Sock Doc 9: Mastering Melatonin and Sleep (Without Supplementing), Being Weary of CBD, Hypermobile Athletes and the Estrogen Connection, and More

May 29, 2020


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Dr. Steve Gangemi, aka The Sock Doc, is back on to discuss sleep habits, supplementing, CBD, and more. Steve is a holistic alternative health care doctor who runs a practice in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Learn more about his practice at and visit his many resources at

On this episode:

  • Do you have questions for The Sock Doc? Please email them to
  • Please help support this podcast by leaving a review: iTunes, Stitcher.


  • The main reason someone is unable to sleep well is due to high-stress hormones
    • The Soc Doc usually sees individuals making enough melatonin; however, individuals think they need more to suppress a skewed cortisol pathway
  • Doc Parsley’s Sleep Remedy
    • Melatonin was added to the formula
  • Melatonin can make you feel better, but you may not be addressing the actual problem
  • By supplementing with melatonin can we prevent our body’s ability to make it on its own?
  • How much is too much melatonin?
  • How the dietary aspect plays an important role
  • Brain-adrenal balance (HPA axis), hormones, and neurotransmitters:
    • Melatonin is inversely proportional to cortisol (i.e., high cortisol at night is not good for melatonin)
    • Sex hormone imbalances; neuroendocrine influencers that can result in sleep disturbances.
    • Cortisol patterns
    • All these things measured on the DUTCH Test
    • How do our natural neurotransmitters affect melatonin and sleep?
      • GABA – the main inhibitory neurotransmitter, sleep promoter, decrease the activity of our wakefulness promoters (histamine, serotonin, norepinephrine)
      • Serotonin – too little not good, too much not good; serotonin makes melatonin; diet can play a role
  • If you’re suffering from sleep issues, please consult with a health practitioner.
  • Know why you’re taking a supplement
  • The Power of Sleep
  • Common Sleep Problems

CBD for athletes

  • It doesn’t cure anything; it might help reduce certain symptoms, but it does not correct the real issue.
  • Good CBD will have ~.3% of active THC in it; you might not pass a drug test
  • What is the reason you want to take CBD?
  • Purported benefits?
    • Yes, for certain populations (e.g., people with seizures).

Carolyn asks:

Hypermobile athletes and shoe choices, strength training, etc.

I’m a 29 year old woman, been doing endurance sports for around 10 years now. Mainly cycling, however I’ve thrown in some triathlons and a few half marathons through the years. (PB half is 2:23 and would love to lower this). Prior to all this, I was a competitive luge athlete for 9 years which was mainly a power and explosive speed based sport. Big change in training but still love my time in the weight room as a result. For 2020, I have set myself the goal of doing my first half Ironman. My question revolves around running economy and efficiency as an athlete with some ligamentous laxity and hypermobility. I have always considered myself flexible but never considered it as a problem. However, I recently developed peroneal tendinitis and have been in physical therapy. This is my first running injury in many years. My PT commented on the hypermobility of my lower legs and feet in particular. I have double the normal range of motion in dorsiflexion (30 instead of 15-20 degrees), hyperextend my knees and have hypermobility in my first rays (big toes) and flexible flat feet.

I have transitioned to zero drop shoes for running through the years as they irritate my knees less than traditional shoes. Altras have been my preference due to the wide toe box. On a completely separate tangent, not loving the most recent iterations of their shoes. But that’s for a different day. Now my PT is recommending I switch to a more traditional running shoe with some stability to offset my hypermobility. As I’ve thought more about the biomechanics of it, it seems to make some sense. It also got me wondering, would that potentially make me more economical when running as it takes away from my full range of motion? (In my case, not a horrible thing). I know Lucho always stresses stiffness in the lower legs as being good for running economy and wondered if this would help. If not, any tips on strength training exercises to increase running economy? Always looking to get faster and would love your input.

What The Soc Doc says:

  • Estrogen’s effect on ligaments in women
    • Estrogen levels too high, progesterone levels too low
  • PMS is common in females, but it is not normal
  • Loose ligaments and connective tissue disorders
    • Ehlers Danlos syndrome
  • Dutch Test

Comments (2)

  • corakeen says:

    Hi, awesome podcast. My question about sleep. If I wake at 3 am every morning signaling that my dopamine may be low, would it be beneficial to take Master Aminos close to sleep? how many hours before?

    • admin says:

      We reached out to Sock Doc and he said: “I’m not aware of this being a specific dopamine issue but rather something taxing you liver, typically a stress hormone, though hormones such as estrogen are also very common. Aminos can help, as can 10-15g of protein, approximately 30 minutes before bed. However, what is really occurring is a stress response resulting in increased cortisol levels causing protein catabolism and ultimately those aminos being converted to glucose to keep your blood sugar levels stable (this is called gluconeogenesis). So if protein/aminos help then look to what may be causing an increased stress (cortisol) response which could be many things – including even not eating enough carbs throughout the day!”

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