So many women have been asking for more information about our new Vitality supplement pack, that we asked Naturopathic Physician Wendy Ellis to do a webinar.

In it, she talked about her process for selecting the nutrients to fulfill several purposes:

  • To ensure women they're getting the nutrients their bodies need during a time of change,
  • To help women manage menopause symptoms like hot flashes, mood shifts, and joint pain,
  • To help women lay a nutritional foundation for better health despite long-term estrogen loss.

She also filled listeners in on the necessity of therapeutic doses (and why many "multivitamins" sacrifice sufficient doses to have a LOT of nutrients) and on selecting a producer who is trustworthy. The FDA doesn't regulate supplements with nearly the same rigor it applies to medication, so it's vital that your producer knows what they're doing and is committed to best practices.

Listen to the webinar here or on your favorite podcast provider (Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, etc) or watch the webinar on our YouTube channel. If you're loving the webinar series as much as we are, subscribe to our YouTube channel, so you can see them all, and even better, check out our webinar page so you can participate in them live. 

TRANSCRIPT

Jill Angelo

Welcome everybody to our special edition Gennev webinar. We're really excited. Today's webinar is all about launching a new supplement that we've built called Gennev Vitality. And I'm, I'm going to go ahead and zoom this into the little camera there so you can see it. This is a supplement for women in menopause. There are five little pill packs and I've invited Dr. Ellis here today. She worked with us to formulate this for our Gennev community. We're going to talk all about Vitality. Answer your questions. My name is Jill Angelo. I'm the co founder and CEO of Gennev, and we've been doing these webinars weekly for the past probably close to four to five weeks now. And every once in a while we'll throw in a bonus webinar. And this week with the launch of Vitality, there's just no better reason to come to you live as well as on demand for those who choose to watch this later on, to talk a little bit about our new supplement. We're incredibly excited.

So my guest today is Dr Wendy Ellis. She's a naturopathic doctor and she has worked with Gennev in many different ways. She's worked with us. She helps us and works with us on formulation of things like Vitality and all of our supplements that we are creating for women's health in menopause. She has done a lot of content for us and she just recently is joining us now on tele-health. So if you ever want to book an appointment with Dr. Ellis, you can do so now at Gennev.com and really excited to have you today, Wendy. So thank you for joining us.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Thank you. It's been a pleasure working with all the wonderful people at Gennev.

Jill Angelo

Awesome. Well good. Well, I'm going to launch right into you know, my questions for you. And it's been an incredibly exciting journey over the last, I don't know, six to eight months, maybe longer now, 10 months formulating and getting Gennev Vitality ready for market. And you were the first person we turned to Wendy when we knew we wanted to create, you know, kind of the defacto go to I, I hesitate to call it a multivitamin and we're going to get to there for women in menopause. Can you talk a little bit about the background on Vitality and your thought process and what really was your guiding force over the course of your 15 years’ experience working with menopausal women? You bring a lot to this product. So go ahead and just share a little bit more around how you formulated it, how you think about Vitality and, and how it's a reflection of what you've been doing for over 15 years.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Sure. Great, thank you. You know, the supplements are a giant industry and there are so many choices out there and I feel like there's a lot of confusion for patients on what should I take, am I taking too much, is it the right form? There are so many supplements that you know, you get them and there's like, you know, five capsules in the morning and five capsules in the afternoon and you know, it might hurt the stomach or you know, I think the main reason for putting this product together was because it was a culmination of me sort of piecemealing different supplements that I've used over the course of time for this specific group of women who are either approaching menopause, currently in menopause, or post-menopausal. And not only did I use the ingredients that I consistently use in practice, but also considering the research of if looking at the data, which nutrients tend to be deficient in menopausal females or which health conditions are more apt to, that we're more apt to develop in menopause and how can we take something to help us in the long run, but also to make us feel better day to day.

And so I think the thing that draws most people into a practice like my own or to Gennev, is that we're not thinking about our heart disease risk or we're not thinking about bone density loss. We're just feeling crummy and we just, we don't feel well. We're tired, our joints hurt, our mood’s affected. And oftentimes we go to the primary care or you know, doctor who's like, everything looks great. You just have to adjust to this new normal. And I think for most people, they don't want to adjust to the new normal. They're like, what can I do to feel better because this isn't working? And so I feel like that's how we developed this product because I wanted to look at the things that people aren't thinking about, like health conditions that we’re at risk for, but also things that can help us feel better day to day, that we’re actively participating in menopause, not just letting it be something that happens to us.

Jill Angelo

Yeah, I like that notion of actively participating versus just letting it happen. Because I think what we hear from so many women is they think that they just have no other option but to just suffer through it. And there's a lot they can be doing.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Right and suffering through it is depressing. And then we tend to, you know, we have a mindset of not feeling well because we're like, if this is it and I'm doing all of this, then what's the point? And so then people start, it sort of is this downward spiral of poor decision making if you've been told that this is, this is how it is, this is how it's going to be.

Jill Angelo

Yeah. You know, one thing I I love that you kind of mentioned is a lot of, and this is just true honesty, like a lot of women don't want to adjust their lifestyle to manage their symptoms in menopause or to adjust to, you know, a lower metabolism or more greater fatigue or just, you know, mood changes, extreme mood changes. I'm one of them. I don't if you can give me a pill or if I can take something that will help or supplement what I know I should be doing around my diet, my exercise and so forth, great. But talk a little, a little bit more about cause you're a, you're a naturopathic doctor, I'm sure a large part of your practice is around lifestyle, a combination of healthy lifestyle and the right supplements. Talk a little bit about the balance.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Right. You know, I always tell people you can't supplement your way out of a bad lifestyle. And so it's almost like pregnancy, right? You approach pregnancy and you're like, yes, I'm going to be able to eat all the things and it's going to be great. And then you get there and you have to work harder. And menopause is the same. I mean basically you do have to sleep at least seven to nine hours per night. And obviously there's a lot of complication with hot flashes or night sweats that can make that difficult. And so we really work on sleep. We really work on diet. So part of this supplement is based on the fact that just some of the things that are in this, we're not getting enough of in our diets. So for the mood disorders, like people feeling fatigue, you know, feeling fatigued or depressed or anxious, there are three different types of B vitamins.

There's B12 and its most active form, folic acid as methyltetrahydrofolate and its most active form and B6 in its active form because genetically we don't know who is predisposed to not converting that to the active form. So we just automatically put the best form in there. Which is a really important part of our product. We, we worked with a company that, that had the capability and the ability to give us supplements that are really gold standard.

And so I chose those B vitamins specifically because they really helped mood and a lot of people come into menopause having better birth control pills for a long time or antidepressants and those really deplete our B vitamins. And so if you're already depleted because of something you've taken as a medication, that will help that. And if you're also just coming into this sort of new change in mood secondary, so the hormonal shifts and thus the neurotransmitter shifts that occur along with changes in menopause, those B vitamins just really help not only with energy but also with mood.

And so that wasn't a, that was an important thing, but really you can't just take a supplement and feel better, but at the same time if done together, and oftentimes I feel like if we're taking something orally, we're more apt to have good habits, following throughout the day. Like I'm going to eat an excellent breakfast and I'm going to take my supplements and then I'm setting myself up for success for the rest of the day. And so I feel like diet, lifestyle, and sleep, like diet, exercise, and sleep are probably the most important things you can do. And then we use supplements to fill in the gaps so it doesn't replace it, but it helps it.

Jill Angelo

It's a great explanation of, of their role and what they play. When you say the ingredients in Vitality and the B, the B supplements in particular are “active.” What do you mean by active?

Dr. Wendy Ellis

So when you, when your body uses a, you know, a nutrient, it goes through different metabolism. And so if we take B 6 for example, or let's take B12, cyanocobalamin is the cheapest form of B12 and your body converts it to methyl cobalamin or hydroxycobalamin. And it's basically this metabolic process that your body adds a methyl group to it and there it becomes the, the best usable form for the body. And so we're just assuming that some people don't have the capability to convert it into its active form as easily as other people might do or they're taking things that may affect that conversion and we just give it to you in the best absorbable, most active forms. So your body doesn't have to do that.

Jill Angelo

That's great. Thank you for explaining that. Cause you know, the, the notion of absorption and, and I know when we were creating this you have, you have mentioned in many ways women's bodies as we grow older, our ability to absorb nutrients changes. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Right. And I don't know if it's because we're living in an environment where we're depleting the soil and so the food that we're eating doesn't have the same nutrition, but also we tend to eat different things. I think women go through menopause and our estrogen declines and our serotonin declines and then we crave carbohydrates. So we we’re not, not necessarily making the best food choices at this time either. Or we could have been given something like an acid blocker or people will go into the drugstore and just get Pepcid AC to block acid if they're having reflux. And that is a huge cause of malabsorption.

So I would say it's mostly external factors. There are plenty of people that absorb just fine, but I would say that it's the choices that we're making and the soil that we're, unfortunately our food just doesn't have the nutrition that it used to, but also it's usually something that we're taking that affects the absorption or we've taken a lot of antibiotics for example, and your microbiome could be affected and so your vitamin K metabolism may be off. And so the digestive tract is a very convoluted story. There are so many things that can go wrong. And so I generally, when I'm thinking about absorption, I'm making sure that people are eating right foods, but we're also not taking things that are blocking our absorption, but also that you're making the right food choices.

Jill Angelo

That's great. I know I personally, I'm celiac which really alters my ability to absorb nutrients. So I'm very conscientious of supplementing more even though I really try to have a healthy diet and exercise routine. It's just part of my life. And even, you know, at the end of the day I feel better because I do have kind of the right supplement routine. Which makes me really happy about Gennev Vitality because now I don't have to take multiple different pills. I can kind of go to one, go-to source and, and get what I need.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Exactly. It's expensive too, where you're buying from all these different sources. If you’re like, is this a good supplement? I'm not sure. And so we tried to take the thinking away from you and just provide a product that's a good quality product that's well absorbed.

Jill Angelo

So so we talked a little bit about mood. You know, on the box it says, “Nutrients that support mood, energy, stress response, immune health, joint pain and inflammation.” So it’s a lot? And, and you were able to formulate it into five capsules. Can you talk a little bit about some of the other nutrients that are really, they were real key priorities. Obviously mood is, is huge. And you've talked about the B vitamins, but talk about a few of the others.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

I would say that the, the B vitamins are really important in stress as well. So those are probably the most important thing for stress.

Jill Angelo

Which is very important right now especially, for the time we’re in.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Exactly. And it's interesting that some of the ingredients that are in here are helpful for our immune system when we're thinking about COVID, because now we're thinking about, okay, if you're susceptible, you could get sick, but if you're not at risk, but you can improve your immune system, then you can reduce your risk. And so if I look at the, probably my favorite nutrient is vitamin D. So vitamin D is in there at 4,000 units. Some women may need to take a little bit more. It really depends on your blood level. And so I'd say two to 5,000 units of vitamin D, not only because it's important in our mood, but also it's important in bone density because women lose the most bone usually within five years of their last menstrual cycle.

And actually even before your last menstrual cycle in that one to two years, you're already starting to lose bone. So that vitamin D is really good for mood, it's really good for virus, and it's really good for bone density. But also that we know that so many cancers are reduced by having adequate vitamin D levels in the blood. And you know, there was a lot of clinical studies that are like, well this person had terrible illness and we gave them vitamins and they didn't get better. And the thing is is that you can't have a health condition that's in its full bloom and then give it vitamins and expect that all that 30, 40 years of poor living is going to be cured by a pill. And so this is meant to be taken approaching or right at menopause to help you avoid future health conditions.

And so the vitamin D is, is in there. And then CoQ10 that's a really important nutrient. And CoQ10 is really good for heart health and it's really good for energy. If you think about our cells, they all have mitochondria in them and mitochondria, it's like the little engine that drives our cellular function. And so CoQ10 I put in there because it's a really important part of driving that mitochondrial function, but also there are certain medications like, like cholesterol medications or blood pressure medications that can really decrease your CoQ10 levels. So I put that in there for that specific reason.

And then magnesium. Magnesium is probably the, the nutrient that we're most deficient in as the, as a whole. It's really important in blood sugar control. And as we know that when we hit menopause, we are at increased risk of diabetes and heart disease because estrogen declines and then we get this weight around the middle and that puts us at risk for metabolic disease.

And so the magnesium's in there, not only for stress but also for muscle tension. It's also really good for bowel movements. Women tend to get constipated around menopause but also very good for sleep. And every nutrient... It's really interesting because I can pick a few things that I think it's most important for, but every nutrient has so many actions. Like magnesium is involved in so many cofactors in the body. And so magnesium definitely made it on the list and you know, it was, it was hard to keep the list small. Like I definitely had to take a few things out. But at the same time, I think that focusing on the most important nutrients for menopause is better than, as we've discussed in the past, putting everything but the kitchen sink in there and putting a lot of stress on the liver and the kidneys when we don't necessarily need it.

So this is meant to be a nutrient for across the board, any woman approaching or in or post-menopausal as a, as a really, as a basis supplement. So let's see. We talked about the B vitamins. Oh, and the N-Acetyl L-Cysteine. So this is a, a lot of people may not know what that is. We live in an environment that is increasingly polluted and some of those standards are being repealed and I worry about our environment. And so many of the things in our environment unfortunately affect our immune system and also our endocrine system. And so N-Acetyl L-Cysteine, it says extremely safe amino acid that increases the production of glutathione, which is our biggest detoxifying agent in the body. And so N-Acetyl L-Cysteine was put there not only to help our bodies metabolize the things that we take orally, but also the things that we're exposed to in the environment.

Love that one. And then vitamin E, of course, vitamin E is a really important antioxidant. Again, a litany of things that vitamin E is good for. But important for breast health, important for brain health. And we all have issues with our hair, skin and nails around this time as well. And so I wanted to think as a clinician about this supplement, but I also wanted to listen to my patients. And biotin has been really helpful for a lot of women who, you know, we’re going through menopause and our bodies are changing. But if we can have excellent hair and nails, we feel a whole lot better about ourselves.

Jill Angelo

Totally. You know. Well, even in our menopause assessment, hair and skin are two of the things we hear consistently, that are really, really bothering women. And it matters. We all want it.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

It really does matter. And some of these patients come in and they have, you know, they could have completely now they can have terrible blood sugar, but they don't want to talk about that. They want to talk about their hair. And so, you know, for me, I just try to do my best to say, okay, this is important for you. Let's fix this. And then once you gain their faith, then you can say, okay, now we really need to focus on your cardiovascular health.

So let's see. Oh, beta carotene. So beta carotene, it's, it's a precursor to vitamin A and vitamin A, just like vitamin C, just like vitamin D is really important to our immune system. And so the beta carotene I put that in there because it's also really important to eye health. I think a lot of us approach 40, and we have glasses in all rooms of the house. And so vitamin A is really important for eye health as well. So eye health, immune health are the two big drivers for me with using the vitamin A.

And then curcumin, which is the anti-inflammatory. So a lot of people have joint pain and you know, joint pain is part of aging, but it's also part of estrogen declining. And what we're finding is that the typical over the counter anti-inflammatory medications can have longstanding side effects that are not good. And so we're really looking to figure out what can we use as an, as an anti-inflammatory just to help our bodies recover from exercise. And so again, many companies may put these ingredients in them and they may have much longer lists of ingredients and they may have things on them that we don't. But it's really important to know, is it, is it a good quality and a good formula that can be absorbed well, but also is it in a therapeutic amount.

So a lot of times I'll look at these supplements that people are taking and I'm like, it's great. And there's, you know, a lot of things in there, but not necessarily enough to give you the therapeutic benefit.

And then the last ingredient in here is Selenomethionine, which is basically an, again, the active form of selenium. And selenium is an antioxidant. It's really important in viruses. Again, if we're looking at COVID and we're all worried now about viruses and how do we keep our immune system strong, just even without even really thinking about it, a number of the nutrients here are really important to help you decrease your tendency towards developing a very severe case. If you have a healthy immune system that can keep the virus in check before it's blown into something much more systemic. Like selenium's one of the things, and vitamin D, the vitamin A as beta carotene, these, I didn't really even have the thought of a virus when we start first started working on this, but you know, if we're not sleeping and we're, you know, we're more susceptible to getting things, I think this will be a huge help if someone wanted to take something preventively to keep themselves well.

Jill Angelo

Yeah, immune response has never been more, more on everybody's minds and more important than now. It's a new focus.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

And I think… I read this great article that was, you know, I think it was important to say, you know, I think it's obviously we need to know what viruses do, but we need to really work on the host because if we find a vaccine, there will be the next thing. You know, we've talked about SARS, we've talked about the Spanish flu, but you know, we need to prepare ourselves for what comes next.

Jill Angelo

And we're the host at the end of the day where, where it lives.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So I do think the supplement will give us some degree of, of health and helping keep our immune system strong.

Jill Angelo

That's great. Well let's, let's definitely come back to quality and therapeutic doses or therapeutic amounts. Cause I want to come back to that, but we do have some questions coming in.

So let's, let's, let's take a couple of questions. One in particular said, what do you think of mood supplements such as L-Theanine, and St John's Wort. Does this product contain any such supplements?

Dr. Wendy Ellis

So, L-Theanine is like N-Acetyl Cysteine. So that's an amino acid. And that can be really helpful too, especially if someone has anxiety. So it's not in this formula, because I haven't, you know, it's, I like to, if we have a a main supplement to support us and then we can use additional things as needed for what may come up. So L-Theanine can be great for that, especially for people who really lay awake at night and they start ruminating about, you know, Oh, I have to do this, how am I going to pay my bills? What about this? So L-Theanine can be great for that. And then St John's Wort is, it can be a wonderful herb. It's great for seasonal affective disorder, but it has so many drug interactions that I, I just don't, didn't want to put it in here because we just don't know what patients are taking and we don't want to create, you know, we want safety first.

Jill Angelo

Yeah. If someone is supplementing with either one or both of those right now would they be okay with the, with the Vitality supplement pack?

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. I think the biggest thing was St. John’s Wort. If they, if they're on an antidepressant and they're taking St. John’s Wort, you can get something called serotonin syndrome where you have way too much serotonin in the body and it becomes an emergency. So absolutely fine with Vitality to take that.

Jill Angelo

We had another question come in earlier as well. And I'm going to pull this one up real quick. It is I'm a 51 year old woman who's diagnosed with IBS and I follow the FODMAP diet mostly or the low FODMAP diet. I am in pre peri-menopause. What vitamins or supplements do you recommend I take? So it sounds like she's battling IBS. And also on a low FODMAP.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Yeah, low FODMAP FODMAP, it's basically low in fructo oligo polysaccharides. So it's a very specific, highly recommended diet for IBS. The thing with IBS is you can have two types. You can have constipation, you can have diarrhea, or you can have a combination of both of those. And so if you are a person that does tend towards having loose stools, you can actually lose nutrients because it's traveling through your system too quickly. And so in someone who does have IBS, this would be a good thing to take. It's also really good to check your iron levels at that, you know, even at 51, even though you're not bleeding. Or I wasn't sure if it was perimenopause or postmenopause…

Jill Angelo

Perimenopause, so she'd probably is still cycling.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

So this, so B vitamins are the things that I tend to see the biggest deficiencies in with IBS and also vitamin D. But those would be the biggest things. But dietary wise, you know, you need healthy fiber. It's like, I almost thought about putting, you know, psyllium husk in these because we all seem to be eating things. You know, we're, we're, a lot of us are eating on the go and we're not getting as much of whole foods as we want and we're not eating enough beans and we're not eating enough starchy vegetables or there's ketogenic diets and people are really missing out on giant food groups. And I don't think this is sustainable. I think this is where nutrient deficiencies happen. So I would say for IBS this would be a good solution. You may need a little more vitamin D with IBS to get your blood level up to 50, but this would be a really good start actually. And then you know, should we talk about calcium, because calcium is one of the things that's given.

You know, I'm menopausal, I have osteoporosis, I should take lots of calcium. But speaking to the absorbable formula, so the World Health Organization recommends that we take 1200 milligrams of calcium per day. But this includes diet as well. And this is where I think the Gennev health coaches will be really helpful because we know that food sources of nutrients are most often better absorbed in supplement form. And so I never recommend 1200 milligrams of calcium orally, but you can get it in one capsule as calcium carbonate.

Calcium carbonate is terribly absorbed. And so, you know, basically when we think about calcium as a nutrient, we generally start with food first. How much you're getting in your diet and your food, especially with IBS, there may be no dairy. So you know, Gennev health coaches could say, okay, broccoli has this much, sardines has this much and what you're not getting in food, then you could add as a supplement.

But because many people get plenty of calcium in their diet, we didn't put it in here because one, it's such a large molecule if you're giving it in the right form, that it would have increased the daily supplement count by up by a couple pills and not everybody needs to take calcium.

Jill Angelo

So I, you know, on that note, like what what did you leave out because like you said, this has this Pill Pack has five capsules and, and you were very intentional with what you, you, what you placed in these five capsules and also were conscientious of, yeah, there's other things, but too much or how many, like do we want it be taking 10 pills, you know, 10 capsules or seven.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Exactly, exactly. And so maybe something would have been nice to have a little bit of calcium. But that being said, you know, usually those come separately. So I wouldn't say there's any multivitamin that has enough calcium to do much. And so the other thing that's not in there is zinc, but again, we generally get zinc in our diets. And so if you, you know, it's like most people are not zinc deficient and so you take more zinc if you were trying to fend off a cold or a virus. So you could always add those in as needed. But I'd say most of the things that we're continually needing over the course of time is what I put in there, and then the other things can come in as needed. But I really do try to focus with people on how much of this can we get in your diet. But we don't live in a perfect world. And you know, people are usually hustling and we're not getting the best diet in there. And so, you know, that's hence the need for supplements that people just can't, we can't be perfect.

Jill Angelo

Yeah. Well and talk a little bit about quote unquote traditional multivitamin versus, you know, how you formulated Vitality and, and should you be still taking both? Like if you take a multi and now you start taking Vitality are you getting more than you need, are you doubling up?

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Yeah. and again, there's a huge spectrum of multivitamins. Some multivitamin would have vitamin C, vitamin D, all of the B vitamins, zinc, copper, selenium, you know, and a lot of vitamins now are full of herbs and we don't know what those herbs, how they're interacting with each other, what patients are taking for, you know, other medications. And so I really stayed away from the herbs because I want this to be for everybody.

I didn't want to be concerned with, Oh, you can't take this if you're on this. And so I’d say, I think the biggest difference between, like if you have a celiac issue, like if you're celiac or if you've had a gastric bypass, you may need to take a multivitamin. If I have a really good friend who literally can't eat fruits and vegetables, like maybe he can eat cauliflower crust or something like that. But he had a very traumatic childhood and so has spent so much money on hypnotherapy and still can't eat vegetables. So I'm like, you need a multivitamin. Like there are things, and you need lots of fiber. And so I try to look at what health conditions they have and how their diet is and decide if they actually need a multivitamin. I’d say most people don't need multivitamins. I'd say most people need a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and proteins and legumes and you know, really good complex carbohydrates.

And if you can eat that way most of the time, then you probably don't need to take a vitamin at all. But as we approach menopause, as we start losing bone, then you're fighting against a system that has a little more, you know, estrogen’s a very powerful hormone and you can't eat your way out of low estrogen.

Jill Angelo

Yeah. And so that's where Vitality really is such a great true supplement to diet interactions.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Exactly. And that was the whole goal. Like, yes, our goal isn't to just give you a multivitamin to help you feel better. Our goal is to say, here's how you would feel better with diet and exercise and then we know we're susceptible to these things coming down the road. And so let's add this in there.

Jill Angelo

We had another question come in that asked, should we get our levels tested before we start taking supplements.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

That is a very controversial. There's not a lot of great tests to look at nutrient deficiencies. Vitamin D, yes. However, insurance is very particular about who can get vitamin D testing. And I've seen people get bills for $600 for a vitamin D test. So you, you know, I'd say if you're taking two to 4,000 a day, then it's good to test once and figure out where your levels are and you can get that done at LabCorp. But other nutrients, it's hard to test for. So B vitamins, you can look at what's called the CVC, which is part of your regular blood test that looks at the size and shape of your red blood cells. And if your red blood cells are really small, it shows you need some iron. If they're really fat shows you need more B12 or folate.

So there are other really expensive micronutrient tests. And I, you know, over the course of my 18 years in practice, I've obviously tried a lot of these tests, but I have found basic blood testing, it's best to give us ideas about who needs more nutrients because the testing, it really depends on how much, what did you eat in your last meal? Let's say somebody high in magnesium and then I test them, it's fine. And so it's just really hard to get good nutrient tests. So I generally don't, I tend to look at the blood panel and decide.

Jill Angelo

So getting a blood panel, you could get that from your primary care practitioner or have that prescribed and go get basic blood work done.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

And you can look at like if someone has really low cholesterol and they're not eating a really low cholesterol diet, then you know there's an absorption issue. And so that person might need a little more vitamin D, which is a fat soluble vitamin. So that's a way to find out if you need a little more or a little less. And any of the Gennev telemedicine doctors could help you figure that out.

Jill Angelo

We had another question come in. Do you recommend taking Vitality at a certain time of the day and with or without food?

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Yes. Because B vitamins and vitamin D can be stimulating, we always recommend taking them in the earlier part of the day. And because B vitamins are in there, you definitely need to take them with food. So like Jill mentioned, you took all five of yours at the same time? No problem?

Jill Angelo

No problem. And I've been, I've been now on Vitality for over week because I had some of the sample ones come in and I just take them every morning. And then I have my breakfast and my breakfast is usually half a half a grapefruit and a hard boiled egg and a latte, so…. And it's lactose free milk, but I really love milk in my coffee. And you know, I've not, I've not, and I have a pretty squeamish stomach. I don't have a strong digestive system because I've been through the IBS on my route to being diagnosed with celiac, so I know what that feels like. And I've also taken a lot of supplements because of that. And so, and I've not felt any digestive disruption or queasiness or anything. So, yeah.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

And if it did for people who do have a little squeamishness because each pill, they basically mixed all the ingredients together and then put it into five different pills. So it's not like you're having one that's a B vitamin and one that's a vitamin D. So you could take three of them in the morning and then two of them with lunch if you wanted to do that, just to split it up a little bit. But definitely with food, some people take them right before or something. Some people take them while they're eating or if you ate and 15 minutes later you’re, Oh, I forgot to take my supplement, you can take it then too.

Jill Angelo

That's great. Now, earlier you talked a little bit about quality of product and also therapeutic amounts or therapeutic dosages. I've also heard you as you were working on the supplement, talking about, you know pharma-grade ingredients. Can you talk a little bit about the quality of Vitality, the, and the dosage levels that you placed in this and explain that a little bit.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Yeah, so, unlike pharmaceutical medications, supplements are not, we don't have to get FDA approval for them. And so we are a company of integrity and we want to make sure that we're providing the best service and the best supplements with the best ingredients. And so we worked with a company that basically checks their ingredients for contaminants. It also is really important to know that if we say there's 2000 units of vitamin D in the capsule, there is 2000 units. Whereas, you know, the FDA has done research on supplements over the counter and in some instances they've found that there's no active ingredients. It's just a cellulose powder or it's got medications in there. So patients are like, great, it's an anti-inflammatory, it’s St. John’s Wort, or it's you know, curcumin. But then they put like diclofenac or some sort of pharmaceutical in there to make you feel like it's amazing.

So obviously we're not putting anything in there that we're not telling you about. We're making sure that we're not buying it from some sort of facility that has contaminants. A lot of supplements. You could be contaminated with lead, you could be contaminated, you know, if it's like a plant, like humid, it could be contaminant with pesticides. So we make sure that none of those ingredients are in there. So you're not doing harm by taking it. And then also the, there's a stamp on the box that tells you when the supplements expire. And by using a reputable company, you're guaranteed that those capsules will have the ingredients that you say it has, but it's going to be potent. The potency will maintain the same for the entire shelf life of that product.

And so, and the therapeutic dose piece comes down to a lot of products that you can see that promise everything. But again, you look at the label and you're like, wow, how could they fit so many things in there? And then you look closer and you're like, well that's cause there's, you know, like 25, IUs of vitamin E or there's 50 IUs of vitamin D. And so when we talk therapeutic value, we talk about the amount that it takes to make a physiologic benefit in the body, a positive benefit.

Jill Angelo

That's great. And how do you, like, how does just a common person other than trusting the maker of the supplement, really know what even therapeutic levels are the appropriate levels to have?

Dr. Wendy Ellis

You know, your doctor can help you determine that. Because typically the RDA, which is sort of the recommended daily allowance isn't necessarily what we need. So for example, let's use vitamin D. So vitamin D, the Institute of Medicine says, okay, if your blood level’s at 20 it's probably okay, 30 is great, but we're like, well that's for bone density. And so if we think about trying to prevent breast cancer or doing everything you can to support your immune system, then a level of 20 in the blood is not going to be helpful. We really need a level of 50 in the blood to support yourself while maintaining the therapeutic range. And you can go the other spectrum too. You can put too much of something in there and then have, you know, for vitamin D you can have calcium being imbalanced and leaching more calcium because you're taking too much vitamin D. So when we say therapeutic dose, we're saying enough to impact you in a, in a beneficial way for your health, but not too high that you're going to create some detrimental problem in the other part of the body.

Jill Angelo

So really something you should talk to your doctor about a little bit around therapeutic.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Curcumin is one of those things too that a lot of products have it in there right now, but you really need at least 250 or 500 milligrams to have that anti-inflammatory effect.

Jill Angelo

Good to know. Curcumin often, is that the same thing as tumeric? You hear those together.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Yeah, so turmeric’s like the herb, but curcumin is the active ingredient. So, the same thing.

Jill Angelo

Yeah. Yeah. No, but good to know that the difference between the two.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Yeah, exactly. It's like, it's like the potent component of tumeric is curcumin.

Jill Angelo

We have another question. Are your supplements safe for women with hormone sensitive cancer risk? Like breast cancer?

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Yes. There's nothing in here that would discourage you from using that. Again, if you're on a medication like Tamoxifen or you're on something post breast cancer treatment, it's always good to check in with your primary care or your oncologist. But these are all things that should, should be absolutely fine. If you're taking chemotherapy, you know, if someone was undergoing active cancer treatment and they were undergoing chemotherapy, you should always ask about every single ingredient because that can interfere with the medication.

Jill Angelo

That's good. Another question. Talk a little bit about prebiotics and probiotics. Are these helpful? Are they really needed if you take this Vitality supplement?

Dr. Wendy Ellis

So prebiotics are like fuel for probiotics, so you'll also often find a probiotic with prebiotics in them. So basically you're providing the good bugs and you're providing them with food so they don't die before you eat the supplements. But I will say a lot of prebiotics are really … create a lot of digestive issues for patients. So I rarely recommend them. You're better off getting your prebiotics in food. Generally any food that has fiber. There are some kind of foods that have a higher content like Jerusalem artichokes. But I'd say if you're eating a lot of variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables, eating your beans, your quinoa, you know, eating your starchy good proteins, that's the best fuel for our microbiome. And variety in our diet is what gives us more diversity and a healthy microbiome. So I use probiotics. I don't use them every day. I had the unfortunate event of having a urinary tract infection and I had to take antibiotics for it. And so I definitely took probiotics then because you don't want to end up with a yeast infection. Yeah. So other people that have IBS or IBD, Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, women who having regular UTIs, we know there are certain probiotics that are strains of probiotics that are good for certain health conditions. But I'd say if you eat a good variety of food, you generally don't need to take a probiotic.

Jill Angelo

That's great. This is a question from me in particular. I, you know, am still menstruating. And so how important is iron in terms of taking that in? Cause I do get, I think the small dose of it in my multivitamin, which I've now set to the side since I've started taking Vitality can you talk a little bit about iron?

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Sure. We generally, if you get too much iron, it's, it's bad for your liver. So too much iron is a bad thing. And so if you're not actively bleeding, you should not take iron unless you test your levels. If you are someone that's menstruating a lot of the sort of prenatal vitamins that people take will have about 45 milligrams of iron, or if you're a heavy bleeder iron can be really helpful. Again, there's a lot of different forms of iron and some can be very constipating and very poorly absorbed. And then other forms of iron, like iron bisglycinate, which is my favorite is very well tolerated in the stomach and it doesn't tend to create constipation for people. So iron deficiency can make you very short of breath, it can make you very tired. And around menopause, I always consider iron deficiency because a lot of people approach menopause with having really heavy menstrual cycles.

And so what I usually do before I supplement iron is I usually recommend that patients do just a CBC, which is a complete blood count and then actually check the ferritin level. So ferritin is the iron storage. So if you, if you checked your ferritin level and your ferritin level, and I, and it's interesting, I worked in a research job previously and we really looked at iron a lot. And iron is one of those things that, you know, if you take too much that's bad. But if you take too little, you might be within the reference range. It's usually the reference range for ferritin's like 15 to 150. But if your ferritin’s like 16, it's going to be normal, but have classical iron deficiency anemia, but you are iron deficient and so you can take iron and then recheck your ferritin.

And for the hair, actually having low iron or ferritin down 15 or 20 usually creates a lot of hair loss. And so it can be really helpful for hair and nails and just for feeling like you're not short of breath, just walking up the stairs. I encourage CBC and ferritin testing before you start. And if your ferritin is on the low end, usually 25 to 50 milligrams of iron is a good dose to take. Most multis have about 15 milligrams. You can't get into a whole lot of trouble with that. And then one symptom of iron deficiency is craving ice. I'm not even sure. I'm not even sure, but I have a 16 year old who sort of yesterday at the dinner table, she was like, do you notice I'm not chewing ice anymore? And I'm like, good. Clearly you've been taking your iron.

Jill Angelo

There's no getting anything by you as her mom. That's great. How about magnesium? You talked a little bit about magnesium before. Can you get too much, and can you talk about obviously the level that you included in Vitality and cause I take magnesium, I take also a magnesium supplement. I take the Gennev magnesium supplement.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Which is the glycinate form which is great for stress and sleep.

Jill Angelo

Yeah. Can you talk a little bit, am I getting too much now if I continue to take that in addition to Vitality?

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Yeah. So this, ours has 200. And I would say most people need somewhere between 200 to 400. And again, I consider the fact that we try to work with you holistically and you're getting some magnesium in your diet. If you get too much magnesium, the biggest side effect is usually loose stools — gurgly stomach, digestive upset and loose stools. But again, you can get magnesium induced magnesium deficiency by taking too much and having too much of a rapid transit time. So I would say across the board, most people take, you know, if they're supplementing 200 or 400 milligrams of magnesium per day.

And some of my extremely constipated patients would rather use magnesium to help with that. And obviously we're trying not to use it like a, you know, like a, what's the word I'm looking for? You know, like a laxative. Yeah. We don't want the laxative effect. Yeah. So I would say if you're getting it in your multivitamin, you could be getting probably around 200 milligrams and if you're getting another 200 here and then you're taking 140 milligrams or whatever is in the magnesium glycinate, that might be a little too much. Yeah. Yeah. That's, so you dropped your multivitamin, you may not need that.

Jill Angelo

I think. I think I'll be dropping. I do love vegetables, so that's never been a problem for me. But I am conscientious of green, you know, getting more green vegetables all the time.

And so, any other questions? I, we're still taking questions, but we're going to start to wind down a little bit. One thing I want to call out that Dr. Ellis has mentioned a couple of times is talking to a Gennev health coach. We do have, in addition to telehealth appointments where you can schedule an appointment with any of our physicians, including Dr. Ellis, you can also subscribe to the HealthFix membership where you we'll get on, you know, just unlimited access to one of our health coaches. They're a registered dietitian nutritionists as well as exercise physiologists. They've worked with Wendy a lot they have experienced working together. And so for her to even provide consultation to them in their work with you as a client we've seen that relationship be very, very productive.

And there's someone who can work with you on a, on a weekly basis in terms of, you know, not only helping you kind of build the plan around getting the kinds of nutrients that you need from your diet but also how that might pair with Vitality. And then they're kind of there as your accountability partner and support partner through it all. And I think oftentimes, you know, Wendy, when you talked earlier about lifestyle change having someone not necessarily to answer to, but someone that's, that cares about the changes you're trying to make, can just be like the greatest support in the world.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Well, when I signed up for HealthFix I did it for two reasons. So one I wanted to experience it because I was recommending it to a lot of patients. And Stasi first said, Oh my gosh, you helped create all this content. Why do you need me? And I said, I just need someone who can help hold me accountable. And so I feel like, you know, your doctor isn't necessarily your accountability partner because they, you know, you're spending all the time on the medical things and they, you know, it's like you could walk away with advice that you need to move more and you need to eat better, but HealthFix, I really feel like, you know, what I found with Stasi was like, okay, how much time do you have? What do you like to do? Here are the things in your area, these are great things that you could do.

And even coming into this shelter in place, I had these great things that Stasi recommended that I was able to draw on when I couldn't go to my gym anymore. And the other thing I feel like health coaches are really good at is they really fit into the niche of like helping you figure out how to make changes within your current structure. So if someone's on the road all the time and they're, you know, probably not now, but you know, a lot of people travel for work and I feel like preparation is a huge part of that. Where we get into the same routine of having taco Tuesday and then, you know, we sorta get in the rut of making the same things. And I feel like a health coach is really great with helping you make behavior changes, but also figuring out how to make it fit into your life that's actually doable and attainable. So I referred someone this morning because she's a very busy doctor and she just basically makes the same food. And eats it all week long. She'll just like parcel out a little bit of chili and I'm just like, you need diversity in your diet and we need to figure out someone who can just feed you some recipes or some ideas to help you with that.

Jill Angelo

You know, that coach and doctor combination really makes a nice team approach to a lot of the changes in the lifestyle that we're all trying to keep, you know, keep together. Especially right now, you know, more, more moms are now juggling more than they even were before the whole COVID 19 crisis. And I think even just figuring out how do you fit in some healthy lifestyle into all the added pressure now of cooking meals and cleaning and homeschooling, et cetera, beyond the typical things that you already had on your plate.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

I feel like it's a little bit of a curse that, you know, we are our kids, especially if we have girls that go through a very tumultuous time in their teens as their hormones start to change with mood. And it's a little scary when you're also dealing with that to try to be a good parent. And so part of the B vitamins and the Vitality is if we have more wisdom to learn, not to say all the things that you know, like the Ally McBeal moment where you're like, I'm not going to say that, but I imagine myself. And so I feel like it gives us a lot more foundation to be able to deal with all life stresses knowing that we can’t avoid them.

Jill Angelo

Yeah. Yeah. Well we in credit, we are so excited to be launching Vitality today. This is, you can check it out at Gennev.com go to Gennev.com shop. It'll be there. And we've priced this, this is a 30-day supply. We priced it at $39.95 per month. And if you want to subscribe to just have it come to you on a monthly basis, you'll get 20% off. So we've tried to create it in such a way so that it it works within your consumption patterns on a monthly basis. And so you can get that today.

And as Dr. Ellis mentioned, we're doing that in combination with one of our health coaches with HealthFix and a membership of $25 a month. Doctor or, I'm sorry, our director of health coaching is Stasi Kasianchuk who Wendy mentioned. She's fabulous if you haven't met her already. She's on these webinars on a regular and weekly basis. So a good, a good combination of not only services and practitioners but also products now to help you feel better and have strong immune response.

So thank you so much Wendy, for working with us on this kind of epic milestone and bringing your knowledge and expertise to the Gennev community. I just can't thank you enough.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Yes. And thanks for bringing Gennev to all these women; I feel like it's a huge resource.