016: Healthy Hormones Through Holistic Medicine, with Dr. Lauren Deville
Dr. Lauren Deville is a board-certified medical doctor who practices in Arizona. She attended Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, one of the most prestigious naturopathic schools in the world.
Her journey began in the world of biochemistry and biomolecular biophysics, subjects in which she holds a B.S. degree.
On today’s show we dive into in digestion and gut-related issues, the holistic views and treatments for healthy hormones, and her book called Holistic Gut Prescription.
In this episode of Awesome Health, you’ll also hear:
- What is gut dysbiosis and why does it matter?
- How to know if you have metabolic syndrome.
- Why you can be exposed to mold even in very dry climates.
- And much more!
More About Awesome Health with Dr. Lauren Deville
When she was only 15, Dr. Lauren’s dad died of pancreatic cancer. She decided to dedicate her life to research. But when she got into biochemistry in college she discovered research was not her thing! She didn’t know what else to do so thought she would become a doctor, specifically a missionary doctor.
However those plans changed as well when she volunteered in Mexico and found most of her time was spent prescribing a common antibiotics. She knew there had to be a better way to help people be healthy, and she spent the next few years in and out of graduate school programs searching for that better way.
Eventually she found it in holistic medicine and opened her own private practice with a specialty in gut health.
Hormone Health and Aging: What Is Normal?
When I asked Dr. Lauren to explain what she typically sees from men and women regarding hormones and hormonal imbalances, she explained often men have low testosterone by their 40s and 50s. But she has had men in their late 30s come into her practice with low testosterone issues.
She also explains that by low she doesn’t mean the reference range (because that goes as low as 250): she looks for guys to be around 700 to 800 because that is where most of them tell her they feel the best.
For women, it depends on what they have going on health-wise and life-wise. Some women in menopause have low hormone levels but they feel fine so she doesn’t do anything about it, unless their DHA. She will address low DHA because it is critical for adrenal function. However if women do have symptoms and labs confirm those symptoms, she looks into botanical support or bioidentical hormones too.
For women with perimenopause the onset is usually mid 40s to early 50s. Once in menopause she usually sees women having symptoms into their 60s.
Traditional vs. Bio-identical Hormone Treatments:
While we were on the subject of hormones, I was curious to know how Dr. Lauren treats hormonal imbalances and irregularities. She said there are two main routes of treatment: traditional and bio-identical, and there are two main differences between the two treatments.
The first is a chemical difference. The traditional treatments from your medical doctor are chemicals that are similar enough to stimulate the same receptors in the body as regular hormones, even though they are not chemically identical. Because they are not chemically identical they are processed differently and carry different risk factors.
These are the treatments that are typically associated with hormonal cancers and they carry a higher risk of gallbladder problems, and clotting, etc.
Bio-identical hormones are different from the traditional hormone therapy because they are identical biochemically. This means your body sees them as the same hormones your body ordinarily makes and they get processed the same way.
There are no studies proving bio-identical hormones cause cancer. However they do stimulate the growth of any existing hormone-related cancers. That means if there is an estrogen-receptor cancer already in the body then taking the bio-identical hormones will still encourage its growth because the bio-identical hormone is estrogen and estrogen is what is triggering the cancer.
Symptoms and Treatments for Low Testosterone
We dug a little deeper into low testosterone for men. Dr. Lauren says her male patients with low testosterone will come in with complaints of feeling fatigued, depressed or of moods not being where he wants them to be, or the patients is doing a lot of exercise and isn’t seeing the gains he wants to see. Those are all hallmarks of potentially low testosterone.
She also sees men with metabolic syndrome: they have extra weight in the middle, higher blood pressure and their cholesterol tends to be higher.
This situation is a catch 22: when the symptoms of metabolic syndrome are there it drives testosterone low and when testosterone is low it tends to encourage metabolic syndrome. So they continue to perpetuate the existing problem.
For these guys she presents multiple options: testosterone injections and/or botanical formulas that encourage hormone production. The botanical formulas don’t work as quickly but they do work over time. They are gentler than testosterone injections.
But she will give injections as necessary. And she doesn’t worry about giving injections too much unless he wants to father a child because the injections lower sperm count.
Once injections have been started she repeats them in 6 weeks, being careful the testosterone is blocked from converting into estrogen by prescribing certain medications. She also makes sure to check red blood cells because red blood cells can increase with testosterone injections. Normally it takes 2 to 3 rounds of injections at six weeks apart, then she transitions them into herbs.
On this episode of Awesome Health with Dr. Lauren, we also talk about why the Standard American Diet (SAD) is unhealthy, what conditions can create too much yeast in the body and why too much yeast is unhealthy. We wrap up with the three things to do to have a healthy gut and a brief overview of what is in her book, Holistic Gut Prescription.