Episode 137: Take Your Life Back, From Menopause with Vanessa Ford

Vanessa Ford wants women to feel like themselves again. She talks with Dr. Deb about being the healthiest, best version of yourself through the menopause journey and beyond. She is a co-founder of Menolabs after her own experience with menopause. She believes in providing well-researched tools to manage health while changing the narrative of menopause, allowing every woman to discover her inner goddess! 

Do not miss these highlights:

[5:13] At first thinking it was cancer, Vanessa found out she was in perimenopause, which took her on a journey of education

[10:41] The symptoms from perimenopause and menopause can have significant impacts from an economic, career, and relationship viewpoint

[12:58] Women in perimenopause and menopause are the largest, fastest-growing segment of the workforce, and adapting the workplace for them

[16:05] We should give ourselves the grace to embrace the changes in our body when it comes to weight gain from menopause

[17:15] There is a disconnect from relationships occurring because of the hormonal changes occurring, from cortisol production, stress, lack of sleep, mood swings, depression, and anxiety

[18:42] There is an impact with perimenopause and menopause on the sex drive and the frustration it causes

[21:50] Some of the surprising facts that Vanessa has learned in her research

[25:23] A look at Menolobs, what it does, and what it has accomplished

[30:51] One type of treatment is not necessarily the best treatment for everyone

[38:57] The power of conversation when it comes to making a systemic change about menopause

Resources Mentioned

What if you could improve your health & increase your productivity? Find out how with the Vibrant Female Coaching Program at https://vibrantfemale.com/traning

About our Guest:

Vanessa Ford, cofounder of Menolabs, focuses on women’s issues during the perimenopausal/menopausal transition. Vanessa was prompted to action when, at 44, she began her own transition into menopause. Unsatisfied with the lack of support that women experience during this stage of life, and finding the stereotypes of women in mid-life exasperating and insulting, she created MenoLabs to address what she sees as a glaring need in every woman’s life.

Professionally, Vanessa has served as Chief Marketing Officer and VP of Customer Service and Public

Relations, among other titles. She also has a background of startup and nonprofit experience, working for underserved populations in the animal welfare field, as well as women’s issues. Vanessa has served on a variety of nonprofit, public relations, and marketing boards, and has served as the head of many civic engagement projects.

Vanessa’s personal experience with menopause and her driving passion for moving the conversations around menopause forward mean that Vanessa is a driving force in everything MenoLabs does, from product formulations, to app creation, to being the face of the brand in informative videos and across social media. 

“Because I’m going through this myself, right now, in the moment, I feel a real and pressing desire to find out all I can about menopause and what other women are going through, and I want to help them find the answers that they’re looking for. I know how frustrating it can be to try to go this alone, and I know we can do better. And that’s what MenoLabs is about – making life and the transition to menopause better and easier for every single woman.”

Website: https://menolabs.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MENOLABS/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyfdJiiBjo4rbgIulyGMbdg

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/menolabs

Vanessa’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vanessa-ford/

Vanessa’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vanessa.menolabs

Quote from Vanessa Ford - "The more you can share your advice about menopause, your tips and tricks, and just honest experience, the better off we all will be."

Transcription of Episode #137:

Debra Muth 0:02
Welcome to Let’s Talk Wellness .Now I’m your host, Dr. Deb. This is where we talk about everything wellness, and learn to defy aging and live our lives on our own terms. Hey, it’s Dr. Deb Welcome back to let’s talk wellness now. This is Episode 137. Take back your life from menopause. And my guest is Vanessa Ford. She is the co founder of mental labs, focusing on women’s issues during perimenopause and menopausal transition, Vanessa was prompted to take action when at 44 years old, she became on her own transition into menopause. And unsatisfied with the lack of support that women experienced during this stage of life. And finding the stereotypes of women in midlife, exasperating and insulting, she created mental labs to address what she sees as the glaring need in every woman’s life. This is a topic people you know, is near and dear to my heart. It has been my love, since I started practicing. So I’m excited to bring you Vanessa and talk to you today about her company and her journey. And we’ll be right back after this message with her.

Debra Muth 1:25
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Debra Muth 2:51
Hey, welcome back to let’s talk wellness. Now. I have Vanessa Ford with me and I am so stoked to have this conversation with her. As you guys know, I love to talk about women’s health and menopause is one of my favorite topics. And I get to talk to a lady who loves this topic herself. So Vanessa, welcome to the show.

Vanessa Ford 3:10
Well, thanks for having me. Dr. Deb. I’m really excited to talk about menopause with someone who is equally as excited as I am about the topic. It’s not It’s not every woman who wants to, you know, jump in and talk about applause.

Debra Muth 3:22
Isn’t that the truth, right? Most of the time, we’re trying to figure out how can we just forget that part of our lives is an existence at this point. So Vanessa, you’ve got an interesting story. Tell us how you got on this journey of menopause?

Vanessa Ford 3:42
Well, you know, I did not so I had heard about menopause, right? Growing up, but I didn’t know a lot about it. I knew you were supposed to not have periods anymore and you might get some hot flashes and I think that’s not an uncommon concept about what menopause is right? Especially when you’re not in it. But when I was 4344 I had a three week period and it wasn’t just you know, I had some spotting for three weeks that kind of thing it was full on I’m having a period period about about two and a half weeks in I was I was freaking out I thought I had cancer because cancer runs in my family there is a serious risk of cancer for me genetically. So I was pretty flipped out and I called my doctor and a psychotic come in I got to have tests and she said Okay, come in we’ll do tests but it’s probably okay don’t panic right but we’ll do the test. Absolutely. So of course it took a you know a week to get in and by then I don’t have a period anymore and I’m and I’m totally fine. And I tell her I think I overreacted. And she said, No, no, let’s do the test. But you’re 44 and it’s probably just perimenopause. And I was like, What do you mean just perimenopause. First, I don’t know what perimenopause is. And there is nothing just about I am experiencing. And that got me. So she she sat me down to tell me what perimenopause was. She put me on the road to some research because I’m an academic, by heart. And she said, here, go do some research. here’s, here’s what you need to know. And I started researching and started realizing all of these things that I had just been chalking up to like PMS, like that menopausal rage that you can feel, right? The end, the brain fog, and the insomnia. Were all due to perimenopause and my decrease in hormones. And I realized that there was probably something we could do about it. I started putting a bunch of pills together, I was taking 2832 different pills in combination at one point. And I reached out to my friend, Danielle, and I said, There’s got to be a better way we should we should be able to put this in a pill. Danielle has a ton of business experience. She’s been doing fortune 500 companies and that sort of thing for her whole life. And I said, Do you think there’s a company here? Do you think we could find a solution. And we both agreed that there, there was a problem here that needed to be solved, I couldn’t find a solution. So we decided to come up with one ourselves, because neither one of us is a woman who is willing to you know, take the status quo as as our only option.

Debra Muth 6:44
Good for you guys. I mean, this is how great companies form, right, we have a problem. And it usually starts with something that’s close to us or near and dear to our hearts. And then we formulate a company and whether or not we can get it off the ground or not. That’s always another story. But I love that these innovative ideas come out of a need, you know, even my patients so many times, we have to give them so many different supplements to do what we want them to do, because you can’t formulate something to one thing. So I love that you guys have formulated something that helps people in a smaller package version. That’s amazing.

Vanessa Ford 7:21
Well, I really think the best companies always girl out of having a mission. So I’m an academic at heart. But I was in the nonprofit world before I came into this. And so I think every company should be mission driven first, I really have a passion about driving a company forward with a mission and a vision. And I think that, you know, you can’t be successful unless you truly understand the pain of the person you’re trying to help.

Debra Muth 7:50
Yeah, yeah, you’re absolutely right. I mean, I think if you don’t realize there’s a problem, and you don’t connect with the person, then you’re just doing it for the wrong reason. And yeah, none of us in medicine or business or anything should be doing it for the wrong reason. There’s enough longevity there for that. For sure. And you know, I love the story. As you were talking, I’ve been thinking, you know, I’ve been doing hormone stuff for over 20 years now. And my husband’s heard me talk about it enough. We’ve been married 30 years, that when I started going through some perimenopausal things he’d say, Honey, I think you need to check your hormones a little bit, you might be off and I’d be like, what the hell do you mean? And now lo and behold, if he says that, to me, now he’ll say, I think you have a little bit too much testosterone, you might want to take, you know, tailor that back a little bit or maybe check her level.

Vanessa Ford 8:50
So he’s been educated as to you know, not just a little bit off. But here’s where it could be like, specific. That’s fantastic. Man, I wish every husband was as educated.

Debra Muth 9:03
It’s no a fun little joke that we go through. But honestly, when I look back, and I’m like, God,

Debra Muth 9:09
I’m the expert. I thought I had myself in check. And I look back at some of my behavior. And I’m like, Oh, yeah, I was. I was not in a good place, no matter what I thought.

Vanessa Ford 9:21
But you know, it feels when you’re in the middle of that emotional state. It feels absolutely justified, right? And it’s only in hindsight that you can go Oh, yeah, things might have been a little off that day.

Debra Muth 9:40
I get my hormones back. Testosterone 128.

Vanessa Ford 9:48
And I wasn’t taking any testosterone and I’m like, Alright, something’s got to get fixed here.

Vanessa Ford 9:54
It’s amazing what the human body can do, isn’t it? Right?

Debra Muth 10:01
I listen to women that’ll say, you know, they’ll come see me from somebody who inserted pellets. And they’re like, I felt amazing at first with that testosterone. And I’m like, but let me guess it did it last. They’re like, no, the bottom fell out. And I’m like, Yes, that’s the problem. We feel great with testosterone in the beginning. And then after a while, I’m not so good. Mama’s not happy. But you know, it’s funny, because we can laugh about this now. But when people go through this initially, and they’re unsure of what is happening, it’s not funny, it is a real serious issue. When people don’t understand what’s actually happening in their body.

Vanessa Ford 10:41
It absolutely is. And, you know, because I, you know, live in the world of menopause. I see, I talk to women every day, that’s part of my job is to make sure that we’re serving our customers needs. But I also understand from an economic viewpoint, from a career trajectory viewpoint, from a relationship viewpoint that some of the symptoms that you have in perimenopause, and menopause can just fundamentally disrupt who you think you are, who you want to be who you fundamentally are, and it has all of these negative impacts. You know, if you’re having brain fog at work, maybe you don’t get that promotion. If you’re, if you’re having this menopause rage, maybe your husband thinks you don’t love him anymore, that was certainly the case in my relationship, or earlier before I found this solution. And, you know, if you just can’t function because of hot flashes, your quality of life and your feeling of control over your body dissipates. And then it’s, you’re right, it’s not funny, it’s frustrating and, and really can be disheartening for a lot of women,

Debra Muth 11:52
it really is hard. I mean, when we start talking about, like this thing that takes over your body pretty rapidly. And in all the things you mentioned are things I hear every day to, you know, I can’t think I don’t know where I put my keys, I can’t remember what I’m doing. I’m reading notes, I’m not sleeping, I’m hot flashing, I don’t want to have sex, I am gaining weight, I feel bad about who I am and what I look like. And I now feel like I’m getting Alzheimer’s disease on top of everything else that I’m doing, you know that that is a huge thing, especially when we’re looking at, we’re going to work into our 70s. These, you know, US and the younger women coming behind us, unfortunately, they’re not going to be able to retire young, unless they do a lot of planning. But to think that we have to be able to be in the game until we’re in our mid 70s. And half that time is going to be spent in menopausal years compared to the half that we spent with good cognitive function and all our hormones. It’s a really scary time for women to have to think about that and wonder how do I fit? How do I make this work?

Vanessa Ford 12:58
Right? And we actually happen to be women in perimenopause and menopause are the largest, fastest growing segment of the workforce. And so, you know, if, if we can’t be honest with our employers about what’s happening to us, our you know, the bottom line of the companies we work for in the businesses we run will suffer. So and you know, quite frankly, I mean, we 50 next year, and I am already so exhausted. I’m gonna do this delete seven. Right? So I think employers do have are beholden to us to come up with Workforce Solutions.

Debra Muth 13:40
Absolutely, that is a really great point, because I don’t hear anybody talking about that, in the business world. You know, they’re talking about the millennials and how they’re gonna adapt for their way of learning and communicating. But nobody’s talking about how do we adapt for the menopausal woman, the advanced aged woman who is such a powerhouse in business and comes with so much experience and knowledge. But we don’t give them the grace that they deserve going through this. If they were pregnant, we’d be like, Oh, they just have pregnancy brain. Right? It’s going to end soon. But we don’t look at what’s happening to women as we go through menopause.

Vanessa Ford 14:23
Well, unfortunately, I feel like we are going to be the trailblazers, and there’s some pain associated. But you know, Millennials are turning 40 this year. Oh my gosh, yeah. And so they’re, they’re coming right up on this and, you know, the, the the employer who gets ahead of this curve will be better positioned. Absolutely,

Debra Muth 14:45
Absolutely. I mean, you think about the dedication that comes with women of our age in the workforce. It is huge. I mean, they are dedicated, they’re dependable. They think outside the box, they’re compassionate. So If we only look and say, Why do you keep forgetting about this? Or, you know, why are you running to the bathroom every 20 minutes, and you come up with a new outfit on what’s going on here? I have clients that have had multiple suits in their office because they had to wear a suit. And they were drenching them multiple times a day. And and we do need to be cognizant of that. Because we need to support that for sure.

Vanessa Ford 15:28
Absolutely. Yeah. And so unfortunately, those of us who are in our, our, you know, mid 40s 50s 60s 70s now are trailblazing for those millennials. And hopefully they’ll benefit from our experience zactly

Debra Muth 15:43
we once again, are blazing that trail for feminism, right, and changing things, not burning our bras this time. But now doing something completely different on that front.

Vanessa Ford 15:56
Exactly.

Debra Muth 15:59
What are some of the big challenges that you see, through men applause? You talk to women every day, what are you seeing? What are you hearing?

Vanessa Ford 16:08
I think the first thing that I hear from women that they seem to be most concerned about his weight gain. And of course, that’s, you know, a social pressure more than anything that, that we you know, yes, it impacts our health, but there’s a there’s a fair amount of, of just softening of the body that comes with age. And I think we should give ourselves the grace to embrace that. But we do eat a Western diet, right? And that Western diet is largely devoid of the nutrients that we need the probiotics to keep our gut flora healthy, because we’re learning that the gut microbiome is you know, a third of our overall health. And so, yes, there are things you can do, but I think you should give yourself some grace when it comes to aging. Just understand that your body Yeah, you’re gonna get wrinkles and gray hair and, and put on a little bit of my, my daughter is 24. And she likes to call it fluffiness.

Debra Muth 17:11
Yes. That’s a nice term, right?

Vanessa Ford 17:15
God love her. But the other thing I hear that I think is is probably, you know, more problematic for a woman’s under all overall health is the disconnect in relationships. And it comes from a few things, right? It comes from stress and cortisol production, and her inability to sleep. And her mood swings and depression and anxiety. Those are fundamental mental health problems that I think just can extend to everything because you know, weight gain, if we’re if we’re relatively healthy, and the weight gain is just the you know, the average weight gain that you’ll you’ll put on as you age, you know, you’re that little five pounds around your middle that you can’t get rid of that’s, you know, that’s one thing that that affects how we feel about ourselves. But emotionally, when we feel like, gosh, we might have Alzheimer’s, early onset dementia, because we can’t remember names and right we’ve got some aphasia going on, or whatever it is brain fog, you name it. I think that really is the thing that women are really freaked out about and don’t want to talk about weight gain. Everybody talks about weight and weight loss and but but how do you deal with crippling anxiety? How do you deal with rage? How do you deal with mood swings that come and go when you don’t know when they’re going to manifest? That’s, that’s the thing I hear from women that they really need help with, in order to feel like they’ve got control of their lives again.

Debra Muth 18:52
I agree. I mean, that is the scary part. What I find in my practice, the two things nobody wants to talk about is brain function, cognitive and sex drive. Yeah, you know, they’ve lost their sex drive, they have absolutely no desire, sex is painful. So they avoid it. The more they avoid it, the more it’s painful, the more their relationships fall apart. You name it. That’s how that all goes. And those are two really big ones for us. That are important, right? I mean, yeah, we could wake up and say, I could care less if I ever have sex again. And there’s a whole lot of reasons around that. But then they always count it by saying, but my relationship is so good. I don’t know what’s happening and that’s scary to them. Like I they don’t understand why that’s happening.

Vanessa Ford 19:41
Right? Or women who have never had a problem having an orgasm, and suddenly they do and it’s like, it’s like erectile dysfunction in men. You feel like you are letting your partner down. Yes, yeah, absolutely. And that’s that’s huge. If you can’t reach orgasm and and your partner feels like You didn’t perform well enough for whatever it is. You don’t want to have sex again. Because now it’s become this sort of cascading will I want, I don’t know.

Debra Muth 20:10
There’s all that frustration that comes around it and fear. And I know it can be very hard for people to have this conversation in their relationships and just be open with it, and talk about it and share, you know, it’s not you, it’s just something that’s happening. And it’s good for both partners to learn what’s happening so that they understand and don’t take it personally, I encourage a lot of people, there’s a great book I love called slow sex. It’s a great book to read together, where you can just explore touch and feeling and and see what it feels like today, because what it felt like today compared to what it felt like when you were 20 is completely different

Vanessa Ford 20:51
than it should be. And there’s nothing wrong with that, right. And I think we all need to recognize that our hormonal situation is not the same as when we were in our 20s. Our relationship situations are not the same, our bodies are not the same. There’s so much going on, I wouldn’t want to be the same person I was at 20. And quite frankly, asked

Debra Muth 21:10
me to be two. I’m glad to be a seasoned woman at this point. 20s were difficult 40 You know, every year, or every decade comes with its own challenges. But it is nice to be a seasoned woman and the comfort that comes with that and knowing who you are and trusting who you are. That all comes with age. Yes, exactly. It’s an amazing thing. So you’ve dived in really did a deep dive into the world of menopause. What are some of the surprising things that you’ve learned that might help our listeners?

Vanessa Ford 21:50
Well, I think I was initially shocked that that symptoms of menopause start so much earlier than the the actual onset of menopause, right? The average age of menopause for women in the United States is 51. But women have this phase called perimenopause that can last you know, five to seven years on average. But for some women, up to 13 years, that was really, really eye opening for me. And as I started to sort of dig into what was involved in that transition, some of the symptoms that come up for women were shocking to me. And I realized were actually happening to me, so I have allergies now that I didn’t have a decade ago. And they seem to be getting worse with every year right? And and that’s shocking. But it turns out that my hormone balance plays a role in being able to ward off things that are allergens. And so my body just reacts. dry eyes, I had no idea that my you know, because I wear contacts. And I had no idea that my my worsening scratchy contacts were due to the fact that I just don’t have enough estrogen to produce the moisture that I need, the hydration that I need. And so I need to really hydrate if I want my skin and my my organs and my body to be hydrated properly. And that includes my eyes. I had no idea so shocking. Yes. Yes. And I had night sweats. And I didn’t even know they were night sweats. Because I live in the desert. And I thought Yes, well, I just got really hot and sweaty, oh, no, those were nights.

Debra Muth 23:44
Somebody turned up the air conditioning. It was just a little warmer in here. That must be it.

Vanessa Ford 23:51
And you know, I think that for a lot of women, they don’t realize that they’re in the perimenopausal transition until they have a hot flash, right? Because a hot flashes. So outside the norm of things that we experience on a day to day level. You know, PMS can explain the menopause rage and the mood swings and and living in the desert or just being kind of a hot day can explain, you know, like a night sweater, whatever. But when you have a hot flash, it is a new profoundly different experience. That is true, right. And I think that’s the thing that gives it away for women. But they’re if they really look back at what was happening to them a couple of years before that they probably would recognize a lot of symptoms that could include them in earlier.

Debra Muth 24:40
Yeah, I know for me when I was learning about hormones, one of the shocking things was the constipation, constipation that occurs because of the lack of estrogen and progesterone. Like we never think about that. We only think about the digestive part of things being the microbiome or what we’re eating or not enough hydration, but we do Think about the hormones being a big one to that.

Vanessa Ford 25:03
Right? And the bloating? Yes. And the irregular periods. We, it all just seems like oh, yeah, whatever normal day.

Debra Muth 25:13
Exactly.

Debra Muth 25:16
So tell us a little bit about metal labs, you created this company with a friend of yours. Tell us a little bit about that.

Vanessa Ford 25:24
Yeah, so we incorporated this business of our office in August of 2019. You know, we talked about it, we we looked for solutions, we met a researcher at the University of Arizona, who has been studying women’s midlife health for 30 years. And we brought him on as one of our our co founders. He’s our research co founder and our Scientific Officer. And so we have a solution that is scientifically researched. And we incorporated in 2019. And, of course, we sold our very first product went up on the website for sale in February of 2020. Oh, just before the pandemic hit, yeah. And, and, you know, we all we all I sent my whole workforce home, we all worked for remotely. And I’m thrilled to say, I’m going to get a little emotional, because I just can’t believe it. We’ve did about $6 million in our first year.

Debra Muth 26:30
Wow, that’s amazing.

Vanessa Ford 26:33
And what it told me though, we have a 76% repeat customer rate, that’s unheard of, we have a 90 day money back guarantee, and only 3% of our customers ever send their product back. Because we pay attention to what our customers are asking us for what they’re telling us they need. And we meet those needs. Because again, we’re mission driven, right. And so when when we talk about the the you know, bottom line numbers of the company, it tells me that what we’re doing is the is the right thing for the woman who needs our solution. So I’m I’m really proud of that. And Danielle is wonderful. You know, if you ever watch coffee with Danny and V, we have this series that we do on our app, oh, we built an app to is we want women to be able to track their symptoms and get answers to what’s going on with them. And the app is called mental life. And it’s on the Apple and Android stores. And so if you ever go to that you can watch Danielle and I talk about different topics that are of interest to women in our age group, around menopause, around diet, around nutrition around all kinds of things. And so you’ll get to see what she’s like to she’s fantastic. She’s about a decade younger than I am. But a certified nutritionist and so brilliant and so wonderful. And when she said that she would would form this company with me, I couldn’t have been happier.

Debra Muth 28:01
That’s amazing. So tell us a little bit about some of the products that you guys offer women to help them through midlife.

Vanessa Ford 28:09
Yes. So we have a we have a fairly robust product suite. At this point. We started with four blends of probiotic synbiotics really, because they’re probiotics, but they also have prebiotics and Phyto estrogens, vitamins, minerals, the things that women tend to be deficient in we included in our formula, because again, I didn’t want to take 2832 different types of you know, supplements I wanted it all in one pill. Had we known that putting 28 ingredients in a pill would be a challenge we probably wouldn’t have formulated it the right way from a business perspective. But for our customer, it’s the right thing to do. And so that’s what we do. We put it all in one pill. So now we’re down to the two best selling synbiotics they’re called mental fit and mental glow. And we also have a collagen supplement that is called goddess glow. It has vitamin C hyaluronic acid, and collagen in it. We have a fiber product called Happy fiber which is three kinds of fiber that help boost the benefits of your probiotic. But it also has l tyrosine. In it so you you take it in your smoothie or whatever in the morning and for about four hours. That l tyrosine is is a precursor to dopamine. So you just feel a little bit happier for a few hours which is why we call it epi fiber. That’s awesome. And then we have a sleep aid called well rested and I have been an insomniac for 20 plus years and this is the only sleep aid I’ve ever found that really works. It has seven different ingredients in it. So when we formulate products, they’re usually very complex. They go above and beyond what you would find on find on a normal drugstore shelf.

Debra Muth 29:57
That’s amazing because you’re doing that because You’re listening to your clients, you’re hearing what their needs are. And then you have researchers and scientists who’ve been doing this for decades that can help you find the raw ingredients and the right things to formulate together. Oh, that is fantastic. I love that.

Vanessa Ford 30:16
Well, we’re, we’re really proud of being a mission driven company first. And I think, you know, like I said before, it really speaks in our bottom line numbers. But I’d also when I talk to women, and they tell me, you transformed my life, you saved my marriage, that that’s the kind of story from a customer that I live to hear. And I hear it every day. So that’s, that’s pretty fantastic.

Debra Muth 30:41
Yeah. So what are the things you talk about is one size doesn’t fit. All right. Can you talk a little bit about what you mean by that? Well,

Vanessa Ford 30:51
so for example, when I went out to my doctor for this, this doctor’s visit when I had the three week period, she said, okay, you’re in perimenopause, you have some options and HRT is your option. The The, the option that most women choose, but it’s not a great option for you. Right, because of this history of and genetic prudence predisposition for cancer in my family, she said, it’s not a great option. But let’s, you know, let’s talk about what it would look like and what we would have to watch for. And I was I was freaked out. And I said, I don’t want to do that. And she said, Well, you can try some phytoestrogens. Here’s this kind. Here’s this kind of here’s with this kind. And that’s why I started combining all of these pills. And doing all this research, trying to figure out what what could I take, that would just get rid of all of it. But that’s not how it works. And so I think the reason that our formula works as well as it does, is because it’s 28 different ingredients. So if you need Phyto estrogens to sort of help balance out those spikes in hormones. Phyto estrogens act like estrogen in your system. So if you need Phyto estrogens to help balance out your hot flashes, or whatever it is, we’ve got that if you need probiotics to help take a long term solution to your gut health. And here’s something interesting that I didn’t know going into this, the right probiotics will de conjugate your own estrogen. And basically what that means is it recycles it right? It will help you instead of passing that estrogen that you just used out in your waste or storing it in fat cells, it will recycle it and you can use it again. That’s pretty fantastic. Yeah, so if you’re a woman who needs that solution, this pill helps, it doesn’t help everyone there. And there’s no magic pill. You know, as much as I would love to have a magic pill, find a magic pill, take a magic pill, there is no magic pill. And there are some women who are not going to respond to estrogen receptors because they’re estrogen dominant, right? They need a different kind of solution. But if you work with your doctor, or someone like Dr. Deb move through her programs, you can really narrow in on what your solution should be. And maybe it’s more than one thing, right? Maybe it’s a probiotic, maybe it’s vitamin D, you’re sufficiently deficient in whatever it is. You know, I really love working with my doctor running the tests, figuring out what I need to do for my body. Because just like pregnancy is different for every woman. So is menopause. That is

Debra Muth 33:41
so true. Yeah, well and I love that because you’re working closely with someone who can tell you yes, your estrogen dominant know your estrogen deficient or like we were talking before, maybe you have too much testosterone, you need to recycle some of those things. And then they can come to someone like you and say, here’s what I have, what do I do, which product fits me best, because actually there are a whole host like you said of products on the market that might help but you don’t know you don’t have an expert to talk to you grab what’s on the shelf. Now the GNC clerk told you that was okay to use, and it really probably wasn’t. So this is a nice relationship that they can meet with you guys and you can help them navigate your product line and what works best.

Vanessa Ford 34:28
And we also you know, if you’re not one of the customers that gets the chance to talk directly to Danielle or myself. What’s fantastic is we have one of the best customer service teams that has ever been assembled. These women are wonderful. They’re empathetic, they know the products, they understand, because they’ve been talking to customers for a year now. They understand what kinds of concerns women have. I love our customer service team. They really go above and beyond and we empower them to do that. That,

Debra Muth 35:00
that’s amazing. And we need to do that right? The worst thing that we want to do is call somebody and have them read from a script and not be able to answer your questions like going to the bank teller, and only one person in the bank knows what to do for you. It’s great when we have somebody that we can connect with that understands what we’re going through, and can be empathetic to that ear, because we need a place to talk through what’s going on.

Vanessa Ford 35:28
Absolutely. And, you know, I do want to say, you know, our customer service team is they’re not doctors, and so we don’t dispense medical advice. And often the problems that women come to us with are things they really need to talk to their doctor about to just get a baseline understanding of what’s happening in their own body. But once you’ve talked to your doctor, and you feel comfortable, and empowered to make decisions about supplements that are right for you, then absolutely our customer service team is there to answer questions. And I think that’s they should be right, because this is such an anxiety ridden period in a woman’s life, you should be able to get answers about things that you are going to put into your body.

Debra Muth 36:15
Absolutely, we should all know what’s going in the quality where the raw ingredients are, how its manufactured, is this going to help me or not? We need to ask those important questions. Because unfortunately, as you’re well aware, a lot of the products that are on the shelves, their raw ingredients come from China, that’s ladened with heavy metals and contaminants and and unfortunately, sometimes not even what the manufacturer thought it was. Because if they don’t test their raw ingredients, they have no clue what’s in there. And so quality companies like yours and some of the other nutraceutical companies, it’s really important to know where those things come from and know that you’re getting a product that’s really safe and effective. Yes,

Vanessa Ford 36:55
absolutely. And our products are made in clean, good manufacturing practice laboratories here in the United States. Everything goes through testing, you know, they get the raw product in the raw ingredients, they test the raw ingredients, and then they test the final formula as well. So you it is very important that that your supplements are made through good clean manufacturing processes. Absolutely. Yeah,

Debra Muth 37:24
absolutely. So you know, you’re getting exactly what they say you’re getting, because otherwise it could be a disastrous event. And we’ve had we’ve seen some of those over the last 40 years. And thank goodness, there’s not too many of them. But there have been a few and and unfortunately, people have been harmed through it. So if you know that you’re doing business with a good company like yours, that’s so important.

Vanessa Ford 37:47
I Well, I think so. But again, it comes out of being driven by a mission. And not Are we going to make money?

Debra Muth 37:55
Yeah, it’s not the dollar. It’s the mission. You bet. You bet. But so this has been a great conversation, I could talk to you all day. What are some last thoughts you want to leave with our listeners today?

Vanessa Ford 38:06
I you know, every time I talk to a woman who’s going through this, inevitably, she says, I just feel so alone, I’m so glad you’re here, I’m I just need to talk to somebody. And I think I hear it all the time. And it breaks my heart because we should be able to talk to each other. You know, I understand you to go to your doctor, and he’s got 15 minutes and you’re in and out the door and you don’t have time to raise all of the questions and concerns that you want to. I have a wonderful Doctor Who who you know, sort of spends a lot more time with me than I think normal. Normally a doctor would. I’m sorry, there is a dog barking.

Debra Muth 38:53
That’s okay.Don’t worry.

Vanessa Ford 38:57
But I think it’s so important that we talk to each other. You know, my mom had a full hysterectomy in her 30s. And so she didn’t really talk to me about menopause. My grandmother never talked about it. My aunt’s didn’t really tell me anything about it. And so I came at it with with nothing. And I think if we can just be honest with each other about what we’re going through, right? Share your menopause stories like they’re your pregnancy story would be my best piece of advice, because you’re not alone. You have a lot of company there are 25 million of us in the United States alone going through the perimenopause and menopause transition and 6000 women everyday join us. And so and that’s just in the United States. And so if you can start talking to other women in your age group about what’s going on with you, sharing your best practical advice, you know, what are your hot flash mitigation practices how what have you noticed causes a hot flash? So you’ve cut that out or you’ve or you’ve, you know, minimized your consumption of it like, did you know wine can cause a hot flash ladies? Sugar? Yeah. And so that you can talk to someone else who’s had the same experience. And the more you can share your advice and your tips and tricks and just honest experience, the better off we will all be.

Debra Muth 40:28
I agree with that so much and, and there are great places to have these conversations I’ve stumbled across some good groups on Facebook of women were tribes of women are talking about these kinds of things where you can find a group of women that fit your need. But I so agree, we need to be talking about this. Because the more we talk about it, the better we feel, and the more people we help. And the more we remove the taboo of menopause. Right?

Vanessa Ford 40:57
Exactly. And the more systemic change, we can introduce, because we’re no longer afraid to talk about it. Yes.

Debra Muth 41:05
And I want women to remember to how powerful we are. I mean, think about that 6 million women a day are entering menopause.

Vanessa Ford 41:12
6000, but a 6000 of us in the country. Yeah, I mean, that’s a, that’s a lot of women,

Debra Muth 41:18
that’s a lot of women, there’s only 388 million people in this country. And so if 25 million of them are menopausal women, we have a big say so in things in how people develop products, and how they talk to us on how they market to us. And how we move healthcare and how we make political decisions. I mean, we are a big powerful group of women. And we need to really stand together with each other so that we can move the dial, because the reality is, eventually there will be more menopausal women in this country at one time, then there will be non menopausal women. That’s correct. And we have an opportunity for some big change here. Yeah, we do. Yeah, it’s a powerful thing, isn’t it?

Vanessa Ford 42:00
And I think it’s so fantastic when women are united in common cause because we really do make change.

Debra Muth 42:08
We really do. I mean, it, it’s often talked about in the natural world, that it’s women who change our environment, it’s women who have saved the planet, and it will be the future women who save the world. And I think that is really true. We don’t give ourselves enough credit as women for having the power behind ourselves. The softness, the love, the compassion and the brilliance to truly make change. And so it’s an exciting time to be a midlife woman where we have this much impact and power and people want to listen to us.

Vanessa Ford 42:46
I couldn’t agree more. Yeah

Debra Muth 42:49
Well this has been a fantastic conversation, Vanessa, how do people learn more about your company and your mission,

Vanessa Ford 42:56
they can go to our website, it’s metal labs comm that’s m e, n o, l, A, B s. You’ll find all of our products there, you’ll find a link to download our app if you want to join the app, which is called mental life. You can read customer reviews, you can talk to our customer support team. Before you ever take a product or anything. If you just have questions, and you don’t know where to get the answers. We can probably point you in the right direction. We have a blog full of fantastic articles around menopause, perimenopause, probiotics, you can join our email list. We’re on Facebook, we’re on Instagram. We’re on Twitter, we’re pretty much everywhere you need to go to find answers. You will bump into us there.

Debra Muth 43:43
That is awesome. For those of you who are listening to us while you’re working out or driving, don’t worry about those links. We’ll have them in the show notes for you guys. And please go over and visit metal labs and talk to Vanessa, let her know you heard about her through our podcast today. And just do what you need to do to be healthy ladies. Thank you so much, Vanessa.

Vanessa Ford 44:06
Thank you.

Debra Muth 44:09
Hey, it has been really great sharing this time with you guys on the let’s talk wellness now podcast. If this episode has helped you or you feel as though this episode would help someone else we’d love for you to leave us a review. Share this podcast and if you don’t want to miss the most exciting episodes we have coming. We’d love for you to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Google Play. Until next time, live every day to the fullest

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