Andrew Huberman – Dr. Sara Gottfried: How to Optimize Female Hormone Health for Vitality & Longevity
- Andrew Huberman is a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine
- Dr. Sarah Gottfried is an obstetrician gynecologist and clinical professor of integrative medicine and nutritional sciences at Thomas Jefferson University
- They discuss science and science-based tools for everyday life, including the gut microbiome, nutrition, exercise, omega-3 fatty acids, and the digestive system
Micronutrients, vegetables and the Microbiome
- Precision medicine is used to test patients, often including nutritional testing
- Micronutrients play a role in hormone production, such as magnesium and estrogen
- Eating vegetables is an important predictor of future breast cancer risk, especially in teenagers.
- Smoothies with vegetables can be used to help support the microbiome.
- Supplements can be used as a distant second to smoothies.
- One patient changed their microbiome by having a smoothie with 57 vegetables and fruits every day.
Eat your vegetables
- Probiotics can be beneficial for people under significant stress or after taking antibiotics
- Randomized trials are needed to support the use of probiotics
- Prebiotics and polyphenols may be more beneficial than probiotics
- Eating more vegetables is a great starting place for gut microbiome health
- Stool sample testing can be used to analyze nutritional deficiencies and microbiome health
- Constipation is a common symptom in women and can signal a larger set of problems
- Women experience more trauma than men, which can affect their HPA response and perceived stress
- Constipation can be used as a target for intervention to open up discussions about other issues
- Constipation is defined as having a bowel movement less than once a day and feeling a complete evacuation
Stress, Meditation and breathwork
- Stress reduction is important for relieving constipation and other indicators of health
- Different stress reduction tools work for different people, such as physiological sighing, transcendental meditation, yoga, holotropic breath work, and box breathing
- A study found that cyclic sighing led to the greatest improvements in mood and lowered resting heart rate
- Other stress reduction tools include sex, orgasm, connection, and feeling heard and seen and loved
Testing and future behaviour
- Women in their late teens and early 20s should be aware of their testosterone, estrogen, thyroid, and cortisol levels, as well as their microbiome.
- Different opportunities for health exist by decade.
- Knowing testosterone levels in the teenage years can help inform how to take care of oneself.
- Testosterone levels can decline starting in the 20s due to stress.
- For women post-25, a healthy reference point is the top half of the normal range.
Behaviour for vitality
- Sleep is essential for vitality and longevity
- Avoid too much alcohol, perceived stress, and eating the wrong foods
- Avoid toxic relationships and isolation
- Exercise regularly with a combination of cardio and resistance training
- Consider cortisol levels when exercising and use vitamin C to buffer it
- Consider hormone panels to identify root causes of health issues
Ashwagandha to lower cortisol levels
- Ashwagandha and Rhodiola Rosacea can help lower cortisol levels
- Phosphatidylserine (PS) can also reduce cortisol, with a dose of 400-800 milligrams
- Cortisol Manager by Integrative Therapeutics is a combination of PS and Ashwagandha
- Cortisol typically peaks 30-60 minutes after waking and gradually declines until bedtime
- PS should be taken when cortisol is highest (morning or night)
Omega-3s and fish oil
- Omega-3s and fish oil are generally accepted as important for health
- Consider taking 1-2 grams of EPA per day, depending on diet
- Omega-3s alone may not be enough to resolve inflammation; consider combining with specialized pro-resolving mediators
- Rank order of supplements for college students: fish oil, magnesium, vitamin D, phosphatidylserine
- Vitamin D dosage should be between 1,000-2,000 IU per day, or dose to a serum level between 50-90
- Women should get their follicle number and AMH levels assessed to get a sense of their ovarian reserve.
- Most women don’t get this done until they are in their late 30s or early 40s.
- AMH levels are not included in a standard blood panel.
- Women who want to freeze their eggs or are having trouble getting pregnant are the ones who usually get AMH levels tested.
- Women who are experiencing symptoms of early menopause also get tested.
- There is a double standard between those who want to get pregnant and those who don’t when it comes to hormone testing.
Fasting and diet
- Intermittent fasting, time-restricted feeding, and/or a ketogenic diet can increase cells sensitivity to insulin.
- Women don’t need to stay on the ketogenic diet for long periods of time.
- Metabolic flexibility can be increased by periodically switching back and forth between a typical eating pattern and a ketogenic diet.
- A ketogenic diet should be used as a short-term experiment (4 weeks).