Season 1 Episode 2:
The Anxiety Episode
with Michelle Shapiro RD and Amanda Montalvo, RD
In the first part of the episode, Michelle talks about her personal experience with anxiety and panic attacks, explaining how to decode and respond to our internal anxiety in a neutralizing way. She also gives tangible tools to use during times of high anxiety/ panic and gives helpful insight into what is happening in the body during stress.
She then sits down with Amanda Montalvo, RD (@hormonehealingrd) to discuss the physiology of anxiety and tangible steps we can take to de-stress. They discuss :
- Being addicted/ conditioned to stress and the rush of hormones
- The impact of stress and anxiety on the female body
- The body’s physiological response to stress, step-by-step
- How stress depletes our minerals, specific minerals that are affected and why
- Stress and blood pressure (Hint: It’s not just about sodium!)
- Benefits of hair mineral testing
- HPA Axis dysregulation, how to support your adrenal glands
- How THYROID is affected by stress, anxiety, and mineral deficiencies
- The ONE thing you can do today to help your body recover from stress
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Are You Menstrual? Podcast with Amanda Montalvo
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(2:00) Michelle’s experience with panic attacks, anxiety symptoms as a results of drastic-weight loss
(3:30) Michelle’s visual explanation of what anxiety does for us, how to use our anxiety as an opportunity to let us know what’s going on in our body.
(6:00) What to do during a rush of anxiety or panic attack, hormones & anxiety from an evolutionary perspective
(14:22) Amanda Montalvo (@hormonehealingrd) talks about being addicted to stress & the rush of stress hormones on a daily basis
(20:54) The impact of stress and anxiety on women’s bodies in particular
(25:21) Amanda walks through the body’s physiological response to stress, step-by-step
(31:11) How stress depletes our minerals, specific minerals that are affected and why
(36:21) Stress and blood pressure (Hint: It’s not just about sodium!)
(46:45) Benefits of hair mineral testing
(49:05) HPA Axis dysregulation, how to support your adrenal glands, adrenal cocktails
(59:22) How THYROID is affected by stress, anxiety, and mineral deficiencies
(1:06:43) The ONE thing you can do today to help your body recover from stress
Michelle Shapiro, RD 0:00
I know I don't have to tell you this but this episode is only for educational purposes. It is not nutrition or personalized medical advice. We want you to get the most from the episode but to keep that in mind as well and we really hope you enjoy it
Michelle Shapiro 0:18
Welcome to the quiet the diet podcast. I'm your host Michelle Shapiro. I'm an integrative functional registered dietitian in New York City who has helped over 1000 clients, reverse their anxiety, approach their weight lovingly and heal their digestive issues. I help clients to access liberating self awareness through humor, nuance and compassion. I lost 100 pounds the wrong way so that you don't have to, you know, without all the physical and psychological damage that comes with it. Full body health requires so much more than just going on a restrictive diet. The quiet the diet podcast offers a holistic look at what it takes to be your most vibrant, healthy self, all while doing it on your own terms. I want to help you quiet the diet so you can focus on all the other parts of your amazing health and life. Welcome to the pod. I can't wait to explore the magic of functional nutrition and medicine together.
Welcome to the All Things anxiety episode, which is season one, episode two of the quiet the diet podcast. I am your host, Michelle Shapiro anxiety, one of my favorite topics to talk about. And I'm sure one of everyone's least favorite experiences to have. So in episode one, I talked about my health journey and really focused on the weight side of that journey, and then how that apply to illness and identity issues. We're going to parlay that conversation here into what for me was the biggest symptom that something was going wrong in my body during my weight loss journey, which was anxiety, I started experiencing panic attacks on a near daily basis. After I lost weight. I didn't know what they were, I hated them. It was an urgent sense of fear involved a lot of physical body symptoms like vomiting and shaking and heart racing. And again, I would say like I wouldn't wish a panic attack on my worst enemy, truly. So in my panic attacks came a tremendous amount of wisdom about the way that my body communicates with me. And thankfully, my anxiety was really the main symptom that led me to the path of healing because things have to get pretty rough for some of us before we take action and start supporting ourselves. And for me, anxiety was the symptom that just wouldn't quit. And the symptom that I hated the most. The way this episode is going to go is I'm going to give you my approach to anxiety. And then I'm bringing on a very dear friend of mine, Amanda Montalvo, the hormone healing rd on Instagram, famously known as who was going to help us understand the physiology of anxiety and what we can do to support our anxiety from a hormonal perspective, from a mineral perspective from a vitamin perspective, and really go through what happens in the body during anxiety. Before that, I'm going to help us to understand the importance and positive aspect of anxiety, I guess I'd say because of the sacred message that anxiety carries for us. So I view anxiety as and I'm gonna give you this visual. There's a mom and her son in a playground. And her son really wants her attention. Let's call him Timmy. And he's pulling on mom shirt Mom, mom, mom, kind of like that Family Guy sketch where you know Stewie is saying that to Lois mom, the more that he tries to get her attention, and the more she ignores him, the louder he gets. If she were to look at him and say hi to me, What can I help you with? He might respond with more calm, our anxiety is like that little kid in the park who wants our attention, and it is going to keep calling to and calling to unless you pick up the phone. So the more we ignore and suppress anxiety, the louder it gets. Now this is really important to understand and comes into context when people feel like they're bad at meditation. So I always get this comment I stink at meditation. When we attempt to quiet our thoughts and tell our thoughts to go away as many of us do when approaching meditation again, they're going to be louder. So that's when meditation becomes quite torturous. Meditation is actually supposed to be pretty uncomfortable. It's about tolerating and accepting and sitting with what comes up for you. It is about being present. It is not about forcing thoughts down. So this is why historically meditation may have been hard for you because you're trying to To the thoughts away, and instead they're coming up louder and louder. So my tip right there would be if you're approaching meditation, to alleviate anxiety, just allow the thoughts to come up, notice them, acknowledge them and let them pass through. Hi, I see you, you can respond by saying that notice them, acknowledge them and let them pass through, the more that you can tolerate that, the quicker they'll go away. The goal of supporting anxiety through a mindset and functional nutrition perspective is not to get rid of anxiety, it's to utilize anxiety to let us know what is going on in our body. Another example of how I view anxiety is, it's kind of like the fire alarm in your house, if you shut that fire alarm off, and you have a fire in the house, you're gonna have a bigger problem, because we need to know if there's a fire in the house. So we don't want to shut off our anxiety, because then we won't know when something really needs to be sent to us and told to us anxiety is a symptom that is a sacred messenger from your body to your brain. So from this point on, when you are experiencing the first signs of anxiety, instead of going into fighting it or questioning it, I just want you to say, Hey, I noticed this is happening. I don't like it. Of course, it's terrible. But I noticed this is happening. Just thinking about how your neurological system would register fear and would register and respond to fear. responding with fear to responding to fear with fear is going to create more of a cortisol response. So that is my first tip when it comes to the mindset aspect of anxiety. And what I want you to do, if you're in those moments of really high stress, anxiety or panic, accept and acknowledge and let it pass. And if the accepting and acknowledging becomes too overwhelming, you can always step away from it, distract yourself, but first to the best, you can try to ride the wave, we call it as much as as much as you possibly can. The more anxiety as a symptom is something that generally happens when we ignore a sensation of feeling a deficiency something going on inside of our bodies. So other emotions, like sadness aren't quite the same as anxiety, anxiety is more the absence of a sensation, and that unknowingness creates that fear too. Or again, it's it's like representative and more Eastern medicine have something that's been undiscovered or something that your body is trying to communicate with you. So when we hear anxiety, we're also going to start viewing it as an opportunity. Again, I'm coming to you with all this information, having experienced daily panic attacks for years. So I totally understand that what I am saying sounds completely ridiculous. And like, hey, Michelle, if you've ever had a panic attack, you'd know that I can't just ride the wave. They're horrible. I'm totally and completely aware of how uncomfortable panic attacks are. And I could not have more empathy for you. If it's something you've experienced before. And my recommendation still stands, I'm still going to tell you to ride the wave of it as much as possible, so that you can communicate with your neurological system to soothe and come down from it. The more you can tolerate, the more that response will come down, remember, because then your body will also feel seen and heard. The fires that could be happening inside of our body that our body wants to communicate with us could be inflammation, it could be a nutrient deficiency, it could be a gut disruption, it could be a number of different things from a physical plane, that your body is trying to communicate with you on a mental plane. So let me make sure I'm getting this point across. It's really important. The view of anxiety we have in modern medicine is that anxiety, is it purely mental and brain disease. But we know that the things that influence our gut influence the rest of our health affect our brain also. So you can target anxiety through targeting your body just as much as you can target it from targeting your brain. It's called a bottom up approach for that reason, so we can target the gut and then we can influence our brain. Again, anxiety is a symptom that is related to our body, communicating something with us about something that's going wrong. It's just like a little poke, like, Hi, I have to tell you something, you might have a nutrient deficiency. The reason why my panic attacks and anxiety were so bad is because I had this rapid weight loss and this lack of balance and homeostasis in my body triggered a huge amount of fear that I was gonna starve to death. So my body was trying to tell me, oh my gosh, I have to tell you something. The way that our body does that is through a cascade of hormones. And we will definitely be talking about this with Amanda in just a few minutes. But our brains are wired much like our evolutionarily biological selves. So when I think of anxiety, I also think of it from an evolutionary perspective. So if our ancestors were sleeping in a cave, and we needed to be basically hyper vigilant because the air We were in maybe had bears or other animals that could potentially attack us, our body needs to have a system to notify us when we are in danger. The problem is that in our modern world, those signals of what our potential danger could be something like a horn honking, it could be something like a coworker being rude to you. We have so many stressors that could be perceived as potentially dangerous to our health that our cortisol system is firing off all the time, not to mention our phones, social media, all of this really influences cortisol, which is our main dog stress hormone we're going to talk about today. And cortisol does a lot of amazing positive things in our our body too. And we really need it. I know when we often associate trust, we associate it with high cortisol or low cortisol, but it's really when it becomes imbalanced, or your body is creating too much of it a too inopportune of times, versus just a total load that we want to look at. So an example of you know, when cortisol can be firing off and appropriately and I see this a lot with my clients is during an initial consultation, I can be talking to a client and say, How's your sleep in and I'll hear, you know,
I'm waking up in the middle of the night around 2am. This is a wild thing about our cortisol. So if our body perceives enough stress, or over basically, if we have like a tolerable amount of stress load that we can handle, if you go over that, and picture that almost like a bucket like a stress bucket. If you go over that stress bucket, then the body is going to start to say, hey, something's really wrong, we could be threatened, we could die from this, we could be starving, there could be a bear coming. And again, in life, we think so many different things are bears on the subconscious level. So if I'm hearing that a client's waking up between the hours of let's say, 2am, and 4am, I actually have an association immediately that their cortisol might be firing off early. And this happens because cortisol is our main stress hormone, but it's also our rising hormone. So it's a hormone that wakes us up in the morning. If our cortisol is signaled that there's an emergency, it's going to want to wake us up earlier. So your cortisol will fire off. It's kind of like the chicken like cockadoodledoo. You know, you hear that in the morning, it's cockadoodle doing earlier to make sure you are awake in case the bear is coming or an emergency is happening. So we don't often realize what is triggering our cortisol, some of the main nutritional things we can do to not trigger the excess cortisol, again, from a food standpoint, is addressing nutrient deficiencies, managing blood sugar, and reducing inflammation, blood sugar and anxiety are intricately related. So I do often see when clients are intermittent fasting for a long time, if they're having blood sugar dips, their sleep starts to be impacted. And that's because low blood sugar triggers cortisol. Again, we have this idea in our society that all blood sugar should be as low as possible, we want balance, we have this idea in our society that all cortisol should be as low as possible. We want balance. The goal is not to have as low of hormones and nutrients as possible, the goal is to strike a beautiful balance. So this is the amazing way again, that our anxiety can signal to us what's going on inside of our bodies. So if we are eating a diet that's too low in carbs for us, we'll start waking up at 2am. It's amazing when you start to see all the ties coming in between anxiety and our body and realizing that what we eat and how we live our lives is so related to the way that our body handles stress. So we're going to talk when Amanda comes on about what happens to the body during times of anxiety, what nutrients we use, because we deplete our nutrients quicker during times of stress. And how do we approach anxiety from a functional nutrition standpoint, we have some small mindset tips that we went over, but we're really going to dig into how do we target stress and anxiety from a whole body perspective. So not just saying hey, let's shut off these thoughts in the brain. But how do we target anxiety from the rest of our body up and from our brain down and we're bringing them in on right now. If you're looking for additional anxiety support from a functional nutrition and naturopathic physician perspective, myself and Dr. Koch go and D have created a program anxiety proof and you can check out more information at get anxiety proof.com. We are switching over from hearing boring old me to the most esteemed guests I will ever have on this podcast my really dear friend, Amanda I'm so freaking excited. You're here.
Amanda Montalvo 14:58
Thanks for having me in The boring is literally the last word that I would ever use.
Michelle Shapiro 15:05
Thank you. And you know what you're right. Like, there's other worse words that I can use to describe myself for sure, Amanda, I just have to say that having you on is so important to me, because of a personal relationship, but it should be so much more important to the listener, because I believe that you are operating from a nutritional perspective, about 20 to 30 years ahead of the rest of us. So I think what the information you put out that feels so revolutionary, which it is, will one day hopefully trickle its way into mainstream nutrition, but I think you're really ahead of the game. And I think because of that you're extra helpful to people. So I just want to tell you, and thank you for that.
Amanda Montalvo 15:45
Thank you for letting me spread this message even more. I mean, a lot of it is so simple. And I think that's, it's funny that that's revolutionary. But I think you know, with the functional health space, we can get really caught up and like advanced testing and all these protocols and forget about the basics.
Michelle Shapiro 16:01
Absolutely. And I think what you have is a mastery of the basics of basic, which is like how our cells function, how our organs function all the way, walking functional nutrition all the way back to our most basic, essential functions of the human body. I think that's what you do really, really well.
Amanda Montalvo 16:20
Thank you. I'm excited to chat about that more, because this is what your second doesn't meet your second episode. Second episode, we're getting right into it in the beginning,
Michelle Shapiro 16:29
exactly. We're given people exactly what they want in the beginning. And I think anxiety and stress is something that is so experienced across the board, of course, and we know it's experienced internally, with everyone. But some people only can put to words, their experience of stress or anxiety, you know, later on in their journey. So I think this will really help people to understand that even when we don't realize it, stress is impacting us internally. And that is so weird, because I think people think it just happens in our brain, and then our neck is kind of cut off and nothing happens with the rest of our minds a
Amanda Montalvo 17:06
really good way to put it. That's a great visual. I couldn't agree more. And I think also, I mean, I would say that I have a lot of people that I think were also addicted to stress, and those stress hormones, that they're like, oh, no, I'm not stressed, I'm fine. And I'm like, Okay, it's just like, it's like a disembodied mint, which I definitely used to do. I didn't want to really connect with my body and feel like how am I actually stressed. And I could never tell if I was like hungry or not, you know, like, it was I was very disconnected. And I see that a lot with people that are in this like super high stress, like everything in their life, like, you know, they're doing HIIT workouts or only CrossFit, they don't like anything else. They're like, maybe they really like to do fasting, like they don't feel good when they're eating regularly. Coffee, you know, like addicted to caffeine. And even it can even go like further of like, only wanting to eat low carb, but always like they just always have to be running on stress hormones, I see that a lot too.
Michelle Shapiro 18:06
There's something about stress hormones, which we're going to get into that also lends to the fact that when you're operating with a certain rhythm, your body kind of like defends that rhythm, right? And our body believes, hey, this is how we're supposed to be operating. So I think stress can be mentally addicting. And it can also be physically, it can perpetuate itself, essentially. And you can get into these kind of cycles that we don't even realize we're getting into. So I'm I'm sure we'll we'll cover that too. Yeah, definitely. Just starting us way off you and I love to walk it back, or like walk it back to essentials, right all the way back. The idea that stress is something that happens in the body and is communicated to the brain, I think is very wild for people to even conceptualize. Can you tell us what your take is on that?
Amanda Montalvo 18:54
Yeah, I think even if we walk it back one more time, just understanding that our brains and our nervous systems, they're constantly like, just on it's like having a security camera. And they're constantly looking out for stressors. They're like, Are we safe? Is our environment safe? Are we fed? You know, all those things? Are we currently safe? That's why it's like, as soon as something pops up, your brain is alerted of that outside stressor, because this is like a subconscious process called neuroception. If you want to get nerdy and it's, it's when your brain is like constantly looking at its environment, and so then it gets alerted. And that's when a whole cascade of events internally like really kicks off that has to do with our brain, our hypothalamus gland or pituitary really important glands that that eventually get to our adrenals and I think that can be a disconnect for a lot of people is like, Oh, it's my adrenals I'm like okay, but like, what tells your adrenals to make stress hormones? You know, it's your brain and what happens even before that it's does your body feel safe, and for the female body Especially I always think about how, in order to like, heal and be healthy, have healthy hormones, the female body absolutely has to feel safe, you know, especially to ovulate and things like that for in which it doesn't matter if your goal is pregnancy or not for healthy hormones and to feel good and vibrant, we need to ovulate. So that's like another big thing I think about when I think of like how much our brain is involved in making those stress hormones. And it's not, I don't think that stress is a bad thing. It's in like, Han cellulase says this a lot is like, it's not the stress that kills you. It's your reaction to it, or was that Gabor Ma Tei. That was probably good for monta. They're both amazing stress researchers, if any practitioners are listening, and they want to look into this stuff more, but in that, to me, I'm like that is so so true. Because a lot of us just we don't have we no longer have a healthy stress response, because we've been under chronic stress for so long.
Michelle Shapiro 20:54
Absolutely. And I think as you've been under chronic stress for so long, your ability to process stress also gets depleted, which is really hard to understand. So it's like the more help you need with stress, the less help you have, when you have so much stress accumulated, like the actual stress impacts the system's ability to run. Yeah, which I think is really, really important people understand, you said something essential that I want to cover too, which is that women's bodies are primed for survival, maybe even more so than than men's bodies. And I mean, again, this is we can argue the actual science behind those statements, which we can definitely we're not gonna argue would be on the same team. But I think that what's important underneath that to draw a link is that women also on the whole through any study I've seen experienced more anxiety than men do. Do you think there's a link between women's bodies being primed for survival and maybe having an advantage for procreation or something that that makes women's bodies more hyper vigilant? Or what do you think
Amanda Montalvo 22:00
I think that we live in such a masculine world, that women get way more depleted than men do, because like, even, like, if you just think of working, you know, you're not taking off work, because you have your period, you should be able to, or shouldn't be able, like if say someone has like, endometriosis, or some sort of like, significant health history, were around that time of their period, they are very physically impacted, which will, of course, impact us mentally. And it's just like wears on you, especially if you're dealing with chronic pain, stuff like that, and fatigue. So it's like, even just thinking of like art, how we look at working, never changes, we work, like 40, I mean, a lot of people work more than 40 hours a week, we we never rest, you know, it's we take our work home with us. There's in there's very, very little like time where you can just like flow and be creative unless you work for yourself, of course. And I think that's why there's so many female entrepreneurs, because they're like, this is not, especially when you have a family and stuff like this is not working for me. Like I, I don't want to just be in this one role all the time, it's basically impossible. It makes it really, really hard. So I think a lot of that anxiety too, is just like how our society is built, and how like nothing is adjusted for women, like not around your cycle. A lot of women don't even get maternity leave paid maternity leave from work. I mean, that in and of itself, it's just like that is incredibly stressful. So that's something that I think about a lot is just like our society and like how, I mean, obviously men deal with anxiety. I'm not saying that they don't, it's our society, stressful in general, but especially for women, because we are cyclical creatures. We don't show up the same way every day, yet we expect ourselves to write and so does society. So I think that and then all the different seasons of life that we go through as women, that too, you know, nothing shifts for that you're just expected to like, Oh, you just had a baby like, well, we need you to come back to work after six weeks of unpaid leave, and we'll put a smile on your face, you know,
Michelle Shapiro 24:08
and then call and then say women are weak, which is the funniest part of the entire thing, because it's like the most impossible test. So not only are you insinuating or saying of course, that women from a societal perspective might have added stressors. But also I'm going to argue that from a physiological perspective, women's bodies are more hyper reactive. Because I noticed in and again, we know again, anxiety is it's higher in women, but I'm arguing the physiological perspective, because if I put a client on something like an intermittent fasting or something, we can literally see the symptoms of a woman's body being more reactive to stressors than men. I think there's also like, components we could talk about brain chemistry wise and it's very interesting. This is not to say, of course, this podcast is not only for women, Amanda's world is my world is for both that have course like Amanda said, Men experience stress, but it is important to make the distinction in how the physiology and hormones might be impacted. So, Amanda, if someone is experiencing a stressor, can you take me like from the top from the, you know, maybe the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland all the way through what the heck is going on during stress that we might not even realize it's happening?
Amanda Montalvo 25:21
Yeah. So we've got this like surveillance system constantly monitoring for stress, our brain gets alerted, and your hypothalamus or pituitary, they're sitting at like, near your upgrade above your brainstem. Basically, your neck, you're like, Okay, you're getting this stressor, your brains, like, we have to respond to this stress, it's a healthy thing, you want to have a good stress response, like stress is not bad. So your hypothalamus recognize it says, sends a hormone to your pituitary, it's like, hey, we have a stressor, we need to deal with this, your pituitary then alerts your adrenals. And that's really what gets all the attention. Like, you'll hear things like adrenal fatigue, oh, my adrenal support on my adrenals are overactive, what supplement for my adrenals because they make the stress hormone, but they're not where it begins or ends. And so once those adrenals get alerted, then they're going to make our stress hormones like cortisol. And that's like the main one, I feel like cortisol gets a very bad name, but it's like, it's pretty important, we want to have all we want to have this anti inflammatory hormone, that's gonna help put your body in that alert fight or flight mode. And we're also going to make adrenaline your body's going to make these neurotransmitters epinephrine and norepinephrine. And that's what's gonna give you that energy. And that's what I think most people are addicted to, when they get into this, like chronic stress. They might not even know it, but I think of like someone that can't sit still and meditate, you know, because their body's so used to being in that state of stress that it is it feels unsafe for them to come out of it. And I think that's like, the other thing is like, we look at things like anxiety is always like bad. And I'm like, your body's like trying to protect you, you know. And I feel like you say that all the time. So it's like, it's not a negative thing. Same thing with stress, your body is just trying to protect you and allow you to respond to this, like what seems like an outside stressor. But these can all happen internally, too. So you can get this same stress response, where you're making these stress hormones, you're using up things like vitamin C, magnesium is the first mineral burned up during that stress response, we use a ton of magnesium for that, which then trickles down and impacts sodium, potassium, and zinc. And I'm sure we'll talk about those. But we start using up these vitamins and minerals and resources. And this can happen if even if you don't realize a stressor is currently going on. Like if you have some internal stress or like maybe you have a lot of gut issues, you may or may not have symptoms, too, believe it or not, gut issues can show up as like skin issues. And so you're focusing on your skin, but it's like, oh, it's actually an issue within your gut. And so having this like internal stressors seem response. And so this is why over time, when we have like a great deal of outside stressors, maybe you go through a really hard season of life, something really big happens that you weren't planning for, and then maybe some physical internal stressors that you don't even know or have it like this compounding of stress. Eventually, that stress response, it's like healthy and normal we want to work will start to get a little dysfunctional. So your cortisol levels stay high. And then your brains senses a stressor, but it's like, oh, I have plenty of cortisol, we're good. So I don't need to make any more. And this is like kind of where it all starts to break down. Right? It's like, okay, but you technically you need to make more cortisol. And so then it doesn't, and then eventually you have less and less cortisol. But you still have a lot of stress, your body doesn't feel good, because you're not getting this anti inflammatory cortisol hormone, or the adrenaline for the energy, so you're tired, you're not handling stress, well, you're probably super anxious, maybe a little depressed. And if we looked at this from like the nutrients standpoint, this is when you start to get depleted in vitamins and minerals. And so then those trickle down, and they start to impact all the other areas of your body since minerals really, they they're like cofactors, these little spark plugs that kick off reactions. So if you can't kick off those reactions, like making energy, we need magnesium to make ATP, our body's main fuel source. And so if we can't do that, again, everything slows down your body makes less energy, all your symptoms start to get compounded. Maybe that's when you first start experiencing symptoms. Everyone's a little different with how like resilient they are. But once you start, you know, once you're symptomatic, and you're fatigued, and maybe you're starting to get hormonal symptoms, maybe your thyroid issues, you're seeing thyroid issues, gut issues, your body has probably been combating the stress for a long time, because they you know, wants to keep itself in balance and in that homeostasis, and it'll do that as long as it can until it can't and then that's when stress really starts to break down different processes of the body.
Michelle Shapiro 29:56
And I think people again, by the time they experience anxiety, I will love when people come to me and they're like, I've never had anxiety in my life, and I spontaneously started having anxiety, I'm like, let's talk about the past 30 years of what led to this moment, let's not talk about the last five minutes and talk about the last 30 years that led you to this moment. So I want to create a visual of what you just said, too, which is that let's say like our our body, or let's talk specifically about our hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. So this this, again, this like system of brain signaling to the creation of hormones, right. So that system of stress handling again, and I need to punch this thought in is impacted by stress itself. So let's say like your ability to handle stress was like a fuel tank. And if it's full, that's you can handle it. And if it gets depleted, that means when you have stress, not only are you not filling up the tank, you're poking holes in the fuel tank itself, which means that the reparative processes that you're going to put into place, need to not only replenish, but they need to support the entire system too, because this is a very weird thing about stress, which is that it has this negative feedback loop, and it keeps going around. So you really have to crack in and break the cycle. The other really essential thing you said was that we get depleted during times of stress. So again, we think it's just loud, these thoughts are happening, they stink. But there's this whole vitamin mineral aspect to this depletion, too. So Amanda's gonna talk about one or two potentially functional lab tests, the tests that she talks about hair mineral testing, if you're not familiar, she is the master of this test specifically. And it lets you know the minerals in your body. And it's kind of like a snapshot of it. And that can tell you a huge amount of information. I'm just walking it back to people who are new to you. Yeah.
Amanda Montalvo 31:44
So the hair test really is going to show you everything I'm talking about. I'm a very visual person. I when I sent Michelle, my notes for this episode, it's like half pictures. I love when we think about the stress response and how it show up in our minerals. The first mineral that's going to be lost is magnesium. And everyone talks about magnesium, right? Everyone's like magnesium. So important. I think we know by now how important magnesium is. Even my parents, like my dad was like, I got this magnesium supplement. And I was like, I send you all the supplements. Just only take what I knew. Because you could you know, market it, people have great marketing. So you get this magnesium loss. It's important, but a lot of people only focus on that, oh, I'm stressed I need more magnesium, yes, but also, what about your other minerals because as soon as you start to use up that magnesium, minerals are synergistic, and our different organs, systems and glands, they're going to use different minerals like your adrenals use a lot of sodium and vitamin C. And because sodium works very closely with potassium, when you use up that sodium like in your your initial like stress response is going to be like sodium is super high. Usually on a hair test, not in bloodwork a hair test really shows you more of how you're using minerals. And it showing you what's inside the cell. bloodwork shows you what's outside the cell. And so sodium like usually you'll see, if you have a lot of stress, you'll see higher levels of minerals on your test because it's like high magnesium, high sodium, that's then that would tell me okay, this person is obviously stressed and they're appropriately responding to that stress. And then from the sodium piece, then you're gonna start to use up potassium. And potassium is one of my favorite minerals. I think it's so underrated. It's so important for overall health and pretty much every system in the body. And when I think of stress, I'm like, You need more potassium because I work gets affected by stress, literally everything but especially blood sugar, and thyroid. Sure, and potassium is so helpful for getting thyroid hormone inside the cell for getting glucose sugar inside the cell, I find it so hot was probably the most helpful thing for my clients when they're super, super stressed. So you'll start to use up this potassium to and then when we look at a hair test, we'll we'll start to see potassium creep higher than sodium. And that's when we know okay, this person has probably been stressed for a pretty long time, or they're currently like dealing with the stress and their bodies compensating, which again, not a bad thing. But eventually, if those minerals are not being replaced, or if we are not dealing able to reduce this outside stressor, then ideally to both, then eventually they're gonna get depleted. And when magnesium gets depleted, zinc gets depleted. So this is I think this is why zinc is another like very popular mineral to talk about. It's so important for our immune system. So many different things. gut health, stomach acid production, very important mineral, but a lot of people are just taking zinc because they're deficient and I'm like okay, but like how's your magnesium? How's your sodium and potassium? Like, we want to always go backwards of like, well, why did my zinc get out of balance? I mean, obviously, if you're not eating foods with zinc, then you're it's gonna get depleted but that chronic stress is a major deplete meter of magnesium, which then depletes zinc. So that's like what's happening from a mineral perspective in like the beginning stages, eventually, we're gonna keep using those minerals. So you're like, you, maybe you don't know your stress, or you don't have the capacity or the resources to handle this outside stressor, you're not necessarily have the knowledge or know how to replace these minerals. Because why would you know this information? Right? No one's really talking about this, besides you. So then you get exhausted and your body moves into this exhaustive stage of stress where minerals are very low. If we looked at your cortisol levels, they'd probably be very low, unless you were doing saliva tests, and you were kind of like on the brink. But for the most part, it's like minerals typically match up with your hormones, whether that's like sex hormones, or stress hormones. And so eventually, everything gets depleted. And that's when you're in this like exhaustive stage super fatigued. Do you feel like you don't handle stress? Well, like, I think of things like loud noises, maybe like, you know, your start off, like, yeah, like you're very startled, and, or if something happens, it may be like, normally wouldn't bother you. And you're like having a meltdown. Like, I don't know how I'm supposed to deal with this. It that's like a huge, huge red flags that your ability to respond to stress that resiliency has decreased. And then those are the areas that I would say, you'd want to look at.
Michelle Shapiro 36:21
That was a lot of juicy stuff. And but I have to pull apart and and make you talk about each amazing thing you just said and even greater detail. So minerals we think of again, it's funny, because the first mineral that comes to mind, for most people is probably sodium, because it's like the one that gets that's the hardest. And the media, let's say, because we think of sodium when it comes to high blood pressure and eating. Yeah, sodium foods, as you know, high salt foods as being inducing high blood pressure, can we talk about stress, blood pressure, and sodium for a second? Yes,
Amanda Montalvo 36:55
this is like one of my favorite things, especially like when I'm explaining things to like my parents or like that type of population. When we think about sodium, it does, it gets this bad name. And we only associated with heart health, right? High blood pressure. But in reality, if we were to look at what minerals impact our blood pressure, it would be sodium, it would be magnesium, and it would be potassium. So I find that most people they have a lack of magnesium and potassium, and oftentimes sodium to and that is what is creating this higher blood pressure for them. But stress hormones, they do increase your heart rate, right? I mean, they're supposed to, because we're supposed to be pumping this blood, all these nutrients to different cells as energy and oxygen to different cells in the body. So we can respond to that stress. And over time, again, like your minerals will get depleted, and that can impact your blood pressure. That's why like, whenever someone starts to magnesium, or like getting more whole food, potassium, I'm like, if you're taking blood pressure medication, you need to be monitoring your blood pressure, you need to have a good relationship with your doctor. It seems simple. But I never I never had people start with magnesium, even if it's super high in a hair test if their sodium potassium is low, because that will impact how they respond to that magnesium, how their body uses it. Because if we give our bodies more of one of these minerals, and like we're not balancing them, especially magnesium, your body will use that if you're stressed, right, you're gonna respond to that stressor better, but you may not have the other resources to back that up. So I think when it comes to sodium, and like heart health, I think we have it's so backwards. I don't think we need to overdo salt. Right? I do think there needs to be a balance there. And I think it needs to be balanced with potassium because they have such a close relationship, that I think people get too much salt and not enough potassium. And then they're like, why increase my salt? Like, especially like sea salt, if they're like, I'm trying to be healthier, but then they're they're having like that fluid retention. I'm like, Well, how is your potassium rich foods? Like what are you eating? Like mostly whole food, carbs, like potatoes, root, veggies, squash, fruit, all those things are going to give you a lot of potassium. And oftentimes they're not, they're not getting enough potassium. And then when they make that change, and maybe lower the sea salt a little bit, especially if you just jump to a lot of sodium, you're not gonna feel good guys don't do it, it's not gonna go well, you're gonna most likely have some fluid retention, and sometimes loose stools for people. So if we can be a little bit more mindful and balance those two minerals, that's when I see the best results. And there's a really great book called The Salt fix that goes through all the studies, all these amazing, amazingly terrible research articles that we have on low sodium diets and blood pressure. And most of them like the major theme is that they're not really accounting for the changes in food and diet. They're only looking at sodium. But when those changes were made in the majority of these studies, it's even when they had a higher salt intake. It was the food it was eating less processed, it was processing right the calories like your total end energy intake, all those things, all that made such a big difference. And then when you look further into research low sodium diets, they cause insulin resistance, if someone already has heart health issues, and then we're put them on a low salt diet, because of that high blood pressure concern, then we exacerbate their insulin that's not good for high blood pressure, or cardiovascular health, either. So most things, even when it's super simple, like minerals, like salt, like sodium, it's always more nuanced. And there's always something bigger to the picture. So I get why people can be so confused by like, should I eat salt? Should I not pretty much always my opinion is like, just don't take anything to the extreme, and you'll probably be okay. And then if you can do some sort of testing and work with someone, if possible, then that's gonna let you know exactly what you should do. But most of the time, if we just don't take things to the extreme, like sea salt, sodium, then you can find that balance.
Michelle Shapiro 40:55
And I think it's like you said, if it's caked into the foods and not a preferable sodium source, it's very different than if you're having adding salt to your foods or things like that, which I think can enhance a lot of the health benefits of the food and also can enhance taste. It's funny, Amanda, when you're saying like, you know, don't don't go overboard with the salt, because I know my clients are way like under consuming sodium as like, that's a nutrient of concern for my clients, because they're so concerned about the blood pressure issue. And I think the low sodium can compound it, like you said, so it can't Yeah, which is really interesting for people. It's a bigger conversation that we might have to have you back on. And just even because I think that's too it's almost too revolutionary to talk for people because we're going against mainstream medical advice in a really substantial way. Even though we don't believe it's revolutionary. It feels very obvious to us based on the way that minerals work in our bodies work. But I think that the takeaway is, like you said, minerals in moderation, but we're quite depleted when it comes to stress. In a lot of minerals. I know for myself, part of my anxiety journey was adding salt and potassium. And right off the bat, especially in the earlier stages of noticing your stress. It felt like probably the most healing thing I could do is eating like warm foods and foods or salt in them felt like super duper nourishing. Let's talk about this. You said basically, with fluid retention. I want people to understand this, that like if your sodium is too high, and your potassium is too low, you might have some fluid retention. Can we talk about how sodium and potassium are kind of like work in cahoots, but might be antagonistic towards each other? Can we talk about those two friends?
Amanda Montalvo 42:35
Yeah, so sodium, potassium are really working together. And sodium is more outside the cell. And potassium is more of an intracellular mineral. And that's why when you look at if someone's like, oh, I have my bloodwork done for potassium, and it was normal. That's like one to 2% of the potassium in your body and your blood. So if you look at a hair test that showing inside the cell, then you'd probably see very low potassium, especially if it's an I even see low potassium bloodwork. And I'm like, heart palpitations, because I'm like, this means that it's like incredibly low inside your cells. So we've got this sodium outside the cell, we've got potassium inside the cell, they work together, they make this sodium potassium pump. And they're really a huge part of how to even get things inside the cell in the first place. If you're overdoing the salt, or say like, maybe you are already not getting enough salt in your diet, sodium, and then maybe your potassium or meat eating, like just not low carb, I, there's only one I can really think of off the top of my head, because you tend to eat a lot less potassium when you low carb. But there are ways you can avoid that. And say you're you're not getting a potassium, you're being really really mindful with the salt because maybe you have a health history and your provider was like we need to be mindful, we need to do a low salt diet, or God forbid, a dietitian told you that then from there, it's very easy if you were to start increasing your salt even a little bit for your body to then retain more fluid because it wants to keep that sodium and potassium in balance. And it's your kidneys are going to do whatever they can to do that. And so if we can up that potassium by including some potassium matures, and you can find potassium in a huge variety of foods, it's even in me, there's a ton of potassium and salmon dairy. So it doesn't just have to be like the whole food carbs. I like to do like a nice mix for people, especially depending on like what they tolerate and their health history, blood sugar, that sort of thing. If we can increase them together and do that slowly, and you need more potassium than sodium that should definitely go without saying if we look at like if someone if I see someone's lab work maybe it's even if it's bloodwork or hair tests and potassium is low, then I think of okay this person needs at least 4700 milligrams of potassium in order to improve a deficiency because if we look at the RDA is in the recommendations for a lot of nutrients, they're not for deficiencies, they're meant for healthy people and how much they could should continue to consume. So we know that okay, if you're low on potassium, you need more And then if you're also low in sodium, which a lot of people are, especially if you've been chronically stressed and, and avoiding it, if we pair those together, then you want to increase I would say, like potassium at least like four times higher than sodium. And that's going to give you a good ratio. And it doesn't have to be that much thought I would just say, eat both potassium, sodium rich foods. Don't overthink it. Yep. Then that's going to slowly increase those levels in your body. So you're not compensating and retaining this fluid? And in the beginning, you might see some of that even if you have potassium rich foods, I would say like, most likely not, but say you're soft, sensitive, because salt sensitive people do exist, where you're going to maybe even having a little bit more salt, you go out to eat, and you're like, super bloated the next day that you could be salt sensitive, and then you would you do want to be more mindful with the potassium and experimenting. I think that's the other thing is like, I know that people want to know exactly how much they should have, right? How exactly I'm which is mineral Should I have? What should I eat to get there, but that might not work for you, especially if you're in a very exhausted state of stress, going slower is always going to be better. And I love how you said like when you were like kind of in the beginning and figuring things out, like adding those sodium at sea salt and potassium rich, like warming foods, how they like really change things, it can be that simple. Because if you have these big deficiencies in these minerals, they are so important for a lot of different things. But including that stress response, and when you can't respond to stress, you don't feel good, you have less energy, you are more fatigued. So I think focusing on those two first and keeping them in balance, your kidneys aren't you know, compensating with the fluid is like the best way to go.
Michelle Shapiro 46:45
And you've been running these hair mineral tests for many, many years and analyzing people's minerals for years. Is it a validating experience for the client to be able to see like, not only is this what a man's have picked up on what I was experiencing, and captured it in a test, and it showed me that I was stressed, but also that their experience mirrored other peoples who were stressed experiences? Do you see the relief and people when you show them that?
Amanda Montalvo 47:12
Yeah, and I'm sure you can relate to this with people, but like, someone can come to you and they can have all these symptoms, especially like anxiety, fatigue, and nothing is explained, right? They're exhausted, they've got these digestive issues, but all their labs are normal. And they're like, ma'am, I'm not normal, like this is not normal, you know, my life experience, there's got to be something wrong. Because you know, when you think of labs, you're like, oh, I don't want to see anything wrong in my labs. But these people that are symptomatic, and they haven't gotten any answers. And they've seen so many doctors and providers that they feel like they're crazy. They are like, Wow, thank God that I can actually see how I feel on a test. Or even just seeing like, even if it's like, I always think of like really high calcium on a hair test. It's a calcium shell, I see that for people with a mental health issues for sure. Calcium is something that also will get used up eventually during that stress response. But it's really it comes very high. And then your cells get this calcification on them. And it's like this protection. And it's so like, I feel like metaphorical metaphor, but like what's happening in your body, like with this anxiety, right, your body's trying to protect you and keep you safe. Your cells are doing the same thing. And when people learn about the calcium shell, and then they're also connecting into like this, like fatigue, health history, maybe they deal with anxiety or depression or anything like that. They're like, Whoa, I mean, this is literally me on my chest, you know. So I think seeing that and make those connections is huge for people. And I don't know when we're going to talk about thyroid, but that's probably like, I don't know, people get they're like, Oh, I'm like, have you looked at your thyroid? They're like, yeah, it's normal. And I'm like, Okay, well, we need to talk about this more, because especially if you're stressed, your thyroid can look normal. And then seeing that bloodwork can be like very, you know, frustrating, because you're like, Well, I know that something's off.
Michelle Shapiro 49:05
We can talk about thyroid anytime you want, Amanda, so don't worry, we will we will be talking about thyroid. I think again, this idea that our labs could actually be tools to reflect our experiences is really what I think the goal of labs within the chronic illness framework are for very different with acute care. Also, like if you need to know a lab for that moment to save your life. That's totally different. But in the chronic illness world, a lot of labs often do come up normal again, if it's a chronic issue, especially because sometimes you're only looking at a snapshot and we're not looking at the right thing. I'll also say that in the functional medicine world adrenal fatigue or HPA Axis dysregulation has been talked about for a very long time. But your perspective of minerals specifically, I think, is a unique take. So I want people to know that to that soak up this information from Amanda because, like you said, Everything we're talking about is like in the beginning of EPS So what I talked about all these concepts on the highest conceptual level of what anxiety is, and now we're going down to the most minutiae part of our bodies, the cells and the spark plugs for ourselves to work. So if you're treating things, again, it can be from this concept level to impact the system. And then you can also go all the way deep down onto just your cellular level to explain anxiety. So anxiety is not this thing that's just made up in your brain. And it's just happening randomly. It can be shown to you again, and you can target it from a mindset perspective, from a physical perspective, from a cellular perspective. And it's a very real thing on a physical level, it's not this thing that you're just saying, Oh, I feel weird. Now, you're crazy, or, you know, whatever you would think like, you know, maybe that's not the right word. But that's how people feel like I just became crazy. I don't know what happened. There's these processes that have been probably happening over time and depleting that you need to replenish and when I talked before about the fact that our HPA axis is impacted as a negative feedback loop. So the more stress you have, the less you can deal with stress. Minerals are at the basis of that truly, because if you were Plenish, your minerals, you're also replenishing the ability for the system to work, which I think is so important for people to understand. I need to ask you before we do thyroid, because I think people will just love this on a tangible scale. Let's talk about Amanda's adrenal cocktails. And what that means, because I think people
Amanda Montalvo 51:25
make up the adrenal cocktail of functional medicine. I think she was actually a naturopath I can't remember her name was I didn't get any sleep last night. But because you've a baby. Yeah, it was made up by her. It was popularized by Morley Robbins, who is like a mineral genius. And I've done his course. And I think he does a lot of really great work, he started being obsessed with magnesium. And then it kind of like transferred to all the other minerals really quick, because you said something. And I'm like, I think people would relate to this, about the adrenals is, I just feel like you hear this phrase adrenal fatigue, and they're like, Okay, maybe you even see a functional provider, right. And they give you herbs, which I think herbs are amazing. I think they're very healing, but that is not addressing your root cause, right? If someone gives you herbs for your adrenals, they're not actually helping you. They're like, herbs can be helpful with symptoms, but you have to also be looking at well, why are your adrenals not functioning properly in the first place. And so that's why it's like if you aren't addressing minerals, vitamins and the outside stressors, you're not really treating your adrenal fatigue,
Michelle Shapiro 52:30
I need to add on to that too, which is that in my practice, my approaches to anxiety are, let's get symptom relief and get the nervous system to chill out and that is essential, but you can keep telling your nervous system to calm down. But if the reason your nervous system is overstimulated, and not overstimulated, like in the sense of you're feeling overstimulated, but it's been stimulated too many times and overburdened, if the reason that it has been is a depletion of minerals, and that's the message your body's trying to send you. You can calm your nervous system down all the time, but you're not getting to the real reason your body's yelling at you, which is that you need those minerals. So again, you need to address the actual thing that's going on. And at the same time, you can absolutely address symptoms because I use some herbs that are killer to support anxiety, because if people are experiencing panic attacks, I'm not gonna just not give them a solution.
Amanda Montalvo 53:23
Are they going to make new habits, right, and I think that that's okay. But it's like, we can give symptom relief, while also working on other things.
Michelle Shapiro 53:32
Absolutely. Which is also really important, again, for the individual because we are both functional dieticians and we're hardcore functional dieticians, which means that we will always look at the root cause and look at the person as a whole, which means if you need support now great, but we're not going to ignore the fact that your body's been screaming that it needs help with something we're going to still listen to that. So I think minerals are are one of them definite root causes of anxiety and mineral depletion. And then also, I guess, just the the system being inflamed as a whole or the system being overstimulated or overburdened is another root cause there's loads of root causes for anxiety. Let's talk about how, because this is probably weird for people cortisol and anxiety and your thyroid and minerals are all related. When we think of thyroid hormones to we also think of like, oh, you get your lab zone and then you take a thyroid like yeah, pill. What How the heck are all these related?
Amanda Montalvo 54:25
Really quickly? Do you want me to tell people about adrenal cocktails? I'm sorry, I went off on a tangent by the
Michelle Shapiro 54:29
way, we're sorry, this is going to happen on this episode. I should have revealed that at the beginning because we could literally do this for 10 hours. Okay. Yes, of course, tell about adrenal cocktail. Okay,
Amanda Montalvo 54:38
adrenal cocktails, it's literally everything we've been talking about the nutrients that your adrenals need to respond to stress. So it's going to have sodium, potassium and whole food, vitamin C, you can add magnesium, I just always start people off on just sodium, potassium, vitamin C because you want to build up those stores and give your adrenals the resources they need before you layer in something like magnesium because that, while it is calming, when your body has more of its like sweet will respond to stress now and you might not be ready. So the adrenal cocktail, you can't mess it up, you can make it any way you want. I think the easiest and most basic recipe and that's also like the most friendly for like blood sugar, and that most people do well with is going to be about eight ounces a cup of coconut water, that's your potassium, right? We love coconut water. I love it. Love it, it's literally lifegiving and a quarter teaspoon of sea salts, you can like increase that depending on the person and the salts going to be very independent. But I always say start low, because we don't want that fluid retention. Remember, we want to balance the sodium, potassium, and then the vitamin C sources typically something like lemon or lime. Yeah. So and if you have, you know, reflux issues and see Michelle, but when I was pregnant, I did the lime one. It's like limeade, that amazing adrenal cocktail, but I added magnesium bicarbonate to it so that it didn't cause any reflux so that bicarbonate can be really helpful because magnesium can support reflux, and the bicarbonate right, of course, what these adrenal cocktails are for is it's to give you a nice punch of these minerals to help support you throughout the day, especially during times of stress. So this is just an easy way instead of also taking because I don't really I don't you don't, you definitely don't. But I don't really recommend like potassium supplements in any sort of form, and certainly not a long term form.
Michelle Shapiro 56:30
So these are really whole food ways to get a nice punch of minerals. If you're in times of stress, or generally all the time. I'm going to tease Amanda because whenever we hang out in person, we're not stressed, we're chillin, but she has like bags of minerals, and it's like literally crushing adrenal cocktail the entire time we're together. I'm like, Are you good? Amanda? We're just hanging out like, is everything okay? Am I stressing you out? Right? Yeah, exactly. Yeah, no, I've aligned made one, you had that one brand, also where it was just because there's, there's powders, you can get to make these to to support and make it a little bit easier whole food powders. And yeah, you're a woman of your minerals and a woman of your word, you walk the walk, too. So again, I will put Amanda's PDF on how to make your own adrenal cocktail. But this is a really easy starting place for people. And then of course, just incorporating these high potassium and high sodium foods into your diet. And high magnesium I think is really, really helpful for people. So just wanted a tangible tool that I know you use with your clients, often for people that can really be supportive for people on all spectrums of stress.
Amanda Montalvo 57:32
Yeah, and it's one of those things like how you mentioned, including those really helped you like just those minerals, this is the one thing that I mean, you I will say you need to be eating enough or close to enough to see a really good result. Because if you're under eating, that's just it's really difficult for your body to utilize these minerals properly. But when you are working on like I am eating enough, I think that the adrenal cocktails can be very similar to herbs and that they can help you relieve some of those symptoms pretty quickly. And even just deal with stress a little bit better. So that you can work on other habits and like you have the energy to do it and like the brain power to actually do it versus like, you know, you're constantly feeling anxious that uses up a lot of energy, like a lot of energy, physically and mentally. And so I've had a lot of clients that with anxiety that love adrenal cocktails, and it's funny because they like to do them before bed. Yeah, which usually it's like during you can do them whenever you can't mess it up, just include them, but like morning and afternoon are very common times, especially after noon, because people's blood sugar often drops. And same with their cortisol. But a lot of my anxiety people, they love to do it before bed. They're like it's really calming for me. And this sodium that sea salt can help them stay asleep if they wake up at night. So that's just a little clinical pearl. If you guys want it, we are going to
Michelle Shapiro 58:52
just make a pearl necklace out of these pearls. Okay, we're you're throwing them out left and right. And I would also say that stabilization of blood sugar, which I'm going to do a whole other episode on carbs, insulin and hormones with our other member of our trio Gillian Greaves work crew, I would say for sure. Yeah. So in that episode, we're going to talk about also how anxiety and carbs can definitely be impacted and really like figuring out what carbs work for you. But in my question about thyroid, I'm gonna pull in and ask you, I'm gonna give you a doozy. Give me the runaround with anxiety, thyroid, carbs, hormones, minerals. Yeah, just five things. Go ahead.
Amanda Montalvo 59:30
I'll break it down. I think when people understand how their thyroid impacts their different organ systems, they're like, oh, okay, that makes sense. So, if we think about if we have our thyroid is not working properly. And this can happen from stress, and I'm sure we'll get into this after I explained like how it affects our metabolic capacity. Your thyroid slows down. Everything else slows down is the very simple way to put it. But if we break that down, like what does that actually look like in mean, then we think of like, we don't make as much thyroid hormone then we don't Make as much stomach acid and where our digestive capacity isn't as good. That has a huge impact on how many nutrients we're absorbing our gut bacteria. Because if you're not, if you don't have that good stomach acid production, you're not breaking down the food while you're motility slows down. So you're literally moving that food through slower. What does that do that opens you up for like bacterial overgrowth and things like SIBO pathogens getting through parasites, because that stomach acid is like our first line of defense. And then eventually, that will trickle down and impact your liver, right, because you've got this extra toxic stress in your gut, and then your immune system, which can show up as like a lot of histamine issues for people. And you know, you just feel like you react to everything eventually. And so that has a huge impact, what is our gut health impact, our estrogen levels, our hormones, for sure, we also convert thyroid hormone in the gut. So there's like a little bidirectional relationship there. But then our blood sugar, because if we're not making enough thyroid hormone, it's harder to get glucose inside the cell, it's harder to store glucose in the liver, which is like how your body manages your blood sugar whenever you're not eating. So it's really important. And if we can't store that glucose there, then what happens we release cortisol when our blood sugar's low. So we got to have that thyroid hormone to make sure that every other organ system is running properly. And then eventually, you know, we need it to ovulate and have healthy sex hormones as well.
Michelle Shapiro 1:01:26
So this idea blood sugar drops, cortisol goes up is because cortisol aren't that main stress hormone we keep talking about can stimulate gluconeogenesis. Cortisol is super cool, because it can force your body or stimulate the reaction for your body to create glucose from non glucose things. Where we get that from, you're not going to love because it could be from we break down our muscle to get sugar because that's where our muscle is stored. So in times of stress, people can also lose muscle, and then our blood sugar goes up. And cortisol is also a fat storage promoting fat storage promotion hormone, let's call it which means that you could be in the long term breaking down muscle that is eventually going to be converted back into fat more easily. Because our body's processes like, again, of survival and preservation first, and first mostly, that's a nickel, quote, The most important thing our body does keep us alive. So one of the ways we do that is breaking down muscle in times of stress to get blood sugar, basically from our muscle, you know from the protein or muscle, and then turns it into fat eventually. So the idea of stress also is that it is a catabolic process, right, it's a break it down process in that way. Yes. And all of this can impact your thyroid again. So it's like all these things that are happening on our body and stress are happening on like the macro level, the muscle level, the hormone level, the mineral level, and they all when one thing happens in our body, it impacts another thing and one thing happens in our body and impacts another thing. So this is not to say if you're experiencing stress, to have more stress about this, the power of this is that if you target stress, from a mental standpoint, you'll get the benefits of it all over your body. If you target stress, from a mineral standpoint, you'll get the benefits over your body. If you target it from relaxing your nervous system through supportive herbs, you get the benefits all over your body. Anything that helps you on a foundational support level helps you with everything else too, because our body, even though we refuse to believe it is intricately and divinely connected to itself, and every single way and everything is a cascade. And that's really true with minerals. I mean, it's like everything is so impacted by the other mineral and impacted by the other things going on. And they are like our most basic versions of ourselves the most like you said metaphoric, tiny versions of ourselves on the
Amanda Montalvo 1:03:41
whole reason that our thyroid can even become sluggish and then have this you know, cascade of responses because of it is because of mineral depletion. Like we need certain minerals to make thyroid hormone to convert thyroid hormone, like in that a lot of those are on the hair test, which is why like, I mean, a huge part of my story is thyroid health. And so I tend to help a lot of people with that. And because so many people have thyroid issues, I'm like, and that's kind of where it brings us back to like, well have you looked at your thyroid and you know, bloodwork looks normal, but it's not. But that depletion of minerals and then stress hormone. I mean, cortisol inhibits TSH and this is if you don't get anything else that I say from this podcast and you have thyroid health concerns, just get this right TSH is made by our pituitary gland. So it's not even made by your thyroid, but it is important information in regards to like how thyroids functioning, so your pituitary makes TSH to tell your thyroid Hey, we need more thyroid hormone, can you please make some Thank you. And cortisol can inhibit that. So if we think of the stress response, your brain is experiencing the stressor. It's trickling down and impacting your adrenals you make that cortisol while our brain also tells her to tear to make TSH so then that cortisol just like crosses over and it's like we're just gonna cancel that out. We're just gonna make it so that you do not get that message. We You're not going to make more TSH and then what happens is your thyroid can look beautiful on your bloodwork, right? It can almost look hyper thyroid. And that happens at the beginning of a lot of autoimmune conditions like Hashimotos, for PCs bumped up. Yeah, they look hyperthyroid, which can be very confusing when you're like, but I feel hypothyroid. And a lot of this comes back to that cortisol. So you can have beautiful bloodwork in the beginning. And then eventually, what typically happens is your mineral start to get depleted from the chronic stress, right? We need those minerals for thyroid hormone product production. So then you everything starts to like normalize. So usually what the next step I would see for someone is like a normal or optimal, even TSH, but then suboptimal T four and T three and those are just the thyroid hormones that your actual thyroids making as a result of your brain telling it, hey, we need more thyroid hormone. And then eventually when, you know, say you're going from doctor to doctor, or you're confused, and everyone's telling you that your thyroid is normal. Finally, finally, this is why people get diagnosed like 20 years later, literally 20 years later. Yeah, yeah. Finally, your TSH is high and out of the range. So the doctor is like, Oh, you're hypothyroid. And you're like, I've been saying this for 20 years, you know. So it just takes a while for a body to catch up. That's why with thyroid stuff, it's so important to not just go by bloodwork, you also want to like pay attention to your body temperature, that tells us a ton about your thyroid health. And then things like minerals. But it's pretty amazing how much of an effect that chronic stress can have on that thyroid hormone production, and then how it literally impacts every system of the body after that.
Michelle Shapiro 1:06:43
And it really all of these hormones we think of again as being independent of each other. And really what we have uncovered here today that we already knew, but uncovered for people is that stress does start in your brain. But it starts with your brain's recognition of existing hormones or creation of hormones. So it's important again to realize, if it's starting in your brain, it still can be starting on a hormone basis of your brain. It doesn't mean that it's starting from, oh, I have stress I need to reduce my mental stress because I think this is really really important for people. If people didn't get information from you, Amanda, they weren't listening. Trust me they got your eye like you said, If you take nothing else from this, are you freaking kidding me? Man, I cannot thank you enough. What would be your like takeaway? How do people improve their stress? What's the one thing they can do to improve their stress? Starting today and anxiety?
Amanda Montalvo 1:07:36
I would say like obviously, you're gonna be hopefully aware of it after listening to Michelle's beginning Schpeel I really do think adrenal cocktails like if you're looking for something tangible, that you're not already doing that simple that anyone that I think would be safe for pretty much anyone, obviously talk with your provider, make sure it's safe for you. I don't know what kind of medications you're taking, that anyone could do would be adrenal cocktails and it say that you're like, Oh, I can't do the citrus because I don't respond well to it. Maybe you have histamine issues. Maybe you have reflux issues. That's okay, let's do coconut water and sea salt, right? Something is better than nothing and just like do not feel like you have to do things perfectly right to like start to chip away at these things. And I think it's easy to get caught up in like protocols or like Oh, I saw this online I saw this they said you have to do take this supplement if you've got adrenal issues or this if you're super stressed, we will need to think on it more simple level and that is how can I support sodium potassium, and maybe hopefully vitamin C if you can tolerate it, and start building up those minerals so that you can calm that nervous system and hopefully start to at least chip away at some of that anxiety depending on what your different root causes are.
Michelle Shapiro 1:08:47
I love adrenal cocktails I love you thank you so much for coming on this episode with us I think I'm gonna have to just only create new season so that I can force you to come on every single time where can people find you Amanda? Also most importantly, if they want these hair mineral tests, how do they get them from you? Because I think you're the person I want to work with on this Tell me about that. Yeah,
Amanda Montalvo 1:09:09
so you can I'm very active on Instagram at hormone healing rd I also have a podcast it's called ru menstrual it is I am definitely like women's health. So I am geared towards that but I have so many podcast episodes. Michelle has been on my podcast talking about anxiety and health care and how to get the most out of your doctor's appointments and really important things so I would say those two places are what have the most free like so much free information that it's out of control. Yep, at this point, but if you're like I feel like I'm ready to look at a hair test I want to see those answers and what I need to focus on I have a course that I made called Master minerals because like Michelle said I have been doing hair does for She's been like I looked at it the other day. It's like seven years now that I've been doing hair tests with people and myself all those years I have so many results. It's insane. And I used to just do these like results reviews with people because I wanted an affordable way for people to get testing done because it is not I mean, working one on one with someone is not cheap, I understand that most people cannot afford it. So I was doing these results reviews completely burned myself out, right guys, it didn't matter how many journal cocktails I had totally burnt to a crisp. And I'm like, I felt so passionate, like, I got to figure out how to get this to people. So I made a course. And the course is like my results review. It walks you through each aspect of the test. But it's generalized so that you kind of like go through the map and figure out based on your results in your health history. Okay, this one applies to me, because I took high doses of vitamin D I have really high, you know, like there's it, you can put it all together. And I tell you, I have different protocols, different recommendations for food and supplements, lots of different stuff in there. And if you're like if you go through it, and you're like, I really would like more help, I can't do one on one, we do have an option to do results reviews now. But most people do not need the results review pretty much everyone just goes to the course. So you get the course teaches you how to read it. And if you need to order more hair tests in the future, which is like I just think it's a great way to check in with yourself. Or if you're, you know, you go through a hard season of life, you can do that. And you can just get the hair tests inside the
Michelle Shapiro 1:11:12
course literally join this course just to like even again, walk it back even further, you join this course Amanda's going to send you a hair mineral test to your house, you're going to put your hair in a baggie, send it to the lab, and then Amanda's course is going to help you walk through your own results. And it's extremely informative and extremely helpful and extremely helpful. So I could not possibly recommend it more. Amanda I'm gonna put all this information in the show notes for people to again, I cannot thank you enough and I really really recommend people doing this hair mineral course master your minerals, and just soaking up the ridiculous amounts of free information that Amanda has available for you. Thank you so much.
Amanda Montalvo 1:11:52
Thanks for having me.
Michelle Shapiro 1:11:56
Thank you so much for tuning in to the quiet the diet podcast. If you found any of this information relevant or you related to it, please feel free to share the podcast it would mean the world to us. Also remember to subscribe so you don't miss any episodes and you can follow us on Instagram at quiet the diet pod. We'll put the link in the show notes after each episode. Thank you again for listening and I can't wait to see you in the next episode.