Hormones, we all have them.
They act as our bodies chemical messengers, sending signals into our bloodstream and tissues for functions such as our metabolism, sleep cycles, mood, reproduction and more.
And depending on our stress levels, our hormones can get out of balance effecting our overall health.
Join me today as Dr. Halie Schoff returns to our podcast to talk about hormones, balancing them naturally and offers many suggestions for anyone looking to learn more about the importance of hormone balance.
Connect with Dr. Halie:
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Hi, I'm Ivelisse Page and thanks for listening to the Believe Big podcast, the show where we take a deep dive into your healing with health experts, integrative practitioners biblical faith leaders, and cancer thrivers from around the globe. Welcome to today's episode on the Believe Big podcast. My name is Ivelisse Page, and it's always an honor to spend this time with you. Today we have my friend, Dr. Halie Schoff back on the show to answer questions on a topic we get asked about, a lot, hormones and cancer. Today we are going to hear some tips that you can incorporate today to manage your hormone levels naturally. Dr. Halie Schoff is a licensed and practicing functional chiropractor, integrative health practitioner, and podcaster with a master's in Applied Clinical Nutrition. She is a former collegiate athlete who has a passion for teaching people how to bridge the gap between fitness and holistic health, with a focus on women's hormones and gut health, Dr. Halie has helped hundreds of people all over the world regain their health through lifestyle, optimal diet, movement and functional practices. Welcome back to the show, Halie!Dr. Halie Schoff:
Thank you so much for having me. It's an honor to be back for my second time. I'm really excited to have this conversation today.Ivelisse Page:
we love having you on. We always get a great response and questions from people who listened to your podcast, the one about detoxifying the body. So I'm really excited to dive into today on hormones, cuz that's another topic as I mentioned that we get a lot of questions about. But before we get into that would love to hear what your latest, favorite health tip is. I know last time you shared about reconnecting with nature and that's a non-negotiable for you.Dr. Halie Schoff:
Totally. So this one I think would be probably getting some form of daylight exposure, but now that we had gone through the wintertime, it's getting a little bit brighter in the mornings, now. I've done a lot of red light therapy over the wintertime to supplement what I wouldn't be getting from the sunrise, but I would say that has been just a complete change in my mood and my energy, my productivity. And then especially if I compare that with a cold plunge or cold exposure in the morning, I really notice that there's a really cool combination of alertness and just the hormetic stress on the body in a good way that kind of primes it. So that's been my current go-to thing that I'm loving. I'm still getting outside every day. I still take the dog out for a walk, whether I use red light therapy or not. But with those dark mornings when it's dark at 6:00, 6:30, it's just, it's nice to see something stimulating that emulates that early morning sunrise that really just makes us feel so good.Ivelisse Page:
Yeah, I completely agree. I've been using ours as well. We have one, and it is so helpful. There's so many benefits to it besides your mood and energy, as you know, with muscle recovery.Dr. Halie Schoff:
And even cancer. They're saying there's so many cool things for like immune system function and I use it primarily for mood and skin health, like collagen production, anti-inflammatory, mitochondria health. There's so many cool things.Ivelisse Page:
Yes. I have the Mito Red. I've also used the JUUVV in the past as well, which is also great. But, we're gonna have them on to talk about that in an upcoming episode. So I'm glad you mentioned that because it is such a, great tool to have in your toolbox whether you have cancer or not. So let's get into it, can you share with us what you know about the link between our hormones and cancer risk?Dr. Halie Schoff:
Yeah, that's a really good question because I think a lot of people, when they hear prostate cancer or breast cancer, it's like we automatically assume that it's a hormonal in a lot of cases. It seems to be that it is. So that's what we'll talk about. But in some cases it's not. So in my mom's case, she was triple negative, so estrogen negative, progesterone negative, no hormone involvement. So that was kind of interesting to me. I thought that's what it always is. So there are certain cases where, of course it's something else driving. But in the majority of breast cancers, I believe majority of them are, I don't know the exact percentage are estrogen driven. Some can be progesterone. And what's really cool is to really talk about this because estrogen, because of that, can get a bad rap where people are like, oh, estrogen is horrible, we don't want any estrogen. You do, because estrogen, especially as we age, is what helps keep your skin plump. It keeps our feminine features alive, our curves that make women, women. It really helps with bone structure and really keeping your bones nice and strong. There's so many great benefits to estrogen and I think that estrogen gets a bad rap, and where that can become negative for certain cancers is not necessarily the hormone estrogen itself. It's more detoxification pathways. So when we look at something, I run a lot of DUTCH tests, which DUTCH just stands for dried urine test for comprehensive hormones. And a lot of people get confused thinking that DUTCH is a stool test. And stool tests are completely separate. So DUTCH is a hormone test that we test through urine. And what's cool about that is because if you just got standard blood labs done from just a conventional practice, you're usually just gonna see what that hormone is. And the problem also with that too, is that's what that hormone is at that snapshot in time. Whereas our hormones truly are fluctuating throughout the day, they're not, they don't stay at that set point. And even male hormones are the same. Testosterone is highest at certain points in the day, and it's lower at certain points in the day. Cortisol is fluctuating throughout the day and so are estrogen and progesterone, and so that's why I really like taking something a little bit more comprehensive because you're able to get a weighted average and therefore get a little bit more accurate of a representation of what your hormones truly look like. I tell people it's similar to if you are just like one of those cameras that are on, like the highways that take a picture. You might say, oh, I was driving on the highway today, but I don't see my car. it's not on that highway picture, because that was literally only a snapshot in time. It's not a continuous time lapse, right? Whereas the DUTCH is a more comprehensive test, is more of a time lapse showing, okay, these are not just one sample, but it's multiple, so let's take an average and be able to weigh that out. So that's obviously a plus.Ivelisse Page:
I wanted just to say for those people who aren't familiar with the DUTCH test, and I had one done and I completely agree that a blood test just simply just takes where you are right at that moment. And especially for female hormones, if you're in the middle of your cycle or before or after, or your levels will be completely different. So explain to them how a Dutch test works differently than a blood test?Dr. Halie Schoff:
Yes. Great question. So blood tests, you just go and get a blood draw and within 24 to 48 hours you have just the printout or PDF of your results. DUTCH test is cool because it comes with four different samples. There is an overnight sample, so technically five if you wake up in the middle of the night. I like to do mine all in one day. You can split it up into two days, like an afternoon and one day finish in the following. I do it like as soon as I wake up in the morning, I take my first sample, about an hour or two later you're taking sample number two. So it's really seeing that waking cortisol. And then later in the day, in the afternoon evening, you're taking two more samples. So with each of those samples, you are getting your hormone count, you're getting the metabolites, you're getting your cortisol, you're getting all of that information. You mail it back to the lab. It's easy. And then it does take a little bit longer for the results to come. I usually see them anywhere from two to four weeks. But in terms of what your results will look like I've looked at blood and I've looked at DUTCH side by side, same person, taken pretty quickly or closely together, and they're completely different. I've seen estrogen completely high on a blood lab and it's completely tanked on a Dutch test, and their detox pathways are all messed up. And we would never get that with the blood. So I think blood can definitely be a helpful starting point. I don't mean to say any of this to deter you from getting any type of standard labs. I think they can still definitely be helpful, but if you feel like you didn't get any answers from it, there are other options. There's other options in terms of taking a little bit deeper look underneath the hood to see is there's something missing that we weren't able to take a look at. And that's I think what's really nice about the DUTCH test or any comprehensive hormone. That's just the one that I tend to be partial to.Ivelisse Page:
Yeah. And I think it's also very important for women who are in their perimenopausal or menopausal season of life where they're not getting a cycle And I wanted to ask you this question cuz I've heard positives and negatives about bioidentical hormones. What are your thoughts on those?Dr. Halie Schoff:
I don't know if I really have a firm thought. There's a lot of people that I work with that go on bioidenticals for various reasons. Maybe they just need a little bit more symptom relief. The herbs are more natural things that we're doing. It's not happening as quickly, so they need something a little bit quicker. I'm not necessarily against bioidenticals. I think with bioidenticals it becomes even more important that you test and monitor to make sure, okay, if you're taking an estrogen, you just really wanna make sure that it's being detoxified correctly because, it can get outta hand and you not have any idea until some other things kind of start creeping up, which is what we're talking about today, in terms of, can hormones lead to this stuff? And that's not to say if you go on hormone replacement therapy or bioidenticals, that it will be a negative cascade or you will be detoxifying them incorrectly. But it's just, you just wanna make sure that if you do go on it that you're taking that extra precaution. I guess moral of the story is I'm not against it by any means. I think it's very so case by case dependent and you just really wanna make sure that you're properly monitoring it.Ivelisse Page:
And I've heard that there's so many different factors that go into it as far as, do you have a personal cancer history like myself. It's really a no for me, just because of that. Do you have a uterus or not have a uterus? Do you have your ovaries or not have your ovaries? It's so many different factors that are involved, and I'm glad you said that because it really needs to be individualized, monitored by a functional doctor that really knows this side of health. And so I know for me, for those who are listening, there are natural ways and we're gonna get into some of those that you can balance your hormones and detoxify and things like that. So things that I added, I was getting hot flashes and night sweats and all those fun things that you get once you start hitting menopause. And conventional doctors will say, Hey, it's just a part of life. You just have to of go through it. And you don't have to suffer through that. And there are so many incredible things that you can do. And just a few things that I did. Acupuncture was huge for me. It stopped the hot flashes and it really helped to regulate my hormones and to help me detoxify. I actually incorporated your caster oil packs that you mentioned in our detox segment. And I do that almost every day and that I've seen a huge difference as well. And then my exercise, I think adding that every single day. I was doing it three times a week, but adding it every single day and doing some kind of weight, really has also helped. And then my doctor gave me a natural supplement that has also helped. So many wonderful things that you can do and I am symptom free and thankfully I'm doing great. I've got great energy and I'm not suffering through what typical women are suffering through when they're going through this season of their life.Dr. Halie Schoff:
And so for those women who aren't in this season yet, there are a lot of young women, women your age that are childbearing age and tell us about birth control pills and how you help women find alternatives to that and why.Dr. Halie Schoff:
Oh goodness. Do you have an hour?Ivelisse Page:
I know. I know it's not a simple answer, but.Dr. Halie Schoff:
It's okay. It's just something I'm really passionate about. So birth control is great to have access for birth control prevention. However, I don't think that as women we are educated on other ways, or we aren't given proper informed consent. And by informed consent, I mean risks, alternatives, and benefits to treatment. And that could goes for anything I give informed consent anytime I do a natural or holistic protocol with somebody. So informed consent should absolutely be consistent across medication use, especially birth control, because it is a type one carcinogen, which is ironic. We're going on it to balance our hormones and it's truthfully not doing that because it's a Band-Aid solution. It's simply shutting down your hormone production. So your body's relying on synthetic hormones. So the period you get on it is not an actual bleed, it's a withdrawal bleed. And in terms of the nutrient depletions, the stress that it causes your liver, the damage that it can do to your intestinal permeability in your gut, so it can cause leaky gut, the mood. Things that it can cause are very scary. Some people have more benign symptoms than others, but some people truly do feel like they're a completely different person and they feel crazy and they have no explanation as to why. Some feel more emotional or more anxiety. The mood symptoms can range. Weight gain is possible. I really like educating women on, okay, here's what the birth control does, and if you're trying to be on it to balance your hormones. Here's some other root cause reasons that could be off, and so here's how we solve it. Or if you're on it for solely birth prevention, fine, but here's the risks and the benefits. But here's also some other natural family planning or, there's so many wearables and apps today. We've been using that for probably over five, six years, and it's really not as complicated as I feel like they want you to think that it is. It's, it just comes down to a little bit more knowing your body. But I think that's a priceless thing to be able to learn. So many people are out of touch and out of tune with how their body works, that they're scared to use these other natural methods, in terms of birth control because, we don't know our bodies. And I think that's a really cool thing, as a practitioner, I love teaching people about their bodies. I love helping people step into knowing their body a little bit better. So yeah, coming off of birth control was a journey of my own. And it was something that I knew that we wanted to have kids someday. I didn't wanna have any issues and I just wanted to heal my hormones naturally. And so now I've transformed, my health into kind of my identity is that, and now I help so many people with that, which is honestly really rewarding. I really enjoy it and I feel quite outspoken about it a lot of times, but for a good reason. I think that this is becoming a really big trend in a good way of people just waking up to the fact that there's other options and I think that's great.Ivelisse Page:
Yes. And I completely agree. When we first got married, goodness, 30 years ago, this was before I was on this health journey, I was on birth control and I turned from someone who's normally up and happy and interested to lethargic and just I had no interest. I was just somber. And I'm like, this is not me. Then they switched me onto a lower one and I'm like, why? And I'm like, no, I'm going off of it. And so we found alternative methods. What are your top natural alternative message? You mentioned like an app and things that you use, so what's the one you use and what are say two others, that young women can look into?Dr. Halie Schoff:
So I first started using the AVA Band, so that was a band that you'd wear around your wrist at night. I wore that for probably two, two and a half years. I liked it, but then when the band started breaking I'd have to get like a new band because there was nothing wrong with the sensor, but it was more the band itself. I just started looking into other options, right? I wanna be able to give people multiple options. I wanted to try things. So then I moved to the Tempdrop, which I really like. It's a little bit better of a price point, which I understand sometimes that's a barrier for people. So that was a huge bonus. I really like that I get a little bit more in depth sleep data. I've been wearing that for, oh, not quite a year yet, but I'm really liking that one. Natural Cycles is another one. I don't have personal experience with that, but you don't necessarily even have to get a wearable, like I'm talking about with these different things. You can simply take your basal body temperature first thing in the morning and plug it into various free apps. There's Flo, there's Clue, there's even on a health app of the iPhone. And what you're looking for essentially is, you're looking for cervical mucus changes around the time of mid cycle, around ovulation. And then you're looking for those increase in temperatures to confirm that you've ovulated. So that's simply how you can do it on your own. If you're a little apprehensive about doing it on your own, I think the apps and the wearables are great and there's tons of resources out there to help you navigate this kind of uncharted water If you've never been familiar or ever heard of this kind of stuff before. But those are personally, I'd say the, at least the top two that I've used. And then I've heard great things about Natural Cycle. I believe it syncs with, the, what's it called, Oura Ring. so that's pretty interesting. I've wore a WHOOP for a while, not for cycle tracking purposes, but I know that if you do wear a WHOOP, I think they're getting into a little bit more of cycle tracking, which is cool.Ivelisse Page:
That's awesome. Are there any other things that you've heard of, IUDs or natural condoms that you would recommend that would be safe for women to use?Dr. Halie Schoff:
I'd say so like a non-hormonal IUD would be like a copper IUD and I tend to not recommend against, but I guess the informed consent with that is essentially the way that it works is the copper produces micro doses of inflammation in the pelvis and the cervix to be able to kill sperm. So essentially the mechanism of how it works is micro amounts of inflammation, and we know the inflammation leads to disease especially long term. So for that reason, I don't like it.Ivelisse Page:
Yes.Dr. Halie Schoff:
Especially if you have painful periods or anything, a history of that, it's gonna make it worse. And then the other alternative to that would be something like the Mirena, which I really haven't seen anybody have a great experience on that. In the sense of they generally don't get a bleed. They say you can ovulate on it, but I don't understand how that's possible. I haven't seen that to be the case with probably hundreds of people that have been on it that I've worked with. And you're not getting a bleed with it, which might be nice because you don't have a bleed, but that's a really vital aspect that we have to our health, that we should be doing every single month to be able to clear tissue. Because again, when tissue's not shedding, when it should be any, it can cause for mutation buildup and all those things. Not saying it's gonna cause cancer, but it doesn't lead to optimal health when done long-term. You can get non-toxic condoms. That's a great solution. There's a lot of good ones. There's plenty of them on Amazon. That's a a great solution as well.Ivelisse Page:
That's great. So why do our hormones get disrupted?Dr. Halie Schoff:
Ooh, stress, I think being like the big overarching picture because stress can be environmental toxins. Stress can be mental and emotional stress. Stress can be physical. It could be we're over exercising or we're under moving or we're at not a healthy body weight for where we should be, or we're eating inflammatory foods or we're not eating enough of the right things, or we're eating too much of things that we shouldn't. Really we're probably so sick of hearing stress causes everything, but when we look at stress and we see what it can cause, it could be things in your environment, it could be the stress, it could be you not sleeping properly. all of those, especially when in a perfect cascade together really love to wreak havoc on our hormones.Ivelisse Page:
Yes. And so let's go through some natural ways to balance these hormones and I always just feel like prevention is so important. And sometimes people feel like, that's just the way life is. I don't sleep through the night, or I can't get this weight off and there's nothing I can do about it. And they give up. But, I encourage those that are listening there are so many things that you can do that can wake up your system and can help you detoxify and can help you balance your hormones naturally. And so let's go through a few of those if in the remaining time that we have left.Dr. Halie Schoff:
Absolutely. I think some of the important things you wanna think about is, when I think about hormone health, I think about liver health and I think about gut health because hormones, they have a root cause for why they're off. And it's not just, oh, your estrogen's just low. It's, or your estrogen's too high. If your estrogen's too high. Are you pooping regularly? Do you, are you eating probiotic rich foods? Are you eating foods that can help support your liver? Like cruciferous vegetables, carrots, taking like artichokes and leafy greens, arugula, all those different things that are really great for simulating the liver, dandelion tea. Those are some obviously great whole food sources and being able to clean up your environment. So really minimize the toxins, which we live in a toxic world, that kind of is what it is, but it's all about what we can control. So I'd say the biggest things you wanna focus on first is your water, making sure your water's filtered and clean. Then from there, you wear clothes every day, okay, can you get a better detergent? That is not something that I walk by in our neighborhood and Nick, my husband and I can just smell the detergents outside people's houses and it gives us an instant headache. We personally use Branch Basics. We really like it. We use it for everything. And that's, I think why it's convenient. We get to concentrate. We use it for our bathroom, all purpose, laundry, it's just very easy. So that's our personal go-to. So when you're thinking of making these clean swaps for your hormones and for health and for disease prevention, just look at what you use the most and then you can trickle down. Then you go to personal care products, lotions, the stuff you're using the most. The things that you're using for your makeup that you may be used twice a month. Don't worry about switching those until you maybe run out of what you currently have. Look at kind of the big pictures first, the soaps, the shampoos, the conditioners, the lotions, the sprays, the deodorants, especially deodorant for hormone health because we're putting it in an area that is very close to breast tissue. It's very close to the biggest network of lymph flow nodes, which is in our axillary, our armpit. So just looking at those simple things first, and hopefully if you're listening to this, maybe you've heard before, maybe you're on that journey, maybe you're not. But this is a good reminder to continue on that journey or get started a little bit more on cleaning out some of those swaps. And then I'd say my last most underrated, but most important would be find ways to balance your stress. So I'm very big into meditation. I've seen it work wonders for myself. I can feel the difference and I can see the difference with my hormones. I think any form of stress management, whether you like to go out for a walk, you like to just be with your dog, you be with your spouse, call somebody that you love, journal, meditate, whatever that form of activity that is that gets you out of that sympathetic mode, is crucial for balancing hormones, and I'd say that's people's probably least favorite cause it's not as fun, it's not as sexy. I say it's fun. I say, let's make meditation fun again. I say, let's make it great because it's so important. But it's not the fancy supplement. It's not the fancy castor oil pack. It's not the wearable that people can wear where it's whoa, this is cool. It's one of those things where it's oh, I have to meditate. Maybe you don't have that mindset, but when I say stress, people roll their eyes and they're like, yeah, whatever lady. I'll try But it's, it really is one of the most powerful things that we can do.Ivelisse Page:
I know a huge difference when I have my quiet time in the morning and have that time of prayer and meditation and the times when I wait till later in the day, it's just a completely different day. It's like your whole mindset shifts.Dr. Halie Schoff:
And so having that routine like, drinking a glass of water with a little bit of lemon juice or good filtered water first thing in, in the morning before your coffee. I think it's just those simple things that gets your body into a state of, okay, I'm, balanced now, let's get on with our day. But I think that's huge. And you can be closing your eyes and praying or meditating and just taking deep breaths. Yep. The importance of deep breathing. Yep. That many of us don't take deep breaths throughout the day we're rushing through. So a hundred percent, I completely agree with that. Going back to your filtered water, I think this is one aspect that a lot of people are confused about and some people know, yeah, I need to have filtered water, but then they're drinking from plastic water bottles or plastic containers and even though they say BPA free. What are your thoughts on that and what are the best sources of filtered water for you that you found?Dr. Halie Schoff:
I really try to avoid plastic like the plague because there's, BPA stands for bisphenol A, so because it's bisphenol A free, but it's still plastic, it still contains other bisphenols, BP X, Y, Z. So it's not completely non-toxic like they want you to think like it's great that there's not bpa, but it's, there's still other stuff, so it doesn't come risk free. If I'm in a place where a clean filtered water out of a water bottle is my only option compared to tap water from a dirty place. I probably am gonna pick the plastic water bottle. In terms of what I'm trying to do daily, it's a glass, stainless steel are my go-tos. In terms of filtration, we use a few different things. we use Berkey. We have a water distiller that I'll remineralize. I just got the clearly filtered pitcher, especially cuz that's so much easier when we're traveling driving somewhere in the car. I've heard really great things about that. It's a little bit more affordable than something like the Berkey and it's like the Brita on steroids, so it's similar. It looks like that, but it's filtering out 200 plus contaminants. So I really like it. I think it's got a really great price point. And then, the clearly filtered travel water bottles are amazing. We used those when we were traveling a few weeks ago. I'm gonna use the one I'm traveling again. Cuz I feel like that's what all I am is on the go. And it's great. It's just even though you might be putting your water bottle in a airport, the one where you stick it under the thing and it says filtered, but it's not really filtered. It might just be filtering out chlorine so it tastes better. That's my go-to. Most of our body is water, so if you do anything trying to get clean water is I'd say one of the most important things that, that we can do.Ivelisse Page:
We could do a whole segment and we need maybe have you back to talk about just water in itself. Because it is, and sometimes you think, I filter my water for cooking. But then think about the water that you're showering with. And that you're watering your garden with, and we have a whole home water filtration system. When we built our house, it, it just transformed the peace of mind knowing that our water gets rid of all of those things. And then we have a Berkey is a great solution for the office or if you're an apartment or we've sent them to our kids because, no matter where they are you know that they're going to have good access to, to clean water. But I'm really grateful for the tips that you shared because I really don't want people to be overwhelmed. There is a lot we could do a whole week seminar on just hormone health balancing.Dr. Halie Schoff:
Oh yeah.Ivelisse Page:
Detoxing. The important thing is to start somewhere, not to give up and just say, okay, I'm gonna focus on this one thing. And then once I have that in there, then I'm gonna add on, like you said, the personal care products. And then I'm gonna work on stress management or, whatever. But I just encourage those who are listening, take on what you heard today and think about what three things can I change today that's gonna be most beneficial for my health. And I just encourage you guys to do that. But thank you so much, Dr. Halie for being on with us and sharing your insight and knowledge with all of us here at Believe Big.Dr. Halie Schoff:
Thank you so much for having me back. I love your mission. I love everything that you all are doing, and, I'm honored to be back and happy to come back anytime you need me. Thank you.Ivelisse Page:
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