Men’s Health Optimization: Expert Tips From Dr. Marie Agnew

Episode #778

Have you ever wondered about the subtle health signals your body may be sending, and how they could be impacting your overall well-being?

In this insightful episode, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Marie Agnew, DNP, explores the often overlooked factors affecting men’s health, prompting us to reflect on the signs of imbalance within our bodies. How can we optimize our health by paying attention to these signals and implementing proactive measures?

As we delve into this enlightening conversation, Dr. Agnew addresses the tendency for men to neglect key health indicators, emphasizing the profound influence of factors such as gut health, inflammation, and dietary choices. What transformative potential lies in an elimination diet, and how can men unlock their best selves by understanding the intricate relationship between diet, gut health, and overall well-being?

In this episode, you’ll learn how to navigate the intricate relationship between diet, gut health, and overall well-being. Dr. Agnew introduces the effectiveness of an elimination food plan as a gold standard for identifying food-related inflammation.

Emphasizing the significance of biofeedback over diagnostic testing, she shares insights into the power of dietary changes and personalized approaches in addressing issues like bacterial overgrowth.

The conversation extends to the realm of hormonal balance, offering practical advice for men supporting their partners through perimenopausal and menopausal transitions.

Overall, this episode provides valuable guidance for men seeking proactive and holistic approaches to enhance their health and vitality.

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Doug Holt  00:00

Hey guys, welcome back to another episode. Today you guys are going to be pumped. I have Dr. Marie Agnew. Now Dr. Marie Agnew is a functional medicine doctor. But she’s much more than that. In fact, she’s somebody that I turned to for my health last year. And we were so lucky to have her here with the men from the Inner Circle. And if you don’t know, the Inner Circle is one of our highest level mastermind groups where guys contributed a decent amount of capital, but certainly a decent amount of time to up level. And we bring the best of the best together. And Marie is just one of those people.

She’s the owner of Shift, and is a functional medicine clinic with other practitioners, including nutritionists that are going to guide men like us, and our wives, through a practice to make sure that it’s holistic in nature, and taking care of the whole body, inside and out. And not only that, but she has a mother, a wife, she’s got two kids, and she is an outdoor enthusiast, mountain biking, snowboarding, doing all the fun stuff, it seems like. So Marie is going to knock down for us today, things that we need to know as busy men, as busy family members of what we get to do with our health. Thank you so much for being here, Marie.

Dr. Marie Agnew  01:07

Yeah, thanks for having me. And I have to say I love what you guys are doing. I love the mission that you have. I see women in practice often and they are often reporting that they feel lonely or they feel almost abandoned by their husbands. You know, their husbands are bringing home money they’re provided for but they feel like they just want more. They want more relationship with their partner and I love that you guys stand for the husbands being more present with family, with the kids. I think it’s just such a great mission. So thank you for what you guys are doing.

Doug Holt  01:40

Well, thank you. Yeah, we got a great group of men. And we have a lot of women that listen to this show, so we get them writing in too. It’s pretty funny. And just as a service announcement, we do get a lot of single women asking, we don’t have a directory to where they can find some of these guys.

Dr. Marie Agnew  01:55

You should probably start one.

Doug Holt  01:57

Yeah. It’s been a thought. Well, you’ve been such a great help along my journey as we go through, and I’ve talked about this on the show. Last year, it became so important to me to grow this movement and get it to the place where it is today that I put a lot of things on the backburner knowing it was going to be a season for me going through. And you came in as somebody that walked me along that journey of getting things back. So I really appreciate what you’ve done for myself, for my family and my wife says hi to you and thanks as well.

Dr. Marie Agnew  02:24

Hello. Yeah, you’re very welcome. It was a joy to work with you. And at the time, I mean, like you said, you were working so hard on building the business, a lot of people I find when they focus just on the business or on other things, they can really leave their health kind of to the side. And it can be a process to get back, right. So I appreciate how hard you worked. You really were very engaged and fun to work with.

Doug Holt  02:47

Well, thank you. Well, let’s first talk about what the heck is functional medicine, and how is that going to differ from my GP?

Dr. Marie Agnew  02:53

Yeah, yeah. Good question. So this comes up a lot. Functional medicine is really a way to broaden the lens. So when you see a GP, oftentimes they are going to focus on the symptoms. And usually there will be a treatment for that symptom. But sometimes they don’t have the time or really the system in place to look at, well, why did those symptoms happen in the first place? What is the environment that caused that symptom to occur?

So an example might be, let’s say, somebody comes in with a chief complaint of insomnia. So a lot of people struggle from insomnia, they go to their GP, they might be offered a medication, they might be even offered supplements, but really, that symptom is going to be focused on and there might not be a conversation about why did that in some you start in the first place? You know, what is your workout? How are you moving your body? What time are you moving your body? How much caffeine are you drinking? How late into the day? Are you drinking that caffeine? What type of nutrition are you taking in? Are you on screens before bed? Are you stressed before you go to bed?

You know, really, what is the environment in which that insomnia started in the first place? And with functional medicine, were able to really look at all of those systems and really ask those questions about why is this starting in the first place?

Doug Holt  04:07

I love this approach so much. And some of the guys know my previous life I was in the health and wellness field for almost two decades. And a lot of what I did was research during that time. And your holistic approach, and one of the reasons I approached you is really important. So I’ll talk to the guys, as you know, us guys don’t tend to go see a professional and… [crosstalk]

Dr. Marie Agnew  04:29


Doug Holt  04:31

We have to have like an arm severed.

Dr. Marie Agnew  04:32

Yeah, pretty much.

Doug Holt 04:34

And we think we can super glue it back on. But I’ll ask the guys often like, hey, you know most of the men that watch this are businessmen and investors, and if you had a million dollar racehorse, would you feed it fast food or would you feed it premium food? Would you allow that million dollar racehorse before going into a race to stay up all night? Or would you make sure that it stall was comfy and warm? And the answer is obvious, right? Obviously, you’re going to feed it the best food, you’re going to make sure it’s stress-free environment so it can perform, you’re going to make sure it gets rest, yet we don’t do it ourselves. Why do you think that is?

Dr. Marie Agnew  05:05

You know, I think that a lot of times the focus will be outside. And I think that a lot of times, there’s so much focus on the business and all the other outside things that we can kind of lose track of ourselves. And it might be a week or two weeks, and then suddenly we get out of the habit of taking care of ourselves, and then the narrative changes. So I think that really focusing on the day to day and then also not letting ourselves get too caught up in when habits start to change. Because, how do I say this better?

So when people start to feel guilt and shame over maybe having some habits change for the negative, then it becomes kind of a snowball effect. And if they can catch that inner narrative and really say, all right, so maybe I had fast food last night, that was a mistake, I don’t feel great today. But I’m not going to repeat it, I’m not going to do it again. Keep that narrative really positive, and then that helps with the habits to be in a better place. So I really think it’s a focus issue, but also a self-narrative issue.

Doug Holt  06:09

Yeah. Sometimes I think that as men, especially, and I’m not saying women don’t have this too. I think women do. But men in particular, we think that our self-worth is in our ability to provide, right? And so our constant focus on business, providing and competing, excuse me. And so then we look at our health, we don’t actually pay attention to it until it becomes a problem. Our weight’s an obvious one because you can see it in the mirror, right? And over time, a guy looks in the mirror and goes, “Oh, crap. I look horrible.”

Dr. Marie Agnew  06:41

Yeah, where’d that come from?

Doug Holt  06:43

Yeah. But then there’s the inner health, right. And as men get older, they start to notice these things, because we’ve seen our fathers and people around us, prostate cancer, heart attacks, strokes and things that are more traditional. What do you think it takes for a guy to get to the point where they’re going to seek out a professional like you and look at this holistically to make sure that they’re moving forward?

Dr. Marie Agnew  07:07

Yeah, great question. I mean, I think historically, you’re right. I think there needs to be a severed arm or something very major that’s popping up. But I think that having the outlook of how do I change my health trajectory so 10 years, 20 years, 30 years down the road, I’m in a good place, and realizing that what you do now influences that. So I think having that in mind can be really helpful. I think also framing it as when you take better care of yourself, obviously, you feel better, you have more energy, and then you can better show up for your kids, with your family, with your friends, your community, and your workplace. So knowing that, it’s not a small thing, it really does influence all areas of your life.

Doug Holt  07:49

It does, and I want to get into particulars, I just want to set the groundwork for some of the guys here. My frame of reference is always a couple of things. One, I’m competitive, I like to be active. But I also want to be competitive in business, and I know that if my body is trashed, that’s connected to my mind, my attention, my focus. And the healthier I can be inside, the better I can perform in the boardroom, and the bedroom, which is important to a lot of guys as well, well, all the guys I’m going to say.

And then another thing that’s important that I’ll talk to some of the men about when they’re on the fence, Marie is — my daughter is turning four, we talked about this, she turns four on Monday. I want to be able to walk her down the aisle, I want to be around. And I don’t want to be that dad that’s like, oh, I just can’t because I don’t have enough energy, or I can’t do that because of whatever reason. I want to be the dad that’s there, that’s present, and is able to go snowboarding or skiing with her 20 years from now, let alone five years from now.

Dr. Marie Agnew  08:50

Absolutely. Absolutely. And even thinking about the grandkids someday. I mean, that’s important too, right? You want to be able to get on the floor and crawl around with the grandkids, do all the things. And so I think that perspective is really helpful. And I would be curious what you think. I mean, why is it that a lot of men really aren’t as proactive as women? Because we definitely see that in my practice.

Doug Holt  09:13

Oh, I can tell you exactly what it is. So we were talking about how many people watch these shows, and that it’s a lot of people download, we can see the statistics. And I can also tell you that most of the men watching us are on the fence about joining a program like The Powerful Man or another one. That’s why we always tell them join anything. It’s the classic thing that guys don’t ask for directions. Right. Guys don’t ask for help, the ironic thing is the men that you see successful do, right? Because they set their ego aside and they move forward. You see this in business all the time, right? The most successful CEOs that I know are guys that surround themselves with smart people and ask for help and don’t pretend like they know everything. I think the issue is, as men we’ve been so conditioned to try to figure it out ourselves.

Because we think, in our psyche, subconsciously, we’ve been programmed, that it’s a sign of weakness, if I don’t know the answer, it’s a sign of weakness if I need help, And therefore, coming to someone like yourself and being proactive about my wellness, could be seen, in one paradigm, the old paradigm, as I’m showing that I’m weaker, or I’m not strong enough. When the truth is that vulnerability of asking for help is the hardest thing. And when you do that, you’re showing you’re actually really more powerful because you’re taking it into your own hands, and you’re being proactive.

Dr. Marie Agnew  10:34

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s also just so interesting. I mean, I guess I’m a little bit, I don’t know if jaded is the right word. But I definitely feel like it’s just such interesting data to get about yourself. A lot of guys –So we have a lot of men who come to the practice because their wives tell them to come. So, that happens a lot. But once they get engaged and they start seeing data come through, it’s fascinating.

Doug Holt  10:58

Yeah, and we’ll go into some of this. But when you were here with the men from the Inner Circle — [crosstalk]

Dr. Marie Agnew  11:02

That was so fun, by the way.

Doug Holt  11:04

It was great. It’s such a great group of guys. And most of them, in fact, all of them are still doing the things that you and your colleague recommended. And it’s fantastic. And a couple of them took deep dives in that. So guys, to give you an idea, Marie was here, and she went over all the diagnostics, we’ll talk about those in a second with the men and they absolutely ate it up, and they loved it. One guy in particular, has totally done a 180 with his health and wellness. It is. I mean, I’ve seen him, unfortunately, with his shirt off, and he looks amazing. But that’s the outer health, right? It’s the inner health, the calmness I’ve experienced from talking to him, my interactions with him, the way he feels about his body and everything else that’s going on. And that’s really the true measure at the end of the day.

Dr. Marie Agnew  11:51

Absolutely. And that also is what will be sustainable. I mean, your inner narrative, how you feel about yourself that will inform having good habits stay round, absolutely.

Doug Holt  12:00

Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about some of the diagnostics that you would go through if I was to see somebody like yourself, or if I was to go to Shift, your practice. What are some of the diagnostics that you have men go through, typically, men and women, of course?

Dr. Marie Agnew  12:16

Yeah, so typically, we’ll start with a pretty broad lab analysis, and we’re going to look at things such as sex hormones, so testosterone DHEAs, we’ll even look at progesterone estradiol, which many women know are important hormones, but those are actually important in men as well. And then we’re also going to look at iron levels, things like homocysteine, inflammatory markers, different nutrient status, markers, fasting insulin, we’re getting a good gauge of blood sugar. We’re going to look at markers for liver health, kidney health, electrolyte status, so we’re getting a really good baseline set of data so that we can see is there anything missing? Is there anything sub optimal, so we can really replete or treat that? An example might be, let’s say somebody is deficient in vitamin D. So if they come in to see us, they might be feeling fatigued, maybe their immunity is down a little bit, they’re getting more sick than they typically would. If we didn’t catch that we would be hitting a wall later on in all the work that we would be doing for optimization. So, it’s really important to do those baseline labs first.

And then oftentimes, we’re going to start with a gut microbiome test. And the reason we do that is with functional medicine, we really believe that the gut is the root of overall health. So the gut influences — energy, nutrient absorption, our cognition, our sense of well-being. I mean, a lot of our serotonin, which is the feel good hormone is actually secreted in our guts. So we start with this test, oftentimes, it’s called the GI map. And it’s actually PCR technology. I don’t know, I don’t want to get too into the sciency weeds, but I find it interesting. So what that means is, it’s basically DNA amplification. So it’s very sensitive, very specific to what is actually going on in the gut. There are a lot of tests out there that I would argue don’t really give you clinically actionable data, and this one really does.

Doug Holt  14:05

Yeah, I found it fascinating, Marie. I mean, I helped write a textbook in my 20s on performance nutrition. And then when you — and I’m only sharing that because I know better. And then when you gave me the result, the vitamin D was a shock, because I was super low in the vitamin D scores and a lot of other things. But what I found was the gut microbiome, there’s so much research now about how that, not only can affect our mood, but there’s theories out there that are pretty well-researched, that the gut microbiome can control our actions, our thoughts, and the way that we actually maneuver, to the point where people are like, hey, are the actions and thoughts we’re having really our own, or is it actually the microbiome inside of us that’s actually doing this?

Dr. Marie Agnew  14:49

It’s such a fascinating topic. There’s more and more research coming out about that. And it’s so interesting to me. I mean, when you think about the amount of bacteria and just overall bugs really, I mean, viruses, fungi, there’s a lot going on in our biome. And our biome, not to get too into the weeds again, but it’s everywhere, not just in our gut, but in our nasal passageways, on our skin. It’s everywhere.

Doug Holt  15:10

It is crazy. And I remember one of the things is I’d just came back from Cuba with 40-some guys, and you did a test on me for parasites and everything. I was kind of hoping I had one for an excuse. But –

Dr. Marie Agnew  15:22

I actually get that a lot.

Doug Holt 15:24

I’d imagine so, you know, you kind of want to blame something else other than my poor choices of eating nachos and drinking beer. I want it to be this other thing, that’s the problem. Turns out it wasn’t unfortunately. But I find it fascinating because you’re really getting diagnostics. So as a businessman, I get a report every day. And certainly every week, we go deep into the analytics of the business, the data, how are we doing from a marketing, whether it be acquisition, whatever is going on. And as a business owner, you should be diving deep into those.

What you provided for me, specifically, was a deep dive into the holistic parts of me. And one of the things I thought was really interesting, though it was all interesting. And I can’t remember what it’s called, so I’m going to ask you to do it. But it basically was my waking — was it my waking cortisone levels? I can’t remember exactly what happened.

Dr. Marie Agnew  16:12

Yeah. Cortisol Awakening Response.

Doug Holt  16:14

Okay, cortisol waking response. And to give you guys an idea, you’re basically like, hey, this is a problem. Like, if you don’t take care of this, pretty soon, this is going to be a different kind of problem that you’re not going to come back from.

Dr. Marie Agnew  16:26

Yeah, yeah. Oh, I love this topic.

Doug Holt  16:29

It was a wakeup call for me.

Dr. Marie Agnew  16:31

There’s a lot of literature coming out about this. So the Cortisol Awakening Response CAR for short, is basically when we first wake up, we should have a really good robust boost in our cortisol. And let me just back up and say cortisol is one of the Goldilocks hormones. So it should not be too high, it should not be too low, we really want it to be right in mid-range. But we want a specific basically pattern to the day. So we want a really robust response in the morning, a high inclination of cortisol, and then we want it to go down gradually through the rest of the day. And this really sets the stage for good strong circadian rhythm. So getting good sleep. It also sets the stage for good energy and mental clarity.

So a lot of people when they’ve been really working hard, doing all the things, maybe have a lot of stress. Sometimes what will happen is there’s a negative feedback loop that happens because they’ve had such high cortisol throughout the day sustained, the body basically says, hey, this is too much cortisol, I don’t want any more of this. And there’s a negative feedback loop that happens, thus blunting the Cortisol Awakening Response. So then instead of having this nice mountain in the morning, people basically are just flat lined through the day. And that really can cause a lot of fatigue. Like I said, sleep issues. There’s actually literature that supports it also [inaudible 00:17:44] libido at times, there’s a lot that goes on with Cortisol Awakening Response.

Doug Holt  17:49

I mean, I definitely can tell you from the flat line of energy, and I got to imagine a lot of guys watching this know this cycle that I was caught in. Marie, I was caught in this, I’ve been in this cycle, or it was in this cycle I should say, for probably most of my adult life, which was wake up in the morning, have a bunch of caffeine. When I was in my 20s, it’d be pre-workout drink, right, because that was more of what I was doing. And then at night, you have something to sedate yourself, a drink or two with the buddies to make sure that you fall asleep. And a lot of people are doing medication, so self-medication or otherwise, to calm yourself down. And then what happens, you don’t have a quality night’s sleep. So you wake up in the morning, you need that caffeine to get you back up, then you go back down. And so it’s that kind of self-regulation loop that comes in effect, which isn’t helping the body, right?

Dr. Marie Agnew  18:33

Not at all, not at all. And a lot of times too, when people drink alcohol at night, and trust me, I am one of them or have been, historically, it really interferes with deep sleep too. So you wake up feeling horrible and then you’re just pounding coffee to try and get energy, and then you’re really caffeinated, and it is a cycle that people get caught in.

Doug Holt  18:51

Oh, yeah, the anxiety and everything else that comes with it. So we’re going through it and I was looking at it, and what I thought was really interesting, because I already know some of the guys watch, we have a lot of doctors that watch this too. I had a doctor friend of mine work out, who specializes in performance with athletes, and it was almost, gosh. It was a week after you and I spoke and I brought this up. I was like, hey man, like this is really eye-opening to me in this response, and he goes, Oh, shoot it over to me. And I shot it over. And he said almost verbatim what you said. And he added one more thing. He’s like, Doug, I see this all the time. You got five years. If you don’t change this around, you’re going to be dead. I was like, whoa.

Dr. Marie Agnew  19:29

Whoa, that’s [inaudible 00:19:30]

Doug  Holt  14:49

So, it’s kind of what Marie but was she was nicer about it. And that’s a testament to you and what you do is I think looking at it from this holistic perspective, it really because you also said hey, look, you have this going on. And here are some reasons and here’s some things we could do naturally and also with supplementation and meditation, all the things we teach the men to do. Combine those, and you can reverse this and change this around.

Dr. Marie Agnew  19:57

Absolutely and you feel so much better. I mean, it really is something that changes fairly quickly for people, and they just feel so much better.

Doug Holt  20:05

No, it’s true. What are some of the — we talked a little bit about gut microbiome, and I know we can dive into this deeply.

Dr. Marie Agnew  20:11

Oh, man. I can talk for days on the gut microbiome.

Doug Holt  20:15

And I would listen, and maybe they would too, and then perhaps we’ll have you back for a more in depth. I’m really curious what the guys want to dive into here. What are some of the – I mean, you know the men that we work with, the avatar, if you will. These are all great men, they’re high performers, they’re providers for their families. Most of these men have a story like I do of like, I can pull myself up by my own bootstraps, I’ll figure it out, and they’ll work. What are some of the common things that you see after their wives send them in or what have you? Hopefully, we’ll get more guys to come to practitioners like you around the world. And I know you can work with people all over the United States. And you’ve helped — some of the guys that came in were from UK and Canada to the Inner Circle event, you help them as well. What are some of the things that you’re seeing these men come in with? What are the reasons, the real reasons that they’re coming to see you?

Dr. Marie Agnew  21:07

Well, again, 95%, because the wives bring them in. But I would say the other percentage is usually gut symptoms, feeling, I mean, not to get too graphic, but a lot of bloating or heartburn, reactions to foods, are not sure which foods what’s going on. Sometimes difficulty with digestion. So they might be constipated, they might have loose stool, there might be something going on there. And then sometimes just not feeling as sharp as they used to.

So they’re noticing things like brain fog. They might be in a meeting and they’re searching for words in front of their team, and it’s embarrassing. So, they really want to optimize more of their brain function and their cognition. I’d say those are the top things. We get a decent amount of men with insomnia. So you know, just can’t get to sleep like they used to, or they get to sleep and then they wake up again 01:00- 02:00 AM, and their mind just starts ruminating, we see that a lot too. We see some men for sports performance, they’re athletes, they are maybe just not performing as they used to. So they want to work on things like energy, mitochondrial health, and things of that sort.

Doug Holt  22:10

And I had all those. So, I was either the easiest person to work with or the hardest. I’m not sure which…

Dr. Marie Agnew  22:14

You were pretty easy to work with. But just because you’re so engaged, right, that makes all the difference. And people really want to be engaged.

Doug Holt  22:19

Yeah. And I definitely do and I have a lot of follow up questions on me, but that’s for a different time. And so we see that coming in. So men coming in, again, I know a lot of these guys were like, oh, wow, the brain fog kicks in. And one of the things you told me was through the test, you said, Doug, look — Well, I’ll backup. One of the things I really respect about you, and there’s a lot of them is you offer suggestions, not a mandatory you need to do this thing.

Dr. Marie Agnew  22:44

Absolutely. That’s important. I mean, people need to be engaged, but also willing to do something. If I just sit here and give you a list and say, okay, do this, this and this, and they don’t check-in if it’s actually doable or something you want to bring into your life. That’s not helpful.

Doug Holt  22:57

Yeah, I know — I remember you telling me through my exam, and a lot of the guys will get this. There’s a lot of naysayers about gluten sensitivity. My wife has been gluten intolerant since I’ve known her and she’d had to find out the hard way. But if she has gluten, she’s out for a couple of days and I’ve seen it happen.

Dr. Marie Agnew  23:12

Oh, I’m so sorry.

Doug Holt  23:14

Yeah, it really hits. She’s not celiac, but it really hits her hard, and I remember coming back to the house after talking to you. And I was like, Marie said I need to cut out gluten to see how it does. And she looked at me and goes, I told you so.

Dr. Marie Agnew  24:26

I told you this years ago.

Doug Holt  24:28

[inaudible 00:23:28] what it was. And she was like every time you go out or drink beer or you eat too much gluten, you have stomach issues, right, and things like that gastrointestinal issues. And I was like, ah, do I? As a typical guy, I don’t pay attention to those things. But I did know when I went through an elimination diet, I noticed when I started adding foods back in, I could tell a reaction. And I was like, oh, wow, this has become or has always been an issue that I wasn’t aware of. And I wonder how many of the men listening to this, myself included, we don’t know what issues are within our body because we’re so used to putting up with them. To us, it just becomes the regular set point, and we don’t realize there’s a more optimal version of ourselves waiting to be discovered.

Dr. Marie Agnew  24:13

Absolutely. And I would say that that’s common across the board. We see that with women as well. You know, they might have a low level of fatigue or brain fog that they actually didn’t even realize that they have. They thought it was just who they were or even they’ll blame it on age, and that’s not the case. And so the elimination food plan, it’s really a good way to systematically figure out what things what foods might be causing inflammation in your system. And so it really is the gold standard.

You know, I always prefer that when people are willing to actually do that food plan, to diagnostic testing, because the diagnostic testing actually isn’t that accurate, always. And so the elimination food plan is also a really good way to get that bio-feedback in your body. It’s really powerful too, let’s use corn for example. Cut out corn for three weeks, you might feel oh, I have less brain fog, I feel more energy re-added into your diet. And then suddenly, you’re noticing oh, wow, that actually, the brain fog, the lack of energy, everything came back. And when people feel that in their body as opposed to seeing it on like a lab printout, it’s that much more powerful. So I definitely prefer to work in that way.

Doug Holt  25:19

Yeah. And it’s smarter. I mean, it’s the logical way. It’s kind of like, I want to lose weight. So do I take a weight loss drug or actually tie my running shoes on and go for a walk? Right? The walk could be harder. And the problem I think what happens with our society, Marie, is there’s billions of dollars of marketing to sell us the quick fix. So I would bet that most of the men watching this have tried a neurotropic of some sort, something to help their brain function a pill, or something. But they don’t know that, hey, it could be a food that you’re eating could get, you know, that neurotropic, probably it’s BS, but maybe it’s okay. Maybe gives you a 1% increase. [crosstalk]

Dr. Marie Agnew  25:08

[inaudible 00:25:58] even if it’s placebo.

Doug Holt  26:00

Yeah, just going to give you a 1%-2% bump. But changing your diet from a diagnostic, changing some of your habits might give you a 10-20% bump. It just takes — [crosstalk]

Dr. Marie Agnew  26:10

Absolutely, or more [crosstalk] — some crazy things.

Doug Holt  26:11

Do you?

Dr. Marie Agnew  26:12

Yeah, I had this patient one time who actually had a previous ankle injury, and she would actually get really bad arthritis in her ankle, and she cut gluten out of her diet. And I also want to give the disclaimer, I don’t believe everybody should be gluten free. It’s just one I see often. And she actually, the arthritis completely cleared up. And then when she had gluten again, her ankles started to swell and feel painful again, just crazy stuff that you would not expect.

Doug Holt  26:39

I believe it wholeheartedly and I read so many articles myself being interested in nutrition and other performance enhancing, you see people that cut out — Grain in particular seems to be a big one for a lot of people. I still eat gluten, but I can tell a difference when I eat a lot of gluten versus some here and there. It’s just a big difference with my body and how it reacts. My joints get — I feel older, right. I just feel older, almost arthritic, if you will, because I’m still doing CrossFit. So I’m getting in there. And when I don’t and actually clean up my diet, I focus on my sleep, I perform. I already told everybody I’m competitive, and so I want to be competitive when I do something, so I just feel better about myself. Which transfers over to work, it transfers over to my life, my kids, my wife, etc.

Dr. Marie Agnew  27:27

Yeah. And I should really back up and say that oftentimes, the food sensitivity discovers that come out of this, it’s not usually a life sentence. So I mean, in your case you did a lot of gut healing work, I hope it’s okay to say that.

Doug Holt  27:42

Yeah, I’m an open book.

Dr. Marie Agnew  27:43

So after that you can become more tolerant to things that you used to react to previously. And there is something called leaky gut, or increased intestinal permeability. And that really is the explanation for this phenomenon. Is it okay if you’re talking about that for a little while?

Doug Holt  27:57

Yeah, these are grown adults.

Dr. Marie Agnew  28:01                                           

Okay. I mean, well it’s also like nerd speaks, so I don’t want to go – [crosstalk]

Doug Holt  28:02

Oh, no, no, no, go for it.

Dr. Marie Agnew  28:03

Okay. So on the gut lining, we should have really tight junctions and basically, smaller food molecules should basically go through those junctions into our bloodstream when we digest food. With increased intestinal permeability, or leaky gut, what happens is those food junctions are much more wide. So bigger food complexes actually seep through that gut lining into the bloodstream. And then the immune system sees these bigger complexes and realizes that shouldn’t be there. So it attacks and so that causes more of an immune response, increasing inflammation. So somebody with leaky gut oftentimes will feel like they’re reacting to everything they eat. And so the treatment there should not long-term be well just don’t eat those foods, because pretty soon they’re eating three foods that they don’t react to. Yeah, so what we want to do is actually heal the gut, heal the intestinal permeability and then increase their diet.

Doug Holt  28:56

I think that’s what happened to me and as I reflect, I’m listening to you talk about this. I put pieces of this together. So, I saw I lived in Santa Barbara for 20 years, California.

Dr. Marie Agnew  29:05

I love Santa Barbara.

Doug Holt  28:07

Yeah, it’s a great place.

Dr. Marie Agnew  28:08

Such a beautiful spot.

Doug Holt  28:09

And so if you and I were to go meet in Santa Barbara, we’d go get a glass of wine, right? That’s just what you do, coffee, wine. Then I moved to Central Oregon, where I live now. It’s, let’s go meet for a beer. I gained 20 pounds like almost overnight, literally.

Dr. Marie Agnew  29:24

Those IPAs will do it.

Doug Holt  29:26

They’re amazing. If you go get a haircut here they give you a beer. I was shopping for a pair of jeans, they gave me a beer. I was like this place is awesome. But I think what — I really reacted, I became very gassy. That’s what my wife was saying about the gluten, like I can tell. So all of these things happened and since working with you and going through the protocols that you recommended for me and do the elimination diet. Now if I go out and have a beer, no problem. If I have four beers, the problems start to come back a little bit. But I noticed that difference mind body really responds differently depending on what I’m doing. And I’m just talking about wine versus beer. But you can put that through any other types of foods that you would eat.

Dr. Marie Agnew  30:07

Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Do you mind if I talk a little bit more in detail about what you had going on? Is that ok?

Doug Holt  30:13

No, I don’t mind at all.

Dr. Marie Agnew  30:14

Okay, are you sure?

Doug Holt  30:15

I don’t mind. These guys might not want to hear, but yeah, I’m good.

Dr. Marie Agnew  30:17

I won’t go into too, too much detail. But for you specifically and we see this a lot, you had some bacterial overgrowth. So with bacterial overgrowth, that bacteria is going to really react to things like gluten and things like beer. And so in basically seeing that level on that GI map, the test I was talking about, we were able to use some herbs and some specific things to decrease that bacterial overgrowth, therefore making it so that your gut could respond or not respond, I should say, tolerate more foods.

Doug Holt  30:47

Yeah. And it made complete sense, right? I mean, essentially, you’re taking, and I’m going to dumb this down. So correct me when I get it wrong, because I will. But essentially, you have a bacterial overgrowth, so you have an organism in your body that’s being dominant, that shouldn’t be. And what you’re is introducing another species, and not feeding it, right? You’re not feeding the food that that bacteria likes, and you’re introducing a new bacteria that’s better for you. And it becomes more dominant with inside your microbiome. And so you’re basically getting the good stuff in and the bad stuff out.

Dr. Marie Agnew  31:17

Correct, correct. And I would add to that, we’re also giving you specific herbs to kill off the bacterial overgrowth. The other way that you described, that takes a lot longer, but that can be effective. I like to get results quicker, so giving that herbs can definitely be very helpful.

Doug Holt  31:32

Yeah, I know exactly what you’re talking about, and it’s perfect, and it worked really, really well for me. And I know it did for the other men that I talked to that were here for the event for the Inner Circle. So one thing that you you’ve talked about, and I’ve heard other people talk about this, as well. And you mentioned that men can increase their libido, right, testosterone libido. And on the flip side of that, there’s another coin that these guys would love to hear about, is that women come to you also, for the same thing. Tell me – [crosstalk] we don’t have to go into detail, but tell me a little bit about that. And how that works

Dr. Marie Agnew  32:02

Yeah, yeah. So I see a lot of women who they feel just really fatigued, quite frankly. They’re maybe working full-time and then they’re also moms. And they feel like they’re constantly in their heads, right. They’re constantly in the to-do list or their home with the kiddos working in the home, and they’re constantly just being pulled in every direction. And that brings them to really live more so in their mind, and in all the things that have to be done, all the organization, the kids’ lunches, the activities, all the things, right. And with that, they don’t necessarily live in their bodies, and so they’re not in a more embodied state.

And there is some terminology out there where this is referred to, as you know, more of a masculine mindset, when you’re kind of in that to-do list execution mode, versus the more kind of feminine embodied state where you’re actually living more in your body. And I like to work with women, first of all, and discovering a lot of the root causes of how do we boost your energy? How do we get you feeling better? How do we build your self-confidence? But also, how do we give you specific practices to get out of your head and more into your body? And that can really help with things like libido.

Doug Holt  33:13

Yeah, and progesterone and things of that nature.

Dr. Marie Agnew  33:15

Oh, that’s massive.

Doug Holt 33:16

Yeah. Well, I think what happens for a lot of people, and so I’m talking to one of the guys I work with one-on-one, and one of the questions I asked him was, has your wife had her hormones checked? Because he’s describing this, I call it mother whelmed. It’s like overwhelmed as a mother and going through it and it’s not a coin I termed. It’s something I’ve heard. But you know it, and she’s always tired. She always seems to have brain fog. Or the way he’s describing it, and he’s frustrated, because when they have sex, it’s good. However, it seems like her libido isn’t there. And she’ll even say this to him. Like, I want to have sex with you. However, it’s just, I don’t feel up for it right now or what have you. And so as a guy, he’s taking it personally, of course. Like, what am I doing wrong? And I’m trying to inform him, like it might not be anything you’re doing, probably not. She’s going through something.

Dr. Marie Agnew  34:07

Yeah, yeah. And these women feel so guilty, you know, what they described to me in practice. They feel like they are not showing up for their husbands that they love in a way that they really want to and they feel so bad about it, and they want to change. They don’t have direction, they don’t know how to. And I think a big reason for that is yes, check your hormones, but also, how is she moving her body? Does she have space to actually be with herself? Or is she constantly with the kids and shopping and doing the to-do list stuff?

And also, how is her gut health? How is her sleep? How’s her Cortisol Awakening Response and just overall stress hormones? I mean, there are multiple things that need to be looked at. It’s oftentimes multifactorial, and I think a lot of these women too, they beat themselves up because they think it’s just their fault and they don’t know that there’s all these other factors that are playing a role. So really going through and addressing all of these things together is a good path forward for these women.

Doug Holt  35:02

I love it, you know. And I mean, guys, when you’re watching this on — whether you’re watching this on YouTube or listening to this in the car, we’re talking about the person that you love the most, right. And this is somebody you want to go see somebody like Marie. It doesn’t have to be Marie, but somebody like that, that can look at the holistic aspect of what’s going on. Because I think just like men, women, I would assume feel like oh, this is just part of the aging process, this is just something that’s happening, because it doesn’t happen overnight. Right? It happens gradually. And that problem with that weight gain or anything else, is when it happens gradually, you don’t see it till — you just don’t notice. It’s just part of who you become over time.

Dr. Marie Agnew  35:39

Absolutely. And this self-narrative follows. And I know you and I were talking a little bit about this, but I really… The more I work in this way with people, the more I’m convinced this self-narrative is everything. I mean, our self-concept, how we see ourselves, is how we treat ourselves. And a lot of times, especially for these women, they have so much guilt and shame that their self-narrative is so negative. So, really working to flip that, along with getting them feeling better about themselves is really key.

Doug Holt  36:08

Yeah, and I’m not going to get this study, I’m just going to dovetail on that to double down what you’re saying so the guys get it. They did a study with a double blind placebo. And they gave, and I’m going to get the study wrong, guys, so don’t quote me on it, but you’ll get the gist of it. And they gave both groups chocolate. And they told one group that the chocolate would heal them and make them better. It had more energy and it was basically a healthy chocolate.

The other group, they told me it was classic chocolate. And they actually had different blood responses, blood glucose levels, and everything. The group that was told that it’s a healthy chocolate, their health, biomarkers all went up. The group that was told it was like more of a dessert, chocolate, their health, bio-markers all went down. Right? And it was just simply the idea of what it could do for you, just like the self-talk you’re talking about.

Dr. Marie Agnew  36:56

Yeah, it really is powerful. And I mean, I’m happy there is so much more medical literature coming out on this. I mean, Joe Dispenza, I don’t know if you’ve – [crosstalk]

Doug Holt 37:03

Oh, yeah.

Dr. Marie Agnew  37:04

Yeah, I mean, there’s just so much great stuff, really showing the power of our self-narrative and how we see the world.

Doug Holt  37:10

Yeah, absolutely. For a guy watching this right now who’s got a wife who’s fatigued, not feeling herself, isn’t the woman that he married, and we’re all different. And to think that your wife or your husband is going to stay the same person is ridiculous. We talk to guys about this all the time. And just so you know, one of the things we tell the guys to do is to have — We teach them to decompress after work, but also to set the mood so there’s a transition time for their wives to go out of her masculine into her feminine.

Dr. Marie Agnew  37:44

Beautiful. I love that you teach that. That’s so great.

Doug Holt  37:46

We do, we go into it. Then the guys are amazing, because they’ll have groups, and they’ll share things that work for them. So drawing a bath for one guy’s wife works for him, but it might not work for somebody else. And that’s the power of the community these men have. In our private community, they share everything from date nights to what works, what doesn’t. It is, it’s great. It really is. So they should be doing that stuff. But if they’re doing that, and their wife still feels like, ah, I just as don’t feel like myself. What’s the first step to helping her get back on track?

Dr. Marie Agnew  38:20

Great question. I would say can I do a combination for the first one?

Dough Holt 38:24

You can.

Dr. Marie Agnew  38:25

I would say a combination of making sure that she has time blocked out in her schedule, to basically do whatever fills her up. So we ask this a lot, specifically of woman in the practice. What are you doing in the day-to-day that actually ignites you and makes you feel great? And oftentimes, they’re like, well, I work on my to-do list and I hit the gym, but the gym to them isn’t fun, it’s not filling them up.

So specifically something that gives her joy. Or if she wants to just sit and stare at the wall, she has the freedom to do so. Because a lot of these women, they feel like they have to be on all the time. They are at their job or they’re home with the kids and they’re just constantly doing something. And then the kids go down and then they have all the laundry, it’s a lot. So they need freedom to basically — I don’t want to say rediscover themselves, that sounds a little cheesy. But in a way, like, all right, who am I? What is my new… I’m now wife and mom. Like, I need some time to figure this out. So that’s big.

Doug Holt  39:21

Yeah, I can tell you 90% of the guys listening to this don’t know who they are. They just don’t know they don’t know who they are. And that’s why they focus on work.

Dr. Marie Agnew  39:30

Yeah. And there’s such a massive change that happens, right, as we have kids, get married, start killing it in our careers, there’s just so much there that draws our attention. It takes time to really check in with ourselves, and know who we are.

Doug Holt  39:44

And permission to check in with yourself. Right? And then if you’re checking in, what is that and what’s the dark corners and is that worth it?

Dr. Marie Agnew  39:52

Yes, yeah. And is it productive, right? That’s a big thing too.

Doug Holt  39:56

Well, especially when you’re getting your accolades and everything else in business, you just to double down on that.

Dr. Marie Agnew  40:01

Yeah, 100%. So to go back to your original question, so space, but also I do think some labs would be really good. A lot of these women do have cortisol issues. They might have something called estrogen dominance, where their progesterone is low, estrogen is high, that causes a lot of these symptoms. You know, looking at things like biomarkers like Vitamin D, it all plays a role. So it all should be looked at.

Doug Holt  40:23

Awesome. And even then, I think when you’re saying that, because my wife’s going, and she wouldn’t mind me sharing this, she’s going through that right now. And one of the things we talked about is like, get the diagnostics so at least you know, it’s not that or it could be something. But now you’re eliminating factors so you can move towards a solution.

Dr. Marie Agnew  40:40

Yeah, yeah. And I think too, sometimes it’s helpful for women to know there’s more at play here. It’s not all in their head. Because a lot of people, men and women combined, sometimes they go to a practitioner, and they’re told, well, your labs are normal. There you go. And they’re like, wait, but I don’t feel normal. So it’s nice to also have some direction and to see some of these more advanced biomarkers that can point out things that might be less than optimal.

Doug Holt  41:05

Okay, that’s great. One more question regarding the wives, and this question comes up a lot for the men is the idea of their wives being pre-menopausal or menopausal. And so it’s come up in our community a lot lately, where the guys are like, I think my wife might be menopausal. What the heck do I do?

Dr. Marie Agnew  41:29

We’ll, that’s a big question. How much time do you have?

Doug Holt  41:31

I mean, we could do a whole ‘nother episode, and I’m open to that.

Dr. Marie Agnew  41:33

Maybe we should do that.

Doug Holt  41:34

First of all, how would a man know if his wife is menopausal? Second question on top of that is, and I know this is a huge topic, and I’ve done a ton of research on it myself to help these guys. And I talked to my wife about it because she coaches women, is what are some of the things a guy can do that to positively help their wife navigate this?

Dr. Marie Agnew  42:02

Yeah, great questions. So some of the top ways to know, so let me just define kind of what those terms are. So pre-menopausal is going to be before any of those hormonal fluctuations really starts. So pre going through menopause. Menopause, the definition means that a woman has not menstruated for a full year. So post-menopausal, you are going to basically have not menstruated for that full year. And the average age is around 50-51 for that. And then there’s peri-menopausal. So peri-menopausal is going to be a lot of hormonal fluctuations that are happening. And that is really as women transitions from kind of the childbearing years into getting closer to menopause, but she’s still having her cycles. Sometimes her cycle is irregular, she’s having a lot more hormonal fluctuations.

And I would say, by and large, this is kind of earlier 40s up until kind of earlier 50s is when these changes will start. Sometimes it’s early as later 30s for some women. And really, a lot of times there can be things like more breast tenderness they might complain of, more irregular cycles, as I said, because those hormones are fluctuating so significantly. Women might feel like they’re gaining weight in their midsection that doesn’t make sense. Like sometimes they’re doing all the things they’ve always done to stay in shape and their body’s just changing and they don’t know why.

And then a lot of times too, sleeplessness. So feeling more anxiety, not sleeping well, especially the week before menstruation. So kind of that pre-cycle time, usually the time when most men are like, ooh, you’re about to have your period, aren’t you? So those are just some of the definitions there. I would say ways men can support these women are really just saying, hey, I understand you’re going through this and I love you. Like, it’s fine if you gain a little weight or what have you. Maybe not necessarily just saying that, but showing her, right, that you still very much love her. Because I think a lot of times too, these women, their self-esteem kind of plummets during this time, because they feel like they have all these crazy emotions. They feel like they don’t have control over their emotions, they’re not sleeping. They feel kind of crazy. And so having their man say, hey, I love you, that’s huge.

Doug Holt  44:10

Oh, yeah, it is. Absolutely. And I think it’s important for the guys to understand that it’s… So the guys talking to guys might say ah, she’s crazy. She knows what’s go — Yeah.

Dr. Marie Agnew  44:22

Totally feels crazy. She feels it and she’s embarrassed about it, she’s ashamed about it, typically.

Doug Holt  44:26

Yeah, and whenever there’s shame and guilt, that loop comes in. And sometimes that can manifest to anger. Right? Because if it’s not encouraged or talked about, it gets brushed under.

Dr. Marie Agnew  44:37

Yeah. And also these men just saying how can I help? Like, I understand this is hard. Like, what can I do? You didn’t sleep last night. Maybe help pack the kids’ lunches that [inaudible 00:44:46] just do extra, a little bit of extra stuff. And for these women, oftentimes they want guidance too. Oftentimes, yeah, I’m a big fan of bio-identical hormone replacement when it is indicated and necessary. That can really help kind of ease that transition. And then also gut health, looking at stress, all those foundational pieces we’ve been talking about come into play.

Doug Holt  45:07

Awesome. I know what you’re talking about when you talk about hormone replacement. Can you tell the guys a little bit more about what we’re [inaudible 00:45:12]?

Dr. Marie Agnew  45:11

Yeah, definitely. So I’m a big fan of bio-identical hormone replacement. There’s actually hormone replacement therapy out there that is not actually bio-identical to a woman’s natural hormones. And when I say hormone replacement therapy, I basically mean giving things like testosterone, DHEA, progesterone, which is a sex hormone and estrogen, which is a sex hormone. So when women go through kind of that transition, they oftentimes will have fluctuating hormones. So re-pleating some of those lower levels can be really helpful to kind of just smooth things out.

Doug Holt  45:42

Makes sense. Makes perfect sense. So first of all, thank you so much again for all – [crosstalk] that you’ve done for us.

Dr. Marie Agnew  45:48

Yeah, you’re so welcome.

Doug Holt  45:49

Thanks for being here. [crosstalk] For men that want to find more information about you, your practice, and what you guys do, where can they go?

Dr. Marie Agnew  45:57

Yeah, so our website, shiftfunctionalmed.com, is a great place to go. And then also Instagram, so shift.functional.med. And then I’m also going to be launching a personal Instagram on top of that, Dr. Marie Agnew. And so there are quite a few places to come into contact with us.

Doug Holt  46:15

I love it. I love it. Gentlemen, as we always say, in the moment of insight, take massive action. And this is your time to really take action on your health. Be proactive. I mean, all of us have stuff going on guys, don’t we? And so not only be reactive to those things and take care of them now because you don’t know when later is going to happen. But be proactive. And if you don’t work with Marie, that’s fine. She will say the same thing. Get some help and move out there. Get your diagnostics, understand what’s going on. You do in your business, do it in your health, too, right? You want to be around for a long time. You like me, we want to walk our daughters down the aisle. We want to be there for our sons, we want to be there for our families, and it starts with you taking care of your health. Until next time, we’ll see you on The Powerful Man Show.