Hormone Health

Herbals vs. Bioidenticals for Hormones: Which Is Better?

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By Ann Melin, Lead Health Coach for Women’s Wellness Collaborative

The question “What do you think of hormone replacement therapy?” is one of the most common I get asked as a health practitioner focused on women’s health.

And, a fair amount of the time, the question is followed up by a client telling me she has been using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy but isn’t sure it’s safe and asks if there are natural hormone supplements that might be effective.

Should You Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Although I have had these kinds of questions arise in women of all ages, the decision about whether to use hormone replacement therapy or to seek natural remedies is most hotly considered when women begin experiencing perimenopause and menopause. Common symptoms of this include hot flashes, night sweats, and emotional swings.

As with everything in the world of health, my answer is often somewhere in the neighborhood of “It depends!” Just what you wanted to hear, right?

Seriously, though, there is no one right answer on this subject and each woman has her own symptoms and health history that needs to be factored into any decision. I have certainly witnessed circumstances in which the use of hormone therapy for women is highly beneficial. I have also seen some women respond extremely well to using herbal remedies for menopause and perimenopause.

The Biggest Problem with Hormone Replacement Therapy

Unfortunately, many women are not properly tested when they start using hormones and even more women do not have their hormone levels monitored after they begin using hormones. I believe this is a major problem that can exacerbate hormone imbalances.

It’s confusing, because many symptoms of progesterone deficiency mimic symptoms of estrogen deficiency (and also mimic symptoms of cortisol dysregulation).

For example, it is not unusual for perimenopausal women to experience symptoms consistent with estrogen depletion, when they actually have elevated levels of estrogen and suppressed levels of progesterone. Many of these same women have been recommended BOTH estrogen and progesterone hormone therapy by other providers based upon symptoms alone. Not desirable!

Blindly supplementing with estrogen when it is already dominant can lead to estrogen dominance. This can be a dangerous condition that drives issues such as uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, endometriosis, endometrial polyps, and even cancers, like breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Although it is natural for perimenopausal women to go through some months when estrogen becomes more dominant, we definitely do not want to provoke those conditions through the unmonitored use of hormones.

Should Anybody Ever Use Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Lest it sound like I’m against hormone replacement in every case, let me assure you I am not. In fact, I have been using progesterone therapy for many years now because I have a personal history of endometrial polyps and ovarian cysts. The progesterone helps to balance excess estrogen and to lighten monthly endometrial proliferation.

Blindly using hormone replacement therapy without knowing the actual levels of hormones is dangerous. But through the use of sophisticated lab work, like the DUTCH test, I can get a clear view of hormonal imbalance and gather information about the potential benefits of varied approaches.  

If you’re going to use hormone replacement therapy, make sure you know why you’re using it and make sure you get properly tested and monitored along the way!

Should You Pursue Natural Alternatives?

Many women are looking to integrate natural alternatives to HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and, as I stated earlier, I have seen some remarkable results. Of course, you still need to know what you’re taking and why you’re taking it.

For example, I have many women who come to me already using herbs like maca and ashwaganda in efforts to promote balanced female hormones. While both of these herbs are WONDERFUL under certain conditions, I often see lab results from these women showing elevations of DHEA without the intended benefits to the female sex hormones.

Despite what any research or anecdotal evidence might suggest, each woman is unique and it is absolutely impossible to know how you respond to any herb, supplement, or medication without looking at the impact on your individual physiology. And it is for this reason that I will always recommend testing rather than guessing!

Once women have their lab results, they often wonder if herbal therapies will actually work and, again, the answer is, “It depends!”

Some women respond very well to herbal approaches; however, it often takes a little bit longer to experience the benefits. In general, you have to use herbs for hormones for about 90 days before they will really start to drive a noticeable shift in hormones.

In many cases, I feel that herbs are a wonderful option in that they promote regulation of hormone production via the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad axis thereby regulating and stimulating the function of the endocrine organs rather than simply replacing what the body is not producing efficiently. This strategy helps to encourage appropriate levels of hormone production that fall within optimal ranges.

I have had clients completely eliminate their hot flashes and night sweats through the use of appropriately developed herbal formulas.

I have had clients experience more comfortable intercourse, enhanced libido, and increased vaginal lubrication from the use of herbal remedies.

The primary caveat to this is that you must have all of your organs in order for this to work; meaning that women who have had complete hysterectomies probably won’t experience much benefit from using herbs to help them regulate their symptoms of low estrogen and progesterone.

My Favorite Herbal Formula for Female Hormone Balance

With all of that said, my favorite formula for working with all kinds of female hormone imbalances includes the herbs mentioned below in the indicated ratios. (And I can’t put this out there without another reminder that everybody is different and I will usually customize the formula when I’m working with people individually.)  

*Note: I usually am referring to volume when I indicate a “part.”

  • 5 parts Vitex. This is an herb that helps to promote production of progesterone.

  • 3 parts Black Cohosh. This is an herb that helps regulate estrogen production.

  • 3 parts Red Clover. This is a phytoestrogenic herb, meaning that it resembles estrogen and has estrogen-like effects on the body.

  • 2 parts Ashwaganda. Supports DHEA production and can help support the adrenal system.

  • 2 parts Motherwort. This herb helps to enhance the synergy and efficacy of the blend of herbs. (Note: Motherwort is generally contraindicated in those with thyroid conditions… another reason to have proper testing and assessment prior to use)

You can use these herbs in tincture form from companies like Herb Pharm or Gaia Herbs. In this form, a reasonable dosage would be about 30-40 drops of the blend up to four times per day.

You can also use the cut and sifted form of the bulk herbs and blend them into a tea. I personally like this approach as it forces you to experience the taste of the herbs (as bitter as they might be), and taste immediately sends certain signals to the brain about what is being ingested and what the body needs to do to integrate it.

If you want to use a tea, you can order herbs from a place like Mountain Rose Herbs. You will make the mixture of herbs and then take 2 tbsp of that mixture, put it in a glass bowl, and cover it with two cups of boiling water. Cover the herbs and let them steep overnight. Strain the herbs out of the tea in the morning and separate the tea into two halves. Drink one half in the morning and the other in the evening.

Of course, both of the above suggestions are labor-intensive yet many women have a lot of demands and prefer something simple! In this case, Pure Encapsulations has a great product called PhytoBalance which contains several of the herbs mentioned above.

How to Properly Test Your Hormones

Knowing your actual hormone levels is the most crucial piece of attaining proper relief from your symptoms. There are many treatment options available and almost all of them have appropriate uses. However, it is nearly impossible to achieve balance if you don’t know exactly what is out-of-balance and how far out of balance it is. Once you know where you’re starting from, it becomes much easier to identify strategies to optimize health and well-being.

The DUTCH test is my favorite way to get a clear picture of hormonal imbalances in my clients. Check out my video, below, to learn which hormones the DUTCH test measures and why the it’s so effective in guiding hormone treatment plan.

Help for Your Hormones

Precise hormonal testing and expert, customized functional coaching is the BEST way to finally get results for your hormonal woes.

Visit our coaching page to learn more and schedule a free consultation with one of coaches.

Finding a Non-Toxic Deodorant That Works

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Choose Your Best Natural Deodorant Without Sacrificing Your Social Life!  

When the weather gets warm, it’s a great time to enjoy the sun, have picnics, lounge on the beach…. and put toxins in our armpits? Truth is, most conventional deodorants and antiperspirants are a recipe for toxin build-up and hormonal imbalance. 

Unfortunately, some natural deodorants are a recipe for scaring away friends and may still contain harmful ingredients. Read on to learn how to use healthy deodorant and keep on good terms with your friends, too!

What Happens When We Sweat?

When most of us think of sweating, we believe it mainly cools down our bodies so we don’t overheat. While it’s true our bodies do produce sweat to help us stay cool, that is not its only function.

Our bodies actually produce two types of sweat: we sweat when we’re hot, but we also sweat when we’re nervous. 

  • The eccrine sweat glands are found all over our skin and are responsible for temperature control. They mainly release water and salt, and the liquid typically evaporates quickly to help us cool off. 
  • The apocrine sweat glands are found in the armpits (as well as some other places), and they secrete a fatty fluid as a response to stress. The bacteria living on our skin love to feed on the fatty secretions; unfortunately, this typically results in a bad smell.

Besides cooling us down, sweating is a great way for our bodies to detox and expel harmful toxins. However, detoxing through sweat is often associated with an odor. Since we don’t like smelling bad, it’s easy to turn to antiperspirants to control the issue. 

Using antiperspirants may appear to solve the odor problem, but blocking our bodies’ abilities to expel harmful substances can lead to ever-increasing toxicity, which, in turn, can blossom into a host of chronic health issues.

In addition to helping us detox and cool down, sweating also burns calories, boosts the immune system, releases endorphins, and helps circulation. Definitely not something we want to skip!

What’s in Your Deodorant?

It’s so easy to grab our favorite deodorant and slather it on our skin. But is it safe? 

Did you know most conventional deodorants contain harmful ingredients that have been linked to hormone imbalances, cancer, neurotoxicity and impaired detoxification? 

Since our skin absorbs much of what we put on it, it’s important to read the labels on our personal care products, including deodorant. 

Take a look at some of the ingredients found in many deodorants and antiperspirants:

  • Aluminum/potassium alum - An active ingredient often used to plug the sweat glands, aluminum is suspected of causing hormonal imbalances by mimicking estrogen in the body, and is often connected to breast cancer. But that’s not all. It is also connected to neurotoxicity and respiratory complaints. (1, 2, 3)   
  • Parabens - Parabens typically function as preservatives, preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi. While that is helpful, parabens have also been linked to hormonal imbalances, as they can mimic estrogen and confuse the body.
  • Phthalates -  Phthalates are used to keep a product flexible. However, again they can mimic estrogen and add to the toxic load on our bodies. (4)
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate - This ingredient is added as an emulsifier, but, same as with the previous products, is a suspected carcinogen and also hinders the body’s detoxification efforts.   (5)
  • Fragrance/parfum - The benefits of adding fragrances to deodorant should be obvious! Unfortunately, the problems outweigh the benefits when we consider that many harmful chemicals can be included under the listing of fragrance or parfum in product ingredient lists, resulting in hormone imbalance and toxicity.

It’s Not Easy...

With such an array of toxicity around us, it can be perplexing to sort it all out! 

Fortunately, healthy deodorant options do exist. 

Unfortunately, many people experience difficulties when trying to switch to non-toxic deodorant. With great hopes they buy an expensive natural deodorant…. but within days they develop painful rashes and skin irritation. Or maybe the product doesn’t even work at odor control! 

When we try natural deodorant and encourage detoxing through sweating, this can invite the stored toxins to the surface, resulting in rashes and a worse odor than ever. It’s tough. Many people get discouraged and give up when the problem gets worse. And that’s understandable. Who wants to spend their days smelling bad, all alone, and with a rash in their armpits? But do we really want to put harmful chemicals into our bodies?

There must be a better way!

Your Best Natural Deodorant Solutions

Our bodies are loaded down with toxins every day. One way to reduce both the smell and the rashes is to address these toxins and help usher them out of our bodies.

Try an Armpit Detox

Strange as an “armpit detox” may sound, this is a fairly easy step with a good track record for helping people transition to natural deodorant.

This is a similar idea to clay face masks, except we put the mask in the armpits instead. Bentonite clay is famous for increasing blood flow to the area where it’s applied and drawing toxins out of the body, so it’s a great choice. 

The armpit detox is simple: using only non-metal utensils and bowls, mix 1 tablespoon of bentonite clay with 1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar, spread a thin layer in your armpits, and rinse off after 15 minutes. (It may feel warm and tingly, which means the clay is working, but if it starts to hurt, please wash it off immediately.)

This can be repeated daily to help with a transition to natural deodorant, and after that it can be used whenever needed. (https://www.naturallivingideas.com/armpit-cleanse/)

Test Your Toxic Load

If you’re struggling to switch to natural deodorant, chances are your system is overburdened. It’s time to identify and properly eliminate those toxins!  

Many of our clients come to us burdened with heavy metals, mold toxicity, and other chemical toxins. Listen to our recent podcast with founder Bridgit Danner and lead coach Ann Melin to learn more about our approach to testing for different toxins.  

Are you wondering if toxins testing could help you? Schedule a free consultation to explore your options!    

My Favorite Natural Deodorant That Works

I love the NOW Long-Lasting Deodorant Stick because it offers amazing value and unparalleled protection you can really count on. 

It was scientifically formulated, combining natural odor-fighting ingredients: 

  • coconut oil
  • zinc oxide  
  • lavender oil
  • rosemary leaf oil
  • And more!

Click here to view my favorite non-toxic deodorant and see my video review. 

You can take 15% off anything in our personal care category now through August with the the code ‘summer15.’ 

Thanks and happy summer!

Bridgit

High Energy Morning Detox Guide

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Grab our High Energy Morning Guide and get some spring back in your step, naturally.

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Do You Have Low Hormone Levels?

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We recently started a new Facebook group and I found that some of our new members were complaining of ‘low hormone levels,’ so I thought that would be a good topic for discussion.

Though usually undiagnosed, I’d say ‘low hormone levels’ is an epidemic these days. Let’s learn about what that term even means, how you can be diagnosed, and what you can do about it!

What are ‘Low Hormone Levels’?

When people use this term, they are usually referring to low levels of steroid hormone. Steroid hormones are a class of hormones that include cortisol (made by the adrenal glands to give energy and manage stress) estrogen hormone (your dominant female hormone) and testosterone (a hormone you need for good sex drive and muscle mass.)

Here is a little background from Wikipedia:

“The natural steroid hormones are generally synthesized from cholesterol in the gonads and adrenal glands. These forms of hormones are lipids. They can pass through the cell membrane as they are fat-soluble,[5] and then bind to steroid hormone receptors (which may be nuclear or cytosolic depending on the steroid hormone) to bring about changes within the cell.”

Steroid hormones do a lot of jobs that keep you feeling well. They:

  • Balance your blood pressure

  • Balance you blood sugar

  • Give you energy

  • Keep your skin toned

  • Put minerals into your bones

  • Help you think clearly

  • Help you have easy periods, be fertile, and have a smooth menopause.

How Do I Know If I Have Low Hormone Levels?

There are two ways to know, although one is less certain than the other!

The first way is through symptoms. Common symptoms of low steroid hormone levels are:

  • Low energy

  • Low sex drive (these first two are the most common and important)

  • Low blood pressure

  • Poor vaginal lubrication

  • Chronic pain, especially in the evening

  • Tension headaches

  • Can’t recall thoughts /think clearly

  • Sugar and carb cravings

  • Unexplained weight gain

The definitive way to know if you have low hormone levels is through lab testing. Along blood labs can give you a snapshot of your estrogen and progesterone, they don’t give a robust picture that is enough to help you have targeted treatment.

In our practice, we really love using the DUTCH test (Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones) to measure hormone levels.

The DUTCH test is an easy urine test you can take at home from anywhere in the world. It tells you about your cortisol levels through the course of the day, your female hormones and how you metabolize them, your detox capacity, your melatonin levels and more.

What Can I Do About Low Hormone Levels?

If you do decide to run a DUTCH test with us, your supplement and lifestyle protocol can be very targeted.

However, I think there are some things you can do safely at home to support low estrogen levels, and I’ll outline them here. Do these whenever you are feeling low energy:

  • Lay completely horizontal and rest for 3-20 minutes (your steroid hormones help balance blood pressure and this gives them a break)

  • Squeeze ½ - 1 whole organic lemon into a glass of water and drink

  • Have a generous pinch of sea salt and follow with water. Repeat until you are feeling better up to ½ teaspoon salt. (Do not do if you have high blood pressure.)

  • Rub essential oils of basil and rosemary into your palms with a bit of carrier oil like coconut oil or grapeseed oil. Inhale for a few breaths and then rub over your kidneys. (May increase blood pressure.)

  • Avoid blood sugar swings by eating often and including fiber, fat and protein. Avoid simple sugars that will make you crash like alcohol, coffee, pasta, cookies, etc.

Please always check with your doctor before starting this or any other new protocol.

Summary

It’s important to realize that your hormone levels don’t lower ‘for no reason.’ Yes, they will lower with age, but it shouldn’t be so much so that you feel like junk.

So you need to assess everything in your life to get an idea of where you are being drained.

  • Are you eating foods that are void of nutrition (sweet coffee drinks, chips, etc.)?

  • Are you overworked and not getting rest?

  • Are you not getting enough sleep at night?

  • Are you around people who bring you down?

Beyond the basics, much can be off balance that will disrupt your hormones:

  • Chronic injuries

  • Gut infections

  • Heavy metal exposure

  • Food intolerances

If you’ve already done the basics and are eating well and trying to meditate, etc, it’s probably time to work with a practitioner who is trained in functional nutrition. The state-of-the-art testing we offer can identify these root causes and our detailed protocols can directly work to correct them.

Next Steps

We’d love to chat with you about Functional Health Coaching on a free call. It’s just 15 minutes and can help give you a lot of clarity about next steps. Schedule here.

I’m also happy to develop a custom essential oil protocol for you at no cost with our fav oil company, doTERRA. Schedule here.

Five Ways Essential Oils Support Your Hormones

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Adding Essential Oils to Your Routine Balances Hormones

You may have heard of essential oils, and maybe you already use them. You might be wondering, “how do these really work?” In this article, I’ll explain five ways that essential oils work to powerfully affect your hormones in a positive way!

  1. Lower Stress and Benefit Sleep

There are several essential oils that have been shown in studies to reduce the stress hormone cortisol. (1) The speed of this reduction is what impresses me! You can feel calmer within seconds of inhaling a cortisol-reducing oil.

While you need cortisol for energy, immunity, and inflammation, you don’t need too much cortisol! Your cortisol tends to get high thanks to chronic stress.

Symptoms of high cortisol include:

  • Stubborn belly fat
  • Feeling high-strung
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Being too keyed up to enjoy sex
  • High blood pressure
  • Increasing wrinkles and fatigue

Lowering excess cortisol with essential oils can help relieve the above symptoms. If stress and insomnia are chronic issues, I suggest using cortisol-reducing oils a few times a day, and especially in the evening as you wind down for bed.

Good sleep is important for another hormone, human growth hormone. This hormone helps you repair and rejuvenate at night; it’s how you get ‘beauty sleep.’ So lowering cortisol so you can sleep is key.

Common essential oils that lower cortisol are: lavender, basil, rosemary, orange and ylang ylang. The oil blend we use nightly in a diffuser is Serenity by doTERRA.

In a 2007 study, lavender and rosemary were both found to lower cortisol and prevent the free radical damage (hello, early aging) associated chronic high cortisol. (2)

       2. Reduce Appetite & Improve Metabolism

Having excess fat tissue contributes excess estrogen levels. Your fat tissue is an estrogen factory so, like cortisol, you don’t want an excess of body fat.

Avoiding processed foods and losing weight is challenging in our busy, toxic world! Luckily essential oils can give you a helping hand to make better food choices and to process calories efficiently.

Grapefruit oil is a cravings-buster when you place a drop on your tongue, as is peppermint oil. Grapefruit oil contains D-limonene, a compound that boosts metabolism and drains lymph (bye, bye puffy eyes and water weight). It can also be used externally along with a dry brushing technique to reduce cellulite. 
 
Cinnamon oil is a blood sugar balancer, and having balanced blood sugar will mean less cravings and better food choices. (3)

The cravings and metabolism blend I use regularly is Slim and Sassy by doTERRA. It has a dorky name but it works really well! It contains ginger, grapefruit, cinnamon, lemon and peppermint.

      3. Calm Emotions

Inhalation of essential oils directly affects limbic system, where you store emotions and memories. Taming negative emotions and painful memories can get you out of the sympathetic dominant mode that inhibits optimal hormone production.

According to the author of Healing with Essential Oils, Jodi Sternoff Cohen, the most powerful use of essential oils may be their value in emotional recovery and management:

“Fragrant substances pass on to the limbic system without being registered by the cerebral cortex. This powerful emotional reaction in the limbic system is triggered by nerve impulses which, in turn, trigger other areas of the brain that are responsible for secreting hormones and neurotransmitters and for regulating body functions.”

“This makes essential oils especially powerful tools for dealing with emotional challenges, like anxiety, depression, fear, worry, grief, trauma, anger and self-abuse.”

Some essential oils help you feel more grounded and others give you a sense of peace. The essential oil cedarwood helps me feel secure and confident, while essential oil of neroli makes me feel euphoric!


      4. Improve Digestion

Strong digestion is critical for healthy hormones. Within the digestive tract:

  • Nutrients needed to make hormones are absorbed
  • Neurotransmitters are produced
  • Hormone metabolites (used hormones) are cleared from the system

If the digestive tract is inflamed, these important processes won’t happen. Some symptoms of digestive distress include:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Multiple food sensitivities
  • Skin eruptions
  • An autoimmune diagnosis

There are many essential oils that can support proper digestion and help detoxify the gut. I’ll highlight three here:

Lemon oil has been shown to inhibit candida albicans infection. Excess candida yeast can cause sugar cravings and foggy thinking. (4)

Peppermint oil relaxes smooth muscles in cases of IBS, and it also helps break down the biofilms that protect chronic bacterial infections in your gut. ( 5, 6)

Essential oil of ginger promotes digestion, reduces nausea, and has been shown to help prevent and treat stomach ulcers. (7)

A product I love that combines several oils in one formula for both acute and chronic indigestion is DigestZen by doTERRA. I try to use in on my abdomen with a carrier oil at least twice a day, and I also inhale it and sometimes use a drop on my tongue.

I find the warming and bitter nature of the oils in this formula help me digest a meal and have healthy bowel movements.

      5. Lower Inflammation

Inflammation is a process in the body that is helpful and necessary at times. It gathers to do its job when you are injured, when you’re fighting an infection and more.

But chronic inflammation presents various problems, one is which is preventing proper hormone production and signaling.

Inflammation allows less hormone to attach to receptor sites on a cell’s membrane. This means that hormones may be knocking at the door, but they can’t get inside. With an inflamed cell wall, also toxins can’t get out and nutrients can’t get in.

Inflammation also dysregulates the immune system, which can lead to autoimmunity, in which the body is attacking its own tissue. You can use essential oils to lower inflammation, thus allowing your hormones to signal correctly.

Frankincense is an oil derived from a tree resin that contain a high percentage of boswellic acid. Boswellic acid is able to lower inflammation and modulate immunity. It has become a popular oil in autoimmune thyroid conditions for this reason. (8, 9)

Lavender reduces the inflammation of a bug bite or a sunburn but also the systemic inflammation that interferes with your hormones.

Conclusion:

Many oils overlap in their functions; many simultaneously lower cortisol, prevent bacterial growth and lower inflammation. This is because the ‘essential oil’ of a plant protects it and keeps it healthy. Essential oils can provide some of the same protection to you as you endeavor to stay healthy through the changing seasons of life.

What I love about essential oils is that they are easy and enjoyable to use. There are some cautions to take, for instance some oils need to be diluted or they will feel hot or burning on your skin. A few oils can make you sunburn easier, so you need to avoid applying them on an exposed area before a day in the sun.

With a little education, essential oils are fun and creative to use, and you can reap benefits immediately in reduced stress or a calmer stomach, and you can enjoy long-term benefits in better periods, less hot flashes, thicker hair and more.

Learn More!

We had two lectures on hormones and essential oils. Listen here:

Natural Solutions for Hormonal Symptoms with Dr. Mariza Snyder

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Dr. Mariza Snyder is a Women’s Hormone Practitioner and an essential oils expert. This episode is a recording of a webinar with Dr. Mariza on essential oils for hormones. We talk about perimenopause & menopause, the thyroid, nutritional tips & essential oils.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 02:10 Dr. Mariza Snyder & her mother's health history
Min 06:20 Dr. Snyder's former client testimonial
Min 07:45 Committing to functional medicine
Min 10:00 Hormonal imbalances & prescriptions
Min 12:10 What are hormones?
Min 13:20 The Charlie's Angels of hormones
Min 16:30 The Foundational 5
Min 21:10 Eating right for your hormones
Min 29:10 Essential oils & herbs
Min 31:50 How to use essential oils
Min 34:05 Essential oil protocols
Min 40:20 Low Progesterone & Dr. Snyder's protocols
Min 47:55 Phytoestrogens
Min 50:00 Dr. Synder's protocols for hormone balancing

To learn more about Dr. Mariza Snyder, visit her website here and follow her on social media:
Facebook 
Twitter 
YouTube 
Instagram 
Pinterest 

Resources:

Hormone Detox shop

Doterra Essential Oils shop

Here's a video version of the webinar with Dr. Mariza Snyder:


Work With Us!

We would be honored to work with you as a private client. We provide testing and coaching options to women in most every state and country. Come chat with us on a free consultation to see if it’s a fit.

Could Your Sunscreen Disrupt Your Hormones?

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Learn the Dangerous Ingredients that May Be Lurking in Your Sunscreen

Most types of sunscreen contain toxins that can easily penetrate the skin and cause inflammation, hormone imbalances, and increased toxic burden. Fortunately, there are safer options that still protect from harmful sun rays. Learn how to read your label and discover where to buy safer sunscreen.

Sunscreen 101

As we head into summer, it’s important to remember the impact of the sun’s rays on our skin. Though some sun is good for us (hello, vitamin D!), too much exposure can age our skin, burn us, and leave us at a higher risk for skin cancer.
 
Most of us have likely experienced a bad sunburn and are determined to protect ourselves better this year. So we turn to sunscreen in an effort to keep ourselves safe. But what if our sunscreen itself is dangerous?
 
Most sunscreens on the market contain chemicals that quickly penetrate our skin and disrupt our hormones. Since our skin absorbs much of what we put onto it, we need to guard against slathering ourselves with toxin-laden chemicals. Sunscreen can also provide a false sense of security. Some sunscreens may actually cause more harm than good!
 

Sunscreen Toxins to Avoid

Before you cover yourself or your kids with sunscreen, grab your bottle and check the ingredients for these endocrine-disrupting chemicals:

  • Oxybenzone - This chemical is included in many sunscreens because it absorbs and filters UV rays. However, it also penetrates the skin rapidly and mimics estrogen in the body, leading to hormonal imbalances and potential infertility. (1)

 

  • Octinoxate - This is another inexpensive UV filter, making it a popular choice for many sunscreens. Unfortunately, it is also a potent endocrine disruptor, posing problems for the thyroid and reproductive systems, among others. It is also linked to cell death and difficulty clearing toxins from the body. Octinoxate also causes complete coral bleaching at low doses. In other words, snorkeling with this sunscreen during a tropical vacation contributes to a weakened, diseased state in coral reefs. (2)

 

  • Retinyl palmitate - Retinyl palmitate is a form of vitamin A and a popular choice for sunscreen because it is believed to slow skin aging. The problem is this chemical breaks down in sunlight, creating extra free radicals and leading to skin problems, even skin cancer. Additionally, retinyl palmitate is a powerful reproductive toxicant, which is, again, easily absorbed through the skin and can lead to hormonal imbalances.

 

  • Parabens - These chemicals are included in sunscreens because they delay bacterial and fungal growth. They are, however, also linked to endocrine disruptions, possibly leading to breast cancer and other hormonal difficulties. Again, this is not something we want to be inviting into our bodies!

 

  • Fragrances - These are also commonly found in sunscreens. They are added to make the product more appealing, but they can also cause hormonal disruption and toxin build up. If you see the word “fragrance” on a label, it could include any number of toxic chemicals that legally don’t have to be listed individually. (3)

As you might imagine, slathering our bodies with these chemicals throughout the summer can lead to or worsen hormonal imbalance and create a heavier toxic load for our bodies. Fortunately, we have other choices to help keep us safe from sunburn and hormone-disrupting chemicals.

The Issue with Spray Sunscreen

When it’s time to apply sunscreen, it’s easy to grab an aerosol can and spray on the sunscreen. However, this can cause lung irritation.
 
To make it easier to use as a spray, the sunscreen is broken down into even smaller molecules that fill the air around us as we spray the skin. We (and anyone else around us) end up breathing the chemicals in the air, giving us even more exposure to the chemicals. Now we get them through our lungs and our skin! The use of aerosols has even been linked to a higher risk of breathing problems like asthma.

So if you choose a spray sunscreen, make sure it’s a natural one, and don’t use on yourself or your kiddos if it causes any breathing irritation.

Also, realize that a spray sunscreen does still need to be rubbed in to work most effectively!

Staying Safe in the Sun

Fortunately, we have many options when choosing how to protect ourselves from the sun!

  • Choose a mineral-based sunscreen made with non-nano zinc oxide. Mineral-based sunscreens protect our skin by reflecting and scattering the sunrays. Make sure to pick a sunscreen that uses non-nano zinc oxide, as the regular nanoparticles of zinc are small enough to penetrate the skin and cause problems. (See below for our favorites.)

 

  • Reapply sunscreen every few hours. Sunscreen does not last all day! Make sure to re-apply frequently if you are out in the sun for long periods of time.

 

  • Cover up. We can protect our skin by wearing long sleeves, using a hat, and taking other precautions to avoid direct sunlight as needed.

 

  • Eat a healthy diet. It shouldn’t be a big surprise that our skin will be healthier and less likely to burn quickly when we eat better! Make sure to include healthy fats, antioxidants, and an abundance of vitamins and minerals.

 

Protect Yourself with Safe Sunscreen

Daily Protection

           

          

DeVita brand sunscreen offers a Solar Body Moisturizer and a Solar Protective Moisturizer for the face. These sunscreens go on light and smooth for everyday use. 

My skin is acne-prone and DeVita sunscreens have never clogged my pores. It doesn't feel like you are wearing a sunscreen at all with these products! I apply them on first thing in the morning.

In addition to 19% micronized zinc oxide (it’s non-nano), they contain ingredients that support your skin like aloe, grape seed extract and vitamin C. 

I am so fond of these products that I decided to carry them in our new online shop! You can find the Body Sunscreen here and the Facial Sunscreen here.  

Use coupon code 'safesun' for 15% all the non-toxic personal care products in our shop through June 30.

Fun in the Sun

If you are planning a day at the pool or the beach, you need a stronger product to withstand the elements. When I’m going into full sun exposure,  I turn to Beautycounter’s line of water-resistant products.

Beautycounter offers a line called Countersun with a lotion, a stick and a spray sunscreen. Beautycounter is always free of synthetic fragrance, parabens, and 1,500 other harmful or questionable ingredients. 

Their sunscreens are reef safe, so you can take them to Hawaii, and you can even pack the spray in a checked bag!

In addition to sunscreen, Beautycounter offers skin care, hair care and makeup that perform like any high-end product, but without disrupting your hormones or exposing you to heavy metals.

Receive a free sample pack of tinted moisturizer when you make a Beautycounter purchase of $100 or more through June 30.  

Root Causes of Hashimoto's with Dr. Eric Osansky

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Dr. Eric Osansky is a chiropractic physician, clinical nutritionist, and Functional medicine practitioner. He is back on the show in the event of his new book coming out called "Hashimoto's Triggers". In this episode we talk about Hashimoto's disease & its triggers, the connection between thyroid & SIBO, and essential oils.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 01:05 Introducing Dr. Eric Osansky's new book
Min 02:55 What are Hashimoto's triggers?
Min 04:25 Food triggers
Min 08:00 Estrogen dominance
Min 12:10 The connection between thyroid & SIBO
Min 18:10 Blood sugar as a trigger for Hashimoto's
Min 21:55 Blue light exposure
Min 23:45 Dr. Osansky's book
Min 24:05 Using essential oils

To learn more about Dr. Osansky, visit his website here and follow him on social media:
Facebook 

Resources:

Hashimoto's Triggers book 
Addressing Hashimoto's and Graves' Disease with Dr. Eric Osansky 
Receive a FREE CHAPTER from Dr. Osansky's book "Hashimoto's Triggers"

Here's a video version of the interview with Dr. Eric Osansky:


Work With Us!

We would be honored to work with you as a private client. We provide testing and coaching options to women in most every state and country. Come chat with us on a free consultation to see if it’s a fit.

My Real Life Healing Journey with Tami

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Tami is part of our staff at WWC and joined our online coaching program as a client about a year ago. She's our special guest this week where we talk about her health history, menstrual cycle, negative self-talk, working at WWC among other topics.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 03:00 Introducing our guest & her health history
Min 05:12 Puberty & irregular cycles
Min 08:30 Health in high school
Min 11:40 Seeking natural treatment
Min 17:30 Testing with naturopaths
Min 20:35 Online coaching at WWC
Min 23:20 Home cooking & changes experienced
Min 28:20 Negative self-talk
Min 31:45 Personal care products
Min 33:58 Distrust in the medical community
Min 37:10 Testing on the WWC coaching program
Min 43:50 Shifts & improvements experienced
Min 49:30 Working at WWC

Resources:

Leaky Gut Solutions webinar
Perfect Periods Program
Improve Your Genetic Performance with Dr. Ben Lynch
High Energy Morning Detox Guide
WWC Shop


Work With Us!

We would be honored to work with you as a private client. We provide testing and coaching options to women in most every state and country. Come chat with us on a free consultation to see if it’s a fit.

Three Great Hacks for Hormonal Imbalance

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Hormone imbalance can rear its ugly head in myriad ways: fatigue, moodiness, cramps, bloating, headaches and more. 

There are some ‘hormone helpers’ available to you that cost just pennies per use and can shift things quickly.

I’m talking about essential oils and there are many of them, but today I’ll deep dive on just three so you can start building your oils knowledge to help yourself. These three oils are all personal favorites of mine that I use weekly!

 

1. Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata)

 

When you are under stress and your hormones don’t seem to be supporting you, returning to a feeling of nourished feminity is key! Ylang ylang helps with mood and beauty and leaves you feeling like your best self.

  • The intoxicating smell of ylang-ylang is super relaxing and makes me feel like a queen!  It helps me feel restored and sensuous at the end of the day, and ready for sleep. I usually use it after bathing as a body oil.
  • If you suffer from hormonal mood swings, either anger or depression, ylang-ylang can help smooth out the bumps in your monthly roller coaster.
  • Ylang ylang has traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac. Most of our clients report their sex drive as low, so this oil can help you get in that relaxed and ready mood.
  • It is also fantastic for skin and hair.  For skin, it is soothing and nourishing and supports aging or irritated skin. Shake a drop into your hand and apply with your moisturizer.
  • For hair, it is so smoothing, and I’ve been experimenting with using it in a homemade leave-in conditioner for the ends of my hair. Or shake several drops into your conditioner bottle and mix well.

2.  Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Basil is an oil I’ve been using a long, long time on my acupuncturist clients when I was giving a localized massage. I learned basil to be a muscle relaxant, and I stayed dedicated to using this oil. People always loved it and tried to identify the scent.

I think I must have also enjoyed the benefits of basil, which is why I stuck with it!  Since giving up my acupuncture practice last summer, I got away from basil. But we recently reunited and I am in love again!

  • The scent of basil is very calming. It helps relieve chronic stress and promotes restful sleep. As chronic stress is often what is robbing our hormones, managing stress is key! Basil is supportive of your adrenal glands.
  • As I mentioned earlier, it’s a muscle relaxant, so it’s useful for menstrual cramps or restless leg syndrome.
  • Yes, you can also use it for cooking! Add a couple drops to your pasta sauce before serving.

 

3.  Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Peppermint oil sounds too simple to be very powerful, but it is! Many of the symptoms that arise during hormonal changes can be relieved with peppermint.

  • Create a mist of water and few drops of peppermint oil to get relief during a hot flash. (Ratio is about 1 drop per teaspoon of water. Shake well before spraying.)
  • Use to help for headaches during your period or at the end of long day. (Dilute in carrier oil and rub on neck, shoulders, temples.)
  • Use during your work day to increase energy and improve your focus. (Peppermint actually increases circulation to the brain.)
  • And, my favorite use, use on your scalp to improve hair growth and prevent hair loss. (Shake into shampoo bottle or create a spray with water and keep in the shower.)
  • It’s also great to have on hand for an upset stomach or to freshen your breath.
To learn more about the incredible power of essential oils for women's health, join us for an educational email series by filling out this form or visit our essential oils page.

Throughout the month of April 2018, doTERRA will give you back $50 in credit when you become a new member at the $100 level. It’s a great deal and a chance to spoil yourself with a few more decadent oils.

What You Need to Know About Phthalates

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Some years back, BPA (a type of plastic), earned a bad name as a health disruptor. The market responded by slapping a ‘BPA free’ label wherever it could, and often just replaced BPA (bisphenol A) for  BPS (bisphenol S), which has the same estrogen-like compounds.

While it was great that consumer awareness about plastics began at this time, and it also was great that many consumers started using glass and steel containers, I would not say that we, as a culture, got a deep and clear understanding of synthetic ingredients following the BPA uproar. 

Let's Learn About Phthalates

So let’s continue our education and add another ‘bad plastic’ to the list: phthalates.  Phthalates is a hard word to pronounce ( say “thal - lates” ) and even harder to spell, but I want you to get to know this group of chemicals, as they are probably more ubiquitous than BPA, and a lack of awareness is leaving you literally soaking in a sea of phthalates.

Phthalates keep plastic soft- like in those disposable, pre-filled water bottles, plastic hoses, plastic wrap, even IV bags in hospitals. But that’s not all phthalates do. They also help keep fragrance lingering for longer, so they are a part of about every ‘fragrance’ mix you see on a label.

Large companies are now pumping fragrance around their buildings as a signature scent. Hotels are doing it, and even Goodwill Industries has gotten into it. But I digress...

The Problem with Phthalates

The problem with phthalates is that they are obesogens and endocrine disruptors. This means that they contribute to a toxic load that can make you fat, tired and grumpy.  They can also contribute to fertility issues and man boobs.

The tricky thing about environmental toxins is that we are all exposed to multiple toxins from multiple sources, so it becomes difficult to isolate any one source as the cause of disease.

However, there is a growing body of study linking phthalates and other chemicals to health disorders, especially in unborn and small children:

Associations of prenatal environmental phenol and phthalate biomarkers with respiratory and allergic diseases among children aged 6 and 7 years.

Early Prenatal Phthalate Exposure, Sex Steroid Hormones, and Birth Outcomes.

Impact of diisobutyl phthalate and other PPAR agonists on steroidogenesis and plasma insulin and leptin levels in fetal rats.

Association between use of phthalate-containing medication and semen quality among men in couples referred for assisted reproduction

 

Are We Being Protected?

 

According to the FDA, the higher levels of phthalate metabolites now found in urinary testing cannot be tied to symptom development. (Example of testing of phthalate levels)

“While the CDC report noted elevated levels of phthalates excreted by women of child-bearing age, neither this report nor the other data reviewed by FDA established an association between the use of phthalates in cosmetic products and a health risk. Based on this information, FDA determined that there wasn’t a sound, scientific basis to support taking regulatory action against cosmetics containing phthalates.” (source)

It appears this information has not been reviewed since 2002.  However, I did find an article that stated that, in 2016, the FDA was going to reconsider the use of phthalates in food packaging and equipment (source), but I have not seen any further reference to their response to this public petition.

 

What Can You Do?

As I mentioned earlier, we all have multiple exposures to chemicals in our modern world. But we can reduce our exposure significantly through our own choices!  Most of those choices are made in what we buy to eat and use around the home. If you want to avoid phthalates, here are some easy tips:

  • Avoid buying those pre-filled soft water bottles. Instead, invest in a home water filter and keep glass bottles of filtered water ready to go when headed out of the house.
  • Eat organic as much as possible. Phthalates are part of some pesticides.
  • Avoid processed foods wrapped in plastic like pre-made burgers. Also, store your food in glass- not plastic.
  • If you don't need your receipt, ask the sales clerk to throw it out for you.
  • Don’t get your nails done. Nail salons are so full of chemicals! Just buff, trim and oil your nails to keep them healthy.
  • Make your own air freshener.  This is super easy and avoids phthalates.  I have a video on it here.
  • If you visit a place with a troubling amount of fragrance, comment! I just wrote my local Goodwill Industries and cited some sources!
  • Avoid the word ‘fragrance’ like the plague.  Instead, buy unscented or items scented with essential oils. Be careful, because everything from kitty litter to trash bags is now being scented.
  • Learn more. This is a huge topic but little by little you become an expert!  

This week and next I have two live webinars available to learn with me about non-toxic products:
 

1. Choosing the Best Products for Your Skin Type

We will spend a little time talking about why Beautycounter is different in terms of product quality (both non-toxic and high performance) and then we'll focus on their skincare lines to help you choose a good fit for you.

Apr 17, 2018 2:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Register here.  

I chose to work with Beautycounter as it allows me to recommend high-performing, safer products online. You can browse our Beautycounter store here: https://www.beautycounter.com/womenswellness

 

2. What Women Want: A Webinar on Essential Oils for Women’s Health and Beauty

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Essential oils are a great way to find non-toxic health solutions in your home. After working in women's health for many years, I think I know what women struggle with! I'll be talking about sleep, anxiety, hair loss, bloating, food cravings and more. Hope you can join us live to ask questions and get special deals!

Apr 24, 2018 2:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Register here.

 What are your experiences with phthalates? Do you try to avoid them?

Your Period After 40 with Dr. Lara Briden

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Dr. Lara Briden is a naturopathic doctor and the period revolutionary—leading the change to better periods. Her book Period Repair Manual is out on its second edition with new sections on perimenopause, how to come off hormonal birth control and the different options for birth control. In this episode, we talk about the new book, perimenopause, managing heavy periods, and histamine intolerance.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 02:10 Dr. Lara Briden's new book

Min 03:45 Feedback from Dr. Briden's first book

Min 04:30 What is perimenopause?

Min 05:55 The connection between hormones and symptoms of perimenopause

Min 11:10 Dr. Briden's rescue prescription for perimenopause moods:

  • Magnesium
  • Natural Progesterone
  • Taurine
  • Magnolia
  • Ziziphus
  • Ashwagandha
  • Vitamin B6

Min 20:20 Pregnancy in perimenopause women
Min 23:35 Managing heavy periods/flooding

Min 29:30 Going into perimenopause with health conditions

Min 35:35 Histamine intolerance

Min 44:15 Dr. Lara Briden's resources & help for teenagers

To learn more about Dr. Briden, visit her website here and follow her on social media: 

Facebook 

Twitter 

Instagram 

Resources:

Period Repair Manual book
Perfect Periods Facebook Group
Hormone Balance After 40 summit
Prof Jerilynn Prior's article prescribing progesterone for heavy periods
Lara's article "The Curious Link Between Estrogen and Histamine Intolerance"

Here's a video version of the interview with Dr. Lara Briden:

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you have not yet joined our community, be sure take our "Is a Gut Infection Causing Your Hormonal Imbalance" quiz here, and come on board!

We have lots of valuable, free resources for women's health we share weekly.

Bridgit Danner,

Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative

 

Eating for Your Hormones with Katie Bressack

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Katie Bessack is a Certified Holistic Health Coach from California. She's also a Corporate Wellness Expert who supports companies through corporate wellness programs. In this episode we talk about some of the fundamentals of self-care for women's health like getting the right kind of fats, finding healthy snacks and getting a good night's sleep.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 01:25 Introduction to Katie Bressack
Min 05:00 Katie's transition to women's health
Min 11:00 Eating for your hormones
Min 15:20 How healthy foods contribute to hormonal health
Min 18:10 Eating fruits
Min 25:50 What to eat for breakfast
Min 27:45 Food recommendations for women's health
Min 33:10 Uses of iron & magnesium
Min 32:15 Katie's seed recommendations & tips for cramps
Min 36:45 Katie's resources
Min 39:45 Detaching yourself better every day

To learn more about Katie, visit her website here and follow her on social media:
Facebook page 
Facebook group 
Twitter 
Instagram 
Pinterest 

Resources:

Katie's Free Gift
Women’s Hormonal Balancing Trail Mix 
Clinical Practitioner Training survey

Here's a video version of the interview with Katie Bressack:

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you have not yet joined our community, be sure take our "Is a Gut Infection Causing Your Hormonal Imbalance" quiz here, and come on board!

We have lots of valuable, free resources for women's health we share weekly.

Bridgit Danner,

Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative

How Toxins Affect Your Weight with Lara Adler

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Lara Adler is an environmental toxins expert who teaches practitioners very detailed information about toxins so that they can share it with their clients. In this episode we talk about how & why toxins affect our weight, ways to reduce toxins in our lives, and childhood obesity.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 02:30 Maintaining healthy body weight
Min 07:10 How toxins & phamaceuticals affect body weight
Min 14:50 Genetics & body weight
Min 19:30 The diet & eating healthy organic food
Min 27:50 Other ways chemicals can trigger weight gain
Min 36:40 Going organic to reduce toxin exposure
Min 39:00 Doing away with plastics & fragrances
Min 44:50 Benefits of filtrating water
Min 55:25 Lara Adler's resources

To learn more about Lara Adler, visit her website here and follow her on social media:
Facebook 
Twitter 

Resources:

Beautycounter shop - for non-toxic line of beauty products
Tools for Teaching Toxicity
Lara Adler's PDF Guide
Get 50% off our Hormone Summit, Menopause Summit, & Perfect Periods Program by using the code rock2018

And here's the video version of the interview with Lara Adler:

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you have not yet joined our community, be sure take our "Is a Gut Infection Causing Your Hormonal Imbalance" quiz here, and come on board!

We have lots of valuable, free resources for women's health we share weekly.

Bridgit Danner,

Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative

Bridgit's Year in Review

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I'm your guest this week where I will be reviewing the year 2017 and the decisions I made on my health, family and business. I'll be interviewed by our new team member Stephanie Risinger who'll also tell us about her podcast.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 01:05 Introducing Stephanie & Bridgit
Min 03:15 Transitioning from Portland to Arizona
Min 06:20 Review of Bridgit's physical health
Min 11:16 Marcons and using Western medicine with Eastern medicine
Min 14:10 Dealing with emotional health
Min 20:30 Getting help from different practitioners
Min 23:45 Lessons learnt in 2017
Min 26:50 Bridgit's habits and routines
Min 28:50 Big wins for Women's Wellness Collaborative in 2017
Min 33:35 The future of Women's Wellness Collaborative
Min 37:35 Stephanie Risinger's podcast
Min 40:10 Health steps taken by Stephanie

To learn more about Stephanie and her Holistic Fertility and Wellness Podcast, visit her website here and follow her on social media:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Resources:

  1. Marcons And Biofilms With Dr. Yoshi Rahm
  2. Low FODMAPs diet 
  3. Are Food Sensitivities Preventing Your Pregnancy? with Sarah Clark
  4. Take our survey here for a chance to win a price
  5. Fertility Week sign up page

Here's a video version of the interview I did:

How was your 2017? I’d love to hear about it below!

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you have not yet joined our community, be sure take our "Is a Gut Infection Causing Your Hormonal Imbalance" quiz here, and come on board!

We have lots of valuable, free resources for women's health we share weekly.

Bridgit Danner,

Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative