Perimenopausal, tired and overweight, Cindy drove 300 miles to come and see me. She complained of the usual perimenopausal symptoms of fatigue, irritability, hot flashes, weight gain and no sex drive. Twice in the past few months, Cindy had been hospitalized with abdominal pain. Many tests later, the doctors could find nothing and sent Cindy home on pain meds. All she could eat was starches because everything else caused more pain. Now she was having trouble working as a bookkeeper because her joints ached constantly.
Cindy took my hand, “My sister-in-law said you could help me with my hormones.”
I nodded, “I can, but you have a dysfunctional gut. Your stomach is not producing enough acid to break down protein, and the carbohydrate rich diet you’ve had to exist on is inflaming your joints. Until I fix your digestion, absorption and detoxification, I can’t help you balance your hormones.”
Of course, I could have given Cindy hormones to treat her perimenopausal symptoms, but that would have been a Band-Aid. My goal is to help you make your own hormones. And the primary way I do that is to feed your body what it needs to balance itself. If your gut is dysfunctional, you will not be able to absorb the micronutrients necessary to support your hypothalamus and keep your Hormones in Harmony®.
So we start with your gut.
You’re a Donut
Just like your skin protects you from the outer environment, the lining of your gut protects you from the inside. Like a donut, your outside reflects your inside. Unlike the skin, your gut has to let nutrients in and keep toxins out. It’s a tall order. One you would think would be simple. Aren’t you born with a healthy gut?
Well, if your mother had a perfectly healthy digestive tract colonized by a wide variety of beneficial bacteria, and she breastfed you for at least a year to prepare your infant intestines for the world, then yes, you probably started with a healthy gut.
But unless you’ve never taken antibiotics, whether prescribed or in your diet, and you’ve never taken antacids or aspirin or ibuprofen or any other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, and you eat naturally fermented foods every day, then perhaps you still have that pristine gut you were born with.
If not, we’d better focus on your gut.
Intestinal health is crucial to the proper functioning of your entire body.
That’s why we begin with The IN cornerstone. It’s how we fix everything else.
We are what we eat…literally.
We all know that protein builds muscle and that carbohydrates are energy foods. But did you know that every chemical you make – every hormone, every neurotransmitter, every cytokine – all come from nutrients derived from the food you eat?
If your diet does not provide all the nutrients necessary to run your system, then something has to go. Usually it’s those parts of your body that are not crucial for life – your skin, your hair, your nails. Your internal health is directly related to your external appearance.
Hormones are made up of protein and fat…specifically cholesterol. In fact, “steroid” hormones are derived from the “sterol” in cholesterol. When you reach middle age and your hormones begin to decline, your cholesterol naturally rises in response. Your liver is just trying to help out your failing gonads!
Food is digested into protein, fat, and carbohydrates. These macronutrients provide calories and building blocks for new tissues and biochemicals like hormones. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that help run the system. If you cannot digest your food properly, break it down into absorbable macronutrients and assimilate it into essential micronutrients, then you cannot produce adequate hormones to remain healthy.
Your liver and kidneys are organs that detoxify your body. They need energy from food (mostly carbohydrates) and essential amino acids (from protein) and essential fatty acids (from fats) to do their job. They also require micronutrients to run the detoxification pathways. It’s an incredibly complicated system – one that most health care providers ignore.
Years ago, I was attending a medical conference. The physician presenter was lecturing on the drug interactions between a blood thinner and acetaminophen. After the lecture, I asked where in the hepatic detoxification pathways were the interactions occurring? When he didn’t answer, I clarified by asking specifically about phase I enzyme interactions versus phase II conjugation issues.
As if I was speaking a different language, he said very slowly and very loudly, “I am a lung doctor, not a liver doctor.”
I replied, “Doctor, don’t all your ‘lung’ patients have livers? So wouldn’t it behoove you and your patients to know what detoxification pathways are affected? That way you can advise your patients on what foods, herbs, and supplements to also avoid.”
He shook his head. “I just check their blood levels frequently.”
And his patients are dependent on him not to bleed to death!
Now, I know that as a layperson, you probably do not have a clue about the hepatic detoxification pathways, but I expected my esteemed colleague to understand. We learned this basic physiology in our undergraduate pre-med training. Yet so few of us utilize knowledge of biochemistry in our clinical practices. And it is SO VERY IMPORTANT!
That’s why, as a patient, you need to know how your body works so you can make the healthiest choices. Knowledge is power and very well may save your life.
Excerpt from Hormones in Harmony
And once we got Cindy’s gut healthy, we fed her Genesis Gold to balance her hormones and get her life back.