During this interview, Kelly Engelmann, CFNP, shares how she uses Adaptacin™ in her practice to buffer stress and improve compliance with lifestyle changes necessary for patient health.* She also discusses the benefits of Adaptacin during perimenopause.*
Kelly Engelmann is a Family Nurse Practitioner certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, The Fellowship in Anti-Aging, Regenerative and Functional Medicine and the American Board of Anti-Aging Health Practitioners. Learn more in the Author bio.
Read on or listen (21 minutes) to Kelly Engelmann share how she uses Adaptacin in her practice to help her patients make lifestyle changes easier.
Get to Know Kelly Engelmann, CFNP and Her Practice
Please share a little bit of information about your journey as a healthcare provider.
I’ve been in practice since 1997, so I’ll let you do the math. I spent my first eight years in conventional practice, and I loved it. But, I went through a process with my former husband where we walked through a cancer journey, and I felt like there is more to the story in tools that we should have available to help patients heal. So in conventional medicine, I felt like I could tell patients to eat less and exercise more. I could tell them to manage their stress. But, over the course of those 8 years, I was seeing patients decline in their health. I thought, “There’s got to be more that we could be doing.”
So, I went back and got a second master’s in metabolic and nutritional medicine from the University of South Florida’s medical school and realized that everything I had been teaching the patient was a little bit off. No one else had a functional medicine practice at the time in our state [Mississippi]. So, I opened my own practice and started practicing functional medicine. In fact, I’ve been doing functional medicine longer than I did conventional medicine. What I learned from that experience was, environmentally speaking, nutrition is 80% of the battle. So now I have a functional medicine integrative practice where I still have the foundation of my conventional training, but adding to that, the power of food to heal.
What type of clientele do you see?
I started out primarily seeing females, but over the years, my practice has evolved into seeing both men and women. In fact, my male population is almost equal to my female [population]. But at the onset, the perimenopausal female was who was drawn to my practice, because they’re the ones starting to see some changes that they feel like they can have an impact on through environmental and nutritional changes.
I also see children, but I will see only see them if I’m seeing their parents because I feel that they need that support system within the home to be able to do what I’m asking them to nutritionally. It’s a good blend of male, female, and children at this point. And generational too, I see moms, daughters, and granddaughters now, which is really cool to see the family embracing lifestyle change.
What are the most common clinical complaints you encounter in your practice?
I think the most common would be fatigue, both mental and physical fatigue, brain fog, and then digestive issues. Those are the things that get them in here. Those are the pain points that I see them actually seeking out help with.
Absolutely stress. One of the biggest things where I feel like I can help them make an impact in their life is figuring out what the physical stressors are. Is it poor blood sugar control, digestive disturbances driving an inflammatory process, environmental stressors like the food they’re eating, or what they’re putting on their skin? And then, I think everybody knows they’ve got situational stress. We figure out how to restructure their lifestyle in a way that they are not living like that anymore. They’re making better decisions about how they’re spending their time and their energy. All of that has a huge impact on their outcome.
And you know, the last thing the patient wants to hear from their provider is, “Oh, it’s just stress.” That’s what they’ve heard from every provider they have seen. “Oh, it’s just that phase in life. It’s just stress, get used to it. This is the way it is,” and I say, “Absolutely not.”
How did you hear about Sanesco?
I first found Sanesco on the floor at an A4M conference and had a great conversation with the rep that was there. That piqued my interest. And, I feel like Sanesco was a little bit ahead of the game in bringing the connection with the brain to the adrenals to the whole conversation. I feel like at that time, several years ago when I first got started in functional medicine, all the focus was on the adrenal glands. No one was really talking about the whole HPA axis very much. It was mentioned, but it wasn’t anything you would address, just support the adrenals. It got my attention that, “Hey, there’s more to the story with the adrenal. We need to be really thinking about brain health and how we can be correcting that aspect so that the adrenals have the opportunity to recover.”
Are there any features about Sanesco’s line of Targeted Nutritional Therapy™ (TNT) that drew you to the formulas?
What I noticed right away about the formulas was that they had the NSB™ (Neuro Support Blend) in them. So many of our patients with adrenal issues also have gut issues, and they’re malabsorbing. Getting them on a product that’s going to actually be bioavailable was super important. And so, one of the things that made me really look at the products closely and implement them into the practice was the addition of the enzymes and the cofactors that help with absorption.
Adaptacin and Accomplishing Lifestyle Changes
Adaptacin is a comprehensive adrenal support formula.* It includes organic adrenal cortex glandular, scientifically validated botanical adaptogens (Ashwagandha, Siberian ginseng, Licorice root, and Panax ginseng), standardized for maximum efficacy, and bioavailable nutrients vital for adrenal function.* Adaptacin also includes our proprietary Neuro Support Blend, which enhances absorption.*
Why did you decide to try Adaptacin?
At the time I found Sanesco, I was using a product line that required multiple pills, multiple times a day. In fact, I went back and looked, and it was between 12 and 15 pills a day just to support adrenal function. The product worked, but it was difficult to get someone to be compliant for as long as they needed to be compliant to see a real turn around. And obviously, nobody wants to swallow 15 pills unless they have to. So, I loved it when I found Adaptacin and it had so many different ingredients in it, but it was only one to two tablets you had to take a day at that time for maximum dosing. It just made sense to make the change. Then after using it, realizing how well it worked, it made me continue using it long term.
How do you explain this product to your clientele?
I never like for a product to be, “Here’s your illness, here’s your pill.” So, I spend a lot of time talking to them about their stressors, and their stress response, and how it works, looking at their physical environmental and emotional stressors that are driving that stress response, and then lifestyle changes that are going to help them correct that stress response. I spend a lot of time talking about that first: how to control blood sugar, how to control their stressors, getting rid of inflammatory drivers, both nutritional and environmental. Then I move into, “We can also support the adrenals in a way that you can recover and feel better as you’re doing these other things, that are going to be impactful.” Supplementing with Adaptacin is adjunctive to their lifestyle changes. I tell them that Adaptacin is the most comprehensive adrenal support that I have found, and patients respond pretty quickly.*
If they have a history of hypertension, I do talk to them about monitoring blood pressure just because of the licorice component. However, I’ve only had one patient that had an issue with blood pressure and licorice. But, it’s still something I think needs to be discussed so that they are aware of it. Then, their labs and the severity of their symptoms will dictate how I dose it. If they have pretty significant fatigue that’s morning and afternoon, I’ll have them do two tablets in the morning and one at noon for the first 2 weeks.* Then we’ll see how they’re doing, and then possibly back down.
They’ll know how much they need. They’re going to figure that out pretty quickly. But, I’m ok with them taking the maximum dose for a few weeks. I want them to get the results so that they can keep the momentum going to make the lifestyle changes. What I don’t want to do is dose them up prior to the lifestyle changes so that they think it’s only the supplements making a difference.
How are you using products with licorice, with glycyrrhizic acid? What is your protocol when you encounter a hypertensive patient?
Obviously, I check it when they’re in the clinic, but then I’ll have them do home monitoring as well. I feel like they’re going to get a more accurate reading on their day-to-day. We just have to have them trend it out to make sure they’re not having elevations, and if there are, let you know. The patient that had a problem or an issue with her blood pressure going up actually had a little bit of swelling.
I tell them to watch for any edema and that kind of thing that could drive up blood pressure, but I really haven’t seen it be a problem. I just don’t want it to be something they go out and read, “Oh my gosh. Licorice can elevate my blood pressure. I’m going to stop taking it.” I’d rather just discuss that upfront and let them know we are aware this could potentially be a problem, but let’s monitor it and make sure it’s right for you.
What type of health concerns do you find Adaptacin most useful for?
Fatigue is number one, lack of motivation.* These people want to do better, but sometimes they just can’t get the energy, the brain energy up to do it. For the perimenopausal patient, this is golden for them. What they’re seeing is a decline in their ovarian output of hormones, and their adrenals aren’t giving them what they need. They’re having fatigue and brain fog and lack of motivation and decreased libido. I find it (Adaptacin) could be a really good buffer for them in that perimenopause phase to just level things out so that they’re not feeling so up and down and out of control.*
Are there any special features you like about Adaptacin compared to other adrenal products on the market?
Yes. I really like the fact that the adrenal cortex is organic. I think that speaks volumes. And, our patient population is looking more organic in their food intake. So, when we’ve got a product that we can say, “Ok this beef is organic,” then that puts their mind to rest. Also, Panax ginseng may be why we don’t see a huge elevation in blood pressure with the licorice component.*
So, I love the fact that there’s ginseng in the Adaptacin. Ginseng has been used for over 2,000 years to help with immunity, and it’s a great adjunct to an adrenal product.* Then you’ve got all the cofactors too. You’ve got some vitamin C, some zinc. It’s got some NSB in there. When I look at how many different things I would have to give a person to have everything that Adaptacin has in it, it’s pretty good. Adaptacin has been around for a long time. There’s a lot of newer adrenal supplements on the market, but there aren’t any, I don’t think, any better than Adaptacin.*
What is the general takeaway your clients tell you about Adaptacin?
You know, I hear a lot of “Gosh, this got me over the hump. It helped buffer me so that I could do the things I needed to do to make the necessary lifestyle changes.*” I think it can be a great buffer for them*. I’ll have patients that I haven’t seen in 3 years come back in to buy a bottle of Adaptacin. We are like, “Ok, what’s going on? Why are you needing the Adaptacin again? You need to get back in here and get an appointment.” It’s good to see that they remember, “Oh, this is what helped me before and this is where I need to come to get it.”
Do you have any tips for using this product (when to use, sensitive patients, etc.)? Are there patients you don’t recommend this product for? Why?
You want to make sure they don’t have an allergy to a specific ingredient in the product because you will find times with the herbs that you will have an allergic-type reaction. So, just be mindful of that. As far as dosing, now that they [Sanesco] have reformulated it to two tablets, you can use it more in the pediatric population, which gives you a little bit more room to titrate a more sensitive patient.
I tell them to take it with food. Tell them that if they miss their dose, don’t take it after 2:00 PM, because it may keep them up at night. You have a good bit of flexibility with dosing the way it is today. Even patients that have fully recovered their adrenals will sometimes get back on it to buffer themselves when they’re going through a time of stress, such as a deadline, or lifestyle changes and they just want to buffer for a couple of weeks.* I’m ok with them doing that as long as it doesn’t become a crutch.
Is there a cutoff age when you don’t address the adrenals? What’s the youngest age you would recommend Adaptacin for?
Probably 7 or 8. I’ll do more of a gut workup and look at their vagal tone if they are below 7 and really work with the parent [to make lifestyle changes] and restore their vagal tone. That’s going to help with the adrenals and the whole HPA axis. I don’t really start chasing adrenals until they [patients] are in that 8-15 year mark when hormones start to play a big part in the whole developmental side of things.
Any big issues with the product at all?
No, I mean I really haven’t had any issues with tolerability or patient compliance. That’s one of the things about this product. They [patients] will come back to you because they see results because they can feel results. Some of the other things that they’re taking may be working beautifully, and their biomarkers may be changing phenomenally, but if they can’t feel it, they may not know. With Adaptacin, they can tell the result. They have more energy, are more motivated, and are making lifestyle changes. So, they are more likely to come back.* So, I really haven’t had any negative adverse effects from it [Adaptacin].
How often do you alter the protocol or your recommended dosing of this product after a retest? Do you find yourself adding this formula after a retest?
If they’re on Adaptacin prior to testing, at some point we’ll start weaning it back. If their clinical presentation matches their testing and we’ve corrected a lot of the stressors, then we’ll say, “Let’s start backing down on the dose.” I don’t stop it all the sudden. I’ll have them wean down.
They’ll know when they’re ready to come off it. I’ll say, “Wean down. Stop taking your noontime dose and just see how you do.” And if they do okay as far as sustainable energy throughout the day, then I’ll say, “Cut back to just one in the morning or half of one in the morning, and let’s see how you do.” I find weaning goes much better than just stopping it. And, it gives them a sense of control as well.
If we test, retest and they’re not on Adaptacin, then there are cases when I’ll add Adaptacin. Sometimes I’ll say, “Look, let’s work on lifestyle changes first and see how much traction we can get with lifestyle and then we will retest.” If they are still not where they need to be [in making lifestyles changes] or they are still clinically not where they need to be (from a symptom standpoint), then I wouldn’t hesitate to add the Adaptacin in at that point.
What impact does Adaptacin have during and after menopause?
I think during the perimenopausal phase, Adaptacin does a great job of buffering some of what they feel when their hormones are dysregulated.* I feel like they can maintain a better disposition, even sleep better.* It may sound counter-intuitive to put them on adrenal support, especially something like Adaptacin, and see improvement in sleep, but I do all the time. “We didn’t even put you on anything for sleeping, but you’re sleeping better.” I don’t know that I really understand that so much, but it works.
A lot of times I will start with Adaptacin before I add any female hormones. Because in the perimenopausal patient, you’re kind of chasing hormones a little bit. Some months they were producing more than others, so it’s a little tricky when you start adding in the hormones. I find that really supporting the adrenals during that time helps them out quite a bit and reduces the amount of time that we have to use the sex hormones.
I use a lot of hormone replacement therapy after perimenopause. At some point, we’re adding HRT in for most patients if it’s appropriate. And then, if they still need some adrenal support, it (Adaptacin) can be a part of that.* Cortisol is also that hormone that can creep up with age, and so I find that the stressed-out perimenopausal woman is really the one that benefits the most from Adaptacin.* But, there are situations where you have a 65-year-old, and their cortisol has tanked and that’s really a problem. I mean that’s a problem from a cancer-risk perspective and from any auto-immune perspective. You definitely want to buffer them and be mindful of that. You can’t say just because they are 65 (years old), they are going to need some adrenal support. But, most of the time, you’re using more the adaptogenic side of things in that age population.
Do you have a specific patient success story you’d like you’d share about this product or Sanesco’s TNT formulas?
I wouldn’t say a specific patient, but I think a specific patient population would be the perimenopausal female that’s also hypothyroid. Because they are worn out, and they’re gaining weight, and they’re frustrated. I found that this [Adaptacin] really is a good adjunct.* They come in wanting thyroid. That’s the thing driving them to the practices. They think thyroid is off (and a lot of Hashimoto’s patients are in an inflammatory process). But, I find that supporting the adrenals helps the thyroid balance as well. They kind of relax once they have some adrenal support on board because their mind has been changed. It wasn’t just the thyroid that needed help. It was the overall HPA-T axis that needed the support to get them where they need to be. So, that has been a fun population to implement the Adaptacin on as well.
What advice would you give a new practitioner using Sanesco’s NeuroWellness Program™ for the first time?
I would say really rely on that clinical team and the reports to guide you in the beginning, because that teaches you so much. You see the paper [report], what the paper [report] says. You see your patient’s clinical presentation, and you as the provider get to make the decisions about what that patient needs. And so, following that, and really getting a good solid footing as far as what’s helping and what’s not. I think it is awesome to be able to have that kind of support from a company—not just supporting supplements but looking at the testing as well.
Make Lifestyle Changes Easier
If you are an individual seeking to make lifestyle changes and de-stress, find a Sanesco provider to learn if Adaptacin is right for you.
Clinical Support Manager at Sanesco International, Inc.
Nathan Bridges is the Clinical Support Manager at Sanesco. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Health and Wellness Promotion with a minor in Psychology. He keeps a healthy mind and body by trail running, playing chess, and regularly reviewing recent research.
Clinical Support Intern at Sanesco International, Inc.
Anna Nazemi is currently a senior at UNC-Asheville pursuing a Bachelor of Science in General Chemistry. In her free time, she likes to swim, run, and hike with friends.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.