Episode 297: Ashwagandha, Diabetes, Berberine, Creatine, Long Term Calorie Restriction, Women In Podcasting, Echo Chambers, The Four Tendencies, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Dec 25

Welcome to Episode 297 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:

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1:10 - BUTCHERBOX:  For A Limited Time Go To butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get The New Year Bundle For Free Plus $10 Off When You Sign Up Today. That’s A 14 Oz Pork Tenderloin, 2 Lbs Of Ground Turkey, And 4 Top Sirloin Steaks Free In Your First Box!

4:10 - 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!

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #177 - A.J. Jacobs

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #175 - Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

21:55 - ATHLETIC GREENS: Get A FREE 1 Year Supply Of Immune-Supporting Vitamin D AND 5 FREE Travel Packs With Your First Purchase At athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast.

23:35 - Listener Q&A: Cici - ashwagandha & diabetes

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37:15 - Listener Q&A: Niki - Creatine

49:30 - BON CHARGE: For a limited time Go To boncharge.com And Use Coupon Code IFPODCAST To Save 25% through January 2nd!

52:20 - Listener Q&A: Alex - Hi Ladies!

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 297 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'm about to tell you how you can get a 14-ounce heritage-breed pork tenderloin 2 pounds of sustainably raised ground turkey and four grass-fed top sirloin steaks all for free plus $10 off. Yes, all of that incredible meat plus $10 off all for free. We are a bit obsessed with the company called ButcherBox, which is always in season. Some of my favorite meals that I had throughout the holiday season were fantastic meat and seafood from ButcherBox. Now, with the new year, it is time to celebrate with only the very best of the best when it comes to meat and seafood that you put in your body as well as meat and seafood that helps support our planet and the environment. 

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The value is incredible. The average cost is actually less than $6 per meal. And it's so easy. Everything ships directly to your door and it is so delicious. I love carpaccio for example, the ButcherBox steaks are incredible for that. That's how you know it's good steak when you can eat it rare like that. ButcherBox has an incredible offer for our audience. You can get the New Year bundle for free plus $10 off when you sign up today. That's a 14-ounce heritage-breed pork tenderloin, 2 pounds of sustainably raised ground turkey, and four grass-fed top sirloin steaks, all for free in your first box. Sign up at butcherbox.com/if podcast and use code IFPODCAST to claim this offer. Again, to get a 14-ounce heritage-breed pork tenderloin, 2 pounds of sustainably raised ground turkey, and four grass-fed top sirloin steaks all for free plus $10 off. Sign up at butcherbox.com/ifpodcast and use code IFPODCAST to claim this offer. We'll put all this information in the show notes.

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 297 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Cynthia Thurlow.

Cynthia Thurlow: Hey, Melanie. How are you? 

Melanie Avalon: I'm good. I have a question for you. Have you done, is it, BBL, for laser? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Broadband light?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. I do that in conjunction with Profractional once a year.

Melanie Avalon: I'm about to do it right after this.

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, did they tell you that it's not painless? I don't share that with you to frighten you. No one told me that. The first time I had just plain BBL, it's like snapping a rubber band against your skin.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, awesome.

Cynthia Thurlow: I'm sure they'll probably give you something topical, but if they don't ask for It.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, should I put numbing cream on my face? I have it.

Cynthia Thurlow: I would bring it with you and just double-checked. They may have something that they want you to use.

Melanie Avalon: Is it okay if you have cream on your face?

Cynthia Thurlow: They're probably going to clean it. I would ask them what their protocol is?

Melanie Avalon: Probably should have thought about this a little bit earlier.

Cynthia Thurlow: Because, I can tell you BBL is not painless, but with numbing cream it is tolerable.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. I might put on some numbing cream while we're talking, so it can be like soaking in because I think it has to soak in for a little bit because I do laser hair removal and always use the numbing cream for all of that.

Cynthia Thurlow: Did they give you lidocaine in a jar? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I have that and then I have, there's one I order on Amazon that I like as well.

Cynthia Thurlow: Okay. It's probably not as strong like when I get Profractional and BBL done on my face, it's like the most you can legally prescribe. It works very effectively. Like my face will stay numb for 2 hours.

Melanie Avalon: Wow. Okay, I might grab some. Second question is because I'm glad you've had it, they said I'll be fine because I am recording with Ben Azadi tomorrow.

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, you'll be fine. Yeah. If you have melasma or if you have any brown discoloration on your face, it'll make it darker, but it's not like you can't function. It'll be darker and then it all flakes off and go away.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's what people said. They said it rises to the surface and then falls off.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. It's like if you have an exaggerated freckle and then it goes away.

Melanie Avalon: And then it goes away. I'm very excited.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, it works very effectively and I think most people don't even realize how much brown pigment they have in their face until they get it done and then they're like, Holy cow.

Melanie Avalon: It's pulling out the pigment from your face, sort of?

Cynthia Thurlow: The laser itself helps to break up the pigmentation. Like you can have red areas in your face and you can have discoloration like brown areas. Especially for women that have been on oral contraceptives or just have had a lot of sun exposure, they can have melasma and pigmentation on their face that most women don't want to have, so it's an easy way to help address it.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. I've heard really wonderful things about it.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I go once a year and I always say, like, I have a love-hate relationship. I love the way it looks once I've healed, but I don't love it at the time. It's quick, so it'll be over before you know it.

Melanie Avalon: Well, I'll start while we're talking, I'll be rubbing some numbing cream on my face. What's new with you?

Cynthia Thurlow: Not a whole lot. Gearing up for the holidays and excited to not be traveling. Last Christmas we went away, we had a wonderful vacation and my kids kept saying, it's just weird for it to be warm [laughs] in Christmas. This year they wanted to stay home and so we are staying home and my mom and stepfather are coming to visit. Be a little bit of high [unintelligible [00:11:15] my mom is here but she means well. You know moms can be.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Holiday, family dynamics.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. How about you?

Melanie Avalon: Well, actually to that, my dad actually is having surgery, and it's a pretty intense surgery, so I'm sure it's going to be fine. It's really made me want to make sure I do a lot of stuff. I mean, it's going to be fine. We planned a lot of really fun things to do. Like, this weekend I'm going over we're going to just have a game night, and then we're going to do an escape room that's King Tut themed. Have you done escape rooms?

Cynthia Thurlow: I have not yet. I think when that started to become really popular, it was like preceding the pandemic and then the pandemic happened and we never did it.

Melanie Avalon: They're so fun and when you do them, you just realize, I feel like they're really good for your brain, your body because you're like moving all around. They're very immersive. Yeah, they're super fun. I've only done two. This will be my third one, but I would love to do them more. Actually it's funny, I interviewed A.J. Jacobs. Do you know him?

Cynthia Thurlow: I do not.

Melanie Avalon: He's so funny. It's been one of my favorite interviews to date. I was dying laughing. He wrote a lot of books. He's like a four times New York Times bestseller. He just does random stuff. Like his most well-known book. He just read the entire encyclopedia and talks about what he learned from it. The puzzle book, though, was about puzzles. In any case, he just has a section on escape rooms and this never occurred to me. Apparently, there're a lot of cliche guests that show up at escape rooms and one of the cliches will be the guy that will ask a girl on a first date and take her to the escape room, but he's done it multiple times, so he knows all the answers, and then he acts like he doesn't.

Cynthia Thurlow: Okay.

Melanie Avalon: Sneaky.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: All the escape rooms, but anything else new in your life?

Cynthia Thurlow: No, just gearing up for 2023 and trying to survive day to day with teenagers that are at times snarky and at times funny and trying to remind myself that those pleasant little cute kiddos are buried deep within them. I have moments where I'm just like, "Oh, my goodness." We just got back from visiting three colleges last week, and one with a big stand out for my son, who I think wants to study engineering. And it's hard to believe. It's like I blink. I remember when he was born and it's like, how is it possible that we're looking at colleges? This is like a top 20 engineering program, and so it's like one out of eight kids get in. It's really intense. Having to explain to him, you got to work your butt off. This is not half-assing anything. And he's got, like, four AP classes. He's got a pretty intense year, so we're just trying to help him head in the right direction, and hopefully, he'll have a couple of reaches and a couple of safety schools and then have some others that are pretty much guaranteed. But we're fortunate we're in a state where there are a lot of, I would say there's probably three or four really good state schools that a lot of people come to from out of state, so we're fortunate. Do you remember those applying to college years?

Melanie Avalon: I graduated early, so I applied when I was a sophomore in high school, so I didn't even go through the college application process.

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, my gosh.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I applied to USC. They have an early entrance program. I found out, I guess early junior year and then I left after that year.

Cynthia Thurlow: That's interesting because they have two early decision options now. This is how it is in each school we looked at and one is binding and one is not. Essentially, they take the university he wants to go to. That's his first choice. They take 350 students, early decision.

Melanie Avalon: So, it that where you skip senior year of high school?

Cynthia Thurlow: No, he's going to need to go his senior year.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, it's just like making the decision earlier.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. Well, he would be if he does an early decision and gets accepted, he knows November 1 where he's going to go the following year, but that's binding.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Yeah. I got to live vicariously through my other friends and then also, like, my siblings. And it was fun. They actually let me in my high school, they let me go on the senior trip even though I was gone. I had been in college a year and then I went on my senior trip with my high school friends and they were just graduating.

Cynthia Thurlow: What was that like to go to college? I'm guessing you were a year younger than you would have been, but obviously very dedicated.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I was 17 and it was funny. I don't know if he wasn't in my program. The program that I did, they had 20 people that they take every year for that program. Not in my program, but I met somebody else who had done that and that person had actually skipped a year in high school as well. He was like 16 when he went, which is crazy.

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, my gosh. Especially with a boy I can't even imagine. My son will be 18 in his senior year, and then he'll be 19 when he starts. With boys, they need a little more time to mature.

Melanie Avalon: Yes.

Cynthia Thurlow: And you get the gift of time. Like I always say, I will never regret sending my kids to school when they were 6 and not 5, so I got an extra year with them.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that makes sense. Besides the fact that I missed out on some senior-year stuff. I missed our basic econ class and government class, which I just feel like I missed out on some basics that I could have learned from that. I missed out on the literature class from senior year. Besides that, everything felt really normal. Like, it just felt like going to school.

Cynthia Thurlow: I mean, I think from my perspective, there are some people who are just way more emotionally mature and ready for the rigor. Like I say all the time, my youngest is at a [unintelligible [00:17:01] High School, and it's like college. I think college will be easy for him after this, and so he's just ready for it. I'm not so sure my 17-year-old is ready for that amount of rigor, but my 15-year-old is very, like, he sits down and literally comes home and rewrites his notes, tapes his notes, writes his notes, spends a week studying for an exam. I say all the time, like, we aren't doing this. He's doing this all on his own. He's very self-directed and so he's got a fire in his belly and that's innate to who he is as a human being, but I think it'll serve him well.

Like, he has talked about, he already knows where kids have been accepted for college from the high school he goes to. He's like, "Oh, they take this many to this university and this one to this one." Whereas, like, Jack, my oldest son, his high school will take three to the same university. Liam is like, "Oh, our school took 65." [laughs] It's an interesting dynamic, but they're exactly where they need to be. That's why I say, like, very self-directed, mature, focused kids. They might be ready earlier for those kinds of academic challenges and things like that.

Melanie Avalon: People are definitely all different. I'm just thinking back about how different me and my siblings are as well. You also can't really tell I don't know if I should be saying this publicly. My brother had his intense period where he was struggling, but he's, like, doing so well in life now, so people can really, I don't know, come out of anything.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, now. I think anyone that's listening, whether they're reflecting on their own siblings or their kids, everyone kind of matures at a different pace. My oldest is a little more-- he's very smart, but he's a little more laid back. He literally for the first time in his life, has been really challenged in one of his AP classes. I'm seeing the effort he's making and he's doing that very self-directedly and I'm proud of him. You can't motivate him the way that I can motivate my younger one. It's very different. I have to be careful. Like, I'm the gunner. I'm the one that had the fire in the belly. To me, I understand my younger son and my husband understands my older son a whole lot better. We try to make sure we're conscious of that.

Melanie Avalon: I think I mentioned recently I interviewed Seth Davidowitz. His most recent book was Don't Trust Your Gut, but he has a whole chapter on parenting and the effects on children and their ultimate-- how they end up. I might have mentioned this on the show before. I just find it so fascinating. He really makes the case that it's mostly nature, not nurture with the exception of one factor. Did I tell you this? There's one parenting decision that parents can make that seems to really affect how their kids turn out. Otherwise, not so much.

Cynthia Thurlow: Interesting. What is that parenting decision? [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: It's where you live?

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, I can imagine.

Melanie Avalon: I guess because of the effects it has on their entire environment and how they grow up. It's where they live and how many adult role models they have that are not their parents.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, it's interesting. To give you an example, so my youngest is a high school freshman and when he was in 7th grade in the midst of the pandemic, one of his teachers led a private class for him and a couple of his peers and they learned Macbeth. So, he knows Macbeth backward and forwards. So, sure enough, what are they reading in freshman year? MacBeth and his teacher said his grasp of concepts is so, first of all, it's unusual that he's interested. Number two, his grasp of the concepts and the nuances is so unusual. And Liam loves it. Like, he feels like a total empowered badass. He's kind of quiet in class, but his teacher said he always has this deep insightful comments. She said does he read Shakespeare on his own? And then I explained the context. Like, in the midst of the pandemic, we were trying to get him to interacting with some of his peers virtually.

This one teacher really took advantage of the fact that he could get them to be interested in Shakespeare. He still talks about this teacher how much of an impact he had on him and how grateful I am that during the pandemic, he was able to, A, be interested in learning about something and B, takes such a lead in his own education. He didn't turn it off. He just leaned in and learned and really enjoyed it.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. No, that's amazing. Yeah, there's definitely that type of reading. All the things that's what I was doing growing up.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I could imagine you were like a little budding Liam, but the girl version, I get it, totally get it.

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Well, shall we jump into fasting-related things for today?

Cynthia Thurlow: Sure. Our first question is from CC, subject is "Ashwagandha and diabetes. I love your podcast. I would like to know if taking ashwagandha breaks your fast. I first read about it in the Prime Diet and started taking it before intermittent fasting, but I'm now afraid it will break my fast. My second question is on the link of intermittent fasting to diabetes. I'm so excited about fasting but just heard of the recent study that links fasting to pancreatic damage and type 2 diabetes. I have diabetes in my family history, but I'm very careful what I eat, more low carb, but this new study is scary. What are your thoughts? Thanks."

Melanie Avalon: All right, CC thank you so much for your question. Well, for the first one, for ashwagandha. Assuming it is just pure ashwagandha, it should not break your fast. I don't really do much with adaptogens, but you are a fan of adaptogens, right?

Cynthia Thurlow: I love adaptogens for many reasons and ashwagandha is one of these really flexible adaptogens, meaning it can be helpful for balancing cortisol. It can also be very calming, so you can take it sometimes in the morning and it can be energizing, and then you can take it in the evening and it can be balancing if you're feeling like your cortisol is high. It's also one of the best-researched adaptogens.

Melanie Avalon: I've taken ashwagandha a little bit. I personally didn't notice many benefits, but I know a lot of people have. Is it a nightshade? People say that.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, it is. If you're sensitive to nightshades, you want to avoid ashwagandha.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. The ones I have tried, I've responded well to Rhodiola.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, Rhodiola is great at nighttime. I think my other favorite is probably Relora, so it's derived from magnolia bark and it's very calming, and that's a great one to take at night.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, interesting. The Rhodiola always made me energetic, so I would take it during the day.

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, it's interesting. Out of all the patients I've taken care of, I had one woman who swore it made her wide awake at night.

Melanie Avalon: The Rhodiola?

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I think that has some bio-individuality, meaning, from that point on I stopped using it not necessarily with every patient, but I really started leaning into other options like Relora, which is really nice and very calming and nourishing for the brain.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Do you think you'll make some adaptogens in the future?

Cynthia Thurlow: I do, although I tend to be kind of a purist and so I definitely think about either a sleep blend or something that will be helpful in the morning to be energizing. I mean, I've vacillated back and forth, but I think most of my focus is going to be either on sleep support or things that are going to help with insulin sensitivity or muscle growth or muscle performance. I think initially those are going to be my focus, so I do think adaptogens will be part of that. It's just figuring out what's the right blend because when you start blending things together, you don't always know what's working and what isn't versus if it's just creatine or just one type of like magnesium L-threonate, which I love. You have a better sense, is this working for someone or not?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, no, that's so true. I agree about the single things because otherwise you won't know. I guess speaking of things that really benefit blood sugar control, my berberine launched, when these airs it will have launched 10 days ago. So hopefully people stocked up. If you would like to get that, we are actually having a special. The special ends at the end of this month. Stock up now at avalonx.us, the special is you get 15% off of one bottle or 25% off of two or more. This is really the time to stock up. I've really been honestly floored because I was taking berberine originally just for blood sugar control, but after deciding to make it, I've really been researching all of the other benefits and it's overwhelming all of the benefits. GI health, obviously blood sugar control, reducing blood sugar, reducing cholesterol and lipids.

When it comes to the gut microbiome, it seems to increase beneficial bacteria and decrease more problematic bacteria. Actually, it helps the body's reaction to LPS, which is the toxic byproduct of bacteria. They think that actually might be a mechanism for how it affects blood sugar, which is interesting, which just speaks to how intensely our gut health relates to our overall metabolic health. I think our gut microbiome is affecting things way more than we realize.

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh yeah, I totally agree with you. It's interesting. I did IG Live, I'll be bringing Dr. [unintelligible [00:29:04] on the podcast in January, and she's a gastroenterologist, like a functionally focused gastroenterologist, and she has this great book that just came out talking about the role of viruses in the gut microbiome. It's really apparent to us that she and I trained over 20 years ago and Lord knows we knew very little to nothing about the gut microbiome. And it's almost like peeling an onion. The more you learn, the more humbled I am. That's actually going to be, it's called the antiviral gut, but she was fantastic and I cannot wait. I don't do many IG Lives anymore, but she was well worth the IG Live. That was definitely a highlight of my week.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's amazing. We just don't even realize and I will comment though quickly, that the primary mechanism of action for berberine reducing blood sugar, I mean, I don't know, it's probably not the gut microbiome. It specifically affects pathways in the liver and can downregulate the liver's production of glucose and also can affect glucose absorption and utilization and insulin and things like that so yep. Again, the link for that is avalonx.us. Through the end of the year, you can get 15% off of one bottle and 25% off of two or more, and then after that you can use the coupon code MELANIEAVALON to get 10% off and that code will get you 10% off sitewide as well.

Okay. And then for CC's second question. She wants to know about the link of IF to diabetes. I am not sure what study she's referring to. I researched, I searched a lot to try and find a study talking about intermittent fasting encouraging diabetes and I think I found it because the study came out, it was in 2018, it was called "Could Intermittent Fasting Diets Increase Diabetes Risk?" It was published in the European Society of Endocrinology. It was one of those studies, Cynthia, how these studies come out and then all the headlines are talking about it. That was the case with this one. What's really interesting is it's no longer on the website, so I can't find the actual study. I'm guessing the study got, was it redacted? What's weird is they don't have a note. It just no longer exists. I'm thinking she was probably talking about that study and I'm thinking something happened with that study to the fact that they don't have it published anymore.

In any case, what it was looking at was it was a study in rodents and they put them on fasting diets and they found that, I think it was an ADF approach every other day, and they found that the rodents did lose weight, but their insulin went up and they gained visceral fat. The conclusion or the hypothesis was that even if fasting was resulting in weight loss, it was actually encouraging diabetes and metabolic issues by its effect on insulin. Stepping back from that well, first of all, like I said the study is gone, something happened with it which is suspect. Moving beyond that, I could not find and maybe I didn't search enough, but I could not find any other studies saying this. The overwhelming majority of literature on fasting is that fasting has a very beneficial effect on insulin, on diabetes risk, on things like that.

For example, a much more recent meta-analysis from 2021 called "Intermittent Fasting: Is there a Role in the Treatment of Diabetes?" A review of the literature and guide for primary care physicians. Like just reading from it, it literally says, "The majority of the available research demonstrates that intermittent fasting is effective at reducing body weight, decreasing fasting glucose, decreasing fasting insulin, reducing insulin resistance, decreasing levels of leptin, and increasing levels of adiponectin. Some studies found that patients were able to reverse their need for insulin therapy during therapeutic intermittent fasting protocols with supervision by their physician. Current evidence suggests that intermittent fasting is an effective nonmedicinal treatment option for type 2 diabetes. More research is needed to delineate the effects of intermittent fasting from weight loss." The long story short takeaway is whatever study CC saw that one or another, I would not be worried about intermittent fasting for increasing diabetes risk. I think the overwhelming majority of data supports the opposite. Cynthia, do you have any thoughts?

Cynthia Thurlow: I do. It's interesting. This is always a good example of cherry-picking research and data mining and the catastrophizing that goes on in the media when people don't know how to read research. I would concur with you that everything that I read and everything that I look at really supports this carb-insulin hypothesis. For someone to somehow suggest that intermittent fasting, which is our ancestral birthright, is somehow going to create pancreatic damage and contribute to diabetes, I think is really dangerous because we as humans are not designed to eat the way that our modern day lives have kind of embraced. It just makes me sad that someone propagated an idea that was picked up by mainstream media that suggested that this would somehow be harmful. In fact, I have Dr. Jason Fung's book sitting in front of me because my intermittent fasting coaches are reading this month.

The Obesity Code talks a great deal about relevant and current research that supports this hypothesis of carbohydrate restriction. That doesn't mean carbohydrates, but I definitely am a fervent believer in carbohydrate restriction for people who are metabolically unhealthy and certainly those that are insulin resistant. I always say knowledge is power and if you know that you are metabolically healthy and metabolically flexible, then you can adjust your carbohydrate consumption accordingly. To suggest that somehow, it's going to damage your pancreas. Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease. Let me be very clear. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas, very different. To somehow suggest that nutrition is playing a role in type 1 versus type 2 is unfortunate.

Melanie Avalon: I keep saying it, but I find that really interesting that that study is just gone.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, redacted, and it's probably because it's garbage.

Melanie Avalon: Normally, even if a study is not good, you can still find it. It's still up on the Internet. The fact that it's just gone is very weird, but telling?

Cynthia Thurlow: It's a fascinating development.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, it is. Of course, just to comment on what you were saying about the sensationalization of these findings and such, they're not going to come out and say, "Hey, study was redacted." There's not going to be a whole new swarm where they say that this was undone. If you were saying this, it's concerning that these ideas can get out there that might not be accurate, and they can be just so sensationalized and presented as truth. It's hard to unlearn something that you were exposed to even if it wasn't true because once you hear it. By the way, I'm not discouraging different findings coming out. I'm all for all the different findings and questioning things. It's just the problem comes when most people aren't going to actually look at the source material and think about it and they're just going to listen to or many people I should say most, but many people will just listen to the news and take what they say, which also will be a slightly bastardized version of the original source material.

Cynthia Thurlow: I always say it's the rabbit hole that you have to dive down. Like, someone got excited about some creatine research and they shared it with me and I said, well, it's an N of 26, so the potentiality exists that there might be something worth investigating, but it needs to be statistically significant. That's more often than not what I see is various small sample sizes and then they extrapolate from that and then convince people, "Oh, this thing that you've been doing for five years is no longer healthy." It's like, "Wait a minute, let's look at the data, let's look at the research, let's be thoughtful." And I agree. I hope listeners know that we're always happy to read stuff that's contrary to our own opinions. I think that's part of just being an intellectually curious human being. It's like show me the evidence and let me look at it and then we can decide if it will encourage us to form a different opinion or if it just validates what we already think.

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. I want to know, like, tell me why I'm wrong. That's why I love reading different opinions for me, I love it. I want to know where I'm thinking incorrectly. I would like to know that that would beneficial. I'm not wedded to any one answer or at least as much as I cognitively perceived myself not being wedded to. I know we all have biases that are really hard to see past, but I really do try to be open.

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely.

Melanie Avalon: Okie Dokie. Shall we answer another question? This actually relates to what we're just talking about with your creatine. Nikki says "Hi, Melanie and Cynthia. I would love for you to discuss the science behind creatine a bit more, especially after learning Cynthia has a creatine supplement coming out soon, which is actually now out. I have some Thorne brand and try to take it when I remember, but I'll admit it could be a bit more consistent. I'm a questioner under Gretchen Rubin's The Four Tendencies framework, so it helps me to know why when I'm trying to make something a habit. My question is why is creatine necessary even if you're meeting your protein requirements? In my case, 130 to 145 g a day. My other question is, when is the best time to take it? Thanks for all you do."

Cynthia Thurlow: That's a great question, Nikki. What I can tell you is we don't get enough of creatine, let me just back up, our bodies have 70% to 80% less endogenous creatine sources compared to men, so that's number one. Number two is if you look at the research irrespective of life stage, women have differing needs. When you're menstruating at specific times during your menstrual cycle, you can benefit from a little bit more supplementation. I just reviewed a study this afternoon looking at menopausal women and the same could apply to perimenopausal women as they are losing estrogen, they have greater issues with muscle-protein synthesis and so supplementation could beneficial there as well. What I would say is that we don't get enough from animal-based protein because I would love to say just eat more protein. That's not going to do it. We need this specifically for ATP and the muscle so supplementation is going to be very beneficial.

I have personally been using this for over a year, obviously just only recently using my own product because it wasn't available before. My trainer last year started talking to me about it and there's a lot of really good research. Dr. Gabrielle Lyon is 100% on board with the utilization of creatine in women. To me, since a lot of the focus of my work is really talking about metabolic health and maintaining muscle mass, and gosh darn it's so much harder at 51 maintaining muscle than it was 20 years ago. I just never appreciated it. I wanted to introduce something that would be helpful for women throughout their lifetime. I would recommend taking it during your feeding window, not during your fasting window. Melanie and I were talking about this earlier and I was saying I put it into a smoothie and that's how I choose to consume it.

It doesn't have a taste and it's not granular. That's one of the things that the mix ability is high. There was another product that will remain nameless that I've used in the past and it's almost crystallized, so it was harder to get it to blend easily with liquids. That would be my recommendation. And, yes, I am very familiar with Gretchen Rubin's The Four Tendencies framework. I actually was on TV. Yeah, it's interesting. I was on TV with her.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, really?

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, when I say on TV with her, when I was at our local ABC affiliate in Washington DC, I got to meet her. At the time I didn't know who she was. I'm embarrassed to admit that. I loved what she talked about so much that I went out and bought the book and every time I worked with a new client one on one, I would give them the quiz.

Melanie Avalon: I feel like I'm so obvious what I am. All I needed was a summary of that book and I was like, yeah, I know exactly what I am.

Cynthia Thurlow: I'm not the questioner. I think I was the upholder, no I wasn't the upholder, obliger.

Melanie Avalon: For listeners, it's whether you uphold inner versus outer expectations. If you uphold inner and outer, so inner being you and then the outer being what other people are asking of you. Let's see if I can remember this. If you uphold both, you're an upholder. If you uphold your inner but not other people's, you're a questioner. If you uphold other people, but not your own, you're an obliger. If you just reject everything, you're a rebel.

Cynthia Thurlow: I really feel like, honestly, I'm a little bit of two. I wouldn't describe myself and I think when I took it, I was kind of on the fence about what direction I headed and I think the younger me would have been the obliger. I was never the rebel, although I've had many rebel clients and then I have to remind myself but the questioners, the ones who always ask a lot of questions, it explains so much and anyone who is comfortable and confident with who they are would never see that as a negative. It's a curiosity piece for me.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I agree. For you, I always say either well, I was thinking either a questioner or an upholder.

Cynthia Thurlow: I'm a little bit of an upholder, but I'm not rigid and judgmental. That's the one thing that didn't-- I'm much more I always say I don't use the term libertarian lightly. I'm just saying I just accept people where they are. I'm not particularly judgmental unless you're bad to children and animals. I do have strong opinions, but that's a whole separate conversation.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I do think the layer of how you perceive it, I feel like you could withhold or not withhold inner versus outer within the layer of how you, like the judgment layer would be separate. You could be judgmental in all of it or judgmental and none of it. I can see how certain personality traits would probably more likely lead to others.

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. I really like her work and I listen to her podcast and I don't know if anyone else has this issue, but I definitely feel like we need more strong female role model podcasters. Do you feel that way?

Melanie Avalon: It's funny, I was recording just yesterday with Elle Russ, who I adore, and we were talking about because she was the cohost and host of the Primal Blueprint podcast for so long and now she has her own show, The Elle Russ Show. We were talking about the role of women, and yeah, there is like a lack maybe. I guess a lot of the podcasts, I'm just thinking to what I listen to. I guess it is a lot of men.

Cynthia Thurlow: I mean, the ones I listen to, like if I really am honest with listeners, I tend to lean into some of the male ones because my husband was making fun of me because we listened to Huberman Lab all the way to DC and back because Huberman Lab was recording with BioLayne. It was almost a four-hour podcast. It was craziness, but only because I was in the car and my husband was like, "Oh, my God, this is so dry." [laughter] I was like sometimes I just want to learn. I just want to absorb as opposed to just be entertained. I think some of the male-dominated podcasts do a nice job with that. It just depends on my mood. There's definitely there's probably, like, six male-dominated podcasts I lean into, and then I listen to yours. I still need to listen to the glutathione one and a few others, but it's probably more, it's more like male-centric. Not on purpose, but they tend to be more, I don't know, data-driven, less fluff.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's true. I'm just thinking I listen to, well, like Robb and Nicki, so that's both Robb Wolf, Peter Attia. I don't listen regularly to Huberman. I listen to Rich Roll all the time.

Cynthia Thurlow: I need to listen to Rich.

Melanie Avalon: Have you listened to him before?

Cynthia Thurlow: I have not.

Melanie Avalon: This actually speaks to what I was talking earlier about having an open mind. The reason I listen to him primarily is because he's very vegan. He provides a very different perspective because I'm so seeped in the keto and carnivore world. Listening to a vegan-driven podcast I find very helpful and I find him very open-minded. I find him very comforting. He interviews a lot of people that I interview as well, so he interviews people that I'd be listening to anyways. I feel like I get a different perspective coming from him and I just find him very calming. I listen to him at night and I listen to Mikhaila Peterson. I like her podcast.

Cynthia Thurlow: I don't know her.

Melanie Avalon: She's spicy. Jordan Peterson's daughter.

Cynthia Thurlow: Don't know her.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, she got popular, well, her dad's Jordan Peterson, so that helped. She had a whole thing with carnivores and she went on Joe Rogan and talked about her carnivore experience and that kind of shot her up, so podcasting, I'm just always grateful that I'm in this world because there's so many podcasts I like. Don't take it for granted that we have some amazing podcasts with an amazing audience because it's not easy.

Cynthia Thurlow: No, no. And it's interesting. I'm part of a podcast mastermind and I'm at a different stage in my business and my podcast, so I'm oftentimes giving advice to people in the group, which I lovingly do because I really enjoy this group of women, and I forget how. I don't think we tracked metrics the whole first year we were podcasting. Really, I didn't start taking podcast metrics seriously until Kelly and I, so Everyday Wellness used to be a co-hosted podcast with a friend of mine who's a clinical psychologist. It was kind of her idea and then a little bit over a year in she was less interested in doing it, and it was either sink or swim. It wasn't until 2020 that I started paying attention to those things. I said, okay, I'm going to swim, I'm not going to sink, I'm not going to turn this over. From my perspective, I think that loving what you do is certainly very evident.

I know Gin and you created this amazing community of which I'm very grateful to be a part of, and then our own ecosystems that are separate from Intermittent Fasting podcast. There's no doubt that your podcast in particular is, you do a fantastic job interviewing people and exposing me to new information, new ways of thinking about things and that's really what it's all about.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, no, I as well, I'm so inspired by everything that you're doing. It's so incredible. It's almost eerie the overlap, well, we have a lot of overlap in our guests and who we interview and everything, but we also have different like, I feel like yours is more menopausal and women's issues and hormones skew and then mine is just like all over the place, like deuterium-depleted water.

Cynthia Thurlow: I think mine is skewed because I know that nothing prepared me for being middle aged, and it's not like intellectually I wasn't prepared, but no one had talked to me about the things that were going to happen. I'm like if my experiences can help someone else and if I can bring on guests that can speak to that, I mean, I know my listeners and I know what's going to resonate. I know I can offer alternative perspectives, but I know what content is really going to resonate. It's been validated so frequently that now I don't ever want to be an echo chamber because as an example I had that scientist talking about that form of tocotrienols, annatto and how that can be helpful for bone health, which I think is significant for all of us. I never would have imagined that his research would really like resonated steeply.

Like, I watch all my metrics, I'm a little OCD about it. I only do it once a day, but I know exactly what content resonates and perimenopause and menopause are women north of 35. That's really who we speak to. I think that you bring on guests that have got a very wide, diverse opinions, and I think that's wonderful. I think it's important for all of us to not be an echo chamber because it's easy just to stay stuck in one spot.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, so incredibly true. All the more knowledge, all the more things the merrier. I imagine I probably will, when I get to that point in my life, have a much uptake and interest, and I'm interested in it now. Just what you were talking about with what you experienced and the focus there.

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, goodness. I want everyone to avoid what I did. I hit the wall and I thought I was doing everything right. I'm completely sensitive to when people tell me I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I'm like, "Oh, it's all hormones."

Melanie Avalon: I was talking about this with Elle yesterday. Having gone through health issues really can be a benefit because A, it makes you learn so much about the topic and gives you agency to take care of yourself and feel better, but then also just gives you complete empathy for other people having similar things.

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely.

Melanie Avalon: I feel you people when you're struggling.

Cynthia Thurlow: Benefit from what we've learned that's what I would say for everyone.

Melanie Avalon: Hi, friends, exciting announcement. You guys know I love blue light-blocking glasses. I wear them every single night of my life. My favorite blue light-blocking glasses company, Bon Charge, is having a massive 25% off sitewide sale until January 2. Now is the time. I am often asked what are my favorite, "Biohacking products?" Something I truly, honestly cannot imagine my life without our blue light-blocking glasses. In today's modern environment, we are massively overexposed to blue light. It's a stimulating type of light, which can lead to stress, anxiety, headaches, and in particular sleep issues. Blue light actually stops our bodies from producing melatonin, which is our sleep hormone. Our exposure to blue light can completely disrupt our circadian rhythm, make it hard to fall asleep, make it hard to stay asleep, and so much more. Friends, I identify as an insomniac. I would not be able to sleep without my blue light-blocking glasses. I also stay up late working and wearing blue light-blocking glasses at night has made it so I can do that and still fall asleep. My absolute favorite blue light-blocking glasses on the market are Bon Charge, formerly known as BLUblox. 

Bon Charge makes an array of blue light-blocking glasses in all different designs, so you can truly find something that fits your style and reap all of the benefits of blue light blocking. They have clear computer glasses. You can wear those during the day, especially if you're looking at screens all day to help with anxiety, headaches, and stress. They have their light sensitivity glasses, those are tinged with a special yellow color scientifically proven to boost mood and they block even more blue light. Those are great for the day or evening. Then they have their blue light-blocking glasses for sleep. Those are the ones that I put on at night while working before bed. Oh, my goodness, friends it's something you truly have to experience. You put on these glasses and it's like you just tell your brain, “Okay, it's time to go to sleep soon.” They also have amazing Blackout Sleep Masks. Those block 100% of light with zero eye pressure. I wear this every single night and I don't know how I would sleep without it. I'm so thrilled because Bon Charge is currently having a Boxing Day sale, which is 25% off sitewide until January 2. Just go to boncharge.com and choose your favorite wellness products and the discount code will automatically be applied at checkout. That's B-O-N-C-H-A-R-G-E dotcom and the 25% off will automatically be applied at checkout. If you're listening after the sale ends, you can use the coupon code IFPODCAST for 15% off and we'll put all this information in the show notes.

All right, shall we go on to our next question?

Cynthia Thurlow: Sure. "Hi, ladies. New to intermittent fasting and I'm slowly working my way through your fantastic and informative podcast. I am a 24-year-old lean male who is looking to move from 14% body fat to 10% and really get those abs popping for summer. I have followed calorie restriction for a year with no consistent and lasting results. I exercise six times per week, badminton, squash, HIIT resistance training, and football and I'm worried my calorie deficit is too large. I eat approximately 1500 calories per day regardless of how much intense cardio I do. Am I in danger of losing muscle or any other adverse health effects of a deficit that is too large? I eat 10:30 AM to 6: 30 PM and have the above commitments in evenings to start my fast with exercise. Will this also get me into ketosis faster, by starting the fast with exercise? You are both awesome and keep up the good work. Many thanks, Alex."

Melanie Avalon: All right, Alex, thank you so much for your question. You're a 24-year-old male, already lower body fat, doing a massive amount of exercise, and eating a very calorie-restricted diet. I'm guessing that you're doing the calorie restriction because you are trying to achieve these certain goals, which completely makes sense. I am all for people going for whatever goals they want to go for. So, I support in that aspect. That said, I would definitely focus on adequately fueling yourself. I would be worried about losing muscle from that deficit because how long you said you've been doing calorie restriction, for a year with no consistent and lasting results? This is my suggestion, but I would have a complete mindset shift with the food. I would stop counting calories. I would eat to satiety. I would let fasting do its magic. If you are going to focus on something food wise, I would focus on the macronutrient aspect of things, especially if you're pursuing certain body fat goals.

I would focus on protein. Making sure that you're getting adequate protein, especially if you're concerned about maintaining muscle and not losing muscle. From there you can get a lot of benefits. I say this all the time, but you can get a lot of benefits by doing either lower carb or lower fat. There's a lot of metabolic magic that can happen when you're playing with the macros and not restricting calories. You've been doing this for a year. It's a very severe calorie restriction and it's not working. So, I would not keep doing it. I would definitely mix things up. As far as will you get into ketosis faster by starting the fast with exercise? Yes and no, so quite probably you will burn through your glycogen faster and potentially enter ketosis faster. The only slight difference is you could be doing very glycolytic-demanding activity. The actual exercise itself might be a carb-fueled workout if that makes sense. On the flipside, in theory, you should be entering ketosis faster. Do you have thoughts, Cynthia?

Cynthia Thurlow: I do. I'm genuinely concerned about the restriction of macronutrients, especially if you're working out six days a week, which is pretty dedicated and intense, and you're doing two days of strength training and you are very likely putting yourself in a position that you are not going to be able to maintain muscle mass. Your body will probably catabolize some of your muscle to make up for the lack of macronutrients you're consuming. Ted Naman talks a great deal about thin people doing this and I always refer to it as the triad, the over fasting, overexercising, over restriction of food. I think we can unknowingly get into some trouble when we're eating in a deficit for too long a period of time. At a minimum, I think that you need to back off on the fasting. I would imagine that simply by maybe swapping out some cardio for some strength training and being very targeted with your macronutrients, especially protein and appropriately timed carbohydrates could allow you to get to the point where you could lean out.

I think at this point you're leaving your body in a deficit where it's depleted. As I mentioned earlier, I think you're putting yourself in a position where you're going to end up catabolizing or breaking down your muscle to fuel your body. Certainly 24 years old if your testosterone is optimized or growth hormone, et cetera, you really don't want to be putting yourself in a deficit like that all the time. I would definitely back off on the intensity work on a recovery day. Maybe instead of doing HIIT and all that explosive movement, give yourself another dedicated day of strength training. I would have three meals a day to make sure you're getting at least 1 gram per pound of ideal body weight of protein because I would imagine you're depleted all the time.

Melanie Avalon: This is like a massive, massive deficit.

Cynthia Thurlow: That triad, I talk about, jokingly people are like, what's your next book going to be on? I'm like it's not going to be about the triad, but I'm starting to talk more about it, this over fasting, overexercising, over restriction, which ends up depleting your entire endocrine system and can put people in some situations where they're heading in the opposite direction. High cortisol, which can lead to high insulin, high blood sugar. This is when you see people that they don't understand the interrelationship of all of these hormones when their body is in a chronically stressed, sympathetic, dominant state.

Melanie Avalon: Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. By the way, Cynthia, my face is completely numb right now. It was like slowly, like, numbing during the show. I was like, "Well, what is happening?" This has been absolutely wonderful though. For listeners, if you would like 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 like at ifpodcast.com/stuffwelike. Do we mention your link, Cynthia? How do people get creatine?

Cynthia Thurlow: www.cynthiathurlow.com/creatine.

Melanie Avalon: And for the berberine, avalonx.us/berberine. And you can follow us on Instagram, we are @ifpodcast, I am @melanieavalon, Cynthia is @cynthia_thurlow_. This has been absolutely wonderful. I will talk to you next week. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Sounds good. Enjoy your appointment.

Melanie Avalon: Thank you. Bye.

Cynthia Thurlow: Bye.

Melanie Avalon: 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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