Have you started noticing signs of burnout?
When it comes to health, it’s more than simply what you eat and nutrition.
In this episode of the Love Your Gut Podcast, I talk to Erin Dunny, RD, about the effects of the pandemic on burnout, susceptibility to illness because of stress, and the uptick in mental health issues.
Erin Dunny specializes in Integrative Gastroenterology. As a Registered Dietitian, she is dedicated to helping strong and fierce women gain control of their gut health and burdensome bowels so they can get their lives back. Erin ditched her original career in Public Relations in favor of finding her own way toward solving her crippling gut and weight related issues. Now, Erin coaches and empowers women struggling with IBS to listen to the wisdom their bodies provide so they feel confident to create their own customized action & nutrition plans that are realistic and applicable to their specific lifestyles so that they can handle whatever life throws at them.
Topics Covered in This Episode:
- [03:34] A bit about Erin.
- [04:47] Burnout and susceptibility to illness.
- [06:51] The joy and pleasure side of health.
- [08:55] Stress from not unplugging.
- [10:40] Burnout at an all-time high?
- [11:54] Signs of burnout.
- [13:37] Actionable steps if you’re burnt out.
- [17:34] The connection between Covid and burnout.
- [22:33] Post-Covid GI issues.
- [24:19] Why does Covid affect the gut?
- [28:00] Signs of post-Covid gut issues.
- [29:16] Best practices for lingering symptoms.
- [33:06] The next steps.
- [39:45] The best way Erin loves her gut.
If this episode has been helpful, hit me up on Instagram, and tell me about your experience!
- Sleep 7-8h per night.
- 10-30min to reset.
- Consuming over 5 cups of vegetables per day.
- Work with a functional medicine practitioner.
- “Say no more than you say yes.”
- “Every time you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else.”
- “Low adrenal function can make you more susceptible to severe Covid.”
- “There’s not a quick fix.”
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Dr. Heather Finley, Erin Dunny
Erin Dunny 00:00
The other thing that we’re looking at is that COVID can actually alter your gut bacteria. So it will cause an increase of for Mickey’s, which is more anti inflammatory. And then the other thing that it will do is it can actually damage the cell lining of your stomach, increasing your susceptibility to intestinal permeability.
Dr. Heather Finley 00:27
Hey, welcome to the love your gut podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Heather Finley, I know what you’re thinking, how am I supposed to love my gut when all it does is hold me back. I thought the same thing before I found my own relief from my own gut health issues. I dedicated my life to getting to the bottom of my own gut issues, so I can help women just like you transform theirs. Now I’m here to guide you through your own gut health journey. We do this through identifying your root causes and making sustainable and transformational changes. As a result, you can unleash your true potential. My goal is to empower you with the information and tools you need to love your gut so it loves you back right here on this podcast. Hello, hello, and welcome back to the next episode of the love you got Podcast. Today I’m joined by Erin dunny, and I’m really excited about this episode, she reached out asking if I was interested in talking about the gut and COVID connection. And obviously there’s a lot of pieces to this, but you are going to love this episode hearing her story and how she struggled with long COVID symptoms that impacted her gut and her adrenals and how now she’s really digging into the research on this. And I know this is something that we’ve seen with a lot of our clients and really a lot of clients have come to us with post COVID GI issues and really as a result burnout issues and so tune into this episode, you’re gonna love it. She’s going to talk first about burnout and how that really just creates some susceptibility to some of these issues and then how it can present later on. So Erin is a integrative gastroenterology dietitian she is dedicated to helping strong and fierce women gain control of their gut health and burdensome bowels, so that they can get their lives back. Erin ditched her original career in public relations in favor of finding her own way towards solving her crippling gut and weight related issues. Now, Aaron coaches and empowers women struggling with IBS to listen to the wisdom their bodies provide so that they can feel confident to create their own customized action and nutrition plans that are realistic and applicable to their specific lifestyles, so that they can handle whatever life throws at them. Welcome back to the next episode of the love your gut Podcast. I’m really excited today to be joined by Erin dunny, and she’s a registered dietician. She’s going to tell us all about her story of recovering from COVID and burnout. And we’re going to talk about how these things intersect and why it’s becoming such an epidemic now in our society. So I’m really excited, Erin, that you’re on the podcast. Yeah. And
Erin Dunny 03:16
thank you for having me. I feel like this subject hasn’t been talked about enough. So I’m really excited to be put on board and get to share some of the insights that I’ve come across over the past year.
Dr. Heather Finley 03:29
Yeah, absolutely. Well, why don’t you just start off by introducing yourself, tell the listeners a little bit about you and what you do and why you got into what you do now?
Erin Dunny 03:39
Yeah, so as you mentioned, I’m a registered dietician. I’ve been practicing for about 10 years now. So I never actually went into a traditional clinical role. I’ve always worked for chiropractors, I actually worked for a couple of box gyms. So I’ve always taken more of an integrative approach. My first degree actually was in communications. It wasn’t even in dietetics. It wasn’t until I had a lot of gut issues myself, and just had a lot of struggle with it that I actually went back to school to kind of figure my own self out. And so then now, I started my own business plant nutrition, where we work on doing more functional medicine panels, for the treatment of IBS.
Dr. Heather Finley 04:26
Awesome, I love it, and isn’t it so it’s people always get into, especially in nutrition because of their own issues. But I think it allows us to have just a different level of empathy for the clients than we see. Because it’s fueled by our own passion. So I love that. Just to kind of kick us off. I love to just start by talking about why we’re seeing more cases of burnout, and then kind of the physiology, high level physiology of how this contributes to susceptibility of viruses, illnesses, etc.
Erin Dunny 05:00
Yeah, I mean, I think it’s safe to say the past three years have been challenging on everybody. So even looking at, you know, the first two years being in lockdown being inside social isolation, I have so many clients that, you know, we’re inundated with this, just so much information on the worst case scenario of a virus. And I still have patients Three years later, that just don’t want to leave their house because they’re so scared of getting sick. So I think between being at home all the time, you know, you love your family, but when you’re with them, 24/7 not getting to go out and enjoy the things that you used to do. But then we’re also looking at the cost of living increases, things are more expensive. People are getting overworked because of short staffing. So we’re seeing a lot of things post COVID. Even though technically, you know, Biden just said the pandemic is over. But to some extent, it’s not in a sense of, we’re still having employment shortages, we’re still having these cost of living increases. And so people are working more burned out about, you know, the price of things, being able to afford things and then you know, even just to travel to go on vacation, there’s delays in airports, things are getting delayed, to where you might get stuck in a particular place, and just being able to go go somewhere and afford things. I think all of this is on the top of people’s minds. And it just your mind is kind of on overdrive all the time.
Dr. Heather Finley 06:46
Yeah, it’s your, your body can only handle so much stress, we describe it to our clients, like a stress bucket, you know, your body is constantly filtering out stress each day. And when it’s overloaded with stress. So you layer on a pandemic, and social isolation, like you said, and then all these other things, eventually, our nervous system is like, okay, tap me out, I can’t do this anymore. So how is that then affecting our immune systems and our susceptibility? I think, I like what you said earlier about, like the social isolation piece, I think a lot of times, people think that their health is like, just what they eat, or, you know, medications. But there’s, there’s a joy and a pleasure side of this as well, too.
Erin Dunny 07:30
Yeah, and like you said, at some point, your body can only do so much. And the best way I can explain it is that, you know, when you’re looking at, I always, for some reason, when I think of this, think of the people that were building pyramids, were, you know, they just were kept getting like bring this boulder growing this boulder to be able to build these things. And eventually, they would just collapse in exhaustion, it’s just your body is only meant to handle so much. So one thing we can look at is just issues from a biology standpoint, I guess, is really looking at those adrenals, you know, we only have a set amount of gas. But if you keep hitting the gas over and over again, and not putting fuel back into the tank, at some point you’re going to run out. And your adrenals are definitely linked to your immune response. So you, you release these stress hormones, I think most notably and what most people know is cortisol levels. But it only can be high so many times before your it just stops working. So if you’re taking stuff out of your bucket, taking stuff constantly draining that bank account, and not filling it with, you know more money back in at some point, you’re gonna run out of fuel sources to be able to be resilient toward those stressors.
Dr. Heather Finley 08:51
Totally. And I think an interesting conversation that I’ve had with a lot of clients recently is like, why can’t I it always starts with that. Well, I used to be able to, or why can’t I do this? I used to be able to, you know, it’s it’s, I think an interesting conversation of either we’re burnout because of all the stressors, or are we burnout, because we’ve been under stress for so long, and we can’t hold as much now. So all the things that we used to be able to do, we can’t do anymore, because of the other things that we have going on. And so people often find themselves in the situation of, well, I used to be able to get up and wake up with energy and now I am dragging myself out of bed. Have you seen that as well?
Erin Dunny 09:38
Oh, yeah, yeah, a lot of my patients have are dealing with the same thing. And I think sometimes we think of stress. least a common thing, you know, with my patients that I’ve seen is that they’re like, Well, I’m not stressed, I’m handling everything okay, where they might not mentally feel stressed. But if you’re, you know, working 60 hours a week you’re conscious At least getting mental stress, or just constant stimulation, if you’re listening to music, on breaks, or always in front of a screen from the time you wake up to the time you get go to bed. These are also just different stressors that we don’t think about. And we’re not actually sitting and unplugging from anything.
Dr. Heather Finley 10:19
Yeah, we never have any silence in our lives. Never. Ever. Yeah. And like that, just that we’re not made for constant information. It’s great that we have access to information at all times. But we’re with a constant consumption, it’s adding more stress to our system. So I guess in your opinion, you may have you kind of already answered this. But why do you think that burnout is an all time high? Or do you think burnout is at an all time high right now?
Erin Dunny 10:50
I mean, it sure seems like it and I don’t know if it’s just because, you know, naturally, we tend to see the people, the people that tend to be burned out or stressed have more health issues. But I have noticed in the past couple years, just anxiety and depression in general, have skyrocketed, and even looking at, you know, resources and healthcare industry, I mean, people can even get in for like counseling services or anything else. I think that’s a testament to where, where things are at either we just have awareness now and people are reaching out. But it does definitely seem like, you know, these resources are getting tapped out. Because it’s just, it’s a lot for people, and especially if you don’t have the skill set to manage the stress. You know, it definitely definitely seems like it’s getting harder and harder to manage those stressors.
Dr. Heather Finley 11:45
Totally. So before we move on to COVID and and how that affects the gut and kind of all the downstream issues. If what are some signs that someone might be experiencing burnout? First, we’ll start with that. And then we can talk about just some actionable things people can start doing if they do identify with some of the signs.
Erin Dunny 12:06
Yeah, one of the main things that I tend to see is just that lack of motivation. So I think sometimes people are labeled as non compliant, or they don’t want something hard enough. But I think when you’re just so tired, that you know, just to even get out of bed and start your day is a challenge. So that can be a sign that interested, you know, you start to lose interest in things that you were already intuitively you were before you were interested in, you know, you’re getting eight to nine hours of sleep, but you’re still waking up very tired, not feeling recovered. If you’re somebody that works out and you yoga wipes you out. That’s a sign irritability, where before you were able to let things roll off your back a little bit more, where now just every little thing is starting to annoy you or that you’re just getting moodier, those are also signs that I’ve noticed of having some burnout.
Dr. Heather Finley 13:06
Yeah, we’ve had a lot of conversations with our clients about this. They’re like, I’m just lazy, I just need more motivation. I just need to try harder. I just need more discipline. And I’m like, I actually don’t think that’s what you need. I think what you need is rest. I think what you need is take things off of your plate, say no more than you say yes. And, you know, it goes back to what I was saying earlier, it’s often like, Well, why was I able to do that in the past, and I can’t now and it’s, you know, like you said, your adrenals are out of gas, and you just need, you need some rest. So if someone’s feeling burnout, they’re struggling with what they think is burnout. What do you think are some actionable steps that they could apply to start helping themselves?
Erin Dunny 13:49
Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, the biggest thing is really looking at yourself care and looking at are you incorporating it on a daily basis? And I think when I usually when I say that the immediate response is, well, I don’t have time for self care, I can’t put it into my schedule. So you know, really kind of taking a look at, you know, you’re the course of the week, is there somewhere that you can carve out time? So do you need to work on time management skills, so maybe on Sunday, looking at the course of your week, and kind of scheduling in that self care and then moving other things around it. I see this, especially with women too, we have a hard time saying no, we have a hard time placing those boundaries, like you talked about. So really kind of I think that goes back to really evaluating your core values and looking at okay, so these are the top five things that are really important to me. These are things that fill my bucket and looking at all the other activities and really kind of evaluating how much of your time how much of your time is being spent filling in it and that are aligned with those core values, and what are those activities that you can probably set aside? So I think that, you know, that’s something that you can do pretty much right away is just evaluate how are you spending your time and one of my patients put it greatly How do you trim the fat, if you will? Where, you know, looking at are there things that you’re doing? You don’t know why you’re doing them, you don’t enjoy them, and just kind of looking at how are you spending your time?
Dr. Heather Finley 15:29
Mm hmm, totally. And I think one way I’ve heard it put before that I always remember is every time you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else. So that yes to even a fun thing. Sometimes these yeses are good things, but they might not be the best thing. So it may even be that you’re saying yes to spending time with a friend. But really, you need a nap, you know? Or maybe you do need to spend time with that friend, but you don’t need to do something else. So evaluating? If I say yes to this, what am I saying? No to I think is helpful. So yeah, I think that white space to creating more more time and scheduling it in as you know, it might sound rigid, but it’s probably the only way that it’s gonna happen.
Erin Dunny 16:16
Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, the other way you can look at it is, you know, you got four burners on the stove, you can’t possibly, you know, keep all of those lit. So really looking at Alright, right now I need to focus on family and health friends are going to need to wait, and then always reevaluate. And because it’s not always going to be that way, you know, maybe once health is in order, you can start adding the friends back in. And so just kind of really evaluating because you only can focus on so many things at a time. What is your priority right now? And then always evaluating because those priorities will shift and that that’s okay, just because you don’t necessarily have time to see friends all the time right now, you know, you definitely might be able to in the future. So it’s, it’s always changing, you just have to be evaluating for it.
Dr. Heather Finley 17:06
Totally. And I think, you know, one thing I’ve seen my own life, when I’ve had burnout and struggled with burnout is your window of tolerance is just smaller. So when you are burnout, your window of tolerance for stressful things, is a lot smaller than when you’re healthy and not burnout, you can tolerate more on a daily basis, which goes back to what we were saying earlier. The Why can’t I do this right now, I used to be able to do it in the past, because your window of tolerance is smaller. So kind of shifting gears a little bit is when we’re talking about burnout, and we’re talking about COVID. What’s the connection that you’ve seen there? And what’s the link that you’ve seen with your clients? And I know with yourself as well?
Erin Dunny 17:53
Yeah, so I can kind of just to give you a little bit of background and kind of go over, you know, by I guess what got me even into the Catholic of COVID. So, back in November, I actually had to go in for knee surgery. So I was out for about six weeks. And then after that, my husband had in December brought home this ridiculous stomach virus like I don’t even know what this thing was. But it was like the worst thing. It’s like he was like a grown man literally curled up on the bathroom floor with just severe body aches. So we don’t know what this was. But basically what happened after that was, when you get a stomach virus like that, apparently in kids, what can happen is it can swell the lymph nodes of their stomach. So it’s called My mesenteric lymphangitis. So basically, what that meant was my son was three at the time. And he was throwing up every single night at between two and 3am, where I actually had to take FMLA and was out of work for about a month, because I had to take care of him because he just was sick and Domino cramps literally every day for a month. So after that back at work for two days, and then my husband brought home COVID. And so once that happened, the COVID itself, for me was actually very mild. It was the after effect. So I was actually getting up. I ended up two weeks later, waking up in the middle of the night and my heart rate would be around 150 Which is terrifying to wake up to because you’re not entirely awake either. The whole left side of my arm was turning Nam body cavity. The best way I can explain it is that somebody went in and lit my body on fire from the inside. I would just be sitting there and my heart rate would spike I’d feel like I’d have to pass out. Believe it or not It took four ER visits in two weeks for my doctors to actually take me seriously, they just were like you have long COVID You were there’s nothing we can do for you. So they kept sending me away until I got to that fourth Doctor literally crying pleading for my life and saying, I don’t feel safe, please do not send me home. Do not like something’s going on. So I ended up in the hospital for about three days with myocarditis, which is inflammation of your heart, as well as a massive stomach ulcer. So basically, if both of these things were left untreated, could have been bled out. I’m an athlete, if I, you know, got better and started working out. I mean, that’s how young athletes die with myocarditis. So, needless to say, definitely add like, if you know something’s wrong, go with it. But anyways, long story short, it was very interesting my experience with COVID, because you compare that to my husband got it. My son got it. And then we accidentally exposed my parents to it, and my dad’s super high risk 75, type two diabetic, none of them had symptoms. So why did I have it so bad. So if you look back to the point of stress, I had the most stress out of any of them. But I also have more stomach issues than all of them as well. So needless to say, dug into the literature. And really, when we go back to talking about the adrenals, when your adrenals are low, or you keep getting that constant stress response, basically, low adrenal function can definitely make you more susceptible to severe COVID. And then when you look at studies, they also show that in the top three conditions that increase your risk of serious, severe COVID Anxiety is part of that as well.
Dr. Heather Finley 22:07
Well, first of all, I’m so glad that you’re okay. And I’m so glad that you advocated for yourself and that you’re speaking about this. But isn’t it so interesting? Because we hear stories about that all the time, like, I How am I not okay, and someone else was and, you know, there’s obviously lots of factors that can go into that. But I there is a huge adrenal component, and, as a result, a gut component to so when you were recovering, did you notice anything? Gut wise? Did you have any symptoms there? I know, we’ll get into that in a second. But that’s definitely something that we’ve seen in our practice is clients that have had COVID, and then post COVID GI issues.
Erin Dunny 22:54
Yeah, so in my particular case, with during active COVID, I really didn’t have issues, it was that post period. So for mine, it was more symptoms of gastritis. So a burning sensation in the stomach, and then I developed ulcers, which, you know, now, you know, now we know that COVID can cause stomach ulcers, as well, but I know I have had patients that basically are having IBS type symptoms post COVID. So they’re getting the bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal cramping. So some of those are some additional lingering symptoms that I’ve had with my patients. But mine specifically was more gastritis and stomach burning.
Dr. Heather Finley 23:44
Hey there, I know you are absolutely loving this episode. But I have to jump in really quick and remind you that I have a quick, free quiz that will help you finally figure out why you’re bloated. In order to live a life free of discomfort. You need to figure out what the root causes that’s making you experience these uncomfortable symptoms. The easiest and fastest way to do this is by visiting Dr. Heather finley.co backslash quiz. Take the quiz as soon as you can. So you can transform your gut issues and lead a happier, more vibrant life. Now let’s get back to the episode. Tell us a little bit about why COVID affects the gut. If someone’s listening to like how are these things related COVID to virus? Why is it giving me gut symptoms? And tell us kind of the high level overview of why that happens?
Erin Dunny 24:34
Yeah, it’s so interesting because you kind of when you look at as as a whole, it all starts to kind of make sense. So really, I think what COVID is most famous for and what most people know about it is that it affects these ace two receptors. So basically that’s what the virus will attach to and then how it is able to enter the body so the really end Interesting thing is that COVID will have impact any organ that has a lot of epithelial tissue. So what organs lungs, heart, stomach, small intestine, large intestine. So you have, you start to see where there are some, some people that will have lung issues. So when they have COVID, it’s more of like that coughing, just that chronic cough, you have other people like myself, you know that the myocarditis in the stomach issues is, so you’re you’re looking at that is as how it’s potentially impacting all of these different things. The other thing that we’re looking at is that COVID can actually alter your gut bacteria. So it will cause an increase of for Mickey D’s, which is more inflammatory. And then the other thing that it will do is it can actually damage the cell lining of your stomach, increasing your susceptibility to intestinal permeability. So when we’re looking at people’s risk of COVID, and then, you know, yes, there’s that anxiety piece. But if you think about it, too, if you had some of these things that are already prior to COVID. So for example, one example I use is PPIs, or a map results. So a lot of people are on stomach acid reducing medication. Well, studies are finding that COVID is inactivated with a stomach acidity of less than two. So if it’s more than that, that’s another avenue of defense that you have. And then say you had intestinal permeability before you had COVID. Basically, the gates are wide open for COVID, to be able to enter the system and cause damage. So there’s a lot of different ways that we’re seeing and how COVID enters the body, but also the potential mechanisms and why it tends to be more severe for some people. And for me, I was incredibly healthy. So to look at me and be like, Oh, well, you’re fine. These are some things that we look at that on even healthy people can have a lot of issues with COVID, because of those reasons.
Dr. Heather Finley 27:20
Yeah. And isn’t it so interesting, I think, oftentimes, we’re taught and I know you and I are doing things differently with more of a functional approach. But I know like, even in our D school, we’re taught like, this goes in this box, and this goes in this box, and like this goes in this box. But the reality here is, everything is affecting each other. And so when we think about like COVID, and the gut and the adrenals, like, you can’t really address one without looking at the whole picture, which you so beautifully just described. And it’s just so interesting. So we talked about this a bit earlier, but what are some signs that someone might be struggling with, like post COVID? gut issues? Maybe they had gut issues before, but maybe they’re exacerbated now? Like, what are some signs that maybe they were caused by this?
Erin Dunny 28:19
Yeah, so that’s where you’re kind of getting those lingering symptoms. I mean, if they’re lasting six months to a year post COVID, and you’re still getting the diarrhea, you’re still getting the changes in bowel habits, you’re getting that brain fog. You’re you’re still not recovering well, I stamina wise, you can barely, you know, do a regular sitting job, and you’re just feeling tired and exhausted. All of those are different signs that you’re having some lingering issues. So essentially, what you’re looking at is what were your bowel habits like? Or what was your stomach and energy levels pre COVID. And then six months a year later, if you’re still having those issues, and they’re not resolving that’s a way to say that, it’s probably safe to say you got some lingering things that going on that that needs to be addressed.
Dr. Heather Finley 29:15
Totally. And so where would someone start? What are some best practices for? If someone’s listening to this? And they’re like, oh my gosh, that’s me. I’ve had these lingering symptoms, which is surprisingly a lot of people. What are some great places to start like just some basics, and then we can talk about more in depth interventions as well.
Erin Dunny 29:36
Yeah, so that’s where going and evaluating are you doing those basics so are you making time to sleep seven to eight hours a night? What are those boundaries setting? I mean, are you met every day? Are you giving yourself 10 minutes, you know, 10 to 30 minutes of just being in silence to reset, evaluating time If so looking at, are you getting over five cups of vegetables a day, and if you can’t tolerate that, that’s a sign that you might have some good gut dysbiosis. And there’s something that we have to look into further. Also looking at, you know, those inflammatory foods. So really trying, you know, and this is this, again, is very basic, but how often are you eating extremely processed foods? How often are you going to fast food because even, you know, if you say I’m only going two times a week, it’s not that big of a deal? Well, those types of foods can cause inflammation for up to three to four days. And when you’re maybe you could tolerate it before one to two days. But when your body is in this hyper state of reaction, basically, that one time is enough to add fuel to the fire, because your body right now is not very resilient. Also looking at the type of exercise, so if you’re still recovering, you’re not going to want to do a CrossFit workout. When your adrenals are taxed, you’re going to want to do something more recovery based, like just going on walks outside in nature. yoga, Pilates is something that a little bit more restorative. So those are some things that you can look at. And even if they say you were doing that 80% of the time, maybe you need to move that up to like 95 or 98% of the time. And then the other thing is that there’s not a quick fix, I mean, when you depending on the severity of COVID, it’s going to take your body a while to recover. You can’t just do it for a month and say, All right, I’m you know, I’m not getting any better. This isn’t working. In a lot of cases, you might have to take it easy for six months to a year. And I know from personally, just being really into I used to do the CrossFit, I used to do those hit workouts, I genuinely enjoy it. So for me to sit back and have to do yoga, or Pilates. At first was killing me. But it was nice. And I’m starting to understand that those things are nice to incorporate. And just my resiliency now is so much better than it was a year before. So. So I think kind of evaluating that. And just if you need a break, which chances are if you’re still dealing with long COVID You do, do you have to put those recovery based activities in as well?
Dr. Heather Finley 32:32
Yeah, I think I mean, that’s like a conversation we have all the time with our clients. It’s like, sometimes people feel like they need to be doing more, but they actually need to be doing less like on the exercise piece. And it’s, that’s one of the hardest things I think for many of our clients to give up is the hit the orange theory, the you know, 45 workouts, whatever it is, but just that switch alone and focusing on resting can make such a huge difference for people. So thanks for explaining that. Are there certain, you know, if someone’s been doing the basics, let’s say they’ve been doing all these foundational things for four or five, six months, and they’re like, I’m still exhausted, I still have brain fog. I’m still having diarrhea or constipation or intestinal cramping, whatever it is, what are the next steps? Like what what is what are some things that people should pursue? As far as maybe testing or other interventions?
Erin Dunny 33:33
Yeah, so I would say, you know, you’re at that 95% You’re already doing all the things, you’ve cleaned up your diet, you’re getting the self care, and you’re still not getting results, then yes, absolutely. That’s when I would say definitely bring in some lab testing to get a better picture of what’s as far as lab testing and where to start. I think that’s difficult in and of itself to figure out alright, what do we test for? Do we test for inflammatory markers? Do we test for organic acids? Do we look at the just look at the gut I think that’s we’re kind of working with a qualified health professional that is in that functional medicine space can be helpful because every buddy is going to be different. Some might be post infectious, IBS, so you saw that with norovirus, a lot of people were having stomach issues after a norovirus or gastroenterol bout of stomach gastroenteritis. So, that might be something to explore. You can look at, you know, you can do lamb panels to see okay, is there intestinal permeability, and I know you had an episode before where you were talking about Vicki Lynn and looking at testing For that, to see if there was a damage, as far as that communication with the vagus nerve, which is going to help move your stool long. So, long story short, I think that testing is important, and then looking to bring in a team that’s going to be able to assess all of those events leading up to when you had COVID. And then figuring out where to go. But I think the bottom kind of the bare minimum, for most people that works well is really just testing adrenal function, see where the status is of that, especially if you had COVID, and you were being pumped full of steroids like I was, which at that point, it’s like I, you know, you get in the functional medicine space, and it kind of scares you of medication. But when you’re in that much pain, you don’t really care what they do at that point, you just want to feel better. So yeah. So just kind of once the dust settles, I definitely think doing some sort of hormonal panel to see, you know, where your hormones are sitting at that point. And then you compare it with some sort of gut panel to look at all right, is there some intestinal damage there that we have to look at? Because then from there, we can get you on a very structured herbal protocol, as well as be able to modify your your diet accordingly?
Dr. Heather Finley 36:27
Yeah, absolutely. And I think we see that a lot with our clients, as well as Mary and kind of this hormone testing and gut testing and looking at like, what are each of these saying about each other? And so the value in looking at it really, from both angles, I think is helpful. Any last remaining thoughts that you want to share with the listeners about this, or anything that we missed?
Erin Dunny 36:50
No, I mean, I think just even lesson learned myself, you know, I don’t think I mean, nobody’s going to be able to sit and say, Alright, this is the protocol for COVID, this is what’s going to work. Nobody knows the answer to that. So I think the biggest thing is just having somebody that kind of understands all the different pathways, if you will, and be able to kind of put that puzzle together for you. Because I will say, lesson learned for myself, I originally started just tackling the gut lining. But the thing is, with gastritis, you can’t take digestive enzymes and bitters, because it’s going to make things worse. So, you know, lesson learned, probably need to look at the adrenals and stuff like that first. So in my particular case, it was not the gut issues that were creating the problem. It was the hormones in the adrenals. So once we kind of worked on like I worked on that the gut issues started to resolve. So then I could start taking those other things. So you can’t just necessarily so when you are looking at it with working with a functional medicine practitioner, I think they do need to pair the two testing together. You can’t just do either the adrenals or the gut panel, you kind of have to do both, because you got to know which area to tackle. So because you could tackle the gut, but that could make things worse.
Dr. Heather Finley 38:18
Yeah, and if you’re if someone presents with like, literally no cortisol, if they’re like on straight burnout, you know, that’s going to affect how they even respond to any kind of gut protocol. So I think you’re right, definitely, especially if they have a lot of the burnout symptoms that you described earlier. There’s there’s definitely an adrenal piece that plays into the gut piece and vice versa. So well, Erin, this is super helpful, I think, something that’s going to be super valuable for people to listen to and learn from, tell us where we can find you. And then because it’s like, love your gut up, because it’s called the love your gut podcast would love to hear your favorite way to love your gut.
Erin Dunny 39:04
Yeah, so you can find me I go to my website at WWW dot Blount nutrition.com. I do have a couple guides on there that if you want to sign up for that you can get on my email list. So I am going to be talking a little bit more about COVID and my blog posts so if you’re interested in learning more, I’m creating this big series and all the ways COVID can impact your gut and your adrenals so you want to keep updated with that. Definitely feel free to join my mailing list and visit my blog. And then like everybody else, you can also find me on Instagram and Facebook under Blount nutrition. Awesome. And then as far as best way love My God, we’ll just keep them the theme for today. So I started to incorporate 15 minutes of meditation to end my workday before I Go and picked up my son so
Dr. Heather Finley 40:02
I love that just taking some calm and peace before before it gets crazy again. I love it. Well thank you so much for joining you guys go check her out on all the places and we’ll see you next week on the next episode of the love regret podcast.
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