You know you don't feel well and nobody can explain what’s going on. You feel frustrated, dismissed, and lost. Sound familiar? It’s a health mystery. Inna Topiler is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist practising a functional medicine approach. But, most of her patients consider her a health detective. She refuses to accept the unexplained. In this podcast, she shares real cases, discusses them with top health experts, and reveals how she solved the mystery and helped her clients regain their health and wellness. The answers are out there, you just have to know where to find the clues. Subscribe to Health Mysteries Solved.
Weight Gain and Irregular Periods: The PCOS Connection
Laura was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) in her 20s She’s experiencing acne, weight gain, hair loss, and irregular cycles. She took birth control as recommended by her doctor and her symptoms subsided, but within a month of getting off of it, her acne, weight, sleep issues returned Laura’s period didn’t return after 3 months later of getting off the pill. Frustrated by not getting anywhere with her primary doctor, Laura was ready to just start taking the pill again to make the symptoms go away, but she knew this would only be a band-aid solution, and that’s when she decided to see if I could help.
Difficult to manage menstrual cycles is an issue I often see, and there are a number of underlying factors that could be at play. With Laura, we did more bloodwork and saw that her DHEA sulfate was elevated and her testosterone was also on the higher side. I wanted to make sure this did not become just another health mystery.
Dr. Erin Kinney is a Naturopathic Doctor. In her private practice as well as her workshops and retreats, she helps women rebalance their bodies so they can achieve optimal health and become their best selves. So, I knew she was the perfect person to share Laura’s case with.
Getting Your Period Back When the Menstrual Cycle Stops
In a case like Laura’s, the first priority is to have her cycles return because bleeding on a monthly basis is very important so that the lining is able to build up and then properly shed. Conventionally, using 2 weeks of progesterone may do the trick but it does not get to the root of the issue.
To help things work from the inside out, it is important to check estrogen and progesterone levels. If progesterone is not rising, its possible there may be too much estrogen and if so, speeding up the estrogen detox is very helpful to bring the body into balance.
If estrogen levels are fairly normal but progesterone is low, then Dr. Kinney does not typically recommend too much liver detoxing so that we don’t push out too much of the needed progesterone and instead use things to help naturally boost progesterone.
2 Lab Markers to Explore When Dealing With Irregular Periods
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): FSH helps control the menstrual cycle and stimulates the growth of eggs in the ovaries. Ideal levels are 5-65
Luteal Stimulating Hormone (LH): Luteinising hormone is produced by the pituitary gland and is one of the main hormones that control the reproductive system. Ideal levels are under 12.
Hormones, PCOS, and Stress
Hormones are produced on a daily basis and without a way out, they can build up in the body. When we are under stress, it is harder for the body to detox and so high stress levels (which often translates to high cortisol levels) will impact detox and in turn create more hormone imbalances that can lead to PCOS.
Natural Ways to Support Your Liver with PCOS
There are a number of natural and healthy ways to help support the liver with its natural detoxification process. For those with PCOS, it’s critical to consider the role the liver plays in wellbeing and recovery.
Diindolylmethane (DIM): used for improving estrogen levels, DIM is a compound derived from the digestion of indole-3-carbinol, found in cruciferous vegetables.
Milk Thistle: one of the best liver cleansing herbs. Since excess estrogen gets filtered out of the body through the liver, this is very important.
Cruciferous Vegetables: eat things like broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and kale to assist in the liver’s natural detoxification process.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC): Helps with Phase 2 liver detox and glutathione production.
Inositol: May help with controlling blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity, and may also improve fertility in PCOS cases.
What About Elevated DHEA?
The Surprising Long Term Effect of COVID on Autoimmunity
Can the anxieties and stress of the pandemic affect our physical health? Find out how the brain can trick the body into a permanent state of inflammation that can trigger an autoimmune response.
The Case of the Unresponsive Autoimmune Conditions w/ Dr. Connie Jeon
Ava has three different autoimmune conditions including Hashimoto’s A functional medicine doctor put her on a restrictive diet for six months and an extensive supplements regimen Despite these measures, Ava still isn’t feeling better. Ava’s autoimmune struggles have been going on for some time now. She’s put in so much work and has invested in supplements, appointments, and treatments so it’s understandable that she’s frustrated to see no payoff. It’s my impression that the root problem hasn’t been exposed. I knew that was exactly where I wanted to start.
Autoimmunity is rampant in our society and more people are being diagnosed with all types of autoimmune conditions every day. Many start with conventional medicine like Ava did, then realize it may not hold all the answers for them, and turn to functional (or holistic) medicine. However for some, like in Ava’s case, it may still not be complete. Many practitioners, even more functional and holistic ones, can still be missing the root cause.
My guest on this episode is Dr. Connie Jeon, founder of Alkaline Wellness and Lupus Rebel. She helps A-type, ambitious, and committed autoimmune patients reverse their disease holistically so that they can create a successful life without limits.
Why Doctors Miss the Real Problem
There are many reasons why a functional or holistic medicine doctor might miss the real root cause of the problem. For example:
Psychosomatic trauma and stress as the perpetuating factor that didn't get addressed Overly restrictive diet plans that the patient could not follow due to lack of accountability and support Over prescriptions of hormones (often progesterone) before addressing lifestyle issues Lack of rapport with the patient, not knowing more about their life Excessive lab testing and focusing on what’s wrong vs focusing on the solution Emotional metabolism and proper boundary setting is required for successful reversal of issues Self-regard, self-respect, and self-love is lacking Mental health and stress management is not included in the treatment plan Telling clients what to do without accountability and support, instead of showing them Not seeing the big picture and enlisting patients as the primary driver of their health
Balancing the Body with Autoimmune Issues
The list above shows that many of these issues have to do with lifestyle, thoughts, and taking a bit more time to gather more information. If a practitioner or doctor you’re working with isn’t asking you questions about this then you may be missing some of what’s needed for a truly holistic approach.
Balancing our body and getting to the root of health issues, especially as it relates to autoimmunity, is multi-faceted and has to include the inner work too.
How Treatment-Stress Can Reverse the Benefits
Ava was diligent with her diet and supplements, but being so diligent was also causing her a ton of stress. She would feel anxious if she had to go out to eat or shift anything in her routine. Those anxious feelings would spiral in her head, and affect her sleep and how she showed up in her work and for her family during the day. She often woke up dreading the day because she didn’t feel well and because she felt she had to accomplish so much.
So many of us have a lifestyle with high stress. In the work world, we often don’t take time to slow down and analyze how these lifestyle choices might be affecting our health. Interestingly but not surprisingly, Ava didn’t realize this was going on and therefore did not consider that it could be a part of her underlying issues.
How To Address Underlying Stressors Affecting Autoimmune Issues
Figure out what you enjoy, and make time for it Create a positive relationship with your health team and don’t be afraid to search for options F
Can You Reduce Side Effects of Detoxes and Cleanses?
Have you ever tried a cleanse or elimination diet and ended up feeling much worse? Here’s why (and what you can do about it).
Are you Missing this Important Evaluation Method for Thyroid Assessment?
Emily’s doctor told her that her thyroid levels were normal. But she knew that her symptoms were too typical to be ignored. We had to figure out what else might be at play in her health mystery.
Get Better Sleep: Are you Missing a Big Clue?
Lexi accepted her fatigue and constantly feeling tired as a normal-mom condition. But could there be something more serious going on? Could her snoring be a clue?
Inna and her guests do the detective work so you don't have to! This podcast does an excellent of job breaking down complex health issues in an accessible and engaging fashion. The perfect antidote to the WebMD rabbit hole!
Packed full of Valuable Information!
My friend told me about this podcast due to my Hashimoto’s and it has been so helpful to me - especially when it’s hard to find a doctor who will listen and really help you! I use this podcast as a tool to gain knowledge so I can be well educated in my own health and to also know how to ask the right questions when working with a doctor. It’s a must listen!
I listened to the July 16th episode where Inna answered questions about Hashimoto's. The podcast was very informative especially if you are someone who is newly diagnosed. She explains things in a way that’s easy to understand. I can’t wait to listen to more episodes! I wish I would’ve had this information earlier.