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  • Mary works full time while raising three young children and has been suffering with insomnia and night sweats even though she is far from menopause; Joanne, a busy stockbroker, has such heavy periods that she is locked in her house for seven days every month; and Melinda, newly married with an exciting job, is losing her hair, gaining weight around the middle, and feeling exhausted. All three women are suffering from estrogen dominance, a common condition in women.

    Hormones Out of Balance
    We are bombarded by environmental estrogens, also called xenoestrogens or estrogen mimickers. These man-made chemicals act exactly like estrogen in the body. Estrogen-mimickers are found in everything from plastics, cosmetics and pesticides to dry cleaning chemicals, dairy products and more. Too much estrogen upsets the body’s delicate balance of hormones. Some of the most common female estrogen-dominant conditions are PMS, endometriosis, abnormal PAP tests, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, cystic breasts, heavy periods, low thyroid, hormonal acne, severe menopausal symptoms, breast cancer and the list goes on. Too much estrogen can block the uptake of thyroid hormone, promoting low thyroid. Over 23 percent of Canadians take thyroid medication for low thyroid and an estimated 30 percent have undiagnosed low thyroid with symptoms that include hair loss, weight gain, feeling cold, constipation, night sweats, recurring miscarriage, heavy periods, high cholesterol and so much more.

    Women need estrogen but not the toxic type found in the environment. Women are supplied with estrogen from their ovaries, adrenal glands and fat cells. When the ovaries take a much-needed rest at menopause, or if the ovaries are surgically removed during a hysterectomy, the adrenal glands become the main source of estrogen. The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys and they also help us deal with stress and control water balance in the body. When our adrenal glands become exhausted from too much stress, hormone havoc ensues. Classic symptoms include insomnia where you fall asleep fine but wake up several hours later and can’t fall back to sleep, caffeine and salt cravings, no energy, difficulty handling stress, and weight gain around the middle. We must love our adrenals in order to have balanced hormones.

    The liver is the key organ for detoxifying excess hormones, breaks down and distributes estrogen and other hormones. Your liver decides if your estrogen is going to stay in the healthy form or be converted into cancer-causing estrogens. Our liver becomes sluggish due to a diet of too many bad fats (from lard, margarine and refined oils), sugars and artificial sweeteners, fried foods, and not enough vegetables and good protein. Regular alcohol consumption also negatively affects the liver’s ability to maintain hormone balance.

    Hormone Harmony
    The liver, thyroid and the adrenal glands must operate at peak performance to ensure hormone harmony. The basis of a healthy hormone program is a diet full of cruciferous vegetables and lean protein from wild, free-range sources. There are also key herbs and nutrients that been researched to support the adrenals, liver and thyroid.

    Adrenal Support
    Eight hours of deep restful sleep will reverse adrenal exhaustion quickly. At bedtime, take a natural sleep aid containing melatonin, chamomile, hops, valerian and passionflower to help with sleep. The following herbs should be taken in combination to nourish the adrenals and help reduce the effects of stress:

    Rhodiola increases the body’s resistance to all types of stress; enhances mental and physical performance; and regulates the heart by increasing oxygen utilization. Suma is called “para todo” which means “for everything.” It is considered a regenerative tonic for the nervous, reproductive and digestive systems and is used to treat hormonal disorders, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, and stress.

    Siberian ginseng, not a true ginseng, normalizes reactions to physical and mental stress, and increases the body’s ability to withstand adverse conditions such as heat, noise, increases in workload and physical endurance. It regulates blood sugar, protects the liver and supports optimal adrenal function.

    Schizandra berry is a general tonic that promotes liver health and counters the effects of stress and fatigue. It is also used for insomnia associated with changing hormones.

    Ashwagandha increases energy to improve overall health and longevity. Studies have proven powerful anti-stress effects as well as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and immune-modulating properties. Ashwagandha not only supports the adrenals but has also been found to improve thyroid function too.

    Support a Low Thyroid The adrenal glands and the thyroid are directly linked so once the adrenals become exhausted, the thyroid goes low. The following nutrients have been found to help support the thyroid. These nutrients can be safely taken along with thyroid medicines. Never stop your thyroid hormone drug without your doctor’s recommendation.

    Tyrosine is an amino acid necessary for the manufacture of thyroid hormones. Tyrosine assists a sluggish thyroid and can aid the loss of those unwanted pounds.

    Ashwagandha supports the thyroid gland. Studies show that it enhances thyroid function and produces a significant increase in T4 thyroid hormone.

    Guggal extract supports complete thyroid health while enhancing the conversion of T4 hormone to the more potent T3 hormone. Guggal extract and ashwagandha should be used together to support thyroid health.

    Potassium iodide is essential for the manufacture of thyroid hormones, and was initially added to salt to combat the epidemic of low thyroid in Canadians. Since many people now avoid salt for fear of high blood pressure, low thyroid and goitres are on the rise in Canada.

    Environmental Estrogen Protection
    We must avoid products containing environmental estrogens such as cosmetics containing parabens, plastics with BPA, synthetic hormones in dairy and meat, to name a few. Detoxification of these estrogens using saunas and dry brushing the skin will help to eliminate excess estrogens, as does eating organic broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and kale. Supplementing with the following nutrients can help protect you from the dangerous effects of environmental estrogens and balance hormones. If you have any of the estrogen-dominant conditions mentioned earlier, you need the following food-based nutrients every day. They can be purchased separately or in combo.

    Indole-3-carbinol (I-3-C) is a powerful plant nutrient from cruciferous vegetables. I-3-C prevents the conversion of good estrogens to cancer-causing estrogens. I-3-C maintains a healthy cervix, protects against HPV cervical lesions and controls abnormal cell growth found in those with uterine fibroids, breast lumps and endometriosis. It is very effective for heavy periods caused by a thickened uterine lining.

    D-glucarate is a powerful detoxifier of excess estrogens via the liver. It helps to maintain healthy hormone balance.

    Green tea extract contains polyphenols, catechins and flavonoids shown to be protective against estrogen-related cancers and it stops abnormal cell growth. (Note: Although uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis and breast lumps may not develop into cancers, they are cells growing out of control.)

    Curcuminis the yellow pigment of turmeric. This powerful anti-inflammatory agent works to inhibit all steps of cancer formation: initiation, promotion and progression. Curcumin also supports the liver.

    Rosemary extract, a potent antioxidant, protects cells from cancer-causing agents, inhibits the growth of cancer cells and helps to detoxify toxic estrogens.

    Sulforaphane, from Broccophane™ broccoli sprout extract, has been shown to stimulate the body’s production of detoxification enzymes that eliminate environmental estrogens. Sulforaphane is a powerful antioxidant and anticancer agent.

    Happy Conclusions
    Mary found relief from her insomnia and night sweats within a few days by using the adrenal support nutrients and a natural sleep aid. Joanne is relieved that, after only two months of taking indole-3-carbinol along with the other estrogen-balancing nutrients, her periods are now four days in length with normal flow. Since Melinda started taking the recommended thyroid nutrients, her hair stopped falling out and the added weight is now coming off effortlessly.

  • The essential GLA (gamma linolenic acid) is not just your ordinary Smart Fat. Distinctively different than thyroid-targeting coconut oil, GLA is a multitasking essential fatty acid that activates brown fat to effortlessly burn calories from heat. Our bodies need to get GLA from foods because we cannot manufacture this essential fatty acid without an outside source. GLA has proven benefits to ignite a slow metabolism and is a healer for PMS, bloating, depression, diabetic neuropathy, morning stiffness, and skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.

    As far back as the 1980s, many studies focused on GLA as a natural aid to weight reduction. They were published in prestigious medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine. These reports documented GLA's definite promise in the battle of the bulge.

    Prostaglandin Power
    GLA regulates metabolic functions all the way down to the cellular level, helping the cardiovascular, immune, and reproductive and central nervous systems through its prostaglandin pathways.

    Prostaglandins are short-lived hormone-like substances that regulate metabolic processes throughout the body. They were discovered over 60 years ago in the prostate gland, hence the name "prostaglandins." Today, prostaglandins are included in a larger group of hormones known as eicosanoids. So profound is the ability of the essential fats to transform themselves into these substances that the 1982 Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to scientists in prostaglandin research.

    Prostaglandins can only be made from two essential Smart Fats, GLA, an omega-6, and EPA, an omega-3 fat. These two are the direct prostaglandin building blocks. Together they form an unbeatable combination and ideally should be consumed in a one-to-one ratio since so many overweight individuals are GLA deficient based upon essential fatty acid testing.

    All That And Fat Burning, Too!
    Our Smart Fat produced prostaglandins have far reaching implications. They control inflammation, blood clotting, blood pressure, tumor growth, brain function and allergies. They soothe skin, promote healing and regulate water loss. Their natural anti-inflammatory properties reduce pain, swelling and redness. They are burned off much more quickly than other fats and their biochemical structure easily permeates cell walls, making them flexible and less rigid and stiff, thereby inhibiting overeating because of more rapid satiety. Other GLA attributes include stellar skin protection to moisturize internally and diminish symptoms of eczema and psoriasis; reduction of excess inflammation and alleviation of morning stiffness; support of healthy cholesterol and relief of PMS, perimenopause, and menopausal symptoms; and alleviation of hangover and substance abuse symptoms.

    The series one prostaglandins created from GLA are believed to regulate many aspects of metabolism. GLA-induced prostaglandins regulate brown fat by acting as a catalyst to either turn it on to trigger calorie burning or turn it off to trigger calorie conservation. Prostaglandins are also connected to a metabolic process referred to as ATPase. ATPase is also known as the sodium pump, a biochemical process necessary to keep the right amount of potassium inside cell walls and too much sodium out. GLA-rich substances like black currant seed oil, by means of prostaglandin activity, control the sodium pump, which in turn revs up metabolism.

    When GLA is in the diet, it operates as a remarkable fat-burning agent when it triggers brown fat calorie burning and the sodium pump. Brown fat is also known as brown adipose tissue or BAT. It gets its color from the many fat-burning mitochondria it contains. It only comprises 10 percent or less of total body fat, yet it can burn one-fourth of the calories burned by all other fat tissues combined. In a similar way, GLA can stimulate the sodium pump to use up to nearly 50 percent of the body's total calories.

    In 2009 a flurry of new studies about fighting fat came out that were heralded as the "newest obesity theory," claiming that brown fat was a potent regulator of metabolism and weight. The research said that brown fat was deficient in overweight people and was primarily activated by cold.

    I remember shaking my head about this new obesity theory because I had written about brown fat back in 1988 in connection with GLA. Since the new research, the scientists completely overlooked the role of GLA, which stimulates brown fat activity, through its prostaglandin pathways.

    And while omega-6s as a whole have gotten a bad rap, their reputation is not quite justified. The issue is that GLA's raw materials, the linoleic-acid containing safflower, sunflower, soy and corn oil, are possible, but not always probable, precursors. Possible—because under ideal conditions they should easily be converted into the powerful prostaglandins that have all the healing and metabolic benefits.

    The problem is these typically refined and processed oils are further blocked from converting into the biologically potent prostaglandin, which make them biologically worthless to the human body. A number of dietary and lifestyle conditions like a lack of enzymatic cofactors such as niacin, B6, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc as well as the presence of transfats, excessive saturated fats, or alcohol in the diet, impairs the delta-6-desaturase enzyme charged with the transformation process. (The same metabolic suspects, by the way, are in play, which can impair the transformation of the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid into EPA.)

    Since food sources cannot always convert into GLA on their own, you are much better off taking GLA in supplemental form from borage, evening primrose or black currant seed oil with two exceptions: hemp seed oil (not marijuana but from the same plant) and spirulina, a blue green microalgae. Hemp seed oil contains "pre-formed" GLA with a perfect blend of omega-3s.

    If you prefer to take a supplement, my recommendation is the GLA from black currant seed oil. Because of all the pre-formed GLA sources, it is the best balanced with omega-3s as part of its makeup. Perhaps most interesting of all is the hypothesis that GLA, like other fatty acids, has the potential to elevate levels of serotonin, the "feel good" brain chemical which contributes to the feeling of fullness. By elevating serotonin, you will feel calmer and satiated sooner. So not only does GLA have the ability to increase the body's metabolism and burn fat, but it may also work as an appetite suppressant as well.

    Smart Tips: GLA

    Want to know how to get more GLA in your life for a metabolic kick?

    1. Nibble on hemp "hearts" (seeds) and drizzle hemp seed oil. Hemp is a great tasting source of balanced omega-6 and omega-3, and also contains vitamin E. Nutty and full of flavor; the hemp seeds are great snacks and make a smoothie nice and creamy. The oil is perfect over veggies and salads. Besides spirulina, which can be taken as a supplement or sprinkled in powder form in a smoothie or green drink, hemp seeds and oil are the only direct preformed food sources of thermogenic GLA.

    2. Take supplements of ready-made GLA. Found in black currant seed oil, borage or evening primrose oil for stronger GLA power, I recommend 360 to 900 mg daily.

    CLA – The Tummy Fat Blaster

    CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) has profound fat loss and healing benefits. CLA helps reduce body fat while retaining lean muscle mass, a ready-made innate calorie burner. It is also considered a necessary fatty acid for both cell growth and as a building block for cell membranes.

    To date, there are over 500 published studies on this previously unrecognized nutrient. The first human clinical trial using CLA was conducted in 1997 in Norway. It was a 90-day double-blind clinical study that showed a stunning 20 percent decrease in body fat, with an average loss of seven pounds of fat in the group taking CLA. These results were achieved without a single change in dietary habits, establishing CLA supplementation for the first time as a simple, effortless weight loss tool.

    In addition to the ability to reduce body fat, CLA has also been shown to increase lean muscle mass. In this same study, although participants lost body fat, they experienced very little change in overall body weight due to the increase in lean muscle mass. The end result was a stronger, healthier body.

    CLA is also a powerful tool for anyone who finds themselves with weight gain over the holidays. In 2006 researchers studied 40 healthy but overweight subjects over a period of six months. Over the holiday season, the placebo group displayed a greater rate of weight gain; while the CLA group showed significantly reduced body fat of around 2.2 kg over the six month period.

    Cellulite be gone! Did you know that biopsies of cellulite demonstrate that unlike fat in most other areas, the fat within cellulite is actually inflamed? This type of inflammation speeds up the breakdown of collagen and contributes to that puckered-up, orange peel look we all dread. Studies also show that CLA increases strong and healthy collagen and prevents fat cells from accumulating even more fat and swelling up. And, both ultrasound and visual examination has proven that CLA can markedly reduce the appearance of cellulite.

    CLA occurs naturally in grass-fed dairy foods—especially cream, butter and full-fat cheese. It is also found in beef and lamb. Before the 1970s, Americans got plenty of CLA by eating these Smart Fat-filled foods. Today we are getting next to no CLA because livestock is rarely grass-fed anymore, which decreases CLA levels by about 80 percent.

    To compound this deficiency, over the past 70 years many misguided Americans on low- or no-fat diets have stopped eating these dietary sources of CLA. While adding grass-fed dairy and meats back into your diet is highly recommended for a variety of health reasons, there are other ways to get more potentized CLA into your body. Science has been able to create CLA from the linoleic acid found in sunflower and safflower oils. Today CLA is available as a convenient dietary supplement.

    Smart Tips: CLA
    Want to increase your CLA to rev up metabolic rate?

    1. Eat CLA-rich grass-fed beef and pastured butter and cream. Also be on the lookout for grass-fed, non-denatured whey.
    2. Consider CLA supplements from conjugated safflower or sunflower oil. I recommend 3,000 mg daily. But, just be careful. With many of my clients, you lose weight so quickly you will go down a pants size or two in no time!

    GLA vs. CLA: What's the difference you ask?
    GLA (gamma linolenic acid) and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) are both important fatty acids that will help burn fat to promote weight loss, and help control appetite to prevent weight gain.

    They can be taken individually or as a duo to help break down fat.

    • GLA raises your metabolism by stimulating brown fat (adipose tissue) in the body to burn calories for energy.
    • CLA especially targets visceral fat (found deep within the abdominal area) and is helpful for burning belly fat while increasing lean muscle mass.
  • When it comes to women’s health, the knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine embodies may pearls of wisdom. One of the most well-known sayings is that a Chinese doctor would rather treat ten men rather than one woman! It is no surprise that women are the more complex gender. A woman’s unique physiology gives her extraordinary advantages, such as a longer life span. However, altering the very delicate and finely balanced female hormonal system can also predispose women to a long list of health problems that can compromise her physiological, emotional and mental well-being.

  • Plan for a peaceful perimenopause naturally.

    In Today's Modern Age, Menopause Isn't The Same As It Was In Your Mother Or Grandmother's Time. Environmental Threats From Synthetic Chemicals That Mimic Natural hormones have created an environment where shockingly young women can begin to prematurely experience symptoms of the change Before the Change.

    With that in mind, I knew that now was a perfect—and imperative—time to update my New York Times bestseller Before the Change. Although this book is focused around the perimenopausal phase of life—the period of about 10 years leading up to menopause—it is applicable to women in all stages of life, 18 to 80.

    If you feel as if your body has betrayed you, help is in sight. Before the Change is filled cover to cover with timetested natural methods (including a delicious diet) to sail smoothly through this transition and restore your sanity. I hope you enjoy this sneak preview where I share why we must change how we think about the change.

    The diet world has been turned upside down with the awareness that the foods we eat cause a hormonal response inside the body. In this book, I use this knowledge to turn your world right side up by applying it to the hormonal imbalances that occur during perimenopause. I review the hormonal responses that macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) and environmental agents (xenoestrogens) evoke in your body, and utilize them to restore hormonal function during this changing time.

    I have a big fat surprise for you: eating fat does not make you fat. As I have been advising my readers and my clients for more than thirty-five years, nothing could be further from the truth. The right fats, which I call your "sexy, slimming fats," actually reset hormones, reduce inflammation, and fix metabolism. In addition, fats assist in reprogramming the stress, sex, and hunger hormones that can exacerbate perimenopause symptoms and cause weight gain. So not only does fat not make you fat, but fat also makes you skinny!

    However, it's not enough to just eat fat, lose weight, and manufacture hormones. Your body needs to be able to process that fat—which is where your liver and bile come in. I will teach you how to support your liver and optimize its bile production. Bile is the fluid the liver produces daily to break down fats into a digestible form and transport excess water out of the body. Poor quality bile is a newly discovered factor in hypothyroidism. Better bile means fewer digestive woes, like constipation, bloating, and gas, and fewer hypothyroid-like symptoms, like fatigue, weight gain, and brain fog. This may be a godsend for anyone who does not have a gallbladder and therefore lacks the storage tank that regulates the properly timed secretion of bile when eating fat. For these individuals, bile replacement is a necessity.

    In this book we also examine several key nutrients that every woman must have in the correct amounts in order to feel emotionally and physically well. My professional experience has shown that women are most likely to be deficient in certain nutrients, such as magnesium, zinc, and the B vitamins, and that every woman must have these in the correct dosage in order to feel emotionally and physically well. Magnesium, for example, has even been called the "original chill pill," acting as a hormone balancer and relieving anxiety, constipation, or any ailment where an overstimulation of the nervous system is present.

    I would be remiss if I didn't include moderate exercise too, which helps all hormone systems to function better and reduces stress. Indeed, exercise contributes positively to just about every bodily function and to most emotional and intellectual functions as well. Exercising for at least four hours a week lowers estrogen dominance (when skipped periods result in low progesterone levels), reduces cortisol levels, and supports bone health, all of which will make the perimenopause period pass more smoothly. I am especially a fan of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), rebounding, and the Power Plate (see Resources in Before the Change for more information), all of which you will read more about in this book. The secret of a good exercise program is to find something that you enjoy doing and that fits conveniently into your daily schedule. The more preparation that exercise requires, the easier it will be to find a reason to skip it. But if you do something simple that you enjoy, you will want to do it every day. I will share with you how to exercise effectively, efficiently, and enjoyably.

    I cannot emphasize enough the role stress plays in perimenopause. Simply dealing with your unique manifestation of perimenopause symptoms constitutes a stressful experience. Add the stresses encountered in daily life, and your body may very well find itself struggling to keep up. When you are chronically stressed, it exacerbates perimenopause symptoms and leaves you with a whole array of other issues. The adrenals can become exhausted and cortisol levels can become erratic. This causes most bodily functions to slow down, thus your body is not operating at its full potential. This also means your body is not as well equipped to handle hormonal fluctuations, further intensifying your symptoms of both stress and perimenopause. I will show you how to tame the cortisol monster through healing oils, exercise, sleep, and coping skills.

    Eating a hormone-regulating diet, exercising moderately on a regular basis, and managing daily stress is often enough to alleviate the discomfort and symptoms felt by many women in their thirties and forties. However, diet, exercise, and stress management may not always be enough. You may need to resort to natural hormone therapy.

    Natural progesterone is usually the key therapeutic hormone, rather than estrogen. Natural progesterone creams are available over the counter without a prescription, and I will list my favorite brands for you. I also look at phytohormones (hormones from plants) and explain why they work.

    In cases where not even natural progesterone cream and phytohormones are enough to alleviate the symptoms, you may need to implement bioidentical hormones, compounded specially on an individual basis. However, whether these are bioidentical hormones or their synthetic substitutes, all hormones need to be monitored by a practitioner, especially bioidentical estrogen. Ultimately, all hormones are broken down by the liver. That's why liver support is key, and one of the central features of my Peri program.

    The balance of this book is devoted to the principles of the Peri Prescription, a hormone-regulating eating plan that women need for their twenties, thirties, forties, and beyond. After I share with you the science behind what makes this powerful diet so necessary, I will give you a meal plan and recipes to help you get started. Keep in mind that this is not a one-diet-fits-all food plan. It can be tailored for individual differences based upon ancestry, metabolic rate, blood type, and dietary restrictions. The diet is varied and fun—with a manageable shopping list!

    To start you off, though, and to help steady you along your hormonal journey, the chapter on Peri Zappers with ten highly effective remedies will help rescue you from perimenopausal symptoms and give you your life back. These ten remedies are recommended because they are especially reliable, usually free of side effects, and easy to use. Peri Zappers help balance the levels of all types of hormones, and I will discuss how to use them to alleviate symptoms, feel fit and trim, and lead a more harmonious life.

    Perimenopause can be a major challenge. But, as with any challenge women have faced over the course of their lives and the course of history, you will experience this transformation with a greater vibrancy of body, mind, and spirit. I promise.

    Before the Change is available for purchase now nationwide. It's time to join women of all ages who have restored hormone harmony within their bodies and discovered the peaceful perimenopause they deserve.

  • An ancient adage from Chinese medicine says, “A doctor would rather treat ten men than one woman.”Chinese medicine validates what women have always known, we are indeed intricate creatures! Our hormones are in part responsible for this complexity. Their ebb and flow influence all aspects of a woman’s physical, emotional and mental well-being.

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