By Dr. Kyle Christensen
if you are coming from the emailed articles, scroll down to the WHY image
What the heck is going on!? The health picture of our land is once again changing. I’m seeing conditions in people that did not exist years ago. I’ve talked before of the epidemic rise of Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease. Now we are seeing the same thing with peoples hormones. I remember about 10 years ago one of my patients, Larry, informed me that lab tests showed he had no testosterone. His energy had vanished and no one in the medical community knew what to do with him. At the time, I didn’t either. Who ever heard of low testosterone back in those days.
Now, I have patients bringing me all kinds of lab reports with hormones totally whacked out. Many are taking “bio-identical hormones” for this. Women taking testosterone, because yes, what little testosterone they require is gone. Those women who are taking testosterone love it. I mean they LOVE it. They feel like superman and just need a bad guy to beat up or something. Don’t even suggest them going off their testosterone or you may be that bad guy. Seriously, they love the stuff. Very much! Did I imply that it makes them feel good? Until it slowly wears off and then they need more. It is not a simple want. It is a NEED. They gotta have it. A little bit scary. I don’t want to get beat up by some hot mama hopped up on testosterone who can probably bench press more and run faster than me.
Testosterone does not just vanish all by itself. Most often thyroid hormone is deficient and people are often first treated for hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s Disease). In the last couple years, more have also included the diagnosis of Adrenal Fatigue – although the medical community doesn’t quite know what to do with that one, so often it is thrown into the bottomless pit of the diagnosis of Lyme Disease (which by the way is the new Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Fibromyalgia). Some of my patients are rightfully concerned when they are told they need to be put on hormones. Promoters of this medicines’ logic seems simple. Your body is not producing the hormones you need. Here take these. These are the hormones you need.
These hormones are marketed and packaged as “bio-identical”. The name implies that these are exactly the same as what your body produces. Many of these prescriptions are produced by Compound Pharmacists. They take the various hormones – estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and any others and mix them in the prescribed ratios based on your lab results and doctor recommendations. Understand that the term “bio-identical” is a marketing term. A better term would be “bio-mimetic”, meaning that they are attempting to mimic the actions of your own body’s hormones. If they were truly identical, it seems that the risks of breast cancer, stroke, heart disease and blood clots would not be an issue. Our own in-house produced hormones don’t carry those risks and consequences.
Slick marketing likes to throw around the term “NATURAL”. But in my book, just because an ingredient starts out as natural doesn’t mean that by the time it is chemically altered, manipulated, electrified and distorted it will resemble anything that is found in nature. The not-so-humble soybean can be made into car seat foam, substitute petroleum products as well as synthetic hormones and cheese. The compounding Pharmacist is able to bypass certain FDA regulations and labeling requirements and doesn’t seem to need to identify these so-called natural hormones as the same ones as are produced by the drug companies. This seems to be a bone of contention in the pharmaceutical industry – that the bio-identical people can get away with calling their stuff what they do and use the exact same ingredients as those put in Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) as prescribed by their doctors.
But this is not my gripe. People are always looking for the quick fix. Inherent in mankind is the drive to find the easiest path, the course of least resistance and apply the minimal amount of effort. This inborn drive has led to many great innovations. What gets me is no one seems to be asking the question WHY. I cannot find anything in the medical literature and none of the medical doctors my patients see seem to be willing to address the question WHY. “Well doctor, WHY are my hormones so low?” “Isn’t there a way for my body to again produce the hormones that they used to be producing? I wasn’t born this way.” That line of questioning is quickly brushed off as the magic wand of “bio-identical hormone replacement” is dangled in front of them. I can almost hear them saying, “ You want to feel like Superman, don’t you”. “Look at all of these others lining up for their fix, err I mean their drugs, err I mean their bio-identical natural hormones.”
So lets address this issue head on. WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON!? Why are so many people’s hormones so whacked out?
Understand that what you may be experiencing is a personal famine. Not a famine resulting in the absence of food calories, but a famine of nutrients.
Natural Healthcare should be an approach that returns the body back to a state where the body is healthy and self-regulating. Sadly, much of those involved in Natural Healthcare have become purveyors of non-prescription products that attempt to replace prescription drugs. There are even publications that can show you which natural product you can take to replace each prescription drug. I have patients who when they first come to me are taking handfuls of pills all day long and have been doing so for many, many years. $500 each and every month and their health is still fragile and tenuous!
Understand, that the reason you should take a supplement, drug or anything else is so that you don’t have to take it anymore. The implication of course is that you take something, and you get better. And then you no longer need to take it. That makes sense to me. Of course, I understand that there are some conditions that require long term or even lifelong support. But those should be the exceptions not the rule.
When you understand that we are all victims of marketing and media, you can appreciate that there are those in this world who care more for financial profitability and gain than they do for your health. Decisions at boardroom tables center more around making money than they do around benefiting and blessing the lives of those who consume their product (of course, I know there are exceptions). If a lie must be told and packaged to increase sales, then so be it. If a lie is told long enough and convincingly enough, then maybe the truth doesn’t really matter because the paradigm has been shifted and life is now viewed, through the cracked or distorted lens.
This is what happened to our relationship with fats and oils. Crisco oil was discovered/invented in the late 1800’s by William Proctor and James Gamble by sending an electric shock into cottonseed oil. This substance was used as a substitute for lard in making candles. With the advent of the electric light bulb, the candle industry began to fade. Since this product looked like lard, why not try to cook with it. And so the marketing of Crisco began. Read more about it in this article.
The Rise & Fall of Crisco
In the boardroom, it was decided that to increase sales of Crisco, the population had to be convinced that lard and in fact animal fat was unhealthy and must be replaced by man-made products. After all, the emerging sophistication sciences and technology knew more than nature and the God who created it. The marketing of Crisco was brilliant. America bought the lie, hook, line and sinker. Our parents generation, ours and our children have become thoroughly convinced that fat is bad. Fat makes you fat. And who wants to be fat. And even though research has now proved just the opposite. Fat-Free, Low-Fat, Reduced Fat products are the norm, not the exception.
Turns out the long-term use of Crisco oil has been directly linked to heart disease, cancer, growth problems, learning disorders and infertility.
Your body needs fat. Fat (I’m talking healthy natural fats, like butter, meat, coconut and olive oils) do not make you fat – or make you gain weight. SUGAR makes you fat (as well as processed oils such as canola, corn, and safflower and soy). This is so convoluted that I guarantee some of you reading this will be shaking your head in disagreement – but because this lie has been bred into our psyche so deeply, it feels counter intuitive that fats could be beneficial.
Hormones are made from cholesterol. 80% of the cholesterol is produced in your liver – it is that important. If you don’t get some in your diet, the body knows it is so crucial it will make its own cholesterol. The cholesterol lie is another one that has strong boardroom and marketing behind it. (There you go again, shaking your head in disbelief). Click this link and read more about cholesterol for a greater understanding. The Cholesterol Lie by Natasha CampbellMcBride, M.D. (Click Link)
The truth is we need the healthy fats in our diet and without them our body will produce less and less hormones on their own. Your energy and stamina will fade. It is like carrying around a piece of Krytonite in your pocket. The worst offenders of the low-fat, no-fat craze are the vegetarians. I do respect and understand the non-cruelty to animals issues and I support them. However, many vegetarians eat very low fat and if they stick with it long enough are among my most unhealthy patients. Many vegetarian are living in a state of perpetual famine. Vegetarianism can be done right, but few do. Most are carb-aholics with a diet centered around sugars and carbs (with the addition of chips and crackers fried in unhealthy vegetable oils). And it turns out vegetable oils such as Canola oil, which is marketed as a healthy oil, is anything but healthy – raising unhealthy cholesterol and resulting in a myriad of modern diseases.
I’ve often said that the best diet is that of a vegetarian who cheats. But that is only once the health reserves in your body are fully stocked. Until that time, you MUST consume nutritionally dense foods to replenish your nutritionally overdrawn organs, glands and tissues. A good book to review is Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan, MD – very well researched and referenced.
Your relationship with fats must be healed if you expect to recover from your whacked out hormones. Your body can recover. But it will take some time and it will take a shift in
your understanding. In my practice, I often use supplements that contain the organs and/or glands of animals to provide the nutritional building block for your body to use in rebuilding your own struggling glands (adrenal, thyroid, pituitary, etc.). These are taken for a limited time to assist in restoring your body to health and then you are done. In my opinion, it sure is better than taking thyroid for the rest of your life.
Here are a few of my recommendations: -
AVOID – Good for everyone to avoid
- All Vegetable oil (canola, soy, corn, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, margarines and non-butter spreads and salad dressings made from these)
- Trans fatty acids from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
- Iron-fortified grains and extruded grains – this is cold processed cereals and enriched white flours
- Processed sugars
- Artificial food additives, preservatives, chemicals
- Soy foods or anything containing soy
- Protein Drinks/shakes – seriously let’s not pretend these are healthy for you
- Synthetic Vitamin C and other non-whole food vitamins
EMPHASIZE – For rebuilding, not necessarily for the already deeply healthy person
- Red Meat
- Oysters, at least once per week and other shellfish
- Fish Eggs
- Liver, about once per week
- Butter from pastured cows
- Eggs from pastured chickens – especially the yolk
- Wild, ocean-going fish
- Unrefined Sea Salt – Real Salt or Celtic Sea Salt
- Organic whole grains, properly prepared – sourdough or soaked
- Leaf Green Vegetables and seaweeds
- Raw Honey – 4 Tablespoons per day. Take 2 before bed to sleep better. Raw honey aids sleep, reduces allergies, increases nutrition and promotes heart health. Raw honey truly is a SUPERFOOD.
- Bone Broth 1-2 cups daily or gelatin (see below)
- Fresh or frozen berries
- Raw Milk and Cream
- Glandular Supplements as recommended by natural physician
- Cod Liver Oil
- Wheat Germ Oil
- Gelatin 1 Tablespoon daily on the days you don’t have bone broth. Gelatin promotes hormone production, restores digestive health and soothes inflammation in the body – which makes it ideal for helping with arthritis.
- Coconut oil – for hormone production, weight loss and reducing inflammation – about 1/4 cup per day.
- Zinc-liver Chelate from Standard Process
- Vitamin D-3
- Go to bed by 10:00pm – you may need up to 10 hours of sleep each night – (including weekends) for your body to heal.
- Don’t Overeat
- Exercise – but not to exhaustion. You should always feel like you could have done more
- Heal strained relationships
As you can see healing your body really involves a complete rebuilding. Other health problems may need to be taken into consideration. This plan, I believe, is based on true principles of health and recovery. If you are looking for the quick fix (with potentially dire consequences) you can go the Superman route. If you are looking for long-term results, then you may want to consider these suggestions. If you are able to reverse the personal state of famine you may be suffering from, only then can you expect your body to function as it was designed.
Dr. Kyle Christensen
August 26, 2013