G'Day everyone! I'm Dr Doug and I'm introducing the Dr Doug interview series. Today we have Nicky Wood with us, a well-known naturopath who is interested in women's hormones. Today, we'll be talking about menopause. Nicki has a whole series of questions and she's going to grill me about our products. I hope I've answered all the questions!
For those who wish to read a transcript of the interview rather than watch it (or read and watch simultaneously), we have transcribed it for you and placed it below!
Dr Doug: We would like to formally thank Nicky Wood for joining us for this enlightening Dr Doug Talk Series on Hormones, Menopause and ChickiBams!
Nicky: Thank you for inviting me to speak today. I guess my first question is, how does a strapping young fellow like you get involved in menopause?
(Nicky Wood, is a qualified and experienced naturopath for over 22 years and is the brains and heart behind Wise Healthy Living.)
Dr Doug: There are women everywhere, and they’re complaining and moaning about their problems with menopause. And I believe we've got a really good solution to it. We've been fooling around, as you know, with turmeric for several years now and combining it with other spices, superfoods and wholefoods and we think we have addressed the problem very well and it’s fantastic.
Nicky: And how are the bars addressing the problem exactly?
Dr Doug: Well, they have high levels of turmeric, curcumin and rose hip as anti-inflammatories, plus we've introduced an Algae, Astaxanthin, which adds omega three fatty acids also anti-inflammatory as well as a wonderful polyphenol antioxidant that combines very well with the Curcuminoids.
And what we found in feedback, for instance, is teenage girls who have problems with period pain, find it goes away after having the bars because you've got a whole lot of anticoagulants in the combination and you don't get the blood clots that cause the problems with the anti inflammatory actions of the polyphenols that are in the bars. And you get a whole lot of stimulation of the metabolism in the uterine cell division, which makes it a lot more even. And also on top of that, they act as a great pain killer.
Nicky: Well, that sounds like something all of us need from the start of our cycles right through to the end. And it's interesting, you know, a couple of the foods that you have mentioned are foods that could really help a lot of these women from the start of their menstrual life right through to their end at various different points from having the uterus lining, inflaming less and forming less clots. And that really can set that lady up for, the young woman up for a much easier, breezy menopause down the track.
For naturopaths, we're really aiming to manage inflammation at the seat of most disease states. And menopause isn't necessarily a disease state, but there are many disease states of the uterine lining that can be contributed to by inflammatory processes, Which, you know, most of the time we're prescribing foods that are rich in those types of antioxidants and nutrient rich foods that have got that anti-inflammatory effect. So you've got that all conveniently in one bar. How did you do that?
Dr Doug: Trial and error (laughing) Trying to get them all together and trying not to dilute out all the active ones as there’s probably 100 different herbs and spices you can put in there. And you've got to watch the interaction and make sure there's no negative side effects. And the only way you can really tell that there's no real science looking at the reaction, you've got to get it out there and see how it works. And you look for the feedback. Yeah, and we've got Ashwagandha in the bar, which is good for your mental state.
Serotonin increases in the Curcuminoids, also. Your Astaxanthin, it's good for that as well. Shatavari extract is also good for your brain. They're all energizing. They also have a very good effect on glucose metabolism, making it more efficient. And there's some evidence now emerging and we've got anecdotal evidence to back it up that it increases fat metabolism because it stabilizes your blood glucose. Therefore, there's no need to go on snack a bar or anything like that. And the reason it stabilizes your blood glucose, where does that come from? It comes from your fat.
Nicky: Such an important thing because one of the changes that happen in a woman's body around menopause is, as we know, we start to produce less estrogen. But in place of that, we store more cortisol, produce more cortisol from our adrenal glands, and that changes how your body metabolises your fats and your glucose. And that is a naturally inflammatory process. So naturally, even in a healthy female body, she's producing more inflammatory hormones that skew that blood glucose level.
And the other thing about glucose is that the trick is the rise of insulin in the body and insulin is another inflammatory hormone. And it's a growth hormone, so when we're looking at trying to help that woman through that lovely transition of menopause, we really are looking at ways of modulating that. And I love the fact that these guys have got the ChickiBams, they've got the Shatavari herb in it. I don't know if you know this, but Ayurvedic medicine Shatavari is an Indian translation to she who beds a thousand husbands.
Dr Doug: (laughing) Is that really what it means?.
Nicky: That's an Ayurvedic translation. So when I'm blending botanical herbs for a woman going through menopause or if her libido's dropped, I will always put Shatavari in as one of those balancing herbs. And it's really interesting that you also bring another Ayurvedic herb, Ashwangandha, because it's getting a lot of airplay at the moment. A lot of people are working with Ashwangandha in formulas. It has been shown to be so functional in helping with sleep. And we know that menopause really messes with many women's sleep patterns, particularly because of the flushing. But it also does change some of those sleep patterns across the night in the other hormonal factors as well, so long as well.
Dr Doug: It works well with the curcuminoids as they have a similar effect.
Nicky: So in botanical medicine, naturopaths and herbalists are always looking for that synergism. So botanical synergism is something we are always aiming for in our teachers when we're blending them. So you've been able to also, by way of your research and by knowing that these chemical constituents are going to help those inflammatory processes. I don't know if this is intentional, but you've also put a lot of beautiful synergism in there, which means that one works.
Dr Doug: I love synergy..
Nicky: Yes. It's a beautiful thing, and I think that's something that we need more of in this world is more synergy. And this is these are the beautiful things that our botanical world can give us. And that is that, you know, we're not just looking for one action here. We are able to take advantage of holistic approach from a plant combination at what you've done. So we're not just going for one individual chemical constituent. We're asking a plant to bring everything it's got and then bounce off another plant and do exactly the same thing and create this magical world of healing in the body.
Dr Doug: And the wholefoods, with the whole of the other components in each food to make them work better. I don't like supplements. But obviously there's a couple of extracts in the bar, we've got a little bit of extra curcumin which is an extract of the turmeric as well as Astaxanthin.
Nicky: Right. But they're coming from whole plant sources yes?.
Dr Doug: Of course, I'm not a big fan of supplements or extracts. Would rather have the whole food.
Nicky: So, you know, without going through menopause yourself, but having an understanding of what women do go through, there's an array of symptoms that happen. But generally, we don't really need to be suffering so much. And I think that that's one of the things it's assumed in the community, that menopause is something that women just have to go through and that they have to just handle it, suck it up and deal with all of these symptoms.
And that is so far from the truth. And there are plenty of women out there that are doing an amazing job of managing their health and then flying through the menopause with very minimal symptoms. And I can say there's a place for the ChickiBams particularly for those kind of women who are struggling. As a snack food, would you recommend a whole bar as a snack or would you recommend, you know, a portion of the bar?
Dr Doug: I find a quarter to a half a bar is all you need. And you'll find that you can't or you don't really want any more than that anyway because it satisfies your leptins hormones and you don't feel hungry anymore. So you can skip a meal, or that sort of thing. I think another thing which we should add to, is that a lot of women when they are going through menopause, get addicted to sugar and eat too much sugar, which increases inflammation and makes the whole thing multiple. I'm very much anti-sugar, added sugar is no good.
Nicky: Well, you know, look, the body can get the sugar it needs for energy and its basic cellular functions from Whole Foods. And if we're modulating those insulin responses, then we're really making a big difference there. And I think if you can manage a sugar craving as well as an inflammatory process in the body on a daily basis, over time, you will find those usual menopause symptoms you've been suffering through for so many, many years will drop away.
Dr Doug: Part of the sugar craving is the drop in blood glucose and then you're stimulating that you don't always get that, commented Doug. So that wipes that first bit out. The second bit is the endorphins release in your brains that you crave for. You can get that with the curcuminoids as well.
Nicky: I can tell you one thing, that as soon as you put your mouth around these bars, it's such an intense, beautiful, deep, rich flavour that that hits the dopamine centre in the brain very quickly.
Dr Doug: Do you like that, do you?
Nicky: I do like that!
Dr Doug: That's the cacao and the cocoa butter.
Nicky: So when I'm recommending for my weight loss patients, for instance, when I'm recommending for them to think about ways of determining whether or not they are hungry or whether or not they are eating out of an emotional balance, something like that is perfect because really, when they're not hungry, they don't want to be eating a lot of content to deal with an emotional process. Obviously, we don't want emotional eating in the platform anyway, but let's be real there at home by themselves are going to make for something anyway, generally until they're getting some support. This is a fantastic option because that little kick to the dopamine centre really hits that reward centre beautifully and it shifts that leptin Ghrelin response quite quickly. And now that's going to manifest down the track into a really lovely hormonal cascade down the road.
Dr Doug: I hope so. You've got the chocolate, of course it isn't just there for just flavour, it's vasodilator. It hits your endorphins. If it's polyphenol anti-oxidant, as it has an antioxidant effect in other parts of your body and it also doesn't have the added sugar.
Nicky: That's right. And it also modulates that blood glucose response to. And I noticed you've team it up with a bit of cinnamon. So that combination is also quite again, highly anti-inflammatory. But the two together synergise to modulate that glucose shift, so you can bet your bottom dollar, your sugar cravings will drop quite considerably quickly.
Dr Doug: And the feedback I've got is exemplifying that.
Nicky: So can can guys use this? I know it's got a ladies name.
Dr Doug: Yes, well why wouldn't they? Dr Doug stated. They're marketed towards women, but basically they have similar problems (hormonal imbalance and loop). And women are a major market anyway. We find mostly women by our products. But there's no reason why blokes (men) can't have them at all. We also have the WhamBams for blokes (men) and athletes. We will put out an athletes bar soon that will be modified soon a little bit with some extra stuff, bit more maca, I suppose there is maca both of those (keep an eye out!).
Dr Doug: The thing is that I think you could have a bit of each. You don't have to have just one particular one all the time. We've got a ginger one as well. So you can have a quarter of a ChickiBams, quarter of a GingiBams, quarter of a WhamBams and that's for your daily intake in a day, and then you can have anything else. My sister in law, Kay, who will be looking at this. I reckon she has two bars a day and misses one meal a day. She thinks they're wonderful. She's my best customer.
Nicky: Go the family, I love the family support. Right. So menopause, you know, generally whenever the body is in pain, whenever the body is experiencing an 'itis' of some sort. Endometriosis. Arthritis. There's so many itis's in the world of inflammatory conditions. When you're putting together a bar, is that your basis foundation is to manage inflammation with the core ingredients of the bars or of the range across the range?
Dr Doug: Yeah, I'm basing everything on curcumin, responded Dr Doug. I'm trying find other spices that add to the synergy, or have synergy with curcumin. And we're experimenting because there isn't a lot of data measuring that that combination. There is a fair bit of data. We're looking for anecdotal evidence, and we've got heaps of anecdotal evidence from our Facebook Group (Turmeric User Group) based group of almost 280 thousand members gives us a lot of good feedback. So we figure out what's going on from that.
Nicky: Fantastic! And that's a great way of asking your market about what's happening out there in the community, comments Nicky. So you're staying in touch all the time with them, which is fantastic.
Dr Doug: Without that, we wouldn't know what's going on.
Nicky: No well that's it. Exactly. So, you know, guys perhaps don't realise this intricate little function of their body, but they do produce estrogen. But I would say that, you know, certain there are certain conditions there that we would want to be mindful that we're not giving a gentleman a bar, for instance, or a food that has an estrogenic effect if that particular man also has, for instance, an enlarged prostate or gynaecomastia, which are also known as man boobs, that is medically diagnosed not by any friend down the road or at your the latest barbecue.
So in that situation, when we're working with men and their production of estrogen, that we're looking at these ingredients, and they had someone else sort of giving them that feedback, my recommendation would be if you've got those conditions, maybe eight small amounts of the bars or try one of the other bars in the range cause your still going to get those beautiful curcumin factors going on. And a lot of the other synergism.
Dr Doug: I don't think these bars actually increase your estrogens, they take out the inflammation and some little bit of feedback I've got so far as with prostate problems is actually very, very positive. And the same with the WhamBams so reduced prostrate activity and stabilise the inflammation.
Nicky: So in that situation, comments Nicky, it's possible that the Linseeds and those type of otherwise known estrogenic foods are modulating?
Dr Doug: I forgot to mention the linseeds, the ligands and linseeds are the basis for all these bars, they combine very well with the curcuminoids. And the omega three fatty acids and they're very anti-inflammatory and they actually increase the gut to a good mix, a very good mix and drip feed all these spices in your system, rather than going straight through. Curcumin has a big problem with absorption. And the other problem is when to do it, it's excreted quickly so we put pepper in to slow down the excretion. But the ligands drip feed it from your gut biota, the fibre and so you're getting a constant infusion rather than a peak and a trough.
Nicky: How wonderful is that! See how intelligent plant food is. It's just amazing, isn't it?
Dr Doug: And you know, the Romans 2000 years ago revered Linseed as a food item.
Nicky: I don't doubt that at all because, you know, a lot of these foods have been around and been in circulation in communities for a very long time, commented Nicky. And, you know, people have been relying on these crops for so long to be able to get that balance in their diet. And we can get a number of nutrients out of all of these foods along the way that bounce off each other. So and, you know, one of the things that we were always working with is that modulation. So some of the foods that are otherwise sort of being estrogenic or having estrogen in them to quite a correct term, they're more fighter estrogenic. So they're more what they do is modulate that estrogen response. But I can tell you one thing is that there's more estrogenic properties in your cosmetics and plastics and your deodorants that spraying under your arms than you'll ever get in a plant.
Dr Doug: Exactly. And in plastic food containers. But notice, we've got no soy products in our bars.
Nicky: I did notice that, and was that intentional? So no soy isoflavones? And why was that intentional?
Dr Doug: Estrogens and there's synthetic estrogens. And I have all sorts of problems. I'm not a big fan of soy.
Nicky: Ok, so that is the interesting thing, sometimes there is a bit of medicine or natural medicine research that has isolated some of the isoflavones compounds as a way of managing estrogen clearance, but it is synergistic with plant foods. So we using it in synergism, in formulations. But again, we're talking organic and genetically and un-genetically modified, not genetically modified sources as well. So you'll find some formulations will do that. But, you know, I love that you've gone into the research there and you've really made that decision to isolate that, because the other problem, soy, is that it will affect a thyroid iodine challenge as well. So there'll be some challenges there for those people. So to a wise omission, I think from the range of things that you've done, and so can animals eat these foods? They taste good enough to eat for obviously everyone but do animals?
Dr Doug: Well, of course, they can.
Nicky: Cause we have a female animals that might go through some of these.
Dr Doug: We got an animal one anyway, I think is going to be better for them. And there's a bit of chocolate in those (ChickiBams). Not a lot, 10%, it's not going to worry the dogs. The problem of chocolate and dogs is that can't metabolise theobromine quickly, so slowly metabolise that they can build up. But there is a lot of the theobromine chocolates in those bars. But I wouldn't intentionally feed ChickiBams to a dog because we've got our dog ones which are liver based.
Dr Doug: And I was with their stance as well (the Turmeric Dog Bites), and when I saw the effect on the dogs, they don't have a special effect yet. And, so I thought, well, why are these seemingly working faster than the other? But I figured it was probably the same. So we've got MSM in the ChickiBams and I'm expecting that they will work better because of the increased absorption and metabolism of the curcuminoids.
Nicky: Absolutely. And then also contributing to that detoxification profile as well. And one of the other things that also piqued my interest is some of the more recent research in endometriosis is its relationship to histamine and the histamine producing factors of the body can sometimes be a contributing factor to endometriosis. And you've got a balance here between some foods that might stimulate a bit of histamine release and in other foods that would actually go the other way and balance it and reduce it.
So again, we've got that lovely synergism sitting right there. So really, it's a very, I would say, a very intuitive combination of ingredients that you've come up with.
Dr Doug: But we have had them out for weeks now a d over the next couple of months, I'm really impatient to get all the feedback. I think it's going to be good.
Nicky: Fantastic! Bow, I did notice there was some reference here to the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is in my clinic, I talk about a lot with my patients in my EFT tapping sessions because we know that it has such an important role in wiring up the brain to have a particular set of neural messages in a particular pattern and keeping that that pattern going until it's been asked to change. And, you know, these inflammatory patterns can be so well entrenched through the nervous system that before we can even impact a uterine tissue, we really do need to work all the way through the system.
Dr Doug: Habit is a funny thin, and I think there's physiological habits as well as mental habits too. And basically the neurotrophic factors are tied up with your exercise and sleep. You generally calmer stress.
Nicky: And you can think clearer! And which is an absolute gold mine in menopause.
Dr Doug: And then a lot of women in such a situation, that you have stress, and you got to live in a nice environment and not have conflicts over the back fence, that sort of thing.
Nicky: That's very important to, isn't it? I mean, you know if we can bring more peace around our environment it is all helpful.
Dr Doug: We're got 32 different ingredients (in the ChickiBams) You're not going to get in on any of them, really. We've got a whole bunch of different horror films that the natural polyphenol content allows us to ignore from different sources, except when it's coming not just from one or two sources. It's almost every ingredient has got a quality profile to it.
Nicky: And so for that reason, that's such an important factor in menopause management. You know, generally, I find that a lot of women that are going through menopause are at that stage in their life where they are well and truly entrenched in either of their businesses or in their workplace. They are managing their children. They are managing ageing parents. They are dealing with the onset of certain illnesses. Come that time of their life. They are exhausted and they don't have a lot of time.
It's usually around this time and they like where they really missing the key components of flooding their body with plant foods and feeding themselves well and getting enough nutrients they're eating and they feeding themselves food, but they're not nutrient rich mouthfuls that they're getting in. So they were missing that polyphenol component. And, you know, I think that this is a wonderful solution for a busy woman at that stage, we're at our work horse time of our life, we are really putting a lot of tentacles out there supporting our community, our family, our children. And there's not a lot of time left for them. And it's not a lot of time to really soak the body in the nutrients it needs the most at this time. So this is just a wonderful way of shortcutting a lot of that that time in the kitchen.
Dr Doug: Its better than crackers and Vegemite or crackers and peanut paste.
Nicky: Or Crackers and anything really? I mean, you could really, you know, put this together with a lovely herbal tea and they just have this incredible exactly, you know, beneficial combination of nutrients.
Dr Doug: And crackers just add to the sugar addiction.
Nicky: And you know what? I can say that pretty much everyone that walks through my door is looking for a quick, easy solution that makes a difference solution that they don't have to do a lot in order to get the outcome that they are looking for. And every one of them are looking for an increased degree of well-being in their lives, every single one of them. So well done. Well, it's you know what? You're listening to the ladies out there. And I'm on behalf of all of them, I want to say thank you.
Dr Doug: Thank you for this very, very enlightening discussion.
Nicky: Thank you, Dr Doug. I really appreciate coming along. And I've really enjoyed my time here with you today!
End of Talk Series. Join us next month for the next Dr Doug Talk Series!