Three Things About Hormones Your Doctor Overlooks

Three Things About Hormones Your Doctor Overlooks

People looking to make changes in their energy, physique, and strategies that will keep them aging gracefully and feeling younger will never end.  Overwhelmingly, as a person searches for those solutions, the topic of hormones and hormone replacement often comes across their consciousness.  With little time searching, it’s often deduced that optimizing hormones must be the answer to their woes.  

Before diving into hormone replacement or hormone addition, I want to give you 3 things to consider when addressing hormones.  Remember, there are many more hormones than just estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. 


Hormones are like houses.  You need a foundation to create a lasting structure.  

The most popular hormones, like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and vitamin D (yup, it's as much a hormone as a nutrient) are built on a foundation of cholesterol.  Yes, that cholesterol.  The ONLY cholesterol.  Cholesterol, which is neither good nor bad, but is always appropriate and necessary.  

What could potentially happen when your statin-happy primary care provider throws you on medication to lower cholesterol?  Is it plausible that these hormones could be disrupted in the same way as the foundation of your home would be disrupted if there was a concrete shortage?

Many other hormones, such as thyroid hormone, growth hormone, insulin, and oxytocin are peptide hormones.  Peptides are short chains of amino acids.  In other words, they are hormones that require protein building blocks.  

What could potentially happen when your nutrition-ignorant primary care provider tells you that you have to go on a plant-based diet and avoid red meat that translates into a diet that is low and incomplete in protein and low in fat?  You know what, it doesn't really matter to them because they have a host of prescriptive hormones that they can put you on, right?  They have ones you can swallow.  They have ones you can rub on your skin.  They have ones you can inject and they have ones that can be implanted.

What about carbohydrate-based hormones?  Here are the top 5 hormones that are built from carbohydrates.






This doesn't mean carbohydrates are useless.  It just means they are useless in terms of your hormone building blocks.


Hormones are never in charge.  They have a great impact, but they are never in charge.  They are just responding to orders.  They are your messaging relay system.  

They are relaying messages from your nervous system.  Your nervous system detects a stimulus, which can be divided into either ones that get you out of danger or ones that help you recover after danger. 

If you're in danger, real or perceived, hormones that give you the best chance of immediate survival will be highlighted and hormones that want to slow you down will be set aside.  For example, hormones like cortisol and aldosterone to help you run away from a bear will be keyed up at the expense of hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and oxytocin that will help you heal after you escape the bear.  

If you're cuddling with your kids, hormones that stimulate growth and recovery are enhanced while those survival hormones are down regulated.  

Take this scenario into consideration.  You're a high-achieving individual with lots of people at work depending on you to get the job done.  You have a spouse and kids at home that rely on you to keep the house together.  You start noticing that you're getting soft around the mid section and that stubborn belly pooch is hanging on.  Just like all the other successes in your life, you built success by out-working everyone.  You decide you're going to apply those same principles to your belly fat.  You start eating less and working out more...and the problem gets worse.  You get your hormones tested (the recovery ones) and they are imbalanced.  Not surprised.  But you get prescribed those recovery hormones anyway. 

Take a step back and take inventory of what signals you're asking your endocrine system to relay.  If you're always in "go-mode" of survival and performance, removing building blocks (fats and proteins) from your diet and adding more performance-driven demand to your life (high intensity exercise), is just potentially wasting those hormones you're taking and increases the potential crash when you decide they aren't working and you're done taking them.


Identity theft is no joke.  Whose identity is being stolen?  It's often testosterone.  There's a process in your body called aromatization that converts testosterone into estrogen.  

2 big contributing factors to this are excess body fat (an insulin issue) and alcohol intake.  

The problems potentially continue as an increase in estrogen triggers the liver to produce a hormone called sex-hormone binding globulin.  It's like a chaperone for estrogen on a school field trip.  

Sometimes, school chaperones just see a bunch of kids and start herding them into the next activity.  The problem is that some of those kids might be from a different school (I'm Gen X, we didn't have color coded shirts on field trips).  On this field trip, those other kids are from the thyroid.  The increase in chaperones is due to an increase in estrogen and sex-hormone binding globulin, which now may be stealing thyroid hormone.  Your TSH looks "fine" but you don't feel fine.

Estrogen can also be mimicked by common cosmetics and household products.  These are known as xenoestrogens.  These are found in plastics, phthalates, lotions, creams, etc.  This is a topic with endless rabbit holes for another time. 

I'm not saying I'm against hormone replacement.  I'm just saying that there are many factors to consider before adding them in as a solution to what ails you.

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