Book Review – Adrenaline Dominance by Michael E. Platt, MD

Book Review – Adrenaline Dominance: A Revolutionary Approach to Wellness by Michael E. Platt, MD

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

We know what a surge of adrenaline feels like. It is the hormone that gives us the strength for “fight or flight.” Our hearts beat harder, stronger, faster. Blood is diverted from less important things like digestion to our muscular tissue. Thought processes seem to happen at lightning speed. There are many stories of superhuman feats performed under extraordinary circumstances with surges of adrenaline.

Dr. Michael E. Platt has written his book Adrenaline Dominance because he feels that practitioners and their clients lack understanding of this very important hormone. He finds that knowing how adrenaline functions enables him to successfully guide his patients towards wellness.

Adrenaline is produced by an inner part of the adrenal glands. Dr. Platt explains that there are two reasons for adrenaline to be released: One reason is in response to stress as described above, and the second reason is to ensure that the brain has received enough sugar (glucose). The body uses adrenaline to help create more glucose from protein as well as stimulate the release of glucose stored in the liver. Consequently, as glucose releases, insulin releases. These two hormones are intimately involved with adrenaline.

Dr. Platt organized his book according to “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” the classic Clint Eastwood western, to illustrate that adrenaline has both desirable and undesirable effects. He believes that right-brained creative thinkers acquire those qualities from plenty of adrenaline ensuring lots of glucose to the brain. Superb athletes also get their edge from adrenaline. These are “good” mental and physical effects of generous amounts of adrenaline.

It starts to get “bad” when adrenaline output is too generous or our bodies don’t have the ability to moderate the high adrenaline. High adrenaline can be tied into depression, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, headaches, restless leg syndrome, addictions, and bedwetting. It gets “ugly” when syndromes such as fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, road rage, autism, or post-traumatic stress disorder appear.

Progesterone, which is also produced by our adrenal glands, is the natural modifier of excess adrenaline. Dr. Platt recommends progesterone in men and women, as well as children. Along with progesterone, Dr. Platt guides his patients with their food choices. Dr. Platt recognizes the relationship between glucose and insulin and claims the timing and types of foods ingested can make significant changes in the presentation of excess adrenaline.

It is not difficult to imagine the ramifications of adrenaline being out of balance since Dr. John Lee introduced us to the concept of “estrogen dominance.” Many practitioners surprisingly don’t recognize the significance of progesterone in moderating both the effects of estrogens and adrenaline. Thanks to Dr. Platt, we can raise our awareness on an ever enlarging picture about hormone balance. He reveals his evidence and thinking in great detail in his book, which is sure to expand every reader’s thinking about our bodies.

  • Platt ME. Adrenaline Dominance: A Revolutionary Approach to Wellness. Michael E. Platt, MD; 2014.
Book Review – Adrenaline Dominance by Michael E. Platt, MD2018-04-03T16:34:47-05:00

Book Review – The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey

Book Review – The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

In “computerese,” to hack means to devise or modify a computer program, usually skillfully. Dave Asprey challenges us to use the concept of “biohacking” in his 2014 book, The Bulletproof Diet.

Dave Asprey is an early Silicon Valley computer engineer who made millions with Internet hacking. He describes hacking as needing to make complex systems work even when all the pieces of the puzzle are not available. In that respect, he came to understand that the human body is very much like a complex computer program, with some data that is missing or misunderstood. He speculated that it would be possible to use “biohacking” to solve his own health problems.

At the start of his quest, Dave Asprey writes, he was in miserable shape. He weighed 300 pounds and was unable to lose the extra weight, even though he followed various diets and a strenuous exercise program. Other health issues included chronic sinus infections, strep throat, foggy brain and difficulty maintaining focus. He was always tired and overwhelmed with the stress in his life.

Asprey came to look at his body as a complex system. He engaged in what he calls “biohacking,” or “the art of using technology to change the environment inside and outside of your body to take control and make it what you want.” His endpoints of success would be measures such as how he felt, how he performed, the success of his relationships with others, and overall happiness. Just as programmers look to find potential flaws, he took to “troubleshooting” his environment, evaluating what was working and what was not in a scientific manner.

In the end, he concluded that inflammation, toxins, hormones, neurotransmitters, gut bacteria and more play huge roles in the efforts to nourish our bodies and our brains. He asserts that the strongest variable in achieving top performance is—far and away—our diet.

In his “biohacking” journey, Asprey discovered that he had thyroid (Hashimoto’s), adrenal, testosterone and estrogen problems. Realizing that saturated fats and cholesterol are the building blocks for the sex and adrenal hormones, he deviated from the low-fat philosophy being promulgated and started eating butter from the milk of cows who had been raised eating grass. Magic happened as his focus increased, while his weight and inflammatory markers decreased.

Asprey discovered the importance of a molecule called vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) which, when depleted, disturbs our master glands (pituitary and hypothalamus). This leads to problems with insulin and glucose regulation, causing a craving for sweets. Paying attention to the proper functioning of VIP is one of the cornerstone ideas in The Bulletproof Diet.

Because our medical system prefers to use techniques such as double blind, crossover studies (which tend to limit the variables as much as possible), we are prevented from understanding our human functioning as a system. What usually evolves is something like the conventional treatment for hypothyroidism. Practitioners are taught to test for thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). If the TSH gets too high because of the effort to stimulate more thyroid hormone production from the thyroid gland, a single thyroid hormone, l-thyroxine (T4), is prescribed. When the TSH level comes down because of the presence of T4, the treatment is considered a success. In truth, for vast numbers of people, the low thyroid symptoms are not relieved. Their practitioners are unable to shift from their linear thinking to a systems analysis, which requires “biohacking” until the other variables are revealed.

It has taken the efforts of an individual who is systems-minded (and who is trained to collect and evaluate data points in a scientific manner) to open our minds to a new approach to optimal health. Practitioners who have embraced using bioidentical hormones in a symphony of hormones have broken away from their linear thinking and learned to “biohack” for their patients. It’s revolutionary and exciting. Dave Asprey presents much more in his book, inviting us all to learn how to “biohack” our way to greater energy, focus and well-being.

  • Asprey D. The Bulletproof Diet: Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Books; 2014.
Book Review – The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey2017-12-11T17:42:55-05:00

Book Review – Stop the Thyroid Madness II, ed. Janie A. Bowthorpe

Book Review – Stop the Thyroid Madness II edited by Janie A. Bowthorpe

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

Janie Bowthorpe has become a force to be reckoned with. Her first book, Stop the Thyroid Madness, chronicles her return to health after decades of dealing with misdiagnoses and misguided treatments. She describes herself as suddenly becoming more alive after finding out about desiccated whole thyroid and changing from l-thyroxine (T4) treatment only. Her book can be an inspiration to anyone who struggles with reduced energy levels or never feels quite well. Bowthorpe is also the author of a blog, www.stopthethyroidmadness.com, in which she shares the huge amount of thyroid information she has discovered herself and gathered from others who she engaged through social media. Her first book is still the top selling book about thyroid issues on Amazon.

Bowthorpe has taken another direction with Stop the Thyroid Madness II (published by Laughing Grape Publishing, Dolores CO, 2014). In this volume, she serves as the editor of a collection of chapters written by practitioners who have recognized the complexity of thyroid issues. These practitioners have made large changes in their approach to recognizing thyroid dysfunction and assisting their patients to truly turn their health around.

The current standard for treating thyroid issues blessed by the society of endocrinologists is to only use one thyroid test, TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone, and then only to use one thyroid hormone, T4, to treat. After treatment, only the results of dropping serum TSH levels are used as a measure of success. Healthcare practitioners are taught that this standard prevails, while the fact that resolution of symptoms has not happened is dismissed.

Patients with thyroid disorders suffer from the fragmentation of medical care. Since thyroid hormone is needed to be active in every cell in the body, the symptoms of thyroid disease can occur anywhere. Patients can find themselves being shunted from endocrinologists to gastroenterologists, psychiatrists, and more. And when the approach mentioned above with T4 doesn’t pan out, it is assumed that the problems presented are not part of thyroid disease.

This book covers an astonishing amount of material. You will find yourself highlighting and earmarking the pages and rereading chapters to reinforce your understanding. Once you have reviewed this material, you will be armed to advocate for yourself in identifying and treating the underlying problems leading to your thyroid disorder.

To illustrate the scope of this book, here are some of the areas covered:

  • Gluten intolerance and sensitivity leading to thyroid autoimmune disorders
  • Defects in methylation identified with DNA testing
  • Toxic heavy metals that interfere with thyroid functioning and testing and detoxification modalities
  • Shortages of essential vitamins and minerals that are needed for thyroid production and conversions
  • Environmental pollutants that wreak havoc with thyroid and other hormones and how to identify and eliminate
  • The implications and circumstances that will cause the production of an inactive thyroid hormone called reverse T3 and how to return to production of the most active thyroid hormone T3
  • The pitfalls of laboratory testing and introduction of many more parameters to check thyroid activity
  • Foods that are helpful to include in your diet and those that must be eliminated for healthy thyroid function

A favorite chapter of mine is entitled “Why are Doctors Like That?” Reading this chapter can be enormously helpful when preparing to discuss the comprehensive information presented here with your practitioner. This material has not been taught in medical schools; only the practitioners who have challenged themselves to go further to help their patients have mastered it. You may also find practitioners who have studied and understand certain aspects of this topic, but who lack experience in the whole scope of problems affecting thyroid function. A good partner in your search for wellness should facilitate the unraveling of the mysteries underlying your health problems.

Although we live in a time when there are many more challenges to our health, we also have a wealth of information available to us. This enables us to take an active role in partnering with our health care practitioners to solve health care problems. Janie Bowthorpe is proof positive that your health can be regained. We can only admire the energy and determination that she displays by providing this depth of information to everyone.

Book Review – Stop the Thyroid Madness II, ed. Janie A. Bowthorpe2017-12-14T12:25:11-05:00

Book Review – My Journey to a Better Bladder by Teri A. Larson

Book Review – My Journey to a Better Bladder by Teri A. Larson

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

Given that our Connections newsletters are intended to help readers on a path to better health, we were ecstatic to learn that our newsletter titled A Quiet Epidemic of Bladder Troubles, along with an e-newsletter titled A Sense of Urgency, had been instrumental in Teri Larison’s research and subsequent publication of her e-book, My Journey to a Better Bladder.

Too often, when browsing the Health section in a bookstore or doing an internet search, you find coping strategies rather than real solutions. Teri’s book illustrates the power of the do-it-yourself options.

When Teri began to have bladder trouble, she engaged her OB/GYN and urologists, who treated her urgency or irritable bladder with antibiotics and drugs designed to dampen the nervous system irritability, but to no avail. Even Kegel exercises, which she thought would help the situation, were impossible for her to do.

Finally, the diagnosis from a cystoscopy indicated that Teri had a bladder prolapse, which prompted her to learn more about it. She was offered two choices: physical therapy, with little hope of healing; or surgery, which included adding meshes to hold the bladder in place. Although surgery was enthusiastically endorsed by her physician, an internet search alerted her to the possibility of outcomes that were less than ideal.

Teri used a scientific method to find relief from her irritable bladder. She thoroughly researched the implications of surgery and dismissed that as an option for herself. She carefully documented her research and her whole program, identifying the information that influenced her decisions. She then shared those results in her book.

Central to turning her condition around was having something in her vagina that would support her bladder. Products called vaginal pessaries are designed to do this, but Teri hit upon the idea of using a tampon. When she inserted one, she immediately felt that she was on the right track because the urgency diminished. Then she discovered that she could actually start doing Kegel exercises, which she found demonstrated on YouTube.

Teri also learned that diet affected her bladder, so she started making healthier food choices, avoiding the foods that were particularly irritating. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome was reversing the conditioning of her bladder to stop the sense of urgency, even when small amounts of urine had accumulated. She carefully examined her routines and started disconnecting the bathroom visits with certain activities, while also gradually increasing the time between bathroom visits. With all this in place, Teri reports that she successfully—on her own—conquered the misery of an irritable bladder. She devised charts and daily plans, which she used herself, and now provides for her readers.

After reading her book, I contacted Teri to share a few more tidbits of information. A family member who is an OB/GYN told me years ago that her mentor taught her about using a clean white handkerchief rolled tightly and inserted into the vagina to help with prolapse. Recently, I read (on the internet, of course) that pressing into the middle of the palm of the hand can relieve the sense of urgency to urinate for about 20 minutes. I used it myself with success while driving to an airport a few weeks ago.

I also suggested that Teri check into her testosterone levels. The bladder and urinary tract tissue are highly populated with testosterone receptors. Testosterone is the director in all protein metabolism and is thus a key player in all structural issues. Unfortunately, testosterone is a hormone that is often ignored in women’s health. In reality, normal testosterone levels exceed the levels of estrogens in women, so its importance should not be dismissed so lightly.

These days, our health system does not typically allow for adequate time to consult with the experts. However, there are many good resources available to help you fix the problem yourself. The internet offers opportunities never previously available to us, such as medical studies, original scientific research and, perhaps best of all, other people—like Teri—who are willing to share resources and their personal experiences.

For those who are eager to make a difference in their own bladder health, Teri offers a very comprehensive blueprint. She is also an inspiration to anyone who has a health problem to solve.

Book Review – My Journey to a Better Bladder by Teri A. Larson2018-04-03T16:27:30-05:00

Book Review – Paleo Dog by Jean Hofve and Celeste Yarnall

Book Review – Paleo Dog: Give Your Best Friend a Long Life, Healthy Weight, and Freedom from Illness by Nurturing His Inner Wolf by Jean Hofve, DVM, and Celeste Yarnall, PhD

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

 

Paleo Dog is a primer for the care and wellness of your dog. However, by following the principles outlined by Jean Hofve, DVM, and Celeste Yarnall, PhD, you might do yourself and your human household a lot of good as well.

Dogs are “opportunistic omnivores,” meaning that they will eat almost anything, but dogs actually evolved eating prey animals. So, what does a modern-day Paleo Dog eat? The Paleo Dog diet excludes all cereals and grains, and processed or synthetic foods. Paleo Dogs eat primarily bones, organ meats, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, and fish oils. This is basically the same diet that has become increasingly popular for humans, with names like the “Stone Age” diet or “Caveman Diet.”

According to the authors, approximately 78 million dogs live in US households, with 85% of those dogs eating a typical commercial dog food diet (which closely resembles the composition of a human “fast food” diet). About half of the dogs eating commercial dog food diets are overweight, and about 75% of them have some sort of dental disease by the age of three. The death rate due to cancer is over 40% for dogs under ten years old. Death in dogs typically occurs between 10-13 years of age, and most often from cancer.

Many dogs show early signs of health disturbances that owners and veterinarians might accept as normal. For example, excess weight leads to joint disease, heart disease, respiratory problems, diabetes, liver disease, skin and coat problems, decreased immune function, cancer, and a reduced life expectancy. (Sound familiar?) If your dog has “doggy” breath, this is most likely a sign of dental disease. If the dog’s coat is lifeless, greasy, flaky and not very appealing to stroke, this could be another sign of trouble. In addition, smells coming from every pore and a build-up of a waxy substance in the ears could indicate allergies. Your dog’s eyes might also exhibit a build-up of mucous in the corners, or persistent tear production. Dogs with allergies might also have bouts of wheezing or sneezing, or constant scratching of the ears, or scooting to scratch his butt. Doggy flatulence, along with foul smelling and large volumes of stool, may also be present. None of these symptoms are “normal” with a Paleo Dog diet.

The authors suggest that the Paleo Dog diet will address these and many other health-related symptoms or behaviors. Following the guidance in this book should help improve a dog’s digestion and periodontal health, as well as produce healthier skin and a shinier coat. In addition, allergies can be tamed and muscle strength, performance, and stamina can be improved.

The authors include lots of instruction to help transition your pet from a typical grain-based diet to one containing lots of raw meats and foods. While perusing the recipe section for Paleo foods to feed your dog, you might find that the recipes sound appealing for people as well (the Paleo Wraps sounded particularly tasty to me).

Paleo Dog addresses many other health-related topics beyond diet. For example, the authors describe how we expose our canine companions to a whole host of interventions that their wild cousins never encounter, such as vaccinations, spaying and neutering, deworming, and chemicals to control fleas. In addition, our pets face greater exposure to the chemicals we put in our yards and homes. Is it any wonder that they endure less than perfect health?

The book also offers a wonderful tableau of alternative treatments to explore for your dog, or even for yourself. The authors include information on treating your companion with herbs, acupuncture, emotional freedom technique, flower essences, and massage therapy. People who have not sought out these types of treatments before may be pleasantly surprised at the many options available.

Paleo Dog offers many practical tips for ensuring a long, healthy life span for both you and your canine pet. The authors include so many brief (but good) explanations for the dazzling array of choices that you may find yourself going back to it, over and over again, for years to come.

Additional Resources:
  • Hofve J, Yarnall C. Paleo Dog: Give Your Best Friend a Long Life, Healthy Weight, and Freedom from Illness by Nurturing His Inner Wolf. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Books; 2014.
Book Review – Paleo Dog by Jean Hofve and Celeste Yarnall2018-04-10T14:36:51-05:00

Book Review – Bioidentical Hormones 101 by Jeffrey Dach, MD

Book Review – Bioidentical Hormones 101 by Jeffrey Dach, MD

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

 

Dr. Jeffrey Dach is an active blogger and has gathered his information into a wonderful book called Bioidentical Hormones 101. Usually I cringe when I see an article or listen to a presentation with someone claiming to have the truth about bioidentical hormones. But if you are looking for someone who is really digging into the truth, you can find it here.

Dr. Dach negates the statement that “There isn’t any research involving bioidentical hormones” by providing a long list of references to the contrary, along with plenty of documentation on his patient cases and his personal observations.

This book is for people who want to understand the concept of helping the body operate as it was meant to operate, or who want information to begin a dialogue with their practitioner, as well as for practitioners who need resources to confirm or validate their treatment plans. The groundwork is already done.

You may find that this book is not easy to read from cover to cover (although it is very readable), but you will want to add it to your reference shelf for when you want to get “just the facts” about bioidentical hormones and the industry around them.

  • Dach J. Bioidentical Hormones 101. Bloomington, IL: iUniverse Publishing; 2011.
Book Review – Bioidentical Hormones 101 by Jeffrey Dach, MD2018-04-10T14:37:16-05:00

Book Review – Healing Fibroids by Allan Warshowsky, MD

Book Review – Healing Fibroids: A Doctor’s Guide to a Natural Cure by Allan Warshowsky, MD

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

After reading Healing Fibroids: A Doctor’s Guide to a Natural Cure, I was convinced that the book is mistitled because it offers so much more. Yes, Dr. Allan Warshowsky covers a significant amount of background and technical detail about fibroids that some may need. He also identifies the different kinds of fibroids, the presentation of symptoms, and the information required along with tests to obtain a diagnosis of fibroids, as well as the usual treatments. But Dr. Warshowsky also provides tangible guidance for dealing with fibroids that may be beneficial for dealing with many other health issues as well.

The presence of fibroids is the predominant reason for a hysterectomy, according to the July 2014 issue of Life Extension Magazine. Most women who experience regular heavy bleeding accompanied at times by severe cramping and pain are only too happy to “cut everything out“ when their doctors present that option. This mentality explains why hysterectomy is the most common surgery in the US, with approximately 600,000 performed annually. Dr. Warshowsky’s book presents alternatives to that way of thinking.

Dr. Warshowsky is a master at orchestrating individualized treatment programs to actually reverse fibroid problems, or at least to keep them under control until they naturally shrink at menopause when estrogen stimulation diminishes. He uses five basic elements: diet, supplements, herbs, exercise, and mind-body work. He has studied and adds modalities from other traditions, such as homeopathy, Ayurveda, and Chinese medicine. He supports his patients’ beliefs in other ethnic or cultural healing traditions. In fact, he closes his book with, ” I support their individual needs and beliefs. This fosters a true partnership between us and helps them create a healing environment. The most important point about the whole program is to allow the complementary actions of the various healing systems to awaken your own inner healer.”

Dr. Warshowsky also delves into the hormone issues associated with fibroids. Surgery for fibroids, whether if just the uterus is removed (hysterectomy) or if the ovaries are also removed (oophorectomy), causes serious depletions of the ovarian hormones: the estrogens, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA. Many physicians cavalierly choose to supplement their patients with only estrogen after the surgery. However, exaggerated estrogen levels are what can cause fibroid growth in the first place. Without the whole spectrum of hormones, it is no surprise that women after hysterectomy or oophorectomy tend to be more prone to heart disease, diabetes, and a shortened life span. Dr. Warshowsky goes into even greater depth describing the interplay of hormones, which he calls “the hormone web,” recognizing that everything affects everything else.

So, why did I think this book is mistitled? Because once you get through the basic details of fibroids, this book could have been written for anyone at any stage of life. Fibroids are just a symptom of a body that is out of balance. With any illness or discomfort, there is some sort of an imbalance, no matter how the problem presents itself.

Although Dr. Warshowsky cannot see each one of us individually, he shares enough solid information that we can start on a path toward healing ourselves, and also become more informed as to what we might need from those who stand ready to assist us.

The Risks Associated With Fibroid Surgery

The recent trend with regard to any surgery has been toward more minimally invasive approaches, such as laparoscopy, in which case a small lighted tube is passed through a small incision in the abdominal wall. Unfortunately, women who choose this type of surgery may be submitting themselves to the risks of a process called morcellation, without their knowledge.

When used for removing fibroid, if the fibrotic tissue is too big to pull through the tubes or small incision, the surgeon simply shreds it within the abdominal cavity, similar to using a blender. This shredded tissue flies all over inside the abdominal cavity, and some of it might be left behind.

If some of the fibrotic tissue cells happen to not be benign, then cancer cells have been spread. On April 17th, 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a statement discouraging the use of morcellation procedures for the removal of uterine fibroids and hysterectomy.

The risks associated with morcellation provide good reason to stop and think twice before agreeing to uterine surgery. Not many physicians or practitioners will offer this type of information or explain the choices you have, but Dr. Warshowsky’s book opens that door.

  • Warshowsky A, Oumano E. Healing Fibroids: A Doctor’s Guide to a Natural Cure. New York, NY: Touchstone; 2002.
  • “When A Common Gynecological Procedure Turns Deadly“ by Drew Hofmann; Life Extension Magazine, July 2014.
Book Review – Healing Fibroids by Allan Warshowsky, MD2018-04-07T11:04:13-05:00

Book Review – The Secret Female Hormone by Kathy C. Maupin, MD, and Brett Newcomb, MA, LPC

Book Review – The Secret Female Hormone by Kathy C. Maupin, MD, and Brett Newcomb, MA, LPC

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

Dr. Kathy Maupin suffered greatly from the loss of testosterone when she had a hysterectomy and oophorectomy due to endometriosis. Replenishing with testosterone pellets has literally given her back her life. She writes passionately about what she and her patients have experienced when testosterone is restored. One of her goals is to enlighten other physicians about her practice model with the hope that more people get access to testosterone.

Dr. Maupin observed positive effects in many aspects after treating her patients for testosterone deficiency, including the following:

Loss of Libido

“Sex is science and not magic,” as Dr. Maupin asserts. Restoring testosterone relieves the loss of interest in sex, the loss of wanting to be touched, and the tendency to create grocery lists in your mind rather than enjoying intimacy. You can get it all back with testosterone restored.

Fatigue

Fatigue is at the top of the list of complaints that brings women in to see a physician. There are many causes for fatigue, including low testosterone. In addition, other complaints that contribute to fatigue (such as depression, hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, and loss of interest in exercise) can be triggered by low testosterone as well.

Insomnia

Sleeplessness related to a testosterone deficiency occurs when there is a loss of deep sleep and dreaming, wakefulness in the early morning hours, and waking up feeling fatigued and not restored. Insomnia typically first occurs after the age of 35, just as testosterone levels start to drop.

Depression

Testosterone is responsible for the secretion of serotonin and norepinephrine, which helps mood, energy and focus. There are many other hormones involved in the manifestation of depression. Investigating hormone deficits, including testosterone, is essential for treating the problem at its core.

Migraine Headaches

Testosterone can cross the blood brain barrier and modulate the activity of the hypothalamus. Headaches may occur when the hypothalamus fails to produce its usual hormone stimulation. Often, other hormones deficiencies are also involved with migraine headaches.

Cellulite

When testosterone decreases, muscles shrink and less oxygen is delivered to the surrounding tissues. A “scarring” occurs in the connective tissue, leading to dimpling of the skin known as cellulite. Restoring testosterone can reduce cellulite.

Mental Acuity

Estrogen is well-known for improving memory, but testosterone also crosses the blood-brain barrier. Testosterone not only improves neurotransmitter production, it can also increase the number of brain synapses and brain cells.

Exercise Tolerance

As testosterone levels drop, exercise becomes more and more of a chore. The very thing that can increase testosterone production becomes more difficult. Testosterone increases blood flow to the muscles, increases uptake of the amino acid building blocks to restore tissue, and even helps clear out lactic acid, which is responsible for the pain in muscles experienced after overexertion.

Dry Eyes

A testosterone deficit may not be the only cause of dry eyes, but dry eyes become more prevalent as testosterone drops with aging, and this is especially common in women. Dr. Maupin found that systemic treatment with testosterone pellets often relieves age-related dry eye syndrome in her patients.

Osteoporosis

Although we most often think about estrogen deficiencies in relationship to loss of bone, Dr. Maupin writes that nothing helps restore bones as well as estrogen and testosterone used together. They are both powerful bone-building hormones.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Testosterone can help reduce deterioration of the joints and balance overstimulation of the immune system, decreasing inflammation.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or Lupus

This autoimmune disease is twelve times more prevalent in women than men. Dr. Maupin found that treating testosterone deficiency halted progression of the disease in her patients.

Scleroderma

This autoimmune disease is also more prevalent in women. It is characterized by attacking the blood, and forming fibrotic and scar tissue. Testosterone helps relieve the scarring by reducing inflammation in the blood vessels.

Multiple Sclerosis

This autoimmune disease presents when the myelin sheath, which covers nervous system tissue, is attacked and damaged. Because testosterone can help modulate inflammation, it can help stop the progression of the disease or put it in remission.

Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia

Both of these syndromes arise from a disordered immune system. Testosterone can help modulate both diminished and excessive immune system activity, and can be a key component in the treatment of either condition.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Both estrogen and testosterone can have a dramatic impact on stopping the progression of these diseases. Early treatment seems to be a key factor of success.

Sarcopenia

This is the medical term for the muscle and tissue wasting and frailty that we associate with aging. The question facing Dr. Maupin was: Could intervention with hormones in the very elderly make a difference? Little is understood about first using hormones in the 80s but Dr. Maupin found, to her delight, that testosterone restoration could make an astounding difference in quality of life.

Insulin Resistance and Diabetes

Dr. Maupin writes that testosterone restoration can stop the progression of insulin resistance and forestall the development of diabetes.

Heart Disease

Both estrogen and testosterone restoration can help protect the vascular system against the damage that leads to plaque build-up and ultimately a stroke.

The Secret Female Hormone is a treasure about the very positive effects of identifying and treating testosterone deficiencies. Dr. Maupin is extremely excited about the results she sees in her patients in her clinical practice. Information is often presented in a theoretical fashion, but backed up with real life results. Unfortunately, many practitioners would not even consider that a testosterone deficiency could be involved in many of the diseases listed above. Perhaps after reading this book, they will.

In my opinion, the one thing this book falls short on is an emphasis on the importance of progesterone, especially in women who have had an oophorectomy. Progesterone has more than one target organ (the uterus); there are progesterone receptors throughout the body. Like testosterone, progesterone is a powerful neurosteroid and anti-inflammatory. Progesterone is a hormone that is usually produced abundantly in the adrenal glands and independently by nervous system tissue. Achieving a balance in hormones should always include the consideration of progesterone as well.

Book Review – The Secret Female Hormone by Kathy C. Maupin, MD, and Brett Newcomb, MA, LPC2018-04-04T17:40:39-05:00

Book Review – Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis by Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP

Book Review – Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause by Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is considered an autoimmune disease, is the leading cause of hypothyroidism. However, the very simplistic approach taken by the current medical ideology is to use only one form of relatively inactive thyroid, T4 (thyroxine), for treatment, and to rely on a problematic single test, TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), to guide treatment. This approach falls extremely short of providing adequate treatment to those who suffer the consequences of Hashimoto’s disease.

Izabella Wentz has put together a remarkable book that documents her own journey, in part, and shares the information and resources that she gained along the way. In Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause she details her approach to finding the real reasons this disease develops and then identifies steps to remove the causes and/or rebuild the body’s own resources.

The amount of information in this book is astonishing. Wentz uses readable language to explain complicated issues such as the development of “autoimmunity” and what it means with regard to immune system function, inflammation, allergies, and infection.

One particularly interesting and eye-opening section discusses a common laboratory test called alkaline phosphatase. This test is included on standard liver function tests; elevations can indicate liver dysfunction or an infection. Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme that removes a phosphate group from a number of different molecules. This enzyme can help control infection by essentially neutralizing bacteria.

Most practitioners only pay attention to elevated levels, and do not consider the implications of low levels. However, in her quest for her own wellness, Wentz obtained copies of her lab results and noticed low levels of alkaline phosphatase, wondering what that might signify. Not being content with being told that everything was “fine,” she dug into the research and found that low levels of alkaline phosphatase were associated with bone reabsorption and malnutrition, especially deficiencies of B6, B12, folic acid, vitamin C, and zinc.

Wentz also noted that people with celiac disease have diminished alkaline phosphatase activity in their intestinal mucosa, which can be an indicator of the amount of damage caused by gluten. Levels of alkaline phosphatase normalize with a gluten-free diet, along with improvement to the intestinal mucosa.

Low alkaline phosphatase is also associated with hypothyroidism and with Hashimoto’s disease. Restoring thyroid hormones can increase alkaline phosphatase levels. Thus, having discovered that a low level of alkaline phosphatase was indeed significant in her case, Wentz realized that the health of her gastrointestinal tract was a significant underpinning of Hashimoto’s disease, which led to more tangible information that was helpful in her recovery.

Wentz compiled lists of “dos and don’ts” to help restore this enzyme and to help improve overall health. For example, excessive use of sodas and artificial sweeteners will diminish alkaline phosphatase. She brings together lots of valuable resources that anyone hoping to restore or simply improve their health can access. This book is well-referenced and is a gem for people looking to dig in and improve their ability to recover from the devastation of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

  • Wentz I, Nowosadzka M. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause. White River Junction, VT: Wentz LLC, Chelsea Green Publishing; 2013.
Book Review – Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis by Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP2017-12-12T12:29:56-05:00

Book Review: Heart Attacks, Heart Failure and Diabetes by Mark Starr, MD

Book Review – Heart Attacks, Heart Failure and Diabetes: Prevention and Treatment by Mark Starr, MD(H)

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

 

Dr. Mark Starr, the author of a classic book titled Hypothyroidism Type 2: The Epidemic, recently published a book called Heart Attacks, Heart Failure, and Diabetes: Prevention and Treatment.

You may ask, “Why is this relevant to thyroid disease?” The reason is that Dr. Starr relies heavily on the research of Dr. Broda Barnes, a pioneer in the treatment of thyroid disease, for this new book. Dr. Barnes detailed much of his research in Hypothyroidism, the Unsuspected Illness, a book published in 1976 that continues to be a mind opener for anyone interested in thyroid issues. Dr. Barnes also published a lesser known book that same year called Solved: the Riddle of Heart Attacks. (For more information on Dr. Barnes’ life work, visit https://www.brodabarnes.org/.)

One would think that the field of medicine would have evolved significantly since 1976, providing us with more insight and better treatments. Sadly, this is not the case, and we find ourselves revisiting history for enlightenment.

Dr. Starr’s new book is a touchstone back to the very careful research provided by some of the giants in medical observations and research. He goes back as far as 1918 to Dr. Hermann Zondek’s profound work, which demonstrated that the enlarged heart in congestive heart failure can and does shrink back down to normal size when the underlying hypothyroidism is treated.

Dr. Starr notes that hypothyroidism and diabetes also go hand in hand. In fact, he contends that appropriate thyroid treatment can prevent the development of many of the secondary problems of diabetes, such as blindness, atherosclerosis and neuropathies.

One of the highlights of Dr. Starr’s new book is a thorough discussion of the limitations of using TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) as an indicator of hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland produces 4 thyroid hormones: T1, T2, T3, and T4. The majority of the hormone produced is T4, which has very weak activity. The primary action from thyroid hormones comes from T3. In order to increase the availability of T3, enzymes in the body work to remove an iodine molecule from T4 to create T3.

As it turns out, there are separate enzymes at work in the pituitary gland, where TSH is produced, and the rest of the body. Because of these separate enzyme-producing systems, the amount of active T3 in the pituitary gland can be as much as 1000 times the amount of T3 available to the rest of the body. The production of TSH will stay low until the pituitary T3 is also exhausted. The result is that the body can be in a low thyroid state, with significant symptoms, for a long time before TSH levels are signaled to increase.

There is no better teacher than personal experience. Dr. Starr relates his own health struggle with untreated (at first!) hypothyroidism, and also shares some of his patients’ experiences.

This book serves as a reminder of the fundamental nature of thyroid function in diseases that are of epidemic proportions today. If you happen to start with this book, it will likely whet your appetite for even more of the type of information offered in his first book.

  • Starr M. Heart Attacks, Heart Failure, and Diabetes. Irvine, CA: New Voice Publications; 2014.
  • Starr M. Hypothyroidism Type 2: The Epidemic. Columbia, MO: Mark Starr Trust; 2005.
  • Broda BO. Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness. New York, NY: Harper; 1976.
  • Broda O. Barnes M.D., Research Foundation Inc. https://www.brodabarnes.org/.
Book Review: Heart Attacks, Heart Failure and Diabetes by Mark Starr, MD2017-12-13T12:44:39-05:00