, autoimmune implications, Hashimoto’s, others, leaky gut, malabsorption, chronic infections, and then obvious nutrient deficiencies, which then affect the neurotransmitters, detoxification, methylation and mitochondria. So then this was really the bridge for me that was helping my patients that were sick, that were tired, that were fatigued, that were moody, that had hormonal imbalances and chronic digestion issues kind of get over that hump to that next step.

 

DAN:

Just a little bit about your background. Were you planning on going to medical school, or were you always going to go to chiropractic?

 

JUSTIN:

No, I was actually – I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon at first because I was really interested in athletics and sports, and I was a trainer at the time as well. So I really wanted to go that way, and I had injuries and such, and I was helped by chiropractors my whole life. So that kind of pushed me like most people rather not get cut open if they don’t have to. So I was interested in the conventional side at first, but then I’m always about the most conservative approach first and then going more invasive if you need to. So I was kind of on the fence there. But the more I had my eyes opened up by other practitioners that had come before me that were very successful, just a big fan of success leaves clues and footprints. So you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. You can just see what successful people are doing and kind of fall in line, so to speak.

 

Conventional vs. Functional Medicine

 

DAN:

I think maybe some of our listeners right now are maybe not familiar with the difference between conventional medicine and functional medicine. You just want to explain the differences and how the two different approaches work together?

 

JUSTIN:

Absolutely. So I kind of talk about this analogy as a light switch. So imagine a light switch that just goes on and off. That’s conventional medicine. On, you have the disease, off you don’t. So essentially in conventional medicine health is absence of disease. So if you don’t have diabetes, your blood sugar is perfect. If you don’t have blatant hypothyroidism, extreme elevations in TSH, your thyroid is perfect. But we know that health exists on a continuum. So in the functional medicine analogy imagine a light switch that has a dimmer to it. So it’s not necessarily on or off. It can exist in a continuum of on and off, and that’s where people’s health exists. The problem is let’s say the light’s just on a tiny bit. That’s like having a lot of health issues but you’re not quite diseased. You go to the doctor, the conventional doctor, and they tell you well, the light’s still on a little bit so you’re okay. And then if you come back again we may just tell you it’s all in your head and then recommend an antidepressant. And if you’re female probably throw you on a birth control pill as well. So the light switch analogy kind of works; on and off, disease, not disease, is conventional medicine versus health existing on a spectrum somewhere in between. And the goal is to have that light all the way on, but a lot of people may have it on just a glimmer. And because the conventional medical paradigm is on or off, they see it as on, and they say hey, you’re okay.

 

DAN:

That is such a good analogy. I’m going to start using that one. And that is so true. Jacob and I both work in the hospital, and it is either absolutely you are diseased or you’re not diseased. I even found that when I did my fast and I would talk to doctors because I know a lot of them, and I’d say I’m doing a fast, and they would say oh, you’ve got to be careful of ketoacidosis.

 

JUSTIN:

Right.

 

DAN:

There was no acknowledgment of oh you could have ketones in the range of 3 to 5 and not drop dead. So that is so true what you’re saying. And yeah, that’s such a great analogy.

 

JUSTIN:

Excellent. And the big thing is in trauma-based acute care medicine, like that makes sense. Like you’re either shot by the bullet or you aren’t. You’re shot by the gun or you aren’t. You’re either in the car accident or you weren’t. You either fell and slipped and cracked your head open or you didn’t. So it makes sense when it comes to trauma care that that may be okay, and that makes a lot of sense because the underlying cause isn’t repeating itself day after day. Once you got into that car accident and you broke your leg, you’re not waking up every morning getting in a car accident. But we know people that are mismanaging their blood sugar that happens three, four, five times a day every day for the rest of their life. So it’s like a little micro car accident happening under the surface, but because it’s subtle and you can’t really see it, it doesn’t have all the glitz and glamour of something acute and loud like a car accident, it flies under the radar with these conventional physicians.

 

DAN:

I’m looking at your specializations since 2007. So you’ve been practicing for how many years?

 

JUSTIN:

I’ve been practicing functional medicine for the last six years, but I’ve been in the healthcare field for about, I would say since 2005 as a trainer at first. And that’s really what got me in there, training people like I mentioned, and hitting the wall, like all right, great, we can only do so much of exercise, hitting the wall, we can only do so much with diet. So I got really good at the diet pieces, and I know you guys have kind of a lower carbohydrate type of bias, which that’s where I start, and that’s kind of where I live now. I’m kind of on a lower carb paleo template. I find most people, especially if they have insulin resistance and metabolic issues, they always do good there as a starting point and then fine-tuning as we go. So that’s kind of how I moved into that field.

 

DAN:

On your specializations are there certain areas that you enjoy practicing around more than others?

 

Autoimmune Conditions and Hormonal Imbalances

 

JUSTIN:

Absolutely. Thyroid issues is one of my main specialties because I discovered at one point I had an autoimmune thyroid condition called Hashimoto’s, where I ran some testing back in I’d say the 2007, 2009 area, and I found a slight elevation in TPO and thyroglobulin antibodies. Now my TSH, which is the main hormone they use to diagnose hypothyroidism, was okay, and my T4 numbers, which is the second hormone that they typically test, right, TSH is a brain hormone. TSH talks to the thyroid to make T4, and then T4 is peripherally converted to T3, so we have this activation affect happening, this domino rally of your thyroid hormone cascade. And I saw TSH looks good, T4 looked pretty good, and even my T3 looked decent because I was doing a lot of really good things with my health at the time. But I started to have these antibody issues. And from there I found underlying infections that could have been driving it, as well as potential nutrient deficiencies, as well as potential cross-reactivity and cross-contamination with gluten being a big stimulator of the Hashimoto’s.

 

DAN:

What steps did you take then when you diagnosed that in yourself? I know a lot of women, primarily, that will talk about thyroid issues. Is thyroid as common in men as it is in women?

 

JUSTIN:

Women tend to have I think four to five times more autoimmune issues in general as men just because of the fact that the immune system is a little bit different due to the higher levels of estrogen. The higher levels of estrogen affect the immune system and what’s called the Th1/Th2 balance of your immune cells, and it can affect what’s called the CD8/CD4 balance. So because of the higher levels of estrogen it can affect the immune system and make women more prone to autoimmune issues, but there are still millions of men out there that have autoimmune issues, and I am one of them. And I was just lucky to even get it looked at and tested because most people out there aren’t even assessed for autoimmune issues, and the question becomes why, and the reason why is because the standard of care in conventional medicine doesn’t change because a lot of the dangerous immunosuppressive medications used for more serious autoimmune conditions, maybe like MS or Parkinson’s, whether it’s like corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs necessarily would create more problems treating an autoimmune thyroid issue.

 

So most of the time these thyroid patients that are autoimmune don’t even get touched or looked at, and I would’ve been one of them. And we know that the odds are with elevations and antibodies even a little bit, that increases our chance of going hypothyroidism now by 800%. So I saw this kind of as the early warning sign, hey the fire alarm went off. There’s a little bit of smoke. And I saw this as an opportunity to put out the fire before it became a really big fire, so to speak.

 

DAN:

So when you were diagnosed with this, talk a little bit about how you ate, how you lived, and then what were the changes that you took upon yourself to manage this disease?

 

JUSTIN:

Great question. So off the bat at the time I was kind of gluten-free, so to speak, which is okay, but a lot of people will still eat a whole bunch of foods that may be more irritating like rice and corn. They may do a lot of oats. They may even do excessive amounts of potatoes and things like that that could cross-react with gluten. So if gluten is – if gluten is your mom or your dad, think of the cross-reactive foods as like brothers and sisters and cousins. They’re in that family tree. They’re not like the direct descendants, so to speak, like wheat barley and rye are gluten. They’re kind of the cousins and brothers and sisters and the extended family. So what I did was I removed some of those extended families of foods and kind of went more on a stricter paleo/autoimmune paleo template, and I use the word template because I don’t like the work diet. Number one is the first three words are diet. Number two is diet is automatically implied to be temporary. And number three, I want to make a lifestyle change that has flexibility in it because some people with their diet and lifestyle changes, they may want to go lower carb or higher carb. So I like the flexibility that I have to customize the macronutrients for the patient.

 

So for myself I started off with kind of a lower carb cyclical ketogenic autoimmune paleo template. From there really maximizing nutrient deficiencies, a big one selenium and zinc in a lot of autoimmune people. Also vitamin A is really important. And then from there getting the adrenal support. The adrenals have a lot to do with thyroid conversion and hormone activation. Addressing underlying fungal imbalances that I had in my gut, addressing a couple parasitic infections, H. pylori, Cryptosporidium and Blasto. And then supporting the brain, the neurotransmitters because I really had burned up a lot of dopamine and adrenaline. And we need dopamine for thyroid hormone activation in the hypothalamus, via TRH, thyroid releasing hormone. So supporting dopamine and adrenaline levels and then just making sure the key three, body systems one, two and three were all dialed in. So hormones, ATM for me, adrenals thyroid male hormones, body system two, infections, malabsorption, food allergens, leaky gut. and then body system three is detox and nutrients and neurotransmitters. So getting all those things lined up. And of course stabilizing blood sugar, not skipping breakfast. For me that was a big one because blood sugar issues can be a big issue. Making sure the right amount of exercise, not doing too much, but not doing too little. And also getting really good sleep; high-quality sleep was super important and also the hydration piece.

 

Educating Patients on Fitness and Nutrition

 

JACOB:

Dr. J., how do you incorporate all this into your practice with your patients and educate them to the level that they understand and are able to put this into their own life?

 

JUSTIN:

I think that’s a really important question because I think a lot of functional medicine people, they skip the foundational piece because they want to go into the fancy lab testing or the fancy protocols, which they have a great place and they’re very important. But my background started with my only tools being exercise and nutrition. So because I had that emphasis in the beginning I really focused on are we doing too much or too little exercise because for me most people in my opinion it’s at an extreme. They’re either CrossFitters and they’re destroying themselves, or they’re just sedentary and not getting enough. So finding the right amount of exercise one, they felt energized; two, they felt like they could repeat the movements 10, 15 minutes later; and three, the next day they woke up they felt like they weren’t hit by a bus. And trying to choose more resistance burst training over long distance cardio was always a good step because that helped the hormonal profile to be more anabolic, less cortisol-dependent and more anabolic hormone-dependent, growth hormone and/or testosterone and progesterone depending if they were male or female.

 

So the diet piece – or the exercise piece was the first step along with the nutrition, and then making sure food quality was up, nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory, low toxin foods. That was the first criteria. The next was dialing in the macronutrients. Most people needed to go lower carbohydrate to start because of insulin resistance. Insulin creates inflammation. It affects thyroid conversion. It affects cortisol levels. It does a whole bunch of different things. So making sure that carbs were dialed in, making sure there were enough fats because fats and cholesterol were so important for hormone building blocks. And if we didn’t have enough of those there we wouldn’t have the raw material to build healthy hormones. And then that also had a big effect on stabilizing blood sugar because many people didn’t have enough protein and fat because of the low-carb vegetarian – I’m sorry, the lower fat vegetarian kicks that are out there, people would have very low blood sugar issues, and they would be constantly requiring their adrenals to come to the rescue to help stabilize blood sugar in between meals. So that was always a foundational piece for me, and I think anyone that has a chronic illness or health issue at all, that cannot be ignored.

 

DAN:

Yeah, I actually have three questions and comments from what you said. I think the idea of individualizing your nutrition, even though we do have a low-carb slant here, which I believe because that has worked really well for me, but if personally if I stay really low-carb for maybe two, three weeks my sleep gets disrupted, and so I have to take three or four days where I eat like rice or something at night in order to kind of reset those levels. And I hear a lot about people just staying low-carb forever, and I think carbs do play a part. But I think in generally staying low-carb is, you know, controls your sugar better. Do you see a lot of sleep disruption for people who are low-carb?

 

JUSTIN:

I can, and I think everyone is a little bit different because some people really hyper secrete insulin, and they are more insulin – they hyper- secrete insulin, so they are more prone to be insulin resistant with excessive carbohydrate. And excessive may be at 100 or 150. We’re not talking 300, 400 grams of carbs like the food pyramid says. So I think it really depends. So I think some people, they are more carb sensitive, meaning – I’m sorry, they’re more insulin sensitive, meaning they could handle some carbohydrates. And maybe their activity level and their stress based on their work and their exercise routine, maybe they need a little bit more carbohydrate, as well. So I think some people can get away with it because of how their body handles the carbohydrates. So my first step is the default is I look at their height and weight. Are they overweight? What’s their BMI? BMI is not the greatest because it doesn’t take into account muscle. So I also look at the waist to hip ratio. So women around 0.8 or so, men around one to one. That can be very helpful because if the waist starts to get bigger than the hips in general, that’s a sign of insulin resistance. That’s your insulin blood sugar meter. So that’s a good step.

 

If I see any height to weight issues that are off, if I see any hip to waist issues that are off or excessive inflammation, my default always is to go more on the lower carbohydrate side at or around 30 to 50 grams of carbohydrates starting. And then from there we can dial it in. Now some people on the insulin resistance side hit a wall where they start having sleep issues like you mentioned, Daniel. They start having dry eyes. They may start feeling a little bit of coldness or having a little bit of hair loss. And sometimes we need a little bit of insulin for that thyroid conversion so we may start and just add almost like an Atkins approach once you reach the OWL phase, just adding 10 grams of carbs per week and see if that tweaks it. And then just continue to add that 10 to 15 grams of carbs per week and see if you start to come out of it and see if you start moving the needle and feeling better. So stabilize, and then we can integrate other modalities of upping the macros in certain ways.

 

So I’m like that; so I can see some of the hair loss, the coldness, but then I see some people that really, really do great. So I find that you’ve really got to individualize it. I think it’s always good to be kind of cyclical, like you said. Do it for a couple days and then come out of it and do a higher carb kick, whether it’s like a cyclical keto or like an Alt+Shift kind of diet deal. I think that can really help to mix it up because it makes sense evolutionarily. We probably weren’t always eating one type of macronutrient kick. We probably always weren’t low-carb because if we were when the spring comes and the berries are out and there’s more starchy tubers we probably had these little bumps in carbs just naturally based on the environment.

 

DAN:

Yeah, when I was training for a couple physique shows I would stay pretty low-carb during the week and then incorporate cheat meals to kind of reset your body. So that seemed to really help. Those are great points. The next question I had is you mentioned exercise and stress and I absolutely agree. I think that people, they go to extremes. And no offense to CrossFitters, but we have a friend who is an orthopedic surgeon and he said thank goodness for CrossFitters because it keeps me in business because so many people get injured. But exercising to an extreme can cause undue stress on your body and actually be counterproductive, correct?

 

JUSTIN:

100%. I see that all the time. And I think the worst part of CrossFit – I mean CrossFit in general is great for about 10% of the population as a whole. What they’re doing is great for everyone. I think the last 20 minutes of a CrossFit workout is probably the worst aspect when they go into that AMRAP phase and they do as many reps as possible; they put the timer up 15 minutes, don’t stop, and you go from station to station to station. I think that’s probably the worst part because people get competitive. Their quality of reps start dropping, and there’s not a lot of downtime and rest to kind of get those ATP and get your nervous system back on track for the next set.

 

So I think like the first half of a CrossFit workout when you’re doing one to two exercises and you’re kind of getting a break in, and you’re doing functional movements, maybe adding some Olympic lifts, good compounding movements is great. That first 30 minutes of a CrossFit workout is probably what most people need, and then everything else I think may be to the excess. Like your orthopedic surgeon friend said it’s probably keeping them in business just like I say the low-fat/low-cholesterol era really gave me great business with my female hormone patients because it was a big driving factor in throwing the hormones out of balance.

 

Steady-state Cardio vs. HIIT

 

DAN:

Yeah, and you mentioned steady-state cardio versus HIIT, and there’s times where steady-state cardio is good for mitochondria function and those things. But the people that get on treadmills and stay on them for hours at a time as opposed to doing HIIT, talk a little bit about your thoughts on that because that’s kind of a big discussion. There are steady-state supporters, and then there’s HIIT supporters, and there’s a lot of different research. But it seems everything I’ve read HIIT is very effective.

 

 

 

JUSTIN:

Oh, absolutely. The big thing you get with HIIT, which is high intensity interval training, is you get the growth hormone spike, and that’s primarily driven by EPOC or exercise post oxygen consumption. So that feeling of getting out of breath, that really drives a significant growth hormone response, and it increases your metabolism, according to research, about 20% for about 1 to 2 days afterwards. So it’s not about the calories you burn during the actual exercise. It’s the metabolic effect that you create that lasts one to two days later. It’s always also the growth hormone that puts on more muscle. The more muscle you have, the more insulin sensitive you are. And we know insulin is a storage hormone, and part of the storage side of it is also the fat storage. So the more insulin sensitive you are, the less insulin you need to help shove proteins into – or  amino acids into the muscles and fats into the – carbohydrates into fat cells. So the more insulin you have, the fatter you get. The less insulin you need the better in general. So regarding that piece you have the hormonal aspect of HIIT that’s far more beneficial in the short term because you get a 15-minute, 20-minute workout that lasts you two days regarding the aftereffects and the benefits.

 

Now the cardio, steady-state cardio, you’re going to have benefits, but typically only during that timeframe, only during that workout. It’s not going to last like a metabolic effect that you get from HIIT. Now number two with steady-state cardio, again, if you’re training for marathons or triathlons, you’ve got to do it because you’ve got to actually do the movements that you’re going to be competing in. So I get it. If you’re trying to do marathons or triathlons or movements that require steady-state cardio in that movement, then it makes sense. But most people are doing the distance training because it’s just easy. You get like 50° or 60° of flexion and extension at the hip flexor that allows you to run. There’s virtually no thinking involved. You just go out, throw your iPod in there and then just go run for 50 minutes, an hour. So it’s not the best, but it’s super easy. But most people that are doing it, they just think that it’s the right thing because it’s easy and it’s what everyone talks about. But it’s not the best thing for your hormones. It’s going to create more cortisol. Marathon runners are shown to have immunocompromisation after marathons, lower IGA. And again, why is that? Because of the stress hormones that are being produced. And then you can just go on Google image right now and just type in sprinter versus marathoner and you can get a pretty good idea of what happens to the body and the muscles. And you can see it’s like you have someone that’s sarcopenic and incredibly emaciated looking on one extreme. The people that have – on the sprinter or HIIT side of the fence great muscle tone, great glutes, really strong, powerful, functional bodies.

 

DAN:

I just had this discussion a couple days ago, and I view weight training as kind of HIIT training, too, because it’s difficult, but most of the energy calories we burn is during the resting metabolic rate, and so I see a lot of people on the treadmill that are on the treadmill, work really hard every day. You see them sweat, and you see them working out. But you know I’ve been going to the same gym for three years, and a lot of them haven’t changed their body composition at all over three years. I feel bad because they work really hard, and I don’t think they’re getting the benefits.

 

 

JUSTIN:

100%. Now you get some people that they’re working hard and they don’t get the benefits, and you get some people that look great, they’re really lean, but the question is if they were doing something else would they look even better? It’s like why do – who are the average people that really just gravitate towards and play basketball for instance? Taller, skinnier people are what gravitate towards that. If you look at who the best runners are and who gravitates towards distance running, I see it in my neighborhood all the time; taller, skinnier people tend to drive to that, especially women that don’t have the larger hips because the Q angle at the knee produces less stress.

 

So again, certain types of exercise will pull from certain body types that just accelerate at it naturally. We know that. Every winning marathon runner almost looks exactly the same if you look at them. You’re not going to see someone out of the, out of that spectrum. So my point with that is that most people will gravitate towards certain things just based on their natural body type. But we have to look at it and say all right, well what’s going to be the best – what’s going to be the easiest and most effective exercise to get the goal that I want, which is less oxidative stress, more muscle tone, more insulin sensitivity, less inflammation? And also functional, functionality because a lot of the exercise that we want to do we want them to be functional movements that correlate in life. So that 60 to 80° hip angle, hip extension at the hip flexor and psoas doesn’t really correlate to a lot of lifestyle activities. But if we’re doing lunges and one-legged squats and deadlifts, and front squats and cleans, these things correlate to our everyday life. You try picking up your child, bending over and sliding into the car seat to put your child in, that’s a one-legged squat deadlift right there. So we want to choose movements that actually correlate in life.

 

DAN:

Yeah, that’s a great point. I was just going to share – and of course this is N of 1 because it’s with me, but doing two different physique shows the first time, you know, is calorie restriction and hard working,  working out. But I did HIIT a lot during the first show, and the second time I did no cardio whatsoever, and I actually got to a lower percent of body fat. So I know a lot of people do cardio because they want to lose fat, but at least in my case it all came about with calorie restriction, what I ate and lifting weights. Do you typically see that when people do cardio versus when they don’t do it with fat loss, or is that just particular to certain people?

 

JUSTIN:

So regarding cardiovascular exercise and fat loss, you can definitely lose fat with cardiovascular exercise, especially – I’m talking treadmill; I’m talking elliptical; I’m talking bike, especially if you’re kind of going lower calorie, lower fat and low-carb. That’s probably the easiest way to lose fat in the short run. Again, unsustainable because you have lower fat going on. You have low-calorie, which is automatically unsustainable. And the low-carb will help drive the insulin down, which will help you lose fat more. That’s like really good for kind of a bodybuilding kind of show kind of thing, getting that ready, you know boneless skinless chicken breast, tuna fish, those kind of things.

 

But again, when it comes to cardiovascular exercise what that really means is getting your heart rate up to a certain zone, and that could be at 120 zone where you’re just trying to focus on burning fat, to a more anaerobic 140, 160 and up, which is going to have more growth hormone implications and more muscle building. And I always tell people that you can get into a cardiovascular zone and higher by just doing two movements back to back. If you just take a heavy deadlift and you take your heart rate right after that you’re probably going to be at 140, 150. And if you combine a deadlift to maybe something that’s not going to be looking at the lower body like push-ups right after that and you test your heart rate, you’re going to be at 160+. So you can still use interval or I should say more circuit-type of resistance training and still get a cardiovascular effect from that kind of training.

 

DAN:

I know personally HIIT is really difficult. You can exercise for just a few minutes and feel like you need to throw up. So –

 

JUSTIN:

And with a HIIT, you could do like a Tabata kind of style where you’re doing 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, eight sets for four minutes. Or you can do kind of like a Mercola Peak 8, where you’re doing a 30 on 90 off, and you can – you know, in my home gym I have a rower where I’ll do a lot of my stuff at, and you can also just do simple things like burpees, you know, burpees for 30 seconds in a row. You go into a push-up and then you stand up, reach high, and then go back down again. And you can do that for 30 seconds. And there’s a great app you can download. I think it’s called Tabata that will do the 30 on 90 off for you and time it, and then you just keep on going.

 

The Biggest Health Mistakes People Make

 

JACOB:

Dr. J., what are the biggest health mistakes that you see people making?

 

JUSTIN:

The biggest health mistakes. That’s a really tough one. I would say off the bat just the diet. They are kind of jumped into the food pyramid. They’re thinking that oh, you know I’m going to eat these 10 servings of grains a day, and they think that’s okay, and they don’t understand the autoimmune implications of it and the leaky gut implications. I think people think because I’m not eating refined sugar that drinking my orange juice is okay, and having all this tropical fruit may be okay because they think it’s not really sugar because they think of sugar as like candy or sugar as like white table sugar. So I think the sugar aspects of it – and we know that’s the case because we’re consuming on average 145 pounds of sugar per year where just 100 years ago it was like 5 pounds of sugar a year. And that’s pretty scary because that’s an average. If I’m only consuming, let’s say three pounds a year that means someone else is out there consuming over 300 to make it go to 150. So that’s pretty scary. So I would say sneaking in refined carbohydrates and sugar. I would say the grains. And I would just say people getting exposed to lots of chemicals in their food from pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified foods.

 

Tips for Changing your Diet and Lifestyle

 

JACOB:

What are some of the tips to kind of combat that that you would suggest and recommend?

 

JUSTIN:

Well the first one is pretty simple. It’s take your grains and replace them with greens. So sub your grains for greens. That’s an easy first step. Any fruit you’re eating on the higher glycemic side, replace it with lower glycemic. So if you’re doing a whole bunch of bananas and mangoes and pineapple, replace it with some strawberries, blueberries and raspberries instead. That’s a really easy thing. I’m all about not trying to tell people not to do something. Substitute it. Substitute instead because if you can like tell someone instead of doing this do that, then you’re putting an action in its place versus saying don’t do this because then there still – it’s like saying don’t focus on the red bull. Well you think of the red bull when you say don’t focus on it, right? So instead of this, do this instead. So I would rather do a substitution than an elimination.

 

DAN:

We are running out of time, unfortunately, but are there any final tips you would give our listeners for maybe for those who are just starting this journey or maybe those that want to choose a functional medicine physician? Just a few tips.

 

JUSTIN:

So off the bat if you have health issues and you’re not getting help by your conventional physician and you are trying this whole diet and lifestyle thing, you’re improving your nutrient density, you’re keeping the toxins out of your food by trying to go more organic, you’re making sure your foods are anti-inflammatory, that’s a great first start. I always recommend see how much you can get from just making those changes alone. Once that’s dialed in you can work on hydration. You can work on good quality sleep, the right amount of exercise so you feel energized that day afterwards and the next day. And really making sure your sleep’s good. Once that’s dialed in, and if you still have health concerns that aren’t being fully addressed, like hormonal issues, whether it’s thyroid, female hormone, digestion, inflammation, mood issues, then you really want to look at finding a great functional medicine doctor that can figure out what the next steps to go are.

 

Now if someone’s interested they can go to my site at justinhealth.com or check out my podcast at beyondwellnessradio.com to get more information. I have lots of free things over there. I have a female hormone video series as well as a thyroid hormone video series. I recommend start getting educated. See who makes the most sense and who resonates with you so once you’ve already done all those things and you’ve maxed out where you’re at, then you can reach out to a clinician to help you get the rest of the way there. And some people may not even need that because just the simple diet and lifestyle may be enough. So start with the low-hanging fruit, and then you can reach out to a good functional medicine doc later on if needed.

 

DAN:

Thank you for those tips. In our final couple minutes I want to talk about your podcast. So it’s called Beyond Wellness Radio, and you have some great information on there. It can be found on iTunes and Stitcher and everywhere else, and on your website, justinhealth.com. Why did you get into podcasting?

 

JUSTIN:

I like to take the conversation and extend it out. So in a YouTube video, you know to hold people’s attention you have to keep it at 10 to 12 minutes. But sometimes it’s nice to have a dynamic conversation, and that’s what a podcast kind of allows you to have because we can have this back-and-forth. I may say something and you may want to hit that thread and digress and go on that topic. And I think the podcast gives us the ability to go more into depth, have a conversation, and just things organically come from a conversation. I think a lot of people are enjoying podcasts because they can throw it on when they go to work and they’re not missing the visual, so to speak. And I think it just gives people that extra bit of information that they wouldn’t quite get from a video or from a blog post.

 

DAN:

I agree. I think the podcast is a great way to share the message, and I listen to podcasts nonstop in the car. So I actually kind of look forward to when I have to drive somewhere because I can listen to different podcasts. But your podcast is very good, so congratulations on that.

 

JUSTIN:

Thank you.

 

DAN:

And you mentioned your website. Is there anything else you’d like to mention, how people can get a hold of you or anything else?

 

JUSTIN:

I would say  the first thing is if they need to schedule a consult, if they’re interested in kind of getting an intro consult to figure out if we’re a good fit you could go on to the Just In Health and just click the work with Dr. J. link. And also just subscribe to the thyroid and/or female hormone series just so you can get more information because the more you know about your body, then you can take steps to make changes and adjustments. And then you’re also going to feel empowered because I can’t tell you how many people go to their conventional physician, they maximize the allopathic modalities to help them, and then they’re just left with still having symptoms, and then they’re told at some point maybe it’s all in their head or they’re recommended medications that may actually cause more problems than they actually fix. Like if you have digestion issues you may be put on a proton pump inhibitor that may create more nutrient deficiencies in the long run. Or if you have female hormone issues you may be put on a birth control pill that doesn’t fix anything. Or if you have low thyroid function you may be put on Synthroid that may not convert the T3 and still may keep you with low thyroid symptoms.

 

So again, figure out kind of where you’re at, and if you need help that would be the next step to look at because conventional medicine may not provide that lasting solution. Great to go get ruled out for a pathology, but you may have to go a little deeper after that.

 

DAN:

All right. Well, Dr. J., we are out of time. This has been a great discussion, and Jacob, thanks for being here today.

 

JACOB:

Thank you.

 

DAN:

Dr. J., thank you so much for being on our show, and we really appreciate your insight into all these important issues.

 

JUSTIN:

Well, Daniel and Jacob, I appreciate you guys having me. It was a great chat, and we’ll have to have you guys on my show at some point to talk more about what you guys do as well.

 

DAN:

Awesome. Thank you so much.

 

JUSTIN:

Thanks so much, guys. You have a good one.

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