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Things You Need to Know About Your Labs and Anxiety

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Hello friends, and welcome to episode two in our anxiety series, things you Need to Know about Your Labs and Anxiety. My daughter, Kayla Lanier, is a certified fitness trainer and she's here with me again today. So let's get started.

So I have a question for you. Is stress the main cause of anxiety?

Wow. That's kind of hard to answer because I think I want to say yes because stress is linked to every kind of illness in some way or another or any kind of symptoms that we're having. But in my own experience, it seemed to be more about stress with deficiencies and things that I was able to find because even managing our stress sometimes is not enough. If we have underlying mineral or vitamin deficiencies that are actually causing a trigger that's causing anxiety, and what I found was that trying to do techniques to eliminate stress only helped me so much, and it was very limited, honestly. Which made me feel kind of like, "oh goodness, this isn't working." You know? And that's what's supposed to happen. I think, you know, having to dive deeper and find out really what's going on in there as far as our bodies to find out, yes, stress is a trigger, but it isn't the only trigger that could be causing something.


For me, I looked at vitamin deficiencies because when I was dealing with anxiety for myself, I did try the stress reducers and all the things that were supposed to help meditation and everything, and it was still very much there and not managed, and so, I actually did a general panel of my labs just for myself to look at like my vitamin D levels.

I think it's very important to know too that when you get blood work, you don't need to actually just look at reference ranges because so many times in practice people come to me and they're like, "here's my labs. I had all this done, and everything's fine."

And so when I look at the labs, I'm not looking at them through the lens of highs and lows, but actually optimal levels, which is a game changer, you know, for how people feel and really our ability to manage anxiety and even better not have it in the first place.

You saying this reminds me of a few months back when I was struggling with the most anxiety I've ever had. The panic attacks were like 10, 15 times a day. I was having panic attacks during my sleep. I was having panic attacks when I was exercising, especially during cardio, anything intense strength training, even yoga, when it was just a very chill, easy class. It makes me think about when I got my blood work done, surface level, everything looked okay, but when you got to looking at my ferritin levels, they were so ridiculously low.

I think they were like, what, a 12?

Yeah. It was like very, very low. That's huge because I call it hidden anemia. Because honestly, you can have ferritin levels in a reference range on a lab from 12 to 250, depending on the lab, and you're supposed to be normal at 12 and you're normal at 250. That doesn't make any sense in the real world.

You know, reference ranges on labs are determined by how many people in the age group that you're in are getting labs done in your area, and depending on how healthy that population is, that's what sets the reference range for labs. So when people say, my labs were normal, well define normal because what were the references set by? Was it set by people who had optimal levels? No, it's basically passable.

I joke with my clients sometimes in practice and tell them that labs are good for telling us if we're bleeding to death or already dead, but everything in between, you're good. But that's not true and that's where the beauty of functional medicine and really looking at stuff through an optimal lens instead of just, you're still alive lens.

Right. You're barely making it.

Yeah. And that for you, that was a 12 on ferritin is like you're gonna have hair thinning eventually.

Oh yeah. And like my hair was, falling out and I didn't understand why, be cause I thought I was doing all right and taking care of myself. I was like, I blame it on stress, I thought, well, it's probably the stress. But then I feel like a lot of women are walking around just like me, anemic. And then they just pour stimulants on top of that, drinking a lot of coffee just to get through the day. And that makes them have more panic attacks. They just don't know how to get a grip on it.

Yeah, and it taxes your adrenal gland.

Yeah, it depletes your vitamins and minerals, like B vitamins.

Well, and it's interesting that you said that because stress actually does literally deplete our B vitamin levels. Healthy B12 levels and folate are gonna cascade down into your red blood cell development, which gives you the excess ferritin or stored iron that you need.

So oftentimes, women will come in, and they'll have their iron panel done and then have a hemoglobin, and it'd be normal. But when I look at their ferritin, it's like yours was so, your normal iron levels were holding their own, but ferritin is that iron that's bound to protein, and it actually really helps with oxygen.

I don't know if you noticed, and I know my ferritin level was like yours during this time too. That was a huge thing for me, and I mean, that had probably gone on for years, and I had never had anyone ask to test my ferritin, they tested my iron.

I hadn't even heard of it until you found out what it was in your research. You walk around thinking you're like pre-stroke, you're fixing to have a heart attack because your oxygen is that low. And I'm sure that the listeners understand when they've had a panic attack or they walk around feeling like they're having a panic attack for hours at a time. I felt like I could never get a full finished breath and it was so exhausting to try to get that breath, you know?


And you lay down at night as restful and as at peace as you could possibly be, and your heart is just like racing. Cause you can't get any oxygen in your body, and you think, "well, that's anxiety, that's what's happening."

Well, yeah, it is. You do have limited oxygen in the middle of a panic attack because of hyperventilating. But you can have limited oxygen available because your ferritin level is barely there. You should have an optimal ferritin level between 70 to 100 for women in order to be able to regrow hair and actually be able to walk up your stairs without feeling winded.

Those are levels that are very different than the 12 to 250 or whatever. You wanna know that you're in optimal ranges. The same thing with vitamin D deficiencies. It's so sad to see people come in and talk about being tired. And I'm like, "Have you been anemic? Do you have any deficiencies in the past?"

And they're like, "Well, I'm always vitamin D deficient."

And they're struggling with anxiety. But no one ever talked about how big of a deal that is when it comes to anxiety. So yeah, people think it's minor, like, "Oh, not a big deal, it's just a vitamin." They'll say, "Well, the only thing that was wrong was my vitamin D was low." And I'm like, no, we need to turn that around and be like, "My vitamin D was low and that's urgent." It controls over 200 plus functions in the body. Most of those are neurological, and a lot of times women are having heart palpitations. Often it's because they don't have an optimal level of Vitamin D.

They give a reference range of 30 to 100 percent is a vitamin D range. What does that even mean? Like how can somebody be okay in wonderful at 30 and also okay at 100, the optimal range for that is 55 to 80% in functional medicine. So when women come in and they're at 30% they barely made the cut. They weren't flagged low, but they're not optimal. And that means that the body then has to decide where it wants to use that vitamin D and it prioritizes keeping us alive over keeping us calm.

And so getting it up to a really healthy, sustainable level makes such a difference in our mood and also depression and anxiety.

Right. And that in itself, you have to know how to get vitamin D levels up. You have to be careful to just not take straight vitamin D because I've made that mistake. It can have the opposite effects, can't it?

Yeah. Vitamin D is a master hormone regulator. That is so important because it literally, if it's at optimal levels, it truly does regulate every hormone in the body. That's insulin, thyroid stimulating hormone, all of these functions, cortisol production so you're not in fight or flight all the time, which is really what happens when people are dealing with anxiety. So it's huge and, but you can, if you take high doses of vitamin D and you don't take K2 with it, then you're gonna not be able to get good absorption, but you can actually cause a calcium issue where the body will take the vitamin D in and then it'll pull out the calcium and sequester it and try to distribute it in the wrong place because it needs K2 as a co-factor.

So you have to look at labs and then know, "Hey, what do I need to do about this?" Because sometimes it's as simple as adding in a vitamin that you're low in . Sometimes it's more complicated, and vitamin D is one of those where you really wanna know that you have good magnesium coming in. That's another co-factor for vitamin D absorption.

You have to know what that is doing in your body because you can pull it out trying to raise your vitamin D levels. And that isn't good because then magnesium being deficient, which is deficient in a lot of women because stress causes magnesium deficiency because your body uses it like a catalyst in order to get you through stressful situations.

So if you've got someone who's vitamin D deficient, they're most likely magnesium deficient because they go hand in hand. I know for me, magnesium was a game changer for my sleep and also for my anxiety. But you have to have the right form. A lot of people will say, "Oh, I tried magnesium for my anxiety it didn't work well."

Did you try the right form? Magnesium glycinates a really great form for anxiety.

Yeah, I mean, I was taking magnesium for a long time and I didn't know there was different kinds.

Well, and citrate's good to get you to go to the bathroom, but that's pretty much it. It's not really good for absorption.

There are seven forms of magnesium, and I like glycinate because you can dose it low, you get good absorption with it, and it's less likely to make you go to the bathroom because that can be rough on your stomach.


So you wanna make sure that you take vitamin D with K2 and also with magnesium, and take the kind that's not gonna keep you in the potty the whole time. It's actually fine to take magnesium and dose it to bowel saturation. Literally, take enough to get loose stool. And I know we're talking about poop, but anyway...

I'm getting cracked up over here.

But you actually take it until your stool changes and gets a little loose and then you back off one capsule and that's what sets the dose, which could be very helpful. What's hard to get people to see sometimes is that, yeah, you may be taking a magnesium, but if you're deficient and you're only taking a very minimal dose and you don't really have the understanding about how to dose it, and you do need to be with a practitioner that understands that, but you know, once you dose it, you wanna know, have you got to sufficiency?

Because when magnesium doesn't work, oftentimes it's because it's like filling a well with a teaspoon one day if you keep taking 125 milligrams of magnesium a few years from now, you may fill that tank up. But keep in mind you're also using magnesium up under stress. Some people are very mindful of their magnesium-rich foods; the problem is our soils are so depleted. That our food doesn't have the level of magnesium in it that it once had. It becomes difficult to get it without some supplementation if you truly have a deficiency. Magnesium can be tested on a lab, but it's not one of the best indicators on a blood lab.

It doesn't represent well in serum like Vitamin D does and you know when you have a vitamin D that's below optimal, you just assume you need magnesium and you do. If you're gonna dose up, you definitely need that as well.

It's a little safer to supplement with too, because if you up your vitamin D really quickly, that can affect you in a negative way, but magnesium, you kind of can just play it by ear.

Yeah. More so, because that loose stool is gonna, you know, your poop's gonna tell the story and so you're like, wow, okay, that is a great clean out, but you don't want to stay in the bathroom all day. And so you're like, I've gotta cut that back, which is why 125 milligram capsules of magnesium glycinate help you to titrate that dose back and forth where a lot of magnesium supplements are 400 or 500 milligrams per capsule. Most people don't need that much, so I love the flexibility of having clients take 125 milligrams and sometimes two or three capsules until we set the dose, and then pretty much you're just on a maintenance dose.

I had to take a lot more than that, but that's very individualized. Magnesium is so key in helping you regulate anxiety levels and you wanna make sure that looking at your labs, you're able to say, well, what are optimal numbers? And strive to get those instead of just being barely passable.

The same with B12 and folate. B12 may seem like it's fine or within range, but that's a very important vitamin for anxiety and a lot of women are deficient in it. And even though on your blood work, you may be within that range of 200 to 1200 depending on the lab, but really 800 to a thousand is a good optimal level.

But keep in mind that just because B 12 is shown on a blood lab, it means that it's in the serum, it's available to you, right? But there's a whole lot that has to happen in the body. The liver has to be able to methylate that, break it down and make use of it. So sometimes you're looking at their B12 and folate and they're like, "Well, it was fine maybe it was optimal."

But you have to know, are you able in your gut, and that has to do with gut health, are you able to actually absorb that? Break it down, use it in the liver and put it to good use as far as everything that needs to happen in that cascade.

And then your folate level is always so important for anxiety and even mental health disorders because some people aren't able to methylate or break down folate, which has to do with the gene issue called MTHFR, which is methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. That's a mouthful. Which basically means that the liver is inhibited in its ability to take in B9 or folate and actually use it. So again, on paper, on your blood lab, it may be that your folate level represents fine, but are you actually able to use it?

So MTHFR is a huge marker when people are dealing with chronic anxiety. People who've had anxiety throughout their life or even developed it late in life. And that's a whole nother podcast show because that gets a little deep.


Is that an issue in your story? Maybe, maybe not, but a lot of things for anxiety, I know in my own life was basically a ruling out process.

You know, you may not have any of these things show up, but it's a good starting place to say to your primary care or to your natural health practitioner, whoever you're working with, Hey, I wanna get these labs done. And you list B12 and folate and iron and ferritin, not just iron and vitamin D, and get your eyes on what your levels are so that you know this is how I feel when my numbers are here, and that must not be my problem because they're optimized.

So then you dig deeper.

Right. There's so many natural ways to heal anxiety. Sometimes it's not just stress.

No, and sometimes the stress has depleted you of all these things, and you need to be able to get back to a good, sufficient level so that you can then handle the stress management in your life.

And there's a great way to supplement your iron without having to do a synthetic and there's whole food iron supplementation, which is very gentle on the stomach because a lot of women have trouble with taking iron pills. I know it was a horror story for me when I was pregnant and if they constipate you, they make you sick at your stomach and they don't absorb well and they don't actually boost your level significantly, but a whole food iron, or even better is that nettle tea that I told you about.

Oh yeah. Which is my main go-to. That is amazing. Especially if you can like leave it overnight. People use the capsules I know.

Yeah. And I feel like the capsules, I think, are pretty good when they have allergies they have a good response with nettle capsules. But for actually shoring up your vitamin and mineral, I feel like a nettle tea infusion is the best thing. I drink it every day too. I have about 16 ounces. And the difference in a t ea and an infusion, of course, is that you're letting it sit a lot longer, like six to eight hours.

And it's amazing because the tea, if you just make a cup of singing nettle tea, it has about five to 10 milligrams of calcium. If you sit it overnight, it has 500 milligrams. So you get all of this concentration of these minerals and nettle in itself is a great way to fight anemia, especially if you're prone to anemia because it has such a awesome profile. It has iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, sulfur, boron, trace minerals. Literally you could live off of nettle tea. A lot of these minerals we don't test on a blood lab. They're either not accurate or it would cost a lot of money to test individually like that but this is a great way to get it in and it will help you as far as growing hair back when you've been anemic and you had hair loss.

Oh yeah. It changed my hair completely and my skin, I had fewer breakouts and working out, I use it as a post-workout or I'll mix it with electrolytes, but usually it's enough.

Yeah, that makes sense that it would be a good post-workout because it's rich in minerals and vitamins. We should do a podcast on nettle because it truly is a superfood. Well, this concludes episode two in our anxiety series. As a recap, if you have anxiety, you might wanna ask to have these labs drawn.

And these are just kind of a starter set, but it's vitamin D, B12, and folate and iron and ferritin. There is a link for Fullscript, which has all the vitamins that I covered in the podcast today. So that's below, and you can actually set up an account under our dispensary. And there's also a link for nettle tea there as well.

We hope you guys can tune in next week. Thank you so much for listening.

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