You can heal your anxiety and depression by using functional medicine. Making changes to your stressors, hormones, infections, food, and toxins can all significantly impact your lifestyle. I’m joined by Dr. Achina Stein, a functional medicine doctor and psychiatrist, to talk about all the other possible contributing factors to your anxiety and depression.
Listen to the Episode
Address the Shift Model to Heal Anxiety and Depression
About Dr. Achina Stein
Dr. Achina Stein is the author of What If It’s NOT Depression? Your Guide to Finding Answers and Solutions.
She is a board-certified psychiatrist and has been in practice for 25-plus years. Propelled by her son’s health crisis in 2010, she found functional medicine which resolved all his mental health problems as well as her own. She has a busy private practice called Functional Mind LLC in Riverside, RI where she sees patients for functional medicine primarily but also sees patients for psychotherapy.
She is a certified practitioner of the Institute for Functional Medicine, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and was awarded the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award by NAMI-RI in 2008.
She is a former Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
Dr. Stein has a companion program to her book called What If It’s Not Depression?, a bootcamp to provide an alternative to medication for people with chronic mild depression-like symptoms that do not respond to antidepressant medications and will be offering an SSRI tapering course soon. She enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, singing, and gardening.
The S.H.I.F.T. Model for Brain Health
Dr. Achina Stein is the creator of The S.H.I.F.T. Model which looks at some of the potential underlying causes of your anxiety and depression. Stress, Hormones, Infection, Food, and Toxins all impact our bodies in similar ways but can all affect your brain health.
First, we talk about how stress can impact your health. We talk about both the obvious signs of stress but also the less common symptoms that could contribute to your anxiety and depression. The next step is hormones, especially your adrenals and estrogen disruptors.
When it comes to infections, Dr. Stein wants you to understand that she doesn’t necessarily mean something that’s causing you to be ill daily. Underlying infections, such as H. Pylori or Candida, which reside in the gut, can directly impact our brain health.
Let Food Be The Medicine
The next important aspect of the S.H.I.F.T. Model is food. Our food production standards and practices are so different from what they were even 50 years ago. The food you eat matters so much; some of the biggest food stressors are gluten, dairy, and sugar.
The last aspect is toxins. Dr. Stein agrees with many of my past guests that toxins, whether environmental, household, chemical, or anything else, have such a negative impact on our health. She encourages you to reduce your exposure to toxins and your toxic load.
Healing your depression and anxiety is not a one-and-done approach. As Dr. Stein says, this is a lifestyle change that you maintain. Your symptoms will return if you fall out of your routine – maintain your routine and keep up the good progress you’ve made!
Are you diagnosed with depression? Do your SSRIs work for you? Maybe it’s time for a functional approach. Call the Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic today and schedule your first appointment at 319-363-0033.
“My son was able to come off all of his medications altogether, he hasn’t taken them for many years. That doesn’t mean to say there haven’t been ups and downs; once you find the root causes and reverse them, you have to maintain them.” [5:20]
“This lifestyle of ‘go-go-go-go-go,’ high achieving, not resting, in fact, it’s shameful to rest or take care of yourself. It is that Energizer Bunny type of person who doesn’t stop to take time for themselves because they think that’s wrong or bad. They don’t take time to rest. It’s a matter of changing your mindset around that but also acknowledging that you’re running your body into the ground when you don’t stop and take time for yourself.” [10:55]
“It’s other things, as well. Stress reduction, getting that sleep cycle back in order, getting up at the same time every morning to set that biological clock. It’s putting these habits in place and respecting and listening to your body.” [17:09]
“Inflammation in the gut can cause neurotransmitter imbalances which then can result in depression and anxiety. People ask why a psychiatrist might look at your stool and it’s because your gut is your second brain and if your gut’s not working right, your brain’s not working right either.” [22:15]
“It is a matter of recognizing how foods affect you and taking that very seriously. If it affects your brain, which is the most sensitive organ in your body, just imagine what it’s doing to your body.” [26:42]
“Functional medicine is not a quick fix. It requires you to have the energy and the organization and the motivation to make changes in lifestyle and diet. If you’re so sick that you’re not able to do those things, you need medication to get well enough to be able to do these things.” [36:52]
“It’s a lifestyle change followed by maintenance. That is the most important thing you can do. I’ve had patients see me and they’ve done all the things I’ve told them to do, they feel great, and they say ‘thank you, bye-bye,’ and then I see them again a year or two later. What happens is that they start cutting corners, start eating this food, and stop working out because they’ve had a busy day. The routine falls apart and then all the symptoms return. Then they have to start all over again. It’s important to maintain habits more than anything else in order to continue the success that you’ve achieved.” [42:07]
In This Episode
- What the shift model is [8:15]
- Why you need to find the root causes in all parts of the Shift Model [9:00]
- How to know if stress is impacting you [10:00]
- What you need to know about the Hormone Pillar [13:00]
- How to help your hormone stressors [17:00]
- Why we need to consciously decide to go against what society does [18:45]
- How infections can play a role in depression [19:00]
- How foods can help or harm your health [23:00]
- How our food has changed over the last 50 years [24:00]
- What toxins are part of the shift model [27:00]
- Why you need to support your body with supplements [32:00]
- What information functional medicine testing provides [33:00]
- The benefits of a healthy brain [38:00]
Links & Resources
Dr. Achina Stein 0:04
Why is the psychiatrists looking at your stool and it's because your gut is your second brain
Dr. Stephanie Gray 0:12
Welcome to the your longevity blueprint podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Stephanie gray. My number one goal with the show is to help you discover your personalized plan to build your dream health and live a longer, happier, truly healthier life. You're about to hear from Dr. achiness dine today we're going to dive into her shift model for discovering the root causes of depression and anxiety things like stress, hormone imbalances, infections, food sensitivities and toxins. Let's get started.
Welcome to another episode of The your longevity blueprint podcast. today. My guest is Dr. Gina Stein, who is the author of What if it's not depression, your guide to finding answers and solutions. She is a board certified psychiatrist and has been in practice for 25 plus years. Propelled by her son's health crisis in 2010. She found functional medicine which resolved all of his mental health problems as well as her own. She has a busy private practice called functional mind LLC and Riverside Rhode Island where she sees patients for functional medicine primarily but also sees patients for psychotherapy. She is a certified practitioner of the Institute for Functional Medicine, a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and was awarded the exemplary psychiatrist award by Miami, Rhode Island in 2008. She is a former Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and human behavior of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She has a companion program to her book called What if it's not depression, a bootcamp to provide an alternative to medication for people with chronic mild depression like symptoms that do not respond to antidepressant medications. And we'll be offering an SSRI tapering course soon, she enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee singing and gardening. Welcome to the show, Dr. Stein.
Dr. Achina Stein 2:08
Oh, thank you for having me, Stephanie, Dr. Gray,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 2:12
will tell me we all have a story. And I mentioned a little bit of yours in your bio. Sounds like your son had a health crisis? And maybe you did as well. Do you want to share some of your story? What got you into functional medicine?
Dr. Achina Stein 2:22
Sure, sure. I mean, I was practicing as a traditional psychiatrist for almost two decades. And what changed that trajectory was the fact that my son became very sick, he became acutely depressed, and suicidal, and basically on a ledge to jump five storeys, and kill himself. And that was extremely terrifying for me, especially because I'm a psychiatrist. It's kind of embarrassing. And some, on some level, it's like, what How did I miss this? And, and unfortunately, yeah, so you can imagine what what I went through myself and dealing with it, but you know, found him a psychiatrist, and we got him on four medications to stabilize him, it took that much medication to get them stabilized. But he had was no longer depressed, or, you know, as depressed, I should say, and certainly not suicidal, but he was stable, and but he was not my son. He was actually having even other symptoms that go through this process, that he was worse in some ways, and better in some ways.
So I know that I have a lot of patients that have those kinds of journeys through their health crisis is going from an acute situation to a chronic situation. They're chronically stable, but they're still having lots of symptoms. And so he was not excluded from that. In fact, he was put on the for medications just to handle the side effects of the antidepressants. So and those side effects were insomnia, anxiety, he had attention issues as well. So But long story short, you know, I was not satisfied with that outcome. And the thing that made me think that there was something else going on with his brain was the fact that he could no longer read. And it was that symptom. I think that caused me to search other for other options. Ultimately, we found that the reason he couldn't read anymore was because he had double vision. And so he had so much inflammation in his brain. Wow.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 4:34
He's really smart. He has two brains.
Dr. Achina Stein 4:38
Yeah, I mean, he had so much inflammation in his brain that it affected the cranial nerves that his eyes you know that he had double vision, but it actually took us a while to even figure that out about why he couldn't read. So, in retrospect, we realized, so anyway, I found functional medicine serendipitously, I was searching for With options for my patients, because I was hitting roadblocks in certain with certain types of patients that now to this, now I know what I could have done differently given my education in functional medicine, but I found a functional medicine doctor, and he was able to address all of his issues and ultimately have him come off of medications altogether. And he's hadn't taken them for many years. So it's that happened when he was 14, you know, and so, that doesn't mean to say that there haven't been ups and downs, you know, when you have to, once you find the root causes and reverse them, you have to maintain them. That's Yes,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 5:42
I like that. Yes, teenagers,
Dr. Achina Stein 5:45
teenagers have a hard time maintaining things, you know, as we as we know, and so the beauty of it is that, you know, that you can get right back on the horse and start maintaining them again, and then symptoms remit again. So, throughout college, he did the college thing, you know, staying up late at night living with other vampires, and college being up till four o'clock in the morning and the stress of studying the stress of studying and also the stress to your body of eating foods that you shouldn't necessarily be eating and drinking alcohol, you know, that's part of the college scene as well. So all of those factors can impact you on some level, if you're already fragile or sensitive, you know,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 6:30
I speak a lot to my favorite patients about being on the fence, some of them kind of live on this fence where they they really got to be careful with their behaviors and what their lifestyle you know, choices because that can kind of when they make poor decisions that can sway them or push them off the wrong side of the fence. So I talked a lot about that with my patients, your analogy
Dr. Achina Stein 6:47
of the fence is a really great analogy. I use a different analogy, I talked about it being at the doorway, you know. So you can you can, you can stay at the doorway and look at the party and or join the party and experience the whole experience. Or you can leave the party and make other decisions and not be in that limbo, right. It's in that Limbo that can be really stressful to people.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 7:14
I like the door better. That's my positive it gives you back control, you get to choose, right? Yeah.
Dr. Achina Stein 7:20
Right, because it is a choice. I mean, people, I had a patient who made the choice, even though she knew that dairy caused massive migraines, she made the choice to have a Viennese dessert display for her wedding. That was her dream. That was her dream. She wanted this beanies display of desserts for her guests and for herself. And she chose to have that knowing fully well, she was going to have a three day migraine on her honeymoon. And she did. But She fulfilled her dream because it's a one time event. Right? Sure. Right? It's choices, you making choices and accepting the consequences in knowing what that the consequences are. So yeah,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 8:02
gives you the responsibility. So through your experience with your son did and you sounds like at the same time, you know, learning functional medicine, did you create this shift model? That's kind of the premise of how you treat your patients.
Dr. Achina Stein 8:16
Yeah, so I mean, he know that the shift model is something that's not it's repackaged in different ways, you know, so we all hit the same. It's interesting that when whenever I interview people on my YouTube channel, what if it's not depression vodcast that we all talk about the same things really, you know, so shift, the the word shift stands for stress, hormones, infections, foods, and toxins. And we may not necessarily address those things in that order. But they are basically five pillars that we all address on some level.
And some, some functional medicine practitioners focus on one, one of those pillars more than the others, but I think it's important to actually address all five. So I look for root causes of depression and anxiety in each of those pillars, and develop a plan to reverse engineer whatever happened in know, in those pillars, so some people will have, you know, issues in specific pillars more than others, you know, and so it's a matter of really looking at all five and addressing all five, and some people have trouble improving, you know, or rebalancing certain pillars, or it's just a lot of work for them. And so it is setting up habits and really practicing certain habits and affecting certain pillars like stress. Stress is, I think, a real hard one for people.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 9:50
That would be my problem. Yeah. So let's break down each of those pillars. So how would an individual or listener know if they have problems? What will start well with each Have those categories each pillar. So with stress? How would someone know if that's their problem pillar,
Dr. Achina Stein 10:05
I think some people have an who are stressed and they know it, it's easier for them because it's in their face obvious. Yeah. But there are other people who don't realize that stress can come in, in your body, you know. So inflammation can be stressful to your body. And if your immune system is activated it because it's handling a variety of things, then you may not necessarily know that right away. So it is investigating what might be causing inflammation in your body, which will be, you know, stressful to your immune system. But there's a different kind of stress.
And I see a lot of this, that there, there are women in particular, but also just most people in general in our country, and perhaps other, you know, other countries, where they have the similar lifestyle, where it's Go, go, go, go go, it's high achieving, not resting. In fact, it's shameful to rest or take care of yourself. It is it is that Energizer Bunny, kind of person, who doesn't stop to take time for themselves, because they think that's a wrong or bad, that doesn't take time to rest. And so it is a matter of changing your mindset around that. But also to just acknowledge that you're really running your body into the ground, you know, when you don't stop when you don't take time for yourself. And it's noticing those patterns that are that's really important.
So it's a culture that we have here. You know, in fact, you know, I'm going to ask my brother on this, and my brother who works with people in France, you know, because he, you know, he works internationally. And he tells me that they don't work. It's like, well, no, they work more healthy, normal hours, they just have a different lifestyle, and you need to work. Yeah, in fact, he needs to follow the same pattern. And he's like, You work too much. They're not going to be up at midnight, or two o'clock in the morning or 6am, you know, on your schedule, you know, so it's just, it's and they take the weekends off, and they take the holidays off, and they go out and they spend the day on a picnic, you know that it's that kind of thing. It's a completely different lifestyle. And it's a healthier lifestyle.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 12:26
When I studied abroad at Iceland, this was I don't even I can't even remember was late undergrad, we wouldn't have school all day. And then I would want to go shopping and all the shops were closed, like by 4pm, because everyone was off work. And it was just interesting for me to see that lifestyle like holy cow, like these people actually don't work that you know, 1012 hour days that we do in the US. So I think parts of Europe have that right. And I have been guilty of being that Energizer Bunny and not taking time for myself, I I share a bit of that story in my my book your longevity blueprint. So let's go into hormone. So we talked a little bit about stress. Let's talk about the hormone pillar. I have a feeling we could stay here for a long time.
Dr. Achina Stein 13:06
Yeah, so you know, the primary hormone to really focus on at least initially, is cortisol. You know, so when you're under stress, whichever, whatever is causing that stress, or driving that stress, the hormone Well, it's an adrenaline that gets basically surging, and there's going to be different levels of adrenaline, there's sorts, there's certainly normal amounts of adrenaline that you want running throughout the day. But it should be it should be highest in the morning hours, and then slowly coming down and allowing you to sleep, you know. And so sometimes it's reversed where people can't get out of bed. They're dragging themselves out of bed needing four cups of coffee. And then which basically, you know, exactly, and then oh, the you know, the second wind comes on at about seven, eight o'clock.
And then it's like being oh my gosh, I have all this energy. I can do all this stuff now. And I better do it now because I know I'm going to be in the morning, right? So then you're up till two o'clock in the morning because you're doing all the stuff but then when you want to go to sleep, you can't because of all of that adrenaline. And so what happens is that your body, you know, when adrenaline goes up, your body releases cortisol to bring the adrenaline down. But if the adrenaline stays up, and it doesn't come down, the cortisol stays up. And cortisol kind of acts like a steroid in your body. Cortisol, cortisone converts to cortisone. And so that is like prednisone in your body, but it's made internally. So that is the primary hormone that's important to focus on.
But it's also important to know that that hormone steals away from your other hormones. It steals from progesterone and it steals from estrogen and it steals from testosterone. So you have this imbalance of your sex hormones, just to make cortisol in order to keep That Energizer Bunny going. So that's hormones in in general, there's other things that can affect your hormones. That's probably a whole nother topic is estrogen disruptors, you know, which can act as hormones in your body and hitting the receptors, particularly estrogen. So it can feel like it's a lot of estrogen that is not imbalanced, I should say, with progesterone causing all sorts of symptoms itself. But when
Dr. Stephanie Gray 15:27
I first got into functional medicine, I was testing everyone's adrenals, I loved the saliva cortisol test. I mean, I ran it on everybody. And then after being in practice for years, you can kind of just learn who those people are that testing is very valuable. I love testing, but I'm sure you can attest to, you just kind of know who those people are just based on their history, their, you know, reporting back how they feel. And if they are that person who's medicating with lots of caffeine or whatnot, and then they need something to calm them down at night. Instead, we can use very safe supplements to help reset the circadian rhythm and calm the adrenaline.
So thoroughly. And conventional medicine doesn't really treat that they're there. You're the psychiatrist here, so you can speak in but typically, if those, if a patient in that situation presents to their conventional medical provider, they're just going to be given medication. And that, you know, resetting that circadian rhythm calming, the adrenaline probably isn't really going to be getting to the root cause of the problem isn't really going to be addressed. Would you agree?
Dr. Achina Stein 16:19
Oh, absolutely, absolutely. In fact, those medications can actually make them worse, the sedative hypnotics. And, you know, there are some psychiatric medications that are often used for sleep that don't necessarily fix the problem. And you're right that conventional doctors aren't familiar with the HP a axis dysfunction, which is sometimes called adrenal fatigue, which is really a misnomer. But but it is an it's a dysfunction of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. And it's a matter of rebalancing that. That's it, that's very important. And we typically as functional medicine, doctors like to use herbs, and things like Phosphatidyl serine.
Ashwagandha, is a great herb for that there's others as well. But it's other things as well, stress reduction, getting that sleep cycle back in order, you know, getting up at the same time every morning, you know, to set that biological clock, it is putting these habits in place, and respecting and listening to your body. And like sitting through your body and, and even preventing, knowing when that second wind occurs and preventing that second wind by starting to actually wind down and easing into that second wind and trying to get to bed earlier and and reversing that. And so it is giving up temporarily, that time of energy, you know, to catch up on everything, right? And this
Dr. Stephanie Gray 17:51
can even be applied to toddlers. It's funny that you say that. Because even our kiddo gets a second wind and my husband start singing a song about winding down, it's time to wind down. But I know adults, we need to, you know, we need to apply that principle as well. And I know it's hard to forego that second when when you're a mom of four kids and you got you know, laundry to do or dishes to do whatnot. But you really do need to honor or as you said, respect and listen to your body. So that's great advice.
Dr. Achina Stein 18:17
Yes, I like that analogy with the toddler because we teach our children these habits by having this winding on time and having bedtime stories and write getting into your pajamas.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 18:31
And then we expect we can just like run a marathon and then hop into bed and just flip switch.
Dr. Achina Stein 18:36
Go to save. Exactly, exactly. Yes. You know, so unfortunately, all these habits that we teach our children, they break down after a while, you know, because we're not modeling those behaviors. Right? So it goes against it really goes against our culture. And it really has it's almost making a conscious decision to go against what art what we're doing as a society, you know, one family at a time, right? Yeah.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 19:03
Let's move on to infections. So tell us how that that's a part of your shift model.
Dr. Achina Stein 19:09
Yes. So in you know, people don't realize just how much they have. When I talk about infectious like I don't have an infection I don't have fever, I don't have these, these symptoms that make me think that I have an infection usually when people think about an infection, those are really actually acute acute symptoms of an infection as opposed to chronic infections. And what a chronic infection The analogy I like to use it's it's almost like an acute infection is all out war. So the reason the body mounts a temperature and has chills and fevers like it is your immune system in full battle gear attacking the the infection. But then even you know, we know that there are countries like and I say this in my book, what if it's not depression is that it's almost like Pakistan and India are at this you know, stalemate. You know? Were they are at war with each other, so to speak, but in a cold way, where they tolerate each other, they have armies facing each other.
There's barbed wire, you know, and as soon as one moves, the other one, like, you know, is ready to shoot, you know, but there's no active war going on. Right? And it probably won't take much for something to happen. Because they're, they're enemies with each other, essentially. I mean, there was a time when the US was at a Cold War with Russia. Right? And maybe we are, yeah. But, but anyway, you know, if there, there is no active battle happening, and so there are infections in our body that our immune system tolerates, it acknowledges it surveil, and there's this surveillance system just to make sure it's staying where it is.
And there's multiple types of infections that can affect us, unbeknownst to us, unless we actually do the testing to detect it. So H. Pylori, is one, there's Candida, which is, you know, a type of yeast, and that is part of our normal flora. But given the right conditions, it can become pathologic and create lots of symptoms. There's a dysbiosis, which is an imbalance of good bacteria with bad bacteria, which can occur from taking lots of antibiotics in combination with steroids or birth controls, you know, or the kinds of foods that, you know, that can produce dysbiotic types of bacteria, you know, the bad bacteria as well as Candida, it's a matter of looking at the conditions that created the situation, and then removing some of these things, if it's the right thing for that person, because sometimes you want to keep certain things in place.
But there's other things that we don't talk about on a conventional in the conventional world enough, are parasites, and worms, you know, I can't tell you how many kids have had pinworm. You know, and so there's, there's those things that have to be looked at as well, that can cause a chronic infection cause nutrient deficiencies cause inflammation in the in the gut. And that type of inflammation in the gut can cause neurotransmitter imbalances, which then can result in depression and anxiety. So people will ask, Well, why, why is it psychiatrists looking at your stool, and it's because your gut is your second brain. And if your gut is not working, right, your brain is not going to work, right, either.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 22:35
Totally agreed, well said. So let's go on to the next pillar, which is foods, which are foods and infections, or I should say, food sensitivities, and gut infections. Both play a role in gut health, which I talk a lot about in chapter one of my book, which we know then relates to mental health. So I almost feel like the gut infections and the food sensitivities go together. But let's spend some time on that food food category. Absolutely. So
Dr. Achina Stein 22:58
foods can be absolutely inflammatory or poison to some people. And foods can be healing to others. And so so it's a matter of figuring out which foods are going to be harmful to you in terms of causing inflammation and activating that immune system. And the top two would be gluten and dairy in my book, especially for the brain. I agree. And we can go into all sorts of reasons for that, because people say, Well, you know, I've been eating bread all my life, why is it suddenly changed, and it's not, you know, that bread is bad, it has to do with all sorts of reasons in terms of the amount of grains that we eat, we way too many grains as compared to fruits and vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats, you know, so it's a matter of proportions, way too many grains in our foods, especially processed foods, and chemicals.
So we'll get to, you know, toxins later but But what has happened to our, our wheat in terms of processing, in terms of hybridizing it and the way it's manufactured. So there's lots of different aspects where our wheat has changed dramatically over the last 50 years, actually. And dairy is a factor because cows in this country, and our cows actually are very different from the cows in England, and the cows here are much more inflammatory compared to the cows in England. So type of cows that are also fed grains when they shouldn't be grass. So that grain and that inflammatory grains that we talked about, and the chemicals and that they're sprayed with, get into the cow's body. And then when we eat those cows, that's a problem for us as well.
So it gets translated indirectly to us in terms of the meat but also of the milk. So it's really important to know where you're sourcing the grains and where you're sourcing the dairy Um, but there are other food sensitivities that people have, which I won't go into go into, but those to gluten and dairy and the third thing that we need to look at is sugar, you know, and how much sugar we have in our diets that satisfy our palate, but it doesn't satisfy ourselves at all. The cells are starving
Dr. Stephanie Gray 25:22
of nutrients. And I think most people can attest to if they eat a lot of sugar, kind of like a lot of caffeine, they may be more anxious, and then maybe depressed later, because they're crashing off that sugar. So I think many people recognize it with sugar, but they may not recognize that after eating that pizza, right, the next few days, they're sluggish and depressed or, or whatnot, they may not relate their mental health symptoms to that inflammatory food, because it's not always immediate. But for me, it's immediate. If I have gluten, I don't know what's mean, it hits me my neurologic system right away. I'm dizzy, and I feel very off. But for many people, it can take days for those symptoms to manifest.
Dr. Achina Stein 25:57
It does for me, it takes actually days to couple of weeks to have brain fog, actually have get brain fog start missing words. And, you know, and like, What was that word? That I was trying to think of it, you know, failing to recall certain things. It definitely affects me if I have gluten, and I tend to have it once in a while, especially around the holidays, because you go to other people's homes, and, you know, they make the cream spinach and you know, there's turkey stuffed with, with stuffing right? And so, yeah, so it becomes a choice. And so, you know, I suffer for a few days, and, but there are lots of my patients, you know, suffer quite a bit. And if they, you know, have just a little bit. So it is a matter of recognizing how it affects you and taking it very seriously. Because if it affects your brain, which is probably, in my opinion, the most sensitive organ in your body, just imagine what it's doing to your body, you know,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 26:58
good point. Right. Good point. With that, let's move on to toxins. So you kind of already alluded to some of those in the pesticides and herbicides and whatnot, right that we find on food, but what other toxins are part of your, I would say shouldn't say are part of it removal of which is part of your shift model, I'm sure.
Dr. Achina Stein 27:15
Well, you know, we want to make sure that people need to understand that our body is always eliminating toxins. So we want to make sure that we're moving our bowels, we want to make sure that our liver is functioning optimally liver and the gallbladder are functioning optimally to be able to remove whatever it's supposed to remove. And so we call those toxins but those are everyday toxins. That's the normal amount of toxins based on what it's like putting the garbage out like whenever we removed the garbage from the home we put it in the trash can trash anymore. Right trash browse, go to the sidewalk sanitation department comes and picks it up.
So there's other kinds of toxins as well, that has increased over time in our environment like pesticides, and chemicals and chemicals in our carpeting chemicals in our paint. You know, they're volatile organic compounds, you know, that's what VOCs are. And so we're constantly surrounded by those toxins and a lot of those toxins are in our indoor environment. So it's very important to get outside to open the windows to air air out all of these you don't if you have new piece of furniture a lot of people don't realize how much is in a mattress in a couch right in our rugs all of the chemicals that we use to clean our homes are spray in the air for breeze and scented candles that are synthetic and you know not real sense that like essential oils are real simple, right? Yeah, instead of their their man made and made to smell like lavender, but it's not actually lavender.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 29:04
Between the fumes from car exhaust industrial emissions, and as many of us have experienced recently, smoke from forest fires, the air we breathe is often filled with harmful pollutants. But did you know that the EPA has shown that indoor air can be up to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air? This is why at my clinic and at my home I use air Doctor air filters. These filters are 100 times more effective than ordinary purifiers and help capture smoke viruses, bacteria, pollen, mold and dust mites. In fact, they capture 100% of some of the most dangerous ultra fine particles as small as point 003 microns in size, and that's pretty small.
They have a proprietary dual action carbon gas trap voc filter, which combines two types of media activated carbon to remove gas and odors and potassium or manganite to deactivate certain volatile organic compounds VOCs like formaldehyde. Air DRS auto mode uses the professional grade air quality sensor to assess the air in the room and immediately adjust to correct levels of air filtration. The sensor will also allow Are you when your air quality is compromised by changing its indicator lights from green to yellow or red. I discovered this feature almost immediately after installing Meyer Dr. At home when the indicator light went from green to red, it got me wondering why the air was so bad and I did some digging. It turned out there was a problem with my furnace.
After it was fixed air Dr sensor immediately turned back to green had not discovered the issue with the help of their doctor, we could have ended up with much greater problems. I often recommend the air doctor to my patients dealing with mold toxicity. Of course, I always recommend they remove themselves from the mold exposure as soon as possible. But I understand it takes time to remediate the home. So in the meantime, as well as on an ongoing basis, I recommend they get air doctors running in their homes. One of these machines would be a great Christmas gift for a loved one stopped by the integrative health and hormone clinic if you'd like to see different sizes, or visit the bonus tab of my website, your longevity blueprint.com to find a special link for $280 off the 83,000 using code Gray 15. That's capital G ra y 15. And watch for even greater promotions during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But you must use my link which we'll post in the show notes.
Dr. Achina Stein 31:11
So we put all of these things in our air on our body in our furniture, and we're constantly inhaling and we're giving extra things that our body needs to filter out of our body. And it's it works pretty well up to a point. But it's almost like if you didn't clean your oil filter in your car, or if you didn't clean the dryer filter in you know from your dryer, what would happen, right? If you didn't pull that thing out of your dryer and take that lint off the dryer and put it back in, eventually it would break your dryer. Right.
Or if you drove your car, you know, it's a dust storm, you know, out west and which it's not, you know, that's not a typical thing to do, your air filter is going to need to be removed, you know so. And believe it or not people live in homes that don't actually clean these filters. And then they're wondering why they're feeling sick. So it's really important to do that maintenance in your home, but also in your body to give your body the tools to be able to clear those filters of your liver and your kidney. And that is through taking certain vitamins and nutrients. And if you're not giving your body those nutrients, those filters are not going to be cleaned.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 32:27
Totally agree. Well, let's I know we spent quite a bit of time on that shift model. Is this all heavily discussed in your book? I mean, do you break all that down? Once I have the contact? information, you can read her book and like you said, I echo a lot of that in my book, we're just speaking the same language, it's all the same, right? These are the same recommendations we're going to have for patients, whether they come in with infertility, or migraines or depression, or whatnot, right? We're going to apply these functional medicine principles. So the next question I was going to ask, which maybe we've already answered, but what do you feel the most important information is that functional medicine testing gives your patients
Dr. Achina Stein 33:03
you know, a lot can be done through really getting a good clinical history. And so I use testing to confirm my suspicions. So we talked a little bit about how using the the adrenal testing, and then after a while you're right, you get to know what the testing is going to look like. It's those in between cases where I'm not sure if it's this side or that side in terms of is the adrenals getting worse, or is it on its way down, you know, where the adrenal testing would be helpful. So I use testing to confirm my suspicions one way or the other. If I'm, if it's not clear, just from the clinical history.
Yeah, and it's really helpful. In terms of for me, I get a stool test on every patient, because there's really no way to know what all of the chronic infections are, all the players are, and really what they intestinal health is. So getting elastase level, knowing what the sciatic crit level is, is really helpful in terms of whether or not the body's producing enough pancreatic enzymes, or enough bile salts to be able to absorb carbs, and fats are some things that I threw out there that people may or may not understand. But the intestinal health in a snapshot is really great on the stool test that I do and getting a sense of what the microbiome is and what all the players are in terms of this battle, within your gut are stimuli of sorts. What is occupying your immune system and how much inflammation is it causing?
Dr. Stephanie Gray 34:37
I like that what's occupying your immune system? I like that. But do you have to ask do you use genetic testing in your patients like do you ever use like genome mined or Genesect any of those companies?
Dr. Achina Stein 34:47
No, I don't find them helpful at all. I know of a few psychiatrists conventionally that like to use them to determine which medication
Dr. Stephanie Gray 34:58
is helpful. Because I do use those in my patients, because I've had patients who you put them on SSRIs. And they don't, you know, they don't feel better at all. Or I've had patients who will just say the testing reveals based on their genes, if they're missing an enzyme, right? None of the usually recommended medications are going to help that patient. So the testing can then tell me okay, you could try this SSRI or this benzo or whatnot based on their genetics. So I do use it not often, but I do use it in some of my patients. So I was just curious, if you do hear
Dr. Achina Stein 35:28
I use now a while ago, years ago, and when when Gina mind first came out, and I did not find it to be helpful, if anything, when I had tried whatever they recommended on the test, that they still had, you know, poor results anyway. So I gave up using that test out, things may have changed over the last five or six years, and they have gotten better, I don't know, I don't prescribe medications very much anymore, to be honest. So because the people who seek Me for treatment are the ones who have had numerous trials and medications, and they're done with it, they want to do they're done with it exactly.
And they really don't want to even go there anymore. Or they are having withdrawal symptoms from the medications and they want to come off of them safely. And so it's it's a just a different group of people that I see. That doesn't mean to say I don't prescribe it. I do when, when it's absolutely necessary. But that tends to be in people who are already medication naive. And they come to me because they don't want to try any medications. And I'll say, Well, you don't right now you really do need medication.
So it's it's a really, as a marriage of both worlds, it's giving the best of both worlds to help the person in the situation that they're in right now. Because unfortunately, functional medicine is not a quick fix. It requires you to have the energy and the organization and the motivation to make changes in lifestyle and diet. And if you're so sick, that you're not able to do those things, you kind of need medication, to get well enough to a point to be able to do these things, right. Sure. And, and so much distress that that is occupying mind that you can't focus on being able to do this work because it is ultimately it is work.
And it's it's certainly really, you know, good work to do in the long run, because it does extend your life, it doesn't mean just get, you know, your brain back. You're not depressed and anxious anymore, but you actually extend your life. In the long run, you know, my life is so much better, having resolved all my medical issues that I feel younger now than I did when I was 30. You know, so it is absolutely life changing.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 37:50
So how does a healthy brain help create a healthy body in your opinion,
Dr. Achina Stein 37:55
when you have a healthy brain, you are certainly more organized and being able to do things and you're probably clear in your goals. You're most likely having the energy, the motivation and the organization to be able to do the work to create a healthy body. But it's all connected, right? Yeah, it's all connected. So it's a circular kind of thing where if you fix your gut, you fix your brain, you fix your brain, you fix your right, and everything else that's connected to those two systems.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 38:31
Could you be missing out on magnesium? If you aren't already taking magnesium you likely should be our deficient food sources caffeine consumption, stress and exercise rob us of magnesium, which is an important cofactor for hundreds of processes in the body. It can calm your mind and ease your nerves to help you sleep at night and help reduce anxiety, PMS and headaches. It can relax your muscles when you have cramps your bowels when you're constipated, and it's required for energy hormone production and vitamin D absorption.
If you're interested in exploring more about how magnesium can help support you living a longer, healthier life, and the exact type of magnesium supplement to look for, check out my blog post the magnificence of magnesium found at your longevity blueprint.com forward slash blog and use code magnesium for 10% off our magnesium keylite product at your longevity blueprint.com. Now let's get back to the episode was there anything else you want to share about your program? I know you have why already forgot a boot camp couldn't remember the name of a boot camp. Tell us if there's anything else you want to share with the listeners and then how can how can listeners connect with you tell us about your boot camp. You have a free gift as well. So lay that on us. Sure, sure.
Dr. Achina Stein 39:45
So I have a companion program to my book wonder if it's not depression bootcamp. It's a 12 week group online boot camp to find and reverse all of the root causes for depression. as well as anxiety, my book could have easily been called What if it's not anxiety, because it's really the same approach. It tends to be for people who have been going from doctor to doctor, they're feeling sick and tired, they're not sure what's wrong with themselves, they go to the doctor or other medical professional and obtain blood work. And they're told, all your blood work is normal, and you must be just depressed. Here's an antidepressant. And they know in their hearts, they're not depressed. But now they're wondering, Am I depressed, I don't know, maybe I am depressed. But they don't really think that they're depressed, they think that there's something else going on in their body that's creating this.
And so I help those people who honestly shouldn't have been given an antidepressant, if it's a mild to moderate depression, if they're not in danger of harming themselves, and they're not psychotic, if they are functioning relatively well have, you know, jobs and families, and they're doing all the things, but they're just dragging themselves to do all these things. And you might not have as much motivation, they might not be thinking as clearly they might have brain fog, sort of like you how you and I were right. Right? When I was in my 30s, that's how I was still working full time, you know, and had three children, and doing all the things but I knew something wasn't right.
But anyway, I provide a course. And it's with live q&a 90 minutes every week with me to address each of the root causes. And and basically, by the end of the 12 weeks, you have resolved many of the root causes, and also have a plan for the rest, because some things take longer than others. And some of it is setting up habits. And the reason I put this course together is because ultimately, it really comes down to habits. It's not all about testing. It's not all about the medical professional providing something to the patient. It's really about the person who has certain issues that are due to dietary and lifestyle issues, that it's a lifestyle, maintenance change and lifestyle change. And with followed by maintenance, that, ultimately is the most important thing that you can do, because I've had patients who have seen me in my private practice, and they've done all the things because I told them to do it.
And, and they feel great. And then they say thank you bye bye. And then I see them a year later, or two years later, right? Because what's hot, what happens is that they start cutting corners, and then they go on vacation, they start eating this food, and then they don't work out or it because they had a busy day or the routine falls apart and then all the symptoms return. And so then they started have to start all over again. So it's really important to maintain habits more than anything else, in order to continue the success that you've achieved. That's really important.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 43:00
love it love it. Well tell listeners where they can find you. So where are you on social media? And where is your vodcast? Okay, so
Dr. Achina Stein 43:08
I failed to mention all that tonight. So I'm a Cina, Stein do.com. And I think you're gonna give links to your audience for the three chapters in my book for free. And there's also download for food for your mood, a great place to start in terms of eating foods that will improve your mood. And you can find me on YouTube at what if it's not depression vodcast. And I'm on Instagram at Cina Dr. Dot achiness. Stein.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 43:44
Awesome, awesome. And you interviewed me on your podcast. So I'll post the link to that also in the in the show notes. So, yeah, thanks for having me. Okay. Lastly, tell our listeners what your absolute top longevity tip would
Dr. Achina Stein 43:56
be. So I think in one word, it would be or two, let's say it's two words developing resilience. Ultimately, when a person learns how to respond to a situation as opposed to reacting to a situation, they develop resilience, it takes time to be aware of your reactions. And there's methods of doing that, like doing body work like yoga, our, you know, breath, work, meditation, all of these things create this gap of having a thought feeling memory, emotion, or physical sensation, and creating a space to then respond as opposed to immediately reacting. And sometimes those reactions aren't even even happened without our awareness. So if we increase that space, then we can choose how we want to respond to it.
You know, and the way we increase that space is looking at patterns, looking at what it is If that's happening, why is it happening, being curious about it, creating that space and breathing through it, and understanding yourself and connecting to yourself, your mind, your spirit, your body, and developing a response. And by doing that, you will then develop resilience.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 45:18
Hey, everybody. If you've enjoyed the content I've been sharing on this podcast, I think you will love my new free eBook How to create resilient health. One of my signature talks covers why stress impacts our health so negatively and what exactly we can do about it. After every time I give that talk, I always get requests from people in the audience for the actual presentation so that they can go back through it again and reference it on an ongoing basis. This was happening so much that I finally realized I needed to create a new resource on the topic, which is this beautiful ebook I've just released. In this book, I break down the stress response symptoms of stress how stress impacts your health, and your hormones and, most importantly, share what you can do to make yourself more resilient to it.
I share healthy strategies relating to lifestyle, nutrition and supplements to help you create and maintain the habits needed to better thrive under stress. If you're one of millions of Americans that have struggled with chronic stress, you are not alone. Let this ebook be your guide, hop on over to your longevity blueprint.com forward slash creating hyphen resilience for your free download. I love it. Well said well said. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing your shift model to support our overall mental health and longevity. So thanks again. You're welcome.
Dr. Achina Stein 46:31
Thanks for having me.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 46:36
Seriously, so many of my guests, including Dr. Stein have similar recommendations for getting to the root cause of symptoms. If you're a current patient who hasn't had a comprehensive stool assessment and would like one call the integrative health and hormone clinic and we can likely run one of these on you. The test can show how you digest your food if you have too many good or bad bugs and even assess your gut inflammation. And don't forget, I'll post links in the show notes for three free chapters of Dr. Stein's book. What if it's not depression and her guide on what foods to eat for your mood? Be sure to check out my book your longevity blueprint. And if you aren't much of a reader, you're in luck.
You can now take my course online where I walk you through each chapter in the book. Plus for a limited time the course is 50% off, check this offer out at your longevity blueprint.com and click the Course tab. One of the biggest things you can do to support the show and help us reach more listeners is to subscribe to the show. Leave us a rating and review on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. I do read all the reviews and would truly love to hear your suggestions for show topics guests and for how you're applying what you learn on the show to create your own longevity blueprint. The podcast is produced by the team at counterweight creative as always, thank you so much for listening and remember, wellness is waiting.
The information provided in this podcast is educational. No information provided should be considered to be or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your personal medical authority.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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