Autobiology with Jennifer Little-Fleck

Exploring Stress Management and Holistic Health with Dr. Erin Kinney

August 17, 2023 Jennifer Little-Fleck Season 2 Episode 45
Autobiology with Jennifer Little-Fleck
Exploring Stress Management and Holistic Health with Dr. Erin Kinney
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Want to understand how your body responds to stress? Then this episode is a must-listen! We get up close and personal with Dr. Erin Kinney, a naturopathic doctor with a deep understanding of how our amygdala, hypothalamus, and adrenal glands react to stress. Our conversation focuses on the potential dangers of chronic stress and how Dr. Kinney's unique Stress Reset Formula can assist in upgrading your mood, balancing your hormones, and bolstering your energy levels.

We dive into the intriguing world of naturopathic medicine, a field that places a significant emphasis on natural remedies and lifestyle practices to restore the body's balance. Dr. Kinney highlights the unique approach of naturopathic doctors in identifying the root cause of conditions such as diabetes and the intricate interplay of drug and nutrient interactions. Our candid chat reveals how the philosophies of naturopathic and Western medicine differ, with enlightening discussions about the unique needs of men when it comes to managing stress and the importance of individualized hormone replacement therapy.

In our final moments with Dr. Kinney, we unpack the complex nature of hormone replacement therapy, explore the role of lifestyle practices in recovering body balance, and delve into the six principles of naturopathy. We wrap things up with a behind-the-scenes look at Dr. Kinney's social media presence, her experiences with naturopathic medicine, and how her teachings can support us in our health and wellness journey. Tune in for an enlightening conversation that promises to change how you view stress management and holistic health.

BiOptimizers: Digestion & Nootropics!
The digestion experts (MassZymes is the best!) and leading Nooptropics provider (Nootopia) all in 1!

Safe Tech & Pharma-grade Supplements
DefenderShield® & Lightbody Labs are proud to offer the best EMF/5G physical and cellular protection

$50 off your Test from The DNA Company
Revolutionizing DNA interpretation by matching genetic systems to human biochemistry.

EnergyBits: Nutrition for Mitochondria
Use code AUTOBIOLOGY to get 20% off your purchase of any EnergyBits package.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Connect with Me!
IG: @autobiologywithjennifer
Rumble: @autobiologywithjennifer
YouTube: autobiology
FB: @autobiology
TikTok: @jenniferlittlefleck
Website: https://autobiology.net/
Autobiology Podcast on Apple, Google Play, Spotify and all your other favorite places!

Jennifer:

Hello, hey, did you know when you're stressed, your liver makes a crap ton of sugar and dumps it into your bloodstream to handle all the stress in your body? Yeah, it's the equivalent of like five tablespoons of sugar, which is like 25 grams. I mean, that's like dumping a Snickers bar into your bloodstream when you didn't even get to enjoy eating the Snickers bar.

Jennifer:

Well, my next guest today is Dr Erin Kinney, and she is a specialist physician in treating stress. We talk about all kinds of things you know, because I really ask her about you know what's the difference between, you know, a medical doctor and a, you know, naturopathy versus functional medicine physician? And I think her answers will really surprise you, because they surprised me, frankly. So you're going to learn all kinds of things today. Also, one of the really cool things I learned about from her was that not, you know, while she specializes in treating women's stress and anxiety to get them, you know, back to feeling well, she does have some male patients, and I think you'll find the male patient story really interesting, because the day after I recorded this, someone in my family actually had the same exact issue going on and I was like, oh my gosh, I know what's happening to you and it was so great to be able to let them know. You know that they needed to attack this from a different point of view, so, anyway, hope you really enjoy it.

Jennifer:

Dr Erin Kinney, she's awesome. I've actually met her in person several times and she's just just a bundle of joy. And you have to check out the picture of us together in at the 80s dance at a recent conference that we attended together. So, all right, cool, listen and enjoy.

Narrator:

You're listening to auto biology, the podcast where you can learn a little biology now so you can think for yourself later, introducing your host, who dreams of being on an episode of Star Trek, as the quirky biologist who saves the day, jennifer little fleck.

Jennifer:

Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of auto biology. Today I have with me Dr Erin Kinney, who is a naturopathic doctor, wellness coach and speaker. She's actually a stress reset expert which I think we can all identify with, and I'm really excited to learn about her methodology because she's the founder of the stress reset formula. So I'd like to give a warm welcome. Thank you, dr Kinney, for joining me today.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Jennifer:

So what is it that you do specifically? Because I know in my research you have said that you stress, you help stress and burnt out women with adrenal fatigue to improve their mood, balance their hormones, increase their energy. But I think a lot of people don't even understand what is adrenal fatigue. Can you?

Dr. Erin Kinney:

just kind of give some background. Yeah, yeah. So first, I think it's important to understand what happens in our bodies when we get stressed right, I'm going to kind of back up and start from the beginning.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So we have this part of our brain called the amygdala and this part of our brain I like to call it the lizard brain. It's kind of this old part of the brain. It sits right at the base of your, between your oxyput and your spine, and it basically has an on or off button. It will be this is a stressor or this is not a stressor. And if something is a stressor, it sends a signal to our hypothalamus and it basically kicks off the stress hormone cascade. And the end of that stress hormone cascade is that we get a production of cortisol and adrenaline from the adrenal glands right.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So these two hormones are the hormones that will flood the body and allow us to go into fight flight mode, which is our stress mode, if you will. And when that happens, all the blood flow goes to the arms and the legs, our pupils dilate, our heart rate goes up, our blood pressure goes up, our blood sugar goes up. Essentially, our body gets ready to run or to fight, and the unfortunate thing about the human body is that, no matter what that stressor is. So if that amygdala deems that something is stressful, right, it might be an email from your boss, it might be being stuck in traffic, it might be a lion chasing you.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So it might be something that you literally need that fight flight response, or it might be something that you don't Like. Maybe someone says a comment to you when you're out or you're scrolling on social media and you see something that gives you that fight flight response. You don't necessarily always need that increase in blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar.

Narrator:

Blood flow to the arms and legs.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

But we get it no matter what happens, what the stressor is correct. Now, if we're stuck? In chronic fights like this is where problems start to arise. Right, it's normal for us to have that stress response.

Narrator:

The stress response allows us to deal with stressors right it allows us to.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

you know, something is chasing us to run and get saved, and the way that our bodies are designed, is that, once we do get?

Dr. Erin Kinney:

saved that same cortisol which is, you know, that stress hormone. It will go back to that hypothalamus and it binds to a receptor there. Basically, I like to call that your off button. We can talk about the nitty gritty science behind that, but you have this off button, so that cortisol that floods your system and allows you going to go into flight flight is also the same thing that turns off your fight flight response and then allows you to calm down. Right. So If you're stuck in fight-flight or let's all think about March of 2020, right, we can all remember that time the world was shutting down, everything was was not so great.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

We were constantly getting. Our Migos were firing on a constant, you know, every five minute basis.

Narrator:

Stress stress, stress stress, stress.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So our bodies, which are very wise, were kind of like you know what, I'm not sure I'm gonna turn the stress response off, I'm, I'm just gonna keep her in stress mode. So it actually down regulates the production of that off button. I was talking about much like the way that type 2 diabetes gets developed, where the body starts to down regulate insulin receptors, the body stops making this off button, or the glucocorticoid receptor in the Hypocalamus, which allows ourselves to turn out of fight-flight. Now, if this happens, we essentially then get stuck in stress mode. And if you're stuck in stress mode, this is a problem because cortisol, while it's, you know, the stress hormone and and it, it, it actually has other Beneficial properties. So cortisol is what gives us energy.

Narrator:

It's an anti inflammatory.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

It's a really important hormone. It's our body's natural prednisone or natural steroid. So if we don't have enough of it, that's a problem. And I like to call it a metabolically expensive molecule. It takes a lot of building blocks. It takes a lot of energy for the body to build it.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So if we're stuck in fight-flight mode, constantly pumping out cortisol and we're not able to rest or sleep or do anything like that, we will eventually start to have our levels of cortisol start to decline. Right, and this, this is where we start to see burnout or fatigue, adrenal fatigue happens, so our adrenals are now like holy cow.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

We've been pumping out cortisol 24-7 for a year and a half. We don't have all of the nutrients that we need in order to keep making this cortisol, so the cortisol levels will start to decline and this is where people will start to feel tired. They don't want to get out of bed in the morning and in order to, if we're still getting a stress response Stimulation.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So if the amygdala is still firing if the body doesn't have what it needs to produce more cortisol, it will overcompensate by producing more adrenaline, because adrenaline, conversely to cortisol, is a very cheap molecule. The body can always make adrenaline. So if we're making a lot of adrenaline and we're not making a lot of cortisol, this is it. What it feels like in the body is if you've had 15 cups of coffee on no sleep. So you're gonna feel very anxious. You feel that tired but wired, and people will start to get allergic. Responses will get Upmediated. People will start to get joint pain, body aches, their hormones might, you know, women's cycles may start to get off. Their sex drive will go down. So we start to see a lot of these different systems and it may hit multiple different systems at a time.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

But so when people end up in my office and they have, you know, they maybe have digestive issues, they're having PMS, they have chronic fatigue, they might have joint pain, they might have muscle aches, you know, at the end of the day, usually the root cause that I'm seeing is that they're in this adrenal burnout place or adrenal fatigue place.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So that was a very long-winded answer to your question on what adrenal fatigue is, and and if you're someone who's thinking well, I think I've been stressed for a long time and you're listening to this. Adrenal fatigue can Manifest in a lot of different ways. It kind of just depends on where your body is lacking that cortisol energy, if you will.

Jennifer:

Yes, and that was an awesome explanation and you hit on a couple of points you know that Listeners have asked me about. So I have a couple of things so and I'm not sure and what's the best order to answer them in. But I've been asked things like because people are kind of wise, they understand that Cortisol is sort of the natural prednisone, right, as you said. So what happens when people are coming off of steroids, you know, off of corticort steroids? Because you know, I feel, I feel just like you're saying like this, this that system's been tampered with, right? So how does the body regulate that? And then, how is this process different in women than in men?

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Okay, so I'm gonna answer the question first about steroids. So what's interesting is a lot of the research that I've delved into when I was researching adrenal fatigue and kind of treatments and whatnot A lot of the research has actually been done on people who are coming off of steroids who've been on long term. Okay, and the interesting thing is the currently I'm treating a patient who has to be on prednisone for a long time because she's had a long transplant Part of her right rejection protocol is absolutely you have to have a prednisone.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Yeah, she has to be on that and she has prednisone use diabetes.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Because of what the prednisone has done to you know, because, like I said, when you have cortisol in the system, cortisol tells the body to increase blood sugar. So her blood sugar levels have kind of gone unchecked. She's got all kinds of complications that look very similar to my patients that have adrenal fatigue. So prednisone, essentially if you're on prednisone it's like putting high levels of cortisol in the body and what it will eventually do the longer that you're on it is prednisone will cause a down regulation of that glucose Stereosu glucose corticoids Receptor that I spoke about in the brain, and so that that so it it reduces the body's ability to turn off it also. So, just like glucose needs to come inside a cell, right, we don't want too much glucose or too little glucose in the bloodstream.

Narrator:

We want glucose to come inside the cell so it can do its job the same thing with cortisol.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Cortisol one, it needs to be Inside the cell. So we measure blood levels of cortisol and we don't want them to be too high, nor do we want them to be too low. We want them to be kind of. You know, they should be higher in the morning and lower in the evening. If they are too high, that can be one of two things either You're producing so much of it or it can also mean that your body doesn't have the receptor it needs to bind it into the cell and cortisol job in the cell.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Once it gets into the cell, that's when cortisol actually acts as an anti-inflammatory. So a lot of people you know this is why we give prednisone to people that have joint pain or unchecked, unchecked inflammation. We use prednisone because it will immediately calm it down. Now again, if you've been on long-term oral prednisone or, or you know, prednisone injections, it will start, the body will start to downregulate the production of the receptors that allow cortisol or the prednisone to come into the cells and we can start to see issues from that. But is that yeah?

Jennifer:

yeah absolutely.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

And now your question and how does this differ in men versus women? It actually doesn't. What will differ in men versus women is kind of the fallout from this right, so the symptoms that people may experience.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Okay, and because women have, you know, more of a cyclical. You know if you're a cycling female, you know adrenal fatigue can play into the role of PMS and problems with the menstrual cycle. That's usually one of the first things that I will see in women is when their adrenals get a little bit messed up. As they come into my office they're like oh, my periods are getting really bad, pms, or my period length has changed or they're heavier. You know there's a change in the cycle.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Men often don't tend to see symptoms from adrenal fatigue Until it's really bad. Is what my observation has been. In practice I treat more women than men. So I'm not I'm not entirely an expert on men and more an expert on women. But what I don't, I will say, is men. Eventually adrenal fatigue will start to cause a fall in production of testosterone in men, but typically they won't see symptoms in that until their testosterone has fallen quite a bit. So men have kind of more of an ability to kind of push through this. That may just that may be a mindset, I'm not sure.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

But but the physiological effect of what's happening with the cortisol and the you know the core Google quarter quarter receptors is the same in men versus women. But I think what symptomatically, I think, women tend to see symptoms of adrenal fatigue. First, Okay.

Jennifer:

So when you do have the adrenal fatigue, how is it that you help people get that back to a balance state in the body?

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Yeah Well, so the first thing that we do and you know I've you mentioned like I have this stress reset formula that I talk about the first part of that is I explain this to them. You know, I explain exactly what we're talking about because I need them to understand. Here's what's going on and they're all like oh my gosh, that makes so much sense.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

No wonder, like I've definitely been feeling like I just can't turn off. I'm stuck all the time and they may tell me hey, I've tried to meditate, I've tried to relax and my body just won't relax. That's because their body literally doesn't have the ability to come out of fight flight. Okay, so we talk about that and then the second step is we actually want to start to do practices and lifestyle things and remedy. They use a lot of homeopathic remedies and herbal remedies that work on the production of those glucocorticoid receptors. The body is able to turn itself off. So there are some treatments, there are some herbs, there's some different things that actually increase the production of that particular receptor that allows cortisol to bind, either to get inside the cell or in order to allow the body to turn off.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Because there are other treatments we can do, sometimes all yours adaptogenic herbs which have that property ashwagandha and rodeola are really helpful. There's a lot of studies that show rodeola in particular that will upregulate that glucocorticoid receptor. But what I find is that we have to couple the herbal, homeopathic treatments with lifestyle practices. So anything that puts your body in a relaxed state, even if you don't feel it yet, the practice of it, is really helpful. So this is why meditation is so profound and why has such a profound impact on the body. When you meditate, the thing it's doing in your body is making more of those off buttons, making more of the glucocorticoid receptor.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Even if you meditate and you're like, wow, I don't feel any benefit from this, you are getting benefited. It's almost like training your body how to relax. So we talk about meditation. Sometimes that's not accessible to someone, in whatever state they're at. We'll talk about breath work. We'll talk about any sort of thing that they can do that's relaxing.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So listening to music just laying flat, maybe reading a book. So when I'm working on a moment, patients I talk about okay, here's five different options that you can do. And then there's all this research on the practice of gratitude, the practice of joy, those things as well. You can't really be in the stress fight flight state if you're in gratitude. Typically, when you're in that gratitude vibration, your body's not in fight flight. So practicing that every day can also be a really helpful way of getting the body out of that fight flight state and then.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

so that's kind of my underlying root cause treatment. Obviously, if someone's coming to me and they're like I've got all this PMS issue about joint pain.

Narrator:

I'm going to be doing some.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

I guess band-aid is kind of really some natural remedies that can help whatever their current symptom is in the moment, so they can feel better because it's hard to do with these.

Narrator:

It's hard to practice gratitude and joy.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

It's hard to meditate if you've got really bad knee pain, or if your PMS is so bad you want to kill your husband. Yes, there's a big thing that will be in the meantime while we're layering in those. You know those like lifestyle practices. And it's all going to be individualized based on because again our drink of fatigue is going to look? I mean, it can look similar, but it's going to be slightly different for every person.

Jennifer:

Yeah, no, erin, I love that you brought that up because you know it's funny when I am talking to people about just biology in general and for some reason women sort of feel like it's a myth that you know they kind of get bitchy, you know, during PMS and stuff, and I try to explain like no, this is really like a neurological process that happens, you know it's. You know there are things that change during your cycle. You know that make you, it makes it hard for you to calm down.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Well, but so the bitchy or that mood change right before the cycle is actually it has to do with the interplay between cortisol and progesterone, so typically the week before your cycle, your progesterone should be at its highest.

Narrator:

And progesterone is actually the chill hormone Right.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Progesterone makes you feel happy and cool and awesome. And if you're in a little bit of an adrenal fatigue state, if the body doesn't have the building blocks to make cortisol, progesterone and cortisol can get easily shunted back and forth via another mediated hormone called pregnantalone, and so again in that week before your cycle. Oftentimes what happens to a lot of women is that their body doesn't have enough cortisol. It will steal from the progesterone stores to keep your cortisol levels up.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So you, when you should be having a high level of progesterone which would keep you happy right before your period, you get a progesterone drop off which gives you that bitchy.

Narrator:

So it's you know when women tell me they have major mood issues right before their period. That, to me, is a major sign that your adrenals are not functioning properly.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Okay, so it's actually not normal to be bitchy before your period. I mean it may. It may be normal for you. You might be like that's not been my whole life, but that's not.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

you shouldn't have major mood swings. You might. You might have like some sort of small symptom, but getting really bitchy, really irritable, is a sign that your adrenals are probably not doing what they should be, that your hormones are not totally properly balanced. Cause again progesterone is the like happy amalgamal, right? So when things are really regulated you should, you know you you might be a little bit more tired or it might be a little bit more inward, but the bitchiness is actually not a normal sign.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So, if you're feeling that way, definitely go talk to your doctor about getting worked up for adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalance.

Jennifer:

So I had a question about somebody who said that actually it was worse for them right before ovulation.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Yep, so that's coming as well. Um and so, there and let's I like to use this kind of analogy, that or just this like thought process that your body's either making stress hormones or it's making sex hormones. Biologically we're not really designed to make both, so you have two peaks of hormones in your cycle Ovulation is typically when you have an estrogen peak and it takes a lot of energy to peak that estrogen and then peak the ovulation hormones Again.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

if your adrenals are not that great and your body's struggling to make a lot of vent, you know you might not make as much estrogen as you need to which will make you feel slightly veggie, or so one of two things could happen Either you're making way too much estrogen and that that can be another issue, um, but I think in most women, if they're getting that, the body's not prioritizing ovulation, or or it is prioritizing ovulation and you're getting a crash in your adrenal hormones and you feel so again.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

it's kind of like if there's not enough of a, there's not an, if there's not an abundant source of building blocks for core, core steroid hormones, which steroidal hormones include cortisol and include progesterone and estrogen and all of our sex hormones. If we don't have enough of those building blocks, during ovulation and right before the period, the body's like well, I've got to choose one or the other. And if we don't have enough of both of those, we tend to get symptoms, mood symptoms in particular. Does that?

Jennifer:

make sense. Yeah, absolutely. So. On that same vein of thought, then, how, what? How do you help women who then are shifting rights, because we have, like, pre, parry and post menopause, right, yeah. So so now let's talk about the women who they're not gonna be making that full production of estrogen like they used to. So how, how does adrenal fatigue, or how's adrenal fatigue, affected, you know, by that shift?

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So typically people, women will feel adrenal fatigue symptoms more during any of those changes, so anytime we're going through a major sex hormone shift. So whether that's during puberty or whether that's right, you know, right after a pregnancy or during a pregnancy, like when we go from being not pregnant pregnant or when we go through premenopause. So I like to think about the endocrine system as and since we're video you guys can see there's, we've got a triangle of your major Endocrine system.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

We've got sex hormones, adrenal hormones and thyroid hormone, and so they're kind of any time we move either one of these up or down, it's directly going to affect the other two, so stress goes up there and if or sex hormones go down or thyroid goes down, but the thing that is holding that triangle up that can't is your blood sugar.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So blood sugar is what keeps that regulated. So keeping your blood sugar stable, it's really, really important during times of any sort of hormonal change. The female hormone system is very complicated and the only way I've been able to like I love analogies, the only analogy that I've been wanting to make sense of this.

Narrator:

It's like a it's like a perfectly orchestrated ballet where there's Lots of people that are participating.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

They all have to be on stage at the right time, doing the right moves in the right costume, if you have one person running across the stage in the wrong costume at the wrong time, you will ruin the whole show.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So this is kind of what it's like with and when we're going through a shift. It's like we have a cast change. It's like someone new is coming in and everyone's like, oh gosh, there's a new person. We got to figure out how to like play with them. So it's perimenopause is a big one that I treat women for. They're coming in and they're like they just they don't feel right and it's interesting to think about women during perimenopausal time in life. Typically, you know they're in their late 40s, early 50s. You know, if they have children, you know they have children. They may have aging parents. They've got a spouse. They typically are in a major caretaking role and they're taking care of a lot of other people and oftentimes there's not enough time for themselves.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So their stress level is tending to build up while they're undergoing a major sex hormone change and what tends to happen.

Narrator:

A lot is their thyroid takes a really big dip.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So we've got like under product under production of sex hormones, overproduction of stress hormones, and thyroid tends to take it, and so that's what that's a lot of times We'll see a lot of changes. That, and oftentimes the thyroid hormone, is well.

Narrator:

We can have an effect on, so I end up treating a lot of women with thyroid disorders when they're in that stage in life, not everyone.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

It's important to make sure you get tested for that stuff but, so I could talk about this for a long time, because there's lots of different ways that this could go, but I think, at the end of the day, if you are a female going through this, my message is always make sure you have somebody that is helping you through this. Like find a practitioner that knows what they're talking about. That's running the right test. It's listening to you. That's On my podcast. It's like my message every episode. I'm like make sure you have help.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Right, it's really important to have someone holding space for you particularly as a female, because females tend to be caretakers for many others in their lives children, parents, friends, whatever it is and oftentimes we get put last on the list and our bodies usually are like hey.

Jennifer:

Yes, yeah, okay. So that's a great segue into the fact that you are a naturopathic doctor and I think a lot of women people in general have Misconceptions or incomplete understandings, if you will, of what a naturopathic doctor is versus your traditional Western doctor, your primary care person, your your gynecologist. So could you fill us in on you know what the differences are, what your background is and in what your education is like?

Dr. Erin Kinney:

sure so. So I'll just use myself as an example. I went to Vanderbilt for undergrad. I was pre-med in undergrad. I wanted to be a doctor ever since I was, you know, five years old I wanted to be an ER doctor.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

I did a stint in the ER when I was in my second year at Vanderbilt, decided that no sleep was not for me and ended up being a psych and a business major. I came back to naturopathic medicine school after working and going through a serious case of depression. I had a natural doctor. Doctor really helped me and I was like well, I never knew this type of medicine. Is this really cool?

Narrator:

He spent a lot of time with me, and then I kind of delve into like well, what's the difference?

Dr. Erin Kinney:

and so, when I applied to naturopathic school, I had to have all the same prerequisites that I would have had to have going to medical school and I had actually dropped out of pre-med my second year of Vanderbilt, so I had to go back to school for a year finished taking, you know, organic chemistry and physics and all of the pre-med Requisites, and then I applied and I got into naturopathic medical school and naturopathic medical school it's very, very similar to med school in the first two years you do all your basic sciences.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

I had a really good friend from Vanderbilt who was going through med school the same like we were the same year right, and we compared. We used all the same books. You know for what we learned? All the same, all the same basic sciences. So we took, we used the same pathology book and then, and then during my second two years, I did clinical rotation.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So you, know I did a gynecology rotation and a non-college rotation, and the main difference between my education and my you know my colleagues education was that from the very beginning we were taught to look at the body a little bit differently. So our philosophy on the body is that, okay, you may have two patients that you're treating for diabetes, but their treatment may look very different. Because we're in naturopathic medicine, we're always trying to figure out like what's the underlying root cause, and I'll use diabetes in this example Because sometimes diabetes could be very much like. You know, someone's blood sugar is off because they're eating a ton of sugar. Right, their diet is bad, the e, mcdonald's, whatever, sure there?

Jennifer:

are other cases of people.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

I have people that have a 1c's of 12.6 which, just for you guys should know, like a normal a1c is under 5.7. This is a three-month average of your blood sugar. And this patient of mine is a pilot, does not eat any sugar, doesn't even drink coffee, but his stress level is so high because he flies all over the world. And remember what I talked about in the beginning of this episode Is that when your stress level is elevated, when cortisol is flooding through the system, it tells the body to increase blood sugar. Yeah, we always have glycogen, which is a storage form of sugar, in the liver.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So, whether you've eaten sugar or not, when you get stressed, sugar comes into the blood. So this guy, you know, giving him a medication that would help with diet and lifestyle is not going to be the right treatment for him. Right, he needs to work on his stress management, so so, but Western medicine would have treated him exactly the same. And he came to me because he was like, you know, they're wanting to give me this drug. It's gonna lower my blood sugar.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

I don't eat any sugar clearly, sugar is not my problem. I have some others were the problem. What's going on? So? So, from the very beginning, you know, while we're learning, the same ways that the body can, you know, have Pathologies in the different ways that the body is supposed to work, and then how it's not, and how it will end up not working if we don't treat it Correctly. We were taught, you know, to look at, to try to treat the root cause right now, great. And so I was trained in what I really loved when I was looking at naturopathic school versus med school, because I did think about going back to medical school, because there are some limitations in being a naturopath.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Look, state that I practice and I currently can't write prescriptions not that it's something that I would like to do. However, there are cases where people come in and they're already on a medication and I might want they might want to help weaning it off and I might need to write a lower dose. Or sometimes I diagnosed a lot of Lyme disease and Sometimes I want to write a prescription for doxycycline but I'm not able to do that. However, I was trained as a primary care, so I was trained I'm trained very well in drug or nutrient interaction which no one else.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

No one else gets that training in school. Western Docs do not. I mean, they'll get trained in, like a drug-drug interactions, but no one else gets trained in herb drug interactions. And I can't tell you how many times I get people coming into my office and they're on polypharmacy, so four or five different medications, right. They bring in a shopping bag full of supplements that Dr Oz told them to take and I'm like, okay, you can't take this drug with this herb. This is not a good situation. So Getting a little of track. But the point is, naturopathic doctors are very, very well trained in what to do if someone's on a medication and they want to add an herbal medication in or they want to add a supplement in. We're very well Trained in what to do in that situation and in some states we do practice as primary care physicians.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So in Vermont, in California, in Arizona we have full scope practices. So it varies from state to state, so depends on where you live. If you're someone who's interested in working with a naturopathic doctor, again, the benefit that you're gonna get is a naturopathic doctor is typically always going to be trying to find out why okay, your body is in the state why, and they may use a treatment like we may use a remedy, you know, an herb or?

Dr. Erin Kinney:

sometimes even a drug, if you're in a state where you could prescribe them as a bandaid while we're working on that underlying root cause, so so, yeah, I hope.

Jennifer:

Did that answer the question? Yeah, yeah, absolutely so, no, no, it's perfect, and I think you know I'm just gonna be honest, aaron. You know, when I first started learning about the differences you know to me, I thought you didn't have all of the same education, to be honest with you, and I think that that's probably most people who have not looked into it, that's probably what they think. So I really wanted to impress upon the audience that you know you are trained as you know any other physician, but you actually have more training. We do have.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Well, we have more training in the like we get we start taking. So while we were taking all, I was taking all the same courses as my colleague in Western Medical School. I also was starting to learn nutrition and botanical medicine and homeopathic, so his course load was maybe he took 10 classes. I was taking 18 classes, my friend, yes, yes, so it's a little, actually six years now by the school. But they sweet it all in the poor.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

We all have adrenal fatigue when we come out of it we're all burnt out like crazy. But no, they do. They start. We're heavily trained in diet, nutrition. We're heavily trained in herbal medicine on top of everything else. So there there is. There is more training. I will say that not, you know, and this is. I was the president of my National Pathic Association for the first few years when I was in practice, and so I I encountered a lot of people that were skeptics, and I had to talk to a lot of medical doctors. I thought I was a quack, and so I've had this conversation a lot, and at this point I don't really care.

Jennifer:

Right, yeah, you're over it.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

What do you want to do? You are over it, but but I think the probably, if you wanted to argue. The one weakness that Naturopathic schools Maybe don't have compared is we're not required to do a residency and I don't know that I would consider this a weakness. But, after med school, everyone's required to go into a residency.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Naturopathic doctors can go out and start practicing on their own. Now none of us are doing surgery, we're not doing complicated specialty practices. Most of us are doing general practice, which you don't always have to have, you know, three or four extra years in residency doing. So there's, you know, there might be a little bit of difference in you know, if you're seeing a natural path.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Who's new, who's newer out of school? They may not have. They might not have the clinical experience because they haven't done a residency. However, if our as far as the training back and forth that goes, it's we probably have more training. If you're looking for an alternative type perspective, does that?

Jennifer:

make sense. Yeah, that makes sense. So I know that you also tend to talk about the principles of naturopathic medicine. In fact, you know, in your, on your website, you do talk about the six principles. Can you just broadly go over those?

Dr. Erin Kinney:

I mean first do no harm is kind of one of our big which is the same as Western medicine. I think the biggest principle that I feel and I use every day is that we have one of our tenants is doctor as teacher, so I spend a lot of time Teaching my patients what's going on in their body. I have you can't see, but I have a giant whiteboard in my office. So when people come in, I'm drawing processes, I I use physiology every day in my life. I draw out, I pull out my physiology book. I'm explaining here's what's going on in your cell, it's happening in my to concrete, here's what's happening in these receptors. And so, like I use what I learned in that school literally every day. I use organic chemistry, I use all of that, which I think is really cool. I talked to my colleagues and they're like yeah, I remember any of that stuff.

Jennifer:

Oh my gosh. No, I love it. You're speaking my language.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Yeah, yeah, I love drawing, I love teaching, I can and I love to teach workshops and and one of the things that I think my patients love about coming here Is they're like, wow, I leave here and I understand what's going on in my body. I understand why my labs say what they do, so I also. When I do a lab follow-up, we go over line by line what each labs mean, what he labs, what each lab number means, because most time doctors are like yeah, your labs look normal, you're fine, and people might be like, wait, but this one was a lab as high, is that scary, is that not?

Dr. Erin Kinney:

and so I'll go through with them and I'm like, hey, this is normal. It's okay for this to be a little bit high if you're dehydrated, or or this actually says it's normal, but it might not be optimal, right? Um?

Jennifer:

Talking about the why, I think for me that's the the biggest thing missing in Western medicine is, you know, they're really awesome at treating the acuteness of situations. You know, like, you know, things are on fire, they can help you address the symptoms, put that fire out, but for me it's always well, why did the fire occur in the first place? And I think, I think you know, if anything, you know naturopaths like that's that's the strength of naturopathic medicine is Understanding, you know. You know, why did you get the cancer? What pathway is broken? You know, how can we address? You know, you know, if we're talking about genetics, you know what is your, what is your genetic hardware, why are to do and what are the gaps that might lead you to be predisposed to something? You know Um, taking a look at, you know, your microbiome asking that what are you eating? How? You know, what are you, you know, doing in your everyday life? And I think those are the kind of questions that naturopaths, you know, instinctively ask that never come up, you know, with your traditional Western doctor.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

And I think and I, you know, I have a lot of friends that are traditional doctors, that I've been to school with them, that I, you know, share patients with, and I don't think that they're not. I think in today's world they are thinking about that, but I think the problem that they run into is that when you're in an insurance-based model, they don't have the time to ask all of those questions because it takes a little while.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

It does get to get taught, especially if something's a lifestyle problem. You know you might be like, well, maybe we're looking for a drug side effect or food side effect, but if something is like a you know Something going on at your job or something in your relationship and a lot of stressors end up coming down to that and the stress is kind of At the root cause, it's gonna take a minute to get to that with a page. So, so time the amount of time that your doctor spends and this is the one benefit of seeing a natural path is typically their visits are longer, you're gonna get more time and in that amount of time they can get to some of the root causes a little bit, you know, easier than someone who has 10 to 15 minutes.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Yeah.

Narrator:

Yeah, so I will read off the six principles.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So, it's first, you know harm the healing power of nature. So we really believe that herbal medicine, sunshine being outside, you know, drinking water, like the basic things. I once had a, you know, when I was first in natural by the clinic. One of my teachers was dr D Adama, who's the author of eat right through her blood type. Yes, mentor of mine and he, I, had this really complicated case. This woman had, you know, multiple chronic diseases. She was on a lot of different medications and I was. I brought the case to him.

Narrator:

I have no idea what to do, and he's like the more complex the cases, the more you go back to basics.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

He's like let's start with water, let's start with issue pooping. Let's start with how much time is she getting outside in the sunlight? Let's talk about sleep and we and so and I use that every day when I get a complicated case that comes in we always go back to the basics, and those basics tend to be the power of you, know basic nature. So, are you getting outside enough? How much sunlight are you getting? Are you drinking?

Narrator:

enough water, so and that can also play into, you know herbal medicine and the amazing benefits that plants can give you.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

And then the third principle is identify and treat the causes which we've just been talking about, so trying to find that root cause. And the fourth is doctor's teacher, which I talked about. And the fifth is treating the whole person, so not just treating you know, hey, you're coming in. You know, I get some people to coming like I have this rash and they expect me to just ask about the rash.

Narrator:

I'm like let's talk about the rash a minute. Let's talk to talking about your sleep. And they're like why do you care about my?

Dr. Erin Kinney:

sleep only because you're a whole person. I didn't know everything about you, so you know we treat the whole person, because the symptoms are usually a sign that something is off in, you know, the whole body.

Narrator:

And then number six is prevention.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So you know, well, I treat a lot of people that have issues. But I will also get people to come in and like hey, I'm doing great, I just want to make sure I don't end up getting burnt out. So what can I do to prevent that? So a naturopath will do a lot of prevention.

Jennifer:

There's a lot of work and a lot of naturopaths that will do cancer prevention or you know aging prevention, or you know things where we can start to prevent the body from going in a direction we don't want it to go in for HRT, because that's something that a lot of post-menopausal women look at, and in my own research I've done a lot of writing on menopause and when I was doing the research I was surprised to find out about all the women's health initiative studies, what they thought about what HRT was doing in the 80s and 90s and then what they found out it was actually doing in certain people, with or without a uterus and you know. So what are your thoughts on HRT? Do you use it? Who do you use it in?

Dr. Erin Kinney:

My thought and answer to that is it's very case-dependent. I think for some women, you know, it can be wonderful, it can be really helpful. I think for other people, depending on their genetic makeup, their lifestyle factors, what's going on, it cannot make cause more problems than it might be helping. I think, first and foremost, if you're going to do any sort of hormone replacement, levels need to be tested on a regular basis. So if we're using estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, you need to make sure those levels are within a normal range. So, and if someone's got tanked estrogen levels, tanked testosterone levels and my philosophy is and this is kind of the way that the naturopathic doctor would approach anything is we tried lifestyle factors first. If that doesn't work, then we move to an herb or homeopathic. If that doesn't work, then we might move to an HRT or an actual hormone replacement. There are a lot of herbs that you can use that will stimulate the body to produce more estrogen or produce more progesterone or produce more testosterone and in some people those work really well.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

And I find when you combine that with adrenal support and with the lifestyle factors, it could be because, again, if the body's too stuck in stress state it's going to be very hard for the body to make sex hormones. But if we can get the body out of the stress state and we can use some herbal protocols and some other things, we can tell the body to make those hormones on their own.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Now I've had some cases where either the stress state is too intense Sorry, there's some ambulance driving by my building the stress pathway is too intense and we can't get it shut down and their symptoms are not manageable and we've run each other testing and we know they are a good candidate for HRT. That can be a good option. So I guess my answer to that is it's very case dependent, and I do. I have a nurse practitioner who works for me who does prescribe in the state that I'm in and we will.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

In the right cases, we will do.

Jennifer:

HRT.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

If it's safe for that person. If we've gone through their family history they don't have a family history of breast we've done the genetic stuff. This hormone replacement therapy can put you at risk for certain issues. Now there are other cases. I have a patient right now who's 35 and just had to have a hysterectomy because she had breast cancer and she does not have any estrogen-related cancer.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

No genetics for that, and she's a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy. If she doesn't make estrogen at this age, she's going to be at a much higher risk for developing osteoporosis and a whole host of other things, so in her case. Hrt is a godsend Right, so it's very case dependent.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

I think that's the answer you'd get for most questions you're going to ask about hey, what's your thought on this treatment for XYZ? Again, it's going to come back to the individual, and then the other thing I will say is what's right for an individual for a certain phase in their life might not be right for them in a different phase in their life. I get this question about fasting all the time. Hey, what do you think about fasting? Is this good for hormones? And my question? My answer is usually it depends. It depends on what's going on with your other hormones, what's going on with your stress state, what's going on with your thyroid? What part of life are you in? Maybe it worked for you in your 20s, or maybe it will work for you in your 60s, but maybe during menopause. This isn't the best answer. So and I kind of circle back to my answer that if you're listening and you're like, oh my God, I don't know what to do and I feel overwhelmed, find somebody who can help you through this.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

Find someone who is very knowledgeable, who can run the tests, who can help you? I think it's great to do your own research and have your own knowledge, but I think it's very hard to treat yourself, and I love what's going on in the world today.

Narrator:

I love.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

there's so much information that you can access about your health, but I also. You have to be careful with all the information that's out there, because you don't necessarily know. You might read a research study. You're like, well, that sounds good, I should do that, but how do we know that that's right for you? And, as a very intense hypochondriac, I have a team of people Like I have. I have all the knowledge right. I could very easily treat myself for all the issues, but I can't because I can't be objective. So I have two naturopathic doctors, I have a life coach, I have a therapist, I have an active pharmacist and I use them and I'm so I'm very big on and I do research. So I'll bring to my natural path. I'll be like, hey, I've researched this, what do you think I would like? Your objective, because you know so perspective. So I'm a really big fan of doing research, being empowered, but also making sure you are working this through with someone who can give you an objective perspective and opinion and help you make the best decision for you.

Jennifer:

So I love that answer. You know that's. You know why I titled my podcast the way I did auto biology. So learn about your own biology and what's best for you.

Jennifer:

So to me, that's a perfect answer and I, you know, I honestly, you know, I wholeheartedly agree. You know I'm one of those people that make the toxic estrogen and so I know that for me, taking estrogen, extra estrogen, is a bad, bad idea. That will never be good for me. But, like you said, for somebody else who's not making any estrogen, you know, or you know, their estrogen pathway, you know makes the you know, beneficial, kind. You know that's awesome and that's a that's a godsend.

Jennifer:

But I think that a lot of people, especially people who have started menopause and are experiencing, you know, issues like you said, they read a study or or they're watching a whole bunch of ticktocks. You know of these women who got on hormone replacement therapy and suddenly you know their sex life is awesome again and they have all this energy. But it may not be right for everybody and I just, I love, I love that answer. So make sure you test and know what's good for you. Obviously, you have your website, which is DrAaronKinneycom, correct, yes, okay, and if people want to consult with you or tell a health with you, is that, is that an option?

Dr. Erin Kinney:

It is an option.

Jennifer:

yes, so I offer a free 15 minute consult.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

So if you want to, you know, call the office and set one of those up, and so I have myself. I have two health coaches, I have a nurse practitioner. I have a bit of a waiting list, but I can get people in through kind of I've trained people in, kind of I've trained kids to get in and and I do all the lab orders and do the lab follow-ups. So you might do an intake with someone else but you would eventually get care through me. And then I'm really active on Instagram. I do a lot of lives there, I post a lot of content there. I have podcasts myself If you want to go learn a little bit more about hormones and I bring other guests that come on.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

And I've got a couple free downloads on my website If you want to learn a little bit more about adrenal fatigue and like easy ways to kind of hack that on your own. Okay, you can go access that on my website.

Jennifer:

And then the name of your podcast is Dr Kinney show the Dr Kinney show. That's right. I did subscribe to that, so I, I I have started listening to your thing, and on Instagram your handle is I'm just at Dr Kinney, at Dr Kinney, okay, great Well, dr Aaron Kinney, thank you so much for joining us today. This has been immensely insightful and educational and really appreciate it, thank you so much for having me.

Dr. Erin Kinney:

It was a blast Thanks.

Speaker 4:

This podcast is for information purposes only. Many of the discussions or products held here in are not in any way offered as prescription, diagnosis nor treatment for any disease, illness, infirmity or physical condition. Any form of self treatment or alternative health program necessarily must involve an individual's acceptance of some risk and no one should assume otherwise. Persons needing medical care should obtain it from a physician. Consult your doctor before making any health decision. Statements and views expressed on this podcast are not medical advice. The podcast toast may have direct or indirect financial gains from products discussed on this podcast.

Understanding Adrenal Fatigue and Stress
Treating Adrenal Fatigue in Men/Women
Training and Philosophy of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic vs. Western Medicine Comparison
Individualized Hormone Replacement Therapy Importance
Dr. Kinney's Podcast and Instagram Presence