If you're a woman in your 40s, 50s, or beyond, you know that hormone health is key. But did you know that gut health is essential for hormone balance?
In this episode of The Hormone Prescription Podcast, Lindsey Parsons, a Certified Health Coach specializing in helping clients locally and nationally heal gut health issues and reverse autoimmune disease naturally as well as lose weight without cutting calories and hosts the podcast "The Perfect Stool: Understanding and Healing the Gut Microbiome", joins us to discuss the gut-hormone connection.
Lindsey shares with us:
How the gut and hormones are interconnected
How to heal your gut for better hormone health
The link between gut health and autoimmune disease
Type of tests to diagnose gut issues
How to create a healthy gut environment
Why some people suffer from SIBO as a chronic long term illness
The latest treatments for GI problems like fecal microbiota transplant, breathwork, and colostrum
If you're interested in learning more about the gut-hormone connection and how to heal your gut for better hormone health, tune in now!
[00:00:00] "I'd rather pay for healthy food now than healthcare later." Would you? So the big question is how do women over 40, like us keep weight off, have great energy balance. Our hormones in our moods feel sexy and confident and master midlife. If you're like most of us, you are not getting the answers you need and remain confused and pretty hopeless to ever feel like yourself again.
[00:00:23] As an OB GYN, I had. Discover for myself, the truth about what creates a rock, solid metabolism, lasting weight loss, and supercharged energy. After 40 in order to lose a hundred pounds and fix my fatigue. Now I'm on a mission. This podcast is designed to share the natural tools you need for impactful results.
[00:00:41] And to give you clarity on the answers to your midlife metabolism challenge. Join me for tangible natural strategies to crush the hormone imbalances you are facing and help you get unstuck from the sidelines of life. My name is Dr. Kyrin Dunston. Welcome to The Hormone Prescription Podcast. Hey everybody.
[00:01:00] And welcome back to another episode of The Hormone Prescription Podcast with Dr. Kyrin. Thank you so much for joining me. My guest today is Lindsey Parsons. She has an amazing podcast called The Perfect Stool, Understanding And Healing, The Gut Microbiome. When I discovered her recently, I saw her podcast and I saw all the amazing guests she had and just really the depth and breadth of her knowledge in gut health and healing.
[00:01:26] And I know how central this is to hormone health and overall health. I had to have her on the podcast. And I reached out and she kind of said, well, I don't really do that kind of thing. I said, no, please, you gotta come talk to my ladies. So I bring her here to you today and I hope you enjoy her as much as I do.
[00:01:45] In addition to hosting the podcast, the perfect stool. She's a certified health coach and she works in Tucson. She specializes in helping clients nationally heal gut health issues and reverse autoimmune disease, as well as lose weight without cutting calories who doesn't want that. She also has this wonderful quote about a calorie not being a calorie.
[00:02:06] And she tells a little bit of a story about that, but you don't want to miss. She talks about fecal transplants, which if you don't know about that, you're gonna wanna hear about that. She talks about colostrum use for healing gut issues. We talk about SIBO testing. What tests to do.
[00:02:28] We talk about everything.
[00:02:29] So you'll see this episode is a little all over the place because I was super excited to talk to her. I knew I only had her for max an hour, so I was trying to jump around and hit all the things that I really wanted to chat with her about. You like it, and I hope you take it as an invitation to listen to her podcast and go more in depth into a lot of these issues that are of interest to you.
[00:02:54] There are way more than we could even cover. And I think we talked for 35, 40 minutes, so she has even way more available. So without further ado, please welcome Lindsey Parsons.
[00:03:06] Thank you.
[00:03:08] So glad to have you here. I don't remember where I found your podcast, but I was super excited when I did the perfect stool, understanding and healing, the gut microbiome, and then all the amazing guests and topics that you've had and how in depth you go.
[00:03:27] I was like, I have to talk to you.
[00:03:31] and I have to have you on the podcast. So thank you so much. Yeah, well, I appreciate you for inviting me. So I think that a lot of people in the general public who are looking for answers to their health, tend to only look for physicians. I'm glad to see that that's changing because I think there are some amazing health coaches, for instance, like you out there who really go so much deeper into a lot of these issues and really are better experts than a lot of physicians on things like you are for gut health.
[00:04:06] So talk to us about how you became so passion. About gut health and really what led you down that.
[00:04:15] So it was really my own health struggles that led me into this path. So years ago, unbeknownst to me, my, an episode of food poisoning led to something called Post infectious IBS, which I only actually found out within the last year or so is an autoimmune diagnosis that I have because I didn't have a typical presentation of IBS, which you might think of as, you know, may having diarrhea six times a day or severe constipation.
[00:04:47] I didn't have either of those, but. I did have gut symptoms that, you know, including bloating and reflux and things like that, that went on for years. And when I did see traditional doctors didn't really get a lot of help other than suggesting I take proton pump inhibitors, which I did for something like 10 or 15 years.
[00:05:08] And now they super strict about not taking more than two weeks at a time. So, you know, the long term damage from that, you can only imagine. . And when I did eventually find my way to a functional medicine provider and was put on a course of herbal treatment for something called SIBO or small intestine, bacterial overgrowth, which is what happens when you have this post infectious IBS.
[00:05:29] What happens is you have an autoimmune situation where the Migrating motor complex or the process by which food is cleared through your intestines after eating is impacted negatively and is attacked by your own body. Therefore, you don't have that clearing of the intestines and clearing of the bacteria and the intestines.
[00:05:50] So you get these overgrowths and stagnation, and then you end up with bloating every time you eat, because it's coming, the food's coming in, and immediately the bacteria are going crazy and producing gases. So I had that going on for years and you know, you meet a lot of people that have a lot of bloating after they eat and they just sort of rack it up to, I ate too much or, you know, a whole number of things.
[00:06:12] So. I did finally see somebody and they cleared the placebo for me. Eventually it took herbals and then followed by Rifaximin, which is a prescription, very expensive prescription drug that, that takes care of it. And then over time started changing my diet, getting rid of gluten, getting rid of dairy.
[00:06:29] Really, you know, reducing sugar significantly. And all of those things contributed to me getting much better. And then I also had several autoimmune diagnoses that, you know, cuz when you have these kind of gut issues, you can have followed on autoimmune issues. And so I had Hashimoto thyroiditis, which really, you know, when I found out about that, that really kicked me into gear about trying to turn things around because the doctor had said to me, oh, you can just wait until your thyroid's gone.
[00:06:55] Then we'll put you on. You know, thyroid hormones. And I thought, oh, I'm just gonna sit around and wait until my entire thyroid's destroyed by this. No, that's not what I'm gonna do.
[00:07:05] right. But that's such a typical mainstream medical approach. Um, nothing to do. You have raging thyroid peroxidase antibodies, you have Hashimotos and they do nothing.
[00:07:16] And then they literally say, we're not gonna do anything, you know, until you're you burn out your thyroid, which is just kind of insane. So then what happened at that point? I think I, all of this is a bit perhaps out of order, but I did eventually get off gluten, get off dairy and for a while off of Soy.
[00:07:34] Yeah, mm-hmm and, and, and I just kept retesting my hormones as I, my, I mean, my antibodies, rather my thyroid antibodies as I retested those foods. So it took a couple years. I, you know, I stayed off gluten for a year before I think I even retested, but then I, you know, you try it again and you see what happens and, and each of those foods.
[00:07:52] So anyway, I ultimately decided gluten and dairy are the two things that I'm most sensitive to. And then of course, everyone should stay off added sugar. So I try and avoid that in any case. And. Ultimately, I never had to take any thyroid hormones. My antibodies are now at zero. They're all completely normal and I never, now they can still see the damage from Hashimotos when they all use an ultrasound on my thyroid, but I still have normal TSH levels.
[00:08:17] I mean, not even just normal, optimal TSH levels. That's awesome.
[00:08:21] I want everyone listening to hear that clearly. She just told you that she healed herself from Hashimoto has no antibodies and has optimized thyroid function. This is what's possible with a root cause approach. And I think that when I talk about this on the podcast or on social media, people don't believe me because it's such an anomaly in mainstream medicine.
[00:08:44] And of course, regular doctors will look at you. Like you're crazy and say, that's not true, but it happens every day. We see it's an everyday miracle. So I love that you came down this path and you became so passionate about gut health. And I think to me, it makes sense why you focus on having the autoimmune disease or diseases focused on gut health, but I don't know that's gonna make sense to everyone.
[00:09:11] Can you help them make that link betweeut health and autoimmune disease.
[00:09:15] Absolutely. So. There are three things that are necessary for an autoimmune condition to happen. And one is a genetic predisposition for that particular autoimmune disease. So some people's bodies will attack one, some one organ, some people's bodies will attack a different organ.
[00:09:32] Then you need to have a leaky gut or intestinal permeability, which means that the tight junctions in your intestines are not holding together or there are holes through actual cells in the intestines that are letting. Both toxins, undigested, food, bacteria, body parts, all sorts of things that your immune system is going to then start attacking.
[00:09:54] And then you activate the immune system like this. And that's what inflammation is in essence. And when you have undigested gluten proteins in particular or gliadin, it's called is the protein in gluten. It resembles the cells in your thyroid gland and your body will attack this protein and then also create antibodies that attack your thyroid.
[00:10:19] So in essence, it's a, what they call molecular mimicry or some sort of confusion in your body where it starts attacking itself. So that's always at the root of all autoimmune diseases. Yes.
[00:10:30] So if you have an autoimmune immune disease, I always tell people by definition you have a gut problem and people will say to me, well, My gut works just fine.
[00:10:39] I eat, I poop. I don't have loose stool. I'm not constipated. I don't get indigestion gas, bloating. And they say, I don't have a gut problem. I say, yes, you do. If you have a autoimmune disease, you've got a gut problem. So where is the disconnect? Why do people seemingly have no gut symptoms? But they have a gut problem, help us understand that.
[00:10:58] Well, sometimes I think what happens is there's a balance of bacteria in the gut, such that your stool looks okay, right? Like maybe, you have some constipating bacteria and you have some loosening bacteria and together they've canceled each other out. But that doesn't mean that you don't have a leaky gut.
[00:11:16] Typically there is some sort of gut infection causing leaky gut, but it doesn't necessarily. I mean, you could have toxins that are also in play or mold or things like that, but in general, something is causing your gut to be leaky. So, you know, it's interesting because sometimes I will see people's gut tests for potential stool donors for fecal transplants.
[00:11:39] And. And I'll say, oh no, you can't take this person's stool. They may have good stool, and they may seem healthy and have good digestion, but it's just full of problems. Like, I mean, they have, you know, major pathogens that you'd never wanna take on. So just because you don't have any obvious gut problems doesn't mean something's not gonna show up on a test, right?
[00:11:58] Yeah. I mean, you may not overtly have symptoms, but that doesn't mean that on a microscope or on the micro level, you're not having problems you are. If you have an autoimmune. Yeah. So you mentioned testing, let's start with that. Cause a lot of people, you know, they're used to going to their regular doctor and what happens at their regular doctor.
[00:12:19] Oh doc, I have indigestion after I eat. No tests are done and they're given a proton pump inhibitor or Hey doc, I can't poop. No tests are done. And then they're given some pro motility agent for their gut. Hey doc, I alternate diarrhea, constipation. oh, diagnosis of exclusion. You have irritable bowel syndrome.
[00:12:39] Mm-hmm and they're put on anti-spam. So they're not used to doing gut stool tests. And I remember when I first started doing this work and I started with my gynecologic patients and I told them they needed to do a stool test and they would look at me like I was crazy. What are you talking about? Well, you need to poop in this pie plate and send it off to scoop it into these little tubes and send it to the lab.
[00:13:01] And they're like, what? I'm not doing that cuz no doctor ever asked them to do that. mm-hmm so talk about, you know, the testing, maybe what are some of your favorite tests to do and what it shows you and how people can get comfortable with this idea of pooping in the pie plate?
[00:13:21] Well, I have to say the people who come to me have no problem giving up their stool for a test because they are coming typically with gut issues.
[00:13:28] However, yeah, my favorite is the GI map. I like that one because it includes H pylori and I have found it now over the course of. Three or four years now of helping people with gut issues that people who are severely constipated often have an overgrowth of H pylori or just a high level of it that's given their symptomatic is also problematic.
[00:13:51] So that's a bacteria that causes ulcers or stomach cancer, but not always only when it has certain virulence factors. Nevertheless, people will typically present with stomach pain with reflux, but sometimes just constipation. Sometimes they don't have those upper GI symptoms with H pylori. So I like that it includes also the GI map.
[00:14:14] You know, a number of different levels of bacteria in the gut. So you can see if certain classes or certain Gena or certain species are elevated or too low, both of the commences, the normal good ones, and then the potentially pathogenic and then the actual toxic pathogenic ones. It also includes all the parasites.
[00:14:33] So you can catch up somebody as a para and then it includes markers of gut health and just digestion. So, like, do you have enough pancreatic enzymes? Do you have elevated levels of beta lyase, which ties into hormones? Do you have sufficient secretory, IGA, or is that super elevated? Indicating your gut immune system is on high alert and trying to fight something.
[00:14:55] So I just like that it's a good overall test of various markers. And then of course it has marker for Calprotectin, which is a marker of inflammatory bowel disease and the inflammation in the colon.
[00:15:07] Yes. That's actually my favorite too. So great minds think alike. I think it really gives you the most comprehensive view.
[00:15:14] And sometimes people will come to me and say, well, I had a volume test. Can't you use that? and I go, yeah, that's not useful at all. Can you share with your people your thoughts on the bio, that one or any other one of these direct to consumer tests are not as far as I'm concerned, clinically useful. They might be good for the consumer, but they typically, you know, they will make all sorts of commentary about what diet changes are necessary, for example, based on your microbiome and no harm in trying those things.
[00:15:49] But when you're dealing with parasites or digestive dysfunction, Dysbiosis, et cetera. I think you need a clinical level test for that kind of stuff. There's just not a lot of actionable for a practitioner. There's not a lot of actionable information on a volume test. I agree.
[00:16:11] I, I think the same is true for a lot of the DNA direct to consumer test.
[00:16:15] Like, is it 23? And me, it's just not all the actionable information that you would want. Like the Alzheimer's gene mm-hmm , that's something I think everyone should have. And, uh, they don't include. Oh, really? I feel like they've included in well, so, oh, maybe they have, well, you can take, you can pull the raw data.
[00:16:34] I'll sometimes ask my clients for their raw data and I put it in genetic genie and I run that. And then I see, cause I, because I know that I'm, I'm APO four, three Aprile four. Homozygous. So I have my high Alzheimer's risk, which I, the only reason I know that is from the 23 and me. So I know it came through may, either on genetic gen genie or directly on 23 and me.
[00:16:56] And so how has that empowered you? Do you feel like it's empowered you or disempowered you to have that information?
[00:17:03] I don't know that I would be doing anything different because I'm already somebody who seeks to optimize my health and have been my entire life. So I don't know, but I think as I get older, I'm definitely going to be more attentive to any kind of lapses in memory.
[00:17:21] And then at some point I'm probably going to get hooked up with that. Program the Dale BNS program related to Alzheimer's just to make sure that I'm doing absolutely everything preventative and everything testing wise, to make sure I don't lose my memory any sooner than necessary. Yes, absolutely. The Recode protocol.
[00:17:38] And I think there are 28 parameters, 28 things you need to be doing that are totally worthwhile. My mom. It has advanced Alzheimer's. So it's something I'm very keenly aware of and, you know, it's too late for her. Like I shared in a recent TEDx talk that I did talk about her only risk factor was that she had been menopausal for three decades without hormone therapy.
[00:18:01] And that is, of course, one of the main tens of the Recode protocol is using. Hormones therapy, natural hormone therapy. Speaking of which the podcast is called the hormone prescription. So I tie everything into hormones because to me, everything in the body is related to hormones. So how does let's go back to autoimmune disease with gut dysfunction, leaky gut.
[00:18:25] Intestine intestinal hyperpermeability as a key factor.
[00:18:30] How does this interact with the hormonal meal, you and the body?
[00:18:32] In my particular case, I'm not sure if there's a huge interaction, but in general, I mentioned on the GI map, there's a hormone, uh, I mean an enzyme called beta Gluar days and that. Is an enzyme that breaks the tight bond between glucuronic acid and toxins, including circulating estrogens in the intestines.
[00:18:55] And so when that gets elevated in certain bacteria in the gut, produce it so certain bacteria from the, the, uh, class ties also certain clostridia E coli. And there's a lot of healthy E coli, not just the ones that are known to be pathogenic and stalac rheumatic. So there's a number of different bacteria that produce it.
[00:19:18] And when those tend to get overgrown, then you can have access. Beta glucoronide and then this is breaking apart, this bond and recirculating estrogens in the body, which can lead to estrogen-related breast cancer, potentially colon cancer. So there's some correlations between those and. When that happens, what you can do to reverse it is to move to a lower fat, lower meat diet, to more of a plant-based diet because higher fiber will help undo that process.
[00:19:50] Yes, it's so
[00:19:51] true. The beta glucuronidase. So anyone who is suffering, which is very common sometimes in thirties and forties year old women, before they go through menopause with excess estrogen. And symptoms of that. It could be fibroid, endometriosis, heavy, painful periods, which is often associated with weight gain bloating.
[00:20:13] These are estrogen dominant conditions. You gotta look at your beta Glu UASE in your stool because it could be elevated. So that could be one of the key causes of one of your hormonal imbalances And then the other thing I always like to say for anyone with an autoimmune disease is you've got a foot on the accelerator of inflammation and that's this leaky gut, but you have no break on your car.
[00:20:39] And that would be cortisol, which is your body's natural steroid. So what do they do when you have a flare up of any type of inflammation or autoimmune disease? Steroids is the treatment and that's your body. Cortisol inside naturally. So you have a brake failure and you have a foot on the accelerator.
[00:20:57] So it's kind of a two-prong problem. So you've got to address both, but by healing your gut, you can work on your cortisol as well.
[00:21:03] So let me interrupt you for a second, because when you said all those things, as I think of this stuff now more in terms of my client than myself, but I did actually have estrogen dominance.
[00:21:15] No, no doubt. I had always low progesterone and I went through years of infertility. So I, I assumed that all of my gut stuff was at the root of that as well as the autoimmune stuff and probably, uh, you know, some thyroid issues.
[00:21:28] Yeah. You know, I think it's, isn't it Louis pastor who said death begins in the colon and I think it's absolutely true.
[00:21:37] The gut is the center of your body physically. And it's the center of your health. Literally. It has branches to everything. And, you know, I always like to say. I ask people, what's your biggest interface with the external environment? And they say, oh my skin. And I say, no, think again. And it takes them a minute and most people don't get it.
[00:21:58] It's your gastrointestinal tract, cuz you're taking the external environment and you're putting it inside of you into this tube. That seems like it's in you, but it really just passes through and interacts. So it's like an inner skin and it's as big as two doubles tennis courts, the surface area. And so.
[00:22:17] Really that's your biggest ability for the environment to program you? You mentioned genetics, right? That's part of probably five, 10, maybe 20% of our health, but then what turns on those genes? In terms of our epigenetic code and, and food is the biggest programmer of that, that we're putting into our body and think of all the food you eat in the day.
[00:22:41] So I, I wanted to, to touch on something else. You said, well, we were talking about testing and I think you mentioned earlier about that you had SIBO small intestine bacteria overgrowth.
[00:22:53] Yes. What are your favorite tests to diagnose that? And it's such a Gnarly topic for the people who have it. How do you get rid of it?
[00:23:02] You mentioned the migrating motor complex, which a lot of people really don't have that working. So there's no motility going. So can you talk about SIBO?
[00:23:14] I don't tend to use breath tests. I'll start by saying mm-hmm . I tend to use the GI map and organic acids in general. When I see somebody with some type of presentation of bloating and what look like SIBO symptoms.
[00:23:31] Mm-hmm that being said, if. After looking at those and after taking herbal supplements to get rid of bacterial overgrowth, there still seems to be no resolution. I may recommend either the trio smart, especially if I suspect there could be hydrogen sulfide overgrowth, or I might recommend the IBS smart test to see if they have post.
[00:23:57] Infectious IBS to see if they have that autoimmune component and are always gonna be dealing with SIBO. So some people just get this overgrowth, they clean it up once, and they're all good. And then other people like me are going to constantly have to be fighting it. So I have to take something each night.
[00:24:12] A prokinetic. In order to keep things moving in my migrating motor complex and just be conscientious of not eating tons. No, not snacking all day long, letting my intestines empty out completely and periodically have to kind of Rell the bacteria. I have to take antimicrobials, you know, every year, roughly.
[00:24:31] In some quantity when I start to see things getting bloated again. Okay.
[00:24:35] So now the average person listening and probably a lot of the clients that you see and that I see they've been to their regular doctor and they've got this bloating problem. That seems pretty consistent. They're probably not gonna get any of these tests.
[00:24:50] Are they, there are some doctors at this point who will order SIBO, breath tests. That's not unheard of now at this point for GI doctors and some will have heard of, and may be using some, the trio smarter, the IBS smart, because they are, they were developed by an MD who is the expert at, Mark Pimentel.
[00:25:10] Who's the expert in SIBO and who does try and reach that traditional audience or conventional, I should say audience, but typically you'll have to ask for and seek out these more. Specialized tests with somebody who's either practicing functional medicine, a natural path, a health coach, somebody who is mm-hmm, more of a non-conventional expert in gut health.
[00:25:35] And so it sounds like you're describing, which has kind of been my experience too, with people who have SIBO. Some people do recover, and they don't have a problem any longer, but there is a subset of people who this is a very chronic problem. Can you talk a little bit about why someone might suffer with that as a chronic long term condition?
[00:25:57] Sure. So I did talk about. The primary, I guess I think about it as the primary, but I'm not actually sure. In terms of percentages, but I did mention the primary, which is the post infectious IBS, there, incidents of food poisoning, where you have an autoimmune problem, you can also have of course thyroid issues that can contribute to it.
[00:26:17] Hypothyroid, you can have traumatic brain injuries that are causing issues with the vagus nerve and with. Movement in the intestines from that of course infections, diabetes can be a root cause. Mold toxicity. You can have problems with your production of stomach acid, so you can have low stomach acid or hypochlorhydria.
[00:26:41] And that can cause. Overgrowth of bacteria or poor bio flow, uh, lack of pancreatic enzymes or brush border enzymes. There can be deficiencies in your secretory, IGA. If you've been under periods of extreme stress that can reduce secretory IGA, which is your gut immune defense, which is what is killing off these bacteria that are coming in.
[00:27:00] Mm-hmm , you can have medications that you're taking that could be causing problems and slowing your motility, obviously proton pump inhibitors, but also antidepressants. Anti SMOs opiates, narcotics. Then you can also have issues that are physical in nature. So you've had a past abdominal surgery and you could have adhesions for example, that are keeping your intestines from flowing properly endometriosis, which I also had, can be a root cause.
[00:27:28] Alors Danlos syndrome can also cause problems with motility. And then you can have dysfunction of your I valve.
[00:27:35] Yeah. There's such a long list of problems that you can have that can contribute to this. And I think, you know, people listening, I kind of want, because you have such breadth and depth of knowledge.
[00:27:48] For them to really get a good idea of what you, what you know, and what you offer. You have so much information on your podcast. We're definitely gonna give everyone, um, we'll put the link in the show notes to the podcast. And I was just looking at all the episodes you have. I was like, oh my gosh, I wanna talk to her about this.
[00:28:11] I wanna talk to her about that. I want her to share this. I want her to share. And so I think even if you're listening and you're like, oh my gosh, you guys are going way too fast and covering way too much ground. That is information for you to spur your interest, to go watch. Or listen to Lindsey's podcast, cuz she has so much valuable information.
[00:28:32] And then you can select the topics that interest you and you can listen to those. She talks about the FMT, the fecal microbiota transplant as a treatment. And I'm wondering if you could share a little bit about what that is and what it's used for? Cause I don't think a lot of people know that. An up and coming treatment for our GI problems.
[00:28:54] Okay. So FMT in the US is legal only in non-experimental contexts for recurrent C difficile infections, which is very potent bacteria that causes, you know, explosive diarrhea that can kill you and kills. I don't know something like 40,000 people a year. So if you have recurrent C diff, that's not treatable by antibiotics a couple times, then you could, in theory, if you can access it, get a fecal transplant done in a hospital.
[00:29:23] And it's basically taking the stool from a healthy donor and either putting it in capsule format or in ENMA format. And then you get a retention en ENMA of it. And for C diff it's usually just one treatment for other. So in other countries it's legal for other conditions like. IBS or inflammatory bowel disease with different levels of success, given the condition, even for autoimmune conditions, for any number of things, even, even conditions you might think aren't connected to.
[00:29:58] The gut is like ALS or multiple sclerosis. Well, that's autoimmune. So you may thin