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Episode 35: How to Have More Natural Energy with Suzy Cohen

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Brief summary of show:

Do you find yourself hitting that mid-day slump? Maybe your go-to is to reach for that third or fourth cup of coffee to give you a bit of a ‘pick me up’?

I know I’m not alone in this. For years when I was working on television, I would find myself so tired in the middle of the day that I was desperate to try anything to help give me more energy (think coffee and energy drinks)!

That’s why this week’s conversation with my guest Suzy Cohen is so important. She teaches us different tips and tricks to access more energy naturally, without relying on pharmaceutical pills, energy drinks or coffee.

Suzy has been a licensed pharmacist for 30 years and is a Functional Medicine practitioner. She devotes time to educating people about the benefits of natural vitamins, herbs and minerals.

She is the Author of several natural health books such as "Thyroid Healthy" and "Drug Muggers," also "Diabetes Without Drugs" and several other titles. You may have seen her on The Dr. OZ show or The Doctors, and Denver Morning Show, among others.

Listen in as we talk about:

  • Ways to increase natural energy without having to drink coffee all day

  • The main vitamins that affect our energy levels

  • The harm in taking vitamins without knowing which ones you need

  • Specific foods that can help increase energy naturally

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Resources mentioned in the episode:

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Full transcript of episode:

00:00:00] Natalie: We live in a go, go, go world. And sometimes we just don't have what it takes to keep up. Do you find that you're looking for more energy grabbing that coffee midday? Maybe what you need is more natural energy. [00:00:13] [00:00:43] Natalie: Friends. This is a topic I know all too well from both the person looking for energy, actually begging for it to the person who has found some answers for years. [00:00:54] When I was working on television, I find myself so tired in the middle of the day. Desperate to try anything to help. Give me more energy. Think coffee, energy, drinks, exercise. I just couldn't find energy, but I realized there was a reason behind that slump and I needed to listen to my body. Do you relate? [00:01:16] Well, this week I'm talking to my go-to health expert, Susie Cohen. She's a longtime friend and a trained pharmacist, but she goes beyond. In fact, she believes like I do in understanding why you feel the way you do. And to do that first before medication today, you're going to learn some tips and tricks to access more energy naturally, without relying on pharmaceutical pills, energy drinks, and yes, that coffee Susie has been a licensed pharmacist for 30 years. [00:01:45] She is a functional medicine practitioner. She devotes time to educating people. About the benefits of natural vitamins, herbs, and minerals. And if you want more information on Suzy, check out the show notes for this episode where you can access some of the natural remedies that I personally use for wellness, sleep and energy. [00:02:04] Let's get started. Susie Cohen is joining me. I always love it when she comes on, because I learn so much. [00:02:09] She is a pharmacist and author, and so much more Susie. Good to see you today. [00:02:14] Suzy: Thanks for having me again, Natalie, it's great to be with you. [00:02:17] Natalie: So for many, many years, as a morning, show TV, anchor, I lived on coffee and I still like a couple of cups of coffee. I might even go for one in the afternoon, but I found that there were other things that were affecting my lack of energy. [00:02:31] And I want to talk to you about that today. What are the main issues people have with that slump sometimes in the morning, but often in the, after. [00:02:40] Suzy: Yeah, well, on our first show, we talked about insomnia. So that comes to mind first, because if you're not sleeping well, you're going to be tired during, you know, during the day and full disclosure, [00:02:51] Natalie: you have coffee to see. [00:02:53] Suzy: Yeah, I have a backup just in case. No, I'm kidding. This is a prop. This is what people use to get energy. It's a quick fix. They'll take a bite of that or they'll, you know, have. Caffeine or whatever, what would that, those drinks, the bowl, the [00:03:07] Natalie: red bull and energy drinks. Those are so, and in some ways I want to get into that because it, they are so popular yet in abundance. [00:03:15] They're dangerous. [00:03:17] Suzy: Yes, they can. They can impact that cardiovascular system. So it's definitely nothing to joke about. But aside from insomnia, if we put that one away, because that's the most obvious, I would say the next problem would be either suppressed, cortisol, or maybe a lack of thyroid hormone or anemia. [00:03:34] There's so much more, I mean, it could even be related to probiotics, but we can get into this. Whenever you want. [00:03:40] Natalie: let's talk about natural forms of energy. First, a little bit of coffee, you and I both do it. What is a normal amount? What's too much. [00:03:48] Suzy: One or two cups a day, I think is fine. For most people, a lot of people have a gene genetics. [00:03:55] I actually have it. It's a, COMT snip and not to get too technical, but it mix the coffee. I drank last a long time. So it's great for me. But in other people with this genetic snip, it may make them jittery. It may make them intolerant to anything with caffeine, in any stimulants. So, you know, that could be 1, 1, 5. [00:04:17] Natalie: So aside from caffeine, what are some other ways we might find a little bit of an energy boost without continuing to drink coffee all [00:04:24] Suzy: day? Yes. well, the first thing that comes to mind is like a probiotic. probiotics are great because they convert, 25 to 30% of your thyroid hormone into a biologically active stimulating type of hormone. [00:04:39] So I don't know if people are aware of this, but there's T4. Thyroid hormone thyroxin and then there's T3, which is the biologically active form of thyroid hormone. It's try own authority. So the body is to create the thyroid gland, secretes, T4, then yourselves have to convert it to T3, which is. Armour. [00:05:02] Thyroid is a drug that contains both of those, but in the body and Dodgers, honestly speaking, the T3 conversion has to happen, or you don't feel good. You will be hyperthyroid without enough. T3 and probiotics will help make that conversion again, 25 to 30% other nutrients that help with that conversion and wake you up and help you grow your hair and improve your thyroid function. [00:05:28] Keep you warm and shoppy and able to focus, you know, all the things that go with that. include vitamin D and an adequate level of cortisol. [00:05:37] Natalie: Okay. So those are so important and here's what I've started to do. And I know you're a proponent of this, and I think a lot of people don't know that they can do this. [00:05:46] And that is to find out. What, where things stand in their own body, getting a blood panel. Um, w how do you suggest people go about that? Ironically speaking, I just had this done. I have my results. And I find it so interesting. I geek out a little bit on it, but not everyone knows that they can do this. [00:06:06] Do they just go to their doctor, which is what I've done and said, can you please do. Uh, blood panel, what would you call it? I just asked him to give me my, general vitamin levels. So I know my, like for instance, my vitamin D is low here. I live in Colorado. It's sunny yet. I'm low on vitamin D. And you just mentioned how important that is. [00:06:25] Suzy: Yeah, it helps to convert T4 to T3 and it also supports immunity. To your first question about how does one go about getting these labs and what are they? Yes. You can absolutely ask your doctor, any caring doctor. We'd be happy to order. What's called a thyroid profile. Um, I would look at that and I'll smack and a CBC. [00:06:45] These are pretty generic, basic things. If you get to the point where you have to nag your physician, for some reason, you can do all these lines. Autonomously, you can go to a local lab. I would call an advance, quest lab core, or sometimes the outpatient laboratories in hospitals see people every day for self ordered tests. [00:07:06] So that's a new thing. That's a great idea. You can go online too. You can book at places like any lab tests now. dot com. and there's different. The, I even sell a test at my website called Dutch cause I'm recognized as a provider and the Dutch test is a urine test, which checks, for comprehensive hormones like estrogen and progesterone, pregnenolone, DGA, as well as, um, it doesn't check for thyroid, but it checks for cortisol and cortisone and the metabolites. [00:07:35] And so there's many ways, to get labs. First, you could ask your doctor second, go online. Third, just self order at 11. [00:07:45] Natalie: I think taking these things on yourself can be a little bit overwhelming. We might not understand. like you're so proficient in this and that's why I love talking to you, but it's a little bit overwhelming. [00:07:55] You think I just need to know what to do. Do I just need to know what to do, because it can be overwhelming, but the main, vitamins that I'm hearing from you that we need to look at, you said vitamin D what are some others that affect our center? [00:08:09] Suzy: Oh, so I have, good ideas for energy producing things. [00:08:12] So something as simple as spearmint, like spearmint tea or spearmint essential oil, that's kind of like a wake me up type of urban. A lot of people put the essential oil on their temples when they have a migraine or headache coming on. So that could be just a quick pick me up, you know, and you can turn it into a smoothie or a tea, an iced tea. [00:08:32] Uh, another herb is shizz Andre. Which is known as an adrenal adaptogens and these herbs aren't right. For everyone. And people can research on their own and ask their own doctor, but she's honors. Fabulous. Another one is eleuthero, that's a more of a, like a nootropic lion's mane is another one. That's actually a medicinal mushroom. [00:08:53] And [00:08:53] Natalie: these things that we would take in capsule form, we would drink in a tea or does it matter? [00:08:59] Suzy: Yes to both. You can drink in a tea for a milder effect. I always love teas. I feel like. As a pharmacist, everything is so clinical and sterile, but there's this part of me. That's the natural pharmacist. And I really love how people can bond with their medicine and drinking tea, iced or hot is such a wonderful way to do that. [00:09:20] And of course you get whole herbs too, when you're doing that, like as another example, licorice licorice is a great. adrenal supplement because it helps to convert cortisol to cortisone, which is less active in the key component. And licorice is called glyceride acid. and then, well, I know we're getting a little sidetracked, but that cortisone and that cortisol is really important because doctors will measure. [00:09:47] And you'll get this blood level that says it's low or a time or whatever, because cortisol is based on stress. Right? So when you're super stressed, the cortisol goes up, up, up, up, up, then eventually it Peters out and then it's all gone. And then you're like lot lined. What happened? Yeah. What happened? But those hormones get metabolized even further in the body by five alpha reductase, which is a very thick. [00:10:15] enzyme that men look up, especially when it relates to prostate and women look at, especially as it relates to adult acne and oily skin and PC O S but the reason I bring up the five alpha pathway is because I don't think that the free cortisol levels tell us very much or the free cortisone or metabolize cortisone for that matter. [00:10:38] And the only tests that can evaluate those downline metallic. Which are abbreviated T H T H E is the Dutch test, which is an at-home urine test. So again, the more telling factor for someone's chronic fatigue would be T H E and T H F. And those stand for Tetra, hydro cortisol and Tetra hydrocortisone. Um, don't worry about all that. [00:11:01] If you take the Dutch tasks, you'll, you'll be able to see exactly what's causing that problem. Okay. So I [00:11:08] Natalie: want to take that test. I have my blood panel in front of me right now. And you mentioned free cortisol and mine is really low. What does that say about. [00:11:19] Suzy: Well, if you're just looking at a screenshot blood spot and time, like just, you know, like a blood test, it doesn't say much we, because it changes every second. [00:11:28] I see. It's not really showing you what's going on over the last few months. You really have to look at those metabolize, the THC and the THL, which are available again through. Testing of the urine because the urine sees a more backwards retrospective. [00:11:45] Natalie: So if I do that, I want to do this, this urine test that you're talking about and what will I do if it's off? [00:11:52] What, what kinds of vitamins will I take? Or what will you suggest after doing that type of test? [00:11:58] Suzy: So if it's higher, low, you know, that would be more telling. And so the treatment. Would hinge on that. And, um, sometimes you can do it by diet, sometimes lifestyle factors and better sleep hygiene. And sometimes those adaptogenic herbs that I talked about, and some I haven't measured mentioned even like Rhodiola is another one, but, um, one of the mainstays for producing energy, like for women, like moms who are tired or, or moms and dads. [00:12:28] Burning the candle at three different ends. There is a way [00:12:34] Natalie: I think I did it at four ends. For many [00:12:35] Suzy: years. You take something like readings or, um, that was a yummy greens, which is one of my formulas that cranks up energy, or green drink. You know, these are available in different flavors. Any grocery store, B vitamins are another important mainstay when it comes to helping people because the B vitamins. [00:12:58] Are just super adept at converting food into fuel and energy. Then of course there's always chocolate and wellness laced for coffee. Um, [00:13:11] Natalie: is that okay? Is that an okay way to deal with the lack of energy? [00:13:14] Suzy: Probably not, but I don't eat the whole bar. I mean, You know, like, as an example, if I wanted a little boost of energy right before our interview, I might've had a bite or two, you know, not to mean you have [00:13:28] Natalie: to eat the whole thing though. [00:13:29] That's a great tip. I'm not [00:13:31] Suzy: going to disclose that. [00:13:34] Natalie: Well, I think that each of these things, and maybe the biggest lesson that we learned here in this podcast is to understand. What your body's going through, why you don't have energy and then take it upon yourself to learn and do, uh, to get the vitamins that you specifically need because what your neighbor or your best friend needs might not be what you are, um, lacking. [00:13:59] Suzy: That's true. And sometimes the tests are difficult to interpret. As an example, you said earlier in the show, and it's so sweet and cool to see you like. Telling your lab like that, like who does that? you're so real. I'm an open book and you know, so many people will benefit from you being so gracious. [00:14:19] And you mentioned that your vitamin D is low and I know the blood tests you're talking about and I don't think people are aware. So the blood test for vitamin D is just measuring in an inactive form of vitamin D it's measuring 25 hydroxy D. it's not measuring the biologically active form of D, which probably is suppressed as well since, you know, the inactive one has to be converted in the case. [00:14:47] To the active form, which is 1 25 hydroxy coli calciferol we abbreviate it to council trial. I guess what I'm saying is these blood tests for vitamin D aren't measuring the biologically active form of deep, which might be okay. Might not be it's hard to say, but it's almost like the TSH test, which is a thyroid test. [00:15:07] It measures a pituitary hormone called TFH. And to me it's only. Irrelevant, unless it's done in, context with a larger panel, because it's sort of like a shadow of thyroid. It's not really measuring thyroid. It's measuring the stimulating hormone T S H again, a pituitary hormone. So to me, the better test is the T3, T4, the free and total and reverse T3. [00:15:33] So what people should do and the take home. If you're going to measure your vitamin D have them measure both metabolites. If you're going to measure your thyroid and see how it's doing, the TSH will not do you must ask for a thyroid profile. And again, you can self-order these. [00:15:50] Natalie: That's important to know. I do think people get, they get very confused. [00:15:56] I mean, this is normal everyday. Talk for you. and you're brilliant. So that helps too, but they do just get confused and so they just grab vitamins. They might go to the grocery store and just grab, is there harm? in that and just taking, well, I think I need to take vitamin D and then just taking it, not knowing, uh, what your actual panel might be or what your needs are. [00:16:18] Can we overdo certain quote, popular [00:16:21] Suzy: vitamins? Yeah, we can. If you take too much vitamin D and you have a parathyroid condition where your PTH has elevated. And your calcium is elevated. Then you're going to push yourself in a bad direction because vitamin D helps calcium get corporated into the cells. [00:16:37] So there are certain, you know, contra-indications is the best word I can think of. It's the pharmacist work. Uh, there are certain precautions that people should take. And so that's one of them. I always like to address nutrition. From the dietary standpoint, even though I sell supplements, I know that sounds weird. [00:16:57] and I'm a pharmacist and I'm not pushing drugs, but I'm all about food and teas and natural ways. And if you wanted to increase levels of energy, One of the simplest things you could do is increase foods that contain the amino acid tyrasine because El tyrasine is the amino acid that is used by your thyroid gland to make thyroid hormone. [00:17:19] So when you went over those foods, Yeah. So to make more thyroid hormone is like turning on a fat burning switch and an energy switch. Okay. I want that [00:17:28] Natalie: turn on that switch. [00:17:30] Suzy: It's easy. Tyra. Seeing a rich foods would include just meats, like lean chicken and Turkey or seafood. peanuts are high, but I'm not for peanuts because the allergenicity of those, but almonds are good. [00:17:43] Almonds are also high in solicitor plates. They can help with a headache, their natural pain relieving. avocados, bananas, and also pumpkin seeds, yogurt, cheese, and there's other foods. Nice stuff. Yeah. That's great. [00:17:57] Natalie: Well, lots of ways to increase our energy. I know what it feels like that mid day to grab a cup of coffee, but I'm going to try to do a couple of other things, spearmint, all those things first. [00:18:08] and do a little bit more research. [00:18:09] Suzy: For B vitamins, a good B-complex is important because of your B vitamins are deficient due to a methylation, snip which half the population has. Then your homocysteine will rise. I don't know if that's my husband's homocysteine was crazy high. I was like 24 for a long time [00:18:28] Natalie: at my labs right now, since I have them in front of me, my homelessness. [00:18:32] Super high. What do I want to say? I don't know if this super high it's 17.7. Does that mean something to you? Because it doesn't to me. [00:18:43] Suzy: Hi. I wouldn't say it's super high, but it's high and you need to address it. And what that says to. Did you have a methylation? Snip, do you have that problem? Did you do the 23 and me? [00:18:54] Natalie: I have done 23 and me. And it's interesting you say that. I think a lot of people don't know what that means. You say methylation, snip and what I've heard in the past. And what I know from my 23 and me is that MTHFR gene, if you've ever heard of it, look it up. If you haven't. And I believe I do have that, is that what [00:19:11] Suzy: you're talking about? [00:19:13] And if you have a snip. Just a personality. It's like a speed bump in the genetic code. And again, almost half of the population has this. I have it too. And there's a couple of variants, like M C 6, 7 70 and a 1, 2 9, 8 amazes me. You remember [00:19:31] Natalie: all these numbers [00:19:33] Suzy: pop way? Um, it amazes me to converge a full eight that we get and our. [00:19:42] Into something more biologically active, which is usable by the cells. And so a snip in that genetic. Blocks that. And when you don't have enough of this, biologically active wholly, then what happens is your have a higher risk for all kinds of things because your cleanup crew isn't working that well. [00:20:02] And one of the other problems with the meth methylation issue is that the homocysteine will rise. So when you see a person with high homocysteine, You almost expect that they have a subsequent issue either in their genetic code or in their diet where they're not getting enough B12 or folate. And so those are two supplements that are often used to help people with high homocysteine. [00:20:28] Another one would be riboflavin five phosphate, which is. Biologically active form of riboflavin. sometimes even niacin the B vitamins, basically the B vitamins, which are very high in leafy greens and B12 is high in animal proteins. [00:20:44] Natalie: So no knowing that I have that gene being aware of that means now I know B-vitamins. [00:20:51] Are very, I mean, they're important for everyone but harder for me because I have that gene. So doing a 23 me or some of those tests and knowing yep. I've got that. Gene means that maybe that's why my energy is low, that I can take some more B vitamins. I mean, there's so much we can learn from understanding, our genetic makeup and then. [00:21:11] Our individual issues. I mean, I feel so empowered by that because I think it's not really that I have something wrong with me. It's just something that I can, that I can do to take a supplement and be aware of it. Take control of my own [00:21:23] Suzy: health. Yeah. We have like, thousands, tens of thousands of genetic. [00:21:28] Then the DNA strand. We have tons of thousands of variants and snips and things like that. The code is Barry's makes us all individual. I have a snip in my TCM. Transcobalamine so I have a hard time absorbing it from my diet and then utilizing it. So I have to take B12 every day. And on that note, people will go rush right out and buy B12. [00:21:50] And I want them to be careful because if it doesn't have the word methyl in front of it, it's of no value to you estimate. There are forms of B12 out there that start. prefixes, like Cyanna cobalamine it's okay. It's not methyls so it's not going to work as well. What you're looking for is the word methyl. [00:22:11] So as it pertains to folic acid, I wouldn't take that. That's a synthetic almost like a drug, although it's a vitamin, it's not methyl folate. Which is natural. And so that's why I made a dietary supplement called Mito B complex, which has the methylated forms of B, because that's the way your body uses them and recognizes them. [00:22:33] Natalie: And that's something that we can get from you on your website. [00:22:37] Suzy: Yeah. Yeah. That's one of my best sellers because it works. It provides people with a full range of the B vitamins. They're all methylated and biologically active. When you go out and buy just a B-complex from the pharmacy, you're getting inactive forms of B and then your. [00:22:55] Has to have all the right nutrients and the right levels of hormones to convert them to the methylated form. Good luck with that. That's why [00:23:04] Natalie: the Joe ready, overwhelming. Literally [00:23:07] Suzy: the, you know, the old idiom I'm making expensive urine out. That's what they're referring to, but when you give your body, the body ready forms of nutrients, you can help tamp down the inflammatory cytokines like homocysteine. [00:23:22] I don't mean to scare you or anyone listening. That's a risk factor for heart attack that needs to calm down and you can't bring it down with a drug. You can only bring it down with natural B-vitamins whether supplemented or eating a green leafy diet. Yeah. [00:23:37] Natalie: I don't like it. That mine is high right now. [00:23:39] And I'm gonna do something about it. Thanks for helping us understand us. I know it was a lot of numbers and a lot of big words for people who might be listening. So if you're on a walk or you're in the car and you didn't get it, To write some of these things down, we'll be sure and put them in the show notes so that people can go back. [00:23:54] And I know your products, I believe in them. you're amazing known you for so long Susie and, um, I believe in whatever it is that you have created. So I'll be sure and put a link in the show notes to where people can get a hold of those. Um, if they're interested in that as [00:24:08] Suzy: well, it was great to be with you and to talk about energy. [00:24:12] It's such a timely topic and you're a great host. Thanks so much. [00:24:16] Natalie: I'll talk to you again soon.


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