Categories super nutrition academy health class
Tired and want to get your mojo back? Join me and Dr. Jen Landa as we look at how to overcome fatigue and feel energized.
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Yuri: Hey, guys, Yuri Elkaim here. Welcome to another episode of the Super Nutrition Academy Health Class. I’m really excited today because I’ve got my good friend Dr. Jen Landa on the call with me, on the interview, on the phone, on Skype, however you want to think about it.
In case you don’t know who she is, you may have seen her on the Dr. Oz show, and we’ll talk about that in a second. I’ll give you a little brief rundown of who she is. She’s the hormone expert MD; the author of the Amazon best-seller The Sex Drive Solution for Women; and creator of Rewire Your Desire, a program to help women get their passion back.
As I said before, she’s been featured on Dr. Oz, FOX News with Dr. Manny Alvarez, Oprah.com, Elle, Women’s Health, and Shape magazines. She’s awesome. We actually had a really interesting discussion before we actually started the interview here about the similarities we have in how we see a big problem emerging nowadays which has to do with fatigue and losing our mojo and all that stuff, so it’s going to be a really fascinating discussion. Without any further ado, Jen, welcome to the call.
Jen: Thanks so much, Yuri. I’m so excited to be here with you.
Yuri: Yeah, it’s going to be a blast. It’s always cool to talk to people like yourself who, for everyone listening, obviously, there’s a doctor before her name, and that’s because she’s actually a former OB/GYN.
You were medically trained as a doctor and, obviously, stopped doing that, I guess, to some degree, because you realized that there were some better alternatives and better solutions for people. Maybe we can touch upon that a little bit as well. But it’s great to talk with individuals like yourself who’ve come from that background and are now doing amazing work outside of the hospital setting to help more people, so I’m really excited.
Jen: Thanks, yeah, me too. I really think of it as more of like an integrated type of practice that I do. I take the best of what I learned from traditional medicine and about hormones and working with women, and now even with men, with all of these issues. But then I wasn’t finding the solutions I needed in traditional medicine, so, of course, I went way beyond that and incorporate everything, the best of both worlds.
Yuri: Yeah, totally. I think what you’re doing is awesome. You really have a cool niche in terms of helping women who’ve lost their spark not just in their sex drive, but also just life in general.
You’re helping these women kind of regain that mojo, that spark; you’re helping them to balance their hormones, to make over their moods; giving them more energy and vitality to finally lose weight and really just enjoy their life. Can you tell us more about what you’re doing in this space and with this work?
Jen: Yeah, I’d love to. As a former OB/GYN and now practicing as a hormone specialist, too many women tell me that they’ve lost their sex drive, but, really, it’s not only their sex drive. It’s what I like to call their spark, and that’s because I lost my spark, and I’ll tell you more about that later maybe.
Too many women just tell me they’re feeling frazzled, fatigued, frumpy, and fat. They know there’s something off in their body, but they’re not sure what it is. They’ve gone to other doctors a lot of times, and they tell me that they were told that this is normal, this is just the way that it is. Many of them aren’t having sex anymore, but they tell me that, frankly, it’s the last thing on their mind.
First, I was really focusing a lot, Yuri, on the sex-drive piece, but too many women told me they’re just exhausted and they’d rather get a good night’s sleep than getting busy between the sheets. They tell me that they’re cranky and that their mood is getting in the way of them feeling not only like a good wife but even a good mom. They tell me, “I don’t want to be Mean Mommy.” And they tell me that they’ve gained weight and they don’t even feel comfortable being naked with their partner anymore, let alone going out on a date night in a sexy outfit or something like that.
And it’s really, I think the part that’s really difficult is, women tell me that the intimacy in their marriage has gone away. When I ask patients about this, they tell me that they’re not having sex anymore.
And even more than that, one patient recently told me that she and her husband have really stopped touching altogether. I said, “So, do you sit together on the couch and cuddle at least, things like that?” The very telling answer she gave me was: “Couch? Are you kidding? We have recliners.”
Yuri: Individual recliners, yeah.
Jen: Individual recliners, yeah. And that really told me all that I needed to know. And this isn’t healthy for relationships; this is not okay for our relationships because before you know it, you’re living parallel lives rather than really connecting with your mate, and it leads, really, it’s one of the number one factors leading to the decline of marriages these days, leading to divorce and cheating and all of this bad stuff.
Women tell me one of their big issues is they feel really guilty because, for the most part—and this is, of course, a generalization—but their partner’s more interested in sex than they are. A lot of them tell me they’re not even really sure how their partner feels about it because they’re not even talking about it.
What I really want women to imagine is a whole new way. Imagine that you’re cleaning up the dinner dishes with your honey, and he comes up behind you, smelling yummy. He puts his hand on the small of your back, whispers something in your ear about leaving the dishes behind for a much hotter dish in the bedroom, and you both make a beeline to the bedroom for some hot, intimate, sexy time together.
Now, I know a lot of women out there feeling like I have felt in the past, are hooting with laughter, snorting, going, “Yeah, as if! That is just so far from where I am right now.” That’s because, you and I were talking about it before the call. We have this energy crisis.
Too many of us women, we’re just caught up in the piles of laundry to fold and the dirty dishes to make time for the stuff that, really, we’d love to make time for in life but we just don’t even think about anymore. I think it’s what really drives in life; it’s our passion and not just for our partners, but for life in general. It’s so easy to get caught up in that mundane day-to-day, but I really want to challenge women to a higher calling in their lives and in their relationships.
I want to challenge them to start living with passion, to reengage in their relationship and their lives, and to think about what their goals are in their lives, in their relationships, and ask themselves a question: Do you want to continue living with a mediocre love life, or do you really want to go for it and take your relationship to the next level of passion and intimacy?
Yuri: That’s awesome.
Jen: Do you want to live life with passion in generally, in your work, in your play? And do you want to feel like you have control over your moods and that you’re happy and peaceful without taking medications that may have terrible side effects for you? And what about feeling fit, fantastic, and sexy again in your own skin?
This, Yuri, is what I really want for women, and this is where my, what I call my passion for passion comes from.
Yuri: Yeah, you can tell. It’s great.
Jen: I want to teach women the simple steps that they can take to bring back not only the intimacy in their relationship, but the passion back to their lives in general. I want to help them overcome those feelings of feeling frazzled, fatigued, frumpy, and fat, especially to teach them how their hormones are related to all of these things and how to get their hormones back into balance by doing just simple things. I think so many of us, we don’t know how to get all this under control because we just don’t know what to do.
Yuri: Yeah. In your experience, what is causing so many women—and probably men as well—to lose the spark? Is there a series of life events, or is it, I don’t know, what is your take on that?
Jen: The big thing that I really think causes all of this to happen is really related to our hormones. That’s what I really… And, honestly, I didn’t learn all this when I became an OB/GYN, and I personally have suffered through the same issues that I’m just talking about that I see women in practice, but I had all of this happen to myself.
And I had it only happen when I was only 28 years old. I felt all of these ways: the overwhelmed and frazzled and frumpy and just terrible. The worst part about it was, I was an OB/GYN and I had no idea what to do to help myself and I didn’t know about the link between all of these symptoms that I was feeling and my hormones.
And when I did additional years of study and really got a better handle on hormones, I realized that hormones are related to everything in our lives; they control everything we do. There are so many things out there—I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, Yuri—that are screwing up our hormones right now.
Things in our environment, things in our diet, the way that we live our lives every day is screwing up our hormone levels. And when our hormone levels get out of balance, our bodies’ organs get the wrong messages and we don’t function properly, and that’s everything from our, our brain, our skin, our genitals, our glands, like our thyroids, our adrenals, even our gastrointestinal tract, or gut. All of it gets out of balance when we don’t get the proper messages from our hormones, and all of those things going wrong inside our body are the things that make us feel frazzled, fatigued, frumpy, fat, out of balance, all of those things that we’re talking about.
Yuri: Yeah, it’s a problem and, thankfully, with the stuff that you’re doing, it’s hopefully going to be lessening as time goes by. You talked about you kind of went through this experience yourself when you were about 28. Tell us about that. How did that come about and what was the journey like?
Jen: Yeah, for me, I think it happens for a lot of women just like it happened for me. It happened gradually over time. It wasn’t something that you just woke up one day and went, “Oh, this is just wrong.”
It was more like, I was working as a resident, I was working 80 to 100 hours a week, my husband was working really hard too, and I wasn’t taking really good care of myself. I wasn’t eating right; I wasn’t sleeping right; I wasn’t working out on a regular basis.
One of the things that I noticed over time now that I look back on it was that I was getting more and more exhausted, I was getting more and more overwhelmed, I couldn’t handle stress the way that I used to. Once I looked back on it, one of the things I realized is that the first thing that happened to me as far as sex was concerned is, I stopped initiating sex.
I stopped wanting sex and I stopped trying to have sex with my husband, and then I started really kind of dodging it, all in all. I was making excuses like, “I have to get up really early. I’ve got a stomach ache,” or the famous sneak in to bed and pretend to be asleep when he comes so that he’s not going to bug me for sex, really.
I hear this over and over and over from women. Honestly, I felt so alone about it, and I didn’t realize how common the problem is. Actually, the statistics say it’s 43 percent of women that have a problem with their desire at some point in their lives.
When it really came to a head for me was when we went on vacation, because vacation was always a time where we really came back to our intimacy and we normally, before, we had lots of sex. That was when I really realized if I admitted it to myself that I just didn’t feel like having sex at all anymore, and that was when I realized that it was kind of, it had been for a while like the elephant in the room for us.
It was there but we just weren’t talking about it. That’s when I realized I had to really talk to him about it. Yuri, you can probably imagine, that conversation did not go well.
Yuri: Of course, of course.
Yuri: Pretty awkward. And this was before you had kids?
Jen: This is before we even had kids, yeah. I think the thing that shocked me the most about his reaction, though—and you probably get this as a guy—here I was telling him about this “problem” that I had and I viewed as my problem, something dysfunctional or wrong with me, and he took it so personally.
He said, “So, what does this mean? Does this mean you don’t love me anymore? Does this mean you don’t find me attractive anymore?” I was like, “Wait a minute. How did this all become about you?!”
I was really shocked but now that I’ve done tons of research on this—and this was 15 years ago for me, so that’s kind of when this journey started for me—what I’ve come to realize is that that’s the way most men feel when we’re not having sex. Men really rely on sexuality as their language of love, and it’s how they are able to best, in some ways, give and receive love.
When you’re not having that intimacy, a lot of men don’t feel as loved as they do when they are having more intimacy. And I found out, I didn’t really realize it, but I found out my husband was really equating it.
We sort of left this vacation in a really bad way. I’ll never forget, we were driving down out of the mountains of Colorado toward the airport, and I felt like it was a metaphor for our relationship; kind of dipping down to this new, low level, where kind of neither one of us knew what was going to happen.
I was afraid. I was really afraid that maybe he was going to meet somebody else who would find him sexy and attractive and make him feel that way when I felt like I just really couldn’t, and I didn’t know what to do.
I think the worst part of all for me was that here I was—I was just one year away from finishing my OB/GYN residency—so here I was, supposed to be a women’s-health expert, and I had no idea how to help myself let alone anyone else. That was really, like I said, my mission to figure out what was going on with this was born right then and there to figure out how to save my marriage, how to bring my spark back.
What I’ve realized is, it really is built on a foundation of getting other issues in our lives under control, getting our energy back, because when we’re exhausted, who really cares about sex? We’ve got to have energy to feel our sexy best.
We’ve got to finally get the weight under control, because most of us, if we’re overweight, we don’t feel like having sex. Who does? And our moods, we have to get our moods back under control.
That’s when I realized that those were the foundational pieces that I had to work on to ultimately get my sex drive back, because I think about the sex drive as kind of the cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake.
Yuri: Yep. That’s awesome. In your journey over the last 15 years, what have you changed? What are the things that you’ve learned and applied in your own life and with others to help you regain that sex drive, that energy back?
Jen: What I did was I really looked at this whole hormonal piece that I’d been talking about, and I came up with an acronym for the hormones that contribute most to our sexuality. I call it learning how to PROTECT your hormones. PROTECT is an acronym and it stands for: PR is for progesterone; O for oxytocin; T for thyroid; E for estrogen; C for cortisol; and T for testosterone.
Then what I did was, I looked at ways that we could get all of those things under control. All of those hormones are very foreign concepts, probably, to a lot of people who are listening to us. One of the things that people ask me is: How do I know if I have a problem with my hormones?
One of the things that I developed, Yuri, was a Web site called TheHormoneQuiz.com. At TheHormoneQuiz.com, I put up an inventory basically, a hormone questionnaire that women can go on there and can take and can answer questions not only to figure out, number one, if they have a hormone imbalance, but, number two, to try and get an idea which hormones out of the ones that I just discussed that they may be dealing with.
And within this tool, it gives them some strategies to try to learn to start setting their hormones back into balance. But for me, I figured out a five-step system, and that’s what I share in my, basically in the programs that I have developed, like Rewire Your Desire.
I developed another program called Passion for Passion. Within all of my programs, I talk about a five-step system, and the five-step system is to get women to feeling fantastic, fiery, fit, and frisky again.
Yuri: The five Fs.
Jen: The five Fs.
Yuri: Or the four, five, whatever it is.
Jen: But there are five steps that I use to get your hormones naturally back into balance to feel great and get your passion back again. The things that I look at are: how to eat, how to move, how to think, how to act, and how to support. And there’s tons of different information in each of those.
Yuri: Because you love doing, the hormone stuff is obviously, I think it’s a really… We actually surveyed our list a little while ago, and a big thing for people is learning more about their hormones. It’s such a universe in and of itself. Why don’t we look at the support side of things and look at some of the hormones and some of the things we can do with that to reestablish proper functioning there.
Jen: Sure. In terms of how to support your hormones, well, there’re multiple, many different ways. Really, everything that I talked about—how you eat, move, think, and act—all work to support your hormones. And I know you talk a lot about nutrition to support your hormones in terms of cortisol and things like that.
One of the most important hormones, of course, to support in terms of sexuality is testosterone, but one of the things that a lot of people, there’s a lot of stuff that a lot of people don’t know about testosterone. I think one of my favorite things to tell women to understand is that, number one, we do have testosterone.
I think women think about testosterone as a man’s hormone, it builds muscle and it’s going to make me more like a man, but women have testosterone too, and they have it in about a tenth the amount that men do. But that tenth is very, very important. It’s important not only for our sex drive, but testosterone actually gives us our energy.
Testosterone is very important for our energy, but testosterone also helps balance our mood. One of the things people don’t realize about testosterone is, it acts as a woman’s emotional shield.
You know when women come in to you and they tell you, “I’m crying all the time. I just don’t know what’s going on.” And they, of course, sit in my office and cry just talking about it. That is actually low testosterone.
Testosterone acts like our emotional shield, and it helps keep our emotions stable. It helps with energy, mood, it helps with memory. A lot of women tell me that they get, I call it frazzled. They lose focus, they get overwhelmed easily, they get very scattered, and testosterone really helps women focus again. Well, women and men; it works universally. But a lot of women tell me that, that testosterone really helps them get their focus back.
A lot of them tell me they think they’re getting ADD, and some of them even go as far as going on ADD medications. If only women would look at what the hormone imbalances in their body are that are leading to their symptoms that they’re having, then they wouldn’t need all these medications.
We talked about ADD medications just now, but we were talking before the call that one of my passions really is for women to understand that they don’t need a medication to sleep, a medication to stabilize their mood, a medication to help their focus, because, really, all of those things tend to be related to their hormones, and low testosterone is definitely one of those.
Another one is progesterone. Progesterone is really, I would call progesterone the unsung hero of women’s hormones.
Yuri: And why is that?
Jen: Because progesterone is women’s calming hormone. Talking again about that frazzled thing, getting overwhelmed really easily, feeling like your to-do list is growing and growing and growing, and, again, that scattered loss of focus. Progesterone really helps with all of this too.
Progesterone helps calm us, it helps improve our memory, and one of the most important things, probably, is that progesterone helps us sleep at night. So many women come to me, telling me that they’ve got this insomnia. Either they can’t fall asleep at night, or, more often, they fall asleep just fine, but they wake up between, let’s say, 1 and 3 a.m., and then they don’t sleep well thereafter.
And then when they finally fall back to sleep is between 6 and 9 a.m. That’s when their body wants to sleep, when it’s time to get up. This is an extremely frustrating thing that I hear from women all the time.
Low progesterone is one of the most common reasons for these problems. But on top of it, low progesterone also causes a lot of the “female problems” that women face, like fibroids, irregular periods, heavy periods, endometriosis. All of that stuff, along with being unable to sleep, and gaining weight, progesterone plays a big role in our ability to control our weight.
All of those things, for so many women, tie all in together and, unfortunately, when they go to doctors—and the way I was taught to practice medicine—was essentially to give a prescription, a pill, for every one of these different symptoms when the problem is not that you have a Zoloft deficiency, but you have a progesterone deficiency or a testosterone deficiency.
That is something that we can correct either by using hormones, number one—that’s a possibility—but one of the things that I think is important to understand is that we can really bring those hormones back into balance through a program of learning how to eat better, how to move better, how to think, how to act, and how to supplement, how to support our body with the supplements that we need.
Yuri: This is an area of fascination for me, especially when it comes to supplementation, because I’m a real big advocate of eating, getting most of our stuff through food, but there are certain situations where, for me, like, maca is part of my daily ritual.
Maca’s amazing, at least in terms the things that I’m after, energy and all that good stuff. What are some of the recommendations you make for supplementation to help kind of rebalance hormones and kind of give people that extra boost that is not the caffeine boost that most people seek?
Jen: Oh yeah, I am so with you on all of that, Yuri. Maca is definitely—let me back up before I say this. I agree with you that it would be awesome to get everything that we need through food.
Food is foundational and, of course, we talk about that first, which is actually number one in my program, how to eat. But I really think that—and I really call the whole thing, I call it the pro-libido lifestyle. I think it’s really important t live what I call a pro-libido lifestyle, which not only works for libido but works for your energy or your mood, all of this other stuff we’ve been talking about.
But we can’t always get everything that we need from food, and that’s why I think it’s important to have some core supplements that you can go to for the things that are difficult for you. Maca, like you said, addresses some of your needs, which is awesome, and I do maca every day too. Maca’s great for energy, maca’s great for sexuality, maca’s great for a lot of different things, so I love maca.
Some of the other support supplements that I really love in terms of balancing hormones, one of them that I use a lot is ashwagandha. Ashwagandha, it sounds like a very scary name but—
Yuri: It sounds like a yoga pose.
Jen: Exactly, because it’s an Indian root and it comes from India, of course. It has been shown in the scientific literature to actually help us balance our hormones.
What’s great about these herbs is that they don’t only do one thing. Just like I said about these prescriptions: You could get a prescription to sleep, you could get a prescription for your mood.
Well, the great news about herbs is that you don’t have to take a prescription for your mood and a prescription for your sleep and a prescription for this or that. These herbs act on multiple different hormones all at once, getting your body back into balance.
Something that’s important to understand is—one of my mentors, Pam Smith, she talks about the fact that hormones are a symphony, the symphony of hormones. When you hear a symphony, of course, there’re are many different pieces—there’re the woodwinds, there’re the percussion, et cetera—and if one section wasn’t playing properly, the music wouldn’t be beautiful. So we have to get all of our hormones acting in balance, in a symphony, to feel our best.
The great news is that these supplements that we’re talking about—maca’s one of them and ashwagandha’s another one—will help to support all of our hormones and bring them all back into balance. Ashwagandha is a great one for women who suffer symptoms of hormone imbalance, anything from low energy to hot flashes, actually, ashwagandha works very well for us at times, depending on what your hot flashes are from. Older people don’t realize that hot flashes can be from a lot of different things.
If you’re very stressed out, ashwagandha’s great for stress, for energy; it’s great for calming; it can be good to help reset our sleep-and-wake cycle that I kind of talked about before a little bit; and it helps to support our sexuality as well. That’s one of my favorites.
Another one that I love is called rhodiola. Rhodiola, there’s a lot of great scientific research going on with rhodiola, and rhodiola can be used for lots of different things. One of the things I see a lot in my practice, and you probably see too, is there’s this huge move for people to get in shape, right? I did it myself. I’ve run a bunch of half marathons and triathlons.
You’ve got all these people looking to get in better shape and think they’re doing themselves this world of good. Well, unfortunately, believe it or not, even that can throw our hormones off when we’re exercising too hard. But I know people love to do it, so we need to support our bodies to be able to do that, and rhodiola is one of those support supplements that helps to support us with good energy that will support us throughout the day and will support our body when we’re doing extreme exercise, but also, it will support you when you’re not even doing any exercise.
It will help to balance your hormones; hormones that will help you improve your energy, improve your mood, improve female symptoms. Ashwagandha and rhodiola are two of my favorites to help do all of those different types of balance.
Yuri: Awesome. Are there any—just for people listening who may have never heard of those—are there any contraindications or side effects or things like that that people need to be aware of?
Jen: You know, the good news with ashwagandha and rhodiola is there really is very little side effects that people need to be worried about with these. I really, I would say with any supplement, you want to really run it by your doctor, and, hopefully, your doctor is knowledgeable about supplements and herbs and can tell you for sure whether that’s going to interact, because, of course, there’s the possibility of them interacting with medications and things like that.
But the good news is that I don’t tend to see a lot of side effects or contraindications, like you were talking about, with these herbs.
Yuri: Yeah, that’s awesome, because I think some people go a little herb crazy sometimes or supplement crazy, but I think what’s awesome about the ones you just mentioned is that they are kind of adaptogenic, which allows the body to just kind of work more effectively and kind of rebalance itself, which is great.
You have a ton of great stuff to share in terms of exercise, sleep, and soft image, obviously dietary stuff, and we could obviously speak all day about this stuff. I want to leave people with a great resource. First of all, you mentioned TheHormoneQuiz.com, so everyone listening or reading the interview here, go to TheHormoneQuiz.com, take it; it’s a five-question quiz, it’s very simple to do, and it’ll give you some really cool feedback as to where things might be at right now.
Again, we could go on for hours and hours, but I think we’ve covered a lot so far, and I think it’s a great stepping stone to going a bit deeper if you really wanted to. Jen, just before we finish off, is there any kind of last words of wisdom you want to share with our audience?
Jen: Well, I just want to let them know that at Fit Fantastic You, I have a free 30-minute energy-boost seminar that they can listen to. It’s some of my hottest tips for boosting your energy in a 30-minute audio that they can listen to. That’s at FitFantasticYou.com.
And then I’ve also prepared for your audience a series, a video series, three videos called Rekindle Your Desire, and it’s my 11 hottest tips to fan the flames of your passion. They can find that at JenLandaMD.com/Super.
Yuri: Cool, awesome. There you go, guys, some really, really cool resources and tools to start to get your mojo back, get your spark back. I just want to thank Dr. Jen Landa once again for taking the time to share her wisdom with us. Jen, thank you so much for taking the time; it’s been a pleasure.
For everyone else listening, be sure to check out those URLs, those Web sites; they’re awesome. There we go. We’ll see you guys in the next episode. Thank you so much, Jen.
Jen: Thanks, Yuri.
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