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On this episode of the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Dr. Stephanie Gray on the show to discuss bone health.  Dr. Stephanie Gray, DNP, MS, ARNP, ANP-C, GNP-C, ABAAHP, FAARFM, is a functional medicine provider who helps men and women build sustainable and optimal health and longevity so that they can focus on what matters most to them. She is co-founder of Your Longevity Blueprint nutraceuticals with her husband, Eric. They own the Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic in Hiawatha, Iowa.

In this episode, we discuss:

-What is functional medicine and integrative medicine?

-Hormones that impact your bone density as you age and how to find your deficiencies

-The difference between natural and synthetic hormones

Your Longevity Blueprint: a guide to mastering each of your body systems

-And so much more!

 Resources:

Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic Website

Your Longevity Blueprint Free gift: 10% off using code healthy10

Stephanie Gray Facebook

Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic Facebook

Stephanie Gray Instagram

Your Longevity Blueprint Instagram

Stephanie Gray Twitter

Your Longevity Blueprint Youtube

 For more information on Dr. Gray

Stephanie Gray, DNP, MS, ARNP, ANP-C, GNP-C, ABAAHP, FAARFM, is a functional medicine provider who helps men and women build sustainable and optimal health and longevity so that they can focus on what matters most to them! She has been working as a nurse practitioner since 2009. She completed her doctorate focusing on estrogen metabolism from the University of Iowa in 2011. Additionally, she has a Masters in Metabolic Nutritional Medicine from the University of South Florida’s Medical School. Her expertise lies within integrative, anti-aging, and functional medicine. She is arguably one of the midwest’s’ most credentialed female healthcare providers combining many certifications and trainings. She completed an Advanced fellowship in Anti-Aging Regenerative and Functional medicine in 2013. She became the first BioTe certified provider in Iowa to administer hormone pellets also in 2013. She is the author of the FNP Mastery App and an Amazon best-selling author of her book Your Longevity Blueprint. She is co-founder of Your Longevity Blueprint nutraceuticals with her husband, Eric. They own the Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic in Hiawatha, Iowa.

Read the full transcript below:

Karen Litzy:                   00:01                Hi, Dr. Stephanie Gray. Welcome to the podcast. I’m happy to finally have you on. This is taken forever between the two of our schedules.

Stephanie Gray:            00:09                Thank you for having me on. I’m excited to speak with you today.

Karen Litzy:                   00:12                Yeah, I’m very excited. And we had met, Gosh, last year, maybe

Stephanie Gray:            00:17                October.

Karen Litzy:                   00:18                Yeah, October of last year. Holy Cow. Yes. Well, I’m very excited to have you on because when we met at unfair advantage and I remember hearing your story and hearing you speak and I thought I need to talk to this woman because I think she’s doing some really great work, so I’m happy to have you on and share all about what you’re doing. We’ll talk about your book, the longevity blueprint in a little bit, but first, can you let the audience know a little bit about your journey from your BS to your MS in nursing to doctorate to all these certifications and how that happened in the why behind it?

Stephanie Gray:            00:58                Sure. Well, maybe the short version is that I was born and raised in the Midwest and I grew up in a very healthy family and I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with my life as many people are I’m sure. My parents always took us to see a chiropractor, not a regular doctor. They were self employed, had a really high deductible. So they wanted to keep us healthy and growing up, I wanted to get into medicine. I kind of grew up wanting to be a doctor. I’d play with my doctor Kit, but I didn’t necessarily want to prescribe drugs. And so I thought, well maybe I’ll go into nursing. Right? So I went through the nursing program at University of Iowa and I love nurses, man, they’re so important. We have a shortage, we need more nurses. But I thought I wanted to have more autonomy and more independence and I wanted to still be able to diagnose and treat patients.

Stephanie Gray:            01:43                And so I did continue on to become a nurse practitioner and I ended up going through the master’s and then the doctorate program. And I still was a little unsatisfied. I felt like, man, there’s gotta be more to life than prescribing medications. Right? Nursing is a more holistic approach in general. And that’s why I’m biased to nurse practitioners as primary care providers because I think they do provide a more holistic approach. I wanted some additional trainings so that I could incorporate nutrition, that I would have some credentials behind recommending things other than drugs. So I did also then pursue a master’s in metabolic nutritional medicine, which taught me a lot about, you know, using supplements and herbs and whatnot, which I heavily applied in my practice. And then I also did complete the advanced fellowship in anti-aging, regenerative and functional medicine which helped me tremendously. I learned a lot about use of bioidentical hormones as well. And I really just became on fire for integrative and functional medicine and thought, this is it. This is what, especially my community in Iowa needs, because there weren’t a lot of providers offering this sort of care. So that’s, I guess that’s kind of my story.

Karen Litzy:                   02:50                Well, that’s a great story. I love it. Now you mentioned functional medicine and Integrative Medicine. Can you kind of help us out and talk about what those branches of medicine are?

Stephanie Gray:            03:01                Sure. So integrative medicine combines or integrates conventional medicine with natural, uneven, complimentary forms of medicine. It’s not, I’ll say functional medicine also really more works to get to the root cause of the problem. That’s kind of more of the definition of functional medicine. And I use both in my practice. I use functional medicine to kind of discover the why, but I also use integrative medicine because there is a time and place for medication use. Sometimes patients do need antibiotics or surgery. I’ve had to partake in them myself. But I want to provide my patients with the best of all worlds combined. So do I think chiropractic is important? Yes. Acupuncture? Yes. Use of supplements. Yes. Medications, all of the above. I think the major difference in the analogy I use with my patients that I did not create a colleague, Patrick, he mentions conventional medicine as being more of the fire department approach. Right? We need conventional medicine. If you have a big bad ugly tumor or whatnot, you need the fire department to put that out to remove it. But conventional medicines tools are drugs and surgery. Functional medicine is a little different. We described that in my practice as being more of like a carpenter approach and that’s what I describe in my book. Really helping to repair and rebuild the body, figure out why the fire happened in the first place and try to get to that root cause of the problem, not just provide a bandaid approach.

Karen Litzy:                   04:16                Right. And that’s a great analogy. Thank you for that. That’s definitely clear. It makes functional and integrative medicine a little bit clearer for everyone. Hopefully. So now I mentioned the book longevity blueprint and again we’ll talk about that a little bit later, but there’s a chapter in the book, Chapter Four where you discuss the importance of fixing nutritional deficiencies and specifically when it comes to our bones. So as mainly women, we all know as we get older and as we go through menopause, our hormones change and bone density can change along with that. So what nutrients I guess are specifically important for our bones?

Stephanie Gray:            05:09                So I’ll discuss several nutrients. So many women think calcium is a number one most important nutrient for their bones. And the truth is that your bones need a lot more than calcium. So vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin K2 and strontium are all nutrients that I recommend to my patients. I mentioned vitamin D in several different chapters of my book and that as many people know, helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus from the foods you eat. And it helps with bone remodeling. Maybe I don’t know how deep we should get into that. Maybe you shouldn’t, but without enough magnesium though calcium can also collect in the wrong places in soft tissues and cause arthritis. And so magnesium is just as important as calcium. There have been several studies of women with Osteopenia or osteoporosis showing they’re actually not deficient in calcium deficient, they’re deficient in magnesium yet.

Stephanie Gray:            05:58                What’s the number one most prescribed supplement? Menopausal woman. Again, it’s calcium. I personally have had a kidney stone and they are not fun. So calcium can not only gain weight, it can cause bone spurs, but it can cause kidney stones. It can calcify our arteries. We don’t want it getting absorbed in to the wrong places of our body. And that’s where vitamin K2 comes in also. So vitaminK is really overlooked nutrient. It’s one of the four fat soluble nutrients. So it really helps prevent calcium from accumulating in our vessels. And it can even, some people believe can help remove dangerous calcifications too. We know that low levels of k2 can directly be related to poor bone mineral density. So I like analogy.

Stephanie Gray:            06:45                So here’s another analogy on what vitamin K2 really does, and vitamin D. So vitamin D is the doorman that opens the door for calcium to enter the bloodstream. But once it’s in the bloodstream, it could go anywhere. So I think if K2 is being that usher that’s going to direct the calcium from the lobby, if we think of a hotel or whatnot, directing him to the appropriate seat in our bone matrix. So do we need vitamin D? Yes. Do we need magnesium? Yes. We also need vitaminK2. So there are different sort or different types of vitamin K. So vitaminK is broken down to K1 and K2. So if you are purchasing a supplement, if it just says vitaminK , you don’t necessarily know what you’re getting.

Stephanie Gray:            07:26                You want to make sure that the label is really differentiating if specifying what is in that product. So vitamin K1 isn’t as much needed to be supplemented. It’s the deficiency is pretty rare. It’s found in leafy Greens. Hopefully you’re all getting your leafy Greens. But vitamin K2 comes from very specific foods and also bacterial synthesis. So think of it. Think of yourself as you know, if you don’t have a healthy gut, unfortunately your body’s not going to be able to convert. K1 to K2 in the gut if you’ve taken antibiotics, whatnot, if you have a lot of food sensitivities and gut inflammation. And so you really want to think about consuming foods with K2 and possibly supplementing in that as well. So vitamin K2 comes from fermented soybeans, which many of us probably are not consuming and also from the fat milk and organs of grass fed animals.

Stephanie Gray:            08:16                So things like egg yolk, butter, and even liver with why we’re coming, we’re becoming more vitamin K deficient is that you are where you’re what you eat, eat. So if you’ve heard of what Michael Poland has said, and I think that’s really true with K2. So when we removed animals from the pasture, right? If we don’t eat animals that are eating greens, they’re not getting the K2 themselves and then we’re not getting it from our products. So you want to make sure you are eating grass fed animals and think of wild game. Wild game is really what’s can usually consuming the ingredients. So try to consume more pheasant, duck rabbit, venison, elk, or wild Turkey. I mean these are things that we don’t all have access to, but that would actually help increase our K2 levels. So if you can’t get some of those foods into your diet, then you could consider supplementing that.

Stephanie Gray:            09:06                It could literally again consume the fermented soy beans. But MK7 has a pretty long half life, longer than MK4. So I recommend my patients take MK7, MK4 is actually extracted from a tobacco plant, which I don’t like either, sometimes will come from fermented soybeans, geranium or chickpea. And the source that we use for our production is chickpea. It has a longer half life, so a single daily dose can provide longer protection. So many of my patients, we’re putting on 45 90 or even 180 micrograms of MK7 per day. It’s great to incorporate foods that have, you know, consumed grass Greens. You hit the chlorophyll to get the vitamin K and to have a great healthy gut that convert can indicate too, but if you can’t, and supplementing with MK7 is what I recommend.

Karen Litzy:                   09:56                Yeah. And, just so people know, are you doing blood tests on people to find these levels? I just want to point that out so that people listening are like, well, I’m just going to go buy all this stuff, but you have to go and be evaluated first.

Stephanie Gray:            10:15                Yeah. So in my book in chapter four I talk about, well, every chapter of the book discusses a functional medicine testing option that’s available. And chapter four is all about examining micronutrient deficiencies. Which even my patients who eat organic, who grow their own food in their backyard are still nutritionally deficient because our food sources are just not as nutrient dense as they used to be. I mean, the magnesium content in our foods has been on a decline since the 1950s. It keeps going down and down and down, which is very sad. But because of that, we can see that evidenced on a test that we run on our patients. So one of the first tests for my patients with osteoporosis or Penia that we would run is this nutritional analysis, which is looking at vitamin, mineral, amino acid, antioxidant, and even Omega levels. And if you have the access to a functional medicine practitioner, definitely I would recommend getting this test because then you don’t have to guess how much magnesium, how much do I need? It’s better to really get the test to see what you need.

Karen Litzy:                   11:12                Right. Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. And I just wanted to point that out to people so that they know. I guess also, are there any dangers of taking these vitamins if you don’t need them?

Stephanie Gray:            11:28                So vitaminK to a high dose just can cause blood thinning. So if patients are taking anticoagulants, if they’re on medications like Warfarin, you know, Coumadin, then this could potentiate those effects at really high dosages. So if you’re listening to this and you want to take some K2, you probably need it. But talk to your doctor or nurse just so that they know so that they can monitor your levels. So that would the biggest, biggest side effects.

Stephanie Gray:            12:04                The last nutrient for bone mineral density that I recommend to my patients is strontium. This was one of the first minerals that I really learned about for bone density. So I heavily used it initially even before I learned about the importance of K2. There have been randomized double blind placebo controlled clinical trials showing that strontium in a dose of about one gram per day could be equally as effective as a lot of the bisphosphonate medications without getting those nasty side effects. But I have seen this be effective in my patients too. Granted, I’m recommending they take minerals, optimize their hormones, reduce their stress, exercise, right? So all of those interventions are going to have an additive effect for improving bone density. But strontium can be very, very helpful for bone density as well.

Karen Litzy:                   12:48                Nice. All right, so we have vitamin D, vitaminK2, strontium and magnesium.

Stephanie Gray:            12:56                And then calcium of course calcium. I don’t put calcium on the top of the list, but yes.

Karen Litzy:                   13:01                But it’s there. Okay. All right. Now you mentioned hormones for a quick second there, but is there value in optimizing hormones for bone density?

Stephanie Gray:            13:13                You Bet. So about 25 well, I think it’s 27% of women over 50 can have osteoporosis, right? Like a fourth of those patients of that population, which is pretty scary. Yeah. And I’ll go 40% have osteopenia. There’s also, I’m referencing women over 50 so what’s the other common dominator for women over 50 usually you’re going through menopause around that declining and this, the danger here is that this can increase risk for fractures. Of course, Osteoporosis Foundation says at 24% of those with hip fractures die within a year. That’s, that’s terrible. Very cool. So absolutely, I run a hormone clinic and I strongly believe that improving estrogen, progesterone, and even testosterone levels in women can help with bone density. And I can talk a little, I can go into depth with each of those hormones.

Karen Litzy:                   14:06                Yeah, I think I would like a little bit more in depth conversation on that and also the difference between synthetic and natural hormones.

Stephanie Gray:            14:15                Sure, sure. So maybe first we’ll talk a little bit about estrogen. So estrogen literally helps with a proper bone remodeling process. Progesterone helps promote osteoblastic activity. So osteoblast help build your bones while osteoclast break it down, right? So progesterone is going to help with the bone builders and testosterone has been proven to actually stimulate new bone growth and inhibit or block the osteoclastic that breaking down activity. Progesterone, I’ve even been heard called one time I heard it called a bone trophic hormone. Like it literally seems to promote bone formation, which is wonderful. So it’s one of the first hormones I’ll start my patients on even before their menopausal many peri-menopausal or younger are taking progesterone. And when I mentioned testosterone for women, some women kind of look at me sideways like, well I don’t want to grow a beard or I don’t think I need to.

Stephanie Gray:            15:12                But actually it’s extremely important if you even think of how testosterone helps with muscle mass, it can help strengthen the patient also, right? To improve balance, to minimize falls. Testosterone is great for many reasons. In my book I actually mentioned a study. I feel so strongly about how important testosterone can help really because of the study, because I’ve seen this, testosterone has shown an 8.3% improvement in bone mineral density, which is like unheard of. It’s just dramatic. I’ve had patients who have received hormone replacement therapy, not overnight, but over a year, go from having osteoporosis, Osteopenia to even having normal bone density because after a year, their bones are improving and that is amazing. But conventional medicine, many times putting patients on drugs, we’re just hoping that they don’t have a decline. We’re just hoping that they stabilize, not that they actually build bone density and hormones can really help do that.

Stephanie Gray:            16:08                But in reference to your other question, anytime we talk about hormones, the cancer word is going to come up. So that’s where I can differentiate between the synthetics and the naturals. And in my book in chapter six actually show the molecular structure of synthetic hormones like I synthetic progestin and natural progesterone aesthetic is faster on molecule and natural testosterone cause the hormones really need to fit like a key fitting in a key hole, right? And that’s what the molecular structure of natural or bioidentical hormones are. I mean, they should fit like a key fitting in and thus caused your side effects. So most of the studies that showed hormones cause cancer were studies like the women’s health initiative study, which was done on a lot of women, but they use synthetic horse urine and they use Premarin.

Stephanie Gray:            16:54                That’s literally what Premarin stands for, pregnant Mare’s urine. So naturally I try to not replicate what was done in that study with my patients. I don’t want to use synthetic hormones. I don’t want to use oral estrogen either. That means estrogen taken by mouth in a pill form, right? Which is going to have to be cleared through the gut and the liver. So who was trained through, I should say in addition to the fellowship program that I went through was bio t, they’re a hormone pellet company. They’re the biggest hormone pellet company in the nation who very well trained their providers and their practitioners and they keep us up to date on all the current research and what’s happening in Europe as well with hormones. And so they strongly believe that hormone is given an appellate version, which is an actual subcutaneous little implant that we put under the fatty tissue, kind of in the lower back.

Stephanie Gray:            17:44                Upper bottom area is by far the safest. And that’s what we’re going for with our patients, right? We want to improve on density. We want them feeling better. We want to give them the safest version of the safest dosage. And so pellet therapy specifically is what can improve bone density the most. But again, we’re using natural hormones that are plant-based, not synthetic. They should bind to your hormone receptors appropriately. And therefore the risks of, you know, what were shown in the women’s health initiative study just can’t be compared to what practitioners like myself use. Cause we’re using natural hormones, not the synthetics and not by mouth.

Karen Litzy:                   18:19                And so what are the side effects or the downside of using these natural hormones versus a synthetic?

Stephanie Gray:            18:26                Sure. So all of us are already making, well we should be making hormones, right? Which when we grow up we go through adolescence, our hormones peak and then in our twenties and thirties and forties and 50s we start seeing this decline. So really if hormones are dosed appropriately, patients shouldn’t have side effects. However, if you think of younger women when they’re cycling, sometimes before bleeding they may have some fluid retention or a little bit of breast tenderness or whatnot. And sometimes those symptoms can reoccur as we give patients hormones. The goal is that those would be very short lived. They wouldn’t last once we refined the dose. But too much of estrogen can definitely cause fluid retention, breast tenderness, potentially some weight gain. Too much testosterone could cause acne, oily skin, hair growth. Too much. Progesterone can make you feel a little tired. Most menopausal women need help sleeping. So they like that effect, kind of calms them down. Or if women are real PMSing they need or have anxiety, they need some progesterone to calm them down. But we don’t want to overdose patients. Right? We don’t want to get them to high levels of the hormones, but we want to give them high enough levels that will protect their bones, that will help them sleep. Right. That will provide benefit.

Karen Litzy:                   19:34                Are there instances of cancer with the natural hormones?

Stephanie Gray:            19:41                So there are always instances of cancer? I can’t say definitively that. No, I’ve never seen it. I’d never had a patient ever have cancer. But from my experience, they’re very rare. And Bio T are great to have as a resource because they track all of that. I mean, they’re tracking all these hundreds and hundreds of thousands of patients with pellets and they’re tracking the rights and if they confidently say the rates are extremely low.

Karen Litzy:                   20:07                Well, you know, cause we wanna give the listeners sort of like a balanced view of everything. So we want to give the, you know, as you know, and I’m sure this is the exact questions that your patients probably ask you.

Stephanie Gray:            20:23                Yes.

Karen Litzy:                   20:25                Or hopefully that’s what they ask you. Let’s put it that way, So now talking about these hormones, how would one know if they are low on these hormones?

Stephanie Gray:            20:37                Good question. Really get tested. Does every postmenopause woman with osteoporosis need testosterone? No, I can’t say that I’m speaking to what has helped my patients. But the beauty of functional integrated medicine is that we personalize treatment, right? We test hormone levels to see what our patients need and we test them at the beginning of therapy and through the therapy and annually, right. To make sure we’re not under or overdosing our patients. So, I recommend that women, even young women, and I should say men too, but we’re kind of speaking to women today, get their hormone levels tested in their twenties, thirties, forties. Right? So they can get a baseline. They can track changes. So they start to feel different, start to feel something has gone awry, we can compare to see where their hormones were before. I think that’s really important. But basic blood tests can tell you where your hormone levels are.

Stephanie Gray:            21:27                And now that’s for postmenopausal women and for men. Now if you’re younger, another test that I utilize in my practice is saliva hormone testing. So for younger women whose hormones fluctuate, whose hormones fluctuate on a daily basis, many times I’ll have them spit into a tube every couple of days over the course of a month so we can really see what’s happening. Maybe they’re getting headaches for population or maybe they’re getting headaches before bleeding or having pms or whatnot. If we can correlate their labs with their symptoms, then we know exactly what’s happening, which hormones fluctuation is triggering that, and then we can intervene appropriately. So that’s the beauty of testing and not guessing. Really being able to examine on paper what’s happening and match it with what the patient’s plan.

Karen Litzy:                   22:09                And with osteoporosis or Osteopenia, let’s say you are getting tested when you’re younger to find out, you know, what are you deficient in vitamin or mineral wise and where are your hormones levels at? Can you through this process help to let’s say ward off osteoporosis or Osteopenia even if it’s a genetic thing within your family.

Stephanie Gray:            22:40                I guess the easy answer there would be sure. That would be the goal of course. So we want to ward off all chronic disease.

Karen Litzy:                   22:47                Yeah, exactly.

Stephanie Gray:            22:49                I’m sure there could be some rare genetic disorder. I’m not aware of that. Maybe, you know, we couldn’t influence, but yes, that would absolutely be the goal is intervene soon. Absolutely.

Karen Litzy:                   23:03                Got It. And is there anything else when you’re seeing patients coming to you with Osteopenia, osteoporosis, anything else that you’re looking at or any other treatments that you may suggest? So that if anyone is listening to this, and let’s say they are concerned that maybe they have osteoporosis or Osteopenia or they are post-menopausal or reaching that post-menopausal phase and they want to go to their doctor and they want to ask them about these tests, is there anything else aside from what we’ve already talked about that you would suggest?

Stephanie Gray:            23:37                Oh, all kinds of things. So I’m back to the micronutrient deficiency possibility. Well, especially if that occurs, we’re going to be looking at diet with the patient, right? I had a young woman my age who was drinking like six or seven cups of coffee per day. And I said, you know, that’s just basically leaching minerals from your bones, right? It’s a diuretic. It’s essentially robbing you of all important nutrients, even nutrients you’re supplementing with. So you still need to examine diet with all of our patients and make sure that we’re eating well. Right? And not just drinking tons of carbonated beverages or caffeine or whatnot. So definitely looking at diet is important. Sometimes we do look at heavy metal toxicity with our patients, with these patients specifically. I don’t want to say it’s rare, but it’s much more common and more easy to treat the patients, you know, by fixing the nutritional deficiencies and the hormones.

Stephanie Gray:            24:32                But there are times where it is really important to look at heavy metals as well. And then I definitely always ask my patients about their stress, right? So if they have low hormone levels, that’s part of that’s natural, right? Your hormones are going to decline as you age, but you’re super stressed out. Stress is your body’s biggest hormone, hijacker stresses not helping your situation or your bombs. So we do need to think about lifestyle and really getting stressed under control, deep breathing, Yoga, meditation, and then examine if they’re doing weight bearing activity as well. Yeah, of course. Needs to start really young, right? You build your phone mineral density in your 20s. So know that needs to start at a very young age. But I do want to make sure my patients are exercising as well.

Karen Litzy:                   25:20                Awesome. Well, I think that gives us a really nice holistic view of kind of looking at Osteopenia and osteoporosis from sort of bridging the gap really between that functional medicine and traditional medicine. As a physical therapist, I often get patients referred to me for osteoporosis to do those exactly what you said, those weight bearing exercises, stress reduction, things like that. And so it’s good to know that as a physical therapist that we can team up with other healthcare professionals with our patient’s wellbeing at the center.

Stephanie Gray:            25:54                Absolutely, I would say that that’s also a belief for functional medicine, that we need interdisciplinary care for our patients. You know, I don’t have time during my visits to teach patients exercise for strength and balance. We have our own strengths, but we can work together as a team and really have a multidisciplinary approach for our patients, which is going to provide them with better outcomes.

Karen Litzy:                   26:17                Yeah, no question. I agree 100%. And now we had mentioned the book a little bit, it’s called the longevity blueprint, can you tell the listeners a little bit more about the book and where they can find it?

Stephanie Gray:            26:30                Maybe I’ll go off on a little tangent here and just say why I wrote the book first. I think sometimes patients or consumers may think, oh, so-and-so just wrote a book, but she doesn’t know because she hasn’t experienced such and such or whatnot. And I’m definitely a provider who has gone through my own health challenges, unfortunately. But fortunately I’ve used them to my advantage to write this book. So I personally, I’ve struggled with a lot of things. The most challenging really was fast heart rate or a tachnocardic episodes, which, landed me at Mayo Clinic actually, well, firstly to be in the emergency room, but I eventually landed me at Mayo and conventional medicine’s approach to my issue was to take a medication to control my heart rate. And although that could have worked and could have helped, I thought I need to figure out what’s happening to me.

Stephanie Gray:            27:25                I needed to figure out why my body’s gonna ride, right, why my heart is racing like this. And so around the same time, my husband is actually our office manager at our clinic. We have integrated health clinic in Iowa and he said, you know, you should really use this to try to streamline the process as far as what we recommend to our patients. Can you outline all of what we offer? Because sometimes patients would come see a functional medicine practitioner who only offered gut health or only offered hormone health or detoxing or whatnot. And we really offered the whole Shebang. And so he said, why don’t we try to create some sort of analogy to outline all of what we can offer patients really to provide them hope. And so I created this blueprint outlining a functional medicine and all the different principles of what we can offer patients with every organ system of the body.

Stephanie Gray:            28:14                And then I kind of laced through my personal story as well as far as what I had to utilize to regain back my health. And so what I’m doing with the book is I’m trying to at least create this analogy between how we maintain our homes and the compare that to our body, right? So with our home, we have, well I have hair in my drain, right? I don’t want hair clogging my drain. You probably mow your lawn. If you have a lawn, you probably change the furnace filters on your home right there. Just things you’d have, you know, you have to do to maintain your home. But we don’t always know how to maintain our body. We don’t know how to rebuild our body if we’re sick or build that health period. And so I’m taking a room in each of our homes, right?

Stephanie Gray:            28:55                And I’m comparing that to an organ system in the body. So chapter one is all about gut health because I believe that gut is the most important piece of our health, most important organ system that we have. And I’m comparing that to the foundation of the home. You have to have the strong foundation upon which to build good health. So then I go chapter by chapter. I’m comparing, you know, organ system. So we were talking a lot about chapter four today and chapter six, chapter six I’m comparing the heating and cooling in your home, right? And you don’t want to be too cold, you want to be too hot, you have to have a good thermostat there. But I’m comparing that to the endocrine system in the body. And so I try to help patients rebuild their body, rebuild every organ system using functional medicine principles. So I talk about the tests that are important. I talk about the nutrients that are important and offer patients resources as well.

Karen Litzy:                   29:42                That’s awesome and that’s really great for patients. And just so everyone knows, we’ll have a link to the book in the show notes over at podcast.healthywealthysmart.com. So if you’re interested and you can go over, click a link and it’ll take you right to Stephanie’s books, you can read more about it and see if it’s for you. And now, Stephanie, I ask everyone this question at the end of the podcast and that is knowing where you are now in your life and in your business, what advice would you give to yourself and in your case, since you have a plethora of degrees, let’s say right after your bachelor degree, after you graduated with that bachelor’s in nursing.

Stephanie Gray:            30:26                Okay, so that’s tough. I think what part of what I’ve learned through my health situation, I had to change my diet and nutrition and what not, but I also had to reduce stress big time. And so I think one I really recommend to all, well everyone but including the youth, I wish I would have as happy I as I am to be where I am and to have the knowledge I have so that I can ultimately help others. My health suffered along the way and so I could have, you know, done this over a longer period of time and instead of jamming it into fewer years, I think the advice to myself would be to physically set time in my calendar to deep breathe. Deep breathing has been extremely important to me to calm my nervous system. I’m obviously a fast talker and I needed to set aside time for my body to just mend and relax, rest and digest. So I think that’s what my advice would be to take time for myself. As hard as it would’ve been, it probably would’ve been very difficult for me to do yoga. I probably couldn’t have sat still, but I needed it. Yeah. That’s probably the advice to just slow down, breathe slowly, take time.

Karen Litzy:                   31:39                Yeah. And that’s great advice and it’s advice that I give to a good majority of my patients as well. And so now is there anything else, I know that you had mentioned that you have an offer for listeners. Do you want to share that now?

Stephanie Gray:            31:54                Sure. So if you’re hearing about functional medicine for the first time today, I’d highly recommend you check out my book just because I think that it could provide you hope or hope for a loved one. I think many patients are just so dissatisfied, they keep going to the doctor, they keep being told that everything’s normal and they know they don’t feel normal and they know there are answers out there and there’s a good potential that a functional medicine provider could help you. So I would definitely recommend grab a copy of my book, which is loaded with resources but also look for a functional medicine practitioner in your area. So the code on our website that can be used to purchase the book, although it’s available at Barnes and noble and Amazon and everywhere books are sold is yourlongevityblueprint.com. So if you use the code healthy10, you can get 10% off order on the book or any of the supplements like vitamin K2 or anything you feel like you need. But after, you know, when you think of a home being built, there’s always a contractor overseeing that process. And, that’s what the last chapter of my book is about. Finding your contractor to help you personally as a community build your health. The book can help, but you do need a guide. You need a contractor.

Karen Litzy:                   33:01                Well thank you so much. This was great. I love learning different ways to kind of keep myself healthy and as I get older and I start, I mean I think I have a little while left, but kind of entering the phase of my life where a lot of this stuff is going to be very pertinent to me. So I thank you for sharing it all.

Stephanie Gray:            33:25                Well, thank you for having me on. I hope this helps many of your viewers

Karen Litzy:                   33:28                And I think it will. Thank you so much Stephanie and everyone out there listening. Thanks so much. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy, and smart.

 

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©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.

©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.