In the final segment of Functional Medicine Back to Basics Dr. Rutherford discusses the female hormones.
Note: The following is the output of a transcription from the video above. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
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I really really makes me get up in the morning and do this so female hormones yo-yo. Why? I am. Why is this the last in this series? This is the last in the series because, as my mentors would say, everything flows downstream to the female hormones if female hormones are affected by everything, particularly if you’re, still, menstruating and and to a degree, even if you’re in Menopause and I’m gonna talk about both of those.
So let’s. First talk about let’s, just first talk about and female hormones and and like the natural cycle of what a female hormone should look like. So the natural cycle of a female hormone is, I’m gonna start with the brain and, and there’s a there is a structure in your brain called the hypothalamus.
What you need to know about the hypothalamus is it &? # 39 s, this, it’s, this little organ in the brain. It’s, not an organ, but it’s. This little this little yeah it’s, an organ in the brain that senses all of the balances of chemicals, particularly hormones in in your system, in your in your bloodstream, and so it senses how much estrogen that a woman has okay and then, if It’s.
If, if there’s, not enough estrogen, there then being produced by the ovaries, then your hypothalamus talks to another organ, that’s called your pituitary gland. Many of you may be familiar with it, and that is called the master gland, because it sends signals to all it pretty much controls all the hormones it sends signals to the thyroid.
It sends signals out for you to make growth hormone. It sense they goes out for you to make estrogen testosterone. It’s, the master gland. So when it is told that you do not have enough estrogen, it then tells your ovaries to make estrogen okay, but that’s, not the end of it.
The over the estrogen then has to be made, and it has to go out to the cells that needed and and and in women, that’s, certainly that it goes. It goes into your brain. It gives you it gives you better mood.
Estrogen certainly controls how your ovaries work and, and so because there’s, a lot of feedback in there relative to medical periods and and having them and along with progesterone having proper cycles and and so and then estrogen in women.
Well, the next step would be once it hits all of the cells, the frontal lobe cells, and it gives you good mood and and and and and it just ultimately has to be cleared after it goes to all the cells. So it goes through these cells and then it – and so the estrogen goes to the cell.
This is a cell, it hits the cell, the cell opens it goes in there. The cell uses it when it when it uses it. It has mechanisms to detox itself to send the the and the unused estrogen and they use it and and the they kind of used estrogen now has to be cleared from your body.
This is a very, very, very important, salient point, so it gets so when it gets when it gets cleared. It gets cleared like anything else that gets there’s, a certain pathway in your liver that clears your estrogen.
Then it has to be cleared through your gall bladder, because gall bladder takes all of the toxins there’s, bio form, the gall bladder spits it out into your intestines. It has to be cleared through your intestines.
There is a there is a enzyme in your intestines called beta glucuronidase that actually further clears your estrogens. If that enzyme is too high, it’ll, actually reconstitute estrogens and make inactive estrogen into active estrogen that was supposed to go into the toilet.
The enact that was supposed to go into the toilet or talk about that in a few minutes, so you and then it can go in and then it also can be. Estrogen can also be stored in your fat cells, so women are estrogenic and and and it’s natural for women to have estrogen in their fat cells.
There was this kind of cool little mechanism there that if a woman starts getting too much testosterone first before they develop polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is caused, which is it has too much testosterone as a feature it’ll, get stored in your fat.
In your fat cells in your adipose tissue, and so this is the cycle of estrogen, and you have to kind of remember that, as as I’m walking through this, so so things that affect any of those. Any of those processes are going to alter your estrogen function, so I think today I guess the next, because the next step to go to is today most people come in here with female hormonal problems.
Aren’t coming in here, expecting that I’m, going to talk to them about their liver or talking to them about their their intestinal dysfunction. We’re talking to them about blood, sugar or essential fatty acids or all of the things or their stress, or all of the things that ultimately go into making your hormones.
They’re, not usually expecting me to talk to them about their cholesterol, and this is a point that I don’t see made enough today we are, we are subject to a whoever makes these decisions that are making this decision, that Our cholesterol should be down below 150 or 100, and that’s.
Incorrect based on the understanding of physiology, because when your cholesterol starts getting down that low – and this happens in a lot of thin patients when it gets down that low and your doctors telling you how great it is, it’s, pretty well understood that That bulow, 150 and cholesterol – it’s, difficult to make hormones.
Almost all of our hormones are made out of cholesterol. They’re. Almost all of our hormones made out of something called cholesterol. I’m pregnant alone, and, and so so these are all things that in the functional world we look at if a person is coming in here with scanty blood flow, excessive blood flow they’re coming in here with periods that are All over the place they’re coming in here with facial, hair and and acne, and we might be looking at and we’re gonna talk about polycystic ovarian syndrome in a separate in a separate video.
So it’s, not technically going to be part of this series, but we’re going to talk about that, and actually we have videos online already on polycystic ovarian syndrome. If you want to look those up, but you so we could be talking about polycystic ovarian syndrome there, which also has a lot to do with all of these imbalances and all these organs that I talked about.
But we’re, going to be looking. First, at all of those things, because, because all of them have our play a role in particularly in the menstruating female, all of those play a role in making your in making your estrogen balanced.
So if you are, if let’s, so let’s. Say you’re, not any! Let’s say you’re, not eating of cholesterol. Maybe you went on one of these, like low-fat diets. Low flat diets and and and maybe you’re, really got a lot of low fat and all sudden you start getting all these symptoms like what is going on here and you go and they take your estrogen and your estrogen is low.
They give you Harmon replacement therapy, let ‘ S say that your intestines has too much of this enzyme that I briefly mentioned called called beta glucuronidase beta glucuronidase will cause the estrogen that is supposed to have been detoxified and then going into the toilet.
Because remember your brain knows how much estrogen you need, but this if this beta glucuronidase is too high because of a number of things that could be going wrong with your intestines, irritable, bowel syndrome, SIBO any of the autoimmune diseases like celiac or cross, or anything like That you’re, going to reconstitute your estrogen before it goes into the toilet, and it’s, going to be reabsorbed, and you’re, going to be estrogenic.
You’re gonna have too much estrogen too much estrogen by the way, creates the same symptoms, frequently as too little estrogen, and the reason is because if you take a Carmo replacement therapy and and and you have again in the cycle of what The hormones supposed to do is supposed to be made and that’s supposed to be used by being used, and the hormone actually gets on this little protein.
It gets over here to the cell and then there’s, an enzyme that cleaves that off and then the cell goes opens up and it goes in. But if you, if you give yourself too much estrogen like from creams and stuff, then that estrogen will cause this to become resistant, this receptor site, you know, like I got enough – I’ve got enough, and eventually this receptor site just won’t open if it doesn ‘
T open and estrogen is not getting in. You’re going from you and and they take and they take it and they take a lab of your estrogen or going like. Well, you’re, a she’s like 900. You have like too much of it.
You’re and and and you’re, getting like low estrogen symptoms. This is why, and it’s and it’s fairly common. If somebody comes in – and I’ll put this in line with what we’re talking about. If we’re looking at their intestines for the beta glucuronidase, if someone comes in here on what we call you know, post birth control syndrome, someone comes in here.
They want to have a baby there. They’ve, been taking birth control pills for ten years. We have to like take like three months to clear all of the estrogen out of their system, so that so that we can get a proper feedback loop going between their brain and their ovaries.
So that we can now give them the proper supplements, in fact, when we do that and we do and we and we work with their intestines, we work with their liver. We work with their gallbladder a lot of times they just, I would say, seventy percent of the time they just the person, the person’s, hormonal balances start to level out.
We do we just we just ran kind of a little beta test on a program that we’re thinking of putting out here here in the next few weeks, and it’s really for lack of a better term. It’s, a detoxification program.
It’s, a strip all the inflammation program out it’s fairly. It’s, it’s, a it’s, a it’s fairly. Genetic, but we kind of tailor it. We have ways of tailoring its that individual person and we have one of the gals here and she said it’s.
Okay. For me to say this, although I’m, not gonna, say her name or anything, we put her on this protocol. She hadn’t had a period in in two and a half years and like within a couple of weeks. She started having her periods again just by clearing out the estrogen just by getting your liver and working and so on and so forth.
So let’s go back to so so let’s. Go back to that. I hope I’m. I hope I’m making sense here. So let’s. Go back to estrogen is at the bottom of like the stream, and everything else affects your estrogen.
So so, if your livers, not clearing and your gallbladder is not clearing, then you’re, not clearing the estrogen. Now you get to high estrogen right in your system because it’s because it’s not getting cleared out.
Now that too high estrogen maybe starts giving you symptoms, or maybe that too high estrogen starts shutting down your receptor, slides and the next thing you know you’ve got signs of too low estrogen, but you got too high estrogen, but they go in There and there you go here – take hormone replacement therapy, but my estrogens high, this is the tool in the medical community is, is to take the hormone replacement therapy period first last and always, and when you, when you take that hormone replacement therapy, it tells your brain.
You have enough estrogen that brain then tells your your ovaries, that they can kick back, that they don’t need to make estrogen and then the ovaries start to atrophy next thing you knew you lose that feedback loop between your brain and your ovaries.
If you’re younger, if you’re, if you’re, if you’re, a menstruating female that could that’s enough, that that could make you not be able to have children? But the point is is: is that there is that feedback loop? So your ovaries could start to atrophy your your your pituitary gland could start to be not start to not make luteinizing hormone or follicle stimulating hormone, particularly luteinizing hormone and a female.
Your your hypothalamus is fine because it’s. Just saying we got a lot of estrogen in here, pituitary gland, take a breath, take a break, take a rest. Go to the each have a few martinis you don’t ever have to work again, because somebody else is doing your job for you.
Somebody’s, telling the ovaries to put estrogen, but it’s, not telling the ovaries. The ovaries are doing the same thing: they’re gonna like wow. You know nobody’s talking to me, so the ovaries start to atrophy.
They go on vacation too. This is this is the the downside of hormone replacement therapy. I’m, not a hundred percent against it, but I’m only for hormone replacement there being certain in certain in certain occasions.
So so I don’t really even run most of the time I don’t really run. I don’t really run female labs when somebody comes in here and they have all these female and they have all the symptoms. The scanty blood flow, the heavy blood flow, abnormal periods, just all of the pre mention’el syndrome.
Most the time I don’t even run female labs when they first come in, because I’m gonna be looking at their liver. If their livers gunking up, they’re gonna have too much they’re gonna have too much estrogen your system.
I’m gonna look at their gallbladder. If their gallbladder is not working, they’re gonna have too much estrogen resisting. If I’m gonna be looking at their at their intestines, I’m gonna be looking at blood sugar blood sugar has an awful lot to do with the manufacture of of estrogen down the road.
I’m gonna be looking at adrenals stress hormones. I just your your secondary sex glands are your adrenals and your adrenals and your blood sugar work together. You can look at that segment and when, when adrenals go up, then blood sugar goes up.
When adrenal goes down, blood sugar goes down when your blood sugar is high and low. It affects these things called sex hormone, binding globulin. These are the things that carry or your your estrogen all over the place, and so when you’re stressed and your adrenals are firing off and it’s, causing your blood sugar to be high.
It screws with these little taxicabs these sex sex hormone, binding collapses. Now, all the sudden, you’re, not getting estrogen to where you’re supposed to be, and it shows up as low estrogen and it’s.
Actually that you’re stressed that’s affecting your adrenals, that’s affecting your blood sugar, and all of that is affecting our female hormone cycles. So again, this is the functional approach and essential fatty acids are important.
I will usually in the beginning to a a lab on someone who has these problems to determine if they have enough essential fatty acids in their body, because essential fatty acids, under normal circumstances, sensitize these receptor sites to make them work better so that they don’t get stuck, and so that the and so that the so that the hormone can get in there.
So so I don’t really do testing in the beginning, because I’m gonna treat all of the other aspects of what that person presents with and their labs are gonna look much different later on than they would look In the beginning, well, I don ‘
T really need to know what they look like in the beginning, because now, if we do all of that and the person still having imbalances in their female hormone health, okay, then, then you run the labs, because at that point you run the whole lab from the Brain you run the follicle-stimulating hormone.
You run that all of the estrogens I run DHEA and I run DHA sulfate. I know you’re at your. Your endocrinologist would say that that’s like stupid. It’s not in and because it tells us what your adrenals are doing and your adrenals are a part of your female stuff.
I run a thyroid lab because thyroid helps your again. It helps desensitize your real receptor sites so that your estrogen works properly. So I run a thyroid lab and – and I’m in – and I Brenda obviously testosterone and progesterone.
So I run the whole lap to cover that whole feedback loop to see if it’s even working and if it and if this parts not working well, the the then the the elta luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, coming out of your pituitary.
There’s, herbs and botanicals for that. If the arbors aren’t, working and and and and and they have an atrophied yet – which you can pretty much tell from from the from the labs there’s power for herbs to balance that out there’s herbs.
That actually will balance that out. If you have high testosterone, I’ll, bring it down. If you have low Tesla sorry estrogen high test, high estrogen will bring it down, low estrogen will bring it up, and even and even progesterone.
If, if a person’s thought persons losing their Ag if they’re, not if their we got pregnant and can’t carry that’s her there are there’s, herbs and botanicals. For that, so the next step would be to use those herbs and mechanicals based on the labs and then, if all fails, then I think hormone replacement therapy probably is something that needs to be done.
I’m, going to tell you follow that whole thing it it rarely fails. I mean it’s, your physiology, it has to work. You just have to figure out what it is. They have to do. Perimenopausal women. Well, so a few few things I want to mention: oh let’s, go to menopausal women.
Then I’ll. Go back to that so menopause. When you go into menopause, okay, whether it’s, because you are you’ve turned 50 and you’re going into menopause or whether it’s, because you’ve had a hysterectomy and they’ve, taken everything out.
If you know what’s going on, you, rarely rarely rarely ever need to harmone replacement therapy, and I know that for those of you had your ovaries out and your and your uterus out, you probably think I just lost my mind but hear me On this okay, you basically have been put in the menopause.
If you’re younger and you’ve had that taken out you’re, not gonna have babies. You’re, not gon. Na cycle anymore. You don’t need a lot of estrogen now what happens when that happens, and what happens when you are when you’ve crossed the bridge into menopause? Is your adrenals take over responsibilities? The baton is handed through.
The adrenals takes over your responsibility for managing your sex hormones. Your RINO’s, make estrogen testosterone and progesterone, and, and so so when so so you don’t. They don’t, make anywhere near as much, but you don’t need as much because again you’re, not cycling.
You’re, not going through that whole stress on your system. You’re, not gonna have a baby. You don’t need as much estrogen you-you-you need estrogen and you need enough estrogen, but nowhere near as much, and so so.
If it’s, the adrenals, then you’re looking to if the baton has been passed, the adrenals in those cases you’re. Looking at the adrenals. Frankly, you’re, looking the adrenals and the blood sugar, because again adrenals and blood sugar kind of track together.
So you’re. Looking at you’re looking at and and adrenals are affected by everything. If you have an infection in your body, it affects your adrenals. If you’re stressed, it affects your adrenals. If you have, if you have small intestinal bacteria, we’re gonna affects your adrenals.
Everything affects your adrenals. So again, you go back to same thing. You’re still gonna go back to liver, gallbladder, essential fatty acids, blood sugar adrenals. So except this time the adrenals are more prominent.
Do I start going in there and throwing adrenal supplements people right away? No, I would see if they ‘ Re stressed. If they ‘ Re really really stressed. I might use some. I do functional neurology too, so I might use some brain rehabilitative neuroplasticity exercises, but there’s, a lot of herbs and botanicals that that can be used for stress and if they’re, not strong enough, then maybe a person needs to Take a medication for that, but but but because the stress hormones are now much more prominent and even in menopause, because the adrenals are the guys and the adrenals are the are the glance and put out all the stress hormones.
So stress adrenals, all those other things and the vast majority of time. If the. If the person has not been on hormone therapy for a long time and the audrina and that aspect of their adrenals stops making even the little an estrogen that it makes that the person needs, then they’ll need hormone replacement therapy.
One point I want to make on this is I get a lot of women to come in here and they’re like late 30s early 40s, and they’re having a lot of they’re having the the hot Flashes and and and the dogs like you &, # 39 re in early menopause yeah.
I I’ve, studied with some pretty profoundly brilliant people. These are people who are in practice. These are people who do research. These are P, some of them specialize in female issues and if they will stay will tell you – and I’m, and I think they are correct is that these women are not in early menopause.
They’re, having more significant problems with all of the aspects of the things that I just got them talking about the liver, the gallbladder that most most of the time the intestines are involved Navy.
They’re, going through an incredibly stressful period, maybe maybe they’re. They’re, trying to do too many things, and and and and and and and maybe trying to be a mom and and working and taking care of a husband and taking care of kids and and all that type of stuff.
And it’s, just hammering their adrenal glands, which in turn is hammering their blood sugar, which in turn is hammering their intestines in earlier. So the vast majority of time that’s, what it is and – and you can and and you can run a panel on a postmenopausal on a menopausal, female and and see what that is now in and the last bit of pieces here is – is In the adrenal glands there’s.
This unique setup where your drill glands, are your fight/flight glance. So if your brain goes into fear and and fight/flight, your brain tells your adrenals to start putting out stress hormones to put you in shape to to fight our Flake here’s.
The problem, the adrenal glands, are your secondary sex sex glands right. They make your test, they actually even in a female. They make testosterone first and then, and then that and then, without getting through the whole chemical thing.
The testosterone eventually is involved with making estrogen and then that’s eventually involved with making progesterone like that. Almost like almost like you pour the cup in you get enough testosterone next thing you know it starts making estrogen next thing.
You know it starts making now well here and here’s problem in the adrenal glands alone. If specially, if you’re a menopause, and it is your source for taking care of you as far as getting you enough estrogen you when you’re, when you get stressed and you’re, making cortisol, you can’t make this stuff called DHA.
Dha is what makes the testosterone that makes the estrogen that makes the other stuff and DHEA is is is come is a hormone that’s, made from cholesterol and pregnant alone, so there’s. This thing in your adrenals called a pregnenolone steel, and what that means is you’re either making sex hormones or you’re, making stress hormones? You’re, stealing the pregnant alone to make stress hormones, because pregnant alone also goes to make your stress hormone.
Cortisol. So stress is a huge, huge part of so many of these female issues that it’s; crazy, that even you, even in the menstruating female, where the test where the adrenals are not the main guys they’re that, like the secondary Size class’stress is a big player.
Stress is a big player in this, so I think, yeah and and and one other so so so so you look at all those things and yeah the other thing. We went that you would look at the other thing that we would look at relative to particularly the menstruating female is well.
I apprec –, probably save this for the PCOS, but over overtraining overtraining creates a lot. I’m, seeing more and more and more women who are doing crossfit and they’re competing and they’re doing.
Of course, this has been for a while, now and and are doing, triathlons and and marathons, and and just all that type of stuff and and and there’s, a balance to training and when women’s start training like that.
That will start creating hot flashes, because their estrogen will go love. Yeah, I mean yeah. They they have a hard time having babies if they’re. If they ‘ Re are a female age, because their testosterone goes up the russian-georgian go.
So I said that because I hesitated on that because it’s also kind of part of the polycystic ovarian syndrome, I can’t have a baby syndrome, but relative to menstrual issues. It’s, pretty well understood that if a person is going through that it’s, not uncommon to have normal periods or like not have a period.
So that was kind of like one other clinical pearl that I just wanted to throw. In there, so that’s, that’s kind of the lay of the land of female hormones. I think what I wanted to do was more make you understand kind of the options that you would have when you start having these issues or if you’re, taking the hormone replacement therapy and and and and and and you’re, Not getting better or you’re concerned about the possibilities of too much or making cancer.
Remember if you take too many hormones, it’s, just like not taking enough, you cause those receptor sites to become resistant. The hormone doesn’t get in, and now you’re taking hormones, and you have all these symptoms of low hormone function and you’re, going like what the heck is going on and your doctor is going well.
We’ll, just you know, give you a little bit more estrogen, because they haven’t run all of the panel’s. This is what you’re facing. So I think that’s. It. I think I want to wrap it up with that. I think that’s, a good again.
I’m. Speaking from the clinical perspective here of my thought process. When a patient comes into me with these symptoms, and and so it was, it was my I thought to get into like all the different aspects and all the different herbs and botanicals, and all that, but more to point out that the the physiology of it and And as I’m saying that I think of one more thing, if you, if you have hot flashes, ask yourself, are you, are you sweating or are you just sweating or are you hot? Are you having a hot flash, because that’s? Another thing I run into and if it’s just sweating, it’s, your adrenal glands it’s, not a hot flash, and so what is the you know? What’s? The target the targets, the adrenal glands and anything that would be fixed in the adrenal – that’s almost forgot that so I I feel like this is a good summation.
I feel like this gives you a good framework, a lot of people today. Of course are looking online that’s. Why? I’m doing this, so a lot of people buy time they’ve gotten here. They’ve looked online, they’ve tried to figure this out.
They couldn’t if they couldn’t figure it out a lot of times. They just show up here are its some functional medical doctors offices, so so that’s yeah, so that’s. Female hormone imbalances and I think that should think alights a lot of people up.
I think a lot of people kind of go like ooh holy cow. I never realized all that. If you did that good, that’s, why we’re? Doing these vid he’s; these online YouTube videos, so, okay, so that’s, the that’s the end.
I think that’s, that’s. The end of this, that’s. The end of this presentation, for those of you who don’t know what I’m. Talking about that’s, the end of our entire series, and I will be looking forward to hearing feedback from you on this particular subject, because it’s a subject.
I’m great interesting and I’d like to know where your thoughts were on this, so I’m doctor mark Rathbun. That is the end of the functional medicine back to basics series. I hope you enjoyed that if you, if you managed to get through all of those and thank you for watching, take care, you