#218 Dr. Aviva Romm, MD on Adrenals, Adaptogens and Thyroid Connection


Dr. Aviva Romm, MD is the mother of four grown children, a Yale-trained physician specializing in integrative medicine for women and children, a midwife, an herbalist, an award-winning author, and the creator/owner of WomanWise, on-line courses dedicated to vitality and optimal health for women and children. An internationally respected expert in botanical and integrative medicine for women and children, she has spent nearly 30 years as a health care practitioner and advocate for the health and environmental concerns of women and kids.

Check out Aviva and her new brand-new book on her site right here or on amazon here.

Today We Discuss

    • Aviva's personal use of adaptogens during writing a book
    • How specific adaptogens can be used for various symptoms
    • Why an "all in one" adaptogen blend might not be the best choice
    • The Herb Pharm formulas and how the development took place

Podcast #166 Dave Asprey Interviews Evan Brand for Bulletproof Radio


Why you should listen

Evan Brand is a Certified Nutritional Therapist and Personal Trainer who specializes in functional lab testing, targeted supplement programs, nutrition and lifestyle counseling to support true health and happiness. He works with clients all across the globe and offers complimentary phone or Skype consultations along with a free chapter of his best-selling book, Stress Solutions at Enjoy the show!  What You Will Hear

  •         1:44 – Cool fact of the day
  •         2:35 – Welcome Evan Brand
  •         3:53 – Forest bathing
  •      10:04 – Emotional Freedom Technique
  •      15:55 – Attachment to our native land
  •      25:41 – How to naturally repair your vision
  •      33:30 – Adaptogens
  •      39:42 – Nutrition, stress & anxiety
  •      46:50 – Hack your emotions
  •     54:29 – Awareness around ingesting drugs & supplements
  •     58:27 – Knowing your supplement cocktail
  • 1:02:38 – Top 3 recommendations for kicking more ass and being Bulletproof!


The Everything Guide to Nootropics

15 minute free call with Evan

Evan Brand on Facebook 


Heart rate variability (HRV)


NK Killer cells

Microbial clouds left by humans


Essential oil 

Lavender essential oil for burns

Lavender can cause breast growth in men

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)


Genetic traits help Inuit in harsh conditions

Virtual Reality Goggles (VR)


Bates method

Gunnar glasses

Helen Irlen/color therapy





The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku/forest bathing

Effect of phytoncide from trees on human natural killer cell function

Standard American Diet (SAD)




Gaba agonist

Patri Friedman

Sea Study Institute

Marijuana Arrests

Tylenol causes liver damage


Electrical stimulation


Copper toxicity

Squatty Potty

Trinity Ventures

Dave: Hey, it’s Dave Asprey with Bulletproof Radio. Today’s cool fact of the day is that people in Tanzania who follow pastoralist lives, meaning they basically live outdoors most of the time, they have average blood vitamin D levels of 46 going all the way up to 68 nanograms per milliliter. That’s just from sun exposure. People in the US, at least in 2012 when they did a study, had an average level below 30, which is considered insufficient. I think you want to be between 70 and 90, unless you have cancer, then you probably want to be above like 110, so there’s a big difference there, and maybe being outdoors alone isn’t enough.
Dave: Today’s guest is a certified nutritional therapist, writer, and a guy who actually practices forest bathing, which isn’t nearly as prickly as you might expect from the way it sounds. He runs a top 25 health and fitness podcast, and he is none other than Evan Brand from Evan, welcome to the show man.
Evan Brand: Hey, Dave. Thanks so much for having me.
Dave: You got it. Your show has done some amazing stuff. You’re at 150 episodes now, right?
Evan Brand: Yup, I suppose the day last week.
Dave: That’s incredible. Congratulations. That’s a big milestone.
Evan Brand: Thank you.
Dave: I think we just passed like 250, and any time you’re above a hundred, the difference between 100 and 200 is like, “No, you’ve got this,” and you’re just doing it. I remember we first talked in one of the first like first couple dozen episodes on your show, and it was a great interview about salt, man.
Evan Brand: Yeah, episode 16, so coming up on 3 years, which in the health space, 3 years is like 10 years.
Dave: That’s right. I was young back then.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dave: You too. We both aged so much from …
Evan Brand: Right.
Dave: People don’t actually know how much work is in a podcast I don’t think, but it’s funny just to imagine the amount of time spent staring at screens and not being in the forest that you do to put together your show. Let’s talk about … What is forest bathing since I already mentioned it? Explain the concept, and people listening to Bulletproof Radio might not have heard this, so what is it?
Evan Brand: It’s just bathing yourself on the forest with trees. I was doing this long before I knew that it had a title associated with it. I used to work in a park where I was maintenance in hiking trails, so I was driving a gator with a chainsaw in the back through the woods 40 hours a week, and my stress levels were so low. I never got burnt out. I never had anything that gave me anxiety. I was just a chilled out person, and I had no idea that it had a name for it just like paleo or something like that. Sometimes, you do things you don’t know they have a title with it.
Eventually, I quit that job to pursue the big desk job and go work down in Texas at a supplement company, and my stress response was broken. I started getting into heart rate variability, and I started testing and measuring myself inside of the office versus inside the woods, and I noticed a significant increase in HRV scores when I went out into the woods, so I started just looking up in PubMed, “forest,” “cortisol,” “forest,” “stress,” things like that, and found out that this is a big deal. In Japan, they call it “Shinrin-yoku” or taking in the atmosphere of the forest, which sounds, I think, a lot cooler.
You started finding out in the studies that people were having 12%, 13%, 15% reductions in cortisol after being immersed in a forest setting compared to a walking in the city sidewalk placebo and that the NK killer cells were boosted like 50% even after a month, after just 30 minutes in the woods, so I was like, “Holy crap, this is a big deal. Why is nobody talking about this? Why are we not questioning what the modern city life exposure is doing to our stress levels and our stress response?” That’s when I started really geeking out and digging into forest bathing and trying to get others to do it.
Dave: Now, forest bathing sounds pretty cool if you have a forest. That’s alright, I have a forest in the backyard. In fact, a couple of months ago, it almost burned down in the backyard, which is the downside of the forest, having like bears, and cougars, and things like that. Nothing wrong with cougars, but I’m talking about the kind of like big animal cougar.
Evan Brand: Right.
Dave: What happens though if you say live in the desert or more likely, you live in a giant city? What …?
Evan Brand: I know.
Dave: How can you possibly …? You’re like, “Okay, great. Yeah. It would also be good if I had clean air, and I had really good access to food, but I don’t have any of those, so like seriously, how important is a forest anyway?”
Evan Brand: I know. That’s a great point, and so I actually wanted to answer that question for people and for myself, and it turns out, they put a bunch of guys. I think it was 12 guys in this 1 study. They halted them all together in a hotel room over a diffuser, so these guys were all just standing around huffing cypress oil in a diffuser, and they found similar …
Dave: Huffing.
Evan Brand: They found similar results in terms of decreasing cortisol and blood pressure. I don’t think the results were as significant as being inside the forest and getting exposed to those fighting signs, these aromatic compounds that the trees and leaves put off, but it was definitely a good little hack. In my office, right up there on top of the bookshelf, I actually have a diffuser where I’m pumping organic peppermint and eucalyptus oils just to wake up the senses a little bit, make sure I’m on my game. That’s my little aromatic neutral pick, if you will.
Dave: There’s good evidence that our body responds to those little tiny signals from the environment. In fact, I just talked about this new study recently. I think it was on Facebook, but they looked at the bacterial cloud that’s around every human and every animal too, and they can actually identify who is in a room by sequencing the genome of the bacteria that’s left in the room just from the air the person was breathing. We have this idea that, “I am a rock. This is my body. I’m independent.”
No way like … there’s like a cloud around you that interacts with the environment around you, and if you think that environment around you doesn’t interact with you like you’re just wrong, and since the plants are putting this stuff out, you’re taking it in. We just didn’t know it had any effect. There’s a whole school of thought … Are you trained in like aromatherapy, and essential oil therapy, and things like that, or you just started using it as an environmental input like the forest?
Evan Brand: Definitely the second one. Yeah.
Dave: Okay.
Evan Brand: I just started getting into essential oils after I had a bad burn and read about lavender oil and how that was discovered. I think it’s a scientist who was playing with it burned himself. You may know the story better than me.
Dave: No, I don’t. No, no. Just tell me because I’ll think of something funny about lavender oil when we’re done
Evan Brand: Okay. Okay. Apparently, the way that lavender was discovered that it was good for burns is a chemist of a … I want to say it was a perfume or some type of a cosmetic company burned himself, and the nearest thing was a vile of … or a big jar of lavender oil that was going to be used for a fragrance, for a perfume, and so he shoves his hand in there, and it alleviated tons of the symptoms of the burning and pain, so that’s the introduction of lavender, and then I just started using it myself. Every time I’d get a burn from whether it was poison ivy and I just scratched myself to death, I would just rub a little bit of lavender on top of that with some aloe and sooth it away.
Dave: Now, there is a study, and I believe it’s on PubMed, that says that lavender oil can cause … lavender scent actually can cause gynecomastia. In other words, what weightlifters called “bitch tits.” Lavender has that kind of a feminine smell. It apparently causes breast growth in men. However, after 6 weeks of not using it, they go back down, so if you’ve noticed a little perkiness in there that you weren’t expecting, maybe we know why.
Evan Brand: I haven’t had man boobs developed yet, so I think my dose is low enough to where I’ll be okay.
Dave: See, I did have man boobs develop, but that’s because I used to weigh 300 pounds. They’re mostly gone, but unless I’m going to have surgery, there’s always a little bit of man boob that’s left if you’ve been super obese. I usually just rub lavender on them to make them a little bit more … no, I don’t, but I do use lavender as well. I just think that’s a funny bit of trivia, and I think the effect is tiny because I really can’t tell any difference, and I don’t think most guys can, and it’s a common ingredient in some skin care products.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dave: The idea though that your body is responding at an unconscious level to the things around you, you’re measuring out heart rate variability, how did you first discover heart rate variability? Like where did you come across that?
Evan Brand: I was at Paleo FX down there at the Health Conference, and a guy said, “Hey, I really want to hook you up with this Bluetooth heart rate variability thing that you strap under your breast here, and then you hook it up to this app. Here’s my new app.” I can’t remember the name right now. I’m sorry. I hooked up myself to this app, and I just started measuring myself a different times of the day. The morning, I’d wake up and see what I was at according to this level here, and then I would try to do some EFT, some Emotional Freedom Technique where I would go through and do the various tapping points, and then I would notice it …
Dave: For people who don’t know, that is EFT, the tapping … was it the tapping solution?
Evan Brand: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dave: It’s probably the best place you could find information. I would put links in the show notes for you, but there’s a whole movie about that, and it sounds ridiculous, but like in a way, you explained what EFT is the way you use it, but I just like make sure people who are listening who haven’t heard of it don’t just feel lost.
Evan Brand: Totally. Yeah, yeah. EFT, it’s Emotional Freedom Technique. It’s super helpful for anybody that has anxiety, or nervousness, or you’re dealing with just bad emotions. You just tap through those and you say affirmations. It was out there for me at first, but I’ve tried qigong, and tai chi, and other things where I’ve been laughed at in public in the park doing it, so I figured EFT was minimal investment and an embarrassment for that, so I started doing EFT, and then noticing that my HRV score went up.
Then, I just started wearing this strap a different times during the day and paying attention to … well, there’s a meeting. This is when I was still at the office. There’s a meeting coming up. My HRV went way down. As soon as I came out of the meeting, went outside, and put my bare feet back into the dirt, and went for a walk, took my shirt off, got some sunshine, HRV went back up. There’s so many different variations that we experience during the day that we just … we don’t really pay attention to.
Dave: Yeah. It’s that variations during the day, and I’ll do a quick plug. I’ve got an app called “Stress Detective,” and it’s not something that I push really hard. It’s just something that I think is important like you, and I’ve … I’m an adviser to the Heart Math Institute, which makes an ear-clip trainer called “Inner Balance,” and I carry that in the store. The reason is that it’s not like … it’s not a part of my business that makes a giant difference, but it’s something that’s so important to talk about because … you know those people who are … they don’t understand that there is a difference in how I feel in the forest or difference in, “I’m always stressed when I’m in a meeting with my boss,” or whatever these stresses are. You don’t actually get the stress until you have some kind of feedback system.
If we had grown up in the forest and we were walking around in loincloths, you’d feel it when there’s a tiger about to jump on you like you’re integrated with the environment around you and you honor this from your body. When you grow up in a city, you don’t get that signal, and I found anyway that training the signal, looking at a screen that tells me, “Oh my god, look at my nervous system is doing right now. Oh my … wait. That actually correlates with this feeling,” and to be like, “All right. Now, I’ve got it dialed in.” It’s like somebody put stickers in all the knobs and dials that are in there that weren’t labeled before.
That’s essentially a quick plug there for “Stress Detective,” iPhone and … I don’t have Android on that. You can do so much just by getting that awareness you have to do all the time. You just do it for a little while. I’m stoked to hear that you’re correlating forest to express with that because I haven’t really done that at all. What percentage of a difference do you see in your stress response when you’re in the forest? Have you like quantified it? Is it 10% or 50%? Like what’s the range?
Evan Brand: It’s hard to say percentage, but when I had the HRV app up, the specific one that I was using, it had a different little bar, so up to the far right corner, almost like a speedometer, was very high HRV score, and then you had the yellow, and then the red. I would go from yellow, maybe mid 60’s HRV score up to … I could get up to 95. I never maxed it out completely, but I could get up to 95. That was in the forest, shirt off, barefoot, hugging the tree. I wasn’t hugging the tree literally, but just for podcast sake, I was hugging the tree, got it up to 95. That was the best I could do.
Dave: That’s hilarious. You really go out there and just go for it, but we didn’t … we scorned in the question, right? All right. If you’re not allowed to do forest bathing or let’s say you’re allowed, but you just don’t have a forest, you live in Los Angeles where it’s either desert, or basically a city, or beach maybe, you can put essential oils, cypress, or fir, or pine, like there’s all kinds of really nice spruce.
Just essential oils that do wake you up in a way that chemical perfumes don’t and that tell your body, “All right,” like you’re getting some information with the environment around you from plants, but there isn’t like the energetic feel of the forest. There isn’t like the soil stuff making it also organics. There isn’t a full forest there, and visually, you get nothing. Is there anything else that’s forest bathing like that the vast majority of listeners in cities could do? Like do I need like a picture of the forest for my cubicle?
Evan Brand: Exactly, but no. Seriously, that’s it. There was another similar study that I documented when I was researching all this where people were just looking at a backdrop of forest, and that was enough to still reduce their stress response. I think they just measured that by blood pressure in that scenario. If you pop on YouTube, there’s tons of different HD point of view where people are walking through the trail. You put on some good headphones where you’re getting the full 360 immersive experience. Maybe you could use a grounding mat while you’re watching that. If you try to just hack it as many ways as you can, take little baby steps in different directions. You’re rubbing the essential oil under your nose real quick before you watch the video, trying to maybe do pine for a pine forest, whatever you’re watching.
Dave: Is this forest, or is this nature? Because like I grew up New Mexico, we have some pinyons, these little pine nut trees and some kind of scrub, but for the most part, I feel at home. You put me on a place … big, big skies, and little dots of shrubs, and lots of brown, I’m like, “Ah, this is so nice. This feels like home.” You put me in a forest, I’m like, “This is visually amazing, and it’s just too damn green,” because like epigenetically, I’m a desert guy, right? Of course, I live in a rainforest, so I’ve gotten over that, but I still … every time I go to the desert, I’m like, “I’m home.” Is that part of you like you need to go to your native environment where your people are from or at least where you spent the first X number of years of your life? Do you think it was something to that, or is it just nature? Is a beach going to do it like …? I don’t know.
Evan Brand: Dave, this is why I like you because you think deeper than most. I was just talking about this literally yesterday with my wife because I’m from …
Dave: That’s cool.
Evan Brand: I’m from Kentucky where it’s a temperate forest. You have 4 seasons here. I love it. You get snow. You get the change of the colors of the leaves. It’s happening now. I lived down at Las Vegas for 6 years, and my epigenetic were going crazy. The desert was beautiful and inspiring, and it looked like artwork, but there was something that just felt off. Some type of dissonance that I really can’t quantify or call what that actually is. It was just some weird vibe that was not jiving perfectly, so then I’d get homesick, and I’d come home for vacation, visit some of the family. Everything felt right again. It felt like my digestion was better, my stress response was better.
So then, I moved back, moved to Texas down in Austin. I lived there a couple years. It was still green, different type of green. A lot drier, a lot browner, a lot more fast-paced. Something felt off again, but it was still the forest. I came back to Kentucky again, everything is back into place. I really do think that there’s some type of encoding that we’re not able to really measure yet that where you’re planted or where your seed was grown, so to speak, that you may have some attachment that’s always going to pull you back there, and I think that’s a good thing. A lot of people are living in different places in the country because of a job or because of some other obligation, and they just don’t go home.
I just talked to a client this morning. She’s from Scotland. I said, “You have to go back home.” She’s down in Dallas. The fast-paced life is just killing her. Her digestion is wrecked. She’s having all sorts of IBS and other issues. The diet is great, the supplements are good, but something is still off, and she doesn’t know why. I said, “How much do you enjoy living in Dallas?” “Well, I hate it.” “Well, how much is that going to weigh into your overall health and longevity?” I think that’s a big piece of the puzzle that we seem to not pay much attention to.
Dave: I actually think that it’s a little bit more complex than … on 2 different levels than the average scientific perspective would have. One is that we know, and I wrote “The Better Baby Book” talking about epigenetic. Now, the environment changes gene expression, and there’s even some evidence out there. People who are raised in this environment, their gut biome, the bacteria in their gut is going to be optimized for that environment, but it can change.
There’s a school of Korean acupuncture that looks at the average like relative link of different organs in the body and attempts to make like food recommendations, but there’s something that tells the body how to grow, right? Like there’s an energy field, and this is not woo-woo science. This is how stem cells know to turn into liver versus bone because if you grew a bone where your liver is, you would die.
Yet, somehow, when you’re 1 cell in the womb, and then 8 cells, and you basically keep multiplying from there, the cells know when to become tongue versus toe, and that’s an energetic field, and it’s a magnetic field, and probably an electromagnetic field. We’re still figuring some of that stuff out, but we know we can guide some cellular growth with things like electrical current.
Let’s say that I grew up. I’m a desert guy, right? I was 12 or 16. I was a desert guy. You look at what’s going to happen there, so now, I’m optimized to be a part of my environment. We didn’t evolve. We weren’t optimized to be part of this system of the world to basically pop from here to the arctic, and then suddenly survive there. How do we know that? We just figured out like people who natively evolved in the arctic have a special gene that makes them use omega 3s more effectively and efficiently than your meat, Evan.
All right. Let’s argue. You’re a Kentucky guy, right? If you’re optimized for that and I’m optimized for this, we have a connection there that’s bacterial, that’s probably energetic. If you look at what a shaman will tell you, they’ll tell you that it’s a multigenerational thing and like your family makes a connection with the land. If you look at even the way we talk about land, we talk about old families or natives that there is a connection that probably takes 200 years of someone living in a valley where all of a sudden like, “Okay. They’re connected. They know like they understand the seasons, like they just … they know it, and they grew up there, and their parents, and their grandparents.”
We’ve totally walked away from that, and I don’t think we’re likely to get that back in most families forever. Question for you though is, based on what you’ve learned about forest bathing, all that, can we replicate that well enough in a city to drive our stress, or are we pretty much like …? We just lost the connection with land. It is gone forever.
Evan Brand: It’s hard to say because then as soon as you were talking about the heritage, it makes you think, “Well, I’ve traced my heritage back to 1650 in Ireland. Am I programmed for Ireland, or am I programmed for Kentucky in here?”
Dave: Why do you think you like Bulletproof coffee, Irish butter? See, it’s genetic. There’s so many Irish in you. That’s the secret.
Evan Brand: I do. I do like Irish butter. Yeah.

Podcast #138 Evan Brand and Dr. Justin Marchegiani on Supplements For Stress


Today's Guest

I'm now the co-host of the Beyond Wellness Radio podcast with Dr. Justin Marchegiani. It's an awesome experience where you will now be getting a lot more clinical experience on that show as well as on Not Just Paleo as I use these episodes for my show as well.

You'll see the transcription below that Dr. Justin had made for this show! As more people review the show, I will be able to invest into the transcriptions for all episodes of the show..

The show

Click here to listen to the show on iTunes where you can listen, download and subscribe to the show.

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Today we discuss

Meet Evan Brand, the new new guest co-host of Dr. Justin Marchegiani for Beyond Wellness Radio. Today’s topic is all about stress and how to handle it. Find out what Shinrin-yoku aka “forest bathing” is all about and what adaptogens help with relieving stress significantly. This podcast discusses about the Paleo template, power poses and how posture can impact your hormones, as well as other lifestyle recommendations. 

Evan Brand is the creator of Not Just Paleo who shares great advice on taking control of your own health, happiness, and vitality. Learn more about the different kinds of Ginseng depending on where they’re grown and the kinds of mushrooms you can take as supplements. Listen and discover how to find good quality herbs and what types of blends are recommended.

In this episode, topics include:

2:50 All about stress

13:05 Importance of posture

16:13 What adaptogens are

18:40 The different kinds of Ginseng depending on where they’re grown

23:15 Organic mushroom blends

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Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hey, there!  It’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani and welcome to another awesome episode of Beyond Wellness Radio. We now have full podcast transcriptions over at  Head over to, click on the Podcast button and you’ll be able to access all shows forward and past.  And while you’re there, feel free and sign up for the Thyroid and Hormone Video Series.  Some great information there for everyone and while you’re there, you can also sign up for the Podcast Newsletter where you’ll get access to these podcasts right in your inbox before anyone else.  While you’re there, you can also schedule a consult with myself, if you wanna dive in to any other functional medicine or health issues.

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Hey, this is Dr. Justin Marchegiani here with Beyond Wellness Radio and I am super stoked that we have our new guest co-host here Evan Brand from

Evan Brand:  Yup, that’s right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Awesome, Evan.  Great!  So today we’re gonna be chatting a little bit about stress and–and things you can do to help reduce stress.  But again, feel free and check out and  We have all of the podcasts up for full transcriptions and you can subscribe to the YouTube channel to also get the podcast as well.  And a lot of nice freebies on the website like our Thyroid and Female Hormone Video Course as well.  Evan, what’s going on with you today, man?

Evan Brand:  Oh, not much.  I’m staring at the clouds hoping they’ll break up so I can get outside and play in the woods later today.  But I’m excited to talk about stress today, man, just because it’s such a timely subject for myself trying to multitask 20 different things at the same time without burning myself out.  So I’m sure other people are in the same scenario.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, and how can people find your podcast?

Evan Brand:  They could just search notjustpaleo or I–I’m that cool now that if you just Google Evan Brand, you’ll find me that way, too, and all my podcasts.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Good, awesome!  I figured it maybe Russel Brand would come up there in the search, too.  But–you out–outbid him.

Evan Brand:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s good.  Very cool!  It’s good to have your own brand, right?

Evan Brand:  Yup, definitely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Pun intended.

Evan Brand:  Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So, yeah, let’s talk about stress.  Why don’t you go first?

Evan Brand:  Sure, so I guess it’s helpful to talk about my first realization of stress.  You know, I’m a pretty relaxed guy overall and I didn’t really get my first taste of stress until I moved down to Austin a couple of years ago and had a–a big, big cool desk job career and all of that and moved down there with my–my now wife, and we got our own place and paying all the big bills, you know, growing up, becoming a man, and–and moving thousands of miles away to–to chase my dream.  And I started to have all these weird symptoms like insomnia.  I was just laying in bed staring at the ceiling.  I couldn’t figure out what was going on because I was exercising, I was eating Paleo, I mean it’s like–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  Come–come on, I mean, I’m doing everything right.  What’s going on?  And so it slowly became harder for me to adjust to stress.  I was becoming easily startled.  I mean, if I heard a loud boom, I would kinda jump when I used to not jump.  So I figured that some–some nervous system taxation was happening and I needed to figure out how to recover it.  So I basically just began researching adaptogens at that point and relied heavily on them as a–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  As a stepping stone or maybe a crutch if you will for the time being, and then long story short, I ended up writing the Stress Solutions book, which I still don’t think I’ve given you a paperback copy of, but I basically tried to boil everything that I was going through down–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  Into an actionable plan so that other people could apply it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s great.  I mean, stress is one of those, you know, things that people just kinda think about emotional stress as being stress, right?  As stressful.  They don’t think about, “Hey, I’m sitting all day or I have low blood sugar or I have reactive hypoglycemia or maybe I have low stomach acid.”  We don’t think of those things as being stressful.  And I think with functional medicine, we really wanna highlight the underlying chemical stressors that people forget about, because those are like the–the hidden energy zap of your adrenals, of your body’s reserve, and–and the lower your adrenals are, typically the lower ability that you have to adapt to stress.  Because it’s really all about adaptation and that’s one of the cool things that, you know, mean you’re both really passionately about is adaptogenic herbs because they really help your body deal with stress. We just gotta make sure the–the diet component is down because that’s such a–a big factor as you talked about to–to just being the foundation of helping to deal with stress.  Having those good meals, having that good sleep.  That really sets the foundation throughout the day so you can deal with more stress.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, well, I think the–the part you’ve kind of alluded to where people mess themselves up with stress is that they get so busy, right?  They’re trying to be so productive that they forget to eat.  I mean, you and I are probably are guilty of this ourselves sometimes we’re–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Evan Brand:  Sitting on the computer and you look and, “Holy crap!  It’s–it’s 2 PM and I haven’t eaten lunch yet,” and the blood sugar issues.  I mean, you’ve even hounded me before, “Evan, you gotta get that blood sugar in check, man.”  And it–it’s a huge deal for general stress.  It’s a stress to the adrenals, you’re having to produce cortisol to raise up your blood sugar levels and people that–people may be familiar with cortisol and how it’s–it’s not always evil, you know, it has a place in your body.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It does.

Evan Brand:  Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to–to get up and–and do your work in the morning when you get hopefully, you get bright light exposure outdoors.  But you know, the cortisol picture when it comes to food was a–was a huge deal for me and I had to become more regimented in eating my meals.  So if you’re trying to get a take away from this, it would be to eat regular meals.  Try not skip meals, intermittent fasting and things like that have a great place but if you’re the type of person that’s listening and you feel like you’re recovering slowly from cuts and wounds and your sleep is messed up and you’re relying on the cups of coffee to keep you fueled up, then you may be–you may want to look at that diet picture and make sure you’re getting enough food but that you’re getting it in somewhat regular frequency, wouldn’t you say?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I think so, too.  And having a Paleo template, I don’t like the word diet, I like the word template because it allows the individuality of what your macronutrients may be best for you.  Again, my default is always to a lower carb Paleo template because lower carb tends to emphasize more on the vegetables and less on the starch and–and sugar or fruit so to speak.  Again, there’s a place for starch, there’s a place for fruit.  But anyone that has weight gain as a complaint in their top 5, emphasizing the lower carb is a starting point for their low carb Paleo template.  I think it’s a really good place to start with.

Evan Brand:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And I think, 1 pat p2, sorry to cut you off there, is there are a lot in the Paleo community and this really drives me nuts where they make the exception the rule.  Where they may be able to eat something or they may be able to fast all day or they may be able to do that and then they go on and blog and talk about their–them being the exception and this is the rule and recommend it for everyone.  And I’m in a unique position because I’m in the trenches dealing with 40+ functional medicine patients a week from all over the world and I get to see the common trends in why and–why and what these people who are sick are doing.  And it’s a common trend of blood sugar stability being a major issue as a common trend of skipping meals and not eating breakfast, and there’s a lot of–when these issues are addressed from a–a diet and lifestyle perspective, people see an improvement.  So not everyone may be able to fast and do intermittent fasting.  Not everyone can skip breakfast.  People really have to be more diligent with their meals, the more broken or stressed their physiology is.

Evan Brand:  Yeah.  A man–a woman I was actually working with yesterday, she said, “Evan, I’ve read all the Mark’s Daily Apple Success Stories and I’ve done everything they’ve done, but yet I’m not losing weight,” and it’s–it’s so simple to see that and you see what works for someone so everybody does all of this self-diagnosing and self-treating and I think that’s a really good part about the Internet is that people are allowed to empower themselves but–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  I think that’s where the role of you and I really come in because people have tried to fix themselves and it just doesn’t work because they’re basing themselves off of someone else’s unique bio-individuality and you’re destined to fail that way.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I mean it’s like if you get summons to court.  Let’s say something happened.  You’re called to court. I mean do you go online and just try to figure out the hacks so you can do good in court?  I mean, 9 times out of 10, the people that represent themselves in court, unless they’re a lawyer themselves, they don’t do too well.  So it’s like you get the lawyer because it’s worth it in the end because if you don’t, you know, a lot of bad things could happen.  And same thing in functional medicine and the functional nutritional world is that you can waste a lot more time because, you know, you only have your m=1 to go from.  You only have just your experience and it’s hard to connect the dots when you haven’t seen a lot of different experienced and–and then connect the commonalties.

Evan Brand:  Uh-hmm.  And I wanted to talk a little more about the lifestyle part of stress and something that’s really cool in the research lately and that’s Shinrin-yoku, aka “forest bathing”.  I think I may have talked–talked to you about it before–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  But for people that–that don’t know, it’s called Shinrin-yoku by the Japanese and when you’re looking in PubMed if you’re, you know, a physician listening and you wanna research it yourself, type in Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing, and you’ll see the results these Japanese researchers have taken.  There was one particular study that took 420 individuals out into the woods, several different forests and they took them–some out–were out there for a few days and some were out there for just 15 minutes and then the control group were people that were walking down the sidewalk in the city and they took salivary cortisol measures before and after this.  And there was a significant reduction, I don’t remember the exact percentage, but–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Evan Brand:  A significant reduction in reduction in cortisol levels after just 15 minutes in the forest but even more interesting is that their NK killer cells, they’re immune cells were boosted not only for that day, but even 1 month after.  I do remember this percentage, 23% boost in NK killer cells, 1 month after a hike in the woods.  So–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Whoa!

Evan Brand:  If you have the opportunity to take a trip to the woods or if you have maybe a trail behind you–when I was in Austin on the southwest side of town there was a pretty good patch of woods back there and I would go walk through there at the end of a stressful day and I felt significantly better.  Obviously the peace and quiet, not having to hear car alarms and sirens and things like that is helpful in itself but it kinda boils down to the airborne chemicals; they call them the–the phytoncides I believe it is.  It’s these airborne chemicals that trees and plants put off.  Of course, your body’s gonna benefit from those.  That’s what we’ve naturally been exposed to for a million years at this point.  So I just wanted to kinda throw that piece of research out there and encourage people to get outdoors.  If you’re stressed out at your desk, there is a reason.  Get off your desk and go out there and just try to get a change of environment.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And that’s really important to get out there, get your Vitamin D, do some grounding, lots of good benefits and I love having some of the physiology, some of the objective markers behind it.  Because you hear some of these things and you’ll like, “Oh, you’re just a hippie or whatever.”  It’s cool to have the science behind it because you’re like, “Oh, wow!  This is–this is legit.  This isn’t just like, you know, some hippie telling me what to do.”

Evan Brand:  Exactly.  Totally.  I know it definitely helps my credibility.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, and there’s another cool thing because, you know, frankly we’re not gonna–we’re gonna spend more time inside, most of us.  That’s just the way it is.  So what can we do to help with that?  I’ve invested in my office at home and my office at work to have stand desk where I can have my desk literally go up or down.  And I’m sitting right now as you can see on the feed here, but I’ve been standing most of the day and I will stand most of the day.  And that makes a huge difference for me, the standing, being able to move around and posture is so important.  Amy Cuddy did a TED talk and she again let’s take some of the objective markers here.  She took people that were in this kinda slouched over posture and she ran salivary cortisol and she had them stand up and pull their shoulders back, and they went to this power pose with their arms up reaching overhead, kinda like maybe they’re running back when they score a touchdown or Stallone in the Rocky movies once he gets to the top of those steps and he puts his arms up.  And she had people literally just take their arms, put them above their head and hold them there for 2 minutes.  And she ran salivary cortisol and testosterone and she saw a 20% reduction in cortisol, that stress hormone and an improvement in testosterone just with a postural change for 2 minutes.

Evan Brand:  That’s awesome.  Yeah, I mean, and I–I write some stuff like that on my lifestyle recommendations when I’ll make a plan.  I’ll tell people, “Look, I want you to stand with your hands on your hips and–“

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Evan Brand:  “Put your chest up,” and I do feel a bit like a hippie when I’m telling people that, but I’m glad that there’s more verification there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I mean, she ran salivary cortisols, salivary hormones, and you know, we do that in our practice with our patients and it’s great to see simple things like posture.  And when I got to the gym I do like foundation training exercises which is like Eric Goodman’s work or I’ll do work where I’ll sit up against the wall, ankles, butt, shoulders and head, and I’ll keep my jaw level with the–with the ground.  Then I’ll pull my head back into that postural position and really work on strengthening the deep cervical flexors in front by the neck and stretching those back posterior cervical extensors and really work on good posture because we know posture is so important even to your hormones.

Evan Brand:  That’s cool.  So, I mean, that all does tie into stress because you–when you are stressed, you’re more likely to curl up in a ball–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You are.

Evan Brand:  And just feel depressed, and I mean, there’s no better word, depressed.  Your–your physiology is depressed, your posture, I mean, everything about you is exuding depression and stress.  So I mean, if you are feeling stressed this may be a time for you to stand up while you’re listening to this podcast and–and try out some of these poses.  When I’m out in nature, expressing, and I like to put arms out and put my palms up and just, “Ahhh” just open up like, “I’m powerful!”  You know?  And it’s goofy but–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand:  It makes you feel better.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, my wife caught one time in the office, me doing the power pose reaching the arms overhead, and she’s like, “What are you doing?”  And I’m like, “Ahh, power poses.  Trying to decrease my cortisol.”  And–and she gets it though.  So, yeah, those power poses are coo, maybe play a little Eye of The Tiger and you know, get in that position, you know, and get–get pumped throughout the day.  So, yeah.  I agree.  Posture is a–is a big one and it can really help your hormones.

Evan Brand:  Definitely.  Well, what–what’s the next topic of–of stress?  Or what’s the next facet of stress you think that we’ve hit on?  We’ve hit on the lifestyle a little bit.  We’ve hit on the diet.  What am I missing?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So I think the diet and the lifestyle stuff, that’s the foundation.  Don’t do anything else until you have that mastered because that’s gonna be your best bang for your buck.  But you know, we’re big fans of adaptogens. I know you’ve worked at–on it for a bit, designing some of these custom blends and I have some blends in the work here that I use with my patients with various adaptogens.  I’m a huge fan of them because, I mean, everyone should be on an adaptogen in my opinion.

Evan Brand:  I agree. Yeah.  I took my adaptogens this morning.  I actually have been experimenting. I don’t have any affiliation with them but I’ve been experimenting with the Organic India Joy! blend–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I think it’s a–

Evan Brand:  And it’s Ashwagandha, Shankpushpi, Gotu Kola, and one– Bacopa.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Bacopa.  Ooh, that’s a nice one.

Evan Brand:  It’s an awesome stack.  I mean, when–actually I didn’t take it this morning.  I should have for this podcast but I end up with a perma-grin for a few hours afterwards.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, wow!  That’s good.  I’m gonna have to give you one Paleo to merit today for not taking your adaptogens.

Evan Brand:  Well–well, no, I did take–I did take Ashwagandha and I take a–a mushroom complex as well.  So I’m on some adaptogens but not that one yet.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Nice.  Nice.  Yeah, I’m on about 800 mg of Eleuthero and also about 600 mg of Rhodiola today.

Evan Brand:  That’s great.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So it’s just a Rhodiola-Eleuthero day and I’m feeling good. My wife, she forgot to take her adaptogens for the last couple of weeks, just kind of got into that–that stress routine and I could see, like there was a big difference in her mood, and we just got her up on the adaptogens in which she came home from work, her mood was just a thousand times better and you know, she’s–you know, an executive of a really big Internet company so she has a lot of stress on her and–and adaptogens for her make a massive difference–

Evan Brand:  That’s so cool.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  In how she performs.

Evan Brand:  Talk–talk about her stack a little bit.  I’m sure people are curious about–if she is taking capsules, tinctures, etc.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, so for her, we have her on some female hormone tincture blends to help with hormones and keeping her cycle optimized.  And then she is on a similar stack as me right now because I create her regimens and programs, so it’s easier for her just to kinda piggyback on what I’m doing.  So we use some of the same adaptogens, but typically I go back and forth between Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Eleuthero, I’ll mix in some Panax Ginseng or Red Root Ginseng, and we’ll even do some Holy Basil at night and those are the big ones that I–I tend to go for.  Yeah, for adaptogen in qualities.

Evan Brand:  So Eleuthero, that’s the same thing as–that’s the Siberian version of Ginseng, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, so Ginseng is typically or made up of where they’re–where they’re grown, right?  The phyto signature in the soil makes up a huge difference.  So for instance, with Eleuthero, that’s kinda more the Siberian-Russia area, okay?  And then you have the Maca which is more of your Peruvian Ginseng.  You have your Ashwagandha which is more of your Indian Ginseng.  Your Panax Ginseng is more of the American Ginseng, American soil.  You have the Red Root Ginseng which is more your Korean Ginseng.  And then you have herbs like Tribulus which tend to have a better phyto signature growing in Bulgarian soils, so etc.  These herbs are really important.  You talk to any master herbalist, the quality of the soil is just as much to do with the quality of the herb.  So I like, you know, wild crafted, meaning you get guys that go out there and–and pick them up by their hands and–and you get really good quality and you don’t have like, you know, cheap herbs grown in countries where the soil isn’t good and, you know, you get bad soil so maybe there’s some heavy metals in the soil, like grown in industrial Chinese areas and then you get crappy herbs with a whole bunch of metals.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, that’s an important distinction you made.  If you’re concerned about that, you know, you can look for the organic.  You can look for the wild crafted certification and things like that, and always I mean, I go super geeky sometimes and contact the manufacturer or the company themselves and just say, “Hey, do you have heavy metal testing?”  Most of the time, I mean, generally speaking, if a company is reputable, they’re gonna have that testing available and they’re gonna have it done.  They’re not gonna have it on the shelves but I’m sure there’s some–there’s some shady adaptogens you can find in a little store on a corner somewhere.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, and you know, I always recommend companies that are third-party independently tested as well.  Because if a person’s–if a company is willing to go to that extreme that means they’re very, very confident because independent tests don’t lie and–but patients will either choose an adaptogenic herb or will use a blend, a combination blend, and I’m–I’m gonna have some in the works right now that I’m creating in my private line for my patients.

Evan Brand:  That’s exciting.  I can’t wait to get a batch.  You have to send me the–the first bottle that comes off the line.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely and I know you’ve worked on blends with on it.  What are some of the blends you’ve worked on?

Evan Brand:  Yeah, there’s one that I don’t even know if it’s gonna hit the shelf.  I’m–I’m still kind of anxiously waiting to see and one was, basically, it was a workout supplement for women but what I did was is I basically added some adaptogenic support to this workout supplement but also a little bit of blood sugar support, too.  Because I’m guessing that women, they’re gonna be busy, it’s a fast-paced woman who wants to work out right after–right after she, you know, gets out of the office, things like that.  So what I did is I created a combination of some blood sugar support like some 7-keto but then I also added in some Ashwagandha and some Rhodiola and then I added just a little bit of Cordyceps to give the more oxygen utilization side of things.  It was too big.  I ended just having so much fun combining the blend.  It was–it was too big to fit in 2 capsules.  It’d be like 10 capsules or something ridiculous so it would have had to end up becoming a powder and then of course, the whole issue becomes how are you gonna make it taste decent with Stevia and can you get true natural flavors and things like that.  So I basically came up with all the ingredients and then sent it over to Aubrey, the CEO, and said, “Hey, here’s what I got.”  And then he goes to his stepmom who’s a doctor and she verifies and tells me whether I know what I’m talking about or not, and then it would go onward to, you know, the flavoring department and things like that.  So that was probably my biggest and most fun project.  But then I just worked on some of the science, too, behind the other pages of–like the Alpha BRAIN for example, the Shroom TECH Sport, the Vira Tech, it was like a vitamin C and alpha-lipoic acid, immune-boosting type supplement, making sure that the science was there to support the use of lysine to balance out your arginine and things like that.  I did a–a lot of the behind the scenes stuff, but if I see that product hit the shelves with a–with a label, I’ll be sure to–to have it framed or something like that in a little special box.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s great, and I saw that you put out some affiliate codes for the–for the some of the Onnit products this morning.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, finally.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Daily now.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, I finally got a–a 10% code for people.  So if you wanna check that out, they can just go to and then I have my little built-in code where you get 10% off because who likes to pay full price for supplements if you can get a discount, you know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s great.  Very cool.  And you also mentioned Cordyceps, too.  And Cordyceps are a mushroom, they’re not necessarily an herb but they have adaptogenic qualities which is cool.  They really support the adrenals.  They help with glutathione production and they boost up DHEA which is that sex hormone precursor that tends to be depleted with chronic stress.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, I take Cordyceps every day.  Actually right now, I’m using Lucky’s Market.  They have just a store brand of organic mushroom blend.  I mean, it has everything.  You would love it.  It has Maitake, the Shitake, the Reishi, the Cordyceps.  I’ve been feeling so good.  I told Hannah my wife yesterday, I said, “Babe, I’ve been feeling so good lately because I’ve just added in a couple new combinations of nutrients to my stack, and I–I’ve been on fire.”  I mean, I’ve been really feeling good.  So if I mean, if someone’s questioning, “Do I really need this stuff?”  To me, it’s a 21st century pre-requisite to have a good stack on hand.  I mean, life is stressful.  You’re pulled in 50 directions.  You’ve gotta have some sort of solid basis of nutrients that are going in.  Of course, diet–that diet’s the first part.  But you know, assuming that you and I are following something like Dr. Justin and I, supplements or that thing that takes you to the next level and separates you from the competition.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, and I had a patient that, you know, asked me like, “Do I really need this?”  And I say, “Well, would you describe your life at all stressful?”  She’s like, “Yeah, I have this and–,” and even though it’s like this person wasn’t a full-time, you know, in the corporate world, they were a full-time mom which a lot of times is even more stressful and it’s like, unless you can tell me that your life is stress-free and is relatively easy, you’re gonna benefit with some level of adaptogenic support and/or nutrient support because when we’re stressed we also burn through B vitamins.  So I also add in some extra B vitamins and in my patients at some level we do organic acid testing and we’ll look at the B vitamins because they’ll burn through those suckers pretty fast with extra stress.  So some level I–I have an adaptogenic herb or two in my protocol.  I’ll have extra stress nutrients.  Nutrients that go down or should say drop with stress or we’ll be burned up with stress and then a mushroom is great.  I’m a huge fan or Reishi just because of the fact of its immune-modulating effect that’s called the Ten-Thousand-Year mushroom so it’s been around longer than any, you know, any supplements so to speak and you know, it’s amazing you hear some of the people in the pharmaceutical industry saying, “Well, some of these supplements or herbs that are untested.”  They’ve been around so long, some of them––it’s not even funny.  The question is, do we have good quality?  And again 95% are crap so we just have to know the right places to get it from.

Evan Brand:  Totally.  Yeah, I–I love you mentioned that.  I mean, some of these drugs will come out and they’ll be out on the market for 2 years and 1 rat study for 6 months or something just proves that it’s safe and then you have ancient Chinese wisdom or something that’s been written in books on hemp and papyrus–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  And that’s–that’s the real stuff that we’re really starting to respect and the science keeps continuing to back up the, you know, the evidence and the great value in these things so–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  Keep an open mind really.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, especially with stress.  I mean, you could–some of these scientific journals in these oriental countries, I mean, you have like Reishi being used as a first line therapy in cancer.  They’re using Cordyceps mushrooms for kidney transplants.  I mean, this is crazy, like–

Evan Brand:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  People in the United States have no idea.  Just go on to PubMed and punch some of these things in and you get lots of scientific journals in other countries that are researching this stuff and it just doesn’t make its way over here and it’s sad because, you know, medicine is pretty much co-opted by the drug industry so unless a drug company has billions of dollars behind something, it’s not really gonna get out to the everyday person just because it’s so expensive to bring something to market.  It’s hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars and if you can’t patent it, you’re not gonna get the money back.  So other countries they’re–they’re laws are more lax and it’s easier to bring things to market so it’s–it’s easier, and you know, the US–I think the US and I think New Zealand–it’s either New Zealand or Australia are the only 2 countries that actually market their drugs to the consumer on TV.

Evan Brand:  Oh, yeah.  Yeah, yeah.  I’ve–I’ve actually had some friends that have come from overseas and they see a drug commercial and are like, “Holy crap!  You can do that?”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  Ask your doctor?  What do you mean, ask the doctor?  I thought the doctor was supposed to tell you?  Nope, you’re asking your doctor these days, you know.  So that’s just–that’s a whole another podcast.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, yeah.  And it’s 70 to 80–the research is clear.  70-80 percent–70-80 percent of the time when the patient goes into the doctor and request the drug because they saw it on TV, they get the prescription.  It is a major effect on influence and the doctor.

Evan Brand:  That’s incredible.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So kinda tie in this back to stress, I’m a big fan of mushrooms.  Alright, huge, huge fan.  Helps with stress.  I like Cordyceps and I like Reishi and also if you’re dealing with any chronic immune stuff like cancer, Coriolus is another awesome mushroom typically using that in conjunction with Reishi works phenomenal.  Love it.

Evan Brand:  Sweet.  Well, I think–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And I take these mushrooms individually, too.  Like I don’t use a lot of blends because I wanna get 3 grams of Reishi, I wanna get 4 grams of Reishi.  When you look at these blends, I mean, you’re lucky to get maybe 100 or 300 mg.

Evan Brand:  That’s a good point.  I probably am fairy dusting myself–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Evan Brand:  With­ some of these.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I think it’s good to just have like just a straight Cordyceps, a straight Reishi, and just kinda mix it that way.  That can be a good way to do it.  Just mix the whole herb straight in.

Evan Brand:  Uh-hmm.  I think we only got a couple minutes left but man, we could probably spend 3 hours on this topic.  This is–I didn’t realize how–how enjoyable both–both you and I would–would dig in this today.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I’m really happy we have this extra, you know, once or twice a month, we’re gonna be having these conversations and really diving in deep and it’s great because I get to bring my clinical experience working with thousands with patients and you get to bring your clinical experience working with lots of patients as well, and we get to kinda share it with the listeners which is awesome.

Evan Brand:  It’s a blast.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.  Well, anything else you wanna add today, Evan?

Evan Brand:  Not really.  If people are interested in, you know, they can check out my podcast as well.  Dr. Justin, he’s been on there, and I’m still getting emails like, “Wow!  That Dr. Justin guy kicks ass.”  So check out that episode if you need a good place to start but there’s plenty more where that came from, and you know, 99% of the stuff that Dr. Justin and I both put out is free.  So there is hope, stay confident, and stay positive.  Take baby steps in the right direction every day and I guarantee you’ll get massive results.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, and if you listen to these podcasts or read some of our blogs and posts and you feel like, “Well, I don’t know where to start.”  You know, this is kind of the best step, is to reach out to either me or Evan and we can kinda help guide you in the first couple of steps to take because you know, you’re always gonna do better with, you know, with a trail guide that’s already hiked the mountain a few times, that can help navigate all the pitfalls.

Evan Brand:  Definitely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, Evan, hey, it was great talking today, man.

Evan Brand:  Yeah.  Likewise.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Have a good one!

Evan Brand: You, too.

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Rhodiola Benefits: Stress, Depression Relief and Exercise Performance


Rhodiola Benefits: Stress Relief, Mood Boost and Exercise PerformanceRhodiola root has been a popular herb for myself and my clients during consultations. It's been mentioned many times on the podcast. Rhodiola benefits can be achieved in both acute and long term use.

Rhodiola rosea is commonly referred to as the golden root and is a plant that grows in cold and mountainous regions around the world. It was first mentioned in medical literature around 2,000 years ago by the physician and botanist Dioscorides.

Rhodiola is part of a category of plants, herbs and other compounds called Adaptogens. These are some of the most helpful compounds for modern times when it comes to dealing with stress, depression and chronic fatigue.

Rhodiola is referenced in scientific literature for the following(1): 

  • Neuroprotective
  • Cardio-protective
  • Anti-fatigue
  • Anti-depressant
  • Anti-anxiety
  • Nootropic
  • Increases life span

Stress Relief

As we discussed with Dr. Mark Hyman on the podcast, stress causes or worsens 95% of all illness. In the age of productivity and overstimulation, we benefit most from a multi-dimensional approach to stress and stress management.

Meditation, laughter, yoga and exercise can all be great tools, but may not give the oomph needed to support someone through a time of stress. Rhodiola rosea has a gentle effect when it comes to stress relief and has both immediate and long-term benefits.

A study used 1375 subjects with "life-stress symptoms" and had them take 200mg of Rhodiola rosea extract twice per day. A total of 400mg per day.

After only 3 days of treatment, the group showed a decrease in all 7 assessments including perceived stress and fatigue! The results continued to take effect for the duration of the 4 week study. (2)

Natural Depression Relief

Pharmaceutical intervention with anti-depression medication has led to more suicides and other harmful side effects than the supposed benefits. As someone who lost a school acquaintance due to suicide shortly after jumping on anti-depression medication, it's a subject that I take very seriously.

I've been looking for the magic solution to naturally heal depression including Seasonal Affective Disorder during the cold and dreary winter months and have found that Rhodiola combined with Light Therapy and these strategies can be useful for maintaining sanity.

What if there were a natural alternative that had a great track record and didn't have a long list of harmful side effects beneath the label? Rhodiola fits the bill for this tall order and can be extremely helpful for mild to moderate cases of depression.

A 6-week clinical trial took 89 depressed patients and divided them into 3 groups:

  • Group A received 340mg Rhodiola per day
  • Group B received 680mg of Rhodiola per day
  • Group C received a two placebo capsules per day

After 42 days, the groups were reassessed.

Rhodiola supplementation groups A and B showed lower overall depression, insomnia, emotional instability and somatization (the production of health symptoms with no cause). Self-esteem wasn't changed. (3)

Exercise Performance Booster

Crossfit has gained extreme popularity in the last decade and has pushed the boundaries of the human body. As someone who has personally consulted with burnout victims due to Crossfit, it's hard for me to recommend it for most people. With high-stress levels from financial and dietary sources, Crossfit can be the last straw that breaks the nervous system of a once "tough guy" or gal.

But, if you insist on having a high-intensity exercise practice or enjoy pushing yourself to the limit in marathons, spartan races and others like my friend Ben Greenfield, then I encourage you to use some herbal support.

Whether you're trying to shave seconds off your timed session or you're simply trying to gain the safe advantage over your competitors, Rhodiola has documented use for this exact goal.

A study took 18 subjects and put them on a 6-mile bicycle time trial and found the following in the Rhodiola group: (2)

  • Decreased heart rate
  • Faster time trial completion
  • Less perceived exertion

Rhodiola is the perfect supplemental support for any form of moderate to intense exercise. From hiking trips to intense competitive events, the adaptogenic effect is profound. (4)

What Type of Rhodiola is Best?

The main thing you'll need to understand is that not all Rhodiola rosea is created equally. While I prefer to use organic herbs whenever possible, there are currently no organic Rhodiola capsules for sale.

Your main priorities when seeking a Rhodiola supplement:

  • Extracted to contain 3% Rosavins (the compound responsible for anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effect)
  • Extracted to contain 1% Salidroside (the compound responsible for anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effect that may be more effective than Rosavins!)
  • A 1 capsule dose of 500mg (just to ensure a moderate but effective amount)

I personally use this particular brand in my personal and health practice.

This is one of my favorite plants of all time. I hope you are as excited about the world of Adaptogens as I am. There is more information that will be available on the research and clinical use of Adaptogens to come on this blog.

Further Reading: Dr. Curran's article on Rhodiola


(1) Panossian, A., G. Wikman, and J. Sarris. "Rosenroot (Rhodiola Rosea): Traditional Use, Chemical Composition, Pharmacology and Clinical Efficacy." Phytomedicine: 481-93.

(3) Edwards, D., A. Heufelder, and A. Zimmermann. "Therapeutic Effects and Safety of Rhodiola Rosea Extract WS® 1375 in Subjects with Life-stress Symptoms - Results of an Open-label Study." Phytotherapy Research

(3)V. Darbinyan, G. Aslanyan, E. Amroyan, E. Gabrielyan, C. Malmström, and A. Panossian "Clinical Trial of Rhodiola Rosea L. Extract SHR-5 in the Treatment of Mild to Moderate Depression." Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 61, no. 5, 343-48.

(4) Noreen, Eric E., James G. Buckley, Stephanie L. Lewis, Josef Brandauer, and Kristin J. Stuempfle. "The Effects of an Acute Dose of Rhodiola Rosea on Endurance Exercise Performance." Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: 839-47.

Podcast #115 Dr. Tim Gerstmar on Autoimmunity and How to Beat It


#115 Dr. Tim Gerstmar on Autoimmunity and How to Beat ItToday's Guest

Dr Tim says: I use clinical nutrition (primarily Paleo, Weston A Price and GAPS) & lifestyle counseling, botanical medicine (herbs), functional medicine, homeopathy, and anything else I think would be helpful for you.

Keep up with him at and pick up his new guide for free, The Autoimmune Answer here.

The show

Click here to listen to the show on iTunes where you can listen, download and subscribe to the show.

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Today we discuss

  • What is autoimmunity?
  • Why has autoimmunity become so epidemic?
  • What are the root causes of autoimmunity?
  • How can you treat autoimmunity naturally?
  • How stress and other lifestyle factors can lead you to autoimmunity!
  • The right steps to protect yourself against autoimmunity

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