Part 5 of 5 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)
By Tim O’Shea
Natural Non-Toxic Solutions
Here are three holistic methods for reducing the incidence of menopause annoyances:
- clean diet
- plant-sourced estrogens – Phytoestrogens
- natural progesterone cream
Eat non-acidifying foods: raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, good stuff. Acidfying foods, fast foods, processed foods, white sugar, hard fats – the usual culprits in most other disease patterns – once again make their appearance. As explained above, estrogen dominance is promoted by a lifetime diet of these common foods. Stress and nutritional deficiency deplete the adrenals, which deplete progesterone, which promotes estrogen imbalance, which causes symptoms of menopause.
Normally estrogen should just cycle through the body once and then be broken down in the liver. High fat content in the diet prevents such breakdown and allows estrogen to go around a second time, promoting all the above-mentioned imbalances. (McDougall, p87)
Please also read Dr. Mecola’s food choice program
Raw whole foods, fruits, vegetables, soy products contain mild amounts of natural estrogens which circumvent the rollercoaster imbalance most women experience. If phytoestrogens are part of the lifestyle prior to menopause, there will not be such a radical drop when the body begins to downshift away from the demands of always preparing for reproduction. In a study done in Paris in the early 1990s, a physiologist significantly lowered estrogen levels in the sample group simply by changing from a high fat, high sugar diet to a more natural diet of fruits and vegetables. (Vines)
Phytoestrogens also appear in a variety of herbs, including black cohosh, alfalfa, pomegranate, and licorice.
3. Natural Progesterone
By now you should know that progesterone drops to zero at menopause. If estrogen levels have been high all along, problems begin to arise when the sister hormone progesterone is no longer around to keep things in balance.
In the past few years, several doctors have found that natural progesterone cream can take up the slack both before menopause, in the case of the stress-challenged woman, and after menopause, in the case of the less stressed woman who has incorporated natural phytoestrogen foods into her lifestyle. Both can benefit from the regulating influence of natural estrogen in small food-bound doses. Physiologic doses.
Dr. Lee has organized most of the pertinent information about the clinical effects of natural progesterone cream. Osteoporosis, heart disease, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, hot flashes, dryness, skin shrivelling are routinely avoided completely by the daily use of this simple natural lotion. On p 271 of his book, Dr. Lee has a list of products which contain natural progesterone in a usable form.
The reader is directed to What You Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause for the complete story on progesterone. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that if you are a woman you can’t afford to skip his book.
CAUTION: Please be sure to read Dr. Mercola’s warning on progesterone cream
I realize the information in this chapter may be a bit overwhelming, especially if you are hearing it for the first time. This is not light reading. But it’s worth the effort if you are considering a major step like beginning hormone therapy, or birth control pills, to inform yourself.
The attached references would be your next step in verifying what I have suggested in these few short pages. If you only choose one, I would recommend John Lee’s book, as it is the most comprehensive review of current literature on the topic of natural hormone therapy.
We are taught to be too trusting of medicine, to a degree that it doesn’t merit. Almost two hundred prescription drugs come and go every year. Why would that be, if they really worked? What happened to thalidomide, fen-phen, seldane, DES, and a thousand others? What happened to the people who took them, thinking they were safe?
Misled and misinformed by the forces of big business, American women find themselves far afield of a rational outlook on menopause, in tune with Nature’s intentions. Incessant advertising and mental conditioning has successfully programmed the public’s hard disk into regarding menopause as a disease absolutely requiring treatment, even in the absence of symptoms. Such a perspective is the creation of the marketplace and is not even supported by the most conservative and credible of medical authorities.
“Menopause is a natural rite of passage and should not be treated as a disease.”
– Betty Kamen, PhD HRT, p 239
“Menopause is not a disease. I t is a natural biological process that has gone awry in some women because of less than optimum environment.”
Lee p 279
Life Is Such A Pill
The foregoing information also applies for most birth control pills. Most are synthetic steroid hormones which artificially prevent ovulation. The lie is, the Pill will “regulate periods.” The truth is the menstrual flow is artificial, occurring only because the Pill was withheld for one week per month.
Normal menstruation is the result of the cyclic dynamic between natural estrogen and natural progesterone. With contraceptives, the flow is just a result of a clumsy, sledgehammer approach to “managing” one small aspect of an imponderably complex bio-system.
Long term, such a course is foolish, as it has the same pattern of side effects as listed above: coronary artery disease, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, strokes, high blood pressure, liver dysfunction, respiratory allergies, digestive disorders, depression, blood clots, osteoporosis, and weight gain. (Sellman, p78) This is sexual freedom? Sounds more like slavery to me.
The Problem With Coffee
Most people realize that coffee has no real food value, but they figure it won’t kill them. And the idea of getting going in the morning without coffee would be unthinkable after all these years. Many would probably choose death over withdrawal. You’ve might even know someone like that …
So why are we talking about coffee in a chapter about HRT? Simple: it’s in the loop. Both are locked into the biochemical choreography of the swirling hormones which blink in and out of existence every second. Adrenals, thyroid, and ovaries are not three separate and independent entities. They’re more like three instruments in an orchestra, or three ingredients in a cake, or three members of a yacht crew: change any one and the whole outcome is threatened.
Coffee is an adrenal stimulator. So are white sugar, a leopard in your living room, and the morning commute. The adrenal hormones trigger the fight-or-flight thing, a leftover from the earlier days of our species’ evolution. Stress. Like from modern, empty foods, toxic exposure, and emotional worry – you know the list – which send constant messages to the adrenal glands.
The message is : either prepare me for battle or get me out of here. Now if you have a friend who calls you on the phone fifty times a day because there’s an emergency, pretty soon you won’t get so worked up about the next call. Same with the adrenals. Only it’s probably closer to several hundred calls a day, if you’re in Silicon Valley, or any metropolitan American city. After awhile the adrenal glands get fried, depleted, out of gas, used up.
As the most evolved system in the universe, the body’s got back-up plans for everything. And the first of the Plan B’s for spent adrenal glands is to convert another hormone into adrenal hormone, thereby taking the burden off the adrenals themselves. Guess which hormone is first on the list for this understudy duty? Right: progesterone. Remember, progesterone is the precursor, or basic raw material, for all the steroid hormones (see above chart).
So for many women who are really stressed and have been for years, they are relying in large measure upon alternative sources of adrenal hormones. With progesterone being the first of the volunteers to be changed into adrenal hormones, this leaves little or no progesterone left to perform its primary function, which was what?
Right again, to maintain the dynamic balance with estrogen. The result: further promotion of estrogen dominance, which you know all about, from the above pages.
Sumption, the nutritionist cited above, lists the B-complex vitamins that are depleted by coffee – the same ones that are depleted by estrogen. Without B vitamins, the body is drained of energy.
Coffee does not give you energy; coffee gives you the illusion of energy. Coffee actually drains the body of energy and makes you more tired, because of vitamin and adrenal depletion. What is the number one symptom that the most people have?
Fatigue is the what more Americans have than any other daily complaint. Many people don’t sleep at night as much as collapse from simple exhaustion. A sign of this is when you wake up in the morning exhausted, not refreshed. The body is tired from all that repair work it had to do while you were asleep.
There is no feeling of waking refreshed and renewed. So what do we do, to crank it up one more time? Coffee. Decaf? I don’t think so. It’s not the taste that you’re addicted to. Decaf causes the same overwrought cycle of fatigue in a different way. Any coffee is a metabolic burden that has to be dealt with. It contributes nothing to nutrition – no vitamins, no minerals, no enzymes. Beats up the adrenals, uses up progesterone, promotes estrogen dominance. And now you know what that means.
There are at least two different ways that coffee contributes to osteoporosis:
- promotes estrogen dominance
- raises the acidity in the blood
We’ve already seen how estrogen dominance leads to osteoporosis. With acidifying of the blood, calcium is pulled from bones and teeth in order to keep the blood from becoming too acid. This is called buffering – a basic survival mechanism.
The increased rate of hip fractures with coffee intake was clearly shown in a 1995 study in New England J Med (Cummings) Another study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition of over 85,000 nurses showed three times the rate of hip fractures in the group who drank the most coffee. Promotion of osteoporosis from coffee is not just a theory.
Hypothyroid? Guess Again …
The thyroid, the adrenals, and the ovaries. Closely connected, in a thousand ways. Another award-winning snap misdiagnosis of the 90s has been “hypothyroidism.” To push Synthroid, a powerful thyroid mimicker, many women are told they are thyroid deficient, for the flimsiest of reasons.
Fatigue is the usual complaint. Obesity is another.
A borderline thyroid level in one blood test is enough to trigger a lifetime of problems, starting with a prescription for Synthroid. Perhaps the thyroid levels were just temporarily low when the blood sample was taken. Perhaps the thyroid was a little sluggish.
Doctors have known for years that iodine is necessary for a functioning thyroid. Do doctors recommend that safe mineral supplement first before trying the overpowering drug Synthroid? Never. Most doctors don’t even look at blood levels of thyroid hormones at all; but diagnose hypothyroidism by symptoms only! (Lee, p147)
No matter; once Synthroid is served up every day, your thyroid’s going night-night. And your problems are just beginning, because you’re now aboard the Drug Express. To say nothing of the hormonal confusion that is now created when every molecular message that the other glands send to the thyroid system requesting an answer is ignored.
Empirically, who gets diagnosed hypothyroid, women or men? Let’s see, why would that be?
Thyroid and estrogen are natural antagonists: opposite effects. Thyroid builds bone, estrogen stimulates bone loss. Thyroid stimulates metabolism and burns fat; estrogen stores fat. With estrogen dominance, thyroid function is inhibited, causing lower thyroid activity.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the thyroid can’t do its job, like the doctor presumes. It just means with all the excess estrogen in the picture, thyroid hormone is kept in the background – another one of the body’s give-and-take feedback loops, about which we know so little. Again the sledgehammer arrogance comes barging onto the scene with the pretense that synthetic thyroid hormone – Synthroid – is going to “fix the problem.”
Check out the psychology here: consider the motivation for being diagnosed hypothyroid situation.
1. The doctor is motivated because the patient is signing up for a life on Synthroid
2. The patient is ready to believe it because her overeating and obesity are not her fault: it’s a hormone imbalance.
Is that what ‘codependent’ means?
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
– another carnival of disinformation. Chronic fatigue is almost always a result of simple toxemia – blood poisoning – from years of the indigestible, devitalizing American “foods of commerce.” (Tilden) This is self-evident to any holistic healer. Never missing a trick to sell powerful drugs, medicine offers Synthroid to the rescue. Not only does it never work for chronic fatigue, Synthroid whips the condition to a new level of exhaustion by adding a new toxin for the already worn-out liver and blood to try and break down. It’s like putting out a fire with starter fluid.
The Underlying Tragedy Of HRT
All the horrific side effects and cancers and infertilities and permanently damaged endocrine systems – all that aside – perhaps the most invidious feature of HRT and its systematic enslavement of women is noted by John Robbins:
“the strategy … is to make women feel less confident in themselves, for the more alienated from herself a woman becomes, the more susceptible she is to the lure of the drugs … This is the mass marketing of self- estrangement.”
Reclaiming Our Health p140
Robbins quotes Christiane Northrup, MD:
“An entire generation of women is being brainwashed … Most women’s trust in their own bodies is almost nonexistent.”
John McDougall, MD agrees:
“By adolescence, a great many young girls have come to believe that their bodies are the problem.”
– The McDougall Program, p17
You won’t find the information in this chapter common knowledge. Your doctor probably won’t be aware of it. It’s unlikely that you will see an ad for natural progesterone in Time or Newsweek any time soon.
The devolving literacy in the U.S., the dumbing down of a people, is no accident. Any knowledge that fuels the idea that people can be responsible for their own health is systematically suppressed, in a hundred ways. You are already in the vast minority just by finishing this chapter. It’s not the homogenized “readable” copy you’re used to.
The glossing over of the side effects and the same tired images of HRT as the savior of women from the clutches of wrinkly old age – this pitch is still out there, coming across in hundreds of ways, every day. Those millions in advertising are not being wasted.
This chapter has just skimmed the surface of the topic of hormone therapy. I hope you don’t believe anything you’ve just read. Disprove it, starting with the appended references. The two most organized are Dr. Lee’s book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause, and Sellman’s book Hormone Heresy..
If you’re taking estrogen or birth control pills now or considering it, you can become more informed about the subject than your doctor, by reading what the real experts say. Few women are actually given a choice. Menopause? Oh, time for estrogen pills. End of story. With life-threatening side effects like these, it’s worth the effort to be informed.
The unpleasant side effects of menopause can be minimized or eliminated by diet, herbs, and natural supplementation, as noted above. Dangerous unproven pharmacologics hardly seem worth the risk.
Hormone Replacement Therapy is a phrase right out of Brave New World mentality. Why? Because it’s not hormones, it doesn’t replace anything, and it’s definitely not therapeutic. The only thing getting replaced is the drug trust’s investment.
“The ritualization of the stages of life is nothing new. What is new is their intense medicalization … Lifelong medical supervision … turns life into a series of periods of risk.”
– Medical Nemesis p 78
Perhaps life should just be lived, not supervised, risk-analyzed, amortized, or ritualized.
Hormone Replacement Does Not Reduce Heart Disease
Hormone Replacement Does Not Slow Alzheimer’s
Estrogen Hormone Replacement Therapy Raises Women’s Heart Risks
Estrogen Levels and Cognitive Decline
Data Shows Hormone Replacement Therapy Harmful