Fertility and a Holistic Approach To Reproductive Health with Anne Matthews, Fertility Acupuncturist
Ep 29

Fertility and a Holistic Approach To Reproductive Health with Anne Matthews, Fertility Acupuncturist

Show Notes:

With so much fear and misunderstanding around reproductive health these days, I sat down with Anne Matthews, Fertility Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner, to learn about her treatment plans for infertility and chronic conditions like PCOS and endometriosis. 

Anne is known as the “fairy godmother of fertility” to the hundreds of patients who seek support at her clinic in Toronto. In our conversation, she walks us through the health markers she looks for when determining the root causes of reproductive health challenges. Anne also highlights the prevalence of male factor infertility and notes lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve a couple’s ability to conceive. 

We also get into how Anne uses medicinal mushrooms in her practice, particularly Reishi, and the research behind other supplements she recommends like N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). Plus, Anne shares why she’s so passionate about empowering her patients to look within for answers instead of defaulting to external solutions. 

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on your favorite podcast platform. 

Topics Covered:

  • Why Anne doesn’t believe there’s an influx of infertility, despite what social media might suggest 
  • The truth about the impact of stress on reproductive health 
  • How heat and cold exposure effect sperm and egg quality 
  • Anne’s advice for anyone nervous about getting pregnant at 35+ years old 
  • Recommendations for patients who have unexplained infertility 

Resources Mentioned:

Guest Info: 

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Show Transcript:


Tonya Papanikolov  00:04

Hi, welcome to the rainbo podcast. I'm your host, Tonya Papaniklov. Rainbo and I are on a mission to upgrade humanity with fungi and expand the collective conscious. This podcast builds a virtual mycelial network of bold, open minded thinkers and seekers. I chat with experts, thought leaders, healers, scientists, entrepreneurs, spiritual teachers, activists, and dreamers. These are stories of healing, human potential and expansion, tune in root in expand and journey with us. 


Tonya Papanikolov  00:46

Hi, hi. Hi. Hi. It's nice to be back. If you're listening to this on the day that it launched anyways, it is October 31 Sameen. Halloween, as we affectionately know it. Sameen is a Gaelic term actually. And it is kind of druid Wiccan ceremony that celebrates the dead. And there's various kinds of pagan ceremonies around it as well. And of course, in the West, Halloween is celebrated. And you know, this is a time where the worlds the dimensions between life and death are said to be a jar. And there is a lot of souls passing right now in really terrible ways that are waking up humanity. And I'm simultaneously also navigating the passing of my grandmother just a couple of days ago. So I'm deep in grief processing and that song, beautiful song, hello, darkness, my old friend comes to mind, as you're met with grief again, and maybe been a little while maybe you're in it, maybe it's been a while since you've seen this dear old friend that comes up in, in such a profound way for me been really reminding me just how precious and sacred life and the cycles are. 


Tonya Papanikolov  02:09

And if you're listening to today, or at any time, I invite you to let a candle light a candle for your loved ones who have passed and for others who are passing and for all of the souls that are victims do horrendous things happening in the world right now. And my thoughts and prayers are with everybody. It's a tough time. And I want to keep this light like you know what, it is a time of year where we're also like fully just embracing the darkness in physical ways and polarity planet baby, right? We got we've got a lot to face. And so this conversation is also simultaneously timed with the sacred cycles of death and rebirth. So what a better time to also discuss rebirth and birth and I have an amazing guest with me on the podcast today. 


Tonya Papanikolov  03:07

Many of you Torontonians may know her she's a fairy godmother of fertility, Anne Matthews who's the founder of energy tree studios and she has a podcast herself. Her podcast is called the trying to be positive podcast and is a mother to six and she is one ovary and she's just like such a rad woman her clinic is often overbooked or harsh is hard to get in with, but it is possible and if you are navigating, fertility or just child planning, child rearing parenting, wanting to get healthier, she is the person to see. And she's Yeah, just so so real. So refreshing to be around. I love her energy so much. And I actually got a lot of questions from you guys in the audience to ask and so we dive into a lot of those getting pregnant over 40 How can fertility change after pregnancy and birth? What do you recommend for prepping for pregnancy? The effect of saunas and cold plunge on fertility for men and women this is so fascinating and interesting. 


Tonya Papanikolov  04:18

You've got to listen to it for this actually like it's very very surprising what I learned PCOS we dive into that a bit. Mushrooms and fertility she's obsessed with Turkey Tail and Rishi where she's been a guiding mushroom for her. And she's she's recommending remote to so many of her fertility patients. I'm just thrilled to hear foods, strategies to manage unexpected second fertility, sexual trauma. All sorts of amazing questions that we dive into. I honestly could have spent like three hours on this podcast with her but she had to tend to her family as one does. So yeah, we just have a great chat. I'm very excited for each other Listen to it. If you can get in to see her. That's really great. Otherwise, there's a lot of great resources that she even gives us in this episode. So take note of those. And let's dive in with Anne Matthews. I hope you enjoy this episode.


Anne Matthews  05:18

Hi, and hello,


Tonya Papanikolov  05:21

hello. I'm very excited to chat with you. I also got so many amazing questions from my community. Wow, like incredible, incredible questions, we're gonna have to do like a rapid fire. Although I think a lot of them they've just kind of like become a part of this. But there's really deep and good questions. But I love starting episodes with just a quick icebreaker. What are you grateful for today? And what's your current favorite biohack.


Anne Matthews  05:51

Today, I'm grateful that I have the capacity to run. I think about that all the time. Whenever I'm watching people who are in the neighborhood, we're struggling to move properly. And my favorite bio, I just recently learned what a bio hack is, which is kind of hilarious considering that I was once on a panel about bio hacks. I think it's probably my morning coffee, which I put a ton of mushrooms into.


Tonya Papanikolov  06:32

Yeah, you do. You're obsessed with Turkey Tail?


Anne Matthews  06:34

Yeah, it will be why I stay alive. I actually feel like I did. I posted a picture yesterday. And someone was like, You look the same as you did when you were 18. Like, first of all lies. And secondly, it's all in my mushroom. It's yeah,


Tonya Papanikolov  06:52

it is all of the mushrooms. It's gonna be a part of it. I mean, their longevity boosters. So they're playing a role.


Anne Matthews  07:00

I drink a lot of coffee. So whenever I have coffee, I have your mushroom different types of adoption. So


Tonya Papanikolov  07:08

I love that. And so why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are what you do, you are a fertility Guru, I think you must have one of the most rewarding jobs ever. But you tell us how you describe yourself.


Anne Matthews  07:22

I am a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner. And I'm a fellow of the American Board of Oriental reproductive medicine. I primarily focus on fertility in my practice. But I'm very passionate about women's health generally, specifically, endometriosis, which, interestingly enough, I tell all my endo patients to tell their physicians that they're trying to conceive even when they're not, because they typically will get better care, unfortunately. And I'd say that I am, above all else, a reproductive care advocate for my patients and just humanity at large. Because I feel like one of the things that people ask me routinely these days is Do you think that there is an influx of infertility? Or do you think that there's just more attention being paid to it? And I think it's neither, I think that there is a lot more profit to be gained, which makes me sound like a conspiracy theorist,


Tonya Papanikolov  08:31

but you're in good company here.


Anne Matthews  08:33

I think the reason why I've gotten this reputation as a fertility, which is because I have so many patients that come see me who are not actually infertile, this isn't to down grade my powers to say that acupuncture isn't tremendously effective it is. But I think there's also a lot more people who think that they're a lot less fertile or soft than they actually are. There's a lot of fear. And there's a lot of misunderstanding. So I have a lot of primary position. So like GPS, actually, that come to see me for help with infertility. And it was sort of from that exposure, that I realized that there really isn't a ton of education when it comes to family doctors and reproductive care. So when I say that I'm not trying to be disrespectful, I understand that they have a huge amount of knowledge and other areas that I would completely be lost. But when it comes to reproduction, there's there's not the understanding that there needs to be if you're being identified as a family doctor, to me, the first step of a family doctor would be to understand how to help people start their families. 


Anne Matthews  09:59

And so I think a lot of the time when I'm asking patients, would it be possible for you to ask your doctor to get day three bloodwork, and they come back and say, they're not sure what you mean by that. That's a concern, where if tests are being run, for example, your FSH, your follicle stimulating hormone is being tested in the middle of your cycle, that's not going to be tremendously helpful, and would actually be very alarming. Because it would come back significantly higher than what it actually is needing to be read at, which is the very beginning, which is when it would be useful to understand what your baseline would be. And so I don't think that people are more infertile, I don't really believe the concept that age is as big a factor. There's a lot of fluff around. Women are starting our careers later. And therefore, once again, it's our fault that now fertility is suffering. First of all, 50% of infertility is male factor. And secondly, I have a lot of patients who are in their late 20s, who are suffering from fertility challenges. Yes, that's anecdotal evidence, but I'd say I see anywhere from 350 to 500 patients, you know, at any given time, like that's my patient loans with each patient, or each day I go to clinic, I see 50 patients. So it's, it's not it's like a small sample. No, totally.


Tonya Papanikolov  11:32

Yeah, that is so fascinating. And I'm so grateful to hear you say that, because I honestly am not hearing that anywhere else. And it's like a big, big sigh of relief and a lot of ways. And so where do you start when somebody comes to you? So my audience had a lot of questions around PCOS and endo PCOS was a pretty main concern for a lot of folks. Where do you and you know, and I'm so curious about the nervous systems role. And then we also have this beautiful orchestra of bi directional communication between the neuro endo immuno endocrine systems that are all talking and yeah, how do you where do you even start with somebody? And that's probably such a hard question, because everybody's coming from a different starting point.


Anne Matthews  12:20

No, I actually, I love that. I love that question. Because it actually gives me the opportunity to say exactly that, which is social media. Social media and Tik Tok in particular, is such an issue. And it's taking us so much further back, when it comes to understanding how to care for Pecos and reproductive health generally, in that it's very much a drive by information station, where people are getting snippets of info without it being useful. So it's just enough information, freak people out. Like PCOS is a cause of infertility. Oh, by the way, you have PCOS? Like, yeah, it's not a disease. It's a syndrome. It's really important to recognize that. PCOS can be found in patients that don't appear to be a traditional Pecos patient. So I've had a lot of patients come in and they're like, I think I might have PCOS. And my doctor doesn't think I have PCOS. Because I'm not overweight, and I don't have facial hair. That is very outdated. So I always start with asking each patient. First of all, it's very helpful if they come with recent bloodwork, specifically having had their DHEA s tested, total testosterone, insulin, cortisol, and a MH, actually, FSH and estrogen is fine, but they're not terribly predictive of Pico so they wouldn't be on my list. 


Anne Matthews  14:01

And ultrasound would be a bonus to see whether or not the ovaries have a PCO appearance, aka the string of pearls appearance where it looks like the ovaries surrounded by girls. Oh, cute. And just really quickly on that are people are your patients getting a Dutch test on that? Or are their physicians allowing them to get all that information because I know that it's pretty hard to get. But for the most part, I will say that if patients go to their doctor's with a list of bloodwork, specifically, they're very agreeable to doing it. Especially if the patient is trying to conceive. It's even better if they are at a fertility clinic because the fertility clinical run is no matter what. Right? I don't love the judge tests because they're expensive. Yeah. And I feel like it's, oh happens in Ontario, at least, you're getting these this bloodwork covered. Whereas I feel like reproductive care is so unaccessible to so many people, especially if, like if you're starting off with Okay, well, now you're gonna have to pay $500 For this test, because you're not able to see a family physician who's willing to run this bloodwork. To me, I would then push to be seen by a fertility clinic. 


Anne Matthews  15:22

And if your physician isn't willing to have you referred, then you can actually there's an amazing fertility clinic in Toronto, specifically called twig, and they have a self referral. So you can go on their website, and you can be referred, you can get on their list, and then their nurse practitioner will actually refer you to the clinic. So you can be seen, it's not to say that the Dutch test is useful. And if you can afford it, then great. But I was actually, I had a lot of patients pressure me into, like, why aren't you having us do Dutch just because you could ask her or request that we get this done as a regulated health practitioner, and I just, my entire model is accessibility and making sure that as many people can be seen, regardless of their socio economic status. It's amazing.


Tonya Papanikolov  16:25

I know I thought I totally derailed you on that. Okay. So you're going through the list of what you know, ideally, a patient is bringing to you before they begin their intake and and then where do you go?


Anne Matthews  16:36

Yeah, being able to get that bloodwork is really helpful. Because each patient, each PCOS patient could be completely different. So like, I could have PCOS, but my age could be elevated, and nothing else other than fact that I'm not getting a period. Like I could have totally normal testosterone levels, I could have completely normal insulin levels. That being said, you could also have a scenario where your testosterone is through the roof, but your damage is relatively normal. So it's Pecos is tricky. And I also have a lot of patients who are seeing me to sort of supplement fertility care, because they have PCOS. And they're deeply concerned that it means that they're not going to be able to conceive. But we ended up having no problem at all, because all that was required was regulating ovulation. And there's a lot of supplements and acupuncture is really awesome. 


Anne Matthews  17:31

And helping regulate ovulation with a PCOS patient. The trickiest? Pecos is elevated androgens, because I find that that is the hardest to regulate, just generally, because it's hard to have like testosterone. It's also really beneficial for fertility. So to try and reduce it, but also not too much is it's tricky.


Tonya Papanikolov  17:57

What are you seeing in any patients that don't have endo or PCOS? What are some of the other major causes? Like how big of a role does stress play? How


Anne Matthews  18:06

big of a role does worry, this trauma does crazy up regulated immune system or fight or flight? stress affects every single person differently? I can tell how much it's affecting you, generally, based on how long your follicular phase is. So cortisol suppresses estrogen, and you need your estrogen levels to rise in order for you to ovulate. So if you're follicular, or if your follicular phase is, let's say, significantly longer than 14 days, and you don't have PCOS, I can guess just even looking at somebody's ovulation strips, how much stress did you have this this month? No, like, oh, I moved. I had my job. Just he was letting all these people go. And I was worried about that, or I wasn't getting any sleep because I knew it's like, okay, that's so interesting. And then I'll have some patients where, no matter what's happening in their life, their cortisol levels through the roof, they feel stressed, but they are getting pregnant. 


Anne Matthews  19:20

So it's so hard to say. That's why fertility care is so interesting, because every single patient is so different. We're all so different. And I think we exist in a world right now where people love categories, and they love to be both put into categories, but also to have other people put them into categories. That it makes it easier to identify as a certain person. Yeah, but then to be able to say, like the number of people come to me and say, I have anxiety. I'm an anxious person. I am I'm anxious. And I'm like, you have to change your language around that you're not anxious. You struggle from time to time, with with feelings of anxiety, yeah, with feelings. Exactly. And so being able to look at each patient as the unique flower that they are, and to really pick apart, why they're having issues is so important. It doesn't make for a good podcast episode. It's impossible to know, like, Oh, you're this type of patient. So therefore, you would benefit from XYZ. Yeah, I also I really don't like telling people that stress has a huge part in fertility. Because even though I see how much of a role it plays in the length of your menstrual phases, specifically, your follicular phase, it's not helpful to tell someone breasts will make it harder for you to become pregnant, because they're already stressed about not being pregnant. So then have them also then be stressed about being stressed. Yeah. makes it worse,


Tonya Papanikolov  21:14

right? Of course. I was like looking for the golden thread. I was like, so is magic. Like, is it you know,


Anne Matthews  21:23

you know what magic is identifying who you are, and what you need? That is the magic and knowing that you have to know yourself, you have to actually take each time each day to understand how am I feeling? How does this food make me feel? How does this level of activity make me feel? How much sleep do I need? What am I noticing about my menstrual cycle? How long is it? How crampy is it? How cluttered is it? What color is the blood? How many days is my follicular phase? How long does it take for my for the cervical mucus to then result in or not? Obviously, it doesn't result in an LH spike. But how long before when I have cervical mucus? How many days after that? Will I get an LH bike? And then once I have that LH spike, how many days after that? am I noticing that I get my period or I start to spot what I think the issue is when it comes to fertility here is that people are very eager these days, specifically, I've noticed an increase in this just handing over their care, like people will come to the clinic. And they don't know how long their cycle is. They don't know when they don't relate. 


Anne Matthews  22:48

They don't know how they're feeling. I say the bit, one of the basic questions I asked is, How well are you sleeping? And they are like, I don't know, like, how many hours are you sleeping? Like? Well, it varies. Like, okay, do you feel better when you have mostly? And for some patients? They'll say yeah, and then for other patients, you know, I actually, I don't need a ton asleep. I'm like, okay, that's that's an interesting observation, and never occurred to them to even really to go through it, I'll have patients come in. And I'll say like, one of the biggest findings that I am dealing with these days is not understanding what your iron level is, when you go and have a checkup, and you have your bloodwork done. iron and vitamin D should always be a part of that blood work, always. And if it's not, you need to ask your GP for it. Because if for example, you have very, very low iron, but you have like normal estrogen levels. My bet is that your period is still light. 


Anne Matthews  23:55

Because you don't you don't have enough blood to build a nice thick, lush lining. And it's interesting because one of my patients is a hematologist. And she's actually very good friends with her fertility doctor. So I've had the good fortune of actually being able to sort of walk through that were patients they've noticed as well with low iron levels will then also have a thinner lining or a lighter period, which is an issue for fertility. I think understanding that like that's a basic to me, but for a lot of people, they wouldn't even think that it mattered or that it was even correlated. Baby like I can't get pregnant. And my period is one day long. And I'm like, This is gonna be easy. Oh, this is gonna be this is gonna be no problem.


Tonya Papanikolov  24:42

This is so interesting. My periods have been short. I was vegan for a long time. And a couple months ago, I discovered that eating red meat on the three or four days leading up to my period gives me like a substantially heavier period and I was like just so happy to see this much blood coming out of me it was, it was substantial.


Anne Matthews  25:05

Yeah, I never want to push people into eating a certain way, because they understand the psychological ramifications of that. That being said, My, the only patients that I have, where we really struggle, are vegans. And I'm not intending to be controversial or to say how anyone needs to eat. But that's just the fact of the matter. And something was also interesting is the patients that are coming to me who's praying their pregnancy, they have inner uterine growth restriction, meaning that the baby's measuring small, and I'm able to help those patients. And the way that I do for that, is I get them to start eating meat, which is really hard. And for one woman, she was like, Oh, my God, I honestly like, I can't, I was like, I need what is the one way that you are going to be able to eat this, choose your protein, like just has to be an animal protein, just choose? Like, I think maybe I can get behind chicken. And I was like, okay, like, but I can't see the chicken. So I eat those nuggets that you can get from Whole Foods, which are like for kids, but they're like antibiotic free and relatively not clean over the topic, expensive and clean. And she had that every single day or two months. And her daughter was born a normal weight. Wow. And on time, as opposed to her being induced early? Because her daughter was getting smaller and smaller with every ultrasound.


Tonya Papanikolov  26:52

Is that because of the fat content? Do you think? Because red meat is actually like heme building? Or is that any animal proteins gonna do that? No, it's


Anne Matthews  27:00

proteins, the protein and there's sufficient amounts of iron in chicken. It's just not as well known. People realize that. There's like a decent amount of iron and eggs, too. Yeah, yeah. Like eggs, chicken, beef, turkey. Turkey. And it's the combination with the amino acids it's super important for for building tissue. Wow. And even like an iron supplement. If you're like one of my patients who are fair to miss to she was pregnant and her ferritin to wow. And I was astounded to choose even functioning, like forget the fact that your baby is measuring spa like, I can't believe it, you're walking around and you're not like gasping for breath. Wow, her hemoglobin was so low.


Tonya Papanikolov  27:48

I have a blood test that I have. I haven't done it in a while. So I'm like, okay, my hemoglobin better be on it. And it is. So interesting. So okay, I want to segue a little bit into something that you said which was around kind of male fertility. And are you seeing a lot of guys come into the clinic or is there like a sharing of the responsibility or more education coming out around their part in fertility, there is


Anne Matthews  28:16

so much that needs to be done when it comes to male factor infertility. The issue is in the sort of, is that if you are noticing an increase in infertility care and the attention being given to fertility because of who can potentially one fairly game, it's really hard to make money off of male factor infertility, because for the most part, male factor is tied directly to lifestyle. You can't like for example, DNA fragmentation, which is directly correlated to miscarriage rates and an increase in miscarriage rates. DNA fragmentation is almost always the result of either excess heat. So like, I noticed that a lot with peloton riding so I can guess if your husband and your husband is really super fit, where your partner is really into biking, I can guess what the morphology and what their DNA fragmentation will look like in their analysis, because of how much heat is generated because they're sitting on the bike seat for so long, and the testicles are getting so hot. And so like they're intended to be outside of your body and at a lower temperature for a reason. And when that's not happening, it really impacts specifically morphology and DNA fragmentation. 


Anne Matthews  29:46

There's also like because now and I have noticed because we there's legal THC is so bad for sperm, specifically, motility is really affected patients will come in with like terrible motility meaning that they're not progressing. They're not moving forward. And this isn't again, I don't know, I have no issues with weed being legal, I have no issues with people smoking weed, go for it enjoy it, but it does affects fertility, and it really affects sperm. If the sperm are not able to actually progress, poor parts and make it then it doesn't matter. If DNA is normal, it doesn't matter if morphology is good. It doesn't matter if there's a really high count. Actually, in those cases, it's even more a problem because if a patient has a really high number of sperm, but then very few of them can actually swim properly. I kind of equate it to like a marathon scenario where you have in the Boston Marathon, if you put all of your best runners, like interspersed throughout a bunch of people just not moving. Nobody is running to the finish line. Everybody is stuck. And it makes them so tired, that they can't even get to the finish line. Is this because sperm are produced daily? I believe there's not more than that. But is there? Are there any studies that are showing like you smoke weed and it lasts for three days? Or what is the turnaround? If it's a once in a while thing?


Tonya Papanikolov  31:27

Well, the sperm take a week to bounce back three months, the next day.


Anne Matthews  31:32

So sperm are completely replaced every 74 days. Okay, if for example, you were to engage in like a night out where you were really good at Town, both in terms of like, wearing your tightest pants wearing with the tight pants, and then you're smoking copious amounts of weed that will impact your sperm for 74 days. Wow. Yeah, wow,


Tonya Papanikolov  32:02

I didn't know that.


Anne Matthews  32:03

Something that I love to highlight is that the benefit of being a person with eggs is that it takes a lot for us to really cause damage to our eggs. But it also is really hard to improve or a quality. Whereas with men, the benefit of being a person to sperm is that they can improve their sperm within 74 days. Yeah, like, it's amazing. But the downside of being a personal Scrum is that it's really easy to ruin your storms. So living moderately, but then when patients come in, and they're like really going on about the hardships of having to not smoke weed and to live reasonably, I have no empathy whatsoever. Because person in the relationship with eggs is going to have to live like a saint for the next. Yeah, so just yeah, like Yeah, but we don't know when I'm going to be able to resume my normal, like weed habit. And I just, I don't even I honestly will just walk away like I like that's enough for you. I've now turned into that eccentric act. Right? Like, I actually got up in the middle of a session. Like three weeks ago, I he was complaining about how hard it was for him to make these lifestyle changes like to not go in the bath and to like, not smoke weed. And that was part of his self care. And that it was probably just easier for them to do IVF than him have to change lifestyle. Oh, I just stood up and walked out of the clinic. And


Tonya Papanikolov  34:10

thanks so much like he had the perspective. Yeah,


Anne Matthews  34:14

I was like, you're willing to put your partner through injections, constant monitoring, constant ultrasounds and blood draws. Because you can't give up your nightly bath. Like


Anne Matthews  34:35

so I'm going to have to excuse myself so that I don't burst into flame. Yeah. Yeah. So there are a lot of couples coming to you. Oh, yeah. Yeah, they actually it always starts out with I have not in almost 10 years had a patient with malefactor come without having been for are off by their wife or their partner. So typically, it will be like a female patient coming in needing care or, or needing assistance in prepping for IVF. And then when I do the digging, we find out that the they're getting IVF because of male factor. In some instances, like for instance, like, in some instances, the sperm just cannot actually fertilize the egg. So like, there's been lifestyle changes, like sperm looks good, all hormones are balanced. But the issue is actually the fertilization. And in that case, IVF is an amazing and like, just the most, like what a gift to live in this day and age where that's possible. We're in instances where the patient has had like, really bad endometriosis. And, like the tubes are damaged, in that case to like, Wow, I'm so grateful for IVF. 


Anne Matthews  36:00

But when a patient is getting IVF, because of sperm quality that has not been renewed, no attempt has been made to improve the sperm quality through lifestyle, I find that very frustrating, because I don't feel like patients are being educated in the fact that male factor can almost always be addressed by lifestyle changes. And if not, like, for example, with various skills, like if a patient has America so like, it irritates me, when reproductive endocrinologist say, Oh, well, we'll just do X, Z, which is where you take the sperm, and you inject it into the egg in IVF, as opposed to trying to remedy the issue in the first place. So like, in that case, it's a surgery, it's not a long surgery, I think it's about like 15 to 20 minutes, in most cases, where they're essentially removing, like, it's similar to that of like a varicose vein in the testicles. And that that varicose seal, it acts almost like a heat coil, like inside the testicles. And so you can imagine the damage that like a hot tub or a bath, wearing briefs, like that's external heat. So that's, that's a problem. But if you have a very good seal, it doesn't matter, you can be wearing the loosest boxers and taking ice baths. But if you still have that reheat coil in the testicles, it's going to continuously create, you know, issues with morphology and DNA fragmentation. Even if you're doing Ixy if your partner still has that Varrick seal, you should still be advocating to have it be fixed, because that's still going to be an issue. Regardless of you know, whether or not you're having assistance with insemination.


Tonya Papanikolov  37:51

That leads me to one of a question that someone sent in which was can you speak to? There's so much sauna cold plunge the heat and cold exposure? How does that affect males females like ovaries versus versus testicles? Is there any warnings there are there? Yeah, any issues.


Anne Matthews  38:12

When it comes to male fertility? Eat any ambient, high ambient temperatures will cause issues with spring. So like saunas, being an Asana being in a hot tub, that's going to cause damage, it doesn't matter whether or not you're following up with a cold plunge. It's that initial blast of heat. So like, for example, if you had like a forest, and then you set it on fire, it doesn't matter if you're following up with like, a hose of water. Like yeah, you're putting out the fire but your images for me the damage is done. The same idea. If you're wanting to preserve your fertility, like if you're a man and you have no interest in conceiving within the next three months, like go for it like live your best life you saw on the you like go on hot tubs, I don't care. But if wanting to conceive, you need to be avoiding heat, you need to be standing up regularly to improve circulation to the area. You need to be avoiding tight briefs, tight shorts, etc. and so forth. With regards to cold plunge, like I am a huge fan for males, but not so much for certain females. 


Anne Matthews  39:33

So it's it really depends like I think size when it comes to a quality similar to what I said before. It takes a lot to actually damage your eye quality. Like I treat a lot of patients who have gone through chemotherapy, and they're still able to conceive. So like if chemotherapy is is not going to damage your eggs. Like this isn't as you know, a scientific statement that I want people to then be like, throwing around but For Saunas are going to be fine, like you're not in there for long enough for it to be an issue. And if anything, it improves circulation to your reproductive organs. That being said, I do caution patients against cold plunging, not male factor, because it benefits sperm quality. But definitely for people with eggs, they should avoid cold plunging, if they're hoping to conceive within the next three months, it really does decrease circulation to the uterus. And I've noticed from like a Chinese medicine perspective, I can't explain why this is the case, I actually I was I was really interested in cold plunging for endo patients, because of its effect on reducing inflammation, and is immunomodulation effects that it can have I was, I was like, excited about that as a potential aid for them. But at the same time, when I had patients who are going in doing that, they then I have noticed have more painful periods. Like there's a lot more clotting. 


Anne Matthews  41:15

Even I noticed in the summer, like if patients are going up to the cottage, or if they're spending a lot of time in like cold pools, all of a sudden their cramps are much worse justing, which is really unfortunate, because it could have been really cool and helpful. I have no interest in having any more children, because as you can see, I've escaped to the back and even then doesn't seem to be effective at getting away from them, they still find ways to get out. Just crazy. Because of my like, I actually had a lot of fertility challenges. So like I'm saying that from a point of like, I'm so grateful they're here, but at the same time, like ah, no more. And so I really want to get into cold plunging, because I have a family history of leukemia. And so I'm always really interested in anything that has to do with autoimmune and helping the immune system function as best because there's there's a lot of thoughts around leukemia, specifically being more of a virus as opposed to a cancer. And so anything where you know, you have family members that have passed away from something, you're really doing a lot more of like a deep dive than if it was just sort of like a casual interest. So I'm definitely going to be getting into cold plunging. If I do notice that it's going to be giving me period pain. I will stop but I would avoid. Okay. Yeah, that's


Tonya Papanikolov  42:51

super helpful to hear in terms of getting pregnant over the age of 35 over the age of 40. Do you approach that? And you know, like, yeah, what do you say to patients who have nervousness around age around egg quality health,


Anne Matthews  43:06

I actually don't really consider age that that much in my practice. That's great to hear. So in the intake, you do have to put your date of birth. But that being said, I don't have any point look at it and think to myself, like what like, oh God, like this person is over 35 Like this is going to be challenging, because it's just such a weird general rule that doesn't play out. Like I think if if I were to start and just was to spend a lot of time in the fertility clinic and listen to the rhetoric there, I would definitely have a lot more fears around it. But thankfully, I never did that. And so I don't have that preconceived idea that it's going to be an issue. And so I think bloodwork and talking to a patient about their general health is a much better way to understand whether or not you're going to be successful at becoming pregnant as opposed to just using a just like this, this weird arbitrary marker of fertility. totally opposite like there's especially around like premature ovarian failure. That makes me crazy because I have so many people that will come in, we're getting a regular cycle. There. FSH is a high but not like alarmingly so and they're an age is low to non existent. 


Anne Matthews  44:38

If they never had that bloodwork done, and they were just trying to conceive, and that was just that was it. That was their baseline. Like the science is there. If you look up an age is a factor of life births. There is no science indicating that having a low average is going to affect your ability to become pregnant. And if anything, it actually states the opposite, that you will achieve pregnancy faster than somebody whose damage is moderate to high, like taking the Pecos patient, obviously out of consideration, because they potentially might have copulatory dysfunction. But damage is only really relevant, like age to me is not that relevant, unless we're going like, thoroughly deep diving into all of your fertility needs. So like, for example, if, for example, you have Enzo, like, as we were saying earlier, like you have endometriosis, your tubes are blocked, and we know that you're going to need fertility care. In that instance, your blood levels, your age, it does matter. And I understand why fertility doctors do ask them why they make a big to do about your age, because the way that you will respond to medication is a very different equation than how you are going to be able to achieve spontaneous pregnancy. 


Anne Matthews  46:10

So like, if we're at a fertility clinic, yes, your age does matter. I have noticed that older patients don't have the a quality there whence the eggs are retrieved. But I really just like when, for example, let's say you were to go through an IVF cycle. And you weren't to get like the results that you were hoping for. I think that it's like very unscientific to say, Oh, you didn't do well, with IVF. And therefore you have poor egg quality. Something that I see all the time is the patients who didn't do well with IVF, who then go home and try it the old fashioned way, or then getting pregnant, even though with their IVF, they had no normal embryos or like no eggs retrieved. Because your eggs, and the whole, the whole process of IVF is, it's really hard on your eggs, if you think about it, like they're being removed from the follicles through surgery, then they're being taken into an environment that is also trying to be very similar to that of the uterine environment is very different. It's a lab. Even though you know, temperature light, that's controlled air quality, it's controlled, it's still not the same. 


Anne Matthews  47:34

So it's still a stressor. So just saying, you know, like, Oh, you didn't do IVF. Therefore, you have poor egg quality. To me, that's very unscientific. And there's actually there's a really amazing, darker twig, Ruth, Ron, and she routinely tells patients I see this happen all the time where patients don't do well with IVF and then go home and spontaneously conceive. So don't allow what happened here to create fear in you that you're not going to be able to conceive. Like it's not our final straw. The only issue is when, you know, you can't spontaneously conceive because of physiological issues with your reproductive system. Like that's, that's a problem. Yeah. And then you actually you need that reproductive care.


Tonya Papanikolov  48:28

So like just protocols around detox before getting pregnant. Do you think that that's a good idea required to spend some time like getting out any,


Anne Matthews  48:39

whatever it might be? I mean, I guess it really depends on what we're detoxing. Like, if you've been on really intense medications, for whatever reason, potentially, it might be beneficial to allow for a certain amount of time to pass before you're wanting to try to conceive. But generally, I think that, for example, like caffeine is a big one. And like, I'm a little biased because I'm obsessed with coffee. But like if if you feel well, drinking coffee, like you don't have any nervous system issues where you're feeling really anxious or jittery or are they all sudden, you know, you're getting palpitations and your heart rates increasing, then I don't think it's an issue to drink coffee. I don't think that caffeine is that much of a problem. And I I really feel like there's so much pressure on females specifically to achieve this like, perfect pregnancy state. I mean, I have patients who will come in and they're like, oh my god, I had like, a glass of wine last weekend. I found out I'm pregnant this week. Like, who cares? 


Anne Matthews  50:04

Like your baby, like your placenta isn't going to be even developed. There's no crossing between what you're consuming, and your tiny human until you're five weeks pregnant. But your placenta is informed nothing is crossing it until you're five weeks pregnant. So that's three weeks post actual conception. You're good. Like, I think there's so much pressure on people to be so perfect. Clean. I like that concept of like, clean eating and like, staying clean. It's like, what, that's way too much work. Try your best. Don't eat garbage. And when I say garbage, like highly processed fast food, they try to eat a whole foods, try to minimize excess grains, try to excess, try to minimize excess dairy, not because it's going to like be detrimental to your fertility journey. But you you will feel bad, though. Like, I think there's so much emphasis. Like, for example, I always encourage women to stay on prenatal vitamins. 


Anne Matthews  51:18

Like I've been taking a prenatal vitamin since I was 18. It's a way better people are like, Oh, I had the best hair and nails on my prenatals. But then I stopped taking them when I wasn't pregnant anymore. What, why? Why? Like, you should feel your best for you. Like you should be getting good quality exercise, you should be eating good quality foods, you should be getting good quality sleep for you not because you want to conceive a baby, or because you're pregnant. Like, I just, I also feel like our society generally is so backwards when it comes to pregnancy care. Like it blows my mind that it's socially acceptable to go in and eat a Big Mac and like get a flurry or whatever that garbage congealed thing is or whatever else. Like that's acceptable, even though you're like, then in the bathroom for the remainder of your day. Like that's acceptable, but you can't go on a jog. Like you can't have. It's so insane. It's so bizarre. It's very bizarre, it doesn't make any sense. I feel like people, similar to what I was saying earlier had like, given up complete, like authority over themselves. And instead they're just looking at what like society deems is appropriate. So like,


Tonya Papanikolov  52:55

Yeah, you see that too, in so many other factors. I think when it comes to our health, even a chronic illness diagnosis, there are the people who just accept it. And that's not a bad thing. But there's also somebody who's going to dive into that, and be like, No, I can get to the root cause of this. And yeah, take their healing journey or whatever journey they're gonna go on into their own hands and say, like, I do not accept.


Anne Matthews  53:20

Yeah, most definitely. Because, you know, I had I had a patient the other day, and she was like, I'm gonna cure my Endo. And in my brain, I was like, that's gonna be pretty tricky. But even if she doesn't cure Endo, she he can definitely alleviate symptoms of Endo. You can definitely slow down progress of the disease, you can definitely understand it. And really try to like, take hold of what will help you versus what will hinder you. Yeah,


Tonya Papanikolov  53:59

the question for a lot of questions around, you know, what steps should I take to get pregnant or avoid miscarriages if I have endo or


Anne Matthews  54:08

PCOS? So, like, there's some really interesting research around NAC, NAC 1200 milligrams to 1800 milligrams a day. And its role in reducing the risk of recurrent loss in all patients. I'm really obsessed with it because it's so beneficial as a supplement that can help Pecos patients regardless of whether or not they're trying to conceive. And same with endo patients because of its role in inflammation and lowering inflammation.


Tonya Papanikolov  54:47

I actually heard that works so well that the FDA is considering making any supplements but making it illegal for supplement companies to carry it. And it's they're gonna turn it into a pharmaceutical. I don't know if that's true. But I wouldn't put it past them.


Anne Matthews  55:01

Honestly. It just in so disappointed in the way that alternative care is being monetized. It's it's really upsetting, like NAC it's hard to get from a dietary sources. So that would be really smart of them. Actually.


Tonya Papanikolov  55:27

It's, it's wild, I need to look into that a bit further to see what the status of that is, but I remember hearing about it last year. Okay, so NAC is necessary to replenish glutathione. What do you think about? Like, why suggest the NAC versus going straight to the glutathione? For me, it's


Anne Matthews  55:42

because it's a lot less expensive, like the detoxification, that any label that NAC provides for your liver, isn't that much of an emergency that you need to have it converted right away for you in the form of glutathione. I find a lot of my ng friends recommend IV glutathione. Like as if, you know, the patient has just like, taken down a whole bottle of Tylenol like, yeah, I just don't think that that's necessary, like absorption is is pretty good of taking NAC and then the conversion rates pretty high. So I don't think it makes a ton of sense. to overcomplicate it similar to that of like, I used to recommend that patients take Ubiquinol, because it is the better absorb form of Ubiquinol, co q 10. Then I did some deep diving, because Ubiquinol is so much more expensive than CO q 10. And I found that the conversion rates of CO Q 10 into Ubiquinol is actually incredibly high. And that really would be only beneficial for patients who are like in their late 60s 70s and 80s, who are using Ubiquinol for like cardiac health. 


Anne Matthews  57:03

And they would benefit from having like the source as opposed to like relying on a conversion, the better for them to take Ubiquinol compared to like a younger population, where they're able to convert Kokyu 10 pretty effectively and efficiently. So I feel like it's always we really tried to over complicate care, I think, yeah, like, there's so much that can be done with a very base level. And I find something in my practice, that happens a lot that I get really irks by is that all has patients who don't have any form of movement routine. They are eating like 5050 50% of the time they're eating whole foods 50% of the time, they're eating takeout, but then they're so obsessed with their supplements, and like they don't miss a single acupuncture appointment. And they're the fertility clinic 24/7. And like, I can appreciate that it's it's hard to do everything. But to me that's like building a house on very bad foundation. Yeah, like I would prefer that people spend time just trying to eat, well eat their three solid meals, right? Avoid sugar, try to eat more plants, try to get in good quality protein, make sure that they're getting enough sleep and making sure that they're moving every day, like that's going to benefit so much more. And taking all the supplements in the world. You know what I mean? Like? I think we've we've lost a lot of common sense around like, No, I'm really stressed out. And then patients will be like, Well, what supplements can I take to reduce my stress? And I'm like, Yeah, I'm tried going for a walk around the block. Yeah, yeah. They're like, what? Like?


Anne Matthews  59:13

Nobody, nobody's going to profit from that. That's just something that's going to benefit you. And I think they're always a little bit strong. Like, I'm not anti business is important. I think that, you know, making sure that people are adequately compensated for the work that they do, I think is super important. I also think it's important to look at what we can do for ourselves first. Yeah, it


Tonya Papanikolov  59:40

leads into such a broader reflection for me as well because so much of our society is set up to disempower and, you know, if you think about it in so many ways, exactly what you were saying at the beginning, the labels, this will fix your problem, the magic pills, the pharmaceuticals, just every thing outside of yourself first before really having any education around like, Hey, have you like, literally connected to that tree outside your house? Have you just actually believed in your body and started thinking nicely to yourself? Or at least even reflecting on what words you're choosing? Yeah, it's it's so systemic, and on every single level. And it's similar with me, you know, when I have when I have clients, so it's always such a hard thing for me, because I have the knowledge and experience as a practitioner where people email in being like, you don't have so much anxiety, give me the mushroom for this, or gives me the mushroom for that. And I'm like, Ray, definitely some Reishi. But like, Have you also thought about, you know, mindfulness and your mindset and taking five minutes to ground yourself? Or take a deep, big deep breath? It's a challenge. Yeah, in any way?


Anne Matthews  1:00:54

Yeah. No, it definitely is because you, you don't want to minimize or not provide, like some hormone solution. And at the same time, I always think to myself, like, a lot of the time, people are like, Oh, well, my fertility doctor never recommended this or that. And I'm like, well, that's not in their wheelhouse, like their wheelhouse is to give you the medication to give you the exam to like, make sure that you are the following ultrasound, and then to give you the best solution in their capacity to do so. And so it's too hard for them to say I need you to dramatically alter your lifestyle. That's not something that they can follow up with.


Anne Matthews  1:01:42

Yeah, yeah. And they think I will try to sort of take on that role for them. Right. And that, like, I will do the follow up questions about whether or not lifestyle modifications are being made, you know, I will do the follow up.


Tonya Papanikolov  1:01:58

Coaching is like, right. So a lot of accountability that's required in that


Anne Matthews  1:02:04

zactly. There's a lot of pieces. And a lot of them are just up to us. And so having somebody keeping you accountable is key, but you making those changes is even more important.


Tonya Papanikolov  1:02:18

Yeah, totally. After this whole conversation, but supplements I do, I am really curious about how you mushrooms in your practice, because I know you love Rishi As do I. So I'd love to hear about that.


Anne Matthews  1:02:30

I've loved medicinal mushrooms for years, like, years and years. So before I started using Rainbo, which is genuinely my favorite, because I found that other tinctures that I used in the past. They just tasted way too much like alcohol, like I swear to God, if I took them while I was working like I might as well just be drunk. Yeah, like it's like a full shot like I would not be able to like I would not be able to function, I really do feel like I can put them in my coffee. There is no alcohol taste. I feel like I feel the benefits in my body every single day, a recommend, like I mostly use mushrooms in my practice in the form of Reishi because of its ability to modulate the immune system, which is really important, especially for endo patients and for patients who have unexplained infertility. I think one of the witchy ways in which I've helped a lot of patients overcome unexplained infertility is to actually help their immune system function better, aka not overactive, which is, that's a big problem. In alternative care, I found a lot of envies that I've had patients be referred or who have come from my care. 


Anne Matthews  1:03:58

I've been on like tinctures, for example, stragglers. And that's not helpful in patients where they haven't an immune system that is functioning to well, like it's going to then increase immune activity and so if you then have a tiny little embryo that's trying to make their way and your body is is attacking everything without any breakdown of so what itself and what is not. That's that's going to be an issue. I found that like, I'm even really cautious and careful with akinesia which, although safe in pregnancy in the first trimester, I don't recommend that patients take it because I don't want their immune system to be overactive. Same with like elderberry, even though it's safe in pregnancy. I don't recommend it. Even when patients are like, Oh, I'm sick. I have a cold and like for throat like just try and like push yourself through it. Drink water. To fluids and make sure you don't get a fever. Yeah, there's a reason that your immune system is lowered in pregnancy, like naturally your body will lower immune system. And that's to allow for your tiny human to actually be able to function and for your placenta to grow. And for you to get to that second trimester where, you know, it's operating sort of independently of your system, like the placenta will do its job helping maintain the pregnancy in a way that you couldn't. Past 12 to 14 weeks.


Tonya Papanikolov  1:05:38

Do you recommend mushroom stir? No, this is like controversial, like, to some extent, but do you recommend mushrooms during pregnancy?


Anne Matthews  1:05:45

I casein I've recommended it to patients, but I took Reishi through all my pregnancies. And in Chinese medicine, like Reishi in pregnancy is considered like was for the kings and queens like, it's you create these Reishi babies that are expensive that only like the very well off had access to Reishi. And those children were thought to be like, very superior health. Right? I noticed it in my own kids. Like they're very well, like they don't have a ton of problems, they don't get sick a lot. I can't say that that's specifically because it's because of, you know, a lot of other things that I do. But I will say that before starting Reishi regularly, I had very, very bad and severe Xenos. I covered the majority of my body. And it was in recognizing two things a how well I refined and B that I was very sensitive to lagoons. And those two changes, like completely changed. In my practice, I pay attention to a lot of questions about like, How frequently do you get sick? And are you allergic to a lot of things?


Anne Matthews  1:07:20

What kind of reactions are you having, like for instance, I have one patient and sort of like she had really bad psoriasis in pregnancy. And this was at the very beginning of her pregnancy, she also had a history of recurrent loss. And so to me, seeing the psoriasis and then noticing that she has worked for us and the intake to put them together. So as soon as she became pregnant, under my care, I insisted that she talked to her doctor about getting bloodwork to see whether or not her white blood cell count was elevated. And lo and behold, it was we obviously check to make sure that she didn't urinary tract infection, because that can sometimes cause an allegation of white blood cell or whether or not she was sick. She neither was the case. And so I recommended to her that she was best with her position and country taking Claritin and Pepcid to lower histamine, and to help regulate the immune system. And she maintained the pregnancy and her psoriasis went on. Well, the only reason why I wouldn't have recommended Reishi to her was because she was under the care of her other GP who most definitely would not agree that. But I think had I been allowed to I would have definitely recommended ratio over that combination. Because even at in terms of safety, yeah. Yeah, so


Tonya Papanikolov  1:08:58

yeah. So so interesting. That's yeah, I mean, I'm a reshoot all day for so many years. It has been so transformative. Really cool to hear.


Anne Matthews  1:09:09

That being said, like, I do find there is some patients who are like very insulting medicine. And so when they're coming in and they're wanting to take Chaga through pregnancy, I'm like, like, they're very health conscious, like, they're already taking and they're already taking mushrooms. They're very into maintaining their health at a very high level. And I can appreciate that, but there's like I wouldn't I wouldn't take, you know, lion's mane. I wouldn't take Chaga I probably wouldn't take the detail in pregnancy because they haven't been studied, but also there's Reishi. There's like a lot of long term evidence to its safety because of how long it was used in China, and pregnancy without adverse outcome. Honey, actually, I had Reishi as part of a vitamin pack that I was taking, like I was given these packs like this promotion from this vitamin company. And they were putting clean up my tailored recommendations into this cool hack. Yeah. And the woman who was in charge of my I had ticked off that I was pregnant.


Anne Matthews  1:10:22

And she was like, you know, that you have Reishi in your path. And you're pregnant. I was like, yeah, just like, whoo, I can't tell you that. That's safe as we're good. Also, also, yeah, I'll sign whatever you want. Okay, like, they were so nervous, which is insane, because less patients who are taking now various forms of like antidepressants, and anti anxiety medications are not studied to the same extent. Yes. Just recommended that they stay on them. So like, some, like Zoloft, for example is well studied, like there's a history of safety. But others there isn't. Right. And yet, there's no conversation around that.


Tonya Papanikolov  1:11:18

Yeah. So I realize that I've taken so much of your time. So great fun. I want to I want to would you share a little bit about your experience with six. You know, you mentioned you had some fertility challenges. Yeah, six times, like, like, can you speak to that a bit?


Anne Matthews  1:11:37

Yeah, so I mean, so I had one ovary, my other ovary was removed when I was 18. I had a teratoma on my ovary. And then so they removed the tumor as well as the ovary. And there was a lot of concern around, you know, what that would, would do to my fertility, because when they did testing, after it was removed, my am age was found to be very low, which to me makes sense because not only had one, there was going to be less damage to being created from cells of the ovary. I started when I was 26. Because, like the fear that was put into the air with my not being able to, and I not only then found that I had issues with my image, but also with miscarriage. So I've had five miscarriages, I think, I can't say for certain what the cause of those were, except that I did have the tissue tested, and three of them and they were normal tissue. So like the embryos would have been normal embryos by like PGT standards. 


Anne Matthews  1:13:01

For instance, if I had done IVF, they would have, they would have transferred those as euploid embryos without concern. And so, to me, that would have been an issue within me whether or not it was a circulatory concern or whether or not it was more like a clotting concern, blood clotting concern, or whether or not it was an issue of my having an overactive immune system. I was treating myself and found a couple of sort of tips and tricks for for myself that helped me keep six of my 11 pregnancies. Yeah, the first two were when I was just starting out, so I hadn't even finished school. And then my rate of miscarriage despite my getting older actually dropped, because I figured out that I had clotting issues and so like, just by ways of even just noting my own periods, and like how much I was clotting in those periods, and then also after I had Aidan, they could not get me to stop bleeding. So like, I had to have three doses of oxytocin shot after labor because there was concerned with hemorrhaging the same with I had postpartum hemorrhaging with melon as well. And so to me, like that was a really interesting clue, like, Okay, I think the way that I'm clotting is informal. And so I started taking aspirin actually, just before Zoey and then was successful, keeping Zoey and then also, you know, the subsequent three after that, so, wow, fascinating. 


Anne Matthews  1:14:50

Yeah, I think that's really important to note, because there's, there's so much around clotting that's misunderstood as well. Like there's like with all of the debates also with the absorption of folic acid versus methyl folate. And so I also started taking methyl folate as opposed to folic acid. Is that also really important? Whether or not you're actually fully absorbed, and I haven't done the genetic work to find out whether or not I have that mth Fr. Gene, but I think considering that over 300% of the population, it's a safe bet, to just take that precaution regardless. Yeah,


Tonya Papanikolov  1:15:33

I just actually ordered I have a test coming to me. Very excited to


Anne Matthews  1:15:37

see Yeah, that's really, that's really it's really important. And it's really something that's so controversial still, which is so interesting. Because I the numbers are ease and obese that have gone like actually, like, argumentative about my recommending methyl for weight to patients, as opposed to folic acid. Wow. That conversation actually with one tick tock doc, she's like this. She's got quite a tick tock. Following was, I have more clinical experience. That's why I'm recommending folic acid. That is insufficient, insufficient completely. That is not accurate. scientific base, no recommendations. No, that is the opposite of why people are coming to your care. Yeah, yeah. So she was she argued with me, she also was arguing with Emily Ulster who wrote I'm expecting better, but who made this similar argument, you know, the miscarriage rates are 33% and up. To me, I think that's really interesting, that now that we have started fortifying all of our foods, and pushing folic acid on patients as opposed to methyl folate and getting your folate from food. Now, all of a sudden, the miscarriage rates have shot up now definitely. 


Anne Matthews  1:17:11

That's that's also linked to like toxins in our environment, and male factor infertility, DNA fragmentation, like I'm not going to simplify, you know, loss. I definitely think it's a factor. Yeah. And I think that if you're an OB, and your entire career is dealing with pregnant patients, and patients hoping to become pregnant, you should be really well educated on that particular concern, then also, what recommendation would make the most sense to your entire population?


Tonya Papanikolov  1:17:46

Yeah. It's so it's so fascinating, because there's like this resistance to change. But at the heart of what science is, is that it's always evolving. It's that we live in at times and new ages every single day. And like, it's an evolving question that we have to keep asking. And seeking, like new answers for and it does keep happening. That's why the evolution takes place. But the resistance of it just doesn't, you know, there's so much industry involved, there's so much backwards situations that are happening that are causing people to resist it or not want to believe it, or whatever the case may be.


Anne Matthews  1:18:27

Yes, no, I don't understand that. The best doctors that I work with are the ones who are constantly evolving, and who are saying, I don't know, actually, let me get back to you on that. Because your patient doesn't care. How much you know, in the moment, they care how much you're willing to know, overall. Yeah, yeah. Like, I'd say that I'm the same. I'm constantly learning things that I would have recommended to three years ago, I wouldn't recommend today, because I've updated my research. You're just doing the best you can with what you have at that moment. Yeah. So someone has to come to you and say, like, actually, you could think about it this way. Or did you know this? Or let's, you know, take a step back and, and try to reassess. If you you're able to do that, like you're gonna come away with a way better understanding and you're gonna be way better able to help your patients. I really don't do that.


Tonya Papanikolov  1:19:25

Well, we are all so lucky to have you doing the work that you do, asking the questions, saying the things that we're all so hungry to hear truly about fertility and reproductive health. So I am so grateful to you. I like to ask every guest to leave us with some parting words a wish a prayer and intention.


Anne Matthews  1:19:51

I think my mission right now would be to help every single person understand that you are unique Take time to learn about you. Like really take time to, like just even the way you were just speaking about your body and how it's responding to the new dampness. Like, don't put that on someone else to figure out what that on yourself like, really take time to look at how your body, your mind, your heart responds to certain circumstances and lifestyle choices and lean into ones that benefit you and take time away from ones that are hindering you or your progress or the way that you feel. Don't put your health your hopes your dreams into anyone else's hands but your own. Yes,


Tonya Papanikolov  1:20:54

yes, yes. Yes. That it's so hard. Thank you so, so much for chatting with me and answering all these amazing questions and the work that you do.


Anne Matthews  1:21:06

My pleasure, I'm so glad I was able to come on


Tonya Papanikolov  1:21:10

with deep gratitude. Thanks for tuning into this episode. If you liked it, hit subscribe and leave us a review that is always very appreciated. Mushrooms transformed my mind and body. And if you're interested in bringing medicinal mushrooms into your life and health journey, check out rainbo.com for our meticulously sourced Canadian fruiting body mushroom tinctures. Until next time, peace in and peace out friends




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