[Transcript] – Best Of Hormone Health: How To Stop Hormonal Weight Gain, The Truth About Birth Control, How To Optimize Your Testosterone Levels & More

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/hormonepodcast/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:50] GHK peptide, growth hormone, and cancer with Dr. De

[00:10:39] Thyroid health with Dr. Amie Hornaman

[00:34:13] How to modulate cortisol with Craig Koniver

[00:52:37] Ben's Biohacked Home

[00:54:14] Birth control pill with Jolene Brighten

[01:07:43] Testosterone replacement expert Jay Campbell

[01:25:41] End of Podcast

[00:57:54] Legal Disclaimer

Ben:  Fitness, nutrition, biohacking, longevity, life optimization, spirituality, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the Ben Greenfield Life show. Are you ready to hack your life? Let's do this.

This is going to be very interesting episode. If you care about testosterone, cortisol, estrogen thyroid, and a whole lot more. This is the hormone podcast, the best of hormone health. The best of the best from some of the most fantastic hormone-related a podcast that I've recorded of late. Shownotes you can get a BenGreenfieldLife.com/HormonePodcast. That is BenGreenfieldLife.com/HormonePodcast

First up, we actually have an interview with Dr. De down in Miami. We talked about a whole lot including regeneration of the thymus gland, a topic near and dear to my heart because I just got back from Cabo where I underwent the high-dose MK killer cell injection from Eterna Health, Dr. Adeel Khan, also a former podcast guest, over saw that. But you don't have to fly to Cabo and get killer cells injected to actually improve and regenerate your thymus gland. We're going talk about that and whole lot more with Dr. De. If you want to listen to the entire episode for this or any of the other shows that here today, go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/HormonePodcast. Here we go. 

Dr. De:  I will die for what I'm going to say right now with what your body produces, which is the testosterone and peptides like great peptides like GHK copper, which is found in the saliva, urine, and plasma in the blood.

Ben:  Your body already makes.

Dr. De:  Your body makes it and needs it. And, for example, you start to see an increase in cancer because of the downregulation, the production of GHK. And, the GHK is not even a fitness peptide, it's for skin and hair and nails.

Ben:  Yeah, it's even used topically in a lot of hair growth and skin care treatment.

Dr. De:  Yeah. And, it's basically the 911 for injury. So, you get a cut, and your genes all of a sudden upregulate GHK for it to come. But, as you age, the production declines and therefore you even see an increase in cancerous activity.

Ben:  Okay.

Dr. De:  “Wait, holy smokes. Did you just say the lack of peptide can promote cancer?” Absolutely. There's a meta-analysis on growth hormone. Brother, it's wonderful. It's what, 11,191 participants. They did a retroactive study, so they looked at past studies. They didn't do a new study, so they looked at PubMed, web of China, and I can't remember two more large databases and they collected all these growth hormone studies and they showed that in adults. This is actually the title what I'm going to say right now. Maybe not verbatim, but in adults, with adult growth hormone deficiency, which many of us have, the replacement of growth hormone helps in preventing cancer. And, I'll wrap it up with–

Ben:  If you have a growth hormone deficiency.

Dr. De:  Deficiency. But, now there's another study called the TRIM trial, which stands for thymic regeneration, immunerestoration and insulin mitigation. And, even for social proof, not scientific proof, Forbes already has done article on this nature. It was originally published in the aging cell and they used DHEA, recombinant growth hormone, and metformin, which is a–I don't like metformin. They use this and they actually show that they can slow down the aging process, which is amazing.

Ben:  Significantly. And, by the way, I still want to get back to what it was the Liver King could have been doing that you feel could have been actually dangerous or harmful. But, I remember because I like to look, and you know this, Dr. De, through natural lens as much as possible, I say, okay, well they use the synthetic or pharmaceutical. Not that those are all bad, but would there be a natural way to achieve this? And, I remember when the TRIM trial came out and I stepped back and thought, okay. Well, let's say somebody doesn't want to use growth hormone, maybe they don't have a deficiency, maybe they have downregulated growth hormone receptors because their diet or there's some issue related to them not necessarily needing to take growth hormone. Well, what about things like natural raw fermented dairy or colostrum or even some of the growth hormone-based peptides like CJC, ipamorelin?

Dr. De:  Absolutely.

Ben:  And then, I looked at the DHEA, I don't have much of an issue with. Even my wife, she takes very small amounts of DHEA. I think it's fantastic, especially for perimenopausal and post-menopausal women. Guys go back and forth on that. I see some guys seem to do well on it. Some double women seem to do really well in 10 to 20 mgs of DHEA.

Dr. De:  Yeah.

Ben:  So, that one, I didn't have a huge issue with. And then, the metformin was the other component I thought, well, gosh, I mean, between low-level physical activity, cold baths, lifting weights, and blood glucose disposal agents like berberine or dihydroberberine, bitter melon or apple cider vinegar, whatever, you could probably–I would have liked to see a sidearm not that they would have done this, it would have been too complex where instead of growth hormone and metformin and DHA maybe they try colostrum and the blood glucose disposal agent and physical activity and maybe some DHEA or something like that. But, I remember when that study came out, there might be a way to do this naturally too.

Dr. De:  But, here's the thing. The growth hormone, I don't think they used it in the study per se because of the direct benefits of the growth hormone, but they use–it's funny with somebody that was here earlier today, I actually went over the study so it's kind of fresh in my head. They use it for the ability to regenerate the thymus gland. So, that's when you can come in. Yeah, I mean, forgive the colloquialism here but screw the growth hormone. You have to use growth hormone. You can use thymosin alpha, thymosin beta for example.

Ben:  Peptides.

Dr. De:  Peptides.

Ben:  Those are great, but a lot of people use those during COVID and long haul vaccine and saw great results.

Dr. De:  Right. Or, even organic meats and so forth, things that you can–

Ben:  Like thymus extract.

Dr. De:  Yes.

Ben:  Or sweetbreads, right?

Dr. De:  Yes. And guys, just to be very clear, my life philosophy, honest to God, it's not feasible, but move to the Amazon and live in the middle of nature and get true sun and decrease my chemical burden, which is something here I'm super passionate about. Before taking a bunch of stuff, I'm like, “How much chemicals, how much excitotoxins are you exposed to? Where do you live? Do you live next to these crazy towers of glyphosate land?” All the kind of stuff. So, that's my real inclination. But, we live in the middle of a cement jungle, which he just wrote a scooter through. And, it's like, “Okay, these things are impossible. We're talking to attorneys and busy moms and so forth” that it's like, “Okay, ma'am, your vitamin D is abysmally low. You're getting osteomalacia because you're under 15 vitamin D.” So, it's like, “Okay, go out in the sun from this time and this time.” “Oh, I'm not going to do it.” “Okay, fine, supplement.” 

So, just so we're clear, if I can one day actually get this all naturally–and, that's why I admire you, brother, because you're more isolated, you're doing this in a way more natural way. And, not because you're here but hats off. But, for those that can't, like the art of regeneration of the thymus gland which I actually just did the CTA and the calcium score not too long ago and they actually wrote embryological remnants still visible, the thymus gland on my case. I was so happy because I'm like, “Oh, crap”–

Ben:  Is that abnormal to have embryological remnants of the thymus gland would normally degrade by your age?

Dr. De:  Yes.

Ben:  Wow.

Dr. De:  So, yeah, in medical school, they trick us. So, first-year medical school, and there's doctors listening out there. See, if you remember this, they'll usually in anatomy first semester, second semester, they'll give you an X-ray of a baby's chest and they'll put an arrow and say, “Which structure is this?” And, you're like, “The professor stupid.” And, it's the heart, man. And, you put heart and go to the next question, then everybody gets that. Almost everybody gets it wrong.

Ben:  Because it's the thymus.

Dr. De:  It's the freaking thymus.

Ben:  Wow. Hey, what about the idea of red light on glands for glandular activation? I have a red light. I have a few and two different companies have told me that I should use the red light on the thymus to strengthen the immune system and increase thymus gland activity. So, it's pure anecdote because I've never seen any studies on photobiomodulation for glandular activation of the thymus, but I do it. And, just because I got the red lights out anyways in the morning. I just put it over the lower part of the collarbone in the center.

Dr. De:  I think it makes perfect sense. I'm a big firm believer of photobiomodulation. You'll see, like I told you, our new facility. It's going to be red-light galore.

Ben:  Yeah.

Dr. De:   But, that makes a lot of sense. And, the thymus gland, I mean now I'm going to go off on a whim here a little bit. But, it seems it even has some extra, let's say, sensitivities to the environment. Even spiritual, there's a lot of–if you google “thymic tapping,” like people that used to tap their thymus in the path to release fear or release emotions–

Ben:  It's one of the tapping points in “The Tapping Solution” book. The eyebrows and the–Nick Ortner‘s book. I interviewed him a long time ago. But, one of the areas that you tap is the thymus. My family and I, we all do tapping every morning. We don't do this whole sequence, but what we do is we do a gratitude practice, meditation, breathwork, and memorization of a passage of scripture. And then, at the very end, when we're all settled down, I have everybody choose a spot. For me, it's over the heart. And, we tap for about 30 seconds because based on the concepts of neurolinguistic programming, which is what the whole tapping solution is based around, along with activation of some of those certain points, if later on in the day when you're stressed or you feel as though you need to settle down or return back to that meditative state without doing 10 or 15 minutes of breathwork and Bible reading and prayer to get there, you tap on that same area and it allows you to set this haptic cue that brings you back into that feeling of relaxation. 

So, right now, I guarantee, if we were doing active tracking of my heart rate variability like using a ring or a metric or whatever, when I tap right over that area because I've been tapping for three years every morning right after meditation, my body goes, “Oh, hey, it's time to settle down.” So, there's something to the whole tapping component.

Dr. De:  No way, dude. That's super cool. I'm going to incorporate that–

Ben:  Yeah, that book, “The Tapping Solution,” a lot of people like it for stress. I thought it was silly at first honestly, you just tap areas. But, there's another book that's very similar called “The Healing Code.”

Dr. De:  I know that, yeah.

Ben:  It was just this idea. I think that has some tapping into it as well.

Next up. One of my favorite interviews about the thyroid I've ever done with Dr. Amie Hornaman. Matter of fact, after this interview in which we talk about weight gain, red light therapy, cold thermogenesis for thyroid support, testosterone for women, and a whole lot more, I actually picked up her supplement, The Thyroid Fixer supplement. I've been using it, it's fantastic. I almost got to be careful because it seems to blast away calories so quickly. It's difficult to maintain weight when I'm using it too much. Anyways, BenGreenfieldLife.com/HormonePodcast for the shownotes.  Here we go with Dr. Amie. 

I'm just curious if the added weight is kind of cortisol-related water retention and bloating, if it's an actual formation of new fat in response to drop in metabolic rate or did you ever think about that or dig into it?

Amie:  Formation of new fat based on the decrease in metabolism because your thyroid is the master. I mean, that is the start of all metabolic processes including fat burning. So, if your thyroid isn't working, there's nothing that is working. There's nothing that you can do. And, this is what I see with the people that I work with. They're doing the most perfect diet, the perfect exercise regimen. They're doing all the supplementation. They're doing peptides. They're doing all the things and they're not seeing the results. They'll say, “Listen, the scale is not moving down and in fact it's moving up.” And, that is the thyroid's control over your metabolism.

Ben:  Okay. So, is this related to the whole idea of metabolic set point to where you could be burning, let's say, I mean my metabolism is screaming how I was talking to somebody the other day like, “Dude, you're just eating all the time, how are you so lean?” And, the last time I did one of these, they call them indirect calorimetry test for how many calories that you burn at rest, sitting around, doing nothing at all, I'm at 3,200. Meaning I got to eat at least 3,200 calories a day to actually keep weight on. But, if somebody finds out how many calories they're burning and they're like, “Oh, I'm going to go on a diet, I'm going eat say 500 fewer calories in that every day,” what could happen, it sounds like based on your explanation, is if they don't go back and retest that their thyroid master regulator might actually decrease that natural amount of calories that they're burning to I don't know 1,500 calories a day. And so, all of a sudden, they're back at calorie balance.

Amie:  Exactly. And then, it becomes cyclical, so the people can't burn body fat, their metabolism drops. So, what do we all naturally do? We eat less and exercise more. So then, that eating less, that restriction to where–I mean some of my ladies will drop their calories. They're coming in to see me. They're at a thousand calories a day because they got so desperate to lose the body fat that they just saw pile on that they're restricting, restricting, restricting. And, that further drops their metabolism, it drops the T3 production of their own thyroid gland so it's almost just this really bad cycle that people get into when they're suffering with a thyroid problem and they're not being diagnosed or addressed properly or treated properly, it compounds on each other and the metabolism goes even lower.

Ben:  Okay, got it. I got a lot of questions for you about the thyroid now. So, you said earlier that the doctors run this kind of test for the thyroid and they test for certain things. Is that test inadequate?

Amie:  No, no. So, you go to your doc, you say, “Listen, I want to get my thyroid tested.” If you don't specify the test that you want, you're going to get TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone. And, that's a pituitary hormone, it's not a thyroid hormone. And, it's an okay test but again in functional medicine, we have optimal lab values. Standard conventional medicine has their standard lab value range that we said earlier is taken from a group of sick people. Functional medicine takes people like you, takes the fit, the healthy and we say, “Where are they at?” And, that's that really narrow optimal range that we want you to fall into. So, with TSH, even just that marker alone, in functional medicine, we want that below it too. Standard medicine won't call you hypo until you're above a 4.5 now. So, it's an okay test if it's screaming at us, if someone comes in and it's like, “Wow, your TSH is a 5.” Yeah, there's a problem but there are so many other tests that we have to test.

Ben:  Okay. So, you got TSH. And, first of all, the reference range for that you're saying should be closer to 2 than 4 plus.

Amie:  Yup.

Ben:  So, if you're looking over your lab values and you got an InsideTracker or Wellness FX or your doctor scores or whatever, you might have to look a little bit more closely if that flags as A, okay, because that might actually not be a proper reference range for what you would consider to be true thyroid health.

Amie:  Right, exactly.

Ben:  Okay. What else do you test? Okay. So then, we go down the line, we go free T3. That is the active thyroid hormone. So, I mentioned I was given T4, that's inactive. We will test the free T4 for sure, we'll do a total and a free T4. And, that gives us a little bit of information but where I really like to focus, what I want to see is the total and the free T3 because that's your active thyroid hormone. And, the free form of it tells me how much of that active thyroid hormone is in your body ready to be taken up by the cell. So, if we look at a cell, the receptor site on that cell is for T3. There's no receptor site on your cell for T4. There is for T3. So, I want to see how much free active thyroid hormone is in your body, then I want to look at reverse T3. So, reverse T3 is your anti-thyroid hormone. 

The analogy that I love to use is a bouncer at a club. That bouncer is just standing outside your cell door, arms crossed, looking at T3, being like, “You're not getting in. You're not getting in today.” So, if there's too much reverse T3 in the body, it's going to block T3's action at the cell level.  Where we see elevator reverse T3 is in clinical settings like the ICU, the ER. When you're injured, when you're in a trauma state, that reverse will go up–and, it's a survival mechanism. I mean, it's beautifully built into our bodies, but we don't want it elevated when you're walking around trying to live life. You're not in a hospital bed. We don't want you to have elevated reverse T3. So, this also tells me how well you're converting your inactive thyroid hormone T4 over into the active thyroid hormone T3.

Beyond that, we test for the Hashimoto antibodies. So, that's TPO and TGA, thyroid peroxidase thyroglobulin. That tells me if you have hypothyroidism that is an autoimmune form where your body is attacking your thyroid gland.

Ben:  Okay, got it. Would that only be for Hashimoto's that someone would have these elevated thyroid antibodies?

Amie: Yeah. Those are just Hashimoto antibodies. I mean, we could run like an ANA screen. That's kind of general autoimmune marker, but the TPO and TGA are just for those autoantibodies attacking the thyroid gland.

Ben:  Okay. So, you got this one subset of people who's maybe not eating enough calories or not eating enough carbohydrates and exercising too much and you're getting a downregulation of thyroid that you could test. But then, are you saying there's another population of people who have an immune condition in which their thyroid is under attack?

Amie:  Oh, yeah. So, 95% of all hypothyroidism is actually Hashimoto's. So, we have that small percent of the people just like you said, Ben, that they're overexercising, they're over dieting or maybe they did chemoradiation, they're taking a drug that is downregulating their thyroid function. But, 95% of hypo, low, and slow thyroid patients fall into the Hashimoto category. Now, it could be that the diet and exercise, overdoing it actually flip that autoimmune switch to the on position too. So, the overexercising, over-dieting, low calorie definitely will have an effect on the thyroid directly, but it's also a stressor on the body that can flip on the Hashimoto switch.

Ben:  Oh, this sounds a little bit something like leaky gut syndrome or a food allergy where a stressful incident in life or something that triggers almost a cell danger response syndrome causes someone to all of a sudden have an autoimmune reaction to certain foods or permeable gut membrane that they never had to deal with otherwise in life and there's a life incident that flips that switch that maybe they weren't born with but that is now activated from a stressful scenario.

Amie:  Yeah, exactly. It's that whole three-legged stool analogy for all autoimmune conditions where definitely having a leaky gut, that's going to set you up for that autoimmune switch to turn on and then here comes that stressful event.

Ben:  Okay, gotcha. And obviously, this kind of leads to the question and this is probably going to rabbit hole a little bit is what do you do if you find out the values are off. And, it sounds there might be two different approaches depending on which thyroid dysregulation that you're looking at. Yeah.

Amie:  I mean, here's the thing. Even if you have Hashimoto's, how are we going to treat you differently? Okay, we're probably going to use something like low-dose naltrexone, black cumin seed oil, we're going to mandate that you go gluten-free because gluten is a molecular mimicker to the thyroid so that can induce an autoimmune attack, but I'm still going to treat those low thyroid hormones. It's not like, “Oh, you have Hashimoto, so you're going to get T4 monotherapy while everybody else gets T4 and T3, I'm still going to look at those lab values that we just talked about and I want to get those in an optimal range and I want to get you in an optimal range ultimately eradicating your symptoms.” So, treatment might vary slightly, but at the end of the day, we want you optimized.

Ben:  Okay, got it. So, let's go back to the optimized piece assuming that Synthroid as you've just explained is not necessarily the answer because it's inactive T4. What would you actually do to restore thyroid function?

Amie:  So, let's look at those labs. So, let's say you're coming in with a free T3 that is suboptimal. I won't even say low because it's not necessarily going to be flagged low on that standard lab value range, but maybe it's low according to my functional standards. Then, we have to look at the fact that here's a stat for you, only 2% of hypothyroid patients do well on T4 monotherapy, 98% do well on T4 and T3 or T3 alone. So, right there, we have to change the treatment. If someone is on T4 only, it's not going to work, it's not going to work. We have to add in some T3. So, let's add in some T3. We can use natural desiccated thyroid like Armour or NP. I have no problem with the synthetics. I have no problem if someone's on Synthroid and they're doing well and their reverse T3 is okay, it's optimal, I know they're converting their thyroid hormone, but the T3 is low. Okay. Well then, let's add in some liothyronine, let's add in some Cytomel, let's add in that T3 to get a better balance, skip the middleman, give you some of that active thyroid hormone that your body needs and that your cells require and now, all of a sudden, you're feeling better.

Now, if there's a reverse T3 issue where the person is having issues converting, then we might lower the T4 and add in the T3. Maybe we do T3 only. I'm T3 only. I don't convert. I never tested my genetics to see if I have a D101 or D102 SNP, but I don't convert. You give me T4, I get worse. So, I'm T3 only. Some of my patients are. It's all about that personalization aspect and finding the right combo that's going to work for that individual.

Ben: What about red light though?

Amie:  I mean, red light, there's again a ton of studies on it showing the positive effect on the thyroid gland. And again, you have to have a thyroid gland, A. So, that red light shining on the thyroid gland, it's actually showing to heal. So, if you do have Hashimoto's and like we said earlier, the thyroid gland starts to get all wonky looking and small and kind of beat up, you add in that red light therapy on a daily basis on the thyroid gland itself. And, we're seeing some tissue regeneration and a little bit more output of the thyroid hormones.

Now, it's not huge, it's not tremendous. Again, it's the marathon thing. You got to do it every day. You have to be diligent about it. I probably wouldn't use that as a monotherapy. So, if someone comes to me and they have all the symptoms and they're gaining weight and they're constipated, they're losing their hair, I wouldn't just say, “Hey, stand in front of a red light and you'll be good,” I would do it in conjunction with other therapies for sure.

Ben:  Yeah. That's interesting. And, you know I've just seen some of these companies coming out with wraparound red lights for the joints, one company called Kineon has one. And, the guy who sent it to me said that it does help out with thyroid function. So, rather than just using my knees and my elbows, I've occasionally just wrapped it around the neck, put the red light on the neck.

Amie:  Yeah.

Ben:  And then, the company HigherDOSE that for the longest time had this infrared light face mask that you use if you're going to do a clay mask for beauty or wrinkles or something like that. And, I got one last week, they sent one to my house to try. They made a wraparound red light that's specifically for the neck and the chest. You wrap it around your neck almost like a bib, a lobster bib, and it does red light starting at the bottom of the chin all the way to about the sternum level. So, that'd probably be another option for people who want to do targeted red light therapy for the thyroid but maybe can't afford, or don't have space for one of these big red light panels or red light beds.

Amie:  Yeah. And, you help your turkey neck all the same time.

Ben:  I think that's why they made it was for the beauty aspects, but I was thinking, gosh, there's probably a crossover effect here for the thyroid. That's interesting.

Amie:  Yeah, definitely.

Ben:  One other thing that people talk about a lot, and this might be related to or even something that might be stackable with this T2 approach because you mentioned it for brown fat activation is cold like cold baths, ice baths, making sure that you get the neck under or the chin under when you get in there to treat the thyroid. Have you seen any research on that or do you like the idea of cold thermogenesis for thyroid support?

Amie:  I do. I do because of that brown fat activation and the decrease in inflammation. So, I mean, now you tell a hypothyroid patient who is usually cold intolerant, they're cold when everyone else is totally comfortable, you tell them that you got to do cold therapy, they're going to look at you like you have five heads. But, when you look at the evidence, so we know that the body will adjust. So, on the one hand, you can tell that patient, “Listen, I know you're cold all the time, but if you do the cold showers, the cold bath, the cold therapy, you're going to acclimate.” So, your body will adjust to that, you're going to get the benefits of it, you're going to get that brown fat activation, you're going to get the decrease in inflammation, but you're also going to acclimate and be more comfortable at the end of your therapy, whether you're doing it daily or you're doing it two, three times a week. In a couple weeks to a month when your body actually starts to adjust, now you won't be that cold person in the room that has to wear a sweater and it's 75 degrees. Your body temp will adjust to that as well. So, there's so many benefits I have nothing but good to say about cold therapy whether you have a hypothyroid issue, a thyroid issue or not.

Ben:  Yeah. I think a lot of people forget about that improvement in microcirculation and brown fat formation. That kind of makes a little bit easier as time goes on or at least you warm up a little faster. And, for people who don't really like the idea of getting into the cold water or maybe can't afford a cryotherapy chamber in your spare bathroom, there's one company, and I have had a few clients who really just detest cold water get this. It's called Cool Fat Burner. And, I think it's coolfatburner.com, I believe, and they've got this wraparound device that you put ice packs in. They got one for the gut and then they got one that wraps around the collarbone and up by the neck. I think I blank on the name of that one. Actually, I think take the one around the waist is called the Cool Gut Buster or something like that and the one for the neck is the Cool Fat Burner. But, that's an option, you can just use cold packs in this kind of vest scenario. And interestingly, the cold packs are actually pretty close up around the thyroid gland.

Amie:  Right. And, like you said, Ben, stacking it. So, you stack it with T2 that activates brown adipose tissue. You're activating more BAT. That is lowering or improving your insulin sensitivity, lowering your insulin, lowering your insulin resistance. You're stimulating more mitochondria. I mean, it literally just keeps stacking upon itself with the benefits. You can't go wrong. And, when you're talking again about a hypothyroid patient, weight is the big thing, weight and low energy. So, when you are activating that BAT or you're stimulating white adipose tissue and browning it, oh my gosh, I mean, your energy improves, your inflammation goes down like we said, you're burning more fat. I mean, it has nothing but good, why not do it?

Ben:  Have you ever heard of grains of paradise?

Amie:  That's funny. I just started looking that up as a potential to actually put into one of my new formulas. So, yes, I have because I just started looking at that.

Ben:  Yeah, it's like one of the most potent brown fat activators. Matter of fact, if you come to my house and we got our Greenfield family logo on everything, it's on the family crest and there's flags by the front door with the Greenfield family logo and our pickleball paddles have the family logo, our throw pillows, our coasters, it's everywhere. But, we have this really beautiful custom-made wooden pepper grinder that if anybody uses pepper at our house, they think they're using black pepper. That thing's always full with grains of paradise. And, I put pepper on just about every meal except breakfast. And, that is a super potent brown fat activator. And, I looked into the research on it, so yeah, it would be a fantastic addition to your product. But, you can literally just buy the grains from Amazon and put them in a pepper grinder and just use it on your bone broth and your salads and things like that.

Amie:  Yeah, amazing, amazing research with that.

Ben:  Yeah. I know that you specialize in thyroid and again, BenGreenfieldLife.com/ThyroidFixer is where people can access the shownotes and learn more about you and your website and your practice and everything, but you do a lot of other hormones and a lot of other work.

And, one thing I just wanted to ask you while I have you on the show. I know we don't have a terribly long amount of time left together, but it's testosterone, particularly for women because I understand I think I saw an article on your website where you talked about this and I'm curious, what's your take on that? Because I'm hearing a lot of talk about sexual function and orgasm quality and things like this for women who use a topical testosterone or a hormone replacement with testosterone. What's your take on that?

Amie:  This is my second passion next to thyroid is testosterone and the importance of it for men and women. So, I mean, really, we're hearing it more and more from men these days, TRT, all of that. I mean, it's talked about more mainstream, but I think women get left behind in this testosterone talk because when we talk about women's hormones, we think estrogen, we don't think testosterone. But, testosterone is the most abundant hormone in a woman's body. Now, you guys have more of it but it is our most abundant hormone. And, I call it the get-shit-done hormone. It gives us motivation. It gives us drive. It gives us strength. It helps with body fat. It helps with libido. It helps with hair growth. I mean, it helps with so many things that if you don't have enough of it, you're not going to want to do anything. I mean, you're not going to want to have sex, yeah, but you're also not going to want to go to the gym, you're not going to want to work, you're not going to want to think, you're not going to want to do. So, testosterone for women is vital.

Now, here's the problem, again, going back to conventional medicine and those standard lab value ranges. A woman will get cut off in that standard lab value range, most of them end at 48 total. So, I'm looking at the total testosterone right now. It'll go 2 to 48.

So, if a woman comes in with a test level of a 50, which in my mind is the bottom number for optimal, I like my ladies at 50 or above for testosterone, total testosterone. So, woman comes in with a 50, she's getting flagged high. Her doctor is telling her, “Oh, you have too much testosterone, you must have PCOS or you have an androgen problem.” Meanwhile, she's just hitting the bottom of the barrel of optimal.

I mean, men, you guys get told you're normal too if your testosterone is 400 and we know that that's horrible. But ladies, I love, I mean when you get that testosterone number up and you give a woman who is low in T, you give her testosterone replacement therapy. Whether it's a cream, I will use injectable with my ladies too, troches, however you want to do it. The only thing I stay away from are the pellets because that's where I see female levels go to dude levels. And, that's where you'll get the women saying, “I lost all my hair.” It's like, yeah, well you converted the DHT because your test was a 900. So, that's not good–

Ben:  I was going to say. I assume that you're looking at lab values because I would imagine if you're just looking at total T, you could put a woman on testosterone, see something like over-aromatization. I don't know if excess estrogen could lead to risk of breast cancer or something like that or you might see that it's not bioavailable because sex hormone binding globulin is too high because they're under a lot of stress. I would imagine similar to a man, you can't just take testosterone as a woman and assume you're just good to go, right?

Amie:  Right, yeah. No, it's all about the dose, the administration, how she pushes to the 5alpha-reductase pathway or how she's going to aromatize her testosterone in the DHT. We look at that. And, I mean, we can tweak it, we can personalize it, we can really make it fit her. So, if we're using something like a cream, I'll go 10 to 20 mgs per day because there's always a crapshoot with the cream with absorption and utilization with an injectable. I mean, we could do something as simple as 10 milligrams a week or 10 every two weeks. And, that's enough. I mean, it just lights a woman up. 

And, here's the thing with the thyroid too tying it back, low levels of testosterone and this is one reason why women get hit with Hashimoto's more than men because again, you guys have more testosterone for protection. Testosterone protects against autoimmune. So, women get hit with Hashimoto's more often because we have lower levels of testosterone in general and then you have the group of women that just have low T period. And, when you give that testosterone, male or female, you actually protect against autoimmune. So, you can lower the Hashimoto antibodies by bringing those testosterone levels up to optimal.

Ben: Dr. Craig Koniver's OG functional medicine fantastic clinic in Charleston, South Carolina, if you want to pay him a visit. He's great. And in this episode, we talk about how to effectively modulate cortisol. All my chats with Craig are incredible. So, you want to listen to the entire interview for sure but this section of cortisol is very interesting. Here we go. 

Craig: How do we treat or modulate cortisol? I'm not going to go into specific recipes per se, but I'm going to give you some broad strokes, things to think about, things to go back to your doctor, things to contact us about for sure because we have a lot of experience doing this. So, what we start to do is number one, we test. Sometimes we'll start with blood tests in the morning as a screen to see what a cortisol level is. In general, we can learn a lot by how someone's feeling, but if they've got an elevated or even normal morning cortisol in a zone anywhere from really 14 to 18 on the blood test and they're sleeping well, they're probably doing pretty good. Most people don't have this.

So, most people, their morning cortisol will be less than 14 and they will complain of not sleeping well. When that happens, we'd like to do a salivary cortisol test. And we can do a salivary cortisol test anyway. That salivary cortisol test checks four cortisols throughout the day, and it also checks some other adrenal hormones, which we haven't talked about, DHA, DHEA, and pregnenolone. So, the way I like to think about cortisol is that the adrenal gland is like a factory making cortisol. Cortisol is the main goal. So, think of it like a plant making cars or vehicles. The end goal is the car, but along the way, they can create some other products as well, and those other products will be something like DHEA. That DHEA is then further converted into other hormones in the adrenal glands such as testosterone and estrogen.

There's some other intermediary hormones such as androstenedione, as well as even progesterone. So, the adrenal gland is like a factory making all these hormones. Cortisol is the goal, but we still need to make all those other hormones. That's an important point because when we start to lose our ability to make cortisol because of stress, we're going to steal from these other hormones. And this is what we see on these tests is we have lower DHEA or lower pregnenolone. And that's because we're trying to make up for a depleted cortisol. Those hormones are important. DHEA is an anabolic hormone just like testosterone, just like growth hormone. Pregnenolone is a significant hormone that really is needed in order to make cortisol. So, while cortisol is the main goal, those intermediary hormones are really important, too.

As a side note, pregnenolone is actually made from cholesterol. And if you can think about it, we have at least one generation of adults now have been put on cholesterol-lowering drugs, statin drugs. So, here's what happens. If you lower someone's cholesterol, say they're in their 40s or 50s, and you do a blood test and say, “Oh my goodness, your cholesterol is elevated, now we've got a problem,” and they are put on a cholesterol-lowering medication like a statin, well, now they can't make enough cortisol. If you don't have cholesterol to be turned into pregnenolone, to be turned in cortisol, you can't make enough cortisol. As we've discussed, if you can't make enough cortisol, you can certainly not do all the things you need to do in your life, and it will catch up with you.

So, there is a myth that has been circulating for years, if not longer, that the number one leading cause of heart disease is elevated cholesterol, and that's just not true, it's much more complicated than that. Especially for a man, the number one risk factor for a heart attack for men is low testosterone. So, if you're out there and you're on some statin drug like Lipitor, you need to be careful because, and you certainly need to measure your cortisol levels, because again, cortisol is this master hormone. Cortisol is what's going to help prevent you from getting big bad diseases. Cortisol is going to help you optimize your health. And if you lose control of that because you've chipped away your cholesterol production through taking a pharmaceutical, you're going to suffer.

So, again, that's just a side note, but we really want to focus on being able to maintain and build that cortisol reserve. Having that reserve allows you to handle a stress. That stress, we're all going to encounter at some point. We're all going to encounter major stress. We want to ensure that we have that cortisol reserve to help us prevent things like cancer and heart disease and autoimmune disease, right? So, how do we do this? Well, actually, the best approach is behaviorally. It's not with taking anything, it's with how you change your behavior. It's what I call deliberate, contemplative exercise. So, let's talk about what that is. Contemplative exercise can certainly be meditation, but also it's things like prayer, listening to music, fictional reading, and journaling. It is anything that is outside of an external influence. It is introspective and it is a way to tap back into our parasympathetic nervous system and turn off that sympathetic nervous system.

In the beginning of this talk, I started talking about, or I mentioned how meditation might not be the best way for us to do that. It's certainly a good way, but with my clients, I certainly make the point not all of us are able to meditate. And I think there's a lot of pressure now for people to feel like you have to figure out the only way to be successful in training your brain and your hormones is to meditate. And that's just not true, right? Prayer is a very great way to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, listening to music, journaling. For me, I like to shoot baskets. I've done that since I was a young kid. For a lot of men, it's something with a ball and playing sports, some repetitive action, and we get into that zone.

I don't want people to feel like you have to sit there and be silent and work really hard to meditate. I think that if you're good at that and that works for you, that's great, but there's lots of other ways for you to again be introspective. And the key is being deliberate. So, the key is doing it on a regular basis. It's not saying, “I'll get through my day. And then if I happen to have time, I'll do this.” You got to be deliberate. You got to be proactive so that you can build and maintain this cortisol reserve. So, again, contemplative exercise, prayer, meditation, listening to music, fictional reading, journaling, nothing with your phone, nothing that involves a computer, something that you can just go inward and be with yourself. That's the best way to work on building that cortisol reserve.

Another great way we're going to go over several here, most of you are familiar with these adaptogenic herbs, and there's a host of them. So, adaptogenic herbs have a long history of really helping to support cortisol. I'm going to name five of them that we use routinely and go into how they work. Number one is licorice root. Licorice root delays the conversion of cortisol to cortisone. It has to do with slowing down the enzyme that converts cortisol to cortisone. So, you can take licorice root by itself, a dose. You don't want to do really more than about 20 milligrams.

If you look at supplements over-the-counter, a lot of those supplements have way too high quantities of licorice root. You'll see quantities 100, 200, 500 milligrams of licorice root. That's way too high and that will actually stimulate other hormones like aldosterone from your adrenal gland, which will increase your blood pressure. You may have heard of people taking too much licorice root. So, you want a very low dose of licorice root. What we found to be successful, and then we'll get into it in a second when we talk about cortisol replacement, but we actually compound licorice root with hydrocortisone and a liquid tincture. And we do so because again there's synergy. So, licorice root is a really good tool. Take it in the morning.

Another one we like is holy basil, and a dose of about 500 milligrams in the morning. Holy basil has a long history, meaning, thousands of years where people would take this botanical herb and they would get a sense of the divine in their world. Any of these botanical herbs you want to take their flavor, their personality and make them your own. Another great one that we use a lot of is cordyceps, which is a mushroom. Cordyceps, we usually like it as a powder. You can put it into coffee you can put into a shake, you can certainly take it as capsules, but cordyceps is a great adrenal-strengthening herb. Rhodiola is another one we like. Rhodiola grows in very harsh conditions, so it's very durable as a botanical herb. With that durability, we want to apply that same durability to our adrenal gland. And then lastly, schisandra berry. Schisandra berry has more of a history in kind of traditional Chinese medicine, has more of a fun, happy component to schisandra berry, but you again can take that in the morning.

What I like people to do is don't take these herbs for more than six weeks at a time. You can rotate them, you can take breaks from them, but they are very tonifying and strengthening the adrenals. And frankly, probably as we go through this list, we should all be doing some of each of these just because we have so much stress in our world, especially in this modern time. There's some critical nutrients we think of that help supply the adrenal gland with the necessary nutrients. The three big ones are vitamin A, vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid, and vitamin C. Vitamin A you can get from–I like people to get it from like sources such as cod liver oil. Vitamin B5 you can get from a B complex or vitamin B5 itself. Vitamin C, an essential vitamin, we cannot synthesize it as in the guinea pigs. We don't make it, so we need to get it. A good dose is at least 3,000 milligrams in a day that you're going to need to sustain just kind of normal healthy adrenal function.

And then lastly, the nutrient we use a lot of here is intravenous NAD+. NAD is, it's really a coenzyme, but what NAD does is it helps the mitochondria make more ATP energy. So, without enough NAD, we can't make ATP. Why this is important is for most of us as we're adults, we're in some sort of healing phase. We're working on stuff or stressed out and supplying our cells with as much ATP as possible. It's a really positive aspect or a really positive tool. So, we use a lot of intravenous NAD to do just that. NAD is wonderful for the nervous system, but really when we're talking specifically about adrenal health, it's about supplying the ATP energy.

We use a lot of peptides in our practice. And in the morning, what we like to use, there's one peptide called hexarelin, which really is an energy producer. It is a growth hormone-releasing peptide. So, you take it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. It is injectable. That's the one I like for helping the adrenals. I'll talk about a couple others that we can take at bedtime. There are glandular therapies. So, taking just like one would take Armour Thyroid or Nature-Throid for thyroid support. We can do an adrenal glandular that is usually processed from a bovine or porcine source to give us the kind of the tools for our adrenals to work better.

We also can use some RNA therapy. This is more cutting-edge RNA therapy. We can get specifically for the adrenals, for the pituitary, for the hypothalamus. And again, this helps to supply those cell lines with the, for lack of a better term, nutrients to help revitalize them. We also can use intranasal stem cells. Intranasal stem cells seem to have more of an impact on that hypothalamus. And again, we want that hypothalamus functioning as efficiently as possible because that's one of the parts of the brain that sends a signal to the pituitary. So, intranasal stem cells, as well as intravenous stem cells work well here, too.

I also want to talk about hydrocortisone or cortisol replacement. They are synonymous. So, when we think of cortisol, when we give people cortisol, we're actually giving them hydrocortisone. If you remember I talked about there's a dose we want to stick to. That's 35 milligrams. We, on average as adults, whip out 35 milligrams of cortisol in a day. So, when we give people cortisol replacement, just like we would for thyroid, just like we would for testosterone, growth hormone, we're giving them hydrocortisone. We don't ever want to exceed 35 milligrams in a day. As long as we don't do that, we're not going to suppress their adrenal function. The reason we would choose hydrocortisone over any other therapy is when their adrenal function is really, really poor. They're in a true adrenal fatigue. We've measured their morning cortisol and it's bottoming out. Those people cannot respond to botanical herbs, they cannot respond to other treatments, and they absolutely need cortisol. And so we'll give them hydrocortisone either as a capsule or will compound it with licorice root as a liquid tincture and we'll have them do that throughout the day, and that can work phenomenally.

So, I have many patients on hydrocortisone and we're doing super well. The caveat being when we place someone in hydrocortisone, they're going to be on it for a while. It usually takes one to two years minimum to rejuvenate the adrenals. And the challenge there is that it only takes a month or two for people to start feeling better. So, we give them hydrocortisone. Now, they have more energy when they wake up. They're able to do more, handle stress better. Now, they want to go exercise again. Well, they're not caught up, and so it can be a back-and-forth ebb and flow type of arena until we really reach that point where their adrenals have taken over again. I have a patient who's been on hydrocortisone for a year. We just did his salivary cortisol test and it looks perfect. And so what we're going to do is we're going to try to back him off his hydrocortisone. I think he'll respond pretty well. And within a month or so, will be off the hydrocortisone, meaning, his adrenals have caught up, his adrenals have recovered and he can make all that cortisol on his own.

So, those are the main things we'll do for morning to help people rejuvenate that morning cortisol that needs to be put out. In the evening, there's several things we do as well, and sometimes we'll do this simultaneously. Again, we're going to base this on how the client feels, base this on cortisol testing, and there's a handful of therapies I like to use. The first is something called phosphatidylserine. Phosphatidylserine is, it's an amino acid serine, which we [01:12:12] ______ a phosphate group on. And what that does is that allows the pituitary to be more sensitive to cortisol.

For all of these hormones, there's feedback loops. And so when that cortisol is secreted in the bloodstream, it also travels up to the blood. If there's sufficient cortisol, the pituitary won't put out ACTH telling the adrenals to make more cortisol. We can enhance or amplify the sensitivity of the pituitary to cortisol with phosphatidylserine. So, I like people to take it at night, and over time, it will lower the amount of cortisol they need in their world. So, it's a great way to lower the nighttime cortisol.

Another great way is using the botanical herb ashwagandha. A lot of people use ashwagandha in the morning. They really should be using it at bedtime because what ashwagandha seems to do is clean out the cortisol from the cortisol receptors. So, if you use it over time again, by cleaning out those receptors, you just don't need as much cortisol in your world. So, you can take it at bedtime. The dose there, well, let me back up this for phosphatidylserine, anywhere from 100 to 300 milligrams. Ashwagandha, you can take big dosages. So, 300 to 3,000 milligrams.

On the same token, we use a lot of glycine. Glycine is the smallest amino acid. Great for the liver, but also calms down the nervous system, as such helps us tap back into that parasympathetic nervous systems, helps us relax, be calm, helps us not need as much cortisol. Thus, there is anywhere from 1,000 to–I mean, very high doses, but 1,000 to 5,000 milligrams at bedtime. We also use a lot of CBD. CBD is again the endocannabinoid system, taps directly into the adrenal system. So, if you're looking for a kind of a direct connection, CBD is one of those fools that will allow your adrenals to settle down. So, CBD is great. You can take it throughout the day, but certainly at bedtime for someone who is over-excretor or secretor of cortisol at night. CBD is calming, for a lot of people a little bit sedating, helps people relax, helps people with anxiety. So, we like to use CBD. We can use combination of all these things as long as they're not too sedating.

In terms of peptides, three main ones we use, we use epitalon, which does help to reset the circadian rhythm. We'll use nylon, which helps us put out more melatonin. And then we'll use some of the growth hormone-releasing peptides such as ipamorelin, GHRP-6, GHRP-2, again at bedtime so we can put out more growth hormone. Again, there's that interplay with cortisol, growth hormone, and we want growth hormone at night and we want cortisol during the day.

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I have thoughts on the pill. I did a podcast episode about everything you need to know about the dangers, how to get off it safely, safe and more natural birth control alternatives. Today, you're going to hear the best the best of that episode including how to safely come off of birth control if you've been on it. Why you might want to think about doing an overview of hormonal birth control, the adverse effects of it an athletic performance at a whole lot more. Alright, here we go. 

Ben: You wrote this book, “Beyond the Pill” and I think a really good place for us to start would be how the pill is working exactly because that'd be a good way to also explain the different phases of the cycle and how the pill is impacting those. My audience loves the science, loves the nitty-gritty, and we certainly have time to get into this. So, can you get into how the pill works exactly?

Jolene:  Absolutely. I was a 10-year pill user myself. Really grateful for birth control. I'm a first-generation college student and I can look back to this tool that I utilized. And yeah, it wasn't until I actually got into [00:09:46] ______ medical school that I understood how birth control worked or even how my menstrual cycle worked. Now, when it comes to the pill specifically, I think the most important thing for people to understand is it works at your brain level. Now, there are so many stories, basically. They go around about birth control, and that, “Oh, it's just impacting your ovaries.” Well, let's back it up. How do the ovaries know when to ovulate? Well, the brain signals to the ovaries.

And so, essentially, when you take the pill, it's a high enough dose of hormones that you will digest it, your liver will try to process it, and then it's going to impact the brain by shutting down brain ovarian communication. Now, really important to understand is that not all of the pill is going to be absorbed in the small intestine. It actually will make its way into the large intestine, which we can get into why that's a problem further down the line. But you have to understand that when people say, “Well, I'm taking a low dose hormonal birth control,” well, comparatively speaking to the first iteration of birth control, it is lower dose. However, it's still a high enough dose that your system tries to essentially detox it out, but there's enough hormones to tell the brain, “Shut down communications to the ovary.”

So, we don't fire off follicle-stimulating hormone, FSH, and we don't fire off luteinizing hormone, LH. So, we don't get follicles ready, and so we don't mature an egg for ovulation. And because LH doesn't spike, we don't ovulate. This is all fantastic if you don't want to have a baby, but when we wake up to the reality that birth control works at the brain level, we can start to understand why women have complained of mood alterations, and essentially, neurological symptoms since the introduction of hormonal birth control.

Ben:  Okay. So, basically, when you're shutting down FSH and LH, can you compare and contrast that to what should normally be happening to FSH and LH during a normal menstrual cycle?

Jolene:  Totally. So, even while we're on our periods, so day 1 is the first day that you have a flow, and even while we're on our period, we are getting eggs ready, and that is by way of follicle-stimulating hormone telling the ovaries, “Let's mature an egg.” So, we're going to mature some eggs, and then we're going to pick a winner, and we're going to ovulate. Now, during a normal menstrual cycle, that is without any hormonal interruption, we will see that FSH rises and estrogen rises in the first half, what's called the follicular phase. Then we're going to spike estrogen, and then we're going to spike luteinizing hormone. So, estrogen goes high. It tells the brain, “Release luteinizing hormone.” Luteinizing hormone tells the ovaries, “Release an egg.”

Now, this is the best part of the menstrual cycle. In that, once we ovulate, what's left behind is a structure called the corpus luteum. That structure secretes progesterone. Now, what you find in birth control, every single form of hormonal birth control is progestin. Progestin does not have the same benefits of progesterone. And in fact, we've never had a long-term study to tell us what happens to a woman's body, let alone her brain, when she is essentially put on birth control after starting her period and stays on it for decades at a time because progesterone stimulates the GABA receptors in our brain, which helps us feel chilled out and calm.

It also helps with fluid retention. So, women on birth control will experience weight gain sometimes. There's a whole lot of reasons that can be, but one is water retention because they don't have natural progesterone, they have progestin, which isn't going to have that diuretic effect. And when our progesterone is right, we feel chilled out and calm and in love with life. We're not finding ourselves crying all the time, feeling really irritable, having depression. And most notably when progesterone is low, we experience anxiety, which is why some experts believe being on hormonal birth control can lead to anxiety.

Ben:  Is it a myth that progestin that's used in these birth control pills is made from pregnant mare horse urine?

Jolene:  That's Premarin, and that's actually when the–back in the day, they were trying to make bioidentical hormones and come up with all these hormones for postmenopausal women, and that is made from horse urine. And that's when we have those stories that–stories, excuse me, studies that showed horrific outcomes with hormone replacement therapy. And especially when we give estrogen, it's not challenged by progesterone or–and this is most specifically for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. That's where we can get in really big trouble because estrogen left unchecked can stimulate tissues to grow, and those tissues can sometimes be cancer tissue. So, in the breast and the uterus. And as you were talking about with hormonal birth control, that synthetic estrogen and progestin is associated with increased risk of certain cancers. So, like breast cancer, liver cancer, brain cancer. On the flip side, it does decrease ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer as well.

Ben:  Okay. So, now, what about this progestin, would it actually shut down or downregulate the body's own ability to make progesterone?

Jolene:  Absolutely. So, we see this with the hormonal IUDs. Once upon a time, women were told by their doctors that progestin delivered via an IUD was localized and stayed in the uterus. I actually was just lecturing in Vegas and had to say the uterus is not like Vegas. What happens there doesn't always stay there. And what we found out is that the progestins do go systemic. And what's really important is how did this get started, this idea that it stayed localized. Well, we actually didn't know the metabolites we needed to be measuring in the blood. So, you place progestin, you measure progestin, you're not seeing it, except that we forgot that the body will actually metabolize these hormones, as will the different organisms that live in our body. We actually have no idea what the microbiome is doing with these hormones. But when it comes to these IUDs, we do see that some women stop menstruating and stop ovulating. We thought if a woman stops ovulating, it's because it's impacting her body at the brain level.

Ben: What about the effects of the pill? Because we do have a lot of exercise enthusiasts who listen in on athletic performance. Do you know of any studies that have looked at the pill in relation to exercise?

Jolene:  Oh, yeah. This is fascinating. So, women have been given hormonal birth control. So, their male coaches would say like, “Oh, your menstrual cycle, it's going to get in the way of things. Let's put you on birth control, and that's going to make you a better athlete.” Except that hormonal birth control, in shutting down your ovaries, it can shut down testosterone production by as much as 50%. It then alters your liver at the genetic level to express higher amounts of sex hormone-binding globulin. Now, that liver is not betraying you. It's like, this is way too many hormones in our system. We've got a gobble of some of these synthetic hormones to keep our bodies safe, except it's going to grab onto that testosterone as well.

Testosterone is essential for muscle mass, for energy production, for bone health. So, in that way alone, it can actually inhibit women's athletic performance. And recent studies have come out showing that women on hormonal birth control, athletes specifically, they fatigue faster while on birth control. Their muscle gains are less. Endurance goes down. So, now, researchers are saying, “Don't put your athletes on birth control. Actually, leverage their menstrual cycle. You can work with their menstrual cycle to make tremendous athletic games.” And you know who just did this? The U.S. soccer team.

The U.S. women's soccer team decided to do what people like me have been shouting about for years, which is work without women's menstrual cycle to–make an exercise plan that's conducive to what her body is doing. They just crushed it, and I think that's phenomenal. One of their coaches and all, he actually created a whole app around this so that you can plug in your data of your menstrual cycle and start working your routine around that. And so just briefly, if we know that in the follicular phase, so you're on your period, your testosterone and estrogen are rising, your energy is going to go up, you're going to stimulate muscle mass. This is when women, about a week after their period, they're like, “Whoa, I can lift so much. I can run a marathon, like, there's so much more I can do.”

Whereas when we get into that luteal phase, and specifically leading up to our period, that's a great recovery time. That's a great time to recover your body, work on stretching. And when I've worked with–and not just stretching, but just being really mindful of like, you don't just stop moving. You don't just say like, “Oh, well, I'm going to get my period soon. I'm just going to stop moving.” No, no, no. But when I've worked with patients in this way and I'm like, “Okay, I want you to dial back this week, and then I want you to go hard this week,” they make tremendous gains in their fitness goals.

Ben:  Now, if somebody's listening in, let's say a woman is listening in, or maybe a guy is listening in and he wants to approach his significant other about getting off the pill, can you just stop cold turkey? And if not, why not?

Jolene:  Mm-hmm. Okay. So, when it comes to hormonal birth control, it's an all-or-nothing situation. So, with devices, it makes a little more sense, right? Remove the implant, remove the IUD, remove the NuvaRing, don't replace that patch. But when it comes to the pill, sometimes women are like, “Well, I'm going to go ahead and wean myself off.” That's a really bad idea. And here's why. One is you won't be protected against getting pregnant. So, it's only effective if you take the dose the way it's designed.

And so, understand that the 99% effective at preventing pregnancy that the pill gets is if you are a perfect user. If you're a typical user, it's about 91%, which is to say that 9 out of 100 women using hormonal birth control, the pill specifically, will get pregnant in a year using it. Now, when you come off, it is a cold turkey. You just need to stop it. You don't want to lean off because the other thing is that if you're cutting your pill in half or quartering it, and these things are tiny, so it's hard to do, your brain isn't getting enough hormone to be shut down. So, it's going to be like, “Okay. Let me tell the ovaries to fire off. Wait. No, we're not going to fire off.”

I've had women write me and they're like, “I'm getting hot flashes now and I'm having acne, I'm having all these symptoms,” and it's like because you're messing around with your chemistry in a big way, like you were messing with it before. And understand that hormonal birth control, when you come off of it, it's a huge hormonal shift, and we often forget that piece. Doctors are like, “Just come off, everything will be fine,” until it's not. And most often, it's not. So, it's an all-or-nothing situation.

As I talk about in “Beyond the Pill,” if you started hormonal birth control for symptom management, which is almost 60% of women these days are actually using it for painful periods, heavy periods, acne, regular periods, understand that when you come off, those symptoms are going to come back. So, whatever symptoms you use to treat the pill with or any form of hormonal birth control, those are going to come back post-pill unless you've done something like changing your diet, changing lifestyle practices to really work on the root of those issues. Now, if you have those symptoms, you should give yourself a good three months to prep.

So, often, women will hear some of these things and they're like, “I just need to get off right now.” If you have endometriosis, if you had cystic acne, prep your body for a good three months. As you were talking about with metformin, often, women get prescribed hormonal birth control. If they're polycystic ovarian syndrome women, PCOS, they're also going to get metformin. That's going to take a big impact on your microbiome. So, the pill isn't completely digested in the small intestine. It actually will make its way into the large intestine. And research studies have compared it to antibiotics in terms of what it does to the microbiome. But how many people do we know that take antibiotics every day for decades on end? That just doesn't happen. So, things like that that we're going to have to work on in support, and we never want to see a woman jump off of birth control. If you get cystic acne right away, or your periods are terrible because of endometriosis, you're going to feel like a failure, you're going to go right back on it. So, prep your body a good three months. 

Coming up next, an interview with the testosterone replacement expert. I should say the testosterone optimization expert, Jay Campbell, to talk about nasal gel, some new FDA-approved  form of testosterone whether or not it works. How to address the effects of EMF on testosterone, how to optimize your hormone levels, and a whole lot more. So, this one, along with all the other shows you hear, you can access all the shownotes and everything else at BenGreenfieldLife.com/HormonePodcast. Here we go. 

Jay: One out of four men between the ages of 20 and 35 have a testosterone deficiency. And, the problem with that information is that that's only the men that are being measured. So, imagine how bad it really is.

Ben:  Because a lot a lot of guys will only measure if they feel something's wrong, so there's probably more people out there. Did it come up at all at the medical conference anything that surprised you because a lot of people are aware, Jay, of plastics and styrofoam and maybe the BP [00:17:06] _____ receipts at the gas station or something like that. But, were there any particular elements that really surprised you as far as environmental barriers when it comes to testosterone production?

Jay:  Yeah. I mean, I don't think your audience is because you cover this so well and you do such deep dives with so many different people on this. But dude, dirty electromagnetic frequencies are in the major cities are absolutely terrible. So, obviously, you already know about blue light. I mean, let's just put it this way. It's almost inescapable now for younger men and women. I mean, right now, we have the worst fertility crisis in the history of the world. I mean, again, and since first world being measurement, it's very difficult, for mid-30s and early 40s couples to have kids, especially if you live, again, in large urban coastal population centers. I mean, it is really, really bad. And, I think it comes from everywhere. Again, blue light, computer screens, being fixed on technology from video games and Netflix, and all this stuff, it's rewiring dopaminergic pathways in the brain.

Ben:  So, that would be primary hypogonadism. You're not saying like if you're shining blue light on your balls, what you're saying is the actual exposure to some of these electromagnetic frequencies can result in more of a primary hypogonadal effect?

Jay:  It's definitely both. I mean, if you talk to the docs, when they get a six–I mean, this is the normal story now, 16 to 18 to 20-year-old kid comes in, the parents bring them in and they say my son had a testosterone test done with DirectLabs or productivity labs or one of the independent places and he has a 150, a 120. I was talking to doctors and start seeing kids who are under 20 that have 70 less sub 100 total testosterone and free testosterone levels that are basically non-existent. And, the only thing that they can extrapolate or basically pontificate is that it's due to video games, lack of exercise, obviously, crappy food. Young men are not, and this goes actually to women too because you could make the same argument with women and that many of them are “reaching puberty” early or menstruating earlier. It's just basically the way that they are living is different than the way that you and I lived. People are not outside grounding in nature. They're not taking part in athletics. Again, there's obviously various people that are, but the majority is not.

Ben:  Some of them. Not my sons. Maybe I need to buy my sons some EMF-blocking underwear, which I actually own and use. I'm not brand-specific, but I think there's one company called Lambs. There's another company you make called Snowballs and they make the icing underwear or the underwear that keeps the temperature cool, which is a whole different discussion. But man, my sons are eating fresh eggs from the chickens. They're outside in the sunshine all day. They're rarely on devices except for school and they're finally starting to go through puberty. And, they're rolling in jiu-jitsu, they're playing tennis, they're lifting weights. And now, when you hug your kids, I'll hug them in the morning and they'll hug me back and it'll be a Vise-Grip. And, it's kind of cool to see my sons going through puberty and developing muscles and fitness and drive and aggression. And, I feel pretty good about where they're at. But, based on what you've just described, I probably should buy him some EMF-blocking teenage boy boxers.

Jay:  That's what you have to do. I mean, my daughters are 15 and 13 and they're also very athletically inclined. My 15-year-old is in cheer and gymnastics. She flips across the room 12 times. But, as parents, we really do have to be proactive and obviously teach them healthy habits. And again, I know your books do a great job on all this. And again, I don't want to rabbit hole on this, but the situation is that right now our society, at least in the West, is being contaminated. It's a multi-siege environmental contamination effect across everyone, both male and females. And again, if you're not proactive and do the things that you and I talk about all the time, you're behind the 8 ball. And, it's happening now for younger and younger men, which is just literally insane. But, to get back to the original thread of me writing about testosterone and then just becoming my own biohacker. I was using peptides, Ben, since 2004. 

Ben:  Oh, wow.

Jay:  Yeah. So, in the deepest part of when I was really into the self-experimentation and using testosterone on myself–and, by the way as I said in the first podcast, I've used every injectable. I mean, delivery system including injections, transdermal, transcrotal. I've used IVs, I've used patches, I've experimented every other way.

Ben:  Intranasal. What about intranasal?

Jay:  So, I haven't used intranasal but I'm very familiar with it. Dr. Ramasamy in Miami is kind of the guy that was really behind doing that. And now, they have obviously Natesto is actually a FDA-approved form of testosterone. 

Some people tell me that it's okay, but majority of people that I've spoken to, and also physicians that are prescribed it says that most patients that use it get headaches and various other “side effects” or irregularities. So, I mean, it's everything, some things work for some people, some things don't. But, with testosterone, it's still the same old tried and true. The two best delivery systems by far are injectable. And again, when I say best, I mean to simulate the body's natural diurnal pulsar release of endogenous testosterone. And, that's going to be either daily injections, microdose injections, or every other day or what I use, which is the transcrotal testosterone cream, which again you place on the base of your scrotum. And again, the reason that is is it's eight times more permeable and that's through eight or nine, maybe even more now scientific studies that show that. And again, that's also the half-life of transcrotal testosterone against 200 milligrams per milliliter testosterone is about four to six hours.

Now, all men and, of course, women excrete testosterone differently. They cleave it in the bloodstream molecularly at different rates and speeds. And so, some people who are “hyper excreters” of testosterone both male and female may need a second dosage of cream in the day. But again, everybody's different on that stuff. So, there are now as I was telling you a year ago, their oral delivery systems that are attempting to be patented, there's a couple that are already FDA approved, they're so weak. In all the studies, they get guys' testosterone to 300 to 400 and free to 20 to 25. But, for anybody who's a clinician who's doing this regularly and understands this, that's not optimal, especially when we understand that as we age, our natural production is caseating or lessening. So, why would we want normal of lessening when we can have optimal? Again, it's always the same thing. It's like if you're going to work with a physician that does this, make sure they understand how to do it and that they've been working with a lot of different patients for a long time.

Ben:  For kind of the average guy even though I know averages are tough to approximate using something like the scrotal cream approach and doing the micro-dosing that you recommended simply because as you alluded to on the last podcast these big bullish injections in no way simulate the natural diurnal variation of testosterone that should occur from day to day. And so, you do something like the micro dose injection or as you alluded to, the micro dose cream. About how many milligrams in the average dose of cream would you use if you're doing a little bit in the morning and a little bit in the evening scrotaly?

Jay:  I mean, it's a great question. It's an amazing question because it's complicated to answer it. The bigger problem is that across the world now, there's a lot of different compounding pharmacies. And, we're going to talk about compounding pharmacies and then this podcast because it's a very important point. They're compounding various different milligram dosage amounts. So, at the beginning as you know, all of the “bad studies” that were done on transdermal testosterone were AndroGel, which was 50 milligrams per milliliter which is absolutely almost a non-existent amount of testosterone when you understand how testosterone, again, is molecularly cleaved in the bloodstream for men as we age. So, that dosage and delivery system was absolutely useless because nobody ever got any kind of even restoration or optimization. 

And now, you have compounders making 100 milligrams per milliliter, even 150, but all the studies that show benefit are at 200 milligrams per milliliter and there's three different brands. There's HRT, there's [00:25:22] _____ and I forget the other one, but it doesn't matter. They're all basically compounded 200 milligrams per milliliter. 

So, to answer your question, normally the recommendation for scripts for docs that write scripts for this for men is two to three clicks in a Topi-CLICK applicator, so you just kind of twist it until it comes out twice or three times. And, that's either going to be dosed one time in the morning and possibly another two to three clicks in the afternoon. And again, everybody's going to be different.

Ben:  How many milligrams would there be in a click or in two to three clicks?

Jay:  So, it's 200 milligrams per milliliter. So, basically, three clicks is going to be 200 milligrams.

Ben:  Okay.

Jay:  So, if you're doing two clicks, you're probably somewhere between 100 and 150 milligrams now.

Ben:  So, you'd be at 2.5 to 3 grams per week?

Jay:  Yes. But, here's the thing, you can't extrapolate milligrams and grams from injectable to milligrams and grams and cream because the half-life is so much shorter. So, in transdermal even all that much, the way it's cleaved in the bloodstream, most of it is not used and it's not accessible. So, that's why it's that's much higher dosage than actually the injectable, which again is a higher impact delivery system because it crosses the blood-brain barrier and also gets into portal circulation faster. So, it's just something to understand that the difference between injectable and cream is that the way it's molecularly absorbed is totally different. And, that's why you need a higher dose of the cream. And again, it's just a much shorter half-life. Some people, if they use three clicks in the morning and they're a hyper excretory of testosterone, they could literally be almost efficient by 6 or 7 o'clock at night. You know what I mean? And so, that's why they take a second dosage.

But for me, I've never had to take a second dosage. I'm not a hyper-excretor. I usually take two to three clicks. If I go lay on a weekend with my wife and we want to get frisky or something like that, maybe I'll apply another couple clicks in the afternoon.

Ben:  You notice the effects that acutely, huh?

Jay:  Yeah. I mean, again, because the half-life is so short. So, most guys who start with the cream are going to notice something within–first-time users are going to notice something within 48 hours without question. You're going to notice enhanced dopamine signaling. You're going to enhance well-being, better energy. And again, this is just the way the testosterone molecule cleaves and estrophizes in the bloodstream. But again, we're all different and when you're working with a physician that understands how to prescribe this, they're going to notice your effects and work with you and connect with you and communicate with you over the first couple of weeks that you do it to kind of really tailor your dosage or titrate down or even maybe titrate up. And again, we're all so different. I mean, I see a lot of people that just are like, dude, I have to take a second dose of the cream because by 4 or 5 o'clock, I start feeling down.

Ben:  Wow.

Jay:   So, one of the things that Dr. Jay–and again, there's so many of them out there now, you probably know 20 people that look at people's DNA and analyze polymorphisms and all that stuff, they can tell you if you're a hyper excreter. Some people too when they take therapeutic testosterone, they have magnesium depletion issues and it literally freaks them out. I won't tell you stories of things that I've heard from some of my doctor friends about working with people who have that issue. And, what happens to them, they get go paranoid and have anxiety. I mean, it's a very small percentage of people, but obviously, for the most part, most people who use therapeutic testosterone feel amazing on it.

Ben:  Why do some folks recommend instead of getting on therapeutic testosterone to take something like Clomid or some kind of aromatase inhibitor? What's the logic behind that?

Jay:  Well there's no logic behind using an aromatase inhibitor for testosterone optimization other than just misreading the studies or the science. As you know on our first podcast and as I continue to be a beacon of knowledge when it comes to teaching people, we'd never want to ever block estrogen under any circumstances. And, of course, when I say under any circumstances, there's always an outlier position. But, for people using therapeutic testosterone and this even goes into the bodybuilding world who are using obviously high dosages, super physiological levels, testosterone is the anabolic signal along with DHT which is dihydrotestosterone, but the protective effects come from estradiol, which obviously aromatizes into estrogen. And, we need healthy, and I would even argue, high levels of estrogen to confer protection to all of our biological systems.

So, the heart, the vasculature, the brain, bone mineral density, all of these various organs and biological systems in our body are protected by higher levels of estrogen. And, all of the science shows this that there has been a misinterpretation and also a misextrapolation of seeing men who have high estrogen levels but also high inflammation and visceral fat levels. And so, what ends up happening is is they correlate the high inflammation and high visceral fat with the high estrogen, and then they tell people, and when I say they, I'm talking about doctors who misread this that there are high estrogen symptoms. There's no such thing as high estrogen symptoms. This is a total misinterpretation. There's high inflammation due to high levels of fat, obviously estrogenic fat, which again is visceral body fat. And, that is all due to metabolic dysregulation, again, from obesity, too much belly fat, blah, blah, blah. So, there's no such thing as high estrogen symptoms, there's just high inflammation and high estrogenic body fat, which again is visceral body fat which is extremely inflammatory.

So, this is where people get confused. So, when you take therapeutic testosterone, you never block estrogen because you need as much estrogen as possible to confer all of the healthy effects that estrogen, again, confers to all those organ systems. Now, bodybuilders will take AIs and take also SERMs, which are selective estrogen receptor modulators for various things because, again, they're taking super physiologic levels. And, when you take that high of levels, and by the way, we're not talking about what you and I are talking about, we're just kind of just making this aside so people understand this. But, even when they take massive levels of steroids and other things, they obviously have a lot of aromatization from all the various drugs blocking the side effects that come from that, which are obviously water retention, mood imbalances, just kind of not feeling stable because you have so much drug circulating in your system.

Taking an AI to suppress, again, what they think are the side effects from it is so harmful. There's a lot of people out there now Physicians that are doing tests, you can do DEXA scans, you can also do biological age tests, and you can see what AIs, which again, aromatase inhibitor blocking medications do to your biological age, to your telomeres. I mean, they're basically cell decayants. I mean, literally, I would say over time and again, when there's more data from the biological age tests aggregators, you'll be able to see what people they're using when they use AIs. And, by the way, this also is going to get into as we get deeper into this when we talk about hair regrowth and loss, it's the same thing with DHT inhibitors. So basically, all these things that block natural God-given created systems in the human–

Ben:  You mean like Rogaine or something like that?

Jay:  Dude, all of them. Now, obviously, the clinical versions are stronger than the over-the-counter versions like Rogaine. But yeah, finasteride and dutasteride, all of these 5 DHT Inhibitors, PDE5, or whatever inhibitors. I mean, all these things are horrible to biological system health. And again, in the next three to five years, my assumption and maybe it'll take even longer because everything moves so slow in medicine, we are going to start seeing that men who have been using high-dose AIs and high-dose DHT Inhibitors are having really poor biological age values because of what they're doing to the telomeres.

Well, I hope you enjoyed that episode. Hope you learned about hormones. Again, all the shownotes are at BenGreenfieldLife.com/HormonePodcast. Thanks for listening in. I'm Ben Greenfield. Have an amazing week from BenGreenfieldLife.com.

Do you want free access to comprehensive shownotes, my weekly roundup newsletter, cutting-edge research and articles, top recommendations from me for everything that you need to hack your life, and a whole lot more? Check out BenGreenfieldLife.com. It's all there. BenGreenfieldLife.com. See you over there. 

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If you're feeling exhausted 24/7, gaining weight despite sticking to a strict fitness routine, or struggling with mood swings, your hormones are likely out of balance. 

Today's episode, “Best Of Hormone Health,” offers real solutions to help you regain control of your hormones and optimize your hormone health with expert insights and actionable strategies. From balancing cortisol levels to enhancing growth hormone production, this episode covers a range of topics to assist you in overcoming hormonal challenges.

Up first, Dr. Marcos De Andrade (Dr. De) is here to revolutionize your understanding of growth hormone deficiency in adults and overall hormone health. Get ready to dive into the world of GHK-Cu, a key player in injury recovery and skin care, and explore how growth hormone replacement therapy can decrease your cancer risk. Dr. De also reveals nature's secrets to boosting growth hormone levels with colostrum, GDA, dihydro berberine, and more. Plus, you'll uncover the illuminating benefits of red light therapy for glandular activation, particularly for the immune-boosting thymus gland.

Next, explore the complexities of thyroid health, shedding light on how this crucial gland affects weight gain, metabolism, and overall vitality with Dr. Amie Hornaman. Expect in-depth insights on the importance of thyroid tests, such as TSH, T3, T4, and reverse T3, in diagnosing thyroid issues. Dr. Hornaman also discusses treatment options for thyroid problems, including Thyroid Fixxr and low-dose naltrexone, as well as lifestyle changes like a gluten-free diet.

After this, delve into cortisol modulation and adrenal health with Dr. Craig Koniver who will help you unlock valuable insights into managing stress and optimizing your body's cortisol levels for peak performance. In this segment, Dr. Koniver emphasizes the importance of testing cortisol levels and sheds light on how stress impacts hormone production. Discover the power of adaptogenic herbs, critical nutrients, and deliberate contemplative exercises like meditation in normalizing cortisol levels and enhancing your well-being.

The next featured guest is Dr. Jolene Brighten who sheds light on the effects of hormonal birth control on the body and menstrual cycles. She explains how the pill works and its impact on brain-ovarian communication, discusses the challenges of getting off hormonal birth control and offers strategies for preparing the body for a smooth transition.

Finally, Jay Campbell shares his extensive knowledge of testosterone optimization and its impact on overall health. He discusses various testosterone delivery systems, including injectable, transdermal, and oral options. Jay also explains the importance of personalized dosing and the potential benefits of testosterone replacement therapy.

Ready to revolutionize your understanding of hormone health? Tune in to join this enlightening journey through the fascinating world of hormones.

Best of Hormone Health 

GHK peptide, growth hormone, and cancer with Dr. De


Regenerating Your Thymus Gland, BPC-157, The Liver King Controversy, Growth Hormones & Much More With Marcos De Andrade (Dr. De).



-Growth hormone deficiency in adults…05:48

-The use of red light for glandular activation…12:25

Thyroid health with Dr. Amie Hornaman


What Doctors Won’t Tell You About Your Thyroid, Little-Known Hacks To Improve Thyroid Function, The Best Thyroid Supplements & Much More With Dr. Amie Hornaman



-How does the thyroid affect weight gain?…15:00

  • The thyroid controls all metabolic processes, including fat-burning
  • If your thyroid isn't working, there's nothing that is working
  • Diets, exercises, supplements, and peptides won't work — doing all the work but not seeing the results
    • If people can't burn body fat, their metabolism drops
    • Decreasing calories by eating less further drops metabolism and T3 production of the thyroid gland

-Thyroid tests…18:12

  • TSH — Thyroid Stimulating Hormone test
    • TSH is a pituitary hormone produced by the pituitary gland, not a thyroid hormone
    • Standard medicine — 4.5
    • Functional medicine — below 2
  • InsideTracker
  • T3 — active thyroid hormone in your body
  • T4 — inactive thyroid hormone
  • Reverse T3 — antithyroid hormone blocks T3 action at the cellular level
  • Hashimoto antibodies
    • TPO (thyroid peroxidase) and TGA (thyroglobulin antibodies)
    • Detects hypothyroidism as an autoimmune form where your body's attacking your thyroid glands
  • 95% of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto's
  • Over-exercising and over-dieting can affect the thyroid directly
    • A stressor on the body that can flip on the Hashimoto switch
    • Analogy to leaky gut
  • With a leaky gut syndrome or a food allergy
    • A stressful incident in life can trigger a sudden autoimmune reaction to certain foods

-What to do if tests show a thyroid problem…23:59

-Red light therapy for thyroid issues…27:04

-Cold thermogenesis for thyroid support…29:17

  • Cold therapy is very useful:
    • Brown fat activation
    • Decrease in inflammation
    • The body adjusts to cold
  • Cool Fat Burner
    • Cold packs for gut and neck
  • Kineon (use code BGLIFE to save 10%)
    • Wraparound device that you put ice packs
    • One for the gut and one that wraps around the collarbone
  • Stacking with T2 (use code BEN20 to save 20%)
    • Lowers or improves insulin sensitivity
    • Stimulates mitochondria
    • Improves energy
    • Inflammation goes down
    • Fat is burned
  • Grains of Paradise
    • Potent brown fat activator

-Testosterone for women…33:44

  • Women get left behind in the testosterone talk
  • Testosterone is the most abundant hormone in a woman's body
    • It gives motivation, drive, and strength — helps with body fat, libido, and hair growth
  • Conventional medicine and standard lab value range for women — 2–48
    • Amie believes it should be 50 and above
  • Women's Testosterone Booster (use code BEN20 to save 20%)
  • It's all about the dose, the administration, aromatizing testosterone into DHT
    • Personalization is important
  • Testosterone protects against autoimmune disease
    • You can lower the Hashimoto antibodies by bringing the testosterone levels up
  • Women with lower levels of testosterone get Hashimoto's more than men

How to treat or modulate cortisol with Craig Koniver


Cortisol Decoded: The Myths & Truths About A Hormone Crucial To Your Health & Survival.



-How to modulate cortisol with Dr. Craig Koniver…42:10

  • No. 1 is testing
  • Tests:
  • An elevated or even normal morning cortisol from 14–18 is pretty good
  • Most people would be less than 14 and not sleep well
  • Salivary cortisol test — DHA, DHEA, and pregnenolone
  • DHEA is then further converted into other hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen
  • You start losing your ability to make cortisol because of stress
    • Then the body is going to steal from these other hormones
  • The adrenal gland is like a factory producing hormones:
    • Cortisol is the goal, but it makes the other hormones too
    • Cortisol imbalances lead to the depletion of other hormones
  • Pregnenolone is made from cholesterol; cortisol is made from pregnenolone
    • Low cholesterol levels affect cortisol production
    • If you don't have cholesterol to be turned into pregnenolone, you can't make enough cortisol
  • The leading cause of heart disease is not elevated cholesterol, it is low testosterone
  • Cortisol helps optimize health
    • Having a cortisol reserve enables you to handle and tolerate stress, thus preventing cancer, autoimmune disease

-How to ensure you have a cortisol reserve…47:10

  • Behaviors to normalize cortisol levels (deliberate contemplative exercise)
    • Meditation, prayer, reading, listening to music, journaling
    • Activate the parasympathetic system, turn off the sympathetic system
    • Meditation is not the only means of managing stress
  • Adaptogenic herbs:
  • Critical nutrients:
  • Peptides
    • Hexarelin
    • Epitalon
    • Ipamorelin
    • GHRP-6 and GHRP-2
  • Phosphatidylserine (100–300mg)
  • Ashwagandha (use at bedtime — 300–3000mg)
  • Glycine (great for the liver, 1000–5000mg at bedtime)
  • CBD (at bedtime)

Birth control with Jolene Brighten


The Pill – Everything You Need To Know About The Dangers Of The Pill, How To Get Off It Safely & Safer, More Natural Birth Control Alternatives.



-How the pill works…1:02:58

  • Beyond the Pill by Dr. Jolene Brighten
  • The pill works on your brain level
    • The brain signals to the ovaries when to ovulate
    • When you take the pill, you shut down brain-ovarian communication
    • The pill distorts FSH/LH levels, thus affecting ovulation, menstrual cycles, etc.
  • Causes mood alterations and even difficulty getting pregnant once off the pill
  • Women have complained about neurological symptoms since the introduction of hormonal birth control

-What happens during the normal menstrual cycle…1:04:58

  • What normal FSH/LH levels should be without the pill
    • Day 1 of the period begins with the “flow” of maturing eggs
    • FSH and estrogen rise
    • Once ovulation occurs, the corpus luteum secretes progesterone
  • Every form of birth control produces progestin, not progesterone
    • Weight gain is common
    • Water retention due to lack of progesterone
    • Moodiness is common
  • A woman stops ovulating because the pill is affecting her body at the brain level
  • From day 1 of the period, you are getting eggs ready
  • FSH is telling the ovaries to ovulate
  • In the first follicular phase, FSH rises, and estrogen rises
  • Estrogen tells the brain to release LH
  • LH tells the ovaries to release an egg
  • Corpus luteum secretes progesterone
  • Every form of birth control produces progestin, not progesterone
    • Progesterone stimulates the GABA receptors in your brain — making you calm and relaxed
    • It also helps with fluid retention
    • When progesterone is low, you experience anxiety
  • Estrogen is not challenged by progesterone
  • Estrogen left unchecked can stimulate tissues to grow
    • Those tissues can sometimes be cancer tissue, in the breast and the uterus
  • Synthetic estrogen and progestin are associated with an increased risk of certain cancers
    • Breast cancer
    • Liver cancer
    • Brain cancer
    • But decreases ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer

-How progestin from hormonal birth control affects the body…1:08:14

  • Progestin delivered via an IUD does not stay in the uterus
  • You can’t see the progestin in the blood, but the body metabolizes these hormones
  • With IUDs, some women stop menstruating and stop ovulating
  • If a woman stops ovulating, it's because it's impacting her body at the brain level

-The effect of the pill on athletic performance…1:09:28

  • Shuts down testosterone production by as much as 50%
    • Affects energy, bone health, etc.
    • Fatigue faster
  • Testosterone is essential for muscle mass, energy production, and bone health
  • Women athletes on the pill fatigue faster, their muscle gains are less, and endurance goes down
    • Affects both endurance and power/strength negatively
  • Alters your liver at the genetic level to express higher amounts of sex hormone-binding globulin

-Getting off the pill…1:12:34

  • Weaning off the pill is really a bad idea
    • Won't be protected against getting pregnant
  • Hormonal birth control is only effective if you take the dose the way it's designed
    • The 99% effective at preventing pregnancy that the pill gets is if you are a perfect user
  • Women using hormonal birth control for symptom management, painful periods, heavy periods, acne, and irregular periods will experience the symptoms again if they stop using it
  • Prep your body a good three months before stopping

Testosterone replacement expert Jay Campbell


How To Use Testosterone, Peptide Stacks That Will Blow Your Mind, The Truth About Getting Peptides On The Internet, & Much More With Jay Campbell



-Testosterone deficiency…1:15:40

  • 1 out of 4 men between the ages of 20 and 35 have a testosterone deficiency
  • Elements that are environmental barriers when it comes to testosterone production
    • Dirty EMF in major cities is terrible
    • Blue light
  • Worst fertility crisis in the history of the world
  • Low testosterone in young men due to video games, bad food, and lack of exercise
  • Girls reaching puberty earlier and/or menstruating earlier
  • People are not outside and grounding in nature
  • Snowballs Icing Underwear
  • Parents have to be proactive and teach kids healthy habits

-The correct use of testosterone…1:21:04

  • Jay has been using peptides since 2004
  • Used every delivery system for testosterone
    • Injectable system – daily injections
    • Transdermal
    • Transscrotal testosterone system
    • Patches
    • IV
  • Placing it on the base of your scrotum is eight times more permeable
  • Haven't tried intranasal — some people say there are side effects like headaches
  • Natesto nasal gel
  • Some oral systems are already FDA-approved but very weak
  • Different compounding pharmacies have different dosages
  • Transdermal testosterone — AndroGel
    • 50mg per milliliter
    • Almost non-existent amount
  • Topi-CLICK dosing dispensers/applicators
  • Compounded 200mg per milliliter shows benefits
    • Three clicks of the applicator to get 200mg per milliliter
  • If cream is used, higher doses are needed
  • First-time users will notice effects within 48 hours
    • Enhanced dopamine
    • Well-being, better energy
  • Everybody's different so dosing should be different

-Taking aromatase inhibitor instead of testosterone…1:28:57

  • There's no logic behind using an aromatase inhibitor for testosterone optimization other than just misreading the studies or the science
  • You need healthy (and arguably high) levels of estrogen to confer protection to all of your biological systems
  • Podcast with Jay Campbell:
  • There's no such thing as high estrogen symptoms, there's just high inflammation and high estrogenic body fat
  • Never block estrogen when taking therapeutic testosterone
  • There's no such thing as high estrogen symptoms
    • There's high inflammation due to high levels of fat, obviously estrogenic fat, which again is visceral body fat, due to metabolic dysregulation

-And much more…

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