Productivity

Episode #48: Naturopathic Medicine & Hormonal Health with Dr. Jillian Smithers

Listen to this episode 70 minutes

On today’s podcast, we are speaking with Mika’s doctor Jillian Smithers about hormones, supplements and all kinds of non-traditional medicine.

Have you ever thought of trying integrative or naturopathic medicine as an alternative to the way you treat yourself now? In this episode, you’ll hear how Dr. Jillian Smithers made the jump from traditional to naturopathic medicine, as well as her own personal medical journey.

Mika also breaks down her health issues, why she sought out Jillian’s services and how being more in tune with her body naturally has helped her. We’ll get into hormones, supplements, and other natural remedies.

 

In this episode, you will learn:

•  Naturopathic vs conventional medicine
•  Why are there so many critics when it comes to this alternative care?
•  Why don’t naturopaths take insurance?
• What affects hormonal health?

 

Mentioned in this episode:

RussPerry.co
MikaPerry.com
Sobr.com
DesignPickle.com
Russ Perry on Instagram
Mika Perry on Instagram
The Sober Entrepreneur by Russ Perry
TheSoberEntrepreneur.com
The Russ Perry Show
Picklecon 2019
American Naturopathic Association 
John Williams: plastic surgeon in Scottsdale, AZ 
David Berger, Redirect Health
“Ketotarian” by Will Cole
Dr. Jillian Smithers on Instagram
Dr. Jillian Smithers website

Do you have questions, comments or suggestions for this show? Send us an email at Hello@GoodtoBeHomePodcast.com!

 

Transcript:

Russ Perry: I’m Russ Perry.

Mika Perry: And I’m Mika Perry, and you’re listening to Good To Be Home.

Russ Perry: Good To Be Home is a weekly exploration of entrepreneurship, family, marriage, sobriety, and how we balance our business and life.

Mika Perry: From our family to yours, thanks for joining us and welcome to our home.

Russ Perry: Hey, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Good To Be Home. I’m your cohost, Russ Perry.

Mika Perry: And I am Mika Perry.

Russ Perry: Mika, today is so much science in our interview. I am so excited to introduce our guest.

Mika Perry: It is Dr. Jillian Smithers, and she is a naturopathic doctor practicing here in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is at the Chambers Clinic, and is my doctor.

Russ Perry: As you may or may not know, we’ve done interviews in the past. You can go back to goodtobehomepodcast.com to see them. But unlike a lot of other podcasts, we only interview people that really have impacted our own lives. This is not necessarily people on book tours. However, there’s probably a few folks I’d love to interview that have impacted. These are actual people we know, we work with, we are friends with, that are unique experts in their own areas, and Dr. Smithers is like a, oh my gosh, talking with her I just wanted to just ask question after question and learn so much. I was so enthralled with all of the science involved in this episode.

Mika Perry: You were. Dr. Smithers is such a knowledgeable and caring and compassionate doctor. That’s what brought me to her. You’ll hear in the episode how I discovered her and what she’s been doing in my life to help improve my health. I share on social media a lot about my supplements that I take, and I’ve purposefully refrained from sharing a lot about that, because one, I knew we would eventually have her on. And two, it is such an area that is personal to each person, and I’m not the doctor. I’m not the expert, so I really didn’t want to give advice and medical information, whether it’s on social media or on the podcast. So that’s why we wanted to bring in the experts, the big guns.

Russ Perry: Awesome. So if you’re curious about naturopathic medicine, integrated medicine, there’s a couple names for it, if you’ve ever just been interested, or maybe you’re like Mika and felt like there was something off but couldn’t clearly identify some condition or symptom, you’re going to love this episode. Also, if you’re like me and just like really, really, really smart people and talking to them, you’re also going to love this episode. So without further ado, I’d like to introduce Dr. Jillian Smithers.

Mika Perry: Thank you for coming today.

Dr. Smithers: Thank you so much for inviting me.

Mika Perry: All right, so we have a lot to unpack here and talk about. This is a topic that is super applicable and of interest to many, many listeners here just judging from messages I’ve gotten, conversations I’ve just had with even friends and people I know in real life. So we are talking today about naturopathic medicine. You specialize in hormones. Your Instagram handle is The Hormone Doctor, and I will definitely talk about how I got started with you and what brought me to you. And Russ is here today as well.

Russ Perry: I can’t wait to learn about hormones.

Mika Perry: So, Russ is here to chime in, I would say, on what it’s like to work together as husband and wife in going through health and medical issues and problems, because it does affect the person that you’re in a relationship with.

Dr. Smithers: Absolutely, yeah.

Mika Perry: So that’s definitely been the case for us, and how having an expert and help like you has really helped us in our relationship as well.

Dr. Smithers: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mika Perry: So, really happy to have you here.

Dr. Smithers: Thank you so much.

Mika Perry: So I want to start with kind of a little bit of background with you, Dr. Smithers. Tell us how did you get into all of this.

Dr. Smithers: Okay, yeah. I am actually from Canada, from Nova Scotia, and so I was there from zero until 22. I had initially sort of heard about naturopathic or integrative medicine when I was 11. So my dad was diagnosed with Stage IV bladder cancer at that time, and he was given about six weeks to live, because there’s a lot of people who when something goes wrong, they’re really afraid of what the cause could be and so they don’t go to the doctor, and that was him.
So, by the time that he went, which was a few years actually into him knowing that something was wrong, it was just too far gone. So he ended up going to see a naturopath, as well as his typical oncologist, and he lived for two and a half years with integrative cancer treatments. Which he actually went to Boston for that, so he would fly down, and at that time I was young, so they didn’t really tell me what was going on, just that dad was having some health issues and everything was being taken care of. So that was sort of my first introduction to that.
Then I was reintroduced to naturopathic medicine when I was in college. I was always interested in being a doctor, but the conventional treatments and method of practicing didn’t really interest me in terms of doing that for an entire career, but helping people and the medical field in general was interesting. So when I was in college, I was doing my Bachelor’s in Biopsychology with a concentration in Neuroscience. I’d planned to do neuroscience research and then started to have my own health issues, mainly gut stuff, and ended up seeing 13 doctors.
So I was just having this dull abdominal pain, just got worse over about eight months, and every time I would go, they would … I was 21, so they would always do a pregnancy test, which I understand, but then I had 13 of them and nothing else.

Russ Perry: I mean pregnancy does cause abdominal pain.

Mika Perry: Yeah, I guess, eventually.

Russ Perry: Eventually? Got it, all right.

Mika Perry: At a certain point.

Russ Perry: I mean I’m not clear. I’m not familiar with that.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, it’s kind of like when a woman is of a certain age, you just have to rule it out, which I understand. But then when that was ruled out, my only option that they were giving me was pain medication. I was like, “I’m not in pain because I’m ibuprofen deficient, I’m in pain because something is going on.” So I ended up seeing a naturopath, and I was just … My initial appointment was actually a little bit uncomfortable for me, because she was asking about my stress and how happy I was and all of those things that nobody had ever asked me before. We went through my diet, everything like that, and it was awesome. It just wasn’t anything that I had experienced in the past. We ended up just doing, I was 21 like I said, so I was eating horribly, wasn’t paying attention to that at all. And we just did some diet changes and a probiotic and the pain went away, and it’s never come back.

Russ Perry: Wow.

Dr. Smithers: So I was like, “Okay. This is definitely something that I am interested in.” I was going into my fourth year, senior year, and then had to go back and take a bunch of prerequisites so that I could apply to naturopathic school. So I was actually going to apply to the school in Toronto. There’s only two naturopathic schools in Canada and five in the States, so it’s really, really limited. So I knew that I would have to go away from home regardless, and when I was applying to schools, it had given me the option to apply down here. I was like, “Okay.”

Russ Perry: As in Arizona?

Dr. Smithers: Yeah.

Russ Perry: Nice.

Dr. Smithers: I was like, “I’m 22. Whatever.” So I applied, and then they called me a couple weeks later, and I had totally forgotten because it was just a click of a button. And I ended up coming down on spring break for my interview, and the school was just, everybody there was so welcoming. I actually met the president of the school. He came around and got everybody’s name, and just such a nice, warm person, and now ironically he’s my father-in-law.

Russ Perry: Oh, no way.

Mika Perry: No way.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah.

Mika Perry: Oh wow.

Dr. Smithers: So I ended up moving and just had an amazing, amazing experience, so now I’m here.

Mika Perry: That’s so cool.

Russ Perry: Just today there’s a big scandal that was broken, admission scandals for rich people paying admission officers to get into USC and all of that.

Dr. Smithers: Oh, I saw that.

Russ Perry: I don’t know how marrying the president, if that counts. I’m not at all suggesting that that was [crosstalk]

Mika Perry: She was already accepted.

Russ Perry: She was already accepted.

Dr. Smithers: I was accepted. [crosstalk] had not met his son at that point.

Russ Perry: So I think I should … I want to take a couple steps back, because we’re assuming everyone knows what naturopathic is versus traditional medicine. I mean I grew up, my mom was a teacher, is still a teacher, she … You go to the doctor, you just go to the pediatrician and they do this, and you get some antibiotics, and that’s medicine. Now, I actually know what it is, but really break it down, like the different schools of medicine for everyone, because I know that the probably majority of our listeners are not as familiar with naturopathic approaches and the medicine career in general.

Dr. Smithers: Right. Yeah, so like I said, there’s just those seven schools in all of North America. So in order to be a naturopathic doctor or a naturopathic physician, you must graduate from one of those schools and then take two sets of board and licensing exams and obviously pass them. So our school, Naturopathic Medicine School, the first two years is the exact same as allopathic school. So we’re doing our basic sciences, our pathology, diagnosis, all of that sort of stuff. Then after that it starts to differ, where we start to learn acupuncture, herbal medicine, physical medicine. So that’s chiropractic adjustments, homeopathy and more energetic medicine as well, and then of course nutrition and supplements.
So those are the biggest things, is that when you’re seeing a naturopath, we have a really big toolbox of the treatments that we can use. In the state of Arizona, we have the widest scope of practice in all of North America. So every state or province is either licensed or unlicensed, that’s still an issue. So if you’re in an unlicensed state, somebody could do an online class over a weekend and call themselves a naturopath.

Russ Perry: Got it.

Mika Perry: Oh wow.

Dr. Smithers: Not the same thing obviously at all as a naturopathic doctor. But because it’s not licensed, it’s not regulated.

Russ Perry: Got it.

Mika Perry: Interesting.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah.

Mika Perry: Okay, so is that something that people can go online and look up?

Dr. Smithers: Yep.

Mika Perry: And what are they looking for that you want to find?

Dr. Smithers: You can look up on the American Naturopathic Association online. They will tell you what states are licensed, and then you can look up naturopathic doctors there so that you know that who you’re going to is accredited and actually did go to medical school.

Russ Perry: I remember when I had my agency, I worked with John Williams. He’s a plastic surgeon in town. He explained the same thing to me with cosmetic doctors. There’s board certified or not, and there’s a big difference between the two, and you always have to make sure, basically the board certification is the extra assurance of quality and expertise and everything like that.

Mika Perry: Well that’s like a med spa versus a cosmetic surgeon.

Russ Perry: Yeah, exactly.

Dr. Smithers: Right, yeah.

Russ Perry: This is probably a huge question to unpack, but I just want to ask it. I kind of like conspiracies, and I think that there’s an insurance conspiracy to crush naturopathic medicine and doctors. Why is that? Why do you think there is such this? Because most don’t take insurance, and there’s a, I think kind of like a, I don’t want to say [inaudible] because actually I have a lot of M.D. friends that love integrated medicine and naturopathic approaches and they use it as well. But why do you think there’s been such a fragmentation of that and it’s such a hard battle? I feel like it is. I don’t know, maybe I’m making it up.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah. The whole insurance thing is really bittersweet. So, if naturopaths were covered by insurance, then it would definitely obviously open up a wider population that would be able to see us, which would be amazing. The issue with it is if we’re covered, then they kind of dictate how we practice. That’s why a lot of naturopaths don’t push for that, because then my followups are all an hour long, they would pretty much have to be 15 minutes max.

Russ Perry: Got it.

Dr. Smithers: So it just doesn’t allow you to practice the way that you want, and in terms of the insurance companies not wanting to necessarily cover us too and the conspiracy there, I think part of that is we really focus on prevention and lifestyle changes, and there’s not really money in that. You know? There just isn’t.

Russ Perry: Right, coming back less.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah. I went to a medical doctor at home the last time I was there, and she was like, “I don’t believe in preventative medicine.” I was like, “Oh, okay.” And that’s certainly not how everybody feels, and we’re really really lucky that in the States and in Canada we have such an ability to have such an integrated medical system and use both. But yeah, the insurance is definitely a really bittersweet kind of problem.

Russ Perry: Well, and a mentor of mine runs a, I guess insurance company. His name’s David Berg, owns a company called Redirect Health. And it’s so funny, because he’s anti-insurance company, and he taught me, he’s like, “Medical insurance specifically is actually not really insurance.” You pay a premium, but think about your home insurance. You pay this premium and then if something happens, you’re covered, you’re insured. But nowadays you pay the premium, but then there’s such low coverage that if something happens you still are paying a lot of money and no one’s actually trying to keep you healthy. It’s very, very anti-incentive for the way people get paid versus what the outcomes you’re trying to go after.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah.

Russ Perry: I don’t know, I like thinking of conspiracies. But I want to get back to the specifics of it.

Mika Perry: Yeah, and you mentioned it prevents people from getting back to health. The way that I came to you, Dr. Smithers, I kind of want to explain to the listener here how we got started. So I started seeing a naturopath about, now a year and a half ago, maybe two years ago now, because I had these symptoms that really didn’t show up on any major tests. It was very vague. It felt vague, but big enough that it bothered me. So I was starting to experience really bad headaches on my left side specifically, memory loss, where I felt like I couldn’t recall words when I was talking to people. And I felt fatigued, I felt bloated, I felt just tired, and just not like myself anymore. I just had heard naturopathic medicine, it’s more awareness around it.
Like you said, Russ, the traditional medicine practice or the theory around it was just disease treatment and management, not prevention. And Russ and I are huge believers in living a healthy lifestyle, and in that we find that we always want to be a step ahead of where we’re going. So I was starting to accumulate these symptoms, I just didn’t feel like myself anymore, I said, “You know what? I’m going to explore naturopathic medicine.” So I found a doctor, a local doctor, and she was wonderful, but the office was very disorganized. And if the listener here has listened to any of my other episodes, I am big on organization. You know, I think-

Russ Perry: Immediate disqualification. She actually left her OB when we were pregnant with Reese, our six, almost seven-year-old, because their office wasn’t … The bathroom wasn’t tidy.

Mika Perry: The bathroom was gross, and I was like, “Well if that’s how they’re going to treat their facility, is that how they’re going to treat me?”

Dr. Smithers: Sure.

Mika Perry: It really is an indicative factor of someone not doing their job right, and if it’s with your health, everything needs to be done right. We had our business coach on here, and one thing that she says is the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. That’s how I took that first naturopathic. She was wonderful, but the whole scope of it just wasn’t sitting well with me. I’m very big on intuition.
So then Russ found another doctor that was a little bit more sports medicine minded, performance. I think more performance-based medicine, maybe integrative medicine, maybe not naturopathic necessarily. You’re familiar with his practice.

Dr. Smithers: Sure. Yep.

Mika Perry: And we were doing some tests that I was like, “I don’t know why we’re doing this.” A lot of the explanation made sense to me. For example, my sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves were going full speed at the same time. That means my stress and response systems in my body where out of whack, and also that my adrenals were very low. Your adrenals are your adrenaline, cortisol, and a lot of people have a hard time with cortisol because we live in a very stressed out society. And for me it was almost like I had maxed out on my cortisol and I had nothing left, whether that’s from a stressful lifestyle I had led in the past, from having children, the taxing on the body through that and also just having kids after you’ve gone through that huge event for your body.
So I got some answers, but not a lot of, “Here’s what we should do.” In that, in seeing the two doctors, we did do food allergy tests because it really has an effect what you put in your body, and found out that I had an egg allergy, also sensitivities to gluten and dairy. Wasn’t super surprised. I think that’s pretty common, and you can talk about that later. But I had answers, but I just didn’t feel like … I intuitively just didn’t feel right. So as much slack I get from Russ from being on Instagram or doing the scroll sometimes, I had heard of a doctor local that specialized just in hormones, and really the adrenal glands, the thyroid, all that, when you think about all those symptoms, I was just Googling and finding out that, you know what, all these systems and symptoms are run by hormones. They govern your body. I was on Instagram searching for this one doctor that I had heard of locally that had hormone in their name and came across yours instead.

Dr. Smithers: Uh-huh.

Russ Perry: Oh really? I didn’t even know this.

Mika Perry: Yes. I came across yours by accident, but your Instagram bio, which, note, this is important that your bio says something about you that’s important to you. It’s the first thing someone sees, so if you’re running a business, it’s important. And yours said, “When the labs …” Can you say what does yours say?

Dr. Smithers: Yeah. It says, “Helping patients find answers when their labs come back normal.”

Mika Perry: Yeah, so I didn’t have any significant diseases. I didn’t have these huge red flags, but I knew something was off. And I loved that, that you recognized that. It was about hormones, sex hormones, sex drive was something that I was struggling with, and I think a lot of people can relate. So I just had a very good intuitive feeling about you. I also loved that you responded to DMs, and so I DMed you.

Russ Perry: Modern.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, modern doctor.

Russ Perry: Modern delivery of customer service.

Mika Perry: Yes, no more voicemails or mail, not even texting anymore now. It’s done in DMs. So that’s how I found you, and I just found you to be so … Like when I came in and met with you, you listened, and I think that is just so important. Everything you presented me with just clicked in my head and my heart that it felt right. I was like, “I am in the right place.” It was very much an example of the Goldilocks too hot, too cold, this is just right. And I really felt that. In your practice, the front office was very nice and responsive and kind and organized. You just had your act together, and of course I did some research on your website and read your testimonials, and I also saw that you had testimonials from three different age groups. I liked that, because even the older woman who had given a testimonial is like, “Hey, Dr. Smithers is young, but she’s passionate and she helped me.” She was going through menopause.

Dr. Smithers: Right, yep.

Mika Perry: And it just, you spoke so well to all those different groups of women, I felt, and had passion and expertise to offer.

Dr. Smithers: Thank you.

Mika Perry: So that is kind of how we landed here now together. So would that be typical kind of, can you describe a typical patient of yours? What they come to you with?

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, absolutely. I see a lot of patients through times of transition. So definitely the majority of my patients are women, and then the men that I see are typically their husbands. That’s usually how it rolls. So I’ll see younger women for PMS and menstrual irregularities. A lot of the time we’re used to thinking that PMS is totally normal, and it’s not. It does show us that there is something imbalanced, and that can even run in families.
I know with myself, whenever I was younger and I would get my period, it was like that first day I stayed home from school and my mom said, “I was the exact same way.” So we just thought that it was normal. But it’s definitely not, and there’s testing that we can do, and also just seeing somebody who knows hormones can know just clinically based on the symptoms sort of what’s going on.
Then I see another sort of bell curve of women after they’ve had one child or after they’re done having kids, where they’re just struggling to find their balance again and feel like themselves. That can be in terms of the menstrual cycle, just happiness and mood of course is a lot of the concerns that I get, and then weight comes as well.
Then I help women through perimenopause and menopause as well. So a lot of the women that come in to see me are struggling with low energy, weight gain, brain fog. Low sex drive is a really big thing that a lot of women don’t talk about and don’t necessarily bring up to me until I specifically ask about it.

Mika Perry: When you ask, are they like, “Yes,” and then kind of pour out to you?

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, yep. Yeah, in a lot of cases. I recently had one woman who was like, “My sex drive is great,” and I haven’t heard that probably for five or six months until we’re doing something about it. Anxiety and depression is another, a lot of symptoms that I see as well.

Mika Perry: Yeah, I think anxiety and depression is so common, yet treated in such a … There’s not a lot of options, or everyone’s like, “We’ll just take a drug.”

Dr. Smithers: Right. It’s treated with a bandaid. It doesn’t address why, whether that’s hormonal imbalances or hormonal functioning, thyroid, gut, neurotransmitters. All of those things play a huge role, and really none of them are looked at.

Russ Perry: So I’m pretty clear on how growing a human inside of you and birthing a human can maybe mess with your systems. That one makes sense. What are other things that effects hormones positively or negatively?

Dr. Smithers: The biggest ones are food and environment. So food-wise, eating a lot of processed foods, doing yo-yo dieting, that sort of thing well wreak havoc on your hormones. Then environment, we’re exposed to so many synthetic estrogens called xenoestrogens, in plastics, in our cleaning products, in cosmetics, et cetera, that we’re getting that exposure every day. That contributes to girls getting their periods younger and younger and younger, lots of estrogen-dominance in women. And I see high estrogen in men all the time as well.

Russ Perry: Related to that as well?

Dr. Smithers: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mika Perry: Well, and I think we can attest to that, because as we’ve worked together and we ran the lab tests … What I love about you, Dr. Smithers, is that you can do a lab test upside down. She has my paperwork and goes through every single line, and you can write upside down and tell me. The way you went through my labs, none of the other doctors had. You told me exactly where I should be range-wise, but then even specific numbers, and also how each of these different hormones and levels that we’ve tested work with each other.

Dr. Smithers: Right. I think that’s really important. Most patients when they come to see me, they have had labs drawn in the past, whether that’s hormones or thyroid or both. It takes a lot to be out of those ranges, so most of my patients are within the ranges, but they feel horrible. So when they’ve had the labs done in the past-

Mika Perry: By a traditional doctor.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, traditional doctor, physician’s assistant, or even a naturopath who doesn’t do a lot of hormones, will look and say, “Everything is within normal ranges.” I see that every single day, and I’ll explain to people that normal ranges aren’t optimal ranges. We get those ranges to begin with from the general population.

Russ Perry: You get it from the lab company. They put a bracket on it and they said, “Here it is.”

Dr. Smithers: Right, exactly. So say for fasting insulin, they test however many hundred people in the general population, find the bell curve, and stick the range on each end. So that includes people who are really healthy, it includes people who are really sick. It’s just a sub sect of the population. So that range, the lab range, goes from I believe 4 to 25. You should actually be 6 to 8. So that’s a really big gap where we would allow you in a lot of circumstances to say, “Nope, you’re normal.” But it just means that you’re-

Mika Perry: Not dying tomorrow.

Dr. Smithers: You’re not dying. Right. You are part of the general population.

Russ Perry: So if I’m just getting started, like thinking, “Okay. I heard this word hormones on this amazing podcast, Good To Be Home, and I am wanting to explore this or learn more about it,” give me the top four that are going to be … If you’re just starting with somebody, where are you starting to look at where they’re at and what those optimal ranges are?

Dr. Smithers: Sure. Yeah, so definitely for women we need to look at estrogen. There are three kinds of estrogen, so we need to look at all of those, not just a total number.

Russ Perry: We’ll just count that as one.

Dr. Smithers: We’ll count that as one, yeah. Russ, we’re done.

Russ Perry: Just estrogen and all variants of estrogen.

Dr. Smithers: Estrogen, as well as total and free testosterone. So your total testosterone is the total amount that you have. Your free testosterone is your active testosterone. That’s what your body actually has to use, what’s bio-available, what’s ready to hit a receptor and have action. So, we could have two women who both have the exact same great level of total testosterone. If we have one of them with a low free testosterone, she’s going to have low sex drive, low energy, struggle to put on and keep on lean body mass or muscle mass. Whereas the other woman with an optimal free testosterone, unless everything else is imbalanced, would not struggle with those same concerns. But just looking at their total, they look the same. So that’s really important.

Russ Perry: Okay, so we got estrogen, testosterone, a couple variants there.

Dr. Smithers: Yep, and then progesterone as well. Estrogen and progesterone should be balanced within the body. When they’re not, we’re in a state of estrogen dominance in most cases. That’s what I see every single day. The next one would be cortisol is really, really important. Cortisol in blood is not a really accurate test. It gives us sort of a rough guideline of where it is, so I always explain that. That this isn’t going to be the gold standard, but if we do see an issue then I’ll recommend doing a saliva test and actually seeing that full curve.

Mika Perry: Which we both have done. Can you explain the role of cortisol?

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, so-

Russ Perry: I was just going to ask that, because I saw the chart of cortisol. I hear about people destroying their … I don’t know.

Mika Perry: Well, no, because you and I actually are different, our cortisol. So his-

Russ Perry: I don’t think I even know what it is still, to be honest.

Mika Perry: Okay, so what is cortisol?

Dr. Smithers: Cortisol is one of our main hormones that’s released by our adrenal glands. Our adrenal glands sit on top of our kidneys, and they are our stress glands. Cortisol is our stress hormone, so it has a bunch of wonderful actions in the body. It gets a bad rap because in our modern society, it is elevated in a lot of people. The reason for that is that your adrenals will put out more cortisol in times of stress. That historically was, you’re running from a bear, your cortisol goes up. You get away and it comes back down.

Russ Perry: So when you say stress, it’s not causing stress, it’s-

Dr. Smithers: Correct, it’s a result.

Russ Perry: To combat stress.

Dr. Smithers: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Russ Perry: Got it.

Dr. Smithers: Exactly. It’s like adrenaline.

Russ Perry: Got it.

Dr. Smithers: So in our Western lifestyle, finances are stressful. Our jobs are stressful. School is stressful, et cetera, et cetera. Exercise is still a stress on the body even though it’ beneficial. So we are just in this state of chronic cortisol output, and so our adrenals just eventually can’t put cortisol out in that same amount, and it plummets. When your cortisol is high, that’s when you’ll start to notice, “Hey, I put on five or 10 pounds on my abdomen that I’ve never had before. I don’t know where this is coming from.” Then it plummets, and that’s when you’re struggling with energy, can’t get out of bed, that type of thing.

Mika Perry: Hey, guys. We wanted to quickly send a personal invitation to you for an upcoming event we have here in Scottsdale.

Russ Perry: It’s called PickleCon. Obviously inspired by the name of my graphic design company, but this is the conference for creative entrepreneurs. Me and Mika are assembling our top influencers, folks that have influenced us, entrepreneurs, business owners, people just getting started in their business, for two and a half days here in Scottsdale.

Mika Perry: There are a few reasons why we think you should attend. One, if you haven’t been to Scottsdale, this is your chance. And we will be offering multiple sessions of coaching and personal development, and you are going to hear from some amazing entrepreneurs on their personal journey and have a ton of takeaways for you to take home with you.

Russ Perry: Right. Now if you’ve been to entrepreneur or business conferences, you know they can get pretty big and gnarly, and this is not one of those conferences. It’s small, it’s intimate, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. If you’ve never been to a conference, this is your chance to get started. I’m telling you, you will walk away clear and inspired for what you want to accomplish in 2019.

Mika Perry: So it doesn’t matter if you have a small business, big business, what type of business you have, you are all welcome to join us for these threes days of intense, awesome learning and growth.

Russ Perry: Early bird ended, but we’re extending a special offer for Good To Be Home listeners. You can use the code GoodToBeHome and get our discounted early bird pricing, which is going to be the best pricing we’ve offered this entire time. Just head over to picklecon.us and use the code GoodToBeHome when you buy your ticket.

Mika Perry: We really, really hope to see you there.

Russ Perry: [inaudible] Now back to the podcast.

Mika Perry: Yeah, so for us when we did our cortisol test, Russ was … His was pretty ideal in that it spiked in the morning, which is what it should do, right?

Dr. Smithers: Correct.

Mika Perry: It regulates your energy as well, so-

Russ Perry: I was like at almost 400%. It was like a cliff.

Dr. Smithers: Yep.

Russ Perry: Like super high and then dives down.

Mika Perry: He springs out of bed. Honestly, he’s ready to go. He’s always gone … It’s 4:00 in the morning and he’s like, “All right. I’m gone.” But then at night, he’s dead. He sleeps well. And I feel like that should be ideal.

Dr. Smithers: Right.

Mika Perry: For me, it was the opposite. We looked at the cortisol and it was very low in the mornings, and then it would spike more towards the evening. So that’s why I would be able to stay up and work on things, and Russ was like, “Oh my gosh. You’re such a night owl.” It’s like, “But I feel clear right now.” Yeah, but for me even still it never really got very high. So what we’ve worked on is repairing that store of cortisol because I had depleted it so much that I didn’t have anything left to respond to my stressors in life.

Dr. Smithers: Right, exactly.

Russ Perry: What’s ideal?

Dr. Smithers: Cortisol should be the highest in the morning, and then it just slowly gradually comes down throughout the day so that you don’t have any slumps in energy, but by the time you go to bed, you fall asleep no problem. Then throughout the night it gradually rises again. I see a lot of times where people do have the correct curve, but it’s depressed. So they’re starting out maybe at 50% of where they should be, and then they only go down from there. Also see people who spike at night, so where they have an inverse curve. Those are the people that when they go to bed, their body is exhausted but they’re just … Their brain won’t-

Mika Perry: How mine’s going.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, their brain will not shut down.

Russ Perry: They’re on Instagram on their phone.

Mika Perry: Okay, but yeah.

Dr. Smithers: They’re on Instagram.

Mika Perry: But here’s the thing, is that that’s wonderful, is that I feel like I have really changed over the last few years with lifestyle changes, with seeing you and having naturopathic treatments, addressing those things. Because what had happened years before when I had a stressful lifestyle, and I for a variety of reasons, work, having kids, life. And I would have anxiety, and I have bene on anxiety medication before. I have been on depression medication before and had been seeking treatment for that racing mind at night. We’ve talked about drinking. That was to calm that racing mind, and so those, like you said, are all the band-aids that I wasn’t addressing. Okay, I didn’t know that it had anything to do with my hormones. I thought it was a problem I had, that it was this “disease” of anxiety or depression or stress or whatever. But it really is a natural function imbalance in your body that is happening and causing these mental changes.

Dr. Smithers: Right, absolutely. And I’ll see it very often, because cortisol should slowly rise throughout the night so that it’s high in the morning again, that the adrenals are so tired that they’re putting out cortisol in these little spurts instead. So those are people who are like, “I fall asleep no problem, and at 2:00 in the morning I’m wide awake.” That’s why, because you’re getting a cortisol spike when you shouldn’t, and there are tons of natural things that you can do for that. It’s just about knowing what’s happening and when is it happening.

Russ Perry: Is sleep a fantastic ally for your adrenals?

Dr. Smithers: Absolutely.

Russ Perry: Like good sleep to get into that for them?

Dr. Smithers: We need good sleep for absolutely everything. So for our hormones, for our gut, for digestion. If you’re not sleeping, everything else will be thrown off. Sleep and water.

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: Sleep and water, pretty basic.

Russ Perry: I had this struggle with sleep. Let’s just take actually this morning for example, went to bed relatively early. I think we were in bed by about 9:00-

Mika Perry: 9:00, yeah.

Russ Perry: And then falling asleep somewhere between 9:00 and 10:00, and I woke up at 6:00, which is eight hours almost. I felt so guilty though. I felt like I slept in, so even though my body felt really rested, my productive self wanting to be up early and up at them and get out and get to bed, I just … It’s this struggle that I have, that I’m not up at 4:30 getting an hour and a half ahead of the day before everyone else gets up. I don’t know, that’s just me I guess, my brain.

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Dr. Smithers: I think that there’s something in our just Western lifestyle, too, where the more we push ourselves, the busier we are, the more our calendar is filled, the more successful we feel. But it’s horrible for your health. But we judge our success based on our level of burnout.

Mika Perry: It’s so true. Absolutely.

Dr. Smithers: And it’s just something that we get in our minds, and you certainly can wake up an hour and a half earlier than you did today, but you have to go to sleep an hour and a half early as well.

Russ Perry: To balance it out.

Dr. Smithers: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: Now you mentioned two things earlier. We’d talked about estrogen and also gut health. Those are two things I want to talk about, because that’s what you’ve been helping me treat. Those are kind of my two top things right now. We determined that I was estrogen dominant, so what are the symptoms of that?

Dr. Smithers: Estrogen dominance is, it can occur in three different ways. That’s why lab testing is really, really important, to see actually where the levels are at, because each of the three scenarios will cause the same symptoms. So those are PMS, or even PMDD, which is a more severe form. So bloating, water retention, mood changes. That could go more towards weepiness or to irritability, and logically you know that you’re not acting the way that you normally do, but it feels completely out of your control. Also heavy periods, shortened periods where you’re getting your period more regularly but your actual period can be much longer. Those things and headaches, cramps, those are all signs that there’s an imbalance, and it’s usually estrogen dominance.
So that balance of estrogen and progesterone, you can either have too much estrogen and a normal or even a high level of progesterone, but that level is still thrown off. You can have normal estrogen and low progesterone, or you can even have low estrogen, but lower progesterone. The symptoms will still all be the same, but the treatments for those things are very different.

Mika Perry: So for me, the estrogen dominance showed up for me as putting on, even though I was working out, just kind of this layer of puffiness almost.

Dr. Smithers: Yep. Yep.

Mika Perry: Kind of all over.

Dr. Smithers: I’ll call it just fluff.

Mika Perry: Yeah, let’s call it fluff, because I am not overweight, but it’s just like, “Wow. I can feel this muscle coming through. It’s there, but there’s just this extra padding of fluff.” And also, last year towards the half end of last year I was having really severe PMS, almost PMDD symptoms.

Russ Perry: What’s that?

Mika Perry: Well, when I was acting like a crazy person.

Russ Perry: What’s PMDD?

Mika Perry: Premenstrual dysmorphic-

Dr. Smithers: Premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Mika Perry: Dysphoric, okay. So what does dysphoric mean?

Dr. Smithers: That is just that the mood changes associated are much, much, much more severe.

Mika Perry: Okay, that was me. Because I had told you when I’d come … So I had started seeing you already. We were on a path of balance, but what was happening is I came to you and I said, “Oh my gosh. I felt two weeks ago, I was about a week before I was starting my period, I was so depressed, severely depressed. I was crying. I felt like I was out of control of my body. I felt like I was outside looking in, and really severe depression. This is not me.” My life is good and I’m happy, but I couldn’t get over it, and I think women can definitely relate to that feeling when they’ve had PMS symptoms of, just like you said, you don’t feel like yourself. But it was so bad that, remember, Russ, you were almost scared of how I was acting. So I knew, I was like, “We need to talk about this.” So I am in that state in the cycle now, even today, where this past month I haven’t had that at all. It’s been the best month so far. I was actually going to give you an update now.

Dr. Smithers: That’s awesome.

Mika Perry: Like, “Hey, guess what?” I haven’t seen you in a few weeks.

Russ Perry: I can verify that.

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: [crosstalk] living with you.

Mika Perry: Yeah, so the past week right now I should have had … That’s when I would have those symptoms, and I didn’t at all. I felt the exact same. I was very even keel. Then another part of estrogen is that gut health, because I want to have you talk about the filtration system. How taking care of your body’s filtration systems and absorption systems is also important too. So can you speak on that a bit?

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, absolutely. Whenever we’re looking at hormone levels, we always need to make sure that we’re also addressing how the hormones are being broken down or metabolized and actually getting out of the body. That’s one part of hormone balancing that a lot of people miss, and that’s the key. That’s how you get hormone balance. So I’m always looking at the lymph system, the gut, and the liver. In your case, Mika, with your estrogen dominance, you were in that first scenario where you had estrogen excess. So we actually had to make sure that we brought that level down and brought your progesterone level up to meet it, so that’s why we did a liver detox with you.
A liver detox will help to give your body the nutrients that it needs for both of the phases where estrogen actually gets broken down into a water soluble molecule. That is so that we can actually get it out of the body, and so in that, once the liver breaks it down, it sends it to the gut. So if we have any gut inflammation, malabsorption, leaky gut, food sensitivities, constipation, all of those things will impact our body’s ability to get that actually out, and we can reabsorb it. So then we’re moving it from one part of the body to another, and your body will also store those hormones in the liver, in the lymph system, and in fat.
So when we’re recirculating those and pulling hormones out of those tissues, if we don’t get them out, now we’ve put you into a worse situation than you were in. Because your body was hiding them effectively, it was just that you’re still having symptoms of that, but when we bring that back into the blood stream, symptoms can get much, much, much worse. So if we’re not effectively moving everything, then we’re in a situation.

Mika Perry: Yeah, it’s recirculating. So you may not be producing a ton of estrogen necessarily, but your body has so much because it’s not going anywhere.

Dr. Smithers: Exactly. Yeah, and your body will actually, when your estrogen is high or you’re estrogen dominant, your body will naturally put on weight to basically take that toxin load and spread it out through the body better so that you’re less toxic overall because there’s just more tissue.

Mika Perry: That makes sense. It grows where it can go.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, it’s a protective mechanism.

Russ Perry: It dilutes it.

Dr. Smithers: It does.

Mika Perry: That’s super interesting. And Russ actually had a bit of estrogen dominance as well, right?

Russ Perry: I did.

Mika Perry: You did. How’s that going?

Russ Perry: I don’t even know where I’m at. I’m just starting with my journey. Actually feel real guilty because I had to skip my blood test this morning.

Dr. Smithers: Uh-oh.

Russ Perry: I know, right? I’m going out of town this afternoon, so I just was not able to get over there, and I really wanted to eat breakfast.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, that’s a big thing.

Russ Perry: I was starving. I needed to be focused. But yeah, I was. One of my earlier doctors, their great solution was just testosterone shots, which I loved. I felt real awesome, but I learned later on that that’s also a band-aid. That’s not necessarily getting to the root causes of it all.

Dr. Smithers: Right. So looking at, figuring out where your root cause is is really, really important. But there is definitely a time and a place with men and women where we do want to replace hormones, because they’re really, really important just for your health in general. Testosterone, especially in men at a certain level, is protective of your heart and your brain tissue. So we do want to make sure that your testosterone levels are optimal. The issue with injections, if there are men listening, is that typically they will be prescribed so that you inject once every week, potentially every two weeks. So you get a rollercoaster. There’s really no way around that. When you first inject, you might even feel too much, where you’re too irritable.

Russ Perry: I felt great.

Dr. Smithers: You felt great?

Russ Perry: It was like, “This is awesome. Let’s get to work.”

Mika Perry: But what specifically was awesome? Was it energy? Was it sex drive? Was it-

Russ Perry: Yeah, all the above. I just felt like it was, yeah, more clarity, more energy, just certainty. You just feel good. I mean it’s hard to describe. It’s the same … Well, because I know in hindsight, weight lifting and things like that also increase testosterone, and it was a similar feeling after a good heavy weightlifting workout, where I just feel good. Weightlifting I was tired, this I wasn’t so tired with it.

Dr. Smithers: Right. Did you feel a dropoff when you’re waiting for your next shot?

Russ Perry: You know, to be honest, I didn’t really think much about it, and I didn’t do it for very long because it was just … I wasn’t getting a lot of explanation around it. It was just kind of like, “Oh wait. This could work. Here you go.” But I don’t know.

Mika Perry: You’ll find out.

Russ Perry: Yeah, I’ll find out. I know I’m redoing it [crosstalk]

Mika Perry: Yeah, so now Russ is going now to a doctor that you work with, Dr. Smithers, in the same clinic. You guys are at the Chambers Clinic here in Scottsdale. So you recommended another practitioner in your office that also treats cardiovascular, other issues or concerns that you may have, and that’s something that Russ has had. Cholesterol, those issues. I don’t.

Russ Perry: Although I’ve heard that the whole thing with cholesterol is kind of like a myth. I mean let’s hear about it.

Mika Perry: Let’s hear it.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah. So cholesterol is definitely … Having high cholesterol does increase your risk of heart disease. So eating a lot of saturated fats, which is especially going to be found in animal products, which I can talk more about that with keto too, because I see that a lot, that will raise your cholesterol, which does increase your risk of heart disease. There was a big study that came out several years ago that said that the cholesterol being marginally high or even pretty elevated wasn’t as scary and detrimental as we used to think. But when you look into who funded that study, then you can see that it was-

Russ Perry: The beef association.

Dr. Smithers: I believe it was actually the egg industry. So any time that there’s a study, especially on diet, looking into who put this study out is really, really important. So I do still monitor cholesterol levels and I do still like them to be within their normal ranges. Not too low, because you need cholesterol to make hormones, so anybody on any sort of Statin medication, their hormones are very, very quickly going to drop just because you’re shutting down that pathway. So cholesterol is something that we need in balance.

Mika Perry: You mentioned, Dr. Smithers, keto.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah.

Mika Perry: We’ve been talking about food, gut health, food sensitives, all that. I no longer eat eggs because that was sensitive to me. You’ve mentioned that if you’re eating something like gluten or dairy or whatever pops up on your allergen, there may not be external symptoms.

Dr. Smithers: Correct.

Mika Perry: But it could be not destroying, but having a harmful effect on your gut health internally that then show up later in hormonal imbalance or functional imbalance in your body. So with all the different diets out there, there’s keto. That’s something Russ is into at the moment.

Russ Perry: Not so much. I did a very aggressive two weeks of specifically, what was the book, it was-

Mika Perry: Ketotarian.

Russ Perry: Ketotarian. It was a vegan keto with fish and eggs.

Mika Perry: Then that’s not vegan.

Russ Perry: Well, I don’t know. Ketotarian is what it was.

Mika Perry: It’s like pescatarian. [crosstalk]

Russ Perry: So it’s the same concepts without most of the animal products. I loved it, it was just a hell of a lot of work.

Dr. Smithers: Sure it was.

Russ Perry: It was complicated, and couldn’t get it done.

Mika Perry: Well, and here’s why, is because you were doing it with these interesting, intricate, delicious recipes. Whereas I think you could do it in a much more simplified way. You were trying-

Russ Perry: Yeah. True Russ Perry fashion, I overcomplicated it.

Mika Perry: He overcomplicated. He got a million ingredients and wanted to try a new recipe every day.

Russ Perry: We now have like three bottles of vanilla extract, organic, and several different-

Mika Perry: Ghee.

Russ Perry: Plant flowers.

Mika Perry: We have a ton of ghee in the house. But, so, can you touch on that?

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, absolutely.

Mika Perry: Like is keto good? Is it bad?

Dr. Smithers: Keto is a hormone nightmare. I say that because there are ways to do it better than others, but with most people, and especially with the patients that I’ve seen, you’re eating a ton of animal protein, and because of the carbohydrates in fruits and vegetables, that intake goes dramatically down. So it’s also just a nightmare for me.

Russ Perry: To do your job.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, to do my job. Yeah, because I will see levels of inflammation. I’ll see cholesterol. I’ll see oxidized LDL. That’s your bad cholesterol, but the version that’s actually going to lay plaque down in your arteries. I’ll see those things pop up, but my patient sitting in front of me is like, “I just lost 15 pounds.” And when I’m asking, “Okay let’s go through a 24 hour diet recall.” “Okay, I’m having four eggs. I’m having bacon and sausage, and then for lunch I do this and this.” It’s so much animal protein and saturated fats, and in that we’re getting a bunch of what’s called exogenous hormones. So hormones that you’re putting into your body from those meats. Even if you’re doing better, higher quality meat, you’re still going to get that, and even if it’s hormone-free, that meat still has hormones in it from the animal naturally.

Mika Perry: Because they’re living beings.

Dr. Smithers: Because they’re … Same as if you ate a person. You’re still going to get that.

Mika Perry: All right, you’re a vegan, right?

Dr. Smithers: I am.

Russ Perry: But what if that person’s free-range and that person walks around [crosstalk]

Dr. Smithers: Right, and that person was very spiritual.

Russ Perry: Only eats organic, is one of your patients. That means their hormones are real dialed in. I didn’t know you were vegan. I want to be a vegan, but Mika won’t let me.

Mika Perry: Here’s the reason why.

Russ Perry: Truth.

Mika Perry: Here’s the reason why, is because we … I feel that when you go veggie centric, it ups the carbs.

Dr. Smithers: Correct.

Mika Perry: And I think I still just have this fear of carbs.

Dr. Smithers: A lot of people do.

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, and you don’t … If you’re vegan, if you’re vegetarian, if you’re eating a whole foods diet, you don’t have to worry about that. If you’re diabetic, then yes, we do need to watch that more. But if you’re eating the whole piece of fruit, not just juice, and you’re eating vegetables, you’re getting complex carbohydrates, not simple carbohydrates. So what we need to do is eat slow carbs, not no carbs. But people are really afraid of that, and so they cut out two of the food groups that we should be eating the most. Then we see disease progression a lot faster because we’re not getting antioxidants and nutrients that we need.

Russ Perry: Wait, which food groups are they cutting out?

Dr. Smithers: Fruits and veggies.

Russ Perry: Oh, okay.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, because of the carbs in them.

Russ Perry: Okay, so I’m really excited about this turn of the conversation. I want to talk about diet.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah.

Russ Perry: What if you are hypothetically a 36-year-old male wanting to maintain and grow muscle mass and reduce abdominal fat? What’s the best diet for you?

Dr. Smithers: The best diet-

Russ Perry: Hypothetically.

Dr. Smithers: In my opinion, being vegan, is a whole foods plant-based diet. You can grow muscle really, really well even being vegan. We, in our just society, we’re so focused on, “We need more protein. We need more protein. Let’s get lean meats, red meat, whatever with every meal.” You need protein, but you can get that from beans, legumes, quinoa, that type of thing, tofu. It doesn’t need to be an animal product.

Russ Perry: Got it.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah.

Mika Perry: Okay. Well I’m still on the fence on veganism.

Russ Perry: I’m really pumped. I’m really pumped about this.

Mika Perry: Yeah, we’ve definitely shifted away from dairy, so the coffee I have here is almond milk, and I think even for the kids, we don’t buy milk anymore.

Russ Perry: What about eggs? Eggs kind of can slip in there.

Dr. Smithers: Eggs actually-

Russ Perry: Vegan plus eggs.

Dr. Smithers: I do have some patients that will still eat eggs certainly. Eggs actually, their nutrition value is very, very low. They don’t offer you a whole lot, so that’s why I don’t have them in my diet.

Russ Perry: But like seven grams of protein.

Dr. Smithers: They do give you protein, but you can get it in so many other ways that give you other health benefits.

Russ Perry: Okay.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah.

Russ Perry: Got it, so you’re going to eat something, have something with more to offer than just some cholesterol and protein.

Dr. Smithers: Correct.

Russ Perry: Got it.

Dr. Smithers: Exactly, and some saturated fat.

Russ Perry: Got it.

Mika Perry: So let’s talk about other things.

Russ Perry: Well, we’ll welcome Dr. Smithers back for a part two special of diet Russ Perry edition, where Russ just talks about food the whole time.

Mika Perry: Another ingestible that’s common with a naturopathic path of treatment is supplements. You have me on a regimen of supplements, and when I get … When I put that on Instagram, it gets a ton of response. People are interested. “What are you taking?” And I have purposefully refrained from diving deep into that explanation, because one, as we mentioned in the intro, is that this is … Everyone has their own needs. You can’t blanket treat people.

Dr. Smithers: Right.

Mika Perry: So that’s really important for everyone to seek their own treatment and help. But I also don’t really know everything there is to know about each of the supplements that you’ve given me.

Dr. Smithers: Sure.

Mika Perry: You’ve given me the why I’m taking it, but I love for taking this opportunity to kind of talk about a few things that have helped me in estrogen balance, in adrenal cortisol response, and also with gut health. So off the top of my head, I’m talking the probiotics you have me on, the Fem Balance, what is in that?

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, so the Fem Rebalance is helping to rebalance your estrogen and progesterone ratio. So that will be specific to you based on where your levels were, because in different scenarios of estrogen dominance we need different herbs. But it’s a formula of herbs and nutrients that help with liver clearing of excess estrogen, also helping with the gut and clearing that out, and then pulling your progesterone levels up.

Mika Perry: Right, and it’s almost very flexible, right? It’s a very adaptable supplement.

Dr. Smithers: Correct. Yeah.

Mika Perry: Okay, so what are some herbs that are helpful for someone that might be struggling with that?

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, so one big one would be chaste tree berry, or Vitex. That brings your progesterone up. That I put a lot of women, say before menopause, on. If there’s menstrual irregularities, that works really, really well, depending on exactly where everything is at. That’s the biggest problem with supplements, and I’ll have patients ask me what I take, but it’s so … Naturopathic medicine is very individualized. So I’ll be asked, “Do you have a protocol for this?” And I’m like, “No, because it’s naturopathic medicine. So it doesn’t work like that.”

Mika Perry: Right, but I love that though, because it is-

Dr. Smithers: It’s great.

Mika Perry: You’re getting customized treatment.

Dr. Smithers: Exactly.

Mika Perry: Which is so cool.

Dr. Smithers: Exactly. So I’ll see somebody with similar labs to you, and the treatment plan won’t look 180 degrees different, but I don’t have them on the exact same treatment regimen because that’s just practicing too easy. If you just have, “Here’s what you’re going to take for this,” and it’s not practicing actual individualized medicine, root cause, that type of thing.

Mika Perry: I’m on L-Glutamine, what does that do?

Dr. Smithers: That is helping to soothe and coat the gut and reduce that inflammation there, and then the probiotics that you’re on, they’re helping to sort of get all of the good bacteria in there that we need because 85% of our neurotransmitters are made in our gut. 75% of our immune system is made there. So looking at any anxiety, depression, any sort of neurotransmitter imbalance, the first step is going to be addressing the gut. I’ve never prescribed any sort of medication for those symptoms, and I’ve treated it a lot, because we’re addressing the gut and food sensitivities too. That’s huge.

Mika Perry: Yeah. I’ve heard the gut is like the second brain.

Dr. Smithers: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mika Perry: That’s where you’re absorbing everything that goes to your brain, you know?

Dr. Smithers: Right, exactly.

Mika Perry: Yeah, and if that’s not functioning correctly, I think that’s huge for the listener to understand, is gut health. It really is everything.

Dr. Smithers: It is everything.

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Dr. Smithers: It controls all of the balance in your body. Your hormones, your neurotransmitters, all of these huge players, the gut is the epicenter of everything.

Mika Perry: And by gut, it’s not your stomach. It’s your, is it small and large?

Dr. Smithers: Correct.

Mika Perry: Okay. Got it.

Dr. Smithers: Yep. Just everything.

Mika Perry: Got it, and then also we are on testosterone. TestoGain is the one that I’m taking currently. Also to note that supplements change.

Dr. Smithers: Correct.

Mika Perry: That’s another reason why I haven’t really gone into deep with everyone, because it’ll change the next few months. We’ll assess where we’re at, do a lab test, so it’s very fluid and dynamic.

Dr. Smithers: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mika Perry: But the TestoGain is an actual … It’s not testosterone replacement.

Dr. Smithers: It’s not, correct.

Mika Perry: It’s to stimulate, right?

Dr. Smithers: Yeah. In women, all of our testosterone is made from our adrenal glands. So when we are in any sort of adrenal fatigue, which most of us are to some degree, our testosterone will start to go down and usually will just plummet, because to the body sex drive is a luxury. I try to explain that to a lot of my patients because so many women and men come in with low sex drive, and that’s something that it takes a little bit of time to work on, but we can definitely get there. It’s just figuring out where that comes from, but it’s not just because you’re 35 or you’re 45. It’s not something that just comes naturally. It shows us that there is an imbalance somewhere.

Mika Perry: So by sex drive is a luxury, also metabolism is a luxury, or energy, that sort of thing. You mean it’s a luxury in that that’s secondary for your body. Your body’s trying to do the basic survival things.

Dr. Smithers: Right, exactly. Yeah, because-

Russ Perry: It can’t do that until the other stuff’s covered.

Dr. Smithers: Right, exactly. Because sex drive to your body is not important for survival.

Russ Perry: Well.

Mika Perry: Well.

Dr. Smithers: Depending on-

Russ Perry: Like, I mean.

Dr. Smithers: Depending on [crosstalk]

Mika Perry: It just needs to happen one night, and then that’s it. That’s all I need.

Dr. Smithers: Correct, and now I’m fine. Yeah.

Russ Perry: So I know we kind of went down the path of the gut, but I wanted to just hear from your perspective the dangers of supplements, because I think it’s a … There’s a lot of nefarious things out there. How do you approach supplementation from a well-educated perspective?

Dr. Smithers: Yeah. So supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so this is the biggest issue, is that there’s supplements at Walmart that are extremely low quality, but inexpensive. Then there’s supplements that I sell, which are physician-grade, but obviously more expensive, and the general population doesn’t know what the difference is. Because they’re not regulated by the FDA, what’s in the capsule or what it says on the label is not necessarily what’s in there. The fillers that can be in there can be very harmful for your health. Also just the dosage, so getting to a therapeutic dose, a dose that’s actually going to make changes and treat health conditions and prevent disease is very different from 25 milligrams of X. So when we’re looking at those things, I’ll look at some supplements at … I’m just kind of picking on Walmart, but-

Russ Perry: It’s okay.

Dr. Smithers: When I look there, there are supplements that will have propylene glycol in them. That is an ingredient in antifreeze. We don’t need that.

Mika Perry: Wow.

Russ Perry: Right.

Dr. Smithers: We should not. It’s very, very harmful to us, so the really high quality supplement companies who put a lot of third party testing and really value their manufacturing process, they have put together a way of making sure that their products really are high quality. And you’ll see on those bottles, “GMP,” which stands for good manufacturing process.

Russ Perry: I’ve seen that.

Dr. Smithers: So you don’t want to take anything that doesn’t go through there, because for somebody to go that extra mile and say, “Hey. We want you to test our product, make sure that it’s free of heavy metals, that what I say in this capsule is actually what’s in there,” that takes a lot of cost for that manufacturer. And the really high quality supplement companies do that very, very welcoming. They’re happy to do that.

Russ Perry: I actually, Maddox, our teenager, sent me a Pinterest post of all things, on a brand. I don’t recall the name, but it’s very cognizant. It’s basically, you guys know single source coffee, like you can trace exactly where the beans came from and what you’re drinking, it’s multi-source because the supplements don’t … It’s not just one thing, but they’re very clearly tracking the supply chain of where the pieces and what they come from because of this opaque industry where it is very much you don’t know. Are you getting zinc from an African mine with lead in it? I don’t know, maybe that’s an extreme example. But I’m excited because I think they’ll be, I’m predicting based off of my 13-year-old Pinterest post that there’s going to be a trend of that transparency more and more.

Dr. Smithers: There definitely is, yeah. We can look up lot numbers and see, pull up the quality control reports and know exactly where all of those ingredients came from, and that what is in there is actually in there.

Russ Perry: So if you just bump into somebody and you got to give them, like you just know, “Just take these things. It’s more than likely you’re going to be deficient or it’s going to help.” What would you recommend?

Dr. Smithers: Sure. Fish oil is something that everybody can benefit from, or Omega-3s, because it helps with inflammation, it helps with eye, heart, brain health, and it helps with your skin too, which is great. It will also lower your cholesterol and bring up your good cholesterol. So it rebalances that pathway really, really well. It is a blood thinner, so that’s something that we need to-

Russ Perry: It’s also not vegan.

Dr. Smithers: Correct, so that’s why I said Omega-3s.

Russ Perry: Okay.

Mika Perry: So would it be flax?

Dr. Smithers: Yes, you can use flax. There’s different berry Omega-3s as well that you can buy too.

Mika Perry: Oh, cool.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah. They don’t taste great, but if you put them in a smoothie, they’re fine.

Russ Perry: I do a scoop of flax in my smoothie every day.

Mika Perry: You do, yeah. I think that’s important to note, that supplementation sometimes doesn’t taste great. Like I get questions when I’m making my smoothie or I’m putting L-glutamine or something, I’m not necessarily doing it as a delicious treat. This is like … It’s a form of medicine for your body. So you got to swallow that pill or seed or whatever sometimes if it is meaningful to you, if it’s important to you.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, and I try to work with people too, in some people have a more difficult time taking capsules or tablets, and will try to find a liquid or a powder form too. There’s usually another option, but powders and liquids are definitely going to be less palatable.

Russ Perry: So what else other than Omega-3? Anything?

Dr. Smithers: Adrenal support. Most patients can benefit from that just because we’re living in a really high stress environment.

Mika Perry: What are some of the ingredients that they should look for in an adrenal support?

Dr. Smithers: In an adrenal support, it should have Vitamin C, Vitamin B5. Those are the two main nutrients that your body is using for adrenal function. It’s like adrenal nutrients. Also it’ll usually have some different herbs, whether that’s Siberian ginseng, rhodiola, ashwagandha, that type of thing. Usually a formula like that is going to be better than picking one single item. Yeah.

Russ Perry: Okay. What about-

Mika Perry: Lifestyle and diet choices too?

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, so focusing on buying your food at the grocery store from the outer perimeter. Don’t go into the middle aisle. If it has a nutrient label on it, it’s processed. Real food doesn’t come like that, so you want to eat your fruits, your vegetables. If you eat meat, that’s still along the outside. Anything like that that’s not processed, and that’s actually a whole food.

Russ Perry: A friend of ours says, “Real food comes from the ground or a mom.” If you eat animal products.

Dr. Smithers: Right, yep.

Mika Perry: Yeah, and I think when I see … Wellness is a huge industry now. Wellness, health from different perspectives, but I’ll see some wellness accounts I follow that have the cart of what they’re buying. Or, “Here’s what I bought at the store.” But it’s a vegan person or something, but it’s mostly packaged. I feel like that’s another hesitation I had too, is like, “Well if I’m vegan, do I need to eat all these processed things?” And I don’t want to. I try to stay, no matter what … That’s one thing that has been consistent for Russ and I, we’ve done paleo. Russ has gone into keto. I’ve done macros and doing more protein and fat heavy, which I guess is kind of like keto. But regardless of what diet we’ve chosen, the one thing that has been consistent for us is that we try to buy fruits, vegetables, meats and make a meal out of that instead of something that comes in a box or a bag.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, and that’s kind of the difference between being vegan and being whole foods plant-based. You can be a horrible vegan. Oreos are vegan. So you can definitely eat a lot of processed, packaged foods and substitute with fake cheeses and that sort of thing, that obviously that’s straight chemicals. So things like that is actually going to be detrimental to your health, versus being whole foods based, then you’re eating all of those fruits and vegetables and legumes and rice and that type of thing.

Mika Perry: In their original form.

Dr. Smithers: Exactly, yeah. [crosstalk]

Mika Perry: Any other tips for someone that maybe, whether it’s insurance or nonaccessiblity, maybe they’re in a state that is not licensed and they don’t have quality access to naturopathic doctors like you, what are some tips for someone who wants to just improve their overall health, especially from a hormonal standpoint?

Dr. Smithers: Sure. Yeah, the biggest things that are kind of boring are going to be your water intake, that’s huge. That’s a non-negotiable with everybody is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. For every cup of coffee that you have, you have to add eight more ounces in.

Russ Perry: Oh man.

Dr. Smithers: Right. So I have some patients, they’re like, “Okay. Well I have this much water in my coffee.” I’m like, “No.”

Mika Perry: That’s a negative.

Russ Perry: 400-

Mika Perry: That takes away, yeah.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, that takes away.

Russ Perry: 400 ounces of water for me.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, so we need a lot. Your sleep quality as well, so no electronics before you go to bed for an hour before. If you sleep with blackout curtains, that’s very helpful too, and sleeping in a cool, comfortable room because sleep is where our body regenerates. The other thing that everybody can benefit from is dry lymph brushing. You can get one of the dry lymph brushes from [crosstalk] Target, Amazon. Yeah, they’re great. The biggest thing is this isn’t exfoliating the last 10 years off your skin. This is in terms of the pressure, it’s as if it’s a kitten rubbing you with a feather. It’s really, really, really light, because you’re-

Russ Perry: Well I don’t even know what we’re talking about.

Mika Perry: Okay, so you know in our shower there’s that round brush with like … There’s a hand thing to through, and the other side it’s a brush. It looks like a brush. That’s for lymphatic brushing. It’s dry brushing. The hard thing for me for that is that I jump in the shower and I’m like, “Oh no, I’m wet.” So I’ve already missed the dry part.

Dr. Smithers: Right.

Mika Perry: So I’m like, “Well I guess I’m not going to do it today.” But it’s really, it’s almost like a … It messes with your mind because you’re like, “Wait. I’m trying to stimulate things inside of my body, my lymphatic system,” which by the way it’s kind of like a toxin removal system, right?

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, exactly.

Mika Perry: So when you’re sick, that’s why your tonsils or your lymphs, they swell up.

Dr. Smithers: Mm-hmm (affirmative), they swell.

Mika Perry: Or by your groins.

Dr. Smithers: Yep.

Mika Perry: I remember I had shingles a long time ago, and my first symptom was that my groin hurt because the lymph nodes were swollen.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah.

Russ Perry: So what do … What are we doing?

Mika Perry: Okay, so back to the brushing. To do it so lightly, how does that stimulate something so deep inside of you?

Dr. Smithers: Because the lymph system is very, very superficial.

Mika Perry: Oh it is?

Dr. Smithers: Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s right under the skin, and so it flows along with our blood vessels, but it doesn’t have a pulsating action to it like our blood vessels do. Your lymph only moves when you move, so exercise will move your lymph as well. Any sort of movement, yoga, all of those things are going to be great. But a lot of us sit for the majority of the day and then our lymph will just be stagnant. So when you’re lymph brushing, you want to start from your feet and go up to your heart, and then from your hands in, and then under your breasts where your underwire is, you want to go towards the left because we have a chain of lymph nodes there that gets congested just because of wearing a bra everyday. So that’s why, and then under your arms we have lymph nodes there too that get really impacted from using poor quality deodorants and antiperspirants.

Mika Perry: So a lymph system, and the lymph is the liquid inside of that system.

Dr. Smithers: Correct. Yep.

Mika Perry: So that is kind of like a circulatory system with no heart.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, exactly.

Mika Perry: Okay.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah. Yep.

Mika Perry: That’s crazy how superficial it is. That’s what I wasn’t understanding.

Dr. Smithers: Yep. Yeah, so it’s really, really light pressure.

Mika Perry: Okay. Well will it work if it’s wet?

Dr. Smithers: It probably would-

Russ Perry: Because there’s less friction probably.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah. But yeah, if you do it … You can do it right when you get out of the shower, or you can do it, like I just do it before I go to bed.

Mika Perry: Oh okay, like a nighttime ritual.

Dr. Smithers: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.

Mika Perry: Okay. I can do that.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah, the time of day doesn’t matter.

Mika Perry: Okay. Oh, nice. Good to know.

Russ Perry: You could do it for me. I don’t know, like show me?

Mika Perry: Oh yeah, I’ll show you.

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: Yeah. [crosstalk]

Dr. Smithers: Like uh-uh (negative).

Mika Perry: Everyone knows tonight that’s what we’ll be doing. We’ll be standing there just brushing.

Russ Perry: Lymph activation.

Mika Perry: Well, Dr. Smithers, you’ve shared so much on this episode with us. I feel like we can go on and on. You’re such a knowledgeable person and so gracious and kind, and really … I really appreciate the time that you’ve taken today, but also every time I come and see you.

Dr. Smithers: Thank you very much.

Mika Perry: And sitting down with just such a wealth of knowledge. So I’m really excited for others to be able to tap into your knowledge as well from this episode, but when they want to find out more, how can they get in touch with you?

Dr. Smithers: Yeah. So I’m on Instagram as thehormonedoctor, so that’s very easy.

Russ Perry: Like DR or doctor spelled out?

Dr. Smithers: Doctor spelled out. Yep. Then my website is thehormonedoctoraz.com, which you can also just get from Instagram.

Russ Perry: Awesome.

Dr. Smithers: Yeah.

Mika Perry: Very cool.

Russ Perry: Thank you. It’s been fantastic, and I definitely think there is a part two. Like look at us now, journey-

Dr. Smithers: How Russ goes vegan.

Russ Perry: Yeah. So we’ll have those links, as well as other notes that we mentioned on our website, goodtobehomepodcast.com. And for all the listeners out there, we hope this was an interesting journey. If you’re already into naturopathic medicine, then you’ve probably have had these conversations before. Integrated, naturopathic, whatever it is you want to call it, has been super beneficial for us, especially as we’re trying to be proactive about our health. So that was the main reason why we wanted to bring you on, was so that we can educate everyone else about this possibility for it. Just thanks again. We really had a good time. I am excited about just learning more, as well as my own journey from here.

Dr. Smithers: Perfect. Thank you so much.

Mika Perry: All right. Well thank you guys for being here today with us on Good To Be Home, and if you enjoyed this episode, we’d love a rating or sharing with others. Maybe you know people who are struggling maybe with hormones or menopause or PMS or dietary needs, this would be a great episode to forward along. I think it can apply to a big group of people, so we always appreciate all your shares and tagging us in those shares as well.

Russ Perry: All right, well thanks everyone, and we’ll see you next week.

Mika Perry: Bye.

Russ Perry: Thanks for listening to this episode of Good To Be Home.

Mika Perry: And don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes and give us a rating.

Russ Perry: See you next time.