Memorial Day Tribute to Female Vertans

In this week’s show, Nancy and Laura talk about women veterans and their health choices for those that served now that they are experiencing health issues related to menopause and other aging health issues.  We greatly appreciate the sacrifices these women and their families have made to serve our country.


Hot Flashes – This could be making things worse?

Expert’s Name: Gail Edgell
Menopause Relief: The Proof is in the Pudding

This is not the first article that I have written about on the subject of hot flashes and I am sure it will not be last.

Another study has surfaced from the University of Massachusetts concluding that yes, indeed we can reduce hot flashes by controlling stress and anxiety levels.

Many studies over the years have made this same conclusion, so if you are suffering enough, you may want to try this. The program included 2.5 hours of meditation, stretching or body awareness exercises per week. That is less than 30 minutes a day. In fact, it is about 20 minutes a day which you could do when you first get up in the morning or prior to going to bed.

I guess it depends on two things…..are you ready to make a change and second, are you suffering enough to make time to do it?

At the end of the study the women were sleeping better and had significantly less symptoms.

Time and time again, I hear women complaining of the same issues and many times there are simple solutions that can alleviate the problem. Here is one of them.

Ladies, it is time to stop taking care of other people and take care of you.

One of the best products that I have found to re-balance and re-center “me” is a product from New Reality. It has made a tremendous difference in how well I sleep and decreasing my stress levels. They even have programs for smoking cessation and weight loss that are very effective. Well worth the investment!

Here is the link to check it out!

Source of research: Menopause, online February 26, 2011

Are you Motivated to Change?


Interviewer: Gail Edgell

Gail Edgell: Today we are talking about a topic that is very important to the success of one’s workout: motivation. What drives one’s motivation?

Amy Friese:   There are a lot of times when people are motivating or think they are motivating themselves due to an outside source: a spouse or family member who thinks that they need motivation. Really, it’s important that, as women, we recognize why we are doing this — “What’s in it for me?” or “What is my driving force?” We can have people outside of our realm tell us what we could, should, would do. But unless we can truly identify and come to terms with what is driving our own motivation, it’s really hard to get to the next step.

Gail Edgell: Typically, if people are setting a goal of losing 50 or 100 pounds, it’s an external goal. They achieve that goal, and as statistics have shown, they actually gain the weight back because there is no other goal out there beyond that 50- or 100-pound weight loss. They should be working toward an intrinsic goal.

Amy Friese: Absolutely. We have to understand that for the most part, we are talking about fitness. It’s about doing your exercise, practicing your yoga and making sure that you are eating well. But it has to come from, like you said, an intrinsic place, from within. It’s a lifestyle change. It needs to be a lifestyle change for it to truly be a lifelong change.

Gail Edgell: This is something that perimenopausal and menopausal women really struggle with while balancing their lives: having the motivation to continue with their exercise and fitness programs. What goes into motivation?

Amy Friese: By far, being committed to it and having that baseline motivation as to why you are doing it — for example, “Today, I am going to get up, and I am going to do my yoga practice. Tomorrow, I am going to do this.” It is important not only to be committed but to be prepared and to understand that there are going to be roadblocks along the way — “I’m tired,” or “I have a meeting” or “Something has come up.” Understand that taking time for yourself is going to make you all that much more available for those around you — loved ones, colleagues, co-workers and more. Celebrating your goals along the way is absolutely crucial. You have to look back every now and then and say, “Hey, look, I’m doing it.”

Gail Edgell: That is exactly right. We are typically onto the next task or the next goal, and we aren’t celebrating the goal that we achieved. Are there ways that people can be accountable to themselves?

Amy Friese: Everyone has a different level of accountability. I have found that having someone outside of yourself is very helpful. “I’m going to do this at the gym” or “I’m going to buy this video” — that is simple initially, to do it for ourselves. But when we can enlist people in our circle, whom we deal with every day, to help us be accountable, that is very helpful.

For example, if a woman signs up with a college friend or sister for a boot camp I’m teaching, I will tell you right now that she will show up a lot more often, especially on those cold, rainy mornings, than a woman who signs up by herself. It’s not always the case. But when you have a partner to make that journey with you, it not only helps you stay on track but also makes it more fun. If you don’t have someone you can think of right off the top of your head, it’s the perfect opportunity to go to an event like boot camp or yoga class or join some type of group to get that person to help you along your way. That person is probably struggling and looking at the same sort of goals that you are.

Gail Edgell: I have a personal story that I can tell you regarding accountability. A few years ago I was a fitness competitor. I just did it for the challenge. I told every single person in my town that I was doing a fitness competition. When I was thinking, Oh, goodness, this is getting tough — I don’t want to do this any more, sure enough, that day someone would walk up to me and ask how the workout was going. And I would say, “Great.” People really do keep you motivated and on track.

Is there anything else that you would like to add regarding motivation?

Amy Friese: If you find daily inspirations helpful, you can go online and send yourself daily quotes. You just mentioned that when you needed inspiration the most, that was when you got it. Be open to those opportunities, and allow yourself to fall every now and again. Put those tools and steps in place so that you have the support and motivation inside and outside to get you to your goal.

Note: This article is an edited transcript of an audio interview. Changes have been made.

Menopause Depression and Anxiety

Interviewer: Gail Edgell

Gail Edgell: I am sure you have a lot of experience in treating depression.

Dr. Cass: I do. One of the really big problems is that doctors seem to think of depression as a Prozac or Zoloft deficiency. That really is a disservice to people. When a person is depressed, it’s a symptom, and it could be a symptom of any number of things going on chemically in the body. He or or she could have low thyroid-hormone levels, low adrenal-hormone levels, low blood sugar. He or she could have a deficiency of minerals such as chromium or a hormonal imbalance. For example, as women age and their estrogen, progesterone or testosterone goes down, they can feel stressed. It could be secondary to stress, which actually wears out the adrenal glands. Adrenal exhaustion certainly feels like depression. All of these are treated with antidepressants. That is not what one should do.

As a physician, my first job is to do no harm, to treat the person at the deepest root cause and as naturally and faithfully as possible. That makes sense, right?

Gail Edgell: Yes.

Dr. Cass: Rather than just throwing a prescription at people, I want to do some very basic lab testing. I look at their blood-sugar levels. Are they anemic? Do they have a thyroid issue? So much of the time, it’s that simple — they have an iron deficiency, Vitamin B12 deficiency, folic-acid deficiency or a chromium deficiency. They are given the right supplements and turn their diets around. It’s very important to eat a healthy diet. The food that you eat supplies the raw materials that make up your brain chemicals. If you are not eating well — What do you think? — it’s garbage in and garbage out. Of course, you are going to be depressed. Your brain doesn’t have what it needs to feel good. So I do a lot of lab testing, depending on my patients’ budget and insurance. Otherwise, I can make an educated guess.

I also find out what people are eating. Sometimes, they have food sensitivities. I’ve had people that were sensitive to gluten and did not know it. Once they went off all foods containing gluten, the depression went away. I have even seen people whose bipolar illness got much, much better when they stopped eating gluten-containing foods, which includes more than just wheat.

I also give people a variety of nutritional supplements. Because people often cannot afford testing or may not be able to come and see me, I developed a complete brain restoring formula called Brain Recovery. It’s two daily packets of about eight capsules each, containing multivitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, and specific amino acids. Amino acids, produced from protein, are what make our brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. You take a packet with breakfast and a packet with dinner. The morning packet wakes you up and makes you feel energized, and the packet of evening capsules chills you out. There are actually ingredients in those capsules that help balance blood sugar. One of the things I have seen in my practice is that when your blood sugar dips — and that is from eating too many sugary foods and too much white flour, by the way — you feel kind of low, sad, depressed, anxious, or irritable. That is not a Prozac deficiency, but rather most often, our brain’s response to the lack of it’s fuel, glucose. Certain minerals like chromium, vanadium,

Some people have more trouble than others with achieving stable blood sugar levels. The first step is eating properly. Eat three good meals a day, starting with a hearty and healthy breakfast and healthy snacks during the day. Take your multivitamins; I think the Brain Recovery packet really covers it all.

I don’t like how drugs are so over-prescribed. They are only dealing with the symptoms. In fact, they deplete brain chemicals. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs — the Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa and so on — over a period of time, actually use up their serotonin. We need to give precursors such as 5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, which is in the afternoon Brain Recovery packet. That really does the trick. Sometimes, I have to add extra. Patients will take an extra 100 or 200 milligrams at bedtime.

Gail Edgell: Can you tell me what is classified as depression? Is it different for everyone? Are people coming into your office saying that they can’t get out of bed in the morning or just aren’t being themselves?

Dr. Cass: All of those — feeling sad, crying more than usual or crying easily, not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to go out, not wanting to socialize, feeling that the world is just not a friendly place, or feeling pessimistic. All of these are signs of depression. Again, they are not signs of a drug deficiency. They’re a sign of some sort of imbalance.

Gail Edgell: To sum it up, depression can result from a number of things: an issue with the thyroid and/or the adrenals, blood-sugar issues, mineral deficiencies, even hormone imbalances. Some things that we can do include eat a balanced diet, make sure we are eating three square meals a day, eat healthy snacks, and take a multivitamin.

Dr. Cass: Absolutely. For more information, log on to

Note: This article is an edited transcript of an audio interview. Changes have been made.

Menopause Anxiety: Know the Facts

Interviewer: Gail Edgell
Gail Edgell: First of all, what is anxiety?

Dr. Cass: Anxiety is a physical feeling. When you think of anxiety, you might think of it as mental. But you have sweaty palms and a rapid heart rate, and your thoughts are going really fast. That’s the sympathetic nervous system response, called the “fight-or-flight” response. A protective mechanism, it’s built into all animals, us included, allowing us to escape from predators in the jungle or, in our present life, jump away if a car is coming at us. However, when that stress response ends up being constant, we feel anxious and irritable. It can affect our body’s in many negative ways, from our immune system, to our hormones, and even our bones, causing osteoporosis.

The important thing to learn is how to move from the sympathetic or stress-response of our nervous system to the parasympathetic, or the relaxation response. The good news is, we can do that by simply breathing deeply.aking some deep breaths into your belly releases the diaphragm and releases the tension. Believe it or not, it’s impossible to have that sympathetic nervous response, or that anxiety or stress response, when you’re doing deep breathing. Try it some time when stopping at a red light, or waiting in line.

Second, watch what you are eating. Very often, we go into this “fight-or-flight” response when our blood sugar has dipped. You think, “I’ll just eat some more sugar” which will help, but it’s temporary. Usually, when the blood sugar dips, it’s because you have been eating sugar–pastry or even, coffee which has a similar effect. They stimulate you for a while, since the go right to your brain — and the brain runs on sugar, or glucose. You get a sugar hit. You’re happy, you’re energetic, and then you crash. Does that sound familiar?

Gail Edgell: Yes.

Dr. Cass: You’re living on a sort of roller coaster. It’s not healthy. I have my patients switch over to a more healthy diet, where they have some protein or eggs for breakfast along with some good carbs such as oatmeal, whole wheat – unless they are sensitive to gluten, or some other whole grain. Then some protein, and fat — butter is OK. Or have omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil. You could even eat fish. Have salmon for breakfast. I know that sounds unusual, but it works. Eat a good breakfast, a heathy lunch and dinner, with some healthy snacks in between. You’re not going to have those blood sugar dips. The anxiety that you thought was all psychological actually has to do with blood sugar swings..

Anxiety can also be hormonal. As we age and our hormones start to go south, there is also a tendency to become more anxious and have worse and longer-lasting PMS, and some experience PMS for the first time. That has to do with a hormonal imbalance that actually can be alleviated by cleaning up your diet and taking specific herbal formulas such as Femme Phase, available on my web site, If that doesn’t work, you can add some of the hormone, progesterone. That is not synthetic progestin, as I explain in my book, 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health, bioidentical progesterone, the exact molecule that our body makes. It is so calming that I have them take it at bedtime because it’s helps them sleep better.

Gail Edgell: Can anxiety come and go? Or do you have it all the time?

Dr. Cass: Anxiety does go up and down. And it depends on how much you’ve eaten, when you’ve eaten, whether you’ve had enough sleep, and on your hormonal status. As hormones shift through the month, so can your anxiety level. Or you can have some external stress — a move, a marriage, a divorce, problems with your kids or your spouse thatcan put you over the edge.

Let’s say, all things being equal, you are handling all your physical stresses, and you may be able to get away with cheating on your diet. But then you have some extra stresses in your life that will tip the balance. Or you could be coping well, and then you go into peri-menopause, and your tolerance decreases.

I recommend that watch your diet, keep your blood sugar in balance, and eat the right foods, so you are insulated against undue emotional swings. You also can have your hormones tested, including a home-based saliva test that you send off to a lab for analysis.

Gail Edgell: To sum this up, there are things that women can do if they have anxiety. First is deep breathing, whether they do it sitting in a car or before they go to sleep. Second is having a clean diet — eating a lot of whole grains is important, protein, and good fats. We talked about eating breakfast, lunch and dinner so that their blood-sugar levels remain stable. We also talked about fish oil and how healthy that is. Lastly, you touched on hormonal imbalances and the importance of, again, having a good, clean diet. There are herbs available. Also, bioidentical progesterone is an option for women if they have hormonal issues.

Dr. Cass: I would like to add a tip here for women of all ages. Some years ago I developed a nutritional product called Calm, and then I added some valerian to it to make Nightly Calm. A lot of women who have had problems with anxiety throughout their lives — young women, older women, menopausal women — take Calm. It raises gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, which is the calming brain chemical. It’s a very specific formula. I could not find anything like it on the market, so I had to invent it. You can get it on my Web site, It’s been very successful in helping people handle daily stresses. It’s much better than the bad stuff, the benzodiazepines, Klonopin, Valium and Zanax. Those are really evil because they are addictive. It’s important to know that there are supplements you can rely on when all these other suggestions are not quite working for you.

Note: This article is an edited transcript of an audio interview. Changes have been made.