I have been giving hormones a lot of thought this past month or so as I have been asked recently what hormone books I recommend, and how it is so darn confusing figuring them out or getting doctor’s to listen.
Some ladies are really confused with all the information out there, and there doctors not wanting to run proper tests. This is especially true for running the proper thyroid panels, some only want to run the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)
I feel it can be very confusing sometimes figuring out our hormones, there is so much mixed information about the hormones. Ultimately we are the only ones that know our bodies the best, and can decide if we are feeling really good or not.
I’m feeling really off lately, moody, agitated….One day a great mood the next day very low mood. I’m thinking what the hack is this? I not to go for some tests soon, before I drive my husband crazy… I know my body very well and I think I need to switch thyroid medication and have it adjusted.
Plus just because a blood test says we are in range, does not mean we feel good, or that it is in even optimal for us.
Hormones need to be in synergy, balanced, in that goldilocks range.
My feel best range/level will be different from what your feel best range is. So doctors who only go by only blood labs, are out of date, they need to take into account how we feel to.
I was listening to a podcast where the guest was Dr, Tami Meraglia.
She wrote the book called “The Hormone Secret”. I did talk about her book before, as I usually check out most hormone books. I will talk about her book later in this blog and her recommendations.
I still have all the oldie but goodie hormone books, from Dr Micheal Colgan, on peri-menopause, very good.
One called Natural Hormone replacement, for women over 45 by Dr Jonathan V. Wright.
I have 3 books by Dr. John R. Lee, one is called Dr John Lee’s Hormone Balance Made Simple, a very small book and very easy to understand.
These books I started with back in my late 40’s. Some of what is in those books, is still applicable today.
When I started out I referred to this book the most, by Uzzi Reiss, MD. Ob/Gyn called “Natural Hormone Balance” in his book he gives dosing, what to look for symptoms, how to adjust by our symptoms, A very thorough book. I showed it to my doctor.
I actually heard him speak recently on a podcast too, my mind is blanking which one LOL!
He also has a newer book called The Natural Superwoman, with lots of info on supplements, a program for feeling great, looking younger, and enjoying amazing Energy at any age….Love it, I think we would all love to feel that way.
I took all the info I learned from his books and other books to my doctor to discuss it with her, and tell her I wanted to start on bio-identical hormones. She was very receptive, love my doctor.
I have all the newer books on hormones as well, a whole book shelf, LOL! I learn something new from each one of them, a few I don’t like to much, so i did not mention them.
I think we really have to be well educated on our hormones and health, so we can go to our doctor’s and ask for the correct tests, and feel empowered to know what we are talking about, and ask the right questions.
Not easy sometimes as my doctor almost has her hands tied by the insurance companies as to what she can run for tests, I run some on my own.
In Dr Tami’s book she talks about balancing all hormones, but she goes into depth on testosterone. As she felt, not much is said about the benefits of having optimal levels of testosterone. Most books just talk about estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol..yes those are important but all are hormones are important.
She says in the recent podcast episode I heard her on, that she was had gone through a low time years back of being frazzled, and exhausted.
She had all her hormones tested, and found that they were low, especially her testosterone was virtually non existent.
She is very much an evidence based doctor did all the research on testosterone, as she believed like most women, when they hear the word testosterone replacement oh! No, I’m not taking that, I don’t want to get huge muscles etc…
She did take Testosterone and progesterone, and what she noticed first, like her women patients do now, was an increase in her energy. She says most women feel an increase in energy, before they notice any libido changes, plus a better fat to muscle ratio, and better mood. (not bulky)
Making changes with diet and lifestyle can help balance all our hormones.
She talks about doing lifestyle, diet, and exercise changes first, if you test low for testosterone, I agree as hormones are very powerful and we need a good doctor that knows what she or he is doing.
If diet, lifestyle and exercise changes do not work, which sometimes they do not work, if our adrenals are exhausted, or we are older. Then we may need a tiny amount of testosterone, she starts women on cream not pill form, and about 0.5 mg some may need more…it is always work with your doctor, I’m not a doctor.
How many times have you gone to the doctor and he or she runs blood tests on you and says you are fine?
I know for me that happened, and I would say, and have still said, but I don’t feel fine. Most do not look for the root cause, they need to get to the root cause so that we can feel better.
In our younger years our hormones are exclusively coming from our ovaries, then around 35 years old, are ovaries can slow down or even stop producing our hormones, and the production starts to be more from our adrenal glands.
But the adrenal glands are these two walnut sized glands that sit atop each kidney.
They have to deal with all that bothers us, stresses us, in our busy lives, such as a nutrient deficient diet, to much exercise, running around picking up kids, taking care of a loved one, or aging parent, not sleeping well, sitting in traffic.
I was just telling my husband last night how are poor adrenals are just tiny and deal with so much.
The poor adrenals think that all of that is an emergency, or life threatening, or you are running from a lion or bear. So they say forget about making hormones, they just don’t have the raw resources, or energy to pick up the slack and produce our estrogen, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone.
All of their energy can get shifted to making cortisol, cortisone, and adrenaline, Instead of our estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Yes, I think that is what has happened to me more than once, especially when I was running marathons in my 50’s and 3-4 hour long runs, really long distance at the time of going through menopause. Plus restricting my starchy carbs, not sleeping, and really just running around like a crazy women, thinking I could do it all like I was super woman.
I had really stressed adrenals, I actually have lower cortisol not high cortisol. It is best to have cortisol not to high or to low, here we go with that goldilocks range again. Lots of times its people with low cortisol that can have weight problems everyone thinks that just happens with high cortisol.
Plus my blood work showed at that time systemic inflammation, with the high sensitivity C reactive protein test.
Funny how weight came off easily years later, when I finally smartened up and dropped the ALL the long distance running.
And instead did short sprints, walking, and weight training and less than half of the exercise I had been doing.
Plus my blood marker came down to below 1, in the optimal range for inflammation… so my body perceived much less stress and could finally drop my weight, and sleep improved along with the blood marker…I was scared to death to do less exercise. I was always taught do more, the more exercise the better, and of course eat like a bird. That does not work…I can tell you that, I tried it.
The good news is when we focus specifically on nutritional, supplemental, and lifestyle things, we can reboot the production of our hormones out of our adrenals. Dr Tami says their our good studies showing that is possible.
Some tips and strategies she says works, and some I have tried and do that work for me
- Sugar lowers your testosterone by 20-30% within 2 hours of eating it. We all know we should eat less sugar, find a balance.
- It is not only what you eat but when you eat she says is important
- Start your day with Protein, within 30 minutes. (I have read this before) For women as we age and hormones are involved they say intermittent fasting is not very beneficial for us.
- I believe we are all different and it depends, on a lot of things, your age, genetics, and preferences, plus try it how do you feel?
- But, I do have protein within 30 minutes of waking up most days, in the form of collagen protein powder in my coffee. I buy bulletproof brand online, or vital proteins brand, both are fine in coffee, no lumps no taste.
I highly recommend her book too to learn more about supplements and herbs, and hormones, she makes packs so you don’t have to get separately, I buy mine separately.
- My normal breakfast, is always after my exercise, and walk, around 9:30-10 am I have a whey protein smoothie.
- Then have lunch around 2, which really fits in with her saying have a snack for your adrenals around 2-4:30
- I have found having my lunch at 2 or so, then I don’t get that energy low late afternoon, from my thyroid too like I used to. Especially if I make my lunch higher protein, and less carbs, with a thumb of good fat.
- Usually a big salad for me with protein on top, and 2 Tbs of olive oil and vinegar dressing.
“As our energy naturally dips between 2:30-4:00, why stress the adrenals. Having a low glycemic snack around mid afternoon such as hummus, and veggies. Or a vegetable/protein/fat snack will help our adrenals and not create more stress for them, so they can continue making our hormones.” says Dr Tami Meraglia
I notice lots of people come into Starbucks mid afternoon when I’m getting my tea, and they say they are dragging, and then eat some carb bomb, and sugar drink, lots of Venti size (which is Starbucks enlarge size really), sugar bombs I see every day.
- My next meal is around 6 pm, I’m a creature of habit, I love the same. I don’t get bored easily.
- Dinner will be the protein, fibrous veggies, and small sweet potato, or squash, or turnip. Just a cupped handful of starchy carb to help with sleep, which having the starch at night it really does help me relax and sleep better.
- Walking has proven in studies, just the simple act of walking raises testosterone in the brain, which makes for better mood to from just taking a walk never mind the rise in testosterone hormone, how cool.
- Of course resistance training, especially using the big muscles raises testosterone.
- I would do resistance training a few days a week, for other benefits as well, such as optimizing the metabolism, keeping strong as we age, mood, as it raises are feel good hormones, plus a little aerobics in the goldilocks range not to much and not to little.
- You could start out doing body weight exercises, walking.
- Doing no exercise is also a stress on the body, doing to much or too little. It is proven exercise helps our health.
Herbs and vitamins for Testosterone Dr Tami talks about, and ones I have tried and some I still use.
- Ashwagandha, it is an adaptogen, an ancient herb that raises testosterone levels mainly by helping the adrenal glands, which manufacture testosterone, it is anti inflammatory.
- Maca: it is part of the broccoli family, it is grown only in Peru. It does not increase total testosterone levels. But Dr Tami says it does help increase the amount of active testosterone… I love maca and take Macapause, by femmenessence
- Vitamin D: Seems to have a correlation to testosterone if you have low vitamin D, you may have low testosterone….*note Vitamin D is really a hormone and helps so many things in our bodies, are immune systems for one.
- Omega 3’s : So good for us, I use a liquid form by Throne Research
- Vitamin B Complex: Is especially helpful in boosting testosterone, and energy
- Zinc: this mineral is a great way to boost testosterone, because it blocks the activity of the enzyme aromatase which transforms testosterone into estrogen. Zinc is also needed for the adrenal glands.
- Vitamin C: Helps increase testosterone levels. when we are stressed we can deplete vitamin C levels. It is water soluble.
- DHEA: As we age our DHEA goes down, DHEA is made by the adrenal glands and is the raw ingredients for many of our hormones, but especially testosterone. DHEA can be converted into other hormones so you always need to work with a doctor
- I check my levels 2 x a year to make sure they are in an optimal range. Dr Colgan used to talk about DHEA, and in his books, and all the hormones….Learned a lot from him.
- Sleep: what can I say I’m a huge fan of sleep, no vitamin mineral or herb will replace our bodies need for sleep. Sleep is key for health, it is effected by hormonal imbalance especially as we hit the peri menopausal years and find ourselves waking up, with hot flashes and night sweats, really because of the drop in hormones especially estrogen.
- Have a bedtime routine, for good sleep, dark cool room, journal before bed to get things off your mind, go to bed at the same time, turn off devices (hard to do) progesterone cream can help as it relaxes us Progesterone is the calming hormone.
- Reduce Stress: Get in those relaxing walks, or deep breathing, fun things you enjoy to bring down your stress level. When we are chronically stressed, we produce more cortisol which works in opposition of testosterone. Cortisol is catabolic, which means it breaks down tissue.
Wow! I was very long winded today, I almost started talking about estrogen and progesterone, but I will another day. I hope you found this information helpful.
Disclaimer I’am not a doctor, I write about my own experiences, and what I have learned. Always check with your doctor before taking any new supplement, or do any diet, and exercise program.
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