For so many women, myself included, hormonal imbalance is a real issue. Most of us are missing vital components needed for hormonal health, and we don’t even realize it’s affecting us until it’s too late. Everything from our diets to our environment can negatively impact our hormones with sometimes catastrophic results, including chronic diseases, liver problems, and even infertility. It’s time to fix our hormonal imbalance so we can stop surviving and start thriving! Who’s with me?
In today’s episode, I talk to Ann Louise Gittleman, a woman I have loved and adored since I was 25 years old. She’s been a top nutritionist in integrative and functional medicine for close to 40 years and has written over 35 books on health and nutrition, helping both her patients and thousands of nutritionists, health coaches, and practitioners.
Today, she breaks down the missing pieces of hormonal health, specifically focusing on why women’s bodies go in and out of imbalance. Ann Louise tells us the two particular hormones that we need to balance, the importance of testing, how estrogen dominance occurs, plus so much more! If you’re ready to get your hormonal health back on track, tune in to this amazing episode!
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Rachel: Hey guys. I am beyond thrilled to be here with my good friend, Ann Louise Gittleman, who I always talk about. She is well known as the first lady of nutrition and has been a person I have followed even all the way back to my early days when investigating my own health issues.
This is exactly why I’ve asked Ann Louise to come today and discuss these missing pieces of hormonal health, and why our bodies can go in and out of imbalance. And when we want to really bring them back to homeostasis, so that we don’t just survive through any hormonal stage but we really thrive. I’m so excited to have you can you just introduce yourself to the listeners and just tell everyone a little about who you are?
Ann Louise: Hi, Rachel, I’m delighted to be here today. It’s been a pleasure to speak to all of the health practitioners, the health coaches that you’ve always mustered around your very wonderful personality. Your enthusiasm is contagious. And I’ve devoted at least 30 plus years, probably going on 40 at this point, to really looking at the underlying causes of health and healing. I love women, I love their hormones. We love men and children as well. But I think it’s so important that we start to take care of ourselves and connect all the missing dots that are not out there currently that are being connected. And that’s what I’m here to do today for you and your wonderful listening audience.
Rachel: Oh, that was amazing. As you were even talking, I thought how many times growing up where I was told Oh, it’s okay. You just don’t have a healthy menstruation. So we’re going to put you on the pill. You’re not going to be able to get pregnant. So we’re going to talk about other advanced strategies. I think for many women, our hormonal imbalance can affect us, and we don’t even realize it.
I wanted to talk today about a lot of these missing components, missing pieces of hormone health. Why don’t we start with what are the common missing elements that can lead us into hormonal imbalance? Why don’t we even start there, and then we can get into the nitty gritty?
Common Missing Elements That Lead To Hormonal Imbalance
Ann Louise: I think one of the most common missing pieces is the understanding that there are two particular hormones that really play a role in the way in which we approach our hormonal health. One of them is estrogen and the other one is progesterone.
Estrogen is connected to copper and progesterone is connected to zinc. It’s important for people to understand that if they’re taking in excessive amounts of copper in the diet, they’re going to be raising their estrogen levels, most of us are taking in lots of copper in the form of some of the foods that we have, a lot of the teas, a lot of the chocolates, a lot of the nuts, the seeds, the vegan style diets are exceedingly high in copper.
We’re very low and progesterone precursors zinc, because the diet that we’re embracing are very low in zinc. Unless you’re eating tons of red meat as well as pumpkin seeds and eggs, you’re going to be zinc deficient, which then means in association with the environment that you’re going to be estrogen dominant with too much estrogen and not enough progesterone.
The main missing link that I want to start with in the beginning, introductory missing link is the zinc/copper/progesterone/estrogen connection. You theoretically need at least eight times as much zinc as you do copper. And right now that that ratio is turned around on its head, where we’re getting five to 10 times more copper than we are think.
Rachel: A really great thing to interject right now is even somebody, let’s take a coach that’s able to do testing versus a coach that’s not able, so that we can really arm these coaches with the best strategies. What would be a test that either a coach can run, or one that they can ask their doctor if they are looking at this missing ingredient of the copper zinc balance?
What Type Of Test Will Indicate Which Element You’re Missing
Ann Louise: The most non invasive test that can be done is probably the tissue mineral analysis, which is a hair test. You will see on the hair test lots of different minerals but the one that you’re wanting to pay attention to when it comes to hormones is the zinc/copper ratio.
Which again should be as much Zinc as you do as you have copper, that would be important. You can access whether there’s hidden copper from the test, whether this excess copper if there’s a copper dysregulation, and if there’s too much calcium, then we have what we call a calcium shell, which is also a hallmark of copper toxicity.
So you’re going to want to take at least one tissue mineral analysis from the nape of the neck, which is about two tablespoons of hair, have that analyzed, follow the instructions that will come with that testing procedure. Then do another test, which is when the hidden copper, which is usually stored in the tissues starts to be released. So you want to be able to see that in a consistent manner and then identify if somebody has too much or too little copper. There’s going to be a consistent hormonal imbalance with estrogen and progesterone. It’s the best and biggest missing link that I see. And it’s one in which can be handled by reducing your copper rich foods, and increasing zinc rich foods to begin with.
Rachel: Perfect. I just even wanted to mention this, if a coach was not able to do testing or didn’t have access, on your site you offer a test, but you offer the saliva test correct?
Ann Louise: Yes and the tissue mineral. We offer the tissue mineral analysis, which is probably my first suggestion. We also offer the salivary hormone test. So you do not need a doctor, you can go right on the site. You’ll be getting information from my office to analyze the results. So you don’t even have to know exactly all the different ratios because we’ll do all the work for you.
Rachel: The reason I wanted to bring that up is I know many coaches love different labs. But I think to actually get this kind of information analyzed with the correct analysis, you and I’ve talked about so many women struggling because maybe they get a test, but it’s not analyzed properly. So I think that’s a really great point that that was brought up as well.
Ann Louise: Yeah, you’re wanting to really look behind the curtain, so to speak, because many people are not exceeding properly. They’re not excreta. So if you’re taking a heavy metal test, which is what the tissue mineral test can analyze, you may just be holding on to these minerals or metals that are misbehaving. So you’ve got to be with somebody that knows what the other hallmarks are the chosen balance. If there’s nothing that’s visibly apparent on a first glance. So this is where a professional with years of experience, and certainly we’ve got that through my office, can be of great help to any of your health coaches. So annlouise.com you’ll see all the supplements, all the availability of testing, and if you see anything you’re not really clear about, you can always email me directly. AnnLouise@annlouise.com and I don’t give that out to many people, but only special people that are affiliated with Rachel Feldman.
Rachel: Oh, you’re so nice. I just think this is a really important thing to hear. Because another topic that comes up constantly as people, as coaches often think, well, I can’t really service this person wholly because I don’t have testing capabilities. And that’s not true. This is why I always found people like Ann Louise and her company so that you can get your client the right testing, have a person, do the analysis. Take off that burden from you, especially if you don’t know these hidden parts that Ann Louise has talked about, because many of us know, Yes, it’s GI issues. It’s parasitic. It could be fungal can be heavy metals. But what Ann Louise is talking about are these missing pieces that often get overlooked. And I think that’s a really important thing for you guys to hear. So and we’re gonna move on to the next topic, if you feel that we’ve covered this.
The Importance Of Continual Testing
Ann Louise: I think that we’ve covered it. One thing that we haven’t covered is the importance of continual testing. If you’re embracing a program of either herbal or vitamin mineral or even bioidentical hormone replacement, you need to be tested every three months. Rachel and I can’t emphasize that enough. Your body changes due to stress, due to seasonal changes, due to menstrual fluctuations. So you want to get a real balance every three months. I don’t think you should go longer than that to see if your program needs to be altered whether you need a little bit more of this a little less of this because our bodies change seasonally.
Rachel: I love that you brought up stress because I know for me, when my stress goes up that affects so many different parts, especially my blood sugar, especially my adrenals. These are all parts that can really affect not only your estrogen metabolizing abilities, but also progesterone, testosterone, as well and many of the other hormones. So that kind of leads us even with this zinc and copper, because I’m sure similar to myself, you’re seeing a rise in so many health issues that are related to estrogen dominance. So why don’t we even go into these factors that affect estrogen dominance, which then affect the other hormones, which are essential for really true hormonal health throughout the years.
How Estrogen Dominance Occurs
Ann Louise: We would be very remiss if we didn’t talk about the onslaught of environmental estrogens that are bound in this day and age. So our environment and our world is not our mother’s world. It’s very far from our grandmother’s world. We’re eating environmental estrogens, because so many commercial raised chicken are pumped up with gross hormones. We’re drinking xeno estrogens because of those disposable plastic water bottles that are made of BPA. We’re bathing and fake estrogens, we’re actually rubbing all these fake estrogens into our skin. Because if you take a look at your shampoos and your deodorants and your perfumes and your moisturizers and nail polishes and even toothpaste, they can be loaded with xeno estrogens and parabens.
Your doctor might be giving you estrogens in the form of birth control pills, and even an H r t prescription. So all of these are forms of fake estrogens that can take their toll. So even though you may not have the body type that would suggest an estrogen dominant individual, you have too much estrogen in relationship to progesterone, which is a definite lack. That is another reason why there’s so many of us that are estrogen dominant. So you’ve got the fake estrogens, which are abounding since World War II.
So they’ve been in the environment for many, many decades. Then, we’ve got the lack of progesterone itself, because so many of us are stressed and are not making enough progesterone because we’re missing the precursors of the zinc that I spoke about earlier, as well as B6 and magnesium. So we’ve got a deficiency of progesterone in excess of the wrong kinds of estrogens.
All of that results in the inability to lose weight, it results in depression, a lack of libido, insomnia, anxiety, osteopenia, in some cases, nervousness, as well as inflammation. So all of this is very, very tricky. That’s why testing is essential. Getting your zinc/copper imbalance in the proper shape is good. And even trying out a progesterone topical cream to get the progesterone levels up so that your estrogen progesterone ratio is more in balance. All those I think are very important aspects to consider.
Rachel: I think those are extremely good tips. Our world has significantly changed. Another thing that I’m seeing on the rise in and I would say the last 10 years is even a woman being able to get pregnant, let alone holding the pregnancy. So I just want to even touch on on this pregnancy part for just a second. Sometimes we hear progesterone when we’re in perimenopause, or somebody tells us we’re estrogen dominant, maybe in our 30s at some point, hopefully. But what about for the woman who is progesterone deficient and trying to get pregnant?
Progesterone And Pregnancy
Ann Louise: Well, progesterone is for gestation. So we want to make sure that there’s enough progesterone that is being stored in the tissues for effective pregnancy, it’s exceedingly important in that respect. More reason to take any kind of testing that can analyze your progesterone levels, and even an adrenal stress test, because progesterone is tied into cortisol.
So all that I feel is exceedingly important with individuals in this day and time. Also, what’s important to understand is that we’re kind of facing a new nightmare of toxic menopause. I mean, it’s not menopause and all the PMS and all the pregnancy and all the fertility all of that is along the same continuum. I think all of that becomes toxic because of the environmental chemicals that we’re so very much exposed to. One of the ways of getting rid of that is making sure that your body’s living filter, which is the liver, is constantly being supported, and it’s cleansing and detoxification aspects. That sometimes is another missing link, along with this zinc/copper ratio that is traditionally missed with so many health practitioners. We’ve got to get our liver in tip top shape, especially our gallbladder and bile, which is the repository of so many broken down hormones.
Rachel: For many listeners who are coaches and definitely have agreed and said 100% MCs, endocrine disruptors, and we’re definitely in a different time. You and I are such advocates of seasonal eating detox practices that can be very simple and done at your home. What are your favorite ones to get the liver healthy, and then we’re going to dive into this file connection.
How To Get The Liver Healthy Through Your Diet
Ann Louise: I think we need to have the kinds of foods that help phase one and phase two detoxification. My favorite food in that regard are bitters. So if you’re not going to do anything else, use your bitters, I think you’re in a wonderful road to cleansing the liver. We’re talking about having a bitter greens at every meal. When you have a salad that means more arugala, more radicchio, and even more watercress. It’s exceedingly important to have bitters. That would be number one. Number two, if you’re a coffee drinker, coffee, if it is organic, not full of pesticides, mold free, would be a wonderful source for bitters in the diet. One cup a day keeps the doctor away. That’s my motto when it comes to coffee these days. And I’ve never been a coffee drinker. But the research is absolutely compelling.
Rachel: As long as it’s mold free. Ann Louise has talked about this before. You can have all the healthy herbs in the world, all the great food. But if you’re putting moldy coffee into your body, that would not be a good bitter, so just remember, not everything is created the same. Ann Louise does have her favorite Coffee Company, which I will include in the notes.
Ann Louise: Yes, and this is from a non coffee drinker, Rachel, as I say, this is so strange for me to even be talking about this with you because I have never promoted coffee before. I did the research about how important it was as a bitter in the diet. And as a pro precursor, I should say to the production of bile in the liver. So coffee has a lot of wonderful qualities that we never recognize. It can even be very protective of the liver itself. It’s been shown to be protective against many liver disorders. So that would be exceedingly important for you to recognize as well as a particular nutrient, the D fats and decongest the liver and do you know which one I’m referring to?
Rachel: You mean bile not fat, oh fats to dig out the one that you love?
Ann Louise: Correct. It’s the one that I love that both of us love, which is calling. We’re finding that Colene at 500 milligrams three times a day is a major liver decongestant, and it can actually reverse a fatty liver. Would you believe it or not. So there’s lots of ways to tackle the liver. Bitters are better when it comes to liver health. Using a supplement that contains at least 500 milligrams of Colene three times a day is what will also keep the doctor at bay.
Rachel: So really, we’re talking at this point, strategies for living in this very toxic world. And just to kind of recap, being able to do detox practices for your liver, even dry skin brushing, Epsom salt, fast contrast, showering, making sure that you’re eating seasonally and that the foods that you’re putting into your body naturally support your body during these hormonal changes, as well as supporting your body with your debaters. And in the bitters would enhance the bile flow. So it’s kind of a win win. Correct?
The Importance Of Getting Toxins Out Of Your Body
Ann Louise: It’s all a win win. When we talk about detoxification, which is so important to this whole arena, I would also to suggest that individuals consider doing colon hydrotherapy seasonally. I know we talk about the importance of bathing and the importance of supplements, the importance of cleansing, but nobody’s talking about actually getting the toxins out of your system.
Sometimes our toxic bodies lead need a little help. And that’s where colon hydrotherapy from a qualified colon hydrotherapist is exceedingly helpful, because you’re detoxifying the system and giving it a head start and starting with a clean slate if you want to clear up your skin get rid of those bags and drags and sacks around your eyes. There’s nothing a colon hydrotherapy experience. It’s actually very sad to be quite honest with you.
Rachel: I think a lot of people are scared of these and yet at the same time, we live In this world, where we are so overburdened by toxic environmentally, even in our own life, our stress everything. So if that livers not happy, it’s hard to expect that it will really clean out our body and do what it really needs to do.
Ann Louise: It doesn’t. If you’re not producing enough enzymes, your gut is not going to be happy. If you are a type A blood type, which half of your listeners are, going to be consistent, statistically, I think it’s about half of the population, it’s almost imperative that you do a series of colon hydrotherapy.
Rachel: I love that you brought up gut because I want to bring this all together before we wrap up. There are so many factors. I love that you talked about this isn’t even our mother’s world. I was talking to someone the other day, and I said, the body being able to handle everything that’s coming in EMF waves, computer, everything that our bodies are dealing with, you have to make sure that you don’t have parasites and fungus and all these viruses that can lead or these heavy metals, that your livers working, that your your energy, that your blood sugars, which are dependent upon your liver health, and so many other factors, as you’ve talked about, because that’s all hormones, and metabolism and energy and anti aging, and everything that you always talk about on your many blogs and the many interviews that you do.
Do you feel that there’s anything else you want to add before we close for today?
Ann Louise: I would just say that I think it’s important for people to eat a higher zinc diet. Remember that zinc is a precursor for the balancing hormone of estrogen. And that zinc, copper balance is very important to keep in mind. So having a daily stash of lightly toasted pumpkin seeds is one of the easiest ways to get the right kind of zinc in your diet.
So this is good for those that are carnivores, those that are vegans, a little bit of pumpkin seeds goes a long way and not only getting the zinc up to par. But it’s also a major parasite detoxifier, which is our favorite. Another point that you brought up, and I just want to remind everyone, because I think that that part of zinc and copper is so essential that you brought up eight times as much as much as copper, but also that the B6 and the magnesium. Because I know for so many people, they’re constipated, which leads to a myriad of different health issues of toxic overload, as well as it’s a definite cofactor for bringing that in zinc up.
Rachel: Oh, very much so. So it’s your B6. And then it could be the pyridoxal five phosphate, the coenzyme form of B6 which is more activated, and it’s magnesium. And remember when it comes to magnesium, because magnesium is marvelous for the production of progesterone, it’s helpful for the utilization of so many other enzymes, you need five milligrams per pound of body weight. So for those of us that are weighing 100 pounds, you need at least 500 mps of magnesium. That is kind of the gold standard to get your tissues well saturated.
Ann Louise: I just want to remind coaches, as we talked about earlier with testing, that there is the gold standard of what works. In this world where there are so many different factors that affect each one of us, in this day and age especially, I go back to that testing that you suggested earlier, whether it’s the hormonal test, and then also testing these different with saliva, and if you need to get an expanded GI panel, parasites, everything so that you can look at the whole picture instead of chasing symptoms. Don’t just try surviving and not even feeling good.
We don’t want people to survive, we want them to thrive. Again, we’re living in a different environment. It’s a more challenging environment. It’s an increasingly toxic world for those of us that want to stay young and healthy, but it can be done if you’re your own advocate and having people that are following you, Rachel, I think is wonderful because if there’s anybody out there that is a strong advocate for her own health and that of her family. It’s Rachel Feldman.
Rachel: Thank you Ann Louise. Before we conclude, I just want you to make sure that you go to Ann Louise’s site and make sure that you read her blogs. There’s so much information. She has so many books out there that cover this metabolism PCE. One of my favorites is Radical Metabolism that that you wrote, which really talked about these different pillars, because when we’re really looking at hormones, we’re also looking at our energy, our metabolism.
So it’s just been such a pleasure, Ann Louise’s and coaches, please make sure if you have any questions about AMS testing, to reach out to her clinic, and they can answer any questions and to make sure that you follow her and read her blogs because they are filled with tons of information.
Thank you so much, Ann Louise’s it’s been a complete pleasure. And I know every time I listen to you, I write down about two pages of notes. And I’m sure that coaches will be doing the same. So guys, it was a pleasure being with you please follow my friend and always get amen not only on Facebook, but please go to her site where you will see listed in her bio, and it’s been a pleasure to be with you guys. Be safe, be healthy and go toxin free. We will see you guys later. Bye. Lots of love.