Ep. 224 The Fascinating Connection Between Melatonin, Inflammation, Infections and Mitochondrial Health with Dr. John Lieurance

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Today, I’m happy to welcome Dr. John Lieurance as my guest! Dr. Lieurance is a doctor of chiropractic and naturopathic medicine and the author of Melatonin: Miracle Molecule (Melatoninbook.com).

Melatonin is a very misunderstood hormone that is astonishingly impactful. It has profound, significant, and far-reaching effects that go all the way to the cellular level. Most of us are shocked to hear the story of the connection between melatonin, inflammation, infections, and mitochondrial health and discover that much of what we do in our modern-day lives harms our melatonin production.

In this episode, Dr. Lieurance and I dive into the role of melatonin plays in stress protection, anti-aging, and brain function. We talk about hormesis, discuss what depletes melatonin, and explain why those who are sympathetic dominant in our modern-day lifestyles need to be highly attuned to this crucial hormone. We get into the role of sleep, the role of deep sleep in brain health, autophagy, and autoimmunity. We touch on the gut microbiome and explain why specific populations, including shift workers, should be concerned about supporting melatonin secretion. We also discuss the role of SandMan and other products Dr. Lieurance created, including Fast Track Fast, which contains Nad, Methylene Blue, and other senolytic products.

I hope you will enjoy this conversation and find it as valuable as I did! Stay tuned for more!

“All stressors have one thing in common; They have an inflammatory nature.”

– Dr. John Lieurance


  • Dr. Lieurance explains the connection between the body’s adaptation response to stressors and disease.
  • What part does melatonin play in how the mitochondria in our cells respond to inflammation?
  • Repleting lost reserves of melatonin can be helpful, provided you make some lifestyle changes.
  • Dr. Lieurance explains the difference between pineal melatonin and extra-pineal melatonin.
  • Key things that cause disease in our modern civilization.
  • Dr. Lieurance explains why he refers to melatonin as “the ultimate resilience molecule” and recommends supplementing it later in life.
  • Studies have proven that melatonin supplementation is non-toxic. (Using a high-quality product is vital, however.)
  • Getting enough sleep is crucial for good health.
  • Dr. Lieurance discusses the glymphatic system, what it does, and various things that could affect it.
  • Dr. Lieurance talks about his Fast Track Fasting program.
  • Why should you take melatonin after a fast?
  • How does melatonin benefit the gut microbiome?
  • Dr. Lieurance explains the effectiveness of suppositories as a delivery system for melatonin supplementation.
  • What can shift workers do to support their bodies and prevent metabolic disease?
  • Some changes you can make to your home and bedroom to protect your sleep.
  • Taking melatonin internally and externally is an effective hack for healthy skin.


Dr. John A. Lieurance is a Doctor of Chiropractic, Naturopath (no license in FL), Registered Medical Assistant, and Performs Musculoskeletal Ultrasound. He has practiced in Sarasota for 24 years. Dr. Lieurance is a regular guest on many media outlets, has been on the Documentary “Pain Revealed”, and is a contributor for both ABC 7 news, and SNN news, as well as on popular podcasts like Ben Greenfield Fitness and CellTV with Dr. Dan Pompa. Dr. Lieurance has a gift for difficult cases where other practitioners have failed. With the successful integration of Functional Neurology, Chiropractic, Naturopathy, Nutrition using the Asyra, Detoxification Programs, and LumoMed inner ear therapy. His Musculoskeletal Ultrasound training includes over 100 hours through the Gulf Coast Ultrasound Institute, 60 hours through AAOM, 90 hours through AOAPRM, and 60 through TOBI. He also has extensive training for sterile lab procedures and the processing of blood platelets, bone marrow aspirate, and adipose tissue through Oregon Biologics, Emcyte Corporation, Ron Gardener, M.D. (orthopedic surgeon), Regenestem, and the Ageless Regenerative Institute. He has been an assistant instructor for hands-on practicum for diagnosis using musculoskeletal ultrasound for the 3rd Annual Platelet Rich Plasma & Regenerative Medicine Symposium in Los Angeles, California in 2015. In 2016, He was a speaker at the Florida Chiropractic Physicians Association (FCPA) in Orlando, Florida on Clinical Applications of Musculoskeletal Ultrasound. He has completed training with Dr. Richie Shoemaker in 2019 for diagnosis & treatment of CIRS and with the “Shoemaker Protocol”. His techniques include Continuing Chiropractic Education: Chiropractic Neurology, – Applied Kinesiology “AK”, Cold Laser Therapy, Extremity Adjusting, Lumbar and Cervical Disc Decompression, Pettibon Scoliosis, Carrick Institute of Functional Neurology: Vestibular Rehabilitation & Movement Disorders in 2012,’16, ’17, ’18. He is the author of Melatonin: Miracle Molecule see Melatoninbook.com. Dr. Lieurance is the developer of Functional Cranial Release and teaches, as well as certifies, these methods to doctors around the world.

Connect with Cynthia Thurlow

Connect with Dr. John Lieurance


Cynthia Thurlow: Welcome to Everyday Wellness Podcast. I’m your host, Nurse Practitioner Cynthia Thurlow. This podcast is designed to educate, empower, and inspire you to achieve your health and wellness goals. My goal and intent are to provide you with the best content and conversations from leaders in the health and wellness industry each week and impact over a million lives.
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Today, I welcome Dr. John Lieurance: He’s a Doctor of Chiropractic and Naturopathic Medicine. He is also the author of Melatonin: Miracle Molecule, I was so excited to dive deep into one of my favorite, and very misunderstood hormones. We talked about the role of melatonin including its role in stress protection, antiaging and brain function. We talked about the role of hormesis, what depletes melatonin and why people that are sympathetic dominant in our modern-day lifestyles need to be very attuned to this important hormone, the role of deep sleep-in brain health, autophagy, autoimmunity, and we also touched on the gut microbiome as well as specific populations, including shift workers, why they need to be concerned about supporting melatonin secretion. We also spoke about the role of Sandman as well as, other products that he has created, including Fast Track Fast, which has NAD, Methylene blue, and other senolytic products in it. I hope you will enjoy this conversation as much as I did, and find it as invaluable as I did reading Dr. Lieurance’s book
Welcome, Dr. Lieurance. It’s so good to have you on the podcast. I’ve been looking forward to our discussion for several months. I know that we both had books that just came out this year. So, it’s been an especially busy time, but I would love for you to share with the Everyday Wellness Podcast listeners, how you got so passionate about melatonin.
John Lieurance: Well, thanks for having me, Cynthia. In our brief little chat right before we started recording, I’m really excited with your enthusiasm for melatonin, and your interest in bringing forth all of the miracles that melatonin has to offer to your audience. I think this is going to be a great show for a lot of people to listen to, and they’re going to be really shocked when they really hear the full story because it’s not easy to find that story, is it?
Cynthia Thurlow: No, I think for myself being traditional allopathic trained and also functionally trained, what I learned years ago in my training was that melatonin was this little hormone secreted by the pineal gland, that helps us sleep. And that was kind of the prevailing information that was shared with us and yet, the more I learn about melatonin and the importance of it, the more I humbly acknowledge that there’s a lot that we don’t fully understand and appreciate. So, when we’re talking about melatonin, let’s talk about what it actually offers because it is so much more than just a hormone that helps us sleep. I’m providing kind of a reductionistic perspective, but I think when people really understand what we are doing in our modern day lives that is adversely impacting the secretion of melatonin, and how all of the ways that we are living our lives, it is actually suppressing this hormone that has far-reaching effects that are significant and quite profound. It goes all the way back to the cellular level. We love to talk about mitochondrial health on this podcast. When I was listing out the benefits of melatonin last night, just from my own kind of organizational process, I thought to myself, I think most people don’t even realize how much benefits melatonin provides to their bodies.
John Lieurance: Yeah, for sure. I mean, in fact, it’s not as necessary when we don’t have stress, but we know what happens when– for instance, gravity is a stressor. And if we go into space, and there’s no gravity, that stress that normally causes our bones to respond by producing more bone tissue becomes such a problem. People come back from space, and they have severe osteoporosis unless they have something that mimics gravity to put that stress into the bones. So, you can take this story and tell it over and over and over again for so many different types of stress, because it’s what keeps us going, it’s what keeps us alive. Our body is built with a system where we have an adaptation response, and all of these adaptation responses require energy. And when we don’t have the energy to respond, then this is a major cause of disease. If not, I would offer the primary cause of disease, they all share one thing is that they start with a low energy situation, Disease expresses itself in a variety of different ways with individuals based on their genetics and their various environmental influences. But underlying those diseases is generally the lack of energy to provide an adaptation response to various stress.
And when those stresses exceed the body’s ability to adapt, you start to have an inflammation because all stresses have one thing in common, they have an inflammatory nature to them. That inflammation, when it gets to a certain level, those little structures inside of all of our cells called the mitochondria, and it sounds like your listeners are very familiar with what that is the powerhouse of the cell, they really do not like inflammation. In fact, so much so that they basically say, “Hey, listen, we’re out, you do the job yourself.” And so, all the energy is then taken out of the mitochondria, and it’s made in the rest of the cell. It’s not efficient at all. In fact, it gives you 10% of the energy that you would otherwise get. So, you can imagine like if you have an infection, your body’s trying to adapt to that infection by mounting an immune response and all of a sudden, you have 10% of the immune function that you had just a short time before, you’re going to lose that battle.
Now, how does melatonin play into the story? Well, melatonin sits in the mitochondria, and it holds the fort down to keep it from making that switch to say, “Hey, No, you do it yourself,” basically keeping the mitochondria from shutting down, and switching from making energy within the mitochondria to making energy outside of the mitochondria, which again, is only 10% as effective. So, melatonin is the key nutrient that preserves that situation, because it’s the ultimate antioxidant and it’s made in every cell in the body.
Cynthia Thurlow: I think it’s really interesting about melatonin and talking about cellular energy and providing a platform for people to really understand this. I think my understanding of the mitochondria is by the age of 40, all of us have dysfunctional mitochondria, but if you’re dealing with chronic diseases before then, whether it’s a tick-borne illness, whether it’s diabetes, whether it’s high blood pressure, and if you’ve unfortunately been diagnosed with cancer, what you’re really looking at is even at an earlier stage you have this inefficient glycolytic system that your body is utilizing to create energy as opposed to utilizing energy within the cell where it’s much more efficient.
So, when I think about the suppression of melatonin, and I think about as but one example, I have teenagers, they spent a lot of time on electronics and a lot of time the past two years, as I suspect many listeners have as well given the global pandemic, and so I think about the things that impact reducing melatonin in the body. I start thinking about blue light and junk light and things that will adversely impact or mitochondrial efficiency will impact melatonin secretion. And then on the other side, I also think about the fact that north of 40, that most of us are producing less melatonin intrinsically. Then this is when you start seeing sleep issues, and you start seeing hormonal dysregulation.
I think it’s so important for people to understand that melatonin is this incredibly impactful, helpful hormone that really doesn’t get the attention that it truly deserves, and why I think your book is so important. We think about what it does in the brain, we think about how it impacts is our immune defenses and we think about the anti-inflammatory you kind of talked about. I also start to think about, why are so many providers fearful of repletion of melatonin because I was always taught, “Oh, if you provide repletion of this hormone, it’s going to suppress your endogenous, your inside secretion of melatonin.” And based on what I was reading in your book, that really doesn’t seem to be the case and I certainly myself over the last year, had been experimenting with what I thought was high-dose melatonin. And then I actually purchased Sandman, and I was like, “Okay, this is high dose melatonin.” So really understanding that repeating lost reserves of melatonin can be beneficial, provided that vis-a-vis you’re making those lifestyle changes to. Part of the allopathic model is that we put a band aid on things and a lot of the kind of gestalt of your work is really making or ensuring people understand why it’s so important to do the work, not just use the replacement, but really think thoughtfully about how you interact with your environment, what kind of foods you eat, what you’re doing in your personal and professional life that can adversely impact this very important hormone.
John Lieurance: For sure. Yeah, very well stated.
Cynthia Thurlow: What are some of the ways that when you’re talking about the impacts of what depletes melatonin, I’m sure for listeners, they’re curious to know, what are some of the main reasons that you see with your patient population as to why their melatonin levels are suboptimal?
John Lieurance: Well, you had mentioned like– I think we’re wired for the sleep-wake cycle, and we produce melatonin based on blue and green light that enters our eyes during the daytime. And we really need to have two conversations because people will get confused because they’re thinking about the pineal melatonin and then we’re kind of talking about, “Hey, there’s all these other benefits of melatonin,” which is the extrapineal melatonin. The pineal melatonin is really what regulates the sleep wake cycle and it’s a very small amount of melatonin compared to all of the melatonin that’s produced by the body. The sleep wake, your pineal is going to produce and store melatonin during light and it’s going to release it and activate it, which is going to help you to regulate a lot of systems in your body, but primarily, the parasympathetic nervous system. This parasympathetic nervous system is part of what’s called your autonomic nervous system. So, you have this kind of like automatic part of your nervous system, they call the autonomic nervous system, and it’s separated into two parts, you have the fight or flight, which is the sympathetic and the resting and digesting, which is the parasympathetic.
When we are looking at modern civilization and what are some of the key things that are causing a lot of disease, I would offer that it’s this chronic state of adrenalized busy. We can accomplish so much more with all the technology, and it’s exciting, we can do all these things, and manage 10 businesses on our cell phone, and we can watch movies that have been produced for hundreds of millions of dollars. Think back, 100 years ago, even the most glorious king didn’t have that ability to watch entertainment that had that much built into it. So, we have just a tremendous amount of things that cause us to be activated, and not enough things that are countering that, and that’s within the autonomic nervous system, primarily the parasympathetic resting and digesting part.
So, this resting and digesting part of our nervous system is very far reaching, it’s of importance. One of it is it’s how we repair our body when we sleep, this is where we’re our body is regenerating itself. Our cardiovascular system and our brain, and every cell in your body really relies on that break that we get each night. The deeper that we can really dive into that calm, relaxed state in the parasympathetic nervous system, the more repair we’re going to get, which is going to prepare us more for the issues that we might face during daytime. So, when we start to have that loss of that regeneration and that repair night, after night, after night, then again, our adaptation ability really starts to fall to the wayside, and we start becoming more susceptible to all kinds of diseases.
See, our body is self-healing and self-regulating. There’s a wisdom that flows through every cell in your body. We call it the innate intelligence. Some people might call it God or the Divine, and this is something that’s there working for us. But it runs out of battery power, it runs out of juice, and where that’s coming from is the mitochondria. And again, besides having this ability to kind of regulate the sleep wake, the melatonin is there to prevent us from kind of overheating, so to speak, from various stresses. So, I call it the ultimate resilience molecule.
But kind of back to your question about what are the primary things kind of affecting that, I guess, pineal melatonin. This is going to be light is going to be a big thing. EMF is a big issue. So, EMF actually travels directly through your skull and those particles and those wavelengths when they hit your pineal and your pineal sees that as sunlight, that can really interfere with the circadian rhythm and the release of melatonin. There are solutions to these things but at the end of the day, once you get to the age of 40, 50, 60, melatonin just goes in the gutter. I don’t care– I think wearing blue blocking glasses is a really good idea. I wear those when I go to bed. When I’m watching TV at night, or if I’m on the computer, looking at my cell phone, I turn that brightness down and that can help you get a better night’s sleep. There’s are things that can help sleep, but it may affect the melatonin a little bit but by that time, in the later years of life, you’re not really producing much anyway. So, I think there’s a big argument for people to supplement with melatonin. I think that if melatonin was better understood as far as its safety, then probably the entire population would probably be– we’d put it in the water system, I think. That’s how beneficial, I think. Everybody should consider at least taking it in certain periods of stress.
But I’ve been doing an experiment with myself, and I’ve been taking about 800 mg of melatonin every night for the last couple of years. I’ve taken breaks, where I’ve taken a break for a week, and I don’t fall off a cliff. The reason being is because everybody– when you take something like testosterone or progesterone, you’re going to shut down your own endogenous production. As you mentioned, Cynthia, before, it’s like this inside production of melatonin, or of hormones of testosterone, or progesterone, estrogen. A lot of these hormones, they’re set so that we have a reciprocal inhibition. So, if we get it, our body says, “Okay, we have that we don’t need to produce it.” So, there’s a shutting down of the production of it from that. We don’t have that with melatonin so there’s no fear for anybody to think if I supplement with melatonin that you’re going to start producing less. And really by the time you’re in your 60s and 70s, and 80s, you’re not really producing hardly any anyway. So even if it did, I’m not sure that would even matter, but you don’t need to worry about that.
What I think is really humorous, and I’ve had a lot of people message me this complete joke online, where it’s like, we have all of these toxic– people are claiming that kids are getting toxic effects to melatonin by taking melatonin that their parents have in their medicine cabinet I don’t remember the exact language to it, Cynthia, but it was something where it was kind of a fear thing, like, “Hey, toxic melatonin, we need to really watch out for that.” And I just absolutely know, it’s some conspiracy. Pharmaceutical companies would really love to patent melatonin, and that melatonin could replace a lot of medicines. So, I think putting some information out there is really easy for them to do. I think they can easily get some reporter to write a quick little article like that, that’s going to cause millions and millions of people to then be afraid of melatonin. The word ‘toxic’ and melatonin should never be used in the same sentence.
They’ve done studies, they’ve done so many studies, Cynthia, literally, if you look at my book, just full of references and almost every scientist says the same thing. They say, “We feel like more research is necessary, because we don’t see any toxic effects to this.” One study, in particular, they gave up to 150,000 mg, and it was an animal model but for that size of the animal, it would be the same equivalent to 150,000 milligrams toa normal size adult that would weigh 70 kg. And they stopped it at that point, because they’re like, “Who’s going to take that much anyway?” They just concluded that melatonin is nontoxic.
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, it’s really interesting, because my N of 1 or I should say, my N of 100, because I’ve probably walked many, many patients through the addition of melatonin to a supplement regimen. What I found profoundly interesting is that most conventional supplement companies might do 0.5 mg, 1, maybe 3, maybe 5, maybe 10 milligrams. For a lot of people, when they start out with a higher dose, all of a sudden, even if they do they titrate it up, and they titrated down, about the worst thing that’s going to happen is they may wake up in the morning and be a little groggy, but getting light exposure will help improve that. So that’s the first thing that I’ve my N of 100 that I’ve kind of observed with titrating doses of melatonin.
The other thing that I found interesting is I would imagine that across the spectrum, depending on the quality of the melatonin, there are probably companies out there where if it were tested, they may not actually have much melatonin in a supplement. I tend to gravitate towards higher quality companies like your own and a few others where my N of 100, I’ve been able to get consistent results at certain doses. So, I think it’s important for people to understand that if you’re going to choose to supplement, you want to make sure you’re using a high-quality product. Because if you find it in Costco or Walmart or a grocery store, you might not be getting what you think you are. I think a lot of people don’t understand there’s very little regulation in the supplement industry. We used to call them ergogenic aids, but the supplement industry is largely unregulated. And so, in many instances, you really have to spend a little bit of time ensuring that the supplement you’re taking is of high quality.
One thing, I do want to mention that I think is really interesting is that the byproduct of our modern-day lifestyles is we’ve gotten so accustomed to just being tired. It’s I cannot tell you how many men and women I speak to and they’re like, “Well, I’m x age. This is just the way things are,” and I would say, “It doesn’t have to be that way.” I feel like at the stage of life as a middle-aged woman, I have more energy now than I probably did in my medical training when I was getting by on very little sleep, and staying up very late at night to study. So, I think the kind of scarcity mindset are kind of reframing for people to understand that you can really feel good at just about any age, you just oftentimes have to find what works best for you as an individual. And I think melatonin is really such a fascinating opportunity for people to experiment and see what works best.
I know, when I came back from a trip two weeks ago, more than two weeks ago, I thought I had gotten COVID, and I actually didn’t have COVID. But I started real high doses of melatonin and I do think that the amount of melatonin I was taking was definitely helping whatever virus I was exposed to, I kept coming up negative for COVID, and for flu, and I just had some type of [unintelligible 00:20:47] virus, but really understanding that it can be incredibly healing and nourishing. Again, it’s so much more than just thinking about it in the context of sleep.
John Lieurance: Yeah. Well, and that’s there’s actually some hospitals who that was their protocol where they were getting up into the hundreds of milligrams. I mean, some of them would be 20, or 40, and then there was some that were quite high. I was really happy to see that early on and then it seemed to disappear. It was kind of the first six months of COVID, you could easily pull it up, and you could go to the hospitals, and you could read that was part of their protocol. And then I think things changed a bit, and I got my opinions about that but we’re not going to get into that on this show.
Cynthia Thurlow: No, it’s funny/not funny that most of us in the health and wellness space feel like we have to carefully navigate these conversations because they can largely be–we can be put in a position where we can get into a sense of– well, there’s no other way to put it, you just feel you’ve been gagged. So, it’s easier just to bypass/bipedal the concept. So, let’s talk a little bit about stages asleep, because I think this is particularly interesting, and what’s so important nourishing when we’re talking about REM sleep and deep sleep. I love talking about the glymphatic system. I think this is something that all of us should fully understand and why it’s so, so important to ensure that we’re getting high quality sleep because it is so restorative and important for brain health as well as metabolic health.
John Lieurance: Yeah. Well, deep sleep is the primary activator of the glymphatic system, and I always say that you’re either a swamp or a river. There can be parts of your body that are swampy or rivery. If you think about a swamp as being stagnant, you’ve got a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses and molds and whatever. Where a river, you have this turnover, and it’s going to be more fresh. So, having a system to get rid of waste products is really important, and bring in the groceries, take out the garbage, if you will. And so, the glymphatic system is the gutter system, like the lymphatic system is in the body. And so, that deep sleep is really the primary activator of that. A lot of people don’t get a quality deep sleep, and it’s highly correlated to the development of degenerative neurologic disorders.
One thing that’s kind of interesting is your sleep posture can actually affect your glymphatic system. Although as a chiropractic neurologist, I really appreciate the curve in the neck and the importance of sleeping on your back. A friend of mine developed a wonderful pillow called the Neck Nest, Peter Martone, and I think it’s a wonderful product if you’re sleeping on your back. But then, they found that sleeping on your side actually supports better glymphatic system. I probably sleep on my side the majority of the time. So, sleep posture can affect it, melatonin can definitely affect it and it’s activation of the deep sleep cycle, and that can be important to get rid of waste products.
So, all of these different degenerative neurologic conditions all have one thing in common, which is there’s protein accumulations in the brain and so you start thinking about, “Okay, well, if there’s protein accumulations, let’s look at what’s causing an upregulation.” Why are more proteins happening? And then, why aren’t these clearing as well? The proteins are oftentimes a response of the immune system, so things like chronic neurologic infections. That’s why here at our clinic, we regularly test people for different viruses. We look at Lyme disease quite a bit. We look at a variety of different infections that people could have systemically. And then, there’s also toxins. So, whether it’s a toxin infection, which by the way, Cynthia, I think, between toxins and infections, I think you’re really at the core of most diseases. Those are the stressors that are causing the inflammation that’s then shutting down our energy, that then it’s like this loop. It kind of perpetuates itself.
So, looking at the deep, utmost upstream cause of disease is the reaction to inflammation from toxins and infections. So, in the brain, when you get these toxins or infections, the body’s immune system, which oftentimes you have the glial cells in the brain, and those glial cells become activated, and then a lot of these plaques are built around these offenders to kind of protect them from reacting so much with the glial cells, because glial cells are these little cells in the brain, and they’re like a chihuahua with a bazooka. Once they get pissed off, they just start blasting everything, and they don’t typically want to stop. Anybody that knows chihuahuas or has chihuahuas, you walk in the room, and they’re just yap, yap, yap and they just don’t stop. That’s your glial cells.
We want to quiet those glial cells down, and that’s one of the reasons I developed a product called Lucitol, which is also a suppository. A lot of our products, we also make liposomals, but suppository is just such an amazing way to get nutrients into the body and we can talk about that a little bit. But the Lucitol, we use a couple of ways, one during fasting. I know that you do a lot with fasting, and you talk about fasting quite a bit. So, there’s this aspect of fasting where we’re dipping into autophagy that’s self-cleaning, and part of that process is cleaning up these senescent cells. These senescent cells, these zombie cells that accumulate because our body doesn’t successfully find them and remove them and recycle them, they just hog up a lot of energy and they produce a lot of inflammation. They can be cleaned up with something called senolytics. So besides fasting, there’s substances that are considered senolytic, meaning that it’s like going to clean out senescent cells.
And what we do is we stack the Lucitol, which has stearyl stilbene and fisetin as their primary ingredients. But it happens that those nutrients are also really, really helpful to settle down glial activation. So, for anybody that’s had a brain trauma, or they’ve, they’re getting exposed to toxins, and they got biotoxin illness like mold, they’re going to want to really pay attention to– a stroke is another example. They’re going to want to pay attention to something to calm down glial activation, and so a lot of these these polyphenols, which of these plant extracts, can be really, really helpful for that.
So really amazing how the same thing is kind of great to calm down the inflammation in the brain, and it can also be really good to take while you’re fasting. So, we have a program called the Fast Track Fast, which is a kit that we put together, where we load people with NAD. I’ve been really enjoying methylene blue, as well, like an energy loading. But what’s really cool about methylene blue is besides really charging the mitochondria and the body’s energy ort cellular energy, methylene blue also promotes autophagy. And so, it can be quite a nice nutrient to take while you’re in a fasting state. We look at methylene blue, we look at NAD is charging up the cells in preparation for this stress, which is we’re going to fast, maybe we’re going to fast for 16 hours in a day, maybe we’re going to do a 24-hour fast once a week, or maybe we’re going to do a more extended fast, or we do two, three, or even up to five or more days of fasting. Well, on those fasting days, we recommend taking these polyphenols and the substances and Lucitol can be really helpful to stack on those fasting days. And you can do it simply if you’re doing intermittent fasting, you can do it in the morning, or before bed, or you can do it while you’re going through any day that you’re doing fasting, same thing with the methylene blue. NAD, you do not want to take at the same time because NAD supports senescent cells, because it’s such a supporter for cells that senescent cells take it as a bit of a lifeline. So, you’re trying to actually kind of choke them out and get them to be cleared out. You don’t want to support them, so we don’t want to take NAD every day. NAD is something that you want to take– I’ll usually recommend my patients take NAD anywhere from one to five times a week, and there can be a loading and there can be a maintenance with the NAD. And we have a product called NAD Max, which has a pretty high dose of NAD in a suppository, 500 mg, which is close to what most clinics will run as an IV. We’ve got 250 mg of NMN and 250 mg of NR, and those are both precursors. And then, we also put some fisetin tin in there to kind of at the same time we want to give people NAD, we don’t want to support senescent cells. So, we’re kind of giving senolytic with the NAD in hopes to kind of science that out a little bit.
Then after the fast, melatonin can be wonderful. The reason that we like melatonin after a fast is because fasting is a stressor to our microbiome. I don’t know about you, but the more I look into the microbiome, the more I get just totally excited about how this could be really at the root of everything. I mean, we have trillions of these bacteria in our body and they’re all communicating and talking to each other and they’re producing peptides, they’re producing neuropeptides and peptides. So, everybody’s into paying for all these peptides but we can produce our own if we have a healthy microbiome.
So, what happens when we fast, our body basically, through the process of attrition, is we’re cleaning out a lot of these bacteria and even the good bacteria are going to kind of diminish in numbers because we’re depleting them from nutrients. Then when we start to eat, then we’re going to start to have this replenishment of the microbiome. And if you can guess, what is the primary activator of growth of new bacteria in the gut?
Cynthia Thurlow: [unintelligible] [00:31:06]
John Lieurance: Melatonin.
Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, interesting.
John Lieurance: Yeah. It stimulates something called microbiome swarming. The microbiome is just like your body. We make new cells and tissues when we’re sleeping. We make new cells and tissues based on a circadian rhythm. Same thing happens with the microbiome, so the microbiome is working during the day, but then they have this swarming effect at night where they actually proliferate, and it’s based on melatonin that’s literally being secreted by the lining of the gut. And that’s gut melatonin, which is, by the way, 400 times higher than pineal melatonin.
Cynthia Thurlow: There’s so much goodness in what you just said. For listeners, we’re going to touch on a lot of these topics, but we have these circadian clocks in our gut. This is oftentimes why I encourage people not to eat too close to bedtime, because you can dysregulate secretion of melatonin. I did not realize that melatonin was the biggest impetus per se, to healing the gut microbiome. What’s interesting is I did a talk at a forum in April talking about the role of fasting and the interrelationship with the gut microbiome. But what I think is most important for people to understand, if they’re not already clinicians, when you start looking at the epithelial layer of the small intestine, it’s one-cell layer thick, which is very small. And so, what people oftentimes don’t realize is it’s very easy to disrupt the gut microbiome, it’s very easy to disrupt the epithelial layer, which can lead to leaky gut or small intestine hyperpermeability and so many of us are the way we live our lifestyles. The foods we choose the unrelenting stress, the sympathetic dominance, we’re really putting ourselves in a position that we’re going to impact the health of the melatonin clocks that we have.
Now, one thing I want to make sure I touch on, because people have heard you use the word ‘suppository’ several times. As a clinician, we both understand how vascular the rectum can be but in terms of a delivery system, let’s explain why you chose to provide supplements that are delivered in that way. It’s not something to be scared of.
John Lieurance: Yeah.
Cynthia Thurlow: I mean, freaks my whole family out. They know when the melatonin comes out of the refrigerator, [chuckles] you what’s going to happen. But I think it’s important for people to understand this delivery system is very specific, very special, very vascular.
John Lieurance: Well, I have to take you back to the early days when I was really sick with Lyme disease, and I didn’t know what was wrong with me. And somebody somewhere had suggested glutathione suppositories, and I had been actually finding that IV glutathione was helpful but getting an IV on a regular basis, it wasn’t practical. So, I ordered some glutathione suppositories and I found that– Cynthia, I had tried so many things when I was sick, and very few things, if anything, really worked, like really move the needle. I had Lyme and I had mold, and I was toxic, and I didn’t understand this area. I was a fairly successful naturopathic and chiropractic physician even back then. I had patients traveling in to see me, but then I could not figure out what was wrong with me.
But I did know one thing is when I took a glutathione suppository before bed, I’d wake up and it felt a lot better than I did, if I didn’t. So, it became something that was a necessity for me to function. I really found it really interesting how effective this delivery system was. So, I started a company and we started to sell glutathione depositories. I want to say this is probably like 17 years ago. It was one of those little pet projects that I had. We’re shipping them out of the clinic and that went on for many, many years and then I finally started to look at, well, there’s a lot of different combinations and different substances that I thought could really be beneficial. After I had recovered from my own journey with mold and Lyme disease, I started looking back and I started to think like, “Oh, okay, these are some things that I really want in my clinic to treat my patients,” because you go through it yourself, you wind up attracting a lot of those types of patients to your practice.
So, when I looked at melatonin, it really became a no-brainer, because it can slow release into the system while you’re sleeping and this mimics the way melatonin is secreted. I don’t care how slow releasing oral, you cannot get anything that’s really going to release anywhere near as smooth and long lasting as a suppository. It’s nothing. It goes in very easily, and you wash your hands, and you don’t even know it’s in there. It turns into kind of an oil very quickly. So, it’s not really an inconvenient thing to do. It’s not a gross thing to do. Once you do it once or twice, you just realize it’s like– In Europe, in fact, it’s really, really common place, a lot of doctors give their medicines to people so and also think about how sick a lot of people’s guts really are, and how much absorption is really happening anyway. So, they did a study on melatonin to see how absorbable melatonin really is orally. Because what happens is our stomach acid works on these things, and then our liver breaks them down. So, we have first pass through our liver, stomach, and digestive enzymes before the nutrient even has an opportunity to be released into the bloodstream. What they found is only 1.5% of the melatonin found its way into the bloodstream.
Then you have people taking a half a milligram or a milligram. This is very homeopathic, and homeopathy works and so people are going to find benefit for various amounts of melatonin. There is some jargon out there that is suggestive that very small doses of melatonin are much more effective and there’s some flaws in that research. Russel Reiter who is a colleague of mine, and he’s probably one of the most researched is a MD and a PhD. He has a lot to say about that research that a lot of people look at as like, “Oh, no, no, it’s healthier to do lower amounts,” because he’s obviously in the other camp, which is the camp I’m in, which is based on real science and real research that shows that it’s totally safe to do very high doses of melatonin, could be done for long periods of time. It’s safe anywhere from children to very late in life and so yeah.
Cynthia Thurlow: It’s really interesting. I even read that in Europe, high-dose melatonin is used as a contraceptive. I did not know that.
John Lieurance: Hmm.
Cynthia Thurlow: Anywhere, I think 75 to 100 mg. If you’re a younger person listening to this, and you’re using high-dose melatonin, you just have to be mindful that it can act as a contraceptive, which I found utterly fascinating but when you think about intrinsically how melatonin works, not improbable that that could be a reaction. But I do agree after a year of using high-dose melatonin, and I worked with 6, 12, 18 mg, it was a titration up and a titration down. By hovering around 10 mg, I do use your product probably once or twice a week. Definitely, when I thought I had a virus that we will not mention, I was using it almost every night. And for me, I knew that I kind of was getting to a point that I was starting to feel better because there was one morning where I must have hit that wall of my melatonin threshold, and I just got outside and just sat outside for a while and got light on my retinas and helped suppress some of the increased cortisol.
John Lieurance: Yeah.
Cynthia Thurlow: –Is kind of the other side of melatonin. When your cortisol is increased, it’s going to suppress melatonin. But to me, it really, really helped my sleep tremendously. I think for a lot of listeners that are probably really curious, they’re going to want to check out your book and certainly your work.
Now, I want to make sure that we touch a little bit on shift workers. I got a lot of questions from healthcare providers, people who work in different industries that are working overnight that understand the importance of sleep, and they’re concerned about how can they support their bodies, especially because if you look at the research on shift workers, they generally tend to have higher rates of diabetes, insulin resistance, propensity for certain types of cancers. If you really look at the research, we know that there are at a greater risk for metabolic disease. What are some of the things that you would say to them specifically? Because I know for many of them, the more they learn, the more they’re really trying to make better choices. In fact, I feel a lot of questions at KetoCon with people saying, “How do I go to work and not eat?” And I was like, “Very easy. You eat before you go to work, and you don’t eat till you get home.” And they’re like, “Oh, how does that work? “And I was like, “I promise you you’ll feel good.” So, for the shift workers of the world, what would you say to them?
John Lieurance: Well, there’s things you can do to hack that. There’s glasses that will produce some green, and we actually been playing around with this little light that produces a blue light. There’s ways that you can kind of enhance some of those colors to mimic the daytime, that you might look at putting around your workspace. And then, I think that you had some good suggestions as far as how to kind of organize your diet around those. Ultimately, I think that there’s some people that are going to be able to tolerate it better than other people. One of my partners, we do a lot of regenerative medicine here. We use stem cells and PRP and different types of things that we inject. We actually just started doing a stem cell injection into the ear that we had this doctor from Korea fly in and train us on for hearing loss and tinnitus. It’s really amazing. So, that’s like a huge part of our practice. Well, we do this regenerative medicine.
One of my partners who was working for me here was an ER doctor, and I remember he would always say there’s two types of people. There’s people that can handle this because obviously, in the ER that’s there’s a lot of time, night shift. And he says, there’s people that really can’t. For me, there’s no way that I could have anything remote to a vital life, if I had that type of situation, no matter how many hacks I did. So, I would say that you need to really find out if you’re one of those people and if you are, I think you should really look at changing your career. And if not, you’re wanting to stick it out, I think that supplementing with something like Sandman, or a high-dose melatonin would probably be on the top of my list. That along with getting some blue and green light in the nighttime, so you’re going to try to make nighttime be like daytime, and you’re going to make sure that when you’re sleeping, you have total dark-out. So, you want to invest in some of these shades, and turn off your Wi Fi during the day, and take a lot of melatonin.
Cynthia Thurlow: I think those are some really good suggestions and I think having been someone that worked nights as an ER nurse and realized very quickly, even in my 20s, that I could not sustain, that I am not one of those people who does well. Staying awake at night and sleeping during the day, I never ever got accustomed to it. Thankfully, I had a very sympathetic nurse manager, which helped. My last night shift I worked as a nurse practitioner was 17 years ago. So, my oldest will be 17 in August. And I was always that person. I was nauseous all the time. It was awful. There are definitely people that are like that. So, really honoring who you are as individuals. I think that information is super helpful.
You touched on something about home changes, and I know for myself– and I’m kind of we’re kind of backtracking a little bit, but I think this is important. I know I think I believe I read a blog where you were talking about some of the things you did within your home. We built a home last year and we had a gentleman by the name of Brian Hoyer who came out and his team assessed the land. They made all these recommendations, much to my teenagers’ disappointment, because we have special grounding material on the floors. We have special paint on our walls. We do– not during the summer, but during the school year, we knock out the WiFi at night, everything’s in airplane mode. My kids think I’m crazy.
But I do know I’m one of those canary in the coal mines. I am definitely one of those people. When I’m exposed to a lot of EMF and radiation, guess what happens? My cortisol gets dysregulated. There was a house that we sold in 2020 and Brian’s team came out and assessed it. And he said, “I’ve never seen this much geopathic stress, and EMF and radiation coming into a home.” We were in a very affluent part of northern Virginia. And so, it’s really interesting for me, when I look at what other healthcare providers are doing to protect their sleep, protect their homes, there are fairly easy things we can do. We can sleep in the cold and the dark and wear sleep masks and wear blue blockers but I believe you have a bedroom situation and correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like you have a bed canopy. So, you’re very protected from EMF radiation, etc. You talked about at the very beginning what that actually does to the pineal gland, and I think it’s important for people to just even be aware. If you can’t do anything, at least put your phone in airplane mode, but I’m curious to know what are your thoughts as well, about Oura rings and Apple Watches and all this technology? I’m wearing my Oura ring right now. What are your thoughts on how this impacts? The net impact on sleep?
John Lieurance: Well, Oura doesn’t really concern me too much. I don’t really know a lot about some of the other wearables, but I think that could be a concern, the Apple Watch for sure. I think that you can deactivate the Bluetooth mechanism so whenever you can do that you want to pay attention to that feature. And you’re absolutely right. Obviously, kids have so much reservoir for their health and vitality, so they’re not feeling that. It sounds like you and I are very similar with the canary. And oftentimes, you’ll find people like us in the healthcare business, because we’ve learned how to help ourselves. We’re the guys you want working for you, because we can take a supplement and feel it. The opposite of a canary is what I call bull moose, and which is pretty much 80% of the population, and they’re not as in touch with the impact that their lifestyle has on internal chemistry in the body. But for you and I, we can have a certain meal, or we might eat a certain thing or a certain way and we know very quickly is that serving us or is that working for us or not. And so, with kids, it’s very difficult because I know, even when I was a kid, maybe I didn’t even care. I might feel a little bit off or whatever but it’s like you didn’t care. “Just let me go play mom.” So, I really sympathize with trying to get all these things done in the household. I can imagine it must be difficult.
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, we actually had a conversation last night. My husband and I just said, when school starts– because my kids, they’re like bears. You know that chronotype they can stay up really, really late, but it’s to their own detriment. And so, I said, “We’re going to have to go back to knocking out the WiFi at 11 o’clock at night,” which is past my bedtime, but my teenagers love to stay up really late. Like I think they almost see it as an art form.
Now, I want to be respectful of your time. So, let my listeners know how to connect with you, how to get your book, how to get your products, obviously, we’ll have lots of links. Sandman is the product that I have been using and obviously, I’m going to check out the Fast Track Fast because I’m one of those people, I’d love to try things. And as you said, you and I are both the canaries, so I’m very sensitive to stuff. I’d really be curious to know how I respond because I’m always looking to take my fasting to another level.
John Lieurance: Yeah. Well, I’m on Instagram @doctormitozen. Our clinic is in Sarasota, Florida, and we’re advancedrejuvenation.us. My book is on Amazon Melatonin: Miracle Molecule. I got a whole chapter on gut by the way. I know we kind of touched on it, but there’s much more and virtually there’s an amazing story just like that on melatonin for cardiovascular, mental emotional health, brain, neurological infection. We kind of touched on that, but we kind of get into the nitty-gritty on how that actually works. Hormones. Yeah, I mean, just virtually skin. So, it’s amazing melatonin and skin. I mean, I can tell you, people trip out because I look 10 years younger. We launched MitoSkin. We’ve got to send you a bottle of MitoSkin sample.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I’m totally open to it. How old are you, John?
John Lieurance: Melatonin based, it’s a melatonin– and also, we put GHK copper peptide into it. And this antioxidant called a [unintelligible] [00:48:07], which is really amazing and so it’s a facial cream, and a coconut bass, all natural. It’s really fantastic. But for the skin, there’s really nothing– it’s good for all– Think about your gut and your skin, it’s like they’re always having interact with the environment. So, there’s a lot of oxidations that occurs in those levels. I can go spend the entire weekend with no sun. I don’t wear sunscreen anymore, because I don’t burn. I brown and I don’t even like brown as much as I used to. I was the kid that would take sailing lessons. I grew up in Hawaii, so we would go out and we would do sailing, and I would have blisters all over my lips and my nose, and I would get really red and then I would be white days later. It’s like I completely lost my tan. As you can see now, I’ve got a really nice tan and I think that taking melatonin internally and also externally can be a real hack for really healthy skin.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. That’s amazing. I have to ask, because this will come up, listeners will want to know how old you are.
John Lieurance: I’m 52.
Cynthia Thurlow: No, you look great. We would definitely not guess that for sure. And I think so much of what we look like external wise is really a reflection of how well we take care of ourselves internally. And when I think back to I was hospitalized three years ago. listeners know this whole story. 13 days in the hospital, very humbling as a health care professional and I would have people saying, “There’s no way you’re X age,” it’s almost 47. I tell people, unfortunately we have set the bar so low for middle-aged people, elderly people that we assume that if you look younger, that you’ve got some type of a hack. So much of it’s the way we lead our lifestyles, high quality supplements, intermittent fasting, all of these things can absolutely contribute it to being a bit more youthful and certainly having more energy than people much, much younger than us.
John, let us know, you mentioned where we can connect with you how to connect by your supplements, we’ll include all the links, it’s been a pleasure. I had four pages of notes, I could have taken this in so many different directions. But I love that we were able to have such a wonderfully organic conversation.
John Lieurance: Yeah, me too. Well, it sounds like you’re doing some great work and you’re out there speaking, and I’ve been getting invited on more and more platforms to come out and speak. So, I anticipate you and I will probably be sharing a stage at some point in the future.
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. We have some mutual friends that I was able to see this past weekend. So, definitely, for sure.
John Lieurance: Yeah. I think I know who they are.
John Lieurance: Well. Thank you, Cynthia.
Cynthia Thurlow: Thanks so much.
John Lieurance: All right. Bye-bye.
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