Episode 6: Dr. Lindsey Berkson Notes

In this episode, Jill and Gaynell have a conversation with someone they consider “wonder woman”,  Dr. Lindsey Berkson. Dr. Berkson is considered a thought leader in functional medicine, having practiced and widely lectured for continuing medical education courses for MDs, NPs and pharmacists in the fields of nutrition, hormones, environmental medicine and nutritional gastroenterology. 

Dr. Berkson wrote the first gut, mind, nutrition published by Wiley (Healthy Digestion the Natural Way) and one of the first books on hormone-altering-chemicals (Hormone Deception, McGraw-Hill, 2nd printing Awakened Medicine Press).

 

Dr. Berkson is also a 5-star organic chef, west coast swing dancer and does stand-up comedy- so she combines science with laughter!

 

  1. What do we think of aging?

    1. What does it mean when we age? Do we get frail? Reduce brain activity?

  2. In America- we are all about individualism

    1. We all want to be wonder-woman

    2. The culture in which we are born really colors our world life viewpoint of who we are, who we want to be, and how we age

      1. In America, we want to be wonder woman for as long as we can and make any comorbidities of aging, like frailty, push further and further into the future

      2. How do we achieve that?

    3. Having quality of life

      1. As we age, we gain wisdom that help us live life better

      2. However, we get aches and pains 

    4. Aging as a disease

  3. Aging picks up speed

    1. You age faster at 38 than 28, etc.

    2. If you can understand the science and underlying mechanics that cause aging and the speed of aging, then you can slow it down and have a different experience

    3. Aging is so diverse

    4. America is not great at chronic disease

      1. Not able to guide people on how to stay well and slow down aging

  4. Slowing down aging

    1. Many aspects of aging are not inevitable

      1. Study came out in Sports Medicine in 2011- looked at master athletes

        1. Looked at 40 people in their 40s who worked out an hour 5x/week

        2. Looked at 40 people in their 80s who worked out an hour a day 5x/week

          1. MRI of quadriceps showed both had the same amount of muscle mass, regardless of age

        3. Isn’t inevitable that you lose muscle mass as you age (or get sarcopenia)

        4. The study did show more fat cells with age

          1. We live in a toxic environment- many pollutants in our environment are obesogenic

            1. They alter the fat stem cells

            2. We have different fat cells that make it harder to lose weight

        5. Don’t have to lose your muscles, but must know how to maintain your muscles

          1. Ideally, not just through exercise

  5. Recipe for aging:

    1. Two major things you need a team to help you figure out how to address:

      1. Inflammation out of control: accelerates aging

      2. Waning/loss of sex steroid hormones or other hormones

        1. Sex-steroid hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone)

        2. Other hormones that address how you live inside your body suite and feel and look at the world

          1. Oxytocin: pregnancy or orgasm hormone

            1. Have a lot to do with youth and dynamic living

            2. Start to go south at 20 years old

    2. Inflammation + loss of hormones= recipe for accelerated aging

      1. There are ways to reverse that equation and slow down aging

  6. In the past, hormone replacement was a big deal (in the 50s and 60s)

    1. Commonly handed out to women up until 2002

    2. We are an aging nation

      1. We have more people that are aging than those that are young

      2. In a few years, half of the population will be in menopause, andropause, or geropause

        1. Our health departments were concerned we would topple Medicare

          1. Put together a series of investigations to study how we take care of women

          2. Did a randomized controlled trial on hormone use: The Women’s Health Initiative

            1. Hormone trial was stopped prematurely when it looked like the benefit we thought we got from hormones were causing the very diseases we thought they protected

            2. In America, when these studies were stopped prematurely, medical doctors stopped prescribing hormone replacement therapy 

            3. Headlines of fear caused doctors and patients to stop use, despite the poor statistics surrounding the trials

          3. In Europe, they didn’t stop prescribing hormones because they saw them working well clinically (though they used more natural hormones and not synthetic hormones).

    3. Gynecologists fearful of prescribing hormones “Don’t believe in hormones”

      1. Hormones are the most powerful signaling molecules that we have to be able to keep ourselves younger longer

      2. One of the most powerful technologies we have

    4. Became non-standard of care to prescribe hormones

      1. Even though a lot of analysis of The Womens Health Initiative, none of that made headline news

    5. Major symposium yearly on Breast Cancer

      1. This symposium got together in December of 2019

        1. 12 prestigious cancer centers re-analyzed the Womens Health Initiative- called “The 19 year re-analysis of the Women’s Health Initiative”

        2. Found that healthy women put on hormone replacement therapy have:

          1. 23% less incidence of getting breast cancer

          2. Reduces the incidence of mortality by 44% If they get breast cancer

        3. DID NOT MAKE HEADLINE NEWS

      2. Hormones are one of the most positive ways to slow down this accelerated disease referred to as aging

  7. With our audience, what would women do to even begin the journey on: do I get hormone replacement? How do I know if I need it?

    1. There are biologically hardwired changes in our bodies in regard to hormones

    2. However, ground rules have changed

      1. Toxic chemicals and pollutants get into our system and act like hormones/deceive hormones

      2. We are having hormone issues earlier and earlier

        1. Independent of age and body mass

    3. Get your hormones checked at least once a decade

      1. Hormones control your energy, your sleep, how you feel, your mood, etc.

      2. They are the most powerful signaling molecules

      3. Hormones interact with food and exercise

    4. Go to somebody who has a practice that focuses on hormones

      1. Often, endocrinologists and gynecologists do not know enough or are not aware about hormone replacement 

  8. It’s never too late to check your hormones and take hormones- even after menopause?

    1. Never too late to initiate hormone replacement

    2. Must be done in a different way than someone who started hormone therapy sooner

      1. Once you get 10 years out (or more) from menopause, the prescription becomes more nuanced

        1. Hormones swim into satellite dishes called receptors

        2. They shimmy in space to give messages that prevent aging

        3. When you age, the receptors are not used to having hormones so you have to go very gingerly to wake up receptors over the first 1.5 years

          1. If a women has underlying heart disease- you have to do a few things to be protective

      2. There are nuances that go along with giving hormone therapy later in life

  9. Is there any relation or ways to affect your hormone levels naturally? i.e. through diet, exercise, environment, etc.

    1. Everything affects everything else

    2. Eating better enhancing hormone health

    3. When you exercise with weights and resistance (esp. making muscle) you make more testosterone

    4. After making love, more hormone levels in your blood because nature wants us to have more hormones

      1. Our brain and its volume are maintained by hormones

      2. Helps keep the homosapien race alive

    5. Zinc, magnesium, the wonderful nutrients you get from eating leafy greens and plant-based foods all help hormones

    6. However, once you get hormones levels that are extremely low, all these measures are not sufficient

      1. At some point, you need hormone replacement to keep yourself feeling fantastic

  10. Listen to your body

    1. Low energy is not normal

    2. Do not let “I’m getting older” be your excuse

  11. Inflammation- what is this?

    1. Inflammation is the center of all disease

      1. Run by “pro-inflammatory” molecules

      2. “Anti-inflammatory” molecules help to come in and correct the inflammation

        1. Can be stimulated by hormones, nutrients, etc. 

    2. Inflammation is not always bad

      1. Need natural inflammation to help heal wounds

      2. But can become excessive and cause disease

    3. Need to change perspective of healthcare

      1. All about balance- hormone levels can help to maintain balance and slow the process of aging

      2. John Lennon: “The time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted at all.”

  12. The other critical part to slow down aging: muscle

    1. Takes the vitamin D: discipline

    2. Muscle drives hormones

    3. When you use your muscles, with resistance training, your muscles secrete protein-signaling molecules which go to your eyes and your brain and search out unhealthy proteins

      1. They clean and repair things that are going wrong

    4. Sarcopenia: the loss of muscle

      1. Hormones help keep muscle mass! (esp. testosterone)

  13. Our bodysuits are miracles- we are all wonder-women!

    1. Life is a gift

    2. But, life is also a war—you need the tools and protection to maintain this precious gift we call life

  14. You can achieve supreme wellness at any age

  15. If you had to give our audience one final tip- where to start, what is one tidbit you would give them?

    1. You must keep moving! 

    2. Don’t sit too much, move more, and find someone who will caretake and love your hormones so that they will love you!

 

How to reach Dr. Lindsey Berkson:

 

  1. Podcast: Dr Berkson’s Best Health Radio podcast 

  2. https://drlindseyberkson.com/

  3. Social Media:

    1. Facebook: www.facebook.com/Dr.LindseyBerkson/

    2. Instagram: www.instagram.com/dlberkson/

    3. Twitter: www.twitter.com/berksonhealth