340: How To Get Rid Of Brain Fog, Fasting With Adrenal Fatigue, How Keto Can Help With Adrenal Fatigue, and more - with Dr. Joel Rosen!
April 15, 2021
Welcome back to the podcast! In today’s must-listen episode, Chantel got to speak with Dr. Joel Rosen. He knows how it feels to suffer with adrenal fatigue, and just how validating it is to finally find a medical diagnosis. Dr Joel calls himself the “Adrenal Fatigue Recover ninja”, to signify the stealth like warrior that you must personify in order to recover from the adrenal fatigue “nightmare”.
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Chantel Ray: Hey, guys, welcome to today's episode, and we are with Dr. Joel Rosen and we are talking all about how to get rid of brain fog. What should your eating window be if you have adrenal fatigue? And he has an amazing site called The Truth about Adrenal Fatigue. So welcome, Dr. Joel Rosen.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Thank you so much for having me.
Chantel Ray: So let's first answer the question, what is adrenal fatigue and how do you know if you have it first?
Dr. Joel Rosen: Sure. So it's a very controversial term. First and foremost. I think it's a terrible way to assess what's actually going on physiologically, because when you hear adrenal fatigue, you assume that the adrenals have stopped outputting their cortisol levels. And that may be one thing that's happening with shades of gray, but very seldomly do the adrenals actually fatigue and not produce any cortisol. And if they did, it wouldn't be called adrenal fatigue. It'd be called adrenal insufficiency. But just because you're adrenals are outputting cortisol doesn't mean you can't be exhausted, burnt out, having brain fog, focus issues crashing in the middle of the day, not handling stress, having your hormones in balance, not being able to lose weight, not having libido and motivation and drive. And and when your body is under stress for so long, continually over and over and over again, the new term that people use is called HPA axis dysfunction, where the brain signals to the adrenals and the adrenals output their stress hormones, and then that becomes dysfunctional. But the truth be told, whenever we're under stress for so long or repeatedly over and over and over again, what happens is quite simply, we have a supply and demand problem where your body's not producing energy at the level that you need to. And ultimately you will have some form of shades of gray of what's called a mitochondrial fatigue, where you don't have energy to focus and concentrate, you don't have energy to get through the day and all those things happen. So I think basically what's happening is it's quite simply a supply and demand problem where your body can't produce energy at the level that it needs to. Your access is involved, but so is your immune system. So as your nervous system, so is your endocrine system. So it's all of your systems. So it's kind of a longer answer than I think you might have been expecting.
Chantel Ray: So, no, that's perfect. So I have a question that I'm going to ask you, because I think that it's. We'll Segway to the next one, so this is from Wendy from Toledo, Ohio. I'm almost positive that I have adrenal fatigue. I have been under massive stress with my job, and I'm the CEO of a company with thirty five plus employees, so I'm always stressed. One of the articles I read on Google said that if you are doing if you have adrenal fatigue, that you should not do too much intermittent fasting. But I know I always feel better when I fast. And one of my problems is I like to eat when I'm stressed. So should I get rid of the fasting or lengthen my eating window? Help. Wendy from Toledo, Ohio.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Sure, I mean, it's a it's a lot going on there because because the way I would look at it is you have to test, you have to test to know. And one of the tools that we we encourage people that are doing intermittent fasting are to test their glucose levels. And and we like to use a machine that test both glucose and ketones. And I really stress to people understanding their body physiologically what's going on and how that may differ from psychologically, how you're feeling and really coordinating that or having that awareness that I may be physiologically hungry. And that's that's when I need to eat versus I may be psychologically hungry and I'm not physiologically hungry and I don't necessarily need to eat. So first and foremost, I would encourage someone to test to know specifically if they are getting into a physiological hunger state. Secondly, she kind of answered your question. She feels better when she fast. And I always defer to what a patient or coaching client will tell me if they feel better when they do something. So I would explain that as well. We did discuss earlier when someone does have a adrenal fatigue based presentation where cortisol is erratic, it's either very high or it's very low or somewhere in between, or it's dysregulated, it's higher in certain times of the day when it shouldn't be. That can really mess with your blood sugar stability. And to go for a long, fast can really create major challenges with that as well. And you may need a longer window. So I guess the best way to answer that is to to test and to know for sure to be to be able to listen to your body and how you feel when you do something and it's favorable or not favorable. And then lastly, I would think that making sure that what I like to explain is more of the I guess if you look at it in terms of the way that our body has been engineered, like in the winter months, we have typically less availability of food, more storage, whereas in the summer months there's more there's more vegetation and more produce. So I think we are inherently designed to eat seasonally as well. And that mixes up a whole other variable, especially for a woman as well, when they have different cycles and they're higher and estrogens in the first half of the month and lower in the second or higher and progesterone. So there's a lot of there's a lot of nuances. And I guess I'm at I guess I'm adding a little more confusion to it. But I think you got to listen to yourself. I think you've got a test to know for sure and then seek help to figure out the difference.
Chantel Ray: Right. This is from Stephanie in Toronto. I'm a forty seven year old woman and I'm hearing contradictory podcast on fatigue. This is one podcast I listen to that says, if you have adrenal fatigue, that keto and fasting is the best for this. And then another one that contradicts that, what is the best for adrenal fatigue and what is the best adrenal supplement out there? Stephanie in Toronto.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Hi, Stephanie. I'm from Toronto, too. So hello. Hello. Yes. Yeah. So as far as that goes, you know, again, these are all great questions. There is always contradicting information and what you think is helpful. You'll have someone else say that it's not helpful. And I think most of the clients that I work with, I'm probably you yourself understand, too, Stephanie, is what's best for me and what's customizing for me. And so when I see people that have some genetic susceptibilities, I have genetic susceptibilities where I don't metabolize fat as effectively as I could. And when I'm burnt out and I'm exhausted and I have a supply and demand problem and I don't have the available nutrients to thrive and keep up with my day to day demands, if I go that route where I eat a very high fat diet, it's going to be difficult for me to to to oxidize when we say utilize and burn that fuel and get it into the pipeline for me to have energy. But if I read a blog, I might have heard that that was the best thing to do. So why was my body not the best thing for me? Like it has to be customized? That's the first thing that I would say. The other thing that I would say is, is that just sort of in terms of common sense, I really feel that having a good macronutrients break down where you're going to get good, healthy protein. I know it's a very general answer, but you're going to get good healthy protein and good healthy fats. Because those are essential. There is no such thing as essential carbohydrates, there's essential amino acids, there's essential fatty acids and we need them and that means that our body can't produce them. And I liken it where if you're eating a lot of carbs, even if you're eating it in an eating window or a time restricted eating window, you are like putting kindling on the fire and it burns very, very quickly. Whereas when you put protein and fat on the fire, it's like a log and can sustain you a lot further. Whether or not you're specifically in like a ketogenic diet or not, I think is not the point. I think what we teach our clients is something called metabolic flexibility, where you can burn protein, you could burn carbs, you can burn fat, you base it on your cycle, you base it on what's going on in your life. You specifically, you know, your nuances and your stressors and you customize accordingly. As far as what's the best supplement for adrenals, I think the problem is most people reductionistic. We say if I have an adrenal problem, I have really high cortisol and I got to lower my cortisol. So I'll take something like fossil title Syrian or if I have very low cortisol, I'll take something like licorice root to boost it. And while that's reductionistic accurate, there are so many other things that are going on before that that are causing the elevated or depleted cortisol inflammation, blood sugar imbalances, circadian rhythm issues, micronutrient deficiencies, infections enmasse. There's so many things that you have to take stock of and eliminate. So I tell people a lot of the times the best supplements are, which is not really a supplement, is removing the load, removing the burden. What I do like is anti inflammatories. I think plant based oils are great, both omega three and omega six to many people. Just do a mega 3s and super dose at that level. And there are research that shows that that's not effective and we need parent essential oils in threes and sixes. So I really love those vitamin C multi minerals. Those are really great ones as well. But you'll very rarely tell hear me, tell someone, hey, I like these adopted gin's, these rigondeaux, these licorice roots, these fossil title string, because I don't feel like it really gets to the root cause of the challenges.
Chantel Ray: All right. This next question is from Leslie in Houston, Texas. I have a ton of fog. What is the number one root cause of this? I'm currently having memory problems lacking mental clarity or concentration and the inability to focus. I feel like I have mental fatigue. What is the main causes of this? I feel like I'm extremely stressed as work, but this is not going to change. I have to have my job and I feel like I have trouble digesting that. I'm not sure if I'm being too much of it, but not to. But my poop floods. Leslie in Houston, Texas.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, I mean, I'm sorry to hear that, Leslie. I think that ultimately the the number one challenge with that brain fog is inflammation at the end of the day. And a lot of people get that. Well, I feel in flame my joints are painful or I've seen results on a blood test and my CERP or my ESR have been elevated. And I get that I'm inflamed. But most of the people that have weak links in the chain breaking that aren't necessarily related to what you would associate with inflammation, joint pains or bloating or swelling is still inflammation, even though your weak link in the chain happens to break where it's brain fog. So ultimately, I would say inflammation and the other things I would say is obviously stress management, because that's also creating increase in your sympathetic upwind up or your your adrenaline and your fight or flight system, which is kind of likened to having a vehicle that a standard vehicle with a clutch. And you're like in first gear on the highway and your engines working so hard and you're depleting your nutrients at a very fast rate. And you can see that that engine isn't kicking in. And that's the analogy I would use with what's probably going on with you. The fact that there is a relationship with the way that you're processing fat also makes me feel that that gut brain connection is definitely involved. We talk about the the second brain or we talk about our instincts in our GI track. It may. So a lot of our neurotransmitters and when our neurotransmitters are swaying and the adrenaline and the epinephrine, the whole sympathetic system and there's inflammatory cytokines, our immune system, those go into the blood brain barrier and those activate what's called micro micro glial cells, which are what stimulate your brain's immune system. And that will create a lot of brain fog. So I'd be looking at supporting gut health. I'd be looking at resetting your circadian rhythm, coming up with different ways to manage stress and then, of course, looking at intermittent fasting or different diet variations to stabilize your blood sugar.
Chantel Ray: So when you talk about resetting your circadian rhythm. Talk about that a little bit more and more practical ways. So what would someone do for that?
Dr. Joel Rosen: Sure. It's a great question. So three main factors that we look at regulating circadian rhythm is, number one, light and dark exposure like we would think. So when we get up in the morning, we want to have those curtains pulled open, ideally even getting out in the sunlight and having that exposure of light. And consequently, when it gets dark out, you're protecting your exposure to that blue light because that blue light will hit the different parts of your eye that are going to impact your melatonin release and makes your brain think that it's not nighttime anymore. And one of the best ways to reset that is go camping. You know, if you go camping or not clamping, but camping and you are going to bed earlier, you're waking up earlier and your body's resetting with with the sort of the day's schedule. That's probably the best way and very important. What I like to do is put blue blocker glasses on at night. When I see it starts getting dark out, I want to remove my notifications or turn them off. I want to get as little stimuli as I can, along with not having the light hit my eyes. So that's the first way. The second way is eating. And that's what's good about a compressed eating window is typically it's going to be within those hours where the light is still shining and we're not engineered to eat in dark times unless we had to in terms of unforeseen attack or so forth. And I always look at the way our body has been engineered over the millennia. We never had refrigerators. We never had air conditioned, we never had light bulbs. So I think every time you eat outside of those times, in the dark times, there are signals from your body telling you that it's daytime. So really controlling the timing of your meals. And then lastly is just activity and movement. I just recently went to Colorado and when I flew back, it was Daylight Savings Time. So I had three hours of of change in my body. And one of the things that really normalized me right away was doing movement and activity. I went for a walk I took in the sunlight. I took in the polyphenols from the environment, which is basically just chemicals and trees and so forth, and it helps your body coordinate with the signaling of the earth. So those are the three best ways, I would say, with the light exposure, with the timing of your meals and with movement in general.
Chantel Ray: So let's talk about your fasting when eating window if you do have adrenal fatigue. And a lot of times people are saying, you know, oh, if you have adrenal fatigue, you should not do intermittent fasting. And my opinion about it is, is that if you have adrenal fatigue, you may want to extend your eating window a little bit longer instead of doing a one meal a day or instead of doing a four hour eating window. Maybe you're doing a six hour or an eight hour eating window, but that you don't have to throw the baby out with the bath water. You don't have to go from eating because I don't think it's healthy for anybody to be eating in, you know, 14 hour eating that just, you know, to eat snacks. So I think people can kind of go hear something where where instead of going, OK, maybe I'll extend my eating window a little bit longer because fasting is a stress on the body, but. Maybe I'll just extend it a little bit instead of going to these extremes, can you talk about that a little bit?
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, I mean, I think intuitively what you said is it makes sense to people like we're not really engineered to eat over twenty four hour period. I like sunlight and some sunrise sunset. But I do think there's no reason why anyone should be beyond 12 hours. I mean, that should be like a prescriptive, like pound the gavel. Like you shouldn't be eating outside that unless there's travels or there's extenuating circumstances. But I would definitely say that first and foremost, there's no reason why someone shouldn't have within a 12 hour window in my mind. So that means, obviously, if you eat at 6:00 p.m. last night, you're not going to eat before six p.m. I think that's pretty doable. There is a lot of old theories where even when I went through exercise physiology and I was a personal trainer for many years, we had our clients have small meals more frequently. And that's always been suggested even when I suffered with my own exhaustion and fatigue problem, to make sure that, quote unquote, I don't let my cortisol fall too low and I make sure that I keep my blood sugar stabilized. And I think in today's day and age, that very rarely happens, like even though people feel they're hypoglycemic, when I have them take a glucose monitor at that time, it's like, oh my goodness, I can't believe I'm a hundred and ten, you know, millimoles per deciliter. And I thought I was like at 50 because there's so many other stressors, fluorescent lights, M.F. cell phones, all these things that impact whether we want to believe it or not, are our baseline blood sugar levels. So No. One, I don't subscribe or suggest that you should have small meals more frequently. What I do like is, like you just said, extend that eating window and then have people eat what they want in the beginning time with people that I have major challenges with fatigue and exhaustion and what they think to be a blood sugar issue problem. I have them say, OK, let's keep a hard window, let's maybe do something from ten to six or obviously get the feedback from them, like, what's your schedule? What are you doing? How can you incorporate this? What have you done in the past? What do you feel you can accept? I think that has to be discussed. I think just reading something online and saying, well, that's the way you do it. But that doesn't work with my schedule because I'm raising the kids and I got to eat at that time. And then I got to go out and work and then I got to come back. You got to make it fit your schedule and you got to make sure that it's copacetic with that. But with that being said, I think that I tell people initially that I have had those small meals more frequently and really feel that they have hypoglycemic issues. Hey, let's start testing your glucose. We need to do that. So you see if it's high or low. B, let's keep a specific window that you can do, maybe like a ten to six. Or if you want to do a twelve hour window, I would like for you not to, but if we can accept that, let's do that. And I'll even tell them like you could eat when you feel you need to eat initially in that window whenever you want, but you can eat outside that window. And so as we start to pull in the reins a little bit and start to really customize it around that person, now we'll get rid of some of those snacks. So they're not eating however many times they want in that window. And then we'll get them comfortable with two or three meals only. And then from there, what we can do is we can say, all right, let's now compress that window. All the while, while we've been testing our glucose levels and ketone levels, while we've been aware of our circadian rhythm, while we've been aware of our movements and our light exposures and what time we're having our first and last meal. The other thing sometimes I don't know if you talk about this is sometimes like break breakfast when it's not a breakfast, but sometimes break fast are things like, you know, Mukti oil and coke and caffeine. For me it does that. So I may be thinking, OK, I'm doing like a I have my first meal at ten and then I have my last meal at six, but I had my coffee at five a.m. that opened my window and that because it created a blood sugar spike in me, whether it was the mycotoxins in the coffee bean or it was sprayed or it just created a glycemic load on me. So those are the other those are other nuances. You didn't really ask, but I think some people think they're doing an intermittent fast when they have something that breaks their fast, even though it wasn't thought of as breakfast. That make sense?
Chantel Ray: Yeah, absolutely. Yes, for sure. Well, this has been amazing. Tell listeners where they can find you and where they can follow you.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Sure. No, I appreciate that. So if you do go to the truth about adrenal fatigue, dot com or. Constantly updating that on YouTube, I have channeled Dr. Jill Rosen's truth about adrenal fatigue, Instagram, basically anything with Dr. Joel Rosen, Instagram and Facebook. We actually have a group of forty five thousand members. Actually, it's a page. It's adrenal fatigue recovery. And then a private group with just about nine thousand members of Dr. Joel Rosnes. The truth about adrenal fatigue.
Chantel Ray: Awesome. Well, we have another episode coming up in just a few. But bye for now.