Swapping Sugar with Dr Gina Nick

Meet Dr Gina

Dr. Gina Nick is a world-renowned Naturopathic Physician, Researcher, and Formulator based in Newport Beach, California. With a dedication to holistic wellness, she’s known for her expertise in treating a wide range of health concerns, from autoimmune diseases to addiction recovery, anxiety, and more.

After graduation from medical school, she became the Director of Research for a leading supplement company, earning the company billions. She’s since held the roles of Executive Healthcare Consultant to Local and Government Agencies and President Emeritus of the California Naturopathic Doctors Association. As the Founder and Director of Healthbridge in Newport Beach, California, her practice was awarded “Top Medical Practice 2017,” a testament to her commitment to excellence.

As a published author, entrepreneur, and certified yoga instructor, Dr. Gina is a multifaceted professional with a passion for improving the lives of others. With her unwavering commitment to nurturing health naturally, she’s not just your typical medical professional. Dr. Gina is a nurturing soul, a devoted mom, and an advocate for holistic well-being. She’s licensed in both California and Hawaii and is excited to share her journey with you…

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Podcast transcript:

Welcome back to the urban monk podcast. Dr. Pedram Shojai excited to be here. Excited to share something I’m passionate about. Um, and it has a lot to do with. Resilience has a lot to do with flu season. It has a lot to do with, uh, the sanity of us as parents. It’s Halloween and, uh, Halloween brings, uh, a lot of joy and it also brings a lot of trouble. And so my guest today is Dr. Gina Nick. She’s a naturopathic physician who has been kind of a go-to. Doctor for the formulation company. She’s been formulating supplements that you’ve probably taken, uh, for years and she was sick and tired of the kids getting sick and tired and, uh, decided to hack Halloween. I love what’s going on here. I think you’re going to really enjoy this episode.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Well, certainly good to see you. Welcome to the show. Thank you for having me. Yeah. Listen, I am, uh, excited about this conversation because I think it’s, um, . You know, I think it’s had all the time, but I would like to bring it front and center. Um, being a parent, being a concerned parent, being a parent who witnesses what happens the bomb that, that drops in late November, um, late October into November, um, with the ensuing flu season and all the things that come, I swear it’s always Halloween that that sets us off.

Dr Pedram Shojai: On this really nasty tangent. And so Dr. Gina and I were talking about this at an event. Um, she had some really great ideas about how she’s hacking it. Um, so let’s talk about sugar and what it does.

Dr Gina Nick: So sugar tastes great. You know, the brain technically gets addicted to it. Um, and. Kids love it. Adults love it. It gives you a quick high, similar to how a drug would give you a quick high, you know, it impacts the opioid system. Um. It’s highly, highly addictive and, um, a lot of people don’t talk about that part of it.

Dr Gina Nick: But what sugar does in the body, especially when it’s consumed in excess, it increases a risk for heart disease, cancer. It can trigger ADHD like symptoms. So hyperactivity, it, it can cause oxidative stress in the brain. And that’s a huge issue, uh, because that can lead to all sorts of brain related.

Dr Gina Nick: Conditions, which is an area of focus for me in, in my practice and just what, what I do in the community and with the nonprofit that I started. And so, um, sugar is, is, is a tough one. It’s a tough one to keep away from kids and adults, but it causes a lot of harm in the body. It triggers inflammation in the body as well.

Dr Gina Nick: Um, it impacts your sleep, it impacts your stress hormone, it lowers, uh, your immune function. People don’t know that. Um, sugar competes for binding sites with vitamin C, and vitamin C is one of your main, you know, antioxidants for immune function. So it’s not my favorite ingredient on.

Dr Pedram Shojai: my favorite. No, I mean, and listen, there’s a long history, um, that’s been already told on, you know, how we got addicted to sugar and how, you know, we got really good at, you know, first, um, look and, and the, the, the history of sugar has a lot to do with slave labor in the Caribbean and all sorts of dark eras in.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Our cultural history, which isn’t cool to begin with, and then we got addicted to this stuff. Um, and you know, the transition from cane sugar to high fructose corn syrup is probably worth mentioning as well.

Dr Gina Nick: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so what’s happened, you know, cane sugar is a more, is a, would be considered a pure form of sugar, but that’s become highly refined over the years, um, to a form of sugar that is even more addictive. So it has a more profound effect on your body, you know, to electrifies everything and gives you this high, this energy a high.

Dr Gina Nick: Um, but with that comes an energy crash as well, and then the trigger of addictive behaviors. And so it’s, um, you know, a lot of people don’t realize there, there are over 264 different names for sugar, you know, in, in the industry, in the food packaging industry. Over that, you know? And so these days, ’cause everybody knows you stay away from sugar, sugar’s not good for you, et cetera.

Dr Gina Nick: But if you look at foods, I’m passionate about foods that are packaged and marketed to kids, you know, um, there are a lot of different names. High fructose corn syrup, you know, even agave syrup. It seems natural and good for you, but it’s still a sugar that impacts the brain. And in high enough levels it can cause harm.

Dr Gina Nick: And so, um, yeah.

Dr Pedram Shojai: um, one of my favorites is monk’s fruit, because they take a word like monk, which I have, you know, personal affinity towards . And, you know, say, well, you know, it’s, it’s good for you. It’s zen. It’s, it’s what, you know, and it’s just all rebranding of, you know, a very specific set of pathways that set us off in really dark directions.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Um, you know, that you already mentioned a number of the, the, you know, physiological issues. Um, and, you know, I do it. Shame on me. I do it. I’m a grown man. I do it. I know how to deal with the consequences, or, you know, I’ve, and I’ve, I’ve been hurt before. Doing it to my kids. That’s where, you know, I really start to, and, and look, we have these problems.

Dr Pedram Shojai: We have the problem on the school bus. We have the problem with people sneaking this contraband to school. We have the problem with birthday parties and all of it. So let’s talk about the problem with sugar and children and how much more of an issue it is, um, because of their younger physiology, their developing brains and their microbiomes.

Dr Gina Nick: and I mean, we’ll start with their developing brain. You know, sugar causes oxidative stress in the brain. Period point blank. It does more sugar, causes more oxidative stress. Oxidative stress causes, imbalances in neurotransmitters, can trigger anxiety, depression, behavioral disorders, attention deficit disorder, and, and all the way down the pike.

Dr Gina Nick: Um, and so, you know, it’s, it’s particularly harmful to kids. But you know, if you look at. Grandma and grandpa, you know, they’ll give your kids candy and the parents get annoyed, but why do they do it? Because it makes kids feel good and they associate a positive feeling with being with grandma and grandpa.

Dr Gina Nick: But the long-term effect of that, just like the long-term effect of taking any addictive. Drug is, there’s the counterside to it. You know, the behavioral issues show up and they start to do things to get that sugar at the expense of health to their own body, their own physiology. Um, and you know, these days I talk a lot about addiction because.

Dr Gina Nick: It’s very difficult to raise kids in our society today. You know, addiction is a major issue. There’s addiction to technology, there’s a addiction to video games, there’s addiction to drugs, you know, and then here we are as parents trying to combat all of that. But then we’re handing our kids candy.

Dr Gina Nick: Because, you know, they like it. It’s, it’s, it’s kind of like a norm in society to, you know, have Twix candy bars around or, you know, Skittles or whatnot. And so, uh, I can’t emphasize enough. I’m a, you know, I’m a mom, I’m a single mom. It’s not easy. You know, you wanna just, you, you’re doing a lot of things at one time.

Dr Gina Nick: It’s real easy to just hand your child what they want, you know, a piece of candy. And, um, it’s, it’s, it’s something that we, as parents, it’s worth our time. Effort and energy and focus to, you know, limit that sugar intake. It really is for the long-term health of our kids. We want clear thinking kids, you know, for our world, , we need that these days more than ever before, you know?

Dr Gina Nick: And so

Dr Pedram Shojai: Yeah,

Dr Gina Nick: starting now to make that transition for our kids is, it’s crucial. It is. It’s crucial. And.

Dr Pedram Shojai: So holding the line, it’s an ongoing thing here, right? I’m not just holding the line on the Halloween candies, you know, and you know the greatest hits of Twix and Snickers and you know, Skittles and things. And we’re gonna talk about some of these ingredients that are being banned by, you know, state of California for good reason.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Um. But you know, I have to hold the line with devices. I have to hold the line, you know? Well, so-and-so’s mom gives him an iPad, right? And then kids sitting there cracked out playing video games and can’t engage and look you in the eyes and you know, and it goes down, down the, like, as a dad, they, I feel it.

Dr Pedram Shojai: I feel the peer pressure that they get because they’re not normal. ’cause what’s normal, . Is the aberrant behavior. What’s normal is the lazy parenting. What’s normal is this shit show that then creates all of the, the, the flu bugs and all this kind of stuff. So how do you, how do you communicate with your kid that you’re lovingly restricting something that’s poison versus taking away what’s cool?

Dr Pedram Shojai: It’s very difficult.

Dr Gina Nick: It’s. I have a funny story. My, my nephew was a sugar addict and it used to drive me nuts. You know, I was in naturopathic medical school and I would just see all he ate was sugar, and I love this kid. I didn’t have my own children yet, and I, he was like my child and it would drive. And he had all the health issues associated with, with eating a bunch of sugar all the time, particularly behavioral issues and fast forward.

Dr Gina Nick: To, you know, now he’s a student at USC and I saw him the other day and he’s like, I don’t touch sugar anymore. And he heard me talk about the issues with sugar all these years, right? And so I kind of held the line, you know, and I would try and introduce different, you know, alternatives to him and just slowly educate him, you know, just.

Dr Gina Nick: Not talking down to him, but just letting him know the facts about this is what it does to the body. This is what does to your brain, you know, limiting sugar might help you to think better, feel better, et cetera. Anyway, fast forward, and he does not consume any sugar now, you know, and he’s gonna be taking a, you know, I have this product, he’s gonna be taking it to his friends, you know, at USC to say, here, take this instead of taking sugar.

Dr Gina Nick: Which to me, the irony of that is just amazing. But my point in sharing that is kids do listen. They may not respond right away, but that doesn’t mean we give up, you know, so educating kids and, and speaking to them respectfully about what it actually does in the body. You know, not berating ’em, sugar’s bad, stay away from sugar, it’s the devil.

Dr Gina Nick: Although, you know, you and I may feel that it is, you know, we’ve had conversations about that. But, uh, just genuinely educating our kids about what sugar does to the body. You know, is one step in the right direction because kids do listen. You know, they, their behavior might not change initially, but at some point, you know, it can have a profound impact.

Dr Gina Nick: So that’s number one, you know, limiting it in the house. We all know that, you know, limiting the amount of sugar in the house. Um, with my own daughter, what I’ve been saying, if she asks for, you know, a piece of candy, I’ll just say, well, don’t ask me. Ask your own body. You, you make the decision, you know, here’s some other options.

Dr Gina Nick: Here’s sugar. You’ve got me as a mom so you know all the issues with sugar, but you know, if you want it, Gabby have it. But I’m gonna ask you to ask your own body what it needs right now. So trying to kind of pattern that behavior of, of, of, ’cause we want it to come from our kids ultimately, you know, so they don’t listen if.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Eventually they gotta make these, these, they gotta draw the line, not us. Right. Education though. And then how these other options. Yeah. And there are, there are, we’re gonna talk about ’em. I mean, I come home, um, . When, when my kids come home, first thing I do is cut up a couple apples, uh, squeeze some lime, maybe put a little bit of chili on it or something, and make a healthy snack.

Dr Pedram Shojai: And the kids love it, right? Um, in that split second when they are hungry or hangry or, you know, it’s time. If that pantry had that junk in it. I mean, I, I don’t stand a chance, right? You get me hungry enough and I forgot what I ate before I ate it, right? And so like we have to set the setting in the house to not have it available.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Um, one of the things that, um, I. And we’re gonna talk about how that wall just gets, like, climbed over for Halloween somehow because it’s a holiday, we’re allowed to just, you know, let the enemy through the gate. Um, but one of the things I wanna talk about before we go to Halloween, um, I. And, you know, the, the, the evil witch bring in the stuff is this idea that, you know, has really started to come up in the functional medicine community in, you know, the last few years I never used to see candida overgrowth in children.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Right? And now the kids are all having these kind of aberrant candida, these, these expressions of candida, these players that are, you know, sugar loving players. Starting to over express and take over their systems. And the fallout looks like ADD, it looks like ADHD, right? And so I want, I wanna speak to this for our, for the parents listening.

Dr Gina Nick: absolutely. I mean, my practice, it’s, it’s a major, it’s a major thing. We’re always dealing with bottom line, and again, this is how I explain it to my own child and how I explain it to parents to share with their kids. There’s, you know, these microscopic bugs in your body. There’s good ones and there’s bad ones.

Dr Gina Nick: Sugar feeds the bad ones, period. It feeds the bad bacteria and it causes these, you know, bacterial yeast, fungal overgrowth. So you’re just feeding, you know, something that is gonna cause you harm and will take over. Period. Not that it’s what’s happening, you know, it’s, it’s, uh, sugar has a major impact on the gut microbiome.

Dr Gina Nick: There’s more and more research on the gut microbiome and the connection between what’s happening in your gut, what’s happening in your brain. They’re totally connected, and so one way to treat behavioral issues is by treating the gut one way to treat the gut. Is limit sugar intake, you know, refined sugar intake in your kids.

Dr Gina Nick: I mean, it’s like for, for parents, you know, we we’re all overwhelmed. We all have so much going on, and the, the world is in an odd place right now. There’s a lot of stresses that everybody’s under, you know, and so you can’t judge parents for feeding their kids candy or whatever. I mean, gimme a break. You know, we’re, we’re all under so much pressure.

Dr Gina Nick: I can’t emphasize enough. If you are to do one thing, you know, like, and, and take the time to do it, it’s worth it. You know, it’s, it’s, you get a lot of value out of taking the time to really address the sugar issue in your household with your kids. The, the, the cost benefit analysis is super good.

Dr Pedram Shojai: analysis is Yeah. Yeah. Um, and, and it’s one of these things that I think we we’re at an inflection point, if you will. Um, coronavirus did a lot of things to us collectively and as our, and our psyche, but we did become aware of. immunity and resilience and our ability to withstand assaults as they come at us.

Dr Pedram Shojai: And one study that I saw, and there’s a lot of studies on this one study I saw, they took, they, they measured the immune response in subjects and they put six granules of sugar on their tongue and measured about a 60% reduction in immune response immediately. , I, I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to have these kids home two days a week on, with snot flowing with, you know, the cadence of my life, right?

Dr Pedram Shojai: So it’s just that decision is gonna screw you next week, right? And so, like the ability to, to have them go get sick and come back and get everyone sick and get everyone else’s kids sick, is this chain reaction that’s a disaster that I think most people don’t really see.

Dr Gina Nick: It don’t make the connection. And that’s, you know, one of my jobs as, as a doctor and just as somebody who caress in the community, is to make it known how powerful that connection is, you know, and how far reaching the impact really is. You know, with, with consuming sugar and causing harm to the brain and to the body, especially in our kids.

Dr Gina Nick: And we, again, we need clear thinking, focused kids in our society today, more than ever before, it’s essential because they’re up against a lot of stresses and a lot of pressures and a lot of influences, um, that can cause a lot of harm. And so, uh, taking sugar, you know, high. The equation, like I said, just the cost benefit analysis.

Dr Gina Nick: It’s, it’s something very powerful that you can do for your kids that isn’t really talked about enough. These days, in my opinion, it’s, it’s, you know, when I see a child with type, you know, I was a Girl Scout troop leader, and I, there was a child with type one diabetes and she had behavioral issues and, you know, she would be fine after school and then, um, she would take a piece of candy, her tongue would be blue, and suddenly she was a nightmare and none of us could handle her.

Dr Gina Nick: It’s not her fault. Don’t give her the candy. Period. It has that profound of an effect, you know? And yeah, with, with Covid, um, coming into the picture, you know, our bodies are exposed to conditions that trigger a lot of inflammation all the time. And sugar is gonna amplify that issue. Lower immune function, increased inflammation in the brain, so

Dr Pedram Shojai: Yeah.

Dr Gina Nick: yeah.

Dr Pedram Shojai: So we have this holiday. Which used to be, uh, you know, a pagan holiday around witches and, you know, scary things. That’s become kind of America’s favorite holiday ’cause we like to dress up or something.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Um, and you know, my, my understanding of it is I. It’s the, the last new moon of the fa the, the harvest, uh, season. And it’s when the spirit world and, and our world are closest, then it’s a time to communicate with your dead kin and, you know, meaningful stuff that used to be a thing for certain cultures.

Dr Pedram Shojai: And now it’s about dressing up and sugar. And so like everything else. It’s been hallmarked to death and everyone loves Halloween, so I don’t wanna poo poo on the celebration, but at a certain point you gotta look and say, look, why are we cutting down 400,000, you know, trees for Jesus’s birthday? Why are we poisoning our children for this, this dress up party that we do and these rituals that we’ve built around, um, our lives?

Dr Pedram Shojai: If they don’t serve it. I mean, Christmas was about giving, Halloween was about whatever it was, but it’s not about boogers and snot and crazy kids.

Dr Gina Nick: Yeah. And, and, and it’s, it’s more serious now than ever before. I’ll say, I was looking up some statistics. Do you know we spend over $2.6 billion on candy for Halloween. It’s a huge industry, so follow the money, right? I mean, it’s a huge industry. So you’re up against that number one, the, the, the number of dollars spent.

Dr Gina Nick: So the amount of marketing and the colorful packaging and all of it, and just pedaling that this stuff to our children. It’s, it’s astronomical, you know? So yeah, we’re being, you know, our kids are being influenced. Um, and it doesn’t have to do with what’s in the best and highest good for the kids or for the families.

Dr Gina Nick: Point blank, you know? Um. It’s, it’s a problem. There’s, you know, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Rainbow Fentanyl. So rainbow. Yeah, so this, there’s, which it’s considered to be 50 times, you know, more addictive than heroin, a hundred times more addictive than morphine. And it’s been found in packages of Skittles and Whoppers and sweet tarts.

Dr Gina Nick: So not only is it where you have to be concerned about your kids coming home and consuming too much sugar and getting sick and not, and missing school, that’s a major issue, huge issue. But you also need to worry about. Your kid suddenly, you know, being exposed to fentanyl and God forbid dying because of it.

Dr Gina Nick: Right. So it’s, this is a life or death thing that that’s why it’s, it’s, it’s far more serious these days than we give it credit, you know, for, and so there, there is a huge concern and you, you don’t wanna be a party pooper, but you know, it’s a fun holiday and kids get excited about and that’s good. That’s a good thing.

Dr Gina Nick: And to be celebrating and with friends and all of that, that’s, and decorating. That’s all fun and good. . And we also do need to be mindful. These things are happening right now. You know, there was a, a drug trafficker. I think they, you know, found like 12,000, um, doses of fentanyl intermixed with this, the rainbow fentanyl intermixed with these packaged candies.

Dr Gina Nick: How do we know that doesn’t end up in, you know, someone’s basket of candy, innocently giving their, you know, dolling out candy on Halloween? We don’t. So.

Dr Pedram Shojai: We don’t, we don’t. And it happens. So

Dr Gina Nick: real. It’s happening right now.

Dr Pedram Shojai: there. There are . Are some very dark players doing some nasty things in the world and hiding fentanyl in a Skittles bag. I couldn’t tell the DI saw these pictures. I couldn’t tell the difference between the Skittles and the fentanyl. How the hell is your seven year old going to, but they’re gonna be dead like the next morning.

Dr Pedram Shojai: It’s a real thing. I wanna, I wanna quickly just historically, ’cause I don’t wanna be like Buzzkill Betty here, but I wanna talk about what this, this season was about, right when fruit was sweet. Ready to eat. It was at the end of the harvest season when we had these fruits available. It was because everything was about to go under the snow and we were finally, uh, given by Mother Nature, a little bit of the sweet so that we could store it as fat so we could hopefully survive the winter as animals.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Right. And that was with apples. Not the ones bred to be as sweet as they are today, but apples and pears and berries and just the basic fructose that would be available only at this time of year and this time of year was October Fest and the harvest season and times where we would, you know, purposefully celebrate and fatten up a little bit so we could live through the winter and hopefully have children.

Dr Pedram Shojai: And now we’ve gotten so damn good at refining sugar and doing these things. These rituals have gotten away from us and the sugar’s not what it used to be.

Dr Gina Nick: No, it’s time to start. I mean, I think more and more of us are waking up to the fact that it’s time to start to reconnect with nature, period. You know, realize we’re part of nature, we’re part of that whole cycle, and looking at things that block us from being able to reconnect with nature, you know, as it impacts our health, our wellbeing, our society, our communities, our ability to connect with one another.

Dr Gina Nick: All of it. And so that Petra, that speaks to that, you know, it is time. It’s time to see what’s happening, you know, and write the scales. If there ever was a time to do it, it’s now, you know, so,

Dr Pedram Shojai: Thank you. Thank you, fentanyl Drug dealer for forcing our hand, right? Because now it’s just so bad and so dark and so . Roasts. I mean, we confiscate all of the candy they get and then the switch witch shows up and we trade it out for stuff. Um, and then we have to ne it’s like this negotiation, but they love trick or treating.

Dr Pedram Shojai: You know, you don’t wanna take that away from your kids. And so let’s flip this, let’s judo flip this into what positive things we can do as parents and community members to take Halloween back to hack in . Healthy alternatives and turn the tide and turn this into something that remains fun and special for our children.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Let them dress up, let them do their thing. But what can we do? It’s like, you know, oh, they put razorblades in the apples and you have all these memes that make apples suddenly, uh, you know the problem instead of the Skittles with the fentanyl. And you, you have a very interesting solution that I love, which is why I invited you on the show.

Dr Pedram Shojai: And you’ve been, you know, the other part of your life has been, you’re a big advocate for glutathione. And getting glutathione into our systems and our children’s systems. So before we talk about what I think is a very clever innovation, let’s talk about glutathione, what it does and why it’s important to the human body.

Dr Gina Nick: Sure. Real simply, um, glutathione. Glutathione is considered the mother of all antioxidants. So we’ve heard about antioxidants, right? So antioxidants neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are. Essentially toxins that cause damage to the brain and to the body cause inflammation and trigger lots of different chronic illnesses.

Dr Gina Nick: Um, and glutathione is one of those foundational elements that is naturally occurring. It’s considered a tripeptide, it’s a combination of three different amino acids that is the powerhouse in terms of being . In my opinion, the most important antioxidant and the one that is in the highest demand these days.

Dr Gina Nick: So exposure to covid increases the demand for glutathione in our bodies. Exposure to more heavy metals in our air, in our water, through our dental fillings, et cetera, et cetera. Increases demand for glutathione because it’s a potent detoxifier as well. And so while our bodies make it naturally and we can consume it in some foods, the need for glutathione just keeps going up and up and up.

Dr Gina Nick: And I see that in my practice. I’ve seen it for years and. I finally just said, that’s it Mo, everybody needs to know about this. Doctors. Some doctors know about it and use it and have amazing results in their practice, but most people don’t. They, they’ve kind of heard of it or they haven’t heard of it.

Dr Gina Nick: They don’t really know what it’s, um, and oftentimes, uh, I would be asked if there’s one thing that you recommend. ’cause I’m very passionate about nutritional supplements and all of this. There’s one thing you recommend. If you could only pick one, it would be glutathione. So.

Dr Pedram Shojai: I’ve been taking glutathione for years. Um, I have, you know, kind of, uh, genetically weak liver, uh, detox pathways. And so, you know, while everyone could, you know, drink at the party, I’d have a headache. And, you know, turns out we know why now, right? And so supplementing and doing methyl donors and glutathione has always been a supportive protocol for someone who, you know, was born with this, you know, hand of cards.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Um, but . The world has now forced our hand, our kids have more exposure than we’re comfortable. You know, even talking about, um, it’s leading to infertility, it’s leading to all sorts of other downstream issues that are, you know, separate podcasts. But, you know, we’re, we’re getting walloped, right? And so glutathione is good for you.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Glutathione is something that isn’t, uh, easy to deliver. And this has been the problem historically is . . Um, friends of mine have developed glutathione supplements and they taste like axle grease. They taste like yuck. And so it’s very hard to get, it’s, you like the liposomal delivery was kind of the, the, the soup de jour for a while because it’s hard to absorb and get, you know, usable glutathione into your system.

Dr Pedram Shojai: So let’s talk about not all glut, because you know, the supplement industry is like, here it is, it’s commodity, take it. And not all glutathione is the same. So let’s talk about how to get it on board.

Dr Gina Nick: Yeah, so it is tough to, um, take glutathione in an oral form and have it be absorbed in your bloodstream, get into your red blood cells, get into your muscles, get in, you know, cross the blood brain barrier, get into your brain where it has a profound benefit on your body. It’s tough, and so a lot of glutathione’s on the market are, can be unstable.

Dr Gina Nick: They can become oxidized and so then they, they don’t benefit you in one form. Liposomal. It’s what I used to use in my practice for years, and that’s a form that is more stable, has been shown to get absorbed in the body. The challenge with it is patient compliance. I couldn’t get my patients to keep taking it.

Dr Gina Nick: I couldn’t keep taking it be, I definitely couldn’t get my child to take it because of the taste. It’s just I have yet to. Taste, a liposomal form of glutathione that I would wanna take consistently or that I feel comfortable telling my patients they have to take consistently. So that was the issue, you know?

Dr Gina Nick: Um, and then. I, I was actually hired by a company to do research on a particular form of glutathione, which is how I found out about this particular form that it’s an oral form that has been, you know, double-blind placebo controlled trials, proving that it boosts blood levels, red blood cell levels quite well.

Dr Gina Nick: And I thought, well, this is interesting, you know, and as I would be speaking to doctors and pharmacists about this type of glutathione. I found out a lot of people don’t even know about glutathione, let alone know how to use it or found a form that would actually work in their practice or anyway with people.

Dr Gina Nick: And so from that, it was actually during Covid where I was home homeschooling and seeing patients and doing all the things like, you know, a lot of, a lot of is out there and. I decided I was gonna write a book on glutathione, so I did, and then I just created a formula and it, it was, I say it was divinely inspired.

Dr Gina Nick: I’ve, I’ve formulated products for years and years and for 20 years, but this one just kind of, it was on the first try, I put together a formula using the form of glutathione that I was very. Intimately, you know, connected with and understood how it worked and saw it working in my practice with patients, felt very comfortable with it.

Dr Gina Nick: And on the first try, you know, I got my first sample of the formula and I’m like, oh my gosh, this tastes amazing. Wow. And, and just kind of went from there and I decided I wanted to have this product in a form that kids would enjoy. So I wanted it to taste like candy. Without having any sugar in it. And this formula just kind of, it just works and it tastes great.

Dr Gina Nick: You know, I have kids who don’t take anything. Parents have been trying to get them to take supplements forever, and they take it and they’re like, I want more. So that was my sign. Okay. This is, this is real and I wanna get this out there for, for parents and for kids. Um, a form of glutathione that just tastes good and is readily accessible, um, and works, actually works.

Dr Gina Nick: So it’s worth your time, you know, to use it.

Dr Pedram Shojai: So that’s where you really got me, where you, you handed me what looked like a pixie stick and you had hacked right into the tradition. Hacked right into the packaging. I. everything that they’re accustomed to wanting and liking of the shiny yum yums. And, um, if you’re listening to this, I’ll put a picture that she shared with me of her Halloween basket, um, on the podcast page where it, it quacks like a duck.

Dr Pedram Shojai: It feels like it’s candy, it tastes good, but instead of being poisoned, . It’s the opposite. It’s not even inert. It’s what they need. It’s what they want. And so I just, I love this vibe. I love taking it back and writing in on the very thing that is the problem and, and Judah flipping it into a solution. So glutathione, pixie sticks, I think is a, is a huge win.

Dr Pedram Shojai: And you’re gonna be handing ’em out for

Dr Gina Nick: Oh yeah, absolutely. Lots of people handing them out and it, and the formula. So there’s an immune formula that I put together with glutathione in it, so it has magnesium in it. A form of magnesium. Magnesium glycinate, which is particularly helpful for

Dr Pedram Shojai: for

Dr Gina Nick: blood sugar levels. So it helps to counter the effects of sugar, which is cool and it has glycine in it, which feeds the good bacteria in the gut.

Dr Gina Nick: Also helps to balance blood sugar levels out, you know, and then it has vitamin D three and zinc to just support immune function. So it’s kind of, you know, it’s something where I can put this in, you know, a child’s lunchbox and feel very good that either they’re pretty well covered nutritionally, you know,

Dr Pedram Shojai: Ally,

Dr Gina Nick: it’s not perfect, but pretty well covered if they take that, that it’s not a pixie stick, but that thing that looks like a pixie stick and tastes.

Dr Gina Nick: Like that, um, that they’ll be covered. Their immune system will be, you know, well balanced. They’ll be getting what they need. It has vitamin C in it as well. Um, you know, just keep blood sugar levels stable, lower inflammation in the brain, keep the immune system up if they’re consuming sugar, which I don’t advocate so.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Yep. What about dosing? I mean you, you obviously, you know, you had a size kind of stamped out for this, for the littles. Do you say that you take half? Like how do you communicate dosing? Could it be a problem? Um, if people, you know, grabbed 30 of these and, and, and, you know, as kids would.

Dr Gina Nick: Yeah, yeah, no. So this isn’t, this is not candy. Well, and you know, I would say you shouldn’t grab, you know, 30 packets of . Sugar. Right? Or you shouldn’t grab 30 packets of Skittles, that can cause a heck of a lot of harm. But this is a nutritional supplement, and so there is a specific dosing of it. And so this isn’t, this is something that is to be hand handled by parents and handed to a child to consume, right?

Dr Gina Nick: And so with the sticks that we have, um, if you’re under age 12, we recommend half of a packet. And then for adults, the whole packet. But, uh, glutathione is a, is a relatively safe, um, tripeptide, as are the supplements in there. But like any nutritional supplement, I always say run this by, you know, qualified healthcare practitioner.

Dr Gina Nick: This is a dietary supplement. I formulated it. I’m very well versed in formulation of supplements, and I always advocate for working with a, a healthcare practitioner. So this isn’t candy. It’s something, a supplement, a nutritional supplement designed to support, um, the, the healthy functioning of the body based on the type of stresses that I see children and adults facing these days.

Dr Gina Nick: So.

Dr Pedram Shojai: So what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna let my kids have half of one at, at any, like, especially around Halloween and, um, you know, the, we, we don’t, we have a . Policy, but you know, we’ll let ’em have a couple pieces of candy this year and we’re gonna try to wean ’em off all the way in the next couple years, um, as we find more of these types of, uh, things to substitute right.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Um, and handing ’em out. So if you’re in Park City, you might end up with one of these from Pedram’s House. Um, but, uh, for adults, I, I’ve never met an adult who can use more glutathione. And let’s talk about. You know, deal with the devil here for the kids going out, chances are they’re gonna be consuming some form of sugar anyways.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Right? So what is the glutathione gonna do to potentially offset the deleterious effects if they, you know, are gonna have a traditional Halloween? What does this do to to, to temper it?

Dr Gina Nick: So glutathione paired with the other ingredients in this particular formula, the immune formula helps to regulate blood sugar levels, so it helps to kind of counter the effects of of the sugar shooting your blood sugar high too quickly, too fast. Right, and then having that sugar crash. So it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.

Dr Gina Nick: Also, it helps to lower inflammation in the brain, and so too much sugar causes oxidation, oxidative stress in the brain, which causes all the crazy behaviors we see in kids. So glutathione actually helps to counter that. Effect. So you should see, um, less of an impact on, on behavior. And again, I’m not an advocate for consuming sugar.

Dr Gina Nick: I love your, what you do in terms of, you know, you have your kids bring all the Halloween candy home and then, you know, you incentivize ’em with something else. I do that too. I’m like, we’ll, you, we will pick out the coolest toy you can imagine, you know, but the swap is bring your candy home and you’ll get something super cool.

Dr Gina Nick: That’s way better than, you know, the quick fix of getting a sugar high from. You a bag of Skittles. And so it seems to work and I think, you know, it does work. So that’s a suggestion, right? There’s also other, there’s some candies I have found, they’re in my candy basket right now that are lower sugar, you know, sweetened with allulose, which is considered healthier.

Dr Gina Nick: Um, that tastes pretty good. I’ve tried so many different kinds with kids over the years, and I found some that. You know, there, there are some good options out there if you look, you know, and I’m happy to, you know, share those with you if you.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Yeah. ’em in the show notes. Would love it. Yeah, would love it. We, we subscribe to Thrive Market. We have for years and there’s constantly, you know, and more and more introduction of like, you know, one gram of sugar. All of these kind of very, very low sugar snack substitutes. Um, that are starting to not suck, right?

Dr Pedram Shojai: Like, you know, in the, in the early days it was like everything tasted like cardboard and, you know, the hippies got it wrong and now, you know, they’ve been adjusting and formulating to make it better and better. And I, you know, I don’t need that stuff in my house. We got plenty of stuff for the, the quote unquote sweet tooth.

Dr Pedram Shojai: But the point is, if you have a sweet tooth. , that’s your body telling you something and it’s your microbiome telling you something and it’s your blood sugar levels telling you something. And so there are, these are, these are not normal signs. These are things as a functional medicine doctor, we look at and say, okay, well I gotta, I could adjust for that.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Right? You don’t, you don’t have to crave a pie after dinner that says something to me.

Dr Gina Nick: Yeah, and your life actually gets a lot easier when your, when your microbiome is balanced and your blood sugar levels are stable. You don’t crave the things that you craved when things are out of balance. So it’s, it’s, it’s worth it to take the time. You know, to work with a, a qualified healthcare practitioner to help get things in balance if you do have that sweet tooth, you know, if you do have to have sugar after dinner or whatever the case may be.

Dr Gina Nick: Um, once you get balanced out, it really is, it’s actually easy ’cause you don’t have the addiction anymore. Having an addiction is hard. It’s hard. It’s hard. You can’t just stop, right? And so one way to treat an, excuse me, one way to treat an addiction is to treat the whole body, you know, it’s the brain disease model of care where it’s saying these addictive behaviors are not just a brain issue, it’s the whole body issue.

Dr Gina Nick: And so working with a functional medicine doctor, getting things in balance does make your life a lot easier. You know? And then I.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Amen to that.

Dr Gina Nick: Uh, I just wanna get this in. You know, if you have a newborn, you know, and you’re, or you’re, you’re deciding to bring a child into the world, uh, you know, the earlier, the better to expose them to whole foods, to, to less packaged foods, the sooner the better because then their bo, their microbiome is healthier and their body naturally, you know, won’t crave that sugar as they get older.

Dr Gina Nick: So, you know, just another thing that’s important.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Yeah, there’s also . This thing with Halloween, you know, here I am punching on Halloween again, it that . Does something very phenomenally wrong, which is once you take this huge bolus of sugar and you know you have the, you know, they get crazy. They, they get in trouble. They, you know, the, the school teachers hate it and they get sick and all that.

Dr Pedram Shojai: All that aside, what you’ve also done is it’s like the red tide, right? Like you’ve influenced a certain subset of . Microbiota in their guts to thrive. And the expression of what they do in the, the postbiotics substrate that comes from these bad players has three to four months of tail, even if you start eating vegetables three weeks later.

Dr Pedram Shojai: And that also is a. Big long-term hit that no one’s really looked at. And it’s not like the sugar guys are gonna finance that study. Right. But we see it in

Dr Gina Nick: We all see

Dr Pedram Shojai: You see? Yeah. Downstream. It’s a problem For a while,

Dr Gina Nick: Yes, it is. That’s a hundred percent. You know, that’s, and so there’s the immediate effect, if you see like a behavioral change or whatnot, then there’s those long-term effects. Absolutely. You know, and some of them are really bad, you know, cancer or things like that, that occur, uh, because of consuming that sugar.

Dr Gina Nick: And so, yes, it is. Anything you can do to feed, you know, your gut microbiome in a healthy way with the prebiotics and the postbiotics and all of that, and stay away from things that feed the bad stuff, you know, you are going to be better, better off long term. So.

Dr Pedram Shojai: I know, I feel, I feel like we’re just reigning on the healthcare industries. Black Friday here. Um, there, there’s a lot of money to be made off of Halloween. Not just on the front end, but on the back end too. The cold and flu season, you’re gonna sell a lot of, you know, Sudafed or whatever the hell people take for all this stuff.

Dr Gina Nick: I mean, and if you, why are there half days on Halloween, you know, at school or, or no school the next day? I’m like. What? You know, . Why? Why? I can tell. We know why, right? Because kids are unmanageable, because they’ve eaten a ton of sugar. You know that? Yes, they’ve stayed up late, but it’s not just that they’ve eaten a ton of sugar and no teacher wants to deal with that the next day, you know?

Dr Gina Nick: But again, that’s the immediate effect. But talk about impact on the school system, right? I mean, that’s a big deal, but. That’s one day. Then there’s the long-term effect of your child eating the equivalent of three cups of sugar in one night. There’s a long-term impact that lasts, as you were saying, for months, and it takes a lot to reverse that.

Dr Gina Nick: It doesn’t just happen overnight. So.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Well, and, and the problems you see. with mental health, with behavior, right. Um, you know, the, the, the little persnickety things that they’ll say and the, the, just the, the mood, the moodiness and all that kind of stuff also comes downstream, right from these things. But you don’t see ’em in the every, it’s not like it’s like a big fat rash on the face.

Dr Pedram Shojai: You’re like, oh, that’s a problem. Right? And so they’re harder to trace and they’re harder to see. So we miss ’em ’cause we’re so damn busy. Right. But we know the correlation, we see it downstream. And you know, again, uh, it’s on us to fix this, right? We are the parents, they’re the children. So I love what you’ve done with this hack.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Um, I’m gonna put this on the urban monk.com/podcast/sugar to keep it clean. Uh, we’ll put the, the show notes and all that, and I’ll put links to it. I know, I, I, folks, I. . I killed Dr. Gina this last month ’cause I was like, Hey, I love this. Get it ready for Halloween. And she’s like, what So she’s been dancing for the bald guy here for a month to get this ready.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Um, it’s gonna sell out, but whatever you’ve produced, I want people. To get it and hand it out. And if you hear this after Halloween, still get it for your kids if there’s any Right. But, you know, she’s gonna run more, she’s gonna produce more. Um, but I love that this is ready just in the nick of time to save this holiday for me.

Dr Pedram Shojai: So you are, uh, making the Jogi household and the, you know, the, the, the concentric rings around my house in Park City. Happy. Um, and whoever, whoever can get this and handed out, I think you’re doing, uh, society a service.

Dr Gina Nick: Yeah. We need, we need to get this stuff out, you know, in my opinion, to the world. You know, we need to expose everyone to what glutathione is, you know, and, and the impact it has on your body, um, for the good long term, you know.

Dr Pedram Shojai: I love it. So the urban monk.com/podcast/sugar. I’ll throw it all there. Um, just wanted to make sure I got this out before, um, the holiday. And, um, guess what? Thanksgiving also has a lot of sugar, uh, Christmas, um, all those gift baskets that you get and give full of sugar. There’s a reason we do sugar, but there’s a reason, uh, we used to do it, um, because we were always, you know, on the verge of starving.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Um, and we’re not anymore, right? As a species? No. You know, there are, I mean, listen, there’s food insecurity. There are people that are actually starving. But these big holiday parties, these bonanzas that we do around these things to children who don’t need it, and to, for people like us who then worry about, you know, how much weight we needed to drop in January.

Dr Pedram Shojai: It’s a ridiculous cycle. Let’s just end it. This is

Dr Gina Nick: It’ll make all of our lives a lot easier and a lot better. Truly. Yeah.

Dr Pedram Shojai: that. Amen to that. Well, thank you for your time. Thanks for doing this. Thank you for, uh, getting on the, the rush to get this done in time for the holiday. I really appreciate it. And, um, I invite my audience to get it and hand it out freely, uh, taste it yourself, obviously. But it’s great. I really, I’m a big fan of this.

Dr Gina Nick: Putting it in the lunchbox. I kind of envisioned one in every kid’s lunchbox too.

Dr Pedram Shojai: You might end chronic health in a generation. Be careful. Yeah. There’s a lot of chronic disease issues that go away by fixing some of these systems with, um, glutathione by tempering blood sugar. These are, these are upstream solutions, so I’m a big

Dr Gina Nick: Yeah, silent inflammation, you’re saying like oftentimes you don’t, it’s not like a big red rash, you know? So you don’t see it, but it impacts your body in so many ways. It’s that silent inflammation that is a killer. It’s a killer in our society. And so glutathione is one of, in, in my opinion, one of the best ways to keep silent inflammation at bay.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Love it. Love it. Dr. Gina, you’re hero. Thanks for being on the show and we’ll have you back as soon as you invent some other cool thing.

Dr Gina Nick: Another candy of some sort.

Dr Pedram Shojai: That’s it,

Dr Gina Nick: Thank.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Well there, you have it. Let’s go fix Halloween. Let’s fix one holiday at a time. Let’s not make the holidays about poisoning ourselves. Let’s not make the holidays about getting sick. Uh, losing brain capacity, losing our immunity and just losing ourselves in the name of some celebration. We should be celebrating life, not death. We should be celebrating progress and moving forward. Uh, go to the urban monk.com/podcast/sugar. Um, I’ll put links to her newest glutathione product there, and I’ll put links to her website and where you can find her and everything right there. So go, if you can get this in the Nick of time, save Halloween. And if you can’t. Um, go get it for future sugar events, which are coming. Especially if you’re listening to this, you know, live as it’s coming out, the holidays are always a mess. The holidays send all sorts of bad. Um, immunity Juju our way. If we’re eating too much sugar, drinking too much alcohol, let’s just not do that this year. Let’s make it a great next year by not ending this year. Uh, limping. We’ll see in the next one.

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Dr. Pedram Shojai

NY Times Best Selling author and film maker. Taoist Abbot and Qigong master. Husband and dad. I’m here to help you find your way and be healthy and happy. I don’t want to be your guru…just someone who’ll help point the way. If you’re looking for a real person who’s done the work, I’m your guy. I can light the path and walk along it with you but can’t walk for you.