Episode 294: Creatine, Excess Skin, Toning Up, Clean Hair Dye, Hormones, Caffeine, Cortisol, Hormetic Stress, Jet Lag, Hydration, Melatonin, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Dec 04

Welcome to Episode 294 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Cynthia Thurlow, author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging.

Today's episode of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast is brought to you by:

AVALONX BERBERINEThis Natural, Potent Anti-Inflammatory Plant Alkaloid Reduces Blood Sugar And Blood Lipids, Aids Weight Loss, Supports A Healthy Body Composition, Stimulates AMPK And Autophagy, Benefits Gut Bacteria And GI Health, And More! Stock Up During The Launch Special From 12/16/22-12/31/22! Avalonx Supplements Are Free Of Toxic Fillers, Common Allergens, Heavy Metals,  Mold, And Triple Tested For Purity And Potency. Get On The Email List To Stay Up To Date With All The Special Offers And News About Melanie's New Supplements At avalonx.us/emaillist, And Use The Code Melanieavalon For 10% On Any Order At Avalonx.Us And MDlogichealth.Com!

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AVALONX BERBERINEUse The Code Melanieavalon For 10% On Any Order At Avalonx.Us And MDlogichealth.Com!

BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At melanieavalon.com/beautycounter or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow And Use The Code CLEANFORALL20 For 20% Off PLUS Something Magical Might Happen After Your First Order! Find Your Perfect Beautycounter Products With Melanie's Quiz: Melanieavalon.Com/Beautycounterquiz
Join Melanie's Facebook Group Clean Beauty And Safe Skincare With Melanie Avalon To Discuss And Learn About All The Things Clean Beauty, Beautycounter And Safe Skincare!

Go To cynthiathurlow.com/creatine and use code CYNTHIA for 10% off!

Episode 292: Creatine, Brain Health, Sex Hormones, Muscle Building, Insulin Sensitivity, Sarcopenia, Andropause, Mood, Motivation, BDNF, And More!

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LMNT: For A Limited Time Go To drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast To Get A FREE Sample Pack With Any Purchase And try the chocolate medley while supplies last! Learn All About Electrolytes In Episode 237 - Our Interview With Robb Wolf!

Listener Q&A: Dillon - Too “Skin'ny"

Listener Q&A: Sarah - Toning Up

Listener Q&A: Marili - Hair dyes

Light Mountain | Madison Reed | Arctic Fox | VANICREAM™ Hair Spray

Go To melanieavalon.com/dime To Get 10% Off Site Wide At DIME Beauty!

Listener Q&A: Kelly - Cortisol

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #118 - Dr. Michael Breus

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #148 - Dr. Michael Breus (Part 2)

GREEN CHEF: Go To greenchef.com/ifpodcast And Use Code IFPODCAST To Get $5.99 Per Meal Plus Free Shipping On Your First Box!

Listener Q&A: Lynn - Jet Lag

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #112 - Dr. John Lieurance

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode # 3 - Dr. Kirk Parsley

Use The Code MELANIEAVALON At Melanieavalon.Com/Sleepremedy For 10% Off!!

Ep. 233 How to Optimize Your Hormones & Metabolism For Vitality

Our content does not constitute an attempt to practice medicine, and does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. Please consult a qualified health care provider for medical advice and answers to personal health questions.


Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 294 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting, then this show is for you. I'm Melanie Avalon, biohacker and author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Cynthia Thurlow, Nurse Practitioner and author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: A 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and cynthiathurlow.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this show do not constitute medical advice or treatment and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. So, pour yourself a mug of black coffee, a cup of tea, or even a glass of wine if it's that time and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.

Hi friends, I am so thrilled to announce that my next AvalonX supplement is official and almost here. It is something that I currently take every single day of my life and that is berberine. I first started taking berberine when I first started using a continuous glucose monitor which constantly monitored my blood sugar levels, I found that taking berberine had a dramatic effect on my fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels. Berberine is a plant alkaloid which has been shown to rival metformin when it comes to reducing blood sugar levels without any of the side effects. Blood sugar regulation is so important for health. It's a key factor in metabolic syndrome and preventatively taking care of your blood sugar levels or treating high blood sugar levels is so, so important for health and longevity. That's why I am thrilled to be making a berberine supplement. And it's not just blood sugar control, berberine has been shown to have so many benefits. It's been shown in studies to beneficially modulate adipose tissue. It can actually help change the composition of your fat to a more healthy profile. Think less visceral fat, which is the inflammatory fat found around our organs. It's also been shown to have beneficial effects on PCOS and reductions in inflammation and is a potent stimulator of autophagy which is one of our favorite things. Berberine has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on blood lipids, which is huge, and I wanted to make the best berberine on the market, we looked so hard to find a source of Berberine that tested to be high potency and free of pesticides. Yes, we did third party lab testing on our source as well as testing to assure its quality. It has been tested multiple times for toxins including heavy metals and mold and has no problematic fillers. It also comes in a glass bottle to help prevent leaching of plastics into ourselves and the environment. This is the berberine that you want I promise and it is coming at midnight of Friday, December 16. To get all of the updates about it definitely get on my email list that's at avalonx.us/emaillist, we'll be announcing the launch special on that list. You can also get text updates and a 20% off coupon by texting AVALONX to 877-861-8318. That's AVALONX to 877-861-8318.

By the way, if you would like to get a CGM to monitor your blood sugar levels and see just how berberine is affecting it, you can get $30 off NutriSense CGM at nutrisense.io/ifpodcast with the coupon code IFPODCAST, that's nutrisense.io/ifpodcast with a coupon code IFPODCAST. If you'd to get any of my other amazing supplements at avalonx.us, use the coupon code MELANIEAVALON to get 10% off sitewide at avalonx.us. You can also use that coupon code MELANIEAVALON to get 10% off sitewide and my fantastic partner MD Logic Health for that go to melanieavalon.com/mdlogic.

And one more thing before we jump in, are you fasting clean inside and out? When it comes to weight loss, we focus a lot on what and when we eat. It makes sense because these foods affect our hormones and how our bodies store and burn fat. But do you know what is possibly one of the most influential factors in weight gain? It's not your food and it's not fasting, it's actually our skincare and makeup. As it turns out, Europe has banned over a thousand compounds found in conventional skincare and makeup in the US due to their toxicity. These include endocrine disrupters, which mess with your hormones, carcinogens linked to cancer, and obesogens, which literally can cause your body to store and gain weight. Basically, when we're using conventional skincare and makeup, we are giving these obesogenic compounds direct access to our bloodstream. And then in our bodies, studies have shown they do things, like reduce our satiety hormones, increase our hunger hormones, make fat cells more likely to store fat, and more resistant to burning fat, and so much more. If you have stubborn fat, friends, your skincare and makeup may be playing a role in that. Beyond weight gain and weight loss, these compounds have very detrimental effects on our health and they affect the health of our future generations. That's because ladies when we have babies, a huge percent of those toxic compounds go through the placenta into the newborn. It is so, so shocking and the effects last for years. 

Conventional lipstick, for example, often tests high in lead and the half-life of lead is up to 30 years. That means when you put on some conventional lipstick, 30 years later maybe half of that lead has left your bones. On top of that, there is essentially no regulation of these products on the shelves. That's why it's up to us to choose brands that are changing this. The brand that is working the hardest to do this is Beautycounter. They were founded on a mission to change this. Every single ingredient is extensively tested to be safe for your skin, so you can truly feel good about what you put on. And friends, these products really, really work. They are incredible. They have counter time for anti-aging, counter match for normal skin, counter control for acne and oily prone, and counter start for sensitive. I use their Overnight Resurfacing Peel and vitamin C serum every single night of my life. And their makeup is amazing. Check out my Instagram to see what it looks like. Tina Fey, even wore all Beautycounter makeup when she hosted The Golden Globes. So, yes, it is high-definition camera ready. They have so many other products, deodorant, shampoo, and conditioner that I love, products for babies, and so much more. You can shop with us at beautycounter.com/melanieavalon or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow and use the coupon code, CLEANFORALL20 to get 20% off your first order. Also make sure to get on my clean beauty email list. That's at melanieavalon.com/cleanbeauty. I give away a lot of free things on that list. So, definitely check it out. You can join me in my Facebook Group, Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare with Melanie Avalon. People share their experiences, ask questions, give product reviews, and I do a giveaway every single week in that group as well.

And lastly, if you're thinking of making Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare a part of your future we have, we definitely recommend becoming a Band of Beauty member. It's sort of Amazon Prime for clean beauty. You get 10% back in product credit, free shipping on qualifying orders, and a welcome gift that is worth way more than the price of the yearlong membership. It is totally completely worth it. So, again, to shop with us, go to beautycounter.com/melanieavalon or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow and use the coupon code, CLEANFORALL20 to get 20% off your first order. And we'll put all this information in the show notes. All right, now back to the show.

Hi, everybody and welcome. This is episode number 294 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Cynthia Thurlow.

Cynthia Thurlow: Hey, Melanie.

Melanie Avalon: How are you, Cynthia?

Cynthia Thurlow: I'm doing well. I'm super excited. We're a couple of weeks into the creatine and we're getting such great feedback. It's really exciting. And I have to thank you for encouraging me to do my own supplements as opposed to white labeling supplements as I had been doing.

Melanie Avalon: I'm so excited for you. By the time this airs, it will have come out right? This airs December 5th.

Cynthia Thurlow: Correct.

Melanie Avalon: So, just as a recap, why did you choose creatine as your first supplement?

Cynthia Thurlow: I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I was getting more involved in the research. I myself over the last year started taking creatine last fall and was noticing a lot of beneficial gains in the gym, every week increased the amount of weight I was lifting. And that's been really important to me because I psychologically like to know that I'm getting stronger, not weaker with age. And we understand the complex in relationship between how we start losing muscle mass, and frankly bone mass in our 40s. It's really important to help maintain that. My thought process was I want all my supplements to be focused on two key areas. One is maintaining muscle mass and number two is anything that's going to be helpful for supporting brain and cognition. Creatine was an easy first start because both men and women benefit from taking creatine, but in particular, really my life's work is really helping women understand how it can benefit them. And I think there's a lot of common misconceptions, but it's probably one of the most well researched ergogenic aids or supplements that's out there and I just like people to understand how it can benefit them and not just about the muscle piece, but understand there are certain times during our menstrual cycle where our creatine needs go up and why vegetarians or vegans actually need more creatine than the rest of us. And taking into account the changes in physiology as we get older. For all those reasons, I decided that I would keep it pretty simple. I think you and I are in alignment that we'd like to keep the supplements simple so that we know what works or what doesn't work. And so, creatine all by itself seemed to be a good starting point.

Melanie Avalon: It's interesting because it's something that wasn't really hardcore on my radar or I think maybe I was sort of writing it off in my mind, because I associated it with a protein supplement, probably erroneously. And I was like "I don't need to take any protein-related stuff." But I'm realizing more and more how it's not really about that, as all of these other benefits and I've been hearing it pop up on so many places, so many books, podcasts. So, I'm really, really excited to get yours. We were mentioning the vegan thing, there's that one I would say famous, I realized I probably think things are famous that aren't famous. But there's that one well-known study that looks at creatine supplementation in vegans versus omnivores. And it's debated because they try to debate the interpretation of the results. But me reading it, I think it makes a strong case that vegans likely are, needing creatine to have better brain function compared to meat eaters. What makes your creatine special?

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, we really went to the research and it's creatine monohydrate. So, it's a pure form of creatine without fillers, there's no concerns about contaminants. I think the high-quality nature of it, I always jokingly say that you have to be careful where you buy your supplements and who you buy them from. And I just felt that MD Logic was the right company to partner with so that I could get the quality of supplements that I was looking for. But creatine monohydrate is the form of creatine that's best studied. And something that's important for people to understand is that you can't get enough of it from your diet, and just like everything else, we make less of it as we get older. I think for a lot of people, we made the association at the gym bro thing, you think about people that are using anabolic steroids. I just remind individuals that the amount that we're recommending based on the research is much smaller than what bodybuilders are using. It's not as if you're going to get puffy or start retaining water that's not going to happen because we're using therapeutic amounts as opposed to super therapeutic amounts that are used in that population of individuals.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm glad you mentioned that. I think that was one of the main associations I had in my head, which is why I was miss categorizing it and its potential benefits. And I know I can also speak because I know you're working with MD Logic. So, it's going to be tested multiple times for purity and potency, and for toxins and heavy metals and mold, which is, that's really important to me. How can people get your creatine and you have code for listeners?

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, the code is CYNTHIA to get 10% off. You can go to cynthiathurlow.com/new-shop/creatine/ and that will get you direct access to a really interesting page of information. And you can use code CYNTHIA to get 10% off and we'll make sure we put that in the show notes.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Okie Dokie. So, we will put all of that in the show notes. I do want to share just I mentioned I was going to share something last week. I wanted to share it really quickly because I know with the timing of this, and the holidays for two reasons, all the food festivities coming up and also, I know people are looking for gifts and I think this would be the most amazing gift ever. I have something in my life now that I am obsessed with. I'm beyond obsessed. Do you have a composter?

Cynthia Thurlow: I do not. We weren't allowed to have them in our last neighborhood outside.

Melanie Avalon: So, a brand actually reached out to us wanting to partner with IF Podcast, so I'm hoping we can partner with them in the new year. We were booked with inventory for this year, but I did book them for my other show and it's Lomi. It's a composter that you can have in your kitchen. Friends. Oh, my goodness. I've been wanting to compost for so long, but it seemed very daunting. It just seemed like a big task. I have been throwing away as you guys know, I eat so many cucumbers. I throw away pounds of cucumber peels every night. And now I put all of my cucumber peels and all of my cilantro stems into this wonderful little device. It's like if you think of a crockpot, it's probably the size of two crockpots. But it's very sleek and savvy and quiet and I just have it down on the floor next to my trashcan. I throw all of my scraps in it every single night. I press the button, it runs overnight, and the next morning, it's magically turned into dirt. It is the most incredible thing. And you can put in these little pellets that will make it more microbial-rich dirt if you want to use that dirt to put in the garden or grow stuff yourself. I don't I just actually throw out the actual dirt. But it's becoming one of my favorite things. And I'm so happy it's in my life with all of the waste coming up off the holidays and are looking for a gift. This would be an amazing gift for people. I wanted to share it for so long because I've been so obsessed. So, now's the time, hopefully we'll have a code for them on the show in the new year. But for now, if you go to lowmi.com/melanieavalon, the coupon code MELANIEAVALON will get you $50 off. So, definitely check it out. It's honestly one of my favorite things.

Cynthia Thurlow: That's so awesome, yeah, our last HOA was really strict and so even the crunchy people in our neighborhood couldn't have composters, just silly to me. But maybe this will force me to revisit the concept because I have a husband who likes to garden. That's his thing, he loves planting fruits and vegetables and loves being out in the yard and doing yard work, and maybe that will encourage him to make good use of things that otherwise get tossed or put down the garbage disposal.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, you have it inside. You have it in your kitchen, so anybody can really have it. It's just so cool, the first time you do it too if you haven't done it before, though it's so cool to put in all of these food scraps, and then it's just this nice dirt in the morning and the dirt, it smells really good. It's fruity-smelling dirt for me at least because it's the cucumbers. And yeah, definitely check that out.

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Melanie Avalon: Okei dokei, shall we get into some listener questions for today?

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely.

Melanie Avalon: To start things off, we have two questions. I'm going to read both of them because they speak to a similar concept and it's something that we've talked about on the show before. But I really wanted to get Cynthia's input on this and see what she has experienced with her patients. So, the first question comes from Dylan, the subject is "Too "skin"ny." Hey, ladies love the podcast, I started listening in the middle of January this year when I started my IF journey. And I've since caught up and listened to every episode, you're both so funny and encouraging. I'm typically on a 24 routine but often find that I eat all of my food within one to two hours and I feel satisfied. I also do a 44-hour fast once every other week. Since January, I've lost over 50 pounds and have 10 more to go, but I'm at my target weight. I started at 235 pounds, the heaviest I've ever been. I'm also happy with the fact that I'm gaining muscle about as quickly as I'm burning fat by doing occasional HIIT and light weightlifting.

My question is regarding extra skin. I've lost weight so rapidly that I have a lot of extra skin, especially in my abdominal area. Will my body eventually begin to shed the extra skin through autophagy? Do you have any tips for reducing stretch marks without expensive creams or lotions? Any tips regarding this will be greatly appreciated. Keep up the great work. I recommended your podcast to several friends and coworkers and a few of them have started their own IF journeys. One of those converts is a friend of mine who is beginning his residency to become a physician. And by researching several papers and studies is now a major advocate for fasting. Regards, Dylan. First of all, I'm going to say, Dylan, that's awesome about sharing it with doctors because it's really nice to get some of this perspective into the mainstream medical community.

And we have a question from Sarah, the subject is "Toning up." Sarah says, "I've been doing IF around six weeks and I've just been introduced to your podcast, which I'm listening to on catch-up. So, apologies if my question is answered in a podcast that I haven't reached yet. I am doing IF for weight loss and anything extra from clean fasting is a bonus. With large weight loss comes saggy skin, will I have help with this over time or will I need additional exercises to target this? Loving the podcasts. All right, so Cynthia, have you had experience with this?

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, so thank you to Dylan and Sarah for your questions. And yes, they are very similar in terms of people that have lost quite a bit of weight and are looking to have some improvement in the excess skin. One thing that I say to patients is in many ways when your skin stretches out, it's been stretched out for a period of time, depending on how old you are, obviously if you're a perimenopausal, menopausal it's going to be harder because as we're losing estrogen that is critically important for collagen and elastin formation. That doesn't mean it's impossible but I do find when people have lost large amounts of weight that sometimes it becomes more challenging. Now there are specific types of lasers, there are topical products that can help to some degree. But I would be remiss if I were to say that I think all of that can be ameliorated just with weight loss and fasting. But I think it really comes down to what bothers you and how aggressively you want to fix it.

I'm an advocate of people feeling comfortable in their bodies and feeling comfortable with where they are, but probably if you're feeling doing laser to help stimulate more collagen and elastin and if that's not something that's going to fix the problem or topical things are not going to be aggressive enough, then you could potentially move on to surgical interventions. And obviously, I'm not a plastic surgeon and I can't speak for them. But for a lot of my patients, they end up getting to a point where they want to surgically address this, I have just as many that are comfortable doing nonsurgical options as an aside, but as you are getting more to your ideal weights, there will be some changes to the skin, but a lot of it can be mitigated by, where we are in time and space, obviously a 30-year-old losing a bunch of weight, it's going to be-- they're going to have a better rebound effect than someone that's a little bit older. And just when women have pregnancies and they stretch their abdomens out over a period of 40 weeks, for many people they do get some rebound of that skin and really a lot of it can be genetically mediated. In a very broad context, I think that a lot of it is dependent on what you're doing and what bothers you enough? For some people, they're completely comfortable pulling on some Spanx and going about their day for others that would be problematic, but I would wait till you get closer to your goal weight before examining what options are available. What do you think Melanie?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I know Dr. Fung has talked in the past about how one of the things they noticed in their weight loss clinics with fasting patients is that the fasting patients wouldn't experience all or at least the extent of saggy skin effects that people often see with weight loss. And I think he's proposed that it could be something with the autophagy that's going on there helping to mitigate that effect. I do think that losing weight with fasting can potentially have a more beneficial effect on the excess skin and the effects like. I agree completely with everything Cynthia said. This is something where depending on how intense it is, I know Dylan was saying that he was not so much interested in expensive creams or lotions. I do think most creams or lotions are probably not going to do that much. That said I actually do think there is a benefit to some topical treatment especially because you can put these compounds directly on the skin. I would to formulate some sort of cream in the future that might help with skin tightening. That said the most effective thing is probably going to be what Cynthia mentioned with the lasers and the things like that. I actually really, really like-- I've done something called CryoSlim, it's a cold therapy application and a warm therapy that has a really nice skin tightening effect, also building muscle in the area can be great depending on where the area is filling up that area with muscle and having a beneficial effect on the perception of the skin. And especially I've talked about it before, but I've been doing a lot of EmSculpt, which is muscle stimulation-- electrical muscle stimulation and I've actually built a lot of muscle using it. And it has the added benefit if you do the Emsculpt Neo specifically.

It also has a radiofrequency application, I believe it's radiofrequency that also has a skin-tightening and fat-burning effect. And so, people might think that who am I to make a testimony about this? But I think when you do get down to the really intense lingering things, you really can tell what is working and what's not. And I've seen a huge effect on some personal areas doing the Emsculpt Neo in particular. And I really, really like that because you get the muscle-building effects, which is going to have a huge benefit for metabolic health. And then on top of that it seems to have a really nice effect on the skin surrounding the area as well. But then there are also lots of other skin tightening options and I do think there're a lot there. So, you can just like cut those different options out, again that is going to be a more expensive and committed route to go. Shall we go on to our next question?

Cynthia Thurlow: This is from Marilee and the subject is "Hair dyes." "Hello, do you dye your hair? What do you use? Hair dyes have all the nasty ingredients, so I'm wondering what are your thoughts on that. I am bleaching my hair monthly and I'm wondering where all the nasty stuff I'm ingesting through my skin. Also, I'm from Estonia and was shocked in a positive way that Melanie has two podcasts with my fellow Estonian, Siim Land. Best wishes," Marilee. Melanie, what are your thoughts on this?

Melanie Avalon: Also, I did not plan this last week. I know we were talking a lot about Siim Land. I am all about the nontoxic environment, cleaning up our exposure to toxins in our environment. I don't know how much I can talk about it. I feel I talk about it all the time. I'm going to be completely honest and transparent. I haven't done this with my hair dye. I'm actually blonde, I'm dirty blonde, I lighten it, I probably should look more into this, but I've just personally decided that I've cleaned up everything else so much, all of my skincare, all of my makeup, my food, my environment, the hair is the one thing where I'm just going to just do it and I'm not going to stress about it. That said, I know it is probably something in the future that hopefully I will look into more. And I did look into it little bit and interestingly I have a Facebook group you can join called Clean Beauty And Safe Skincare With Melanie Avalon. And people have asked this before, somebody actually asked about this last week, which was perfect timing. And there were about 30 comments of people having suggestions. Some of the things that came up and I would recommend that you do some further research on these because again I don't have experience with them. And I didn't hardcore vet them. Well, a lot of people in the group-- I actually think that the nature of the question was somebody was saying she wanted to use henna and again this would not be for lightening. This wouldn't be for Marilee's issue. But for people who are going dark, she was saying that she was thinking of using henna and her hair girl was saying that it could have heavy metals in it and be an issue. Comments, people were saying they did not have that experience and we're not aware of that and I haven't seen that anywhere else. So, I don't know if that's an issue, but henna is often used to go darker.

There's a brand I found called Light Mountain and again, it's really hard to know if this is greenwashing or not. And by greenwashing, I mean are they just using a lot of words to make it seem really great when it's not, but I think erring on the side of at least companies that are purporting to be more nontoxic is probably a safe choice. On Light Mountain's website they say that the premier natural hair color and conditioner product line, they say they use no chemicals, no synthetic ingredients, only pure premium henna and other botanicals that they've been blending since the 1980s and are leading totally natural line in the natural products industry. So, you could look into them. Another person recommended Tints of Nature, which they actually sell on Thrive Market and according to them they say we use the lowest possible levels of PPD pigments and leave out harsh ingredients like ammonia. They say they ensure that all of the ingredients are high quality and sourced from responsible suppliers who do their bit to protect the planet. They believe that natural ingredients are better and they prefer to use kind and gentle natural and organic ingredients that give love back to your hair. They leave out synthetic nasties like ammonia parabens, resorcinol, I don't know what that is, and sulfates and they say the only time they use synthetic ingredients are when they cannot find a suitable natural alternative. That might be an option to look into. A lot of people have recommended Madison Reed, it was hard for me to evaluate if they are great or if it was greenwashing. But in any case, it's probably better than what most people are normally getting, so that might be something to look into. So those are the options that I am recommending. Cynthia, do you dye or color your hair?

Right now, I'm doing a lot of Lowlights because we're heading out of summer and I actually like a really ashy blonde. With each kiddo, my hair got darker and so I do partial highlights throughout the year. I don't use bleach because I have that ashy look and so there's a constant battle to keep that ashy look and not be gold and so bleach for me doesn't really work well. Admittedly my hair is definitely an area where I struggle a bit to find cleaner products. I use things like argon oil to help with frizz and that's obviously clean that's made in Morocco and you can find organic derivatives. But I would say the two that I'm most familiar with the clean hair dye options or cleaner, Madison Reed as Melanie also just identified and also there's a company called Arctic Fox. I have a couple of girlfriends who use that, it's vegan. According to them it works really well on lighter-colored hair, but can work well on dark hair as well. Beyond that, my hair colorist, we try to find the cleanest options that are available but this is definitely an area where I'm constantly a work in progress because I have very coarse hair and so for me using the super clean shampoos generally don't-- They don't clean my hair all that well and they don't moisturize it sufficiently so we're constantly trying different things to find cleaner options, but Arctic Fox and Madison Reed are two options and I think those are available to people that they can purchase on their own. You don't have to purchase it through your hairstylist, but yeah there's not 100% consensus on finding things that are easier on our hair and nontoxic. I know a lot of people, you're starting to see emerging trends. I'm starting to see a lot of women that are middle-aged that aren't dyeing their hair anymore. For me, I don't have a lot of gray so that wouldn't per se necessarily help me out, but I think for each one of us we have to pick our poisons if you will, and for me right now I just haven't been able to go 100% clean on shampoo or hair dye, but I definitely endeavor to keep looking for cleaner, safer options.

Melanie Avalon: So, on the shampoo, conditioner front. I do love, love, love, Beautycounter's shampoo and conditioner. It doesn't weigh my hair down. I just really love how it makes my hair feel. They used to be called Free & Clear. I think they're now called Vanicream, but they make a completely unscented allergen-friendly shampoo and conditioner. I like their shampoo. I like to pair actually their shampoo with the Beautycounter conditioner. Because I find if I do the Beautycounter conditioner and shampoo sometimes, it's too moisturizing for me. I also love their hairspray. I wish Beautycounter would make a hairspray, but I really, really like, like I said I think it's called Vanicream now. I really liked their Free & Clear hairspray, it has no perfumes and works really well. So, I'll put a link to that in the show notes as well. I can't believe I used to spray my whole face with all this hairspray that had all those perfumes and compounds in them. I shudder thinking about it. Now whenever I go get my hair done, she always wants to bring out the hairspray at the end. I'm like no, don't. Don't spray that on me.

Cynthia Thurlow: I think it's challenging and I don't pass judgment on people that are navigating how to make better options. It's interesting we're doing a webinar on Sunday night talking about cleaner options for your home and for your makeup. And I'm very transparent and just share with people that there are some things that are easy for me and some things are harder, and you just do the best that you can. And if you're avoiding 80% of what's out there, you're doing pretty darn good. So, don't beat yourself up.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I have that experience recently because I really wanted to try eyelash extensions. I was going on a trip to Austin and so I wanted to just try them and not have to deal with mascara. And I was researching it I was okay, well, this is going to require chemicals. But you just got to choose what you-- the cost benefit of everything. I did them, they were super fun, I will say that I took them out and I freaked out by how much my eyelashes seemed shorter. And it's hard to know if they actually were gone or if they just seemed so different compared to the extensions. But then that's the situation where-- so the way I start with eyelash extensions, putting them on the application process seemed more a one-off compared to a chronic administration. When I took them off, I was I've got to find a growth serum. I really wanted to find a clean one. And oh, my goodness, I am obsessed, friends, get this now or if you need gifts for anybody. I tried DIME Eyelash Growth Serum, it's amazing and that's something if you're going to be using it, you're probably using it every single day. So, it was important for me to find a clean version of it. The growth, I'm so excited because now I honestly think I'm going to have fuller more lush lashes than I did even before the extensions because I'm using this every single day, I'm just going to use this every day for the rest of my life. So, if you go to melanieavalon.com/dime the coupon code MELANIEAVALON will actually get you a discount sitewide but definitely try that lash growth serum. But yes, I definitely agree with you Cynthia about-- do the best you can, do a cost-benefit analysis, and just do what works best in your life.

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely, and I've had good luck with castor oil, that can be helpful for people that feel their eyelashes aren't as vibrant as they once were. I know for my eyes are super sensitive, so I could never be one of those people that could do eyelash extensions. But when I do special events, I'll do the individual eyelashes that are just temporary and I'll do those, and I can always feel like by day two my eyes are, "Please get this stuff off." I think a lot of it has to do with the glue. I certainly have had some friends who've done really well with eyelash extensions and others that have struggled a bit, so lots of options there for sure.

Melanie Avalon: Well, I'm really glad I did them, they were super fun. If I hadn't done them, I wouldn't have looked into this growth serum. And now I'm just really excited, it's like I'm going to have the most luscious eyelashes ever naturally. I had one more comment "Oh, castor oil," castor oil just makes me want to cry. When I was in my really-- my face when I was really struggling with constipation, people will recommend castor oil to fix that. Have you ever taken castor oil? Have you ever--

Cynthia Thurlow: I never have.

Melanie Avalon: I can't even think about it. It is the worst? It is the most foul thing I have ever put in my body, the taste of it is just mm-hmm. Yes, castor oil makes me shudder. But that's different than you're saying putting it on your eyelashes.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: Very cool.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, I have some friends that have had really good luck with that.

Melanie Avalon: Nice. If it didn't make me want to cry, I would try that.

Cynthia Thurlow: No, we don't want to induce crying, that would be bad.

Melanie Avalon: Listeners, though, can check out the show notes. We'll put links to everything that we talked about. I feel bad for our editor, Brianna for this one because there're so many show notes to create. Okay, shall we go on to our next question?

Cynthia Thurlow: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Avalon: We have a question from Kelly. The subject is "Cortisol." And Kelly says "Hi ladies, thanks for all that you do for the podcast. It has helped me and so many others. I've been listening since episode 3." Wow. "And look forward to the new podcast every week. I've been intermittent fasting for six months now and loving it. One side effect I've noticed is being easily startled in the afternoon before I break my fast. I sometimes have one cup of coffee early in the morning, but notice it on days that I don't have coffee too. Does this have to do with cortisol levels, can you speak to the effect of fasting on cortisol levels as a whole?" Thanks.

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, Kelly, there're many things that could impact how you're feeling and when we talk about coffee, quality is certainly important. Much a lot of crops, coffee is prone to exposure to mycotoxins or mold. When people sometimes feel differently on days that they're consuming coffee or not consuming coffee, I always think about contaminants. But obviously, if your body is dependent on the caffeine that could also explain why you are feeling like you're having a slump in the afternoon and yes, could that be mediated by cortisol, it could also be mediated by what you're breaking your fast with. So, there're many nuances here. Cortisol is definitely influencing many things that go on in the body, cortisol goes up in response to our circadian biology. And when we get up in the morning, that's when cortisol should be highest. it ebbs and flows throughout the day, and is lowest in the evening, except for our unicorn co-host, Melanie Avalon. But certainly, in me that's how you know, my energy is greatest in the morning and early afternoon, and then throughout the rest of the day, it's waxing and waning, but still fairly consistent. But you have to think about fasting as a hormetic stressor. If your body perceives it's too much stress, it can increase your cortisol in a non-beneficial way. And so, I think you really have to take into account many things when considering the net impact on fasting, it can be impacted by the foods you choose to consume, how's your sleep, what's your stress management style like? What kind of exercise are you doing? Where are you in your menstrual cycle? All of which can be impacted negatively or positively by when or how much fasting you are embracing? I think really sitting down and getting nuanced about how caffeine influences how you feel in the afternoon, you mentioned easily startled, yes, caffeine is a stimulant, so some people are slow metabolizers of coffee or caffeine and others are faster metabolizers of caffeine and so that can also play a role as well. But I think looking at it comprehensively getting a little bit nuanced and also understanding, not wanting to overfast because that can impact your cortisol, understanding where you're on your menstrual cycle and how is stress and sleep and nutrition impacting your cortisol as well? What do you think, Melanie?

Melanie Avalon: So, speaking to the fact that she has this startling effect if she has coffee or not. It sounds like she's having this wired feeling regardless of the caffeine. And it probably is related, I would guess, to fasting and being in that sympathetic state. So, the fasted state does upregulate hormones and neurotransmitters that are energetic and make you active, so norepinephrine, epinephrine, cortisol. Yes, that startling feeling, coffee or not that you experience with fasting definitely could be playing a role. As far as the effects of fasting on cortisol levels. We actually talked about this in a lot of detail on an episode where we were discussing a study, I think it's when we were talking about a blog post that Dr. Sarah Ballantyne had done on this, and she referenced a study looking at the effects of fasting on cortisol levels. And, actually, I think it was the effects of later eating--fasting with later eating on cortisol levels. And the fascinating thing about that study is I went and looked at it and it seemed that having a fasting window during the day with eating later, really did create the cortisol pattern that we'd want to see with the caveat of like Cynthia saying over fasting and having too much cortisol, but basically, our natural cortisol rhythm, we should get a bump in the morning with the dawn effect. And the purpose is to prep the body with fuel for the day, release glycogen from the liver, so you can get up and go and as a hunter-gatherer get up and go find your meal. It's normal to see a cortisol bump in the morning and then it should slowly taper throughout the day.

It seems that eating later can further stimulate that pattern where you have higher cortisol in the morning and lower cortisol at night. I think fasting can pair really well with cortisol levels. But again, you do want to be careful, Cynthia was saying that you're not going too much with it and releasing too much cortisol not being able to have a beneficial cortisol pattern. It's also interesting. I've interviewed Dr. Michael Breus on my show multiple times. He points out that most people should have these normal cortisol levels, but there's one chronotype-- one sleep chronotype that he calls the dolphin which I am and we're unique in that we naturally get a cortisol bump at night, regardless. I think that's actually a reason that I do so well with eating at night is because I can counter that cortisol bump and because when I eat my main, my big meal, I find that it really reduces my cortisol levels. Well, I don't measure them, but I'm assuming it does. That's the experience that I personally experience. And so that's one reason that I really like my fasting pattern for me personally with my cortisol levels. But yes, the startling it is, I can definitely see how fasting would be encouraging that response.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, absolutely. And I think this is where that piece and bio-individuality really plays in. As an example, Melanie and I are recording this podcast at 5:45 PM, which means she's just getting revved up and my body is okay, we're going to be in bed in a couple of hours. And I think, really leaning into our physiology and doing a degree of experimentation to find out what supports your body. I know I have plenty of patients and clients that do better with tea as opposed to coffee in many ways, there can sometimes be less caffeine in some of the bitter teas. I would experiment to see how you respond to that. You can certainly, depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, you may respond more readily and more easily to longer fast, shorter fast, etc.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's a great suggestion. Yeah, a lot of people do well with the green tea and also a lot of people, I've seen people pair theanine with caffeine and find that it can mitigate some of that so that people can have a less stressful response to the caffeine. So that might be something to try.

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Cynthia Thurlow: Sure. This is from Lynn, subject is "Jetlag." "I love love, love your show. I'm working my way through your previous episodes. It really helped me the first couple of weeks of intermittent fasting to listen to your shows daily. I started on January 1, 2018 and I'm down 19 pounds and counting. I'm currently doing one meal a day. My question is regarding travel and eating to prevent jetlag. I heard about a study from some, can't remember which one, a university that to start eating a day before on the time of the place you're going to prevent jetlag. Have you ladies traveled far? And how do you do with jetlag? I'm in Hawaii to meet up with my husband who is stationed in Japan for two years. It's a quick trip. Intermittent fasting makes it easy when you're traveling for sure. I really struggled with jetlag yesterday, I also use melatonin and a homeopathic med to help. I still struggle with it. Even in Hawaii, I still want to eat at my scheduled time in Virginia. I am going to Japan this summer, who knows what or how I'll feel in Japan? Any thoughts on food, intermittent fasting, and jetlag? Thank you for all you do. You are an inspiration for all of us out there trying to make this work."

Melanie Avalon: Awesome, thank you, Lynn for your question. I used to travel internationally, I mean, relatively a lot, every year mostly. I haven't done that since I've started fasting. I've just traveled domestically, but I can still speak to it. And I'll be super curious to hear Cynthia's thoughts because she's traveling all the time, I feel internationally. There's been a really interesting study on jetlag and fasting specifically and how fasting can help basically mitigate the effects of jetlag. And the way the setup is, is rather than eating before, she's talking about starting with the way she's eating before traveling, they advocate just once you get to the new place it's fasting and then eating on the time zone of the new place once you get there. So, personally just traveling domestically, so obviously, the biggest difference would only be a three-hour difference. I found that I have zero issues. Whenever I travel between LA and East Coast regardless of which way I'm going, I just fast as I normally do, and then I eat my dinner in my new location. And it immediately sets me back to that wherever I am, I have zero issues, zero.

Our food and our circadian rhythm regarding our food intake can heavily influence our sleep circadian rhythm. Because if you think about it, you could be completely awake and then you could eat a massive meal and get really tired or you could be exhausted and fasted and hungry and not be able to fall asleep. There's a big effect on our food intake and our sleep. It could be a really nice hack to use fasting and then just eat on the time zone of we're going. But again, I haven't done this internationally. Cynthia, what are your thoughts?

Cynthia Thurlow: This is such a great question. Because I am a world traveler. This is one of my great joys in life is traveling. So gosh, in the past 18 months, we've been to Africa, we've been to Europe, I do a lot of West Coast travel. I do find for me I just get on the plane and I generally just fast and I stay hydrated. And then as soon as I arrived, so I try to get on the schedule of wherever I'm going. So, if I arrive in the morning, what typically happens when you arrive in Europe, you're arriving in there morning, I will try to stay fasted until lunchtime, which is generally when I break my fast. Obviously, when I've traveled to Africa, most recently, you arrive in the evening. And I typically-- if I'm hungry, I'll eat but if I'm not hungry, I'll just go to bed and then the next morning, I'll get up and I'll eat around the time I would at home, even though it's the middle of the night at home. But I think when you really look at the research, it takes about one day per hour of time difference. So usually, a solid week in Europe when it's six plus hours ahead and in Africa, I would imagine Japan is going to take a bit longer because that's more than 12 hours I believe ahead of the East Coast. But obviously, it depends on where your husband is stationed. I think that you can absolutely integrate fasting into helping support jetlag, I think staying really well hydrated and trying to get light exposure on your retinas is going to be important. The other thing I've learned is that I travel really well when I go East and I always struggle a bit more when I go West, I can actually travel more easily to Europe or Africa. And I struggle more when I go to California and I suspect it's because being ahead is easier than being behind.

So, my body at 8 o'clock at night is saying it's really late for me, "Don't laugh Melanie." 11 o'clock at night is late for me, but in my mind even though it's 8:00 PM pacific standard time my body is really struggling to stay awake. I think just understanding it's going to take a period of time, it could take up to two weeks, you may be actually in Japan for that amount of time, so it may take a bit of time to acclimate. And really just being open to the fact that you're going to have a couple of days where you're probably going to drag. But the one thing that I've learned that's been really helpful is staying hydrated, resting when I need to, and then making sure I'm eating the proper macros. Again, protein, vegetables work really well for me regardless of where I am, if I start eating a bunch of junk and I start drinking a lot of alcohol, which I don't do, that would definitely worsen the jetlag for me, so hopefully, that's helpful. And enjoy your time in Japan.

Melanie Avalon: It's so funny, that really speaks to the bio-individuality aspect because for me traveling from Atlanta to LA, I love it because it just gives me a longer fast, it basically adds on, I guess, three additional hours of fasting and I often think every night anyways, "Oh, I could fast for another three hours." So, it's my dream situation. I'm curious, did you have a different experience of jetlag and all of that before you were fasting?

Cynthia Thurlow: I have been, so this is our-- I say everyone has priorities and travel has always been hours. I struggled more with jetlag when I was in my 20s. By the time I got to my 30s, so obviously my 20s and 30s. I wasn't fasting. When I got into my 30s, I remember when we went to Greece for our honeymoon, I was miserable trying to stay awake. So, do I think that fasting probably has helped, potentially, I think I'm also much more aware of the net impact of lifestyle and how that plays in with jetlag. And, I probably walked around chronically dehydrated for years, which probably exacerbated my jetlag. So yeah, I can honestly tell you that I was that person who walked around feeling I was drunk for days. And it was because I just couldn't get over that sleep pump. And, obviously, I would say I've traveled pretty effortlessly since fasting, largely because I understand how to fuel my body. And I think that makes a big difference. And honestly, more often than not, when I'm in an airport or when I'm traveling even domestically, I generally will stay hydrated. I'll drink a lot of electrolytes, but I'll just fast in anticipation of wherever I'm going to. That's a good question.

Melanie Avalon: Fasting is such a wonderful hack and tool for travel I think and not having to deal with airplane food and not feeling chained to having to deal with the meal aspect of it. And yeah, I just find it so, so helpful.

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely, and I think it's interesting that one of the standard questions that I think we both get on social media is what do you do when you travel? So, I always travel with the if in need these are the things I'll eat, but I always travel with, Paleovalley beef jerky. I always travel with salted Macadamia nuts, because if I get in a position where I'm really hungry, I don't want to eat crap and most airports here in the US there's a lot of junk, I mean, occasionally you get unicorn airports but generally, there's just a lot of processed junk so, I always have that available if I need it. But it's easy just to stay hydrated. I mean I used to carry glass water bottles and depends on how much traveling I'm doing but now sometimes I'll just go in and buy, I know it's trying to find the happy medium of do I want to carry around a glass water bottle for four or five days or do I want to just buy a bottle of FIJI water and use some electrolytes in it and just forgive myself for the exposure to plastics and just be done with it.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, goes back to deciding what's worth it and what's the cost-benefit and I will comment on the melatonin piece. I'm a huge fan of melatonin, I had concerns about it down-regulating melatonin production and whether or not I should take it nightly, but learning more about it, especially reading Dr. John Lieurance's book, I think he calls it Melatonin Miracle. I learned a lot about melatonin and realized it has a lot of antioxidant effects and people do high-dose melatonin supplementation and I've interviewed Dr. Kirk Parsley about this and he has a little bit of melatonin in his sleep remedy supplement which can be really, really amazing. Oh, by the way, I definitely recommend that supplement if you are looking for something to help you naturally fall asleep without pharmaceutical aids. We can get it at melanieavalon.com/sleepremedy and the coupon code MELANIEAVALON will get you 10% off. I think if I were to travel something where I had to just make myself fall asleep because of the timing issue, I would definitely probably do some high dosing of melatonin. I think Peter Attia has talked about this and I think he's more hesitant about melatonin, but he did say on a podcast I listened to recently that he will do the high-dose melatonin route to adjust to time zones.

Cynthia Thurlow: It's interesting, I interviewed Dr. Kyle Gillett, he is a functional medicine provider and we talked about melatonin because to me I use melatonin and it is a master antioxidant. Yes, it can help with sleep, but there are so many benefits and for people North of 40 in particular, many of them have very depleted amounts of melatonin in their bodies. And so, thinking of it from that perspective is very different. But he actually said in all of his patients North of 40 that he has not opposed to them utilizing supplemental melatonin. I think it can be helpful for those that are traveling. But I also think from the perspective of just aging in general. I do find for a lot of my patients and clients, they do very nicely if we do testing, and we confirm that their melatonin levels are pretty low, their urinary metabolites on the Dutch that using a titrated, meaning we go up and we come back down, we'll use a titrated approach to melatonin. I've had some pretty incredible results with utilizing that and I do have a very-- and maybe Melanie, I can talk about this on another podcast, I have a very stepwise approach to sleep support. And I'm very serious about my sleep, very serious about my sleep. So, there are definite products that I think can be very beneficial, melatonin can be one of them. I really personally like MD Logic's product. They're actually reformulating their melatonin, so it's going to be 100% clean, no rice flour or anything that. But that is probably my favorite melatonin to utilize and it's very potent. I can give the example that Designs for Health has a product called Melatonin SRT, sustained release. When I first tried the MD Logic product, I took the same amount except it was so much more potent the next morning when I woke up, I could barely open up my eyes. I remind people to go low and slow and the MD Logic product, which I know, both Melanie and I, both have codes, mine is CYNTHIA to give you 10% off, but melatonin is definitely a supplement that I think is really invaluable to use. And for those of us that are perimenopause or menopausal, it can be really very helpful for sleep support.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm so glad you brought that up. And especially with melatonin, that's one of the studies where they've done studies reviewing, I found one where they I think looked at 30. They looked at, I think 30 bottles of melatonin and it was around a dozen or 15 or so brands. And they tested for the actual amount of melatonin compared to what the bottle said and it was shocking. Shocking how far off they were. And this was mainstream brands. So, definitely finding a product that you really, so that MD Logic Melatonin definitely would be one to try. I think I shared this before but I think the thing that sold the deal for me-- I know I've shared this before. The thing that sold the deal for me about "Okay, it's okay I can be taking melatonin," is that night that I accidentally thought I was taking digestive enzymes and I was actually taking melatonin. They were in the same bottle and they look the exact same and I took, I don't even know how many milligrams I took. And I slept so well and because I didn't know I've had high dosed melatonin. I wonder if I would have felt groggy. How much of the placebo effect might have happened? I wonder if I would have felt it more if I realized, but I didn't realize until the next night that I had taken so much. And so, after that I was okay, it's fine, but melatonin.

Cynthia Thurlow: It's good stuff.

Melanie Avalon: All right, well, we'll put links to all of that in the show notes, which will be at ifpodcast.com/episode294. If you would to submit your own questions for the show you can directly email questions@ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. You can get all the stuff that we at ifpodcast.com/stuffwelike. And you can follow us on Instagram, we are @ifpodcast, I am @melanieavalon, Cynthia is @cynthia_thurlow_ and I think that is all the things. Anything from you Cynthia before we go?

Cynthia Thurlow: No, I think this has been a particularly enjoyable episode. Lots of good topics.

Melanie Avalon: I agree. So incredible and I'll let you go and wind down your day and I will talk to you next week.

Cynthia Thurlow: Sounds good.

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

Thank you so much for listening to The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember everything we discussed on this show does not constitute medical advice and no patient-doctor relationship is formed. If you enjoyed the show, please consider writing your review on iTunes. We couldn't do this without our amazing team, administration by Sharon Merriman, editing by Podcast Doctors, show notes and artwork by Brianna Joyner, transcripts by SpeechDocs, and original theme composed by Leland Cox and re-composed by Steve Saunders. See you next week.

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