Is Hormone Imbalance Making You Tired? How to Fix It with Misty Williams

head_shot_ari
Content By: Ari Whitten & Misty Williams

In this episode, I am speaking with Misty Williams – the founder of healingrosie.com, a community dedicated to helping women navigate and overcome hormone imbalance. We will discuss how hormone imbalance may be the cause of your fatigue and how to fix it.

Table of Contents

In this podcast, Misty and I will discuss:

  • How stress may affect your hormones
  • Ho your body manages stress 
  • How to check if you have hormonal issues 
  • The most common issues of hormone imbalance
  • The most common hormone myths 
  • The first steps you can take to balance your hormones

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Transcript

Ari Whitten: Hey there. Welcome back to the Superhuman Energy Summit.

I’m your host, Ari Whitten. And with me now is my good friend, Misty

Williams. And she has a wonderful story that I think is important for everyone to hear, especially women and especially women struggling with hormonal issues. 

So, a bit about her. She spent years struggling to reclaim her health and vitality after surgery to remove an ovarian cyst. Life-threatening complications and an endometriosis diagnosis sent her into a brain fog and a fatigue tailspin. Her doctor told her that the only remedies for her issues were drugs and surgeries, that her labs were normal, quote unquote, and she could Google to learn more about what was happening to her body. 

At 35 years old, Misty embarked on the fight for her quality of life. And during many more challenges on her road to healing, including an unexplained 45 pound weight gain, debilitating brain fog, fatigue, hypothyroidism, and premature ovarian failure. She found healingrosie.com to provide high performing women with the resources and community to successfully confront the unexpected chronic health issues that women often experience as they age. 

And, by virtue of this story and all these health struggles she’s gone through and seeking out so many different practitioners, working with so many different practitioners, she really brings a unique vantage point to the summit and really to the game of trying to improve your health by really being able to speak to your perspective, the plight of people who are struggling with health problems, struggling with fatigue and other symptoms, wanting to get their health back, and what is that like exploring that landscape of all these different practitioners, and all these different methods, and different testing protocols, and different treatment protocols. 

So I think I really wanted to include her in this summit because she gives such an important vantage point to all of that landscape that’s very different from me or many of the health experts that are speaking in the summit, who are bringing in a certain knowledge base around a certain area of expertise of the science, but are not necessarily that attuned to the actual experience of the person trying to regain their health. So I’m excited to have her here and I hope that you’ll find this very, very insightful. So welcome, Misty, such a pleasure to have you.

Misty Williams: Oh my gosh. I’m so excited to be here. This is the first time that I’ve been interviewed by you, Ari. Usually the tables are turned.

Ari: You’ve interviewed me two times, maybe three times. 

Misty: Four, five summits and Facebook. I know it’s hard to keep track. 

Ari: Always a pleasure though. And I’m excited to turn the tables now and get to talk to you because you’ve built a vibrant community of all these women struggling to regain their health. And you’ve become like a guide to the landscape of health, to help direct them to the right resources and the right people, to help them fix their health problems. And I think it’s an invaluable thing what you’re doing.

Misty: Well, you know, my journey started in 2011 with a lot of the challenges that people in my community are facing and the people in your community are facing. And unfortunately 10 years ago, especially for women, we didn’t have the kind of support that’s available now. I think it’s a real blessing, honestly, that at this point in my journey and in our collective journey together as a movement, that there are so many amazing practitioners and doctors who we can call on to talk about these issues, particularly around women’s hormones and how they impact our health. 

The functional medicine space in general has really grown to place more of an emphasis on the hormonal dimension of the conversation. And in my own journey, that’s been a huge dimension of my own healing, is understanding what’s happening hormonally. And how does that impact everything else symptomatically that I’m experiencing in my life. So I think the conversation we’re going to have today is a really important one. I come from the perspective of the science is great. I mean, not in the beginning. 

The first couple of years I dove into Dave Asprey, and Dr. Jack Kruse, and Ben

Greenfield, and Robb Wolf, and all the leaders of the Ancestral Health Movement at the time. And they all would outline the science and I would come across things that I knew were relevant to me and my situation, except that’s the science, but what do I do? Like thank you for helping me understand why I’m so screwed up, but now what do I do and how do I apply this? 

And I would try myself to apply things and figure things out. And it was like whack-a-mole. And sometimes I would get somewhere and sometimes I wouldn’t. So I think we’re at a place in our movement where doctors and practitioners have definitely evolved and come up to help us. And the people in this movement are really rising to meet them. And it’s helped me so much in my journey to understand the science better. But also, I want to be an advocate for the protocols that really work. So that’s where Healing Rosie comes in and I’m delighted to be with you today.

Ari: Nice. So talk to me about the role of hormones in energy levels.

Misty: So I think probably a great way to illustrate this is to go back to the beginning of my journey in 2011. I went in for a routine physical. They found a cyst on my left ovary. They did surgery for that, stitched up part of my small intestine on the way out, sent me home, started vomiting, went back in for a follow-up surgery. After that surgery, I didn’t sleep for six days, like literally 144 hours with not a wink of sleep. It was terrible. 

And on the other side of that, I had the conversation with my gynecologist of, “Okay, you’ve taken my left ovary, you removed a cyst, you diagnosed me with endometriosis. Like, what do I do? How do I manage endometriosis?” That’s when she told me that I could Google it. And I was basically sent out with a prescription for birth control. And if this comes back, we’ll do surgery again. So clearly in my situation, there’s a hormonal issue. 

Endometriosis is a hormone disease for women. I experienced some symptoms with endometriosis, but what I experienced after my own, during the crazy brain fog, I mean, it was awful. And the unbelievable fatigue and exhaustion was overwhelming for me. And as a layman, I didn’t understand how all of these things were connected together, how hormones were impacting my sleep. 

And two years later they drilled mercury from my teeth, removing my mercury fillings improperly, and all of that mercury went up into my brain and down into my thyroid. I actually didn’t put it together until five years later that, “Oh my gosh, that’s why I gained 45 pounds in four months.” So other side of that experience and the weight gain, I’m having sleep challenges galore. I just can’t sleep. 

And of course that brings on the exhaustion again and the fatigue. So I’ve kind of hit all these little speed bumps along the way. As I look back, I’m able to see some patterns. And that’s really what I want us to talk to you about today as we kind of dive into this conversation of low hormones and our energy, because there’s a lot of reasons why we feel exhausted. But there’s some things that are happening physiologically in our bodies that are consistent and the same. And I think it can be really helpful to look at that. 

Your body and stress

And the overriding premise or thought that I think is a good kind of guiding light for this whole conversation is there’s really only one reason that we feel really exhausted fundamentally, a causative reason we’ll call it. And that is that our bodies are under a lot of stress and stress can take the form of external things, or it can be internal things that are creating a lot of stress for us. So some of the external things are things that you would expect that create stress. 

You have a stressful job, stressful relationship, financial pressures, you’re caring for an aging parent. You’ve got a child with special needs. You’re not sleeping. All of these things, emotionally and physiologically, really stress your body. 

And then there’s internal things that stress us out. And a lot of these internal stressors are unknown to us. We uncover them with testing and working with really great practitioners, but those internal stressors can be things like toxic food, non-food that we’re eating and putting in our bodies. And it’s creating a lot of stress for us. Viruses like Lyme and Epstein-Barr virus which, Ari, I know you actually dealt with Epstein-Barr virus too. Mold, heavy metals, gut dysbiosis parasites, all of these different stressors inside of our body create cortisol. 

So the body doesn’t really know the difference necessarily between good stress and bad stress. So some external stressors might also be things like exercise and in the Healing Rosie community, I was a half marathoner before my surgery. So I was putting my body under a tremendous amount of stress running. And there’s lots of women who realized that the thing that they think they’re doing to take care of their health because of their depleted state is actually creating so much more stress for them. And so this stress creates a physiological cascade. So if you look here at the slides that I’ve got, I actually have a graphic that shows how your body makes hormones, including how your body makes cortisol, which is the hormone that’s necessary for buffering stress in the body.

So vitamin A plus free T3, which is the active form of the thyroid hormone, plus LDL cholesterol equals pregnenolone. Pregnenolone is known as the mother hormone. So vitamin A plus free T3 plus LDL cholesterol. That equation is important because for 20, 30 years, I heard in my lifetime, and if you’re older than me even longer than that, that cholesterol was bad. It turns out actually that cholesterol is really important for making hormones. So it’s a very important part of maintaining our health. 

Many people are dealing in record numbers with hypothyroidism and low free T3. So when these numbers are affected at the very, very top of the hormone cascade, there is a ripple effect through not only this hormone cascade, but then all these physiological responses that happen inside the body.

Pregnenolone makes DHEA, progesterone and cortisol. So when pregnenolone is converting to progesterone, it can either convert over to our sex hormones, or if there’s a lot of stress in the body, all of that pregnenolone and progesterone will convert over to cortisol. 

So what was happening in my case, and what’s happened for lots of men and women is they’re going through life events, or they’ve got something internal going on with their body that’s very stressful and the mother hormone, instead of converting to their sex hormone is converting over to cortisol. And you stack this with months and years of different lifestyle situations happening, chronic bad diet, chronic gut dysbiosis. And over time you just have this unbelievable buildup of cortisol in your system that’s so depleting to your sex hormones. 

And then there’s just this ripple effect throughout the whole body. And we ultimately feel things like fatigue and exhaustion, and why isn’t my brain working and why am I not functioning like I did? I must just be getting older. This is what they mean, when they say that we’re all just getting older. Really what’s happening is our stress load somewhere is not managed well and our body is really struggling to keep up.

 

How to identify whether your hormones are the cause of your fatigue

Ari: So what would be some of the things that would cue someone in to whether their issues with fatigue and some of their other symptoms are actually caused by low hormones or not, or abnormal hormones, let’s say.

Misty: There’s lots and lots of symptoms actually that tie into hormone dysfunction and the way to do it is to test. I have hypothyroidism. I have several other diagnoses. I’ve got some markers in my labs that are showing that if I didn’t have the lifestyle that I did, that I would be trending toward autoimmune disease. Fortunately, I’ve been able to keep all of that in check, but you don’t really know without testing. You can suspect surely if you have issues with energy, it’s a hormonal issue; some dimension of it’s hormonal.  

Now there’s lots of ways, and we can talk about the different ways that you address hormonal issues and lifestyle issues. But it’s pretty much a given that something is off hormonally in your body if you’re experiencing those symptoms, but that’s just more a theoretical construct, like, “Okay, there’s a hormonal issue going on.” As a patient, what I want to know is what do I do? How do I take this kind of information? And then what do I end up doing with this information? 

And I had a really hard time in my journey. Once I started hearing that perhaps it was hormonal, in my studies and hearing everyone talk, it was like, “Okay, I need to run labs, I guess.” But I didn’t know what labs to ask for. Finally, I got a list of optimizing labs, the labs come back and I’m looking at these numbers and I’m like, “I don’t know if this is a good number or a bad number, what do I do?” 

So that’s one of the reasons that I’ve made a lab tracker available to our community, and anybody can go to healingrosie.com/lab tracker and download a tracker that has all of the optimizing labs plus their optimal ranges. We want to know what those numbers mean. And they just come basically from functional medicine, what functional medicine doctors use and what does functional medicine teach around these different metrics. 

But, testing really is the best way to start drilling in and figuring out what’s going on. And with your test data, as a patient, you can start to see, “Hey, I’m looking here at my free T3 number, it’s 2.7. You know, it looks like optimal for free T3. And most ranges is 3.0, 4.0, maybe this is something that I need to look into more. Why is my free T3 low?” Sometimes when you see numbers like that, there’s many dimensions of how do you fix and correct that. 

The first always being lifestyle, but seeing these numbers starts to give us as patients a perspective on what’s going on in our own bodies. And it gives us also a perspective on how to advocate. The big challenge I had early on is suspecting that things are going on and then going into my doctors, all of whom were conventional medicine doctors at the time, and telling them that I wanted them to run tests and they would run a couple of tests that it turns out really aren’t indicators for what I’m even talking about. 

There was one doctor that I was working with, she was actually my primary care doctor at the time when I begged her for tests because it was six months after the surgery and I was just so miserable. And finally she said to me, “Misty, even if I did run labs for you, I wouldn’t know what they meant.” Which was like unbelievably confronting, like, “I thought you were a doctor.” Like I assumed.

Why you shouldn’t trust your doctor blindly

Ari: The whole thing’s bizarre, right? That a patient should be the one asking for tests from their doctor and saying which tests they want. I mean, that in itself is a bizarre phenomenon, but just to give a specific example, it’s like a standard blood test might only test for your TSH levels. 

 

And then they might determine whether you have hypothyroidism or not based on the TSH levels, whereas a full thyroid panel, what you could go get if you’ve got a blood panel on your own or through a functional medicine doctor would test you for T4 and T3 that are bound, free T4, free T3, RT3, reverse T3, and TSH and thyroid antibodies and you’d have a much more complete picture of your actual thyroid health. 

 

And there’s also this issue, as you alluded to earlier, of what are the optimal parameters. So in the case of something like TSH, well, they might say the optimal parameters are from anywhere below 4.5, whereas a functional medicine doctor might want to see it below like two or 1.5. And so, someone could therefore be at a three at TSH, be told by their conventional doctor, “Hey, you’re normal.” But as they go to the functional medicine doctor, the functional medicine doctor would say, “No, this is way above what’s optimal. And we need to start working on this.”

Misty: One of the things that I’m constantly preaching to the women in my community is to lower their expectation of doctors, just for the reasons that we were discussing, Ari, because this functional medicine space is an emerging space. It’s a new field. Many doctors haven’t been trained in this space. And there’s just something about how we’re wired, I think, as humans. It’s probably a very primal thing in us that wants to project this God-thing onto other people. This person is the king, this person is the president, this person is the doctor that has all the answers. Like somehow in society we’re surrounded by people that can figure everything out for us. 

But the truth is with our health, I wish that that were the case. I wish that I could say at some point in my journey, I came across this one person who kind of like did their wand thing and everything started working well on my body. But the truth is, even at this point in my journey, I get advice and perspective and help from a bunch of different people that all have different areas of expertise. And so I think a big part of this is for us, as patients, to kind of rise up a little and recognize that the responsibility for our health is our responsibility. And we’ve got to take this journey on and act like we’re accountable for the outcomes, instead of hoping that a doctor or practitioner is going to come along and be accountable for all the outcomes in our life.

That’s not to say that there’s not wonderful doctors and practitioners because there are. But no doctor or practitioner that I’ve ever worked with, has come into my home, helped me clean out my pantry, clean out from under my sink, start swapping things out in my environment, really taking inventory of how I’m living my life every day. 

I mean, a lot of the things that are really important to our healing are things that we have to take on for ourselves and getting educated to even know what those things are, is really the responsibility of the patient. And bringing a little more equanimity to that relationship with our doctor actually helps us together as a team to create better outcomes in our care.

Ari: If I can add one layer to that, and what you said is excellent, I completely agree. I want to just even take it a step further and just point out, just to kind of frame this very simply, the reality is over 80% of the disease burden in the Western world right now and in the United States especially, over 80% are chronic diseases of lifestyle, of nutrition and lifestyle. 

We have doctors who receive literally almost zero education in nutrition and lifestyle. So just wrap your head around the absurdity of seeking out medical professionals to heal you when they literally have almost no education in the actual root causes of your disease, most likely in over 80% of cases. So, there’s a mismatch of the education system of the health professionals compared to what are the main causes of actual disease. 

Now there’s lots of exceptions to this rule, like emergency medicine. Like if I get shot, or stabbed, or in a car accident, or I break my arm, or my leg, or whatever, I have a big cut that I need stitches, like, yeah, I’m going to the doctor and I’m going to be very grateful for modern medicine in that context. It’s wonderful. But again, the 80 plus percent of the chronic disease burden is not that. It’s diseases of lifestyle, nutrition, and lifestyle, which they don’t receive almost any education in.

Misty: And after I kind of got over my shock at that experience and really started taking this on and learning how to navigate the space, it’s pretty empowering to know that there’s so many things that you can do in your own life to create better outcomes and you don’t need doctors and practitioners for all of it. Once you have a good foundational knowledge of what we’re really up against here, and what it looks like to have a healthy lifestyle, there’s so much that you can do to take your health into your own hands. 

So, for me it’s a really empowering way to end up, after how my journey started just feeling like I was constantly getting dragged behind trucks in between those two really traumatic experiences. I’d gone into an endocrinologist and she was telling me the same, “Your labs are normal.” I kept hearing, “Your labs are normal,” over and over again. And she started feeling around on my neck and found a nodule on my thyroid, did the ultrasound. So, I’ve definitely been in the situations where I felt very out of control of outcomes and what was happening with my health. 

And it’s wonderful to feel like this is something I can control. And I think this hormone conversation in particular is an unbelievably empowering one because once we realize how our body is working, and we understand some of the fundamentals about just the basics of how hormones work in our bodies, it really helps us to shine a light on the right things, as we’re working with practitioners and advocate for ourselves in a way that’s likely to get us some good results. I, personally, because my experiences have been so severe at the hands of mainstream.

I mean, literally everything that I’m experiencing, that I have to manage in my life right now, that’s considered kind of catastrophic, was because of surgeries and bad procedures, that basically could have wrecked me for life if I didn’t take the perspective that I did. But for most people, you don’t have to go to some of the extreme cases that I’ve had to go to in order to get some relief from your symptoms. For most people getting educated about this and then learning some of the lifestyle things that you can do, can be such a significant needle mover in how you feel. 

And that’s a really wonderful surprise in this journey for people that have suffered for a really long time, is that your lifestyle, in the absence of very serious issues can significantly improve your energy levels, your fatigue, your brain fog, if you need to lose weight, whatever’s confronting you as you’re getting older. 

The most common symptoms of hormone imbalance

Ari: So what are some of the classic symptoms of hormone issues that would flag this for people’s awareness? Like, “Oh yeah, I have that symptom. I have that symptom.” What are some of those classic symptoms that would indicate hormones might be a major factor at play?

Misty: There’s actually so many that I could have done like five slides. So I did try to just pull a few of them that are really common, that would help people connect maybe what they’re experiencing to this dimension of the conversation. 

So obviously we’ve got low energy and exhaustion, sleep issues, insomnia, waking in the night, not being able to go back to sleep, achy muscles and overall soreness, especially if you have a really hard time recovering from exercise, blood pressure issues, low moods, anxiety, you’re overly sensitive, even depression, all of those have a hormonal component to them, blood sugar issues, headaches and migraines, an inability to lose weight, excess abdominal fat and bloating, constant unquenchable thirst, hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal dryness or painful sex, decreased bone density, low sex drive, hair loss, and thinning nails. Those are all symptoms of low hormones.

Ari: And what would you say are some of the biggest myths out there as far as hormones are concerned? Like what conceptions might people have around hormones that you think are not accurate?

 

Misty: Well, it’s interesting because when you asked that question, I think about all of the doctors early in my journey who really tried to diminish what I was experiencing things. So whenever I started asking questions around this hormone thing, like, “Huh, how are my hormones doing?” 

I was told often that my labs were normal, that everything was fine. There was one doctor who told me I was 38 years old and this was right after the mercury was drilled improperly for my teeth. He told me, my hormones were low, “Misty, women are designed to have their hormones get lower as they age. It’s perfectly natural. It’s perfectly normal,” which I’m looking at postMenopausal, like my hormones look like a 60 year old woman. 

And I was told, “Oh, it’s perfectly natural for your hormones to go down.” Women in the community, a lot hear from their doctors that, “Oh, you don’t need hormones if you’re not going to have a baby, if you’re not planning to get pregnant.” Like hormones are optional outside of procreation, they’re not necessary.

Ari, you kind of touched on one. If you have a good TSH level, then your thyroid is fine. Which may not be the case at all. Growing up, I always had really painful periods. My periods were seven days, very heavy. The cramping was so severe that I would take three or four ibuprofen, every three to four hours, for four days straight during my period. I would sleep with a hot pad on my stomach. I was buckled over in pain for my periods. And I thought that was normal. I was raised with all of my girlfriends suffering during their cycles. And so it didn’t occur for me that it’s not normal to have really painful menstrual cycles that actually, if everything’s in balance in your body, you’ll barely notice that you’re cycling.

And then of course, one that I mentioned is we don’t know what causes any of this. We don’t know what causes endometriosis. We don’t know what causes nodules or goiters. We don’t know what causes fibroids. If I had a dollar for every time a woman has told me that she’s got these serious issues going on, doctors want to take her uterus because of fibroids or whatever. And what causes it? How could I fix it? We don’t really know. We just need to take this out. 

So there’s a lot of myths out there around this conversation. And when it really does is make us feel powerless. Right? Okay. We don’t know what causes any of this. So there’s nothing I can do. Nothing can be done. And nobody has any answers that puts us in this perspective where we can’t take any action around our health.

And that’s why a conversation like this is important because actually there’s a whole, whole lot that we can do. 

 

What you can do to optimize your hormones

Ari: Which is a beautiful segue to my next question, which is what are those things? What is that whole lot of things that we can do to optimize hormones? 

Misty: Well, I would start with what I have learned in my ten year journey to reclaiming my health and continuing to thrive, is we have got to make sleep a priority. I remember about six months after that surgery that I told you about, working with the chiropractor and I was utterly exhausted. I mean, my life was just falling apart and I couldn’t find anyone to help me. 

I had gone back to my doctors and they were all basically telling me that there was nothing that could be done. And first question he said was, “Misty, tell me about your sleep?” I wasn’t going to bed until 2:00 AM. I would sleep about eight hours a night. Every time I woke up in the morning, I would wake up out of this just unbelievable stupor. Like I was six feet underground, like being pulled out of this crazy sleep and just feeling exhausted. Like I’d been hit by a Mack truck. 

And first thing he said to me was, “You’re going to bed at 10 and you should wake up feeling refreshed. Like you should wake up in the morning and the birds are chirping outside.” And at that time in my life, it was like, what? Because I had never experienced that as a teenager. I don’t remember experiencing that. I don’t really remember before that what waking up in the morning was like for me, but I hated mornings, you know? And that was what I believed. 

I believed that I hated mornings and that mornings were terrible.

I believed that I was a night owl and I was wired to be up all night. And it turns out that some people are wired to be up till one or two in the morning. And you’ll know that you’re one of those people if, when you wake up seven or eight hours later, you feel refreshed. That’s not many of us. 

So getting good sleep is a very, very important part of having good hormonal health. Your body makes hormones in that first three to four hour window of sleep for you. So, however, you’re genetically wired. So 10, 10 to 2:00 AM for most of us, is when your body makes hormones. Look at my situation where I’m not going to bed until 2:00 AM. So we’re just setting ourselves up to add insult to injury and to be in a constant state of depletion when we’re not prioritizing getting good sleep.

So that’s really my number one thing. I talked to Dr. Rodger Murphree, he deals with autoimmunity and fibromyalgia, really, really serious cases. Before he works any protocols with the men and women in his practice, he gets people sleeping because no healing can happen if you’re not sleeping. So it’s a topic that I’ve become really passionate about. I think it’s hugely, hugely important to this conversation. You can take all the great hormone supplements and have a great hormone diet, but if you’re not sleeping and giving your body time to make those hormones, it’s all for not, so we’ve got to be sleeping. 

We touched a little bit on the next one, cleaning up your diet of processed foods and chemicals that are increasing your toxic load. One of the things that I had to work really hard on in order to regain my own health is detoxing. I grew up in a culture with a bunch of achievers, and they were constantly talking about doing cleanses, right? And there was the Master Cleanse where you don’t eat for 10 days, and you’re just drinking this lemon water cayenne mixture and different kinds of juicing and all of that. But when you’re doing deep detoxification, it’s actually a lot more involved than that. And for most of us, it’s a really necessary part of getting well. 

So cleaning up our diet, cleaning up our environments of all the toxic things that are making it really hard for our body to do its job is a super crucial part of all of this. And then in doing the right kind of detoxing so that the toxic load we’re experiencing isn’t so heavy. Fresh air and exercise is huge, movement in general is huge for our bodies. Most of us are spending way too much time indoors and the air inside is so toxic. So getting outside and moving, and getting fresh air does wonders for the soul. There’s a reason why so many people in our space talk about things like forest bathing because it’s really beneficial to our mental health and creates this cascade of effects in our body when we just get outdoors. 

And then we ended up touching on this, Ari, when we started talking about lab testing and everything, but I think it’s super important that if you’re really committed to your health and you have found yourself stuck for a longer period of time, and you’re trying different things, and it doesn’t seem like you can really get traction, you really need to test and not keep guessing because when you start testing and seeing the patterns in your labs, it can give you so much clarity around your next move.

You know, it can help you as a patient to know what kind of doctor you need to be looking for. It can help you to know what you need to be studying and seeking out for yourself. Even to this day, I work with wonderful doctors now. I bring up probably 60 to 70% of the things that I work on with them. And I wish I could say that there was someone that I worked with that is catching all the things that I’m catching as we’re looking at labs together. 

But it just seems that when you come to the table with good lab tests and really advocating for yourself around those tests, you’re going to have better outcomes. So testing is huge. I’ve been able to stop the whack-a-mole experience by really leaning into testing. It can be hard because there’s so many different modalities out there and like there’s a little bit of Wu in our space and I liked the Wu, but did those 10 acupuncture treatments really help me move the needle on my health? Sometimes you don’t know. And I just spent a hundred bucks a pop for those 10 acupuncture treatments, right?  So testing has been really, really helpful in my own experience. And you hear some of the best practitioners in our space also waving that flag. So testing is super important. And then find a doctor who will be your partner. This to me is like the game changer. When you can find someone who’s really going to partner with you. If you’re having an experience as a patient where the doctor that you’re working with is minimizing testing, is poo-pooing everything you say, is not showing that they want to get behind your health goals. Hey, I don’t want to be chronically overweight and unable to lose weight. I don’t want to be exhausted all the time. I don’t want to have this brain fog.

If what you’re getting from your doctor is kind of like, “Well, I can prescribe antidepressants for you. You seem really upset.” If you’re not getting someone that’s bought in, it’s super important that you start looking for another doctor because when you partner and you’ve really had that partnership with your health practitioners, it’s unbelievably game changing. And I want everyone to have an amazing quality of life. I mean, that really moves me. 

I was devastated at 35 years old to have spent my twenties and my early thirties dreaming of this life I was creating and this future I was creating for myself and to have it all fall apart. It was soul crushing and we don’t have to settle for that kind of life. We don’t have to surrender our power and our future to these mysterious symptoms that don’t seem to have any answers except for drugs and surgery and going to go home and wait to die. So, it’s an unbelievable gift to give yourself, finding a great doctor.

Ari: Well, beautiful. This is, I think, a super empowering message for people listening. First of all, to know that you can get better. And second of all, to have a little bit of a roadmap to recovery and understand what to prioritize. I’m curious, Misty, in your own personal path. What would you say? I have two kind of questions for you actually. 

So one is what would you say in your own personal path have been the biggest, top two or top three needle movers, as far as you getting better? And the other thing is if you want to leave people with one or two sort of pieces of wisdom and those two questions can either be combined or treated separately, whatever you think. But what would be your sort of top three tips, if you will, based on your own experience and what you want to encourage people to do?

Misty: Well, the things that have been the biggest needle mover for me, number one was my sleep. That’s been really significant. When I started sleeping well, I started getting traction with everything else I was doing. So I preach about it all the time. I’m waving the flag. We all really need to get sleep and there’s a lot of reasons why we have sleep issues and even though there’s pretty much always a hormonal component to it, the treatment isn’t like, I wish I could just say, “And if you take hormones and your sleep is going to be great.” It can help. 

But usually there’s a lot of, there’s many different layers to that sleep conversation. And it’s important that we’re educated and we’re doing everything that we can to get the best sleep that we can. So that would be my number one. 

Number two for me was going on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. That was so significant for me for two reasons. Number one, I lost an ovary, which means I lost half of my natural hormone production. And then number two, after I had the heavy metal poisoning from them improperly removing my mercury fillings, my brain was just shut down. I couldn’t make any hormones. So what ended up happening is my body is so run down. I’m not sleeping at night. All the fatigue is coming back like massively, and I’m trying to do these other things to help heal. And my body doesn’t have the building blocks for methylation and detoxification, all of those things, because I don’t have any hormones. So going on hormone replacement therapy started giving me my life back.

It’s like it gave my body a breather from having so many things that it was making up for. Because so many things were broken. So for me, hormone replacement therapy was huge. Now I had to go on it at 38 years old. And typically there’s a lot of interventions you can do to keep you from having to do bioidentical hormone replacement therapy that young. I just wasn’t dealt a great hand when it comes to that, but still, there’s women in our community, in their forties and fifties and sixties, and are experiencing these quality of life issues. 

There’s many men that I know, colleagues and friends of mine, who are dealing with this low energy thing as they get older because their testosterone numbers have dropped so low and we don’t have to just settle for that life. So if other things aren’t working for you, I think it can be a really great intervention to do hormone replacement therapy. 

And then for me, I also ended up having to do thyroid replacement therapy a couple of years later because I didn’t realize from 2013 until 2018, I didn’t realize it was heavy metals that caused my body to crash in the way that it did. And it was just like five years of my body really suffering. So when I started doing heavy metal detoxification, like things started turning back on for me. I mean, it was unbelievable, still is. I’m still detoxing metals. 

And it significantly moves the needle. It moves the needle in my energy, my ability to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. It affects brain fog for me. Clearing up my thinking, making my mind really sharp. Like it was shocking the first time I started doing a detox protocol to see my body responding. So this toxic issue that we have, whether it’s metals or environmental toxins or mold or whatever else, it’s taking an unbelievable toll on our health. And most of us don’t even realize that we’re dealing with these burdens. 

And I certainly didn’t, even being like so committed to figuring things out and learning, I didn’t connect the dots on those until five years after. So those are the three things that I would say have been the biggest needle movers in my own experience.

Ari: Beautiful, Misty. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with our listeners. As a final thing, just for people interested in following your work or learning more from you, where’s the best place to do that? And I also want to mention, Misty has one of the most vibrant communities on Facebook. Facebook groups for women specifically trying to overcome health problems. So if you’re a woman, I really encourage you to join her Facebook group. It’s called Healing Rosie. So check that out for sure. But, Misty, anywhere else you want to direct people?

Misty: Everything is on our website on healingrosie.com. It’ll connect you to the Facebook group. It’ll connect you to different social media profiles. The lab tracker is there. If you’re interested in knowing what those optimizing labs are and their optimal ranges from a functional medicine perspective. I’ve got a quick start guide there to help you out. We’ve got some sleep things for you too, so you can find it all at healingrosie.com. 

Ari: Beautiful. Thank you so much my friend, really such a pleasure as always. 

Misty: Awesome. Thank you so much, Ari.

Show Notes

Your body and stress (12:19)
How to identify whether your hormones are the cause of your fatigue (17:00)
Why you shouldn’t trust your doctor blindly (20:42)
The most common symptoms of hormone imbalance (28:27)
What you can do to optimize your hormones (32:47)

Links

Learn more about Misty’s work here

Recommended Podcasts

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