The Infection Connection And Leaky Gut with Evan Brand

Welcome back to the Healing Pain Podcast with Evan Brand.

If you followed my podcast for some time, you know I have a really big passion around Functional Medicine and Functional Nutrition. Oftentimes, the nutrition part can be the one piece that’s missing from your pathway to live a pain-free life. I’ve gone near and far to try to figure out who are the most interesting and best people to speak to on the podcast who can talk about everything that has to do with Functional Medicine and Functional Nutrition. This week, we are going to talk to Evan Brand. He’s a leader in ancestral health, holistic nutrition and Functional Medicine. He’s also the creator of the website called He’s the host of the Not Just Paleo podcast on iTunes, which is one of the top 25 natural health podcasts available. He has been studying natural health and Functional Medicine for more than seven years. Today, we’re going to talk to him about the infection connection, how having a leaky gut can lead to underlying pain and inflammation.


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The Infection Connection And Leaky Gut with Evan Brand

Evan, welcome to the Healing Pain Podcast.

Dr. Joe, thanks for having me.

The reason why I want to have you on is because I know you can go deeper for us in the realm of leaky gut and the microbiome and just talking about pain and inflammation in general, which a lot of times there are underlying causes that the traditional medical system does not pickup. I really want to start here. Oftentimes, when people have pain, they struggle with depression. I know that part of your story is that you had issues with depression as well. Can you talk about that and what your struggles were and how it led you down the Functional Medicine path?

The more and more that I talk about my story and the more and more that I repeat the story, the more I realize I was depressed as long as I could remember. Even being a kid, I remember having depressed thoughts, which to some may make perfect sense and to some that may say, “That’s crazy. How could you be depressed as a child?” There are genetic things that happen with your mother depending on what stressors that she’s undergone while you’re a fetus. There’s very early or adverse childhood experiences that people go through that can affect you. For me, I had always grown up with this cloud, if you will, over my head where I felt like I could only hit a certain peak of happiness and then that was it. I couldn’t break through a certain level even if things were great in my environment, great family, great house, etc. It didn’t matter.

HPP 040 | Leaky Gut
There’s a massive link between what you put in your body and how your everything is affected.

This led me up all the way up into college when I went to University of Louisville. I went to business school here in Kentucky and quickly realized I didn’t want to be a bean counter. I was finding that it was more and more difficult each day to attend to class. My productivity was definitely minimal. My sleep was impaired, which sleep and depression go hand in hand. I also had a lot of gut issues. I had major acne at the time and IBS. I went to the conventional doctors, they say, “Evan, it’s just IBS. Here’s an acid blocker. Here’s an antispasmodic,” and some other third drug I can never remember, “Take these three prescriptions and you’ll be fine.” I asked the doctor, because I had already had some basic knowledge about digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid, I said, “If you’re telling me that I have too much stomach acid and that’s causing my IBS, and I need to reduce it with an acid blocker, then why do I feel better when I take digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid?” She goes, “No, that’s just not true. That’s not possible.” I said, “Okay, fine. Please keep your prescription pad. I’m not taking these prescriptions home because you don’t understand where I’m coming from. We’re not on the same level.” That led to the natural progression of me figuring out there’s a massive link between what you put in your body and how your skin is affected, how your mood is affected, how your sleep, how your sex drive, how your energy levels are affected. I basically went on a gluten-free diet at that time about 2009.

Quickly, I noticed my IBS symptoms were 50% or 70% less, I was like, “This is amazing.” But I still had this 30% lingering issue. For me, it was diarrhea dominant. With IBS, most of the time you’ve got IBS-C, you’ve got IBS-D, so constipation or diarrhea. Some people can fluctuate between the two. For me, I never really fluctuated. It was basically on the loose side with my stool for years. Fast forward some more, I started learning more about Functional Medicine and the link between leaky gut. You’ve got this gut microbiome. You’ve got trillions and trillions of bacteria that are on your skin. Believe it or not, there’s even a microbiome of the inner ear. I was searching for a podcast that I was doing on ear infections, I started typing microbiome ear and there’s brand new studies that’s coming out in 2017 saying the “Microbiome of the inner ear.” We’ve got this balance of bacteria that’s supposed to be there in nearly every crevice of the body. My bacterial balance was off. It was evident by my skin.

Long story short, my friend, Dr. Justin, who I co-host his podcast with him all the time, he looked at me, I went and hung out with him one time, and the first time I showed up at his house, he said, “Evan, you’ve got a parasite.” I said, “How do you know that?” He goes, “Look at you. You’re losing muscle mass. The picture I saw, you had more muscle than you do now. You’re just starting to look weak and a little bit frail. Look at your fingernails. You’ve got these vertical ridges on your fingernails.” I was like, “Okay.” I didn’t think anything of it. Three, four, five, six months later, I finally get the stool test run they told me I needed to do six months prior. I showed up with two parasite infections; one called Cryptosporidium and one called Giardia, which are not too common. They call it the double whammy when you’ve got those two because they do so much damage to the small intestine. When I had those two at the same time, I lost 25 pounds in a year without trying. I was basically rock bottom in terms of gut health. I said, “Oh my Lord.”

I went into the research and started looking for herbal protocols. What’s the best way to treat bacterial and parasitic infections? I did some experimentation, treated those, retested, showed up with H. Pylori and other bacterial infection. I had to come in and address that. Then I finally, finally just as of last week, believe it or not, I got another stool retest. I’ve probably done four or six different stool retests on myself. I’m finally clear of everything. I had H. Pylori. I had something called Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is a common dysbiotic bacteria. I had the Giardia and then the Cryptosporidium. I’ve been there, done that with everything with gut health. All of it ties in to all of these symptoms that we’re discussing today.

What I love about your story is you really saw it through for a long period of time. It wasn’t just, “I’m going to try this for three weeks or so. I’m not better so it must not be this, it must be something else.”

Let’s say 2009 was the start of the journey, that’s eight years to finally get to where I’m at now, to be completely free of infections. That’s the frustrating thing about it for some people, is that you hit plateaus, but progress is progress. Some people wish for this miracle. Us, as practitioners, we can move the needle with people. I typically try to promise people 5% or 10% each month realistically. Sometimes you get 50% or 80%, but then sometimes that remaining 20% or 30% takes you another five years to figure it out. That was for me. I thought, “What else is left?” Then I just keep pulling these levers. I pulled this lever and this lever and this supplement and this nutrient, better sleep, and turn off the Wi-Fi and less EMF and less blue light at night. Then finally once the combination of all these levers and gears made the perfect picture, then I was symptom-free.

I talk about pain being a puzzle. Oftentimes, chronic health problems are a puzzle like that where it’s not just going to be the one thing that’s going to fix you, there’s probably going to be a combination of two or three or four things that you may need to solve your own health problem. Let’s talk about leaky gut. To keep things really, really simple to start, what is leaky gut? Why should someone who has chronic pain be concerned about it?

Your gut barrier is basically a one cell lining; very, very tiny, very thin. Who knows if we could even see with a microscope? I guess we had to do a microscope at one time to find out it’s one cell, but it’s very tiny. You have something called tight junctions where this gut lining meets up. You’ve got these little puzzle pieces essentially, they’re like fingers interlaced. There are very small gaps where your nutrients can get through there and that’s normal. The problem is if you have cortisol issues because you’re chronically stressed or because you’ve done steroids or you’ve done other corticosteroid therapies, something like that. You are doing artificial light at night. You’re a type A personality. That cortisol is a catabolic hormone. It’s going to pull apart those tight junctions. Now, you’ve got leaky gut.

We could do a whole hour just on causes of leaky gut. You’ve got gluten, which is a known cause of leaky gut. It’s going to irritate this intestinal barrier. We call it intestinal permeability, that’s the fancy term for leaky gut. As these tight junctions get pulled apart, whether it’s due to stress, whether it’s due to toxins, whether it’s due to food sensitivities, food allergies, etc., now you’ve opened up the ability for bigger and larger molecules, which can create autoimmune attacks on the body. You’ve got these big molecules going through these tight junctions because now the gates are open. You’ve got dairy particles going in. You’ve got gluten particles going in. That’s triggering the antibody response. On a stool test, we look at something called anti-gliadin, IgA. This is a type of antibody that attacks gluten molecules. The problem is, with this leaky gut, if you have elevated gluten antibodies, they can basically get confused and they will start to attack body tissue. This is where you get rheumatoid arthritis and you have multiple sclerosis and you’ve got Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid disease, which can all be triggered by this increased intestinal permeability.

If someone has chronic pain, why should they pay attention to if they have leaky gut or not so to speak?

There’s testing out there for leaky gut. It’s through Cyrex Labs. In my opinion, it’s a waste of money because we can assume just based on symptoms and if we find a stool test that shows you’ve got bacterial infections, like a Candida for example. Candida can also lead to the leaky gut situation. I’ve tested over 1,100 men and women but primarily I’m working with women because men don’t want to admit that something’s wrong.

Which is really common when you have pain. Guys like to, “I can deal with the pain. I can bust through the pain. I can work through the pain.” Women are a little bit more like, “I shouldn’t be living a life with pain. Can someone help me?”

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The nine out of ten people I’m looking at, they have a yeast overgrowth, which also contribute to the leaky gut.

Men, you don’t have to try to tough it out, just fess up that you have pain. It’s okay. My point was that among the 1,100 plus men and women that I’ve tested running organic acid, which is a urine test, I found nine out of every ten, obviously I’m biased because people are symptomatic when they’re coming to me. We could say I’m biased, but honestly I don’t think so because the average American is eating a diet that’s so terrible that they probably have yeast overgrowth too. The nine out of ten people I’m looking at, they do have a yeast overgrowth, which also contribute to the leaky gut. How does this factor in with pain? Any type of autoimmune or inflammatory response could be traced back to this permeation of the gut barrier. If we’re trying to resolve chronic pain, we’ve got to look at some of the other aspects that you chatted about on my show. Also, we have to look at the gut and make sure that the gut is healthy and that we’ve removed all of the pathogens that should not be there.

People say, “Can I just out-eat my way or out-supplement my way out of pain?” It can help. However, if you’ve got infections, like I had two parasites and bacterial overgrowth, if you go and you eat 100% organic diet, you’re taking your turmeric, your fish oil, your anti-inflammatory herbs, your Boswellias, etc., but you still got the infections. It’s like you’re coming in and you’re chopping the weeds off. You’re helping to manage the issue but you’re not getting as deep to the root as you can to remove those infections. For me, joint pain wasn’t a huge deal. I did a lot of sports when I was in my teenage years. I was on the track team and things like that. I did have a lot of knee pain in my meniscus. I had a partial tear in the meniscus that I didn’t want to get surgery on. I still haven’t got surgery on. That pain went away. It used to flare up. Anytime I would walk on hard surfaces like concrete, my knee pain would flare up. Now, after healing my gut, the pain is gone unless I really, really just do something intense.

Oftentimes when I work with patients, the first place I’m going is to clear up what’s going on in the gut, and many, many things start to feel better both physically as well as mentally. Let’s talk about diet first. I want to get into some of the more natural ways we can get rid of some of the bad bugs in our body. Ideally, we want to avoid antibiotics if we can. Before we get to that part, what’s the top dietary strategy? You mentioned gluten. After gluten, what should we do to rid our body of yeast and to rebalance our microbiome?

My approach to yeast is two-pronged. One, you have to starve it out. You’ve got to remove the fuel source, which is the sugars, the processed food, the grains, etc. I start every client out the first thirty days, especially while we’re waiting on lab tests. I’m getting them on Autoimmune Paleo Diet which is just going to be a more strict variety of Paleo where we’re going to remove nightshades, which can be impactful for pain. You talked about that on my show about the tomatoes and the peppers and the eggplant and things like that. We go full AIP; nuts and seeds are gone, dairy is gone. They may be able to tolerate gee. We’ve got to remove eggs. Eggs were a big trigger for me. I had to remove those for a while. Chocolate; I’m sorry ladies, you’re going to miss the chocolate for a while. I promise it’s for your own good. We add these foods back in later. But we’ve got to go AIP for about 30 to 60 days.

The second prong is we’re knocking out the yeast. What am I going to use to get rid of it? It depends. If it’s a yeast overgrowth by itself, we may be able to get away with something like olive leaf extract or oregano oil. If it’s a yeast plus a bacteria, plus a parasite, we’ve got five or six infections. I had one lady last week, she had seven infections including two parasites, four bacterial overgrowths, and yeast, so it was seven. We had to use a pretty heavy protocol; that was garlic, oregano, this was herbs like barberry, Berberis, grape seed extract, Caprylic acid, and we talked about the oregano a lot. I could break down the full thing; wormwood, black walnut. There are a lot of different things that I use. That’s the approach to getting rid of the yeast, but the diet is the foundation. If someone just hears these supplements and goes and buys them on Amazon, one, don’t do that because you need to get professional grade products from a practitioner. Two, if you don’t dial in the diet and you just go and buy these miracle supplements, if you’re still eating sugar or even in the case of healthy foods, I’ve seen women who are drinking, believe it or not, five or six bottles of Kombucha per day. I believe there can be too much of a good thing. In that case, that woman actually was feeding her yeast because she was doing too much with the Kombucha. Diet plus nutrients is really going to be the key.

You put them on an Autoimmune Paleo for 30 days. Do you reassess them at that point? Do you bring them down to, let’s say, just a standard Paleo or you work on them? How is the diet going with them at that point?

Usually, once we hit 30 days, I say, “Great job. That wasn’t too bad. Now, do an extra 30 days.” We just try to keep them on AIP forever really. If I told them, “I want you to go AIP for the rest of your life,” compliance would probably not be the highest. Typically, we’ll get through the 30 days. I may say, “Ms. Sally, how are you doing?” If they’re just miserable and say, “This is causing fights with my husband and my kids and blah blah blah.” I’ll say, “Let’s start working to reintroduce some things. Let’s add in the gee. Let’s go add in the butter. Let’s go with some egg yolks, no egg whites yet. Let’s go with some basic nuts and seeds. Let’s try to go through the stages of reintroduction.” If we notice that pain gets worse or skin gets worse, or some other type of trigger gets set again, then we have to go right back to AIP. For me, I eat AIP probably 90% of the time. Then I will do some things occasionally like some organic walnuts. I chatted with Dr. Mercola a few weeks ago and he said that one third of his calories come from Macadamia nuts, so I went out and bought a bunch. I found some good quality, raw organic Macadamia. I’ve been addicted to those for the past few weeks. Most of the time, I’m practicing what I’m preaching, which is staying mostly AIP because it does help me stay the most energetic and the least symptomatic.

I was going to say, “It sounds like this guy, he’s telling me to pull a lot of things out of my diet. What can I eat? What’s going to keep me healthy and satisfied?” Obviously, people like to eat. I love to eat. I eat three to four times a day. I maintain a similar diet to you too. I’m full all the time. What do you recommend people put back in their diet?

Sometimes these podcasts are like, “You can’t eat anything.” I’ll just talk you through my day so far. I’ll just give you an example of a day that’s going pretty good so far. I started out I’ve got some pastured sausage that I did for breakfast, just some basic spices. There are certain spices that people have to stay away from via AIP but your thyme, your oregano, your tarragon. There are a lot of good herbs you can use. I did some pastured sausage this morning. I did a handful of some organic blueberries. That was it. No starches really, no starchy carbohydrates. I stick those to the evening most of the time. Lunch, I just had lunch before I jumped on here with you. I did just some homemade organic chicken and wild rice soup. I’m doing a little bit of rice. It’s not too often but if it’s organic and it’s slow cooked, it’s pretty easy on the gut. I mixed in some bone broth with that too. I had half of an avocado and I had a handful of the Macadamias, which I love. Now, I’m just drinking some water, just a little bit of water. I did some vitamin C earlier with breakfast, about 2,500 mg of vitamin C. Right now, I’m not taking digestive enzymes, but depending on the meal and depending on where I’m at, like if I’m going somewhere I don’t know the source of the food or the quality, I’ll do digestive enzymes. I’ll keep those in my wife’s purse.

Mainly, to summarize, your good fats are going to be your foundations; your good meats, your pastured meats. That’s the good thing about going AIP is you still got all your great meats. For me, I love elk meat, I love bison meat, grass-fed beef is great, your pastured chicken, pastured pork if you’re okay with pork. Can you do bacon? Yeah, you could do bacon but it doesn’t have to be a pound a day or something. People in the Paleo space, they promote bacon but they forget that you still need to eat vegetables and a little bit of some good fruit like some blueberries or blackberries too.

When someone has an autoimmune disease, one of the things they can often struggle with, not everyone, but it comes up, is histamine. People have a histamine reaction to certain foods or to certain additives in foods. How do you approach someone that has a high histamine response?

HPP 040 | Leaky Gut
Stress Solutions: Hack Your Stress, Calm Your System and Take Charge of Your Life

It depends. There’s something called DAO, that’s the short version for it. It’s a specific type of enzyme that, my understanding, it helps to metabolize and help the body deal with the histamine response more effectively. I’m not sure on the exact mechanism of how or why it works. But DAO is a supplement that we have on hand sometimes for people. I wrote a book called Stress Solutions. I outlined basically what you do if you have a histamine response. Alcohol is the biggest one that people are doing for histamine problems. All the women say they need a glass or two of wine in the evenings to relax, for histamine intolerance, that was a huge thing that had to be cut out. I made a list of your top histamine food, which anybody could likely Google top histamine foods and you could figure out what are your triggers. Mainly, we’ve just got to do our best to minimize those foods that they’re exposed to but then also bring in some of the enzymes if we can to help support that.

Then I’ve had really good results with antioxidants. There’s a formula called Aller-E by Pure Encapsulations and it’s like an antihistamine formula that I primarily use for people that have inhalers and they intend to get off their inhalers or they’ve got really bad seasonal allergies like if they lived in Texas and they had seizure fever, for example. I noticed that while using that, it was the Coricidin and the Rutin and the Hesperidin, a lot of these antioxidants, I was using it for their sinus allergies but I was actually fixing their histamine allergies with their diet. I was like, “This is cool.” It’s like a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone situation.

Oftentimes, you wind up fixing one thing but in the conversation, “I also have this allergy which seems to have gone away too.” You always say, “You never brought that up on day one.” They’re like, “It wasn’t my main problem. It was my second or third problem that went away as well.”

Their bodies have been playing ding-dong ditch for so long that they forgot that button was getting pressed until it got turned off and they’re like, “I never realized I had headaches every day at 3 PM on the left side of my temple.”

It’s amazing that people just live with symptoms and they think that’s just life. That your headaches are a normal thing that comes with life and so does GI upset and so does some joint pains. I tell everyone that for the most part, you’re not supposed to have these symptoms every single day of your life. In fact, you’re not supposed to have symptoms at all. If things like that come up, it’s a sign that something needs help.

When I was in college and I was dealing with the IBS situation, I molded my lifestyle to fit that illness. I would walk in and I would look for the bathroom, “Where is the bathroom in this building in case I’ve got to run out of class?” Because that was just my life. I was modifying my lifestyle. A lot of people modify their lifestyles. They quit hiking or they go watch more movies instead of going to the park. They just do these subtle things. Or they play video games instead of riding a bicycle. They change their lifestyle but they’re not realizing that they’re actually changing their lifestyle due to their symptoms. That was what I was doing. Once you are free of those symptoms, “Why don’t I ride a bike? Why can’t I go and do this activity?” It sounds crazy for me to say this, I almost didn’t believe a symptom-free life was possible because I was so used to it. That was my norm. I thought, “Everybody has got problems. This is just my set of problems.” Now, I could say I’m probably most days 99% symptom-free. I have so much gratitude for every day on this planet just because of my starting place. It makes me a better practitioner because I did have to suffer for so long versus just getting the knowledge and then helping people. Empathy is very important for this conversation.

If you’ve got a support group, whether that is a practitioner or a friend or someone else who’s on this journey with you, I always tell spouses that if you can get your spouse on board, it’s going to make this process so much more enjoyable. If you’re trying to go do AIP and your husband or your wife is over there just munching on milk chocolate and pizza and cheese and chicken wings with hot sauce and you’re living in a house where you feel like you can’t eat those foods because of your symptoms, you’re going to have a lot tougher roads. The relationship is another component that I wanted to mention today of making sure you’ve got good nourishing relationships. Just as nourishing as your food should be, your relationships should be just as nourishing. If you’ve got toxic people that are bringing you down or making fun of you because you’re crazy or you’re weird with your dietary approach, well, bye-bye.

I have not eaten gluten in probably seven years or so. I still have friends to this day, friends who I’m very close who I spend a decent amount of time, they say, “You’re still on that diet? You’re still not eating gluten?” I say, “Do I slip up once in a while and have a little piece of cookie? Sure. But if I were to eat a big plate of pasta right now the way I used to,” I’m Italian, I come from a big Italian family, “it’s probably going to destroy me for a good week or two.” After a while, you’ll start to realize, why am I going to keep injuring myself? In essence, you’re injuring yourself whether it’s physically, a lot of times as we talked about early in the conversation when we talked about depression, it’s emotionally also. Your entire chemistry starts to change and that includes the chemistry of your brain. Can you connect for us how the gut is connected to our brain as far as our chemistry and our emotions?

Just like we talked about leaky gut, you can also have what’s called leaky brain, which is a permeable blood-brain barrier. If people listening are familiar with the supplement GABA, it’s a calming neurotransmitter that we naturally produce. Many people will promote GABA supplementation as a way of reducing anxiety. The GABA molecules are technically supposed to be too big to fit through the blood-brain barrier. Meaning, if you go and take a 500 mg supplement of GABA, you probably shouldn’t notice anything. This is kind of a trick that I’m saying this because if you do notice something, let’s say you get relaxed from the GABA supplement, then we know that you’ve got a leaky brain. This is the test where people freak out because people are, “I feel relaxed. I feel calm.” I was like, “You weren’t supposed to notice anything.”

The brain is also affected by everything we put into the gut. I’m not sure of the direct piece of paper study that says, “Gluten causes leaky brain.” I don’t know if we’re that far along. I don’t really care to wait that long to have the research. I know that it’s impactful enough on my gut health and everyone I’ve worked with gut health. We know now over 90% of serotonin, which is the most common neurotransmitter people know about, GABA is the forgotten one. Serotonin is made in the intestines. That’s what we figured out now. Here we are focusing on the brain the whole time with these SSRIs and we’re causing the serotonin to sit in that receptor site a little bit longer but that was only a miniscule part of serotonin. If we just start healing the gut, we can measure serotonin too on the Organic Acids Test. We can look at the levels. You’ve got amino acid metabolite markers that show most people are low.

The connection between the gut and the brain, for me, if you’ve got an inflamed gut, you’ve got an inflamed brain. That’s basically what I tell people. If they wanted to do the GABA test, they can. Ultimately, if you’ve got a leaky brain, that’s scary because when you’re exposed to environmental toxins like we all are, whether it’s glyphosate in conventional produce, whether it’s some of the heavy metals like cadmium and arsenic and other things that are in our exhaust pipes when we’re sitting on the highway. Even if you’ve got your car on re-circ, you’re still taking in outside air. These heavy metals and other environmental toxins are going to have direct access to the brain, which could all be caused due to the damage down south in the gut. For me, a good protocol, whether we’re talking about Alzheimer’s or other type of neurodegenerative disease, if we’re trying to fix, reverse, or manage those diseases and prevent those, we can go over here to the brain but we’ve also got to make sure we’re focusing on the gut too. There is such a balance between your gut flora and what goes on in your brain.

For me, with the depression symptoms, I didn’t have to focus that much on the brain. I did experiment with some amino acids like L-tyrosine is a good one, D-ala-phenylalanine is a good one as well, tryptophan’s another good one, those did help but they didn’t move the needle as much as removing the thing that was actually causing the imbalance of the neurotransmitters, which get produced by your gut primarily in the first place. Once I fixed the gut then the brain just magically got better. Now, I can just use brain supplements as a bonus if I just want to.

It’s good that you mentioned GABA because I talk about GABA often. GABA is inhibitory. Oftentimes, when you have chronic pain, your central nervous system is stuck in this state of hyper vigilance. People go right to the GABA and say, “GABA will fix it.” Oftentimes I say, “You can try that but oftentimes it’s not that simple.” Just because you start to throw some GABA on top of a leaky gut, you’re going to find out that it’s not going to be the one cure for it. In the realm of nootropics, I know you work in that realm as well. Is there a nootropic that someone with chronic pain would try or may benefit them?

I’m biased. People are going to say, “This is your product. You’re biased.” I’ve got one called Neuro Synergy. This is one that I’ve used with a lot of clients. Some of the most famous herbal nootropic formulas have ingredients in there like Huperzine which helps with acetylcholine, which is responsible for memory and cognition. A lot of drugs, believe it or not, like with Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative issues, they have drugs that work similar with these dopamine and/or acetylcholine receptor sites in trying to work on those neurotransmitters. Everything you can do with a drug, you can do with a supplement without the risk and without the side effects. I’ve used a wild blueberry complex, which is just a potent antioxidant. The Huperzine is great for acetylcholine. Then you’ve got Vinpocetine, which is also going to help with cerebral blood flow, getting more blood through the brain. You’ve also got ginkgo biloba. It’s a tree believe it or not, and it’s one of the coolest trees. I’ve actually seen a few here in Kentucky that were planted 200 years ago. They’re massive trees. Ginkgo’s one of the best brain boosters. If you find any generic brain supplement even at Walmart, you’re probably going to see ginkgo in it.

You could be getting gluten in the fillers, in the binders of those supplements.

Does that mean go to Walmart and take a ginkgo supplement? No, because you could be getting gluten in the fillers, in the binders of those supplements. I encourage you, please seek out professional grade, practitioner grade formulas, which is what I know you use and the only thing that I use. If I can help it, I never allow a client to use a consumer-grade product even if it’s at Whole Foods. If it’s a professional grade, we know the quality and the testing is going to be so much better and we know that it’s going to be more pure. When we’re working with autoimmune conditions, we can’t take a guess and say, “Let’s go buy whether it’s Solaray or NOW Foods.” Some of these can be pretty good quality but I just don’t like to cut corners when you’ve got somebody that’s been suffering for ten or twenty years. We just have to spend the extra $5 or $10 and get the better quality.

I agree 100%. We’ve been talking to Evan Brand. He is a Functional Medicine practitioner. You can find out more about him on his website, One thing I want to ask you, Evan, which I ask everyone at the end of the podcast, is if someone’s listening and they’ve had chronic pain and they’ve seen upwards of five, ten practitioners, and they’re still struggling to find the answer, what advice would you give them as really hope that they have a way to solve their own problem?

In the context of everything we’ve chatted about today, I feel like people are already going to know my answer. My answer is, get tested. Don’t guess, test. A lot of people do Doctor’s Data. I’ve seen a lot of false negatives on Doctor’s Data. I don’t use that test personally. I was using BioHealth Lab, they had a good stool test for a while. I started to see some false negatives there. Now I’m using the Diagnostic Solutions’ GI-MAP. All Functional Medicine stool tests are better than conventional stool tests. I’ve had women go to the most prestigious gastroenterologist in the United States and they go get those tests run, they show up negative. Here I am, little Functional Medicine guy, and I find infections. Any of those comprehensive stool analyses are going to be a good bet. If you’re looking to fix pain and if you’ve not ruled in or ruled out infections which could be the Candida, the Citrobacter, your Klebsiella, your Pseudomonas, your Giardia, your Crypto, all these different bugs, out of the thousand plus people I’ve talked about, one in three had some type of infection and nine out of ten have a yeast problem, which could be enough to prevent you from hitting that maximum peak of health. Get tested, don’t guess.

Secondly, just work with a practitioner that is going to be able to help you address the root cause. Anytime you get a recommendation thrown at you, you can always throw the question back at them, “How is this addressing the root cause?” If they’re able to answer that, perfect. If they just say, “I don’t know,” maybe you have to continue your search. On my website, I ditched the NotJustPaleo. If people go there, the forwarder’s set up, but it will send people over to, which is my home base now because I wanted to get rid of the trigger word. Paleo’s becoming like a trigger word for people. If they hear it, they automatically assume that they can summarize what I’m about in a nutshell. I said, “That’s it.” Now, it’s That’s where the podcast is and Dr. Joe was a guest there. There are about 230 plus episodes that people can dig in to.

Of course, make sure to check out Evan Brand’s interview today. If you can, and I hope you can, share it with your friends and family. Go to iTunes and give us a five-star review so we can help Evan spread the message of hope and healing for the millions who have chronic pain and struggle in the United States. On behalf of Evan, this is Dr. Joe Tatta. I want to thank you for being on the podcast this week. We’ll see you next time.

Take care.

About Evan Brand

HPP 040 | Leaky Gut

Evan Brand, BCHN, CFMP, NTP, CPT is a globally recognized leader in the fields of ancestral health, holistic nutrition, and functional medicine. He is the creator of, one of the top 25 natural health podcasts on iTunes, and the author of three books including REM Rehab, Stress Solutions, and The Everything Guide to Nootropics. He has appeared on dozens of radio shows, podcasts and media outlets, where he appeared as a guest expert.

Evan has been studying, practicing and teaching natural health and living for more than 7 years. Evan works with clients from a functional medicine perspective. He uses lab testing and a thorough intake process to discover the underlying causes of health symptoms, and a customized combination of nutrition, supplements, botanicals, herbs and lifestyle changes to address them.

His work is deeply rooted in his own struggles with depression, IBS, skin issues–which he later recovered from through his own research and strategies. Evan lives in Louisville, KY with his wife and daughter! He offers free 15-minute functional medicine phone consultations at his site

The Healing Pain Podcast features expert interviews and serves as:

A community for both practitioners and seekers of health.
A free resource describing the least invasive, non-pharmacologic methods to heal pain.
A resource for safe alternatives to long-term opioid use and addiction.
A catalyst to broaden the conversation around pain emphasizing biopsychosocial treatments.
A platform to discuss pain treatment, research and advocacy.

If you would like to appear in an episode of The Healing Pain Podcast or know someone with an incredible story of overcoming pain contact Dr. Joe Tatta at [email protected]. Experts from the fields of medicine, physical therapy, chiropractic, nutrition, psychology, spirituality, personal development and more are welcome.

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