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Oh God, Let’s Talk About Hormones - Part 1

Oh God, Let’s Talk About Hormones - Part 1

“Oh God she wants to talk about her hormones”

I feel like it’s a topic that every doctor and scientist dreads. I will tell you why soon.

So it’s no wonder that you haven’t heard much about it and everything you hear is conflicting and confusing.

No one likes to talk about it because it’s complex and there is so much misinformation.

But if I can explain it to you even simpler than I understand it (and I just learned it a few years ago my self)— then we have the key to improve your energy, fertility, weight, mood. The real reason to “balance your hormones”? It’s so we can pursue amazing things like launching your dream skin care company without having a nervous breakdown, losing your period, getting a stress belly or simply being a cranky b to everyone around you.

Ok so here we go...

Think of hormones in your body as cars traveling on a vast jungle of highways. Just think Los Angeles where there’s exits and there’s traffic jams and there’s pile ups. Sometimes it’s smooth sailing but sometimes there’s bumper to bumper traffic at random times of the day with no explanation whatsoever. Now think of aliens looking at that from space and taking a picture of this (bear with me here we are getting somewhere). They might be taking a picture at rush-hour or in the middle of the night they don’t really know the time in LA.
In some pictures the traffic is sparse and another pictures the traffic is buzzing.

That’s your lab testing for hormones- it’s a snap shot. You might be getting it at peak rush hour or the middle of the night.
And despite what anyone will say- there is no testing to my knowledge that is reliably accurate and validated for hormone levels. All this new testing has so much potential but remember what happened to that lady who was in the cover of all magazines because of her new lab testing method? The one from Harvard? Remember her? Well it was reliable or accurate and she went to jail.

Sooo that is pretty much where are at for testing hormones. We only know if the highway is completely barren (ie menopause) or the traffic is in unparalleled excess—riddled with pile ups and fires (ie cancer)

So testing can help in a few cases but mostly it’s symptom based.
If your pms is getting more severe or your moods and energy are unstable. Or if you seem to gain weight despite doing everything right or you can’t sleep at night. This may all improve once you balance your hormones.

The day I really got interested in hormones is the day I learned that the immune system and the hormonal system were intimately entwined. I was in my fellowship at Columbia and this was my research time where I have to work in the basic science lab for 1.5 years (!) That was the time I was going through my own self discovery of balancing hormones myself and so I thought I would do a basic science project around hormones and the immune system. Great idea right?


This required me as a post partum woman in the dead of winter in NYC taping up low budget, printed signs all over the Columbia medical complex- all different floors, all over the hospital and medical school. I was trying to recruit women to get their blood tested for hormones. Oh did I mention I personally had to draw their blood, centrifuge it to separate the immune cells and hormones from the red blood cells.

I broke out into a sweat every time someone came to the lab for a blood draw. What if I stuck them a million times and it didn’t work?

Anyway, so I got their blood assessed their hormone levels and then looked at immune system activation. It required a lot blood analysis and let’s just say spending time in a research lab is a learning experience. People spend their whole life studying what I was doing for a year and half. I decided this was NOT going to be my career. Noble but I loved interacting with the women more than I loved interacting with the pipettes.

That experience what I learned is that hormones are deeply responsible for our energy, and well being, our body composition etc.

And this highway I referenced before starts from the brain at the hypothalamus, then goes to the pituitary gland - then an offshoot goes to the thyroid. Another offshoot goes to the ovaries. Another to the adrenal. And all of those link back to each other and back to pituitary and hypothalamus. So get it? A complicated web of highways.

This is why yoga for example changes people’s lives. It’s because when you decide to fix your stress levels you not only fix that traffic jam/accident at the adrenal highway- you make the whole thing run smoother.

And that’s why thyroid imbalance affects estrogen levels and therefore your period, and your adrenals and loops back to your pituitary and thyroid. One thing causes an effect on the whole highway system.

As an MD that’s why the popular terms “adrenal fatigue or adrenal burn out” bothers me- it’s not physiologically correct. Your adrenals don’t burn out. And you definitely should not need 25 LIFELONG supplements to “support” it.

So I know I know - what are the solutions to keep this highway or axis running smoothly?

That’s part 2 :-)

What are your questions so far?