I recently attended a seminar by Dr Sherrill Sellman who is a Naturopath and a doctor of Integrative Medicine. She is one of the leading voices in women's holistic health and wellness and travels the world lecturing on topics related to hormonal health. Dr Sellman is the author of Hormone Heresy: What Women MUST Know About Their Hormones and What Women MUST Know to Protect their Daughters from Breast Cancer.
Keen to gobble up any and all information regarding women's hormones, I was thrilled to hear that Dr Sellman was coming to Sydney and eagerly bought a ticket to attend her lecture titled 'Getting Hormones on Track.' She did a fantastically informative two hour talk on which I furiously took notes. (Old habits die hard!) Here is a bit of a recap of what I learned.
- menopause is a downhill slide
- ovaries fail
- hot flushes are inevitable
- menopause is oestrogen deficiency
- oestrogen declines at peri-menopause
- the Pill normalizes menstruation
- menopause is an empowering time – this is when women step into their true power, creativity, wisdom and claim their authentic self
- ovaries continue to function
- hot flashes are NOT inevitable – they are a symptom of serious imbalance (cut the red wine and chocolate) and are clues that something is amiss
- oestrogen excess occurs at menopause
- oestrogen is high at peri-menopause
- the Pill creates chemical castration, meaning it takes the ovaries offline
The Pill Problem
The Pill depletes key nutrients, and sets up the following consequences due to nutritional deficiencies:
- blood clots
- yeast infections
- loss of libido
- weight gain
- cancer (breast, uterine, colon)
- cardiovascular disease
- weakened immune system
- high blood pressure
- birth defects
- sleep problems
Root Causes of Hormone Imbalance
- adrenal exhaustion
- toxic liver – liver metabolises hormones
- insulin resistance – too much sugar and carbs
- poor digestion / bad gut flora
- inflammation – fuels all chronic illnesses and ages you
- vitamin, mineral, protein and fatty acid deficiencies
Effects of high and prolonged cortisol levels
- hormone imbalances (oestrogen excess)
- progesterone and testosterone deficiencies
- blood sugar imbalances (hypoglycaemia)
- lowered immunity and inflammatory response
- suppressed thyroid function
- increased abdominal fat
- impaired cognitive function
- decreased bone density
Natural Hormone Rejuvenation
- Goji Berries – eat everyday – they help restore blood and support the liver
- Pueraria Mirifica – grows in Thailand – stimulates oestrogen receptors, protects against breast cancer, regenerates hormonal essences, and helps with vaginal dryness – can purchase at www.fatlossaustralia.com.au
- Maca – powerful adaptogen - regulates hormones and revitalizes the body as well as stimulating the libido
- Pomegranate Seed Oil – stimulates oestrogen receptor sites – applied topically
Breast Cancer Prevention
- avoid exposure to environmental pollution as much as possible
- avoid hormone disruptors, such as BPA
- reduce inflammation
- optimize Vitamin D
- eat plenty of Omega 3 fats
- ensure you are getting enough iodine – include seaweed
- eat cruciferous vegetables daily – raw or lightly cooked
- do lymphatic breast massage
- eat coconut oil daily – provides fuel to healthy cells, but cannot feed cancer cells
- improve insulin receptor sensitivity
- cut sugar, refined carbs, and alcohol – stevia and xylitol are fine
Take Away Messages
- Your menstrual cycle is the key to your power and wisdom as a woman! Don't hate on it. Many women out there (ahem, yours truly) would kill to have one!!
- #1 hormone wrecker = stress. Stress affects the adrenals which are key to hormone balance, energy, anti-aging, etc. Incorporate stress management techniques into your daily life, i.e. breathing exercises, meditation, nature walk, etc.
- Vitamin D is essential for healthy hormones. We should be in the 250 mg RDA range.
- Make sure your gut is healthy. You can be eating all the organic kale in the world, but if you're not absorbing and assimilating the nutrients, it's not doing you much good. Eat raw cultured veggies to increase good gut flora.
- You're not a victim of your genes. Diet can switch genes on or off. Every bite you take matters and can influence gene expression.
- Sugar is the enemy (no surprise there!). It deprives cells of oxygen, wreaks havoc on your immune system, and destroys hormones.
Tests from your Doctor
If you are concerned that you have hormonal imbalances or adrenal fatigue, the following tests may be useful:
- Saliva testing for hormone levels - blood testing is the wrong (but most commonly used) test!
- Thyroid - need advanced testing, not just TSH, to determine if you have an autoimmune disease
- Vitamin D – get tested twice a year
Was this helpful for you? Do you have healthy hormones? What do you think the main cause of imbalance is for you? Would love to hear from you.