Ready to optimize your health and your marriage?
Katie Wells of The Wellness Mama sits down with Josh Whalen, Founder of Blokes Modern Men’s Health and Co-Founder of Joi Womens’s Wellness to discuss the importance of partners optimizing their health together. Listen to the full episode here. Read below for highlights.
If you were gonna give a Ted talk in a week, what would it be about?
How we can drastically improve the divorce rate in the US by optimizing couples’ hormones. Did you know that 10 to 20% of relationships are sexless? I know this can be easily remedied - I’ve seen it.
It starts with me personally. One of the reasons I started Blokes and then Joi came to be, is my wife pretty much said to me, hey, Josh, if you don't get your hormones dialed in and you don't get your sex drive dialed in, I'm gonna divorce you. So I had an ultimatum in my relationship and, you know, eventually, I figured out how to get those dialed in and in the process of saving my marriage I saw a huge opportunity to help others as well.
What are some of those steps or how do people begin to even start addressing hormone imbalances?
Well, I think the first part is just being honest with yourself and your partner.
For me, the process was hard, and that’s why I’ve set out to change that. First, get your hormone levels checked, get baseline labs. Really understand where you currently sit. What the heck is going on because a lot of times people are going through these problems; I call 'em chronic issues, not acute issues, meaning it's happened over time.
I think we're luckily in a time when getting lab testing is easier than it has been in the past, and there's much more availability of this than perhaps previous generations have had, or at least more easy availability, but they're also stats quoted for instance, that men today have a third of the testosterone than their grandfathers at the same age.
And you've talked about normal ranges. And I've run into this too. In the thyroid realm you might end up with labs that look like normal ranges by today's standards or among the people getting tested. But this doesn't always necessarily give you a complete snapshot of information or tell you anything about optimal. So let's talk about how sometimes looking at normal ranges can keep us from getting the answers.
Yeah, that's a great point. First and foremost, anytime you get a lab test, it's a snapshot in that one particular time. And there are so many factors that can be affected. Standard ranges are one of my pet peeves in healthcare. It’s really hard to measure somebody's performance or their optimization when you're being across a standard of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people that are there with symptoms getting that same lab test.
Look, you don’t want to be in a ‘normal range.’ And when you start talking about those ranges, they're so vast. I mean, looking at the men's, testosterone range, it's somewhere between 300 and 1000 nanograms per deciliter.
And comparing those two is like comparing a four to a Ferrari. And why are men's testosterone levels decreasing? And so drastically, this seems like a really quick time period for that to be happening. And, you pointed out a really good stat that your audience should know about is that 50 year old man, 30 years ago has 30% less testosterone.
There's a multitude of factors. And, and we were just talking about this last week and really, really in depth conversations. But one is environmental factors. The plastics that are, you know, around us that are in our system,stress, pollution, guys are working out less and less. Women taking more of an active role in the household, plays a factor in that guys are just less masculine, healthy lifestyles, all, all those things play a major role in why men's testosterones are dropping, but it's not just one thing.
It's a multitude of factors. Yeah. And on the lab testing in the normal ranges side, like I said, I experienced this in the thyroid realm where I knew something was wrong and I went to multiple doctors and asked for tests and found out they weren't testing the entirety of a thyroid panel. They were just looking at a couple measurements first and.
They would say, well, those are with the in normal range. And when you do deep dive, you realize that normal range is actually determined by averages of people who get tested. People who get tested or people who think that they might have an issue. And typically people who are elderly. And so the normal ranges are often not telling you what a young, healthy person needs to feel optimal.
They're telling you what is considered clinically problematic for someone in the elderly population. And so I think understanding that at least is a good starting point for delving deeper into. What actually is going on. I think also maybe something that you ran into women typically from my understanding are more likely to go to the doctor and be proactive and speak vulnerably about what's going on.
Another interesting fact I learned from you in researching this episode is that men's hormones can actually change in response to their partner, especially during pregnancy. Can you explain what's going on when that happens?
So this is a, this is kind of a funny one because my wife had major fertility struggles from the time I was 35 to almost 38. We had four miscarriages. This was the start to my hormones tanking and I had no idea why.
So afterwards, I did some research on my own. I started talking to physicians who specialize in hormones, and there's four major, markers you should be looking for. One is testosterone, Another one is estrogen. Another one is prolactin and the last, but certainly not least is cortisol.
All those can change as your partner is going through pregnancy. Men's testosterone can decrease anywhere from 40 to 75%. Their cortisol levels could go up. Their estrogen can actually increase as well, which could lead to belly fat. And just different mood swings and then prolactin. This is kind of an interesting one, but obviously prolactin's a great marker for women, because it helps aid and uh, you know, breast milk.
But for men there's some studies that show that it actually helps aid in the fact that it makes you a more alert father. So all those things played a major role in how I felt and my testosterone levels. I wished I would've known what they were before as the baseline. And this is why I tell so many guys and, and women, to get ahead of this.
What are some of those factors that we should focus on for optimization, especially people who wanna perform at a high level. Right. I mean, when it, when you talk about hormones, testosterone replacement for men, hormone optimization for women. When we talk about replacement, that's truly what we're doing.
We're talking about how we feel. You should be there at a certain age, whether you're in your thirties, your forties, your fifties, most guys that come to us, we're, we're focused somewhere between 800 and 1200 nanograms per deciliter. There's other things that you can do just, just in general, you know, have an active life.
Get out in the sun more often, you know, eat healthier, get rid of the plastics in your house. You know, focus on stress, focus on exercise, focus on high interval, interval, high, high impact interval training, do squats, all kinds of things that just, you know, allow your body to not adapt and, and kind of shock it over time.
So. Yeah, several key points there. I think I'm a big proponent. This is one of my soap boxes on the importance of sun exposure. And obviously not to the point of damaging your skin, but getting out my key times are immediately after waking up to signal all the important hormone cascade that comes from early morning, sunlight and people often underestimate how big of a difference this can make when we're talking about hormones, because it affects cortisol, which is a master hormone. It also affects light signaling. It affects your circadian patterns and all of those come into play with your body in production of all of your sex, hormones and everything else.
And you also mentioned reducing plastics, which is another big topic for me as well. Um, I also always put sleep on the list because if you're not sleeping, you're not gonna have optimal hormones period. And then I love the idea of also. Resistance training and lifting heavy things, especially for women. I feel like, at least for guys, there's more of a focus on that.
And women tend to shy away from really heavy weights. But I think that's a really critical piece for, for both men and women. Another topic that I know you have some expertise in, and I would love to learn from you on today is the topic of peptides, because these have become somewhat of a buzzword lately.
I'd love for you to start broad and explain what peptides are, and then maybe let's go into some of the roles they play in this bigger conversation.
Peptides flow through our body, naturally, we have about 7,000 of them. If your audience is a little baffled on peptides, these are a little bit more than what you throw in your shake or your coffee.
Peptides are short chains of amino acids, the stepping stones for proteins. They're extremely, extremely powerful. I like to say they are low risk and high reward. You have peptides that can solve weight issues, mental issues, growth, hormone issues. Overall stress, uh, peptides, I think they are next big thing in healthcare. One thing that a lot of people don't even realize is that insulin is a peptide. Something that our body relies on everyday.
I'm very bullish on where peptides are going as a whole. I take them on a regular basis and they've changed my life.
Are you open to sharing some of the ones you've experimented with absolutely regularly?
Of course. I take quite a few peptides. BPC 1 57 is something that's great for gut health and inflammation. I cycle on that cycle off of it. I always take a growth hormone peptide, either ipamorelin, sermorelin, cjc. I’m on a lower dose of semaglutide, it's a GLP1 medication that has taken us by storm. There's actually a global shortage on semaglutide. And why? Because it is a game changer for weight loss. It slows down the digestive tract and it's a phenomenal, phenomenal drug. It's FDA approved. And then I take one for mental health called semax. It's a nootropic peptide that helps with anxiety and stress and neuro cognition.
Let’s talk about women and testosterone, because I feel like women often don't think about optimizing their testosterone, but it seems like this can be a big piece.
Yeah, I'm glad you brought that up. Number one, testosterone's a phenomenal drug for women, just like it is for men. They need to be in an optimal range. And one of our medical advisors, Dr. Melissa Loeske, who's been practicing in the hormone space for about 15 years. And she's a well known figure. I ask her every time, what's your favorite drug for women in optimization? She says testosterone, testosterone, testosterone.
Testosterone. It is by far one of the biggest catalysts for us. And, and it's one of the biggest ones that shows pretty rapid change, but very balanced change. And we think women should be somewhere between 100 to 200 nanograms per deciliter when it comes to an optimal range. And it's one of the hormones that's neglected in women.
And so I also love to talk about the deep cellular side of anti-aging, because I think the mainstream conversation focuses on topical things, injectable things like Botox or things that are kind of treating surface level. Whereas my theory has always been that aging is a cellular process. And we wanna actually be looking at the cells of our body are the kind of the foundational things and that what we see in our skin or our hair, or whatever is an expression of what's going on at a deeper level.
This is a hot topic right now, the whole anti-aging push. And you know, we talk about this oftentimes with our patients, longevity and vitality. I think they go hand-in-hand.
What we provide a lot of is vitality and I think patients have the ability to make better decisions for longevity, but they they're, they're interwoven. Anytime you can slow down your metabolic rate, you're slowing down that aging process. Anytime you control your caloric intake, you're slowing down that aging process, you know, eating healthier, working out more.
So I always give that encouragement to women. You mentioned, baseline labs. What, what are some of the things you guys put on a normal, like everyone should keep track of these baseline labs.
CBCs, CMP, there's so many good things with just basic markers, like a CB CBC, and a CMP, uh, that can tell you a lot about a patient's health for men and women, estrogen and testosterone for men.
PSA is always something that we want to be checking on a regular basis. For women progesterone. And then once again, estrogen, those are all really. Good markers that you should be checking on a regular basis. And unfortunately, you're probably not getting that from your standard family medicine doc or your primary care doc.
A lot of doctors now practice medicine based off of what insurance is gonna cover, and it's called reactive testing. So they'll run one or two markers and if something's off, then they'll run multiple markers beyond that. But they're oftentimes not gonna give you what I would consider a full baseline.
Got it. And also you guys, you run companies, you have blokes. And also I believe joy is the female version. Can you explain what those are and what you guys do.
Blokes.co is our men’s website and focus on hormone optimization, prescription peptide therapy, hair loss, weight loss, the same thing for women. That site is Choosejoi.co. Hormone optimization for women, prescription peptides that focus on weight loss, anti-aging sex, skin elasticity, the whole nine yards. We're growing, we're expanding as we speak and we're gonna be doing a lot of great things.
These kind of things excite me a lot because I think part of the thing that we've run into in the past is people like, for me as a thyroid patient, I had researched and figured out I was pretty sure what was going on, but it was difficult to find a practitioner who was knowledgeable, who was willing to work with me and try the stuff I wanted to try.
And like, I'm really excited that people can now find more customized solutions like you guys who are taking the whole patient into account and who are knowledgeable about some of these cutting edge therapies and about hormones, which seems to be one that I hear a whole lot about from women right now. I think that's a perfect place to wrap up for today. Thank you so much for your time. I'm glad we got to go deep on some of these more fun kind of science topics that I haven't gotten to talk about much. And I learned a lot. I know our listeners did too. So thank you for being. Thank you so much, Katie. Please join our community on Instagram at get blokes and Joi Womens Wellness. And thanks as always to all of you for listening and sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy and your attention with us. We're both so grateful that you did, and I hope that you'll join me again.