Your Adrenal Fix With Dr Joel Rosen

Your Adrenal Fix With Dr Joel Rosen

Estrogen dominance Uncensored: Learn The Real Reason For Hormone Imbalance

August 17, 2022


Dr. Joel Rosen: All right. Hello, everyone. And welcome back to another edition of your adrenal fix podcast where we teach exhausted and burnt-out men and women, the truth about their health, and the truth about adrenal fatigue so that they can get their energy back quickly. And today, I’m joined by a special guest, Karen Martel. She’s a certified hormone specialist and transformational nutritional coach who specializes in women’s weight loss and is an expert in this field. So I’m excited to get your insights, Karen, and welcome so much to our show today.


Karen Martel: I am super happy to be here, Joel. I’ve been a big fan of yours for a long time. So I’m happy to be here and share my own story of adrenal fatigue.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, well, listen, I’m excited to hear your story. And that’s always a good starting point. So tell us a little bit about your background, and why specifically, Karen, you got into women’s hormones and weight loss and all of the good stuff.


Karen Martel: Mm-hmm. So my story began when I had after I had my first child, which I think a lot of women can relate to that. And you know, I’d lost the baby weight and everything was great. But I was a single mother, I was running my own business. And the stress, I think of being a single mother started to take a turn for the worst. And I suddenly started to have all these health problems. And it was overnight joy. It was like within a felt like weeks.

Suddenly, I had all of these problems, which was extreme insomnia, where I could not sleep at all, I would maybe fall asleep at about four o’clock in the morning for an hour or so. And then my daughter would wake me up. I started having really bad digestive issues where I would look like I was three months pregnant. By the end of the day, every day, I was getting food sensitivities where I would get hives all over my body. I was getting menstrual migraines for sometimes that would last up to 10 days, 14 days at a time where I couldn’t get rid of them, with without any medication, nothing, it was some very, very severe, I was getting horrible PMS symptoms, and I was rapidly putting weight on.

And that was, like most women, that was where my focus laid in weight gain. Like it was all that other stuff was hell and I hated it. But for me to suddenly, you know, and I was a healthy eater. And I have always been really into nutrition. I was doing bodywork, I was a Rolfer. I’m sure you know what that is because you’re a chiropractor. So I was doing body work on other people. And so I was very health conscious and conscious. And so without changing my diet, and exercising still and all of this though, I was suddenly putting on all this weight, and I was at the heaviest point that I’d ever been.

And I did whatever a woman does, which was I worked out harder. I went, I joined a boot camp, I got myself a personal trainer was working out six days a week, eating, you know, barely anything calorie counting, trying every diet under the sun. And I mean, every diet, I went through them all because I just kept looking to the diet to the exercise to solve all of my problems. And it just kept getting worse. And I kept gaining more weight. And I finally decided and I’m 33 at the time, I’d go to my doctor, I said, you know, okay, what’s happening, I was putting on an antidepressant and sleeping pills.

Thankfully, the sleeping pills worked for my sleep. But of course, the antidepressant didn’t do anything except, you know, kill my sex drive and probably make me fatter. So I stopped that and decided, okay, I have to figure this out. And I ended up going to a friend of mine who is a naturopath and I said, Do you think I should test my hormones? Because thinking I’m 33 is if I’m gonna have hormone issues. I just didn’t put that together. And he said like, yeah, of course, you should. So I ended up doing proper hormone testing, which we can get into, but at that time, it was saliva hormone testing. And what came back was that my estrogen was quite high in comparison to my progesterone, my progesterone was really low. And my data was super low. And my cortisol was like a flatline.

It was low. So there I was doing everything wrong. For what my hormones were telling me at that time. I was working out like crazy. I was starving myself I was under high, high amounts of stress. And what’s funny, Josie never considered me a stressful person. Like if someone had said to me Oh, it’s your adrenals it’s your burnt out I would be like no I’m not I’m not a stressed-out person. Because I kind of associated that with like that high-strung person that’s just go go go and that was never me. Now looking back, I’m like, Well, yeah, here I wasn’t sleeping because I had a new baby. I had no help from her father. So it was you know, raising my child. All by myself had been breastfeeding and had, you know, then started exercising like crazy and running my own business.

And, of course, I was stressed out, but to me and looking around, it’s like that’s what everybody was doing. So it seemed normal to me. And later I found out I was very hypothyroid, I wasn’t converting my T four to my T three. So there was a big piece of that in there. I had I was riddled with heavy metals, I had a parasite. So I had all of these things kind of compiled, it was like the perfect storm. And it took a long time for me to get out of it. You know, it took, you know, it’s quitting all exercise, I had to look at my life differently, start asking for how I started doing yoga.

And I just started to see things very differently. And I came out of that experience going, I can’t be the only one that was you know, that’s eating healthy, that’s exercising, doing everything I’m being told to do, and yet still gaining weight. And I mean, I could have dropped my calories to 500 calories a day, and I wouldn’t have made any, I wouldn’t have lost a single pound. So that kind of projected me into becoming a nutritionist. And then from there, I decided I have to get into the hormone piece because I just kept seeing it over and over and over again in women in this day and age, especially as we go from perimenopause and menopause.

There’s such little education about what happens to our bodies during this time and the impact that hormones have on your weight. If whether it’s adrenals, estrogen, or progesterone, they’re all combined and can have a massive impact on our body and our physiology. So that’s how I got to where I am today. And hence the name of my podcast is called the other side of weight loss, which isn’t about being on the other side of losing weight. It’s about what else is there to lose weight besides calories in calories out and exercise. All right.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Well, thanks for sharing your story, Karen. So just a quick side question is How old is your daughter now? 1515. And she was your first and only are you had other children? Or another


Karen Martel: one? Yeah, I had one more, I had a son at 37.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Okay, so she was your first child. And that was 15 years ago, you were 33 years old. And one of the things that and subsequent child, eight years after that, you’re seven years old. So one of the things that you mentioned, which I think you also corrected in your story was out of nowhere, it happened out of nowhere because I didn’t consider myself a stressed-out person. And a lot of people will say that that I work with as well as I’m not under a lot of stress, I got a good family life.

But the reality is, it’s kind of like wearing a watch around your arm, you’re not aware of the band over it. But if you tightened it a little bit, you’d kind of be aware of it, but then over time, you wouldn’t be aware of it. And it’s one of those things that happen all the time here, I was gonna say like a single mom. And the stress of ralphing is physically enduring. And the fact of gestating and building a baby in the belly requires a lot of metabolic energy surplus to be able to get through that and not have any health challenges, miscarriages knock on wood, healthy baby healthy pregnancy. And so that event itself is stressful.

So it’s not so much out of the blue. So I think for the listener to hear that is that even though you may not think you’re under stress, life itself is stressful. And it’s like wearing a ring, you’re just not aware of it. But when you look back, of course, I’m aware of the demands on my body. And then you mentioned about doing some lifestyle stuff, and you didn’t even get into the stuff we’re gonna get into which I think are good. AHA is for people to listen to for sure.

In terms of Yeah, but let’s kind of go into, you mentioned a couple of things with you did the hormone test and at that time, it was a saliva test. And you had some good aha was with that in terms of your estrogen compared to progesterone and your cortisol flatlining and your DHEA. So let’s kind of take it from there in terms of what did that mean to you then and maybe now and how you’ve evolved with that piece of the puzzle so that you can guide your treatment protocol because I’m sure a lot of women are in that same category, Karen, where they may not have gone through the nutritional school through themselves. And they may not have had a receptive doctor that ordered that test.

And they may have just ordered it themselves or thinking about ordering it themselves. And much of the same things would happen on their test results, they would see estrogen high compared to progesterone, they would see their cortisol being flatline from a free fraction point of view, and no need to get to elaborate on that. Their DHEA is probably Oh, and now they’re like, Okay, I’m not losing my weight, kind of go through the evolution of how did you construct your game plan?


Karen Martel: Yeah, that was very interesting because I got only so far with a lot of it before I had to start digging deeper. And the adrenal piece. Yeah, looking back, of course, yeah, I was very stressed out and was doing everything wrong. For what that was telling me with the exercise, and the eating and

having to change all of that was mentally very hard as a female. And I think as women, we were extremely hard on ourselves when it’s when we can’t do everything. And then we have to start asking for help. I think we have a very, very hard time doing that. And that was a huge lesson learned for me, which was, I’m doing this all by myself, I am raising a child all alone with no help from the Father is stressful, and to be able to go out and then ask for help from my sister’s and family members and say, you know, could you take my kid for a couple of hours, or whatever it might be, it was, that was hard for me. And it took a long time. And, and then I also realized, I was stressed, my thoughts were stressful.

And the way I was looking at things was stressful. And so that was a really big piece for me too, which was, I’m in control of my stress. And I have to change the way I see things. And I can either see it as half the glass half empty or the glass half full. And I started to finally look at everything through the lens of my glass is half full, not half empty. And when I say that, I mean that, you know, something stressful would happen, like, you know, Life is stressful, these things are going to happen.

You know, so maybe there was a big financial piece where I remember I had, you know, this great big plumbing issue, and it was like $10,000. And at the time, I had no money and was like, oh my god, like super stressful. And I remember driving home and going, like having the heart palpitations and freaking out about it and going, what is that going to do? For me, I have to change the way I see this. Because sitting you’re freaking out about it and thinking, Oh, whoa, me, why is this happening to me, I have such bad luck. And I make that such crap.

All this stuff happens to everybody. And it’s going to continue happening for the rest of our life, we’re always going to run into car problems, plumbing problems, house problems, where it This is life. And I just had to go, okay, you know what, I can get the money. I have, you know, I’ve got low, I can get a loan and your line of credit, whatever, I got a credit card with nothing on it, I dealt with it.

And I decided I wasn’t going to stress about it. And I have worked on that for the last 15 years as I’ve just always been very aware of where my brain is going, where my thoughts are going. Are they stressful? Are they serving me? Or are they making me more stressed out? And having that control was a huge shift for me. The other thing Joelle was that eventually when I found out about my thyroid problem, and I was doing some more adrenal testing, and my DHEA my cortisol still wasn’t great. It was way better than it used to be. But it still wasn’t great. And I realized that I had, you know, this slow thyroid that I wasn’t converting my T four into my T three. And then I soon realized my reverse T-three was elevated.

And that was a huge piece of my puzzle because I was like, You know what, I’m doing well with my stress in my world. And I knew that I had been working on everything, my mindset, you know, my lifestyle and just doing all the right things that you know, according to you, Joel probably was listening to your podcast and doing the things you were telling me to do at that time. And I heard somebody else on a podcast, Brian wall. Brian Walsh, I think his name is and he said there about this research paper that he had seen where you know, people had gone into the hospital with an infection.

They tested the cortisol levels, they were low. Then they gave the person antibiotics. And a week later, after the infection had cleared, they went back they tested the cortisone, and the cortisol was back to normal. That was a huge aha piece for me because I thought, Okay, I’ve got this reverse T three problem, thyroid problem. I still have some hormonal stuff. Could there be something else that’s, you know, feeding into this adrenal issue that I have? And then I went farther and I started, I tested for mold first, and then I tested for heavy metals.

And the heavy metals test showed that my mercury and my lead were as high on the chart as they could go. And there are no safe levels of lead in the body. So that was like, oh, maybe this is why my adrenal system just can’t quite get it. And I can’t prove this. I don’t know. I’m still chelation is a very long process. And and so I’ve been working on it for the last couple of years and haven’t retested yet. So we’ll see, you know, if I can clear out some of these heavy metals, will my thyroid start working properly, and then Hence, my adrenal system start working properly, too?

So those are my puzzle pieces. Each of us is very different. And we’re all going to have these different puzzle pieces that we have to put together to take a good look at what’s going on hormonally for us because there’s almost always going to be something driving hormonal dysfunction.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, let’s unpack what you got there. Because you said a lot. So I was gonna say whoever taught you about that first controlling stress with the way that you think about it is number one because ultimately, it is what it is, and stressing over it even more than what the reality is isn’t helping things. But at the same time, I could appreciate someone that’s listening to this that says, Well, I’m already doing that. And I’m, which if they’re saying that in a, in a confrontational way, maybe they are not doing good, right?

But a lot of people will say that, like, oh, like, just give me the good information, I am already doing that. And if that’s you, and you’re watching this, then really revisit that you can’t just pay it lip service, you got to intentionally feel it, and know that, okay, you’re in that uncomfortable, angst of whatever that situation is, and almost have a breathable, controllable in deflating of it so that it doesn’t create that same stress response that causes all the physiological things that we’re going to talk about to even get worse and just say, well tell me the physiological stuff, and not work on that. Because if you don’t work on that, the physiological stuff isn’t going to work.

So I would, I would say for sure on that. But with that being said, and then making matters more confounded or difficult is mold or heavy metals, or microbial concerns, and the study that you found out where if they give them antibiotics, there’s got to be a GI component. That’s where I think a lot of people care and run into problems, right? Because they get so fixated on no one’s helping me, I gotta be my advocate. I don’t have a lot of energy to expend, but I’m going to do it anyways. Because I want the answers. And it’s kind of interesting, I want to learn about this stuff. And then they’re just information gatherers.

Yeah. And they become like, Okay, well, I have this estrogen thing. I have this cortisol thing, I’m controlling my stress, I just had a baby. I’m asking for help, and people are helping me. But then I’m doing heavy metal testing, and all these other things, I guess, let’s go back to where you’re the specialists. Now in terms of estrogen dominance, the thing that you saw on the test, and what that means for women that may not be in their Peri menopausal years, yet they’re in their fertility years, and they may want to just have a healthy fertility cycle till they get to perimenopause.

Or they might be saying, you know, what I least want to be able to keep my options open now with women and their careers and, and just their situations waiting a little bit longer. So let’s maybe delineate that in terms of estrogen and fertility and going into healthy perimenopause and menopause, maybe just sort of unpack all of that with what you’ve learned so far.


Karen Martel: Yeah, estrogen dominance is a very interesting topic that I think most women don’t understand. It is one of the most, you know, it is the number one most visited page on my website, which is a blog post about estrogen dominance. And every time I work with a woman, almost like 98% of them will tell me, I think I have estrogen dominance, you know, if they’re in their fertile years, I think I have estrogen dominance. And they’ll probably even be likely taking D and dole methane, which is a known supplement that helps to get rid of excess estrogen.

So everyone thinks she’s got it because of the symptoms, the symptoms, it’s like, Oh, bad PMS, theories, hips in the stomach. And everyone was going to say, Yeah, that’s me. But what’s interesting is I have done well over 1000 If not, 1000s of hormone testing now, in my career, and very few fertile women have too much estrogen in their body where they’re producing an excess of it.

In most cases in fertile women, especially in your 30s, from 35 to about 40, we typically see estrogen dominance but not too much estrogen just in comparison to progesterone. Because as we age ladies, if you’re not ovulating, which is what happens when we age we get, you know, less than less ovulation, when you’re not ovulating, you’re not producing progesterone from your corpus luteum, which is where we produce our progesterone, we can produce it over the adrenal glands as well, and even out of the spinal cord, which is very odd. But there’s, you know, we but just small amounts, so we start to see the progesterone dropping quite quickly in our first in our fertile years and our later 30s.

Even in younger women, we’re still seeing this, you know, kind of a depleted progesterone a little bit, but very rarely too much estrogen, what we’re seeing is a lot of Xeno estrogens, which you can’t test that you can test for like BPA in the blood in the sorry, in the urine. But in most cases, you can’t test, there’s no test, there’s no blood test to go see how much is you know, estrogen stew you have. And so on a test, you’re gonna see that your estrogen levels are probably pretty normal.

And yet all these women are Downey’s supplements that drain their estrogen. And ladies, I will tell you, estrogen is not a bad guy, it is good. It’s your number one, she’s the queen of all your hormones, and you need it. Because as you age and you start to lose your estrogen, you are going to start to see a lot of complications happening to your health when you start losing estrogen it is it has so much impact on us. So be very careful with what you’re doing in that sense.

And know that it’s typically if you’re having those symptoms, it’s typically Xeno estrogen dominance that you’re going to be dealing with now dim can help you still excrete some of that stuff. But really, you want to be focusing on detoxification, cleaning up your environment from those Xeno estrogens. And making sure your blood sugar’s stable, your adrenal system is stable, all the eating the right diet, that is what you want to do for your hormones in your fertile years. You don’t want to be taking copious amounts of a damn to drain that estrogen, nor do you want copious amounts of progesterone, when you’re in those fertile years, there’s a lot that you can do that is just focused on food, taking the right minerals, making sure that your stress is under control, and that you’re eating the right diet for what your hormones are telling you at that time.

I think that that’s also very important to be clear about is there is no one perfect diet. You know, there are some women that you know, if you’ve got blood sugar, just regularities ketogenic diets going to be great or a carnivore diet might be great. There are some women, though, that have, you know, bad, you know, really low cortisol, low DHEA. You know, I’m sure jewel talks about this a lot. So but you know, low thyroid, then you got to be careful, you can’t be you know, fasting every day, or eating one meal a day or going carnivore, because that’s gonna drive that farther into the ground. So you have to be very careful, and with what diet you’re doing in comparison to what your hormones are doing.

And then as we age and we start to get into our 40s, things start to shift, now you’re gonna get quite an estrogen dominant. But once again, only in that sense, not only, but typically in the sense of progesterone is going to drop farther, because you’re going to not be ovulating in your 40s. So that progesterone will drop by about 75% in her 40s, estrogen-only starts to go down, you know, by about 25%. And then it kind of starts to go on this wild ride where it’s going up sometimes and then it’s going to crash back down, that’s going to come up. So there’ll be some months where you’re gonna bleed super heavy, and another month where you’re gonna be hot flashes and night sweats and having a late period.

And so it starts to you know, do this up and down thing as you’re going into perimenopause. And then it drops completely off the grid, typically, and then your yet women still think they’re estrogen dominant because of the symptoms they’re experiencing. But remember, ladies, it is typically that that progesterone is just too low. Estrogen is a growth hormone, which means it helps to make things grow.

And so that’s your uterus. the lining is going to help to make that uterine lining and then progesterone comes around, and it helps to counteract that growth. Even in breast tissue, it’s going to estrogen doesn’t cause breast cancer, it’s a growth hormone. If you have cancer cells in your breast, that estrogen can go there and make it grow. Progesterone can counteract the growth in the breast tissue as well. And we can go quite deep into this because there’s so much research that shows about, you know, hormone replacement, and estrogen and breast cancer. And I think there’s a lot of fear around that.

And women just they’ve demonized estrogen. And as you age, ladies, and you start to lose that estrogen, everything starts to fall apart in your body, we have over 100 different functions for estrogen in our body, and we need it. And this is where there’s so much controversy of whether you should replace it or not replace it, is it gonna cause breast cancer? Is it not? And we can get into whatever way you want to go here, Joel?


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, well, there’s a lot that you said there. And I think that just to summarize it is that it’s the relationship to the hormones in general and not just an absolute number compared to another number and meaning I think a lot of the estrogen dominant definition came out of a lab test versus the doctor school meaning when they did saliva tested, they said, Okay, let’s create a ratio between estrogen and E one and E two, and E three and progesterone and come up with a number. And it’s not validated in research and science. But I get your point. And it’s a very good point in terms of ladies, it’s not so much that you have estrogen dominance.

And there are instances where that is the case. We’ve seen it and I’ve seen it, but the reality is, what does it look like in relationship to progesterone? And what makes it even more complicated as well, which I’m sure you see is there is phase one and phase two of estrogen metabolites. And so basically, how well do we make the fat-soluble water soluble? And then how well do we get the water-soluble out of the body?

And those, you’ll see instances where confounding the information, meaning, you have too little progesterone in relationship to estrogen because of stress and cortisol demands and progesterone having to fill up those buckets instead of, you know, being there for reproductive function and, and ovulation and, and all of the above. But what also I find, and maybe you can add to this is, if someone’s phase two metabolites are, are very, very fast, which a lot of the times that happens, which means when we look at a hormone test, we see that your phase one is upregulated, in a sense, and what will happen is that Phase two will be very slow.

And the example I use is that’s kind of like phase one is having a party at your house, and then you bring the garbage to the curb, or you bring it to the side of the house or you bring it to the back of the house. That’s if we don’t metabolize those estrogen metabolites in a good way. So if we’re we’re doing it effectively, we’re going down a healthy pathway, which can be great if the garbage men remove it from the curb effectively. But if they don’t, then what you have is these partially metabolized estrogen metabolites that can be more disruptive than the actual estrogen that you have.

And now it’s going haywire. It’s like you have estrogen that’s partially metabolized, that’s binding to receptor sites, that’s not allowing good estrogen to get in there. And so now you’re paradoxically low on estrogen even though it’s high compared to progesterone, but it’s really low inside the cell and you think you’re estrogen dominant? So yeah, that’s sort of a complicated issue for people.


Karen Martel: So it is, but it’s just the point of, there are three phases that estrogen has to go through, and you just, everybody’s going straight to dim. But what’s going to be in that phase one? And so what if you’re not methylating? What if you’re not pooping regularly, all of these channels have to be working. So you could be estrogen dominant per se, but only in phase two, or you could not be pooping it out. So there’s your phase three, you know, so just taking a sample man isn’t always the answer.

Like you have to look at that big picture and go okay, which phase one, two, or three? Is my estrogen getting backed up? Is it all three? It can be I’ve seen it I’ve seen it where the person’s got the horrible digestive system, they’re not methylated and they’re not good. He through phase one very well and their estrogen is super high. And then you want to you have to start looking at phase one and two supplementations and fixing that God. So there is way more to it than what is being told out there.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, yeah, that’s a good point. And just as an aside, I don’t know like this is something that’s helped me as well, because on the test that we see how phase two is doing, and we look at those ratios, and that’s a methylation enzyme CLM T. And a lot of women know I’m a CLM TM slow. So my phase two is slow. Complicating the matter is there are theories that CLM T might be upregulated.

And it’s clearing that phase to metabolize even quicker so but anyways, what I would say to you, and also what I’ve learned is, it’s not only methylation, and that’s just an aside not to steal any of your thunder, one of the things that I’ve learned is, were their things that deplete methyl groups and to our conversation that we had on your podcast we talked about oxidative stress and your oxygen consumption rate and physical injuries and traumas and chemical exposures and estrogen disruptors and plastics and all of this glyphosate and all of that is going to increase your body’s demand to make energy.

And one of the main nutrients that we need to power our energy production power plants are B vitamins, and B vitamins are methyl donors. So women might just focus on methyl folate, I have MTHFR, I’m taking Sammy, and I’m doing all of this choline and the B, you know, these different things to support phase two, and I’m not getting any better I feel ramped up when I take B vitamins. That’s because you’re not addressing the things that are draining your B vitamins. And when you take those B vitamins, it’s not going to estrogen. priority of clearing that up, it’s going to all the other things that it’s so far behind on. Does that make sense?


Karen Martel: Yeah, I love stuff like that. And I’m just as when we talked on my podcast, this is an area that I’m diving into now, which is the whole minerals and the B vitamins and where we’re getting our vitamin C and bees from and make the importance of magnesium and not putting in too much Iran because it’s causing more oxidative stress and then looking at the genetic piece to like it’s a lot of moving parts.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Really. Yeah, yeah. But I’ll tell you and I agree with you is just taking the dam or that diagonal methane. A lot of women number one, did you do it on your own? Did your doctor tell you did you do a test to see if your actual phase one is already slow? Or your estrogen at the parties that you’re having at your house? There’s no garbage to bring to the curb in the first place.

So you don’t need to clear it out any faster. I mean, are you doing those types of things, I had a woman that was in her 70s. And she was taking them and I didn’t even have to ask her because her phase one was like 99% down that pathway. And our Phase Two was very, very slow. And basically, I use the example of dem is like yes, it will help clear out your effect of estrogen or your estrogen that might be going down on unhealthy pathways, the estrogen you’re bringing to the curb or to the backyard that may create more problems.

It will bring it to the curb a lot more effectively. But you didn’t have a lot of parties and estrogen to bring there and you’re already draining out what you don’t have very much of in the first place. I’m sure you’re seeing that a lot, right?


Karen Martel: Oh, I see it all the time and menopausal and perimenopause puzzle, women don’t have hardly any estrogen if at any. And they’re taken down because the doctor Functional Medicine Practitioner told them they should be taking it because it’s just this like fix all for things in the functional world. And you have to be careful even though it’s showing now that anything above 100 Or sorry, 200 milligrams of dem will block androgen receptors. So then now you’re not only going to be draining the estrogen that you already don’t have. And now you’re going to be blocking your androgen receptors, you’re not going to be getting the testosterone that you so badly need.

And this goes for men too because dim is a very popular Supplement for Men. So it can help them get rid of their estrogen so they don’t get the man’s moves, but you take too much. And now you’re going to be affecting your testosterone. So just it’s just safe to say, ladies, it’s you’ve got to be careful. And don’t just go willy-nilly and take any supplement until you see that full picture of what your breakdown of estrogens doing. And remember that estrogen is not the bad guy you want estrogen. It is a fat loss hormone. Which women don’t know that they all think it’s a fat gain hormone and yes too much of it and then not detoxing, will make you gain weight.

But without estrogen, you start running into a lot of metabolic issues, which as you can develop insulin resistance because estrogen is needed for glucose transport. We need it for leptin sensitivity, we’ve got so many estrogen receptors in our brain and it really can affect leptin, so women can become insulin resistant to leptin resistance, and their cholesterol can go up, all from losing their estrogen.

And even in your brain, because we have so many receptors and there’s a lot of evidence now coming out that shows that women that replace their estrogen for six years or longer with transdermal bioidentical estrogen have a 70% reduction in developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. That’s huge. And that was a massive study that just came out of Arizona last year, showing this and so we can see that like for something that is not curable, Alzheimer’s really scary disease I got the genes for it, I got both, I got two copies of the APB for gene, I’m going to replace my estrogen until the day I die because I know how important it is for brain function.

And so by osteoporosis, you will get develop osteoporosis, if you don’t replace your estrogen, you’ll heart disease. Estrogen is extremely heart protective when you take it transdermally not when you take it orally because then it will increase your risk of heart attack and stroke if you take it orally.

So estrogen has got this bad route, we have to be very careful. And we have to pick and choose our battles when it comes to perimenopause and menopause. And know that you can’t supplement your way out of the loss of ovarian function and the loss of these hormones. And that is where bioidentical hormones can come in, and they can be used to replace these very vital missing hormones for our health.

And the same goes for men as well. You guys start to lose your testosterone, not all men, but a lot of men will start to lose their testosterone as they age. And there are things that you can take to help prevent that, that’s going to be great. And you always want to make sure you got a healthy diet going on and taking all you know, watching your stress levels. Because I think number one to get through menopause and even testosterone deficiency in men. Number one is you have to watch your stress levels before anything else. Because if you don’t, you will be hit so much harder with those symptoms than if you weren’t watching those.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Right. So for the man to get through menopause or andropause, right? But I would say like one of the examples is that, ultimately, yes, and we’ll talk about the need to replace your estrogen and what exactly you meant by that in a moment. But as far as for men, like I know that what they’ll do is they’ll take the DEM because, or estrogen blockers because they’re taking massive amounts of androgens, and they don’t want that to add aromatize and convert into estrogen.

And, you know, the analogy I use on that the analogy is this, I used to have buddies that would come up with amazingly clever ways to cheat for a test, you know, like, put the notes on the bottom of your shoe and, you know, do all these things that they were doing to beat the system. And when you’re working that hard to beat the system, that same work can be channeled constructively to work with the system, so that you don’t have to come up with these things to beat the system because the system is there to work with you.

And I think the same thing with hormone optimization in terms, of Karen in terms of doing the fundamental things. I mean, obviously, everything you talked about in terms of how you process stress, what what what power do you give on it? You know, that perceived stress can make it a lot worse than what it is. Are you asking for help and embracing a community support-like system? Are you getting good healthy nutrients, which we’ll talk about here now in supplementation?

And when you do that, then the things, the deficiencies, the inflammatory responses, the stress levels, all of those things lower the enzyme breakdown that causes the extra aromatization in the first place. So it’s just like, to me it’s like well, it’s the lazy man works twice as hard right? And if you just would have done the work initially you would have fixed it but the question I have for you because the other thing that happens is estrogen foods soy and other things that can be phytoestrogens that can be actually very healthy and Emile they also get a bum rap because of estrogen dominance and Xeno estrogens. I guess this is more of a colleague to call Question.

But are you finding that when you make recommendations for people that women that have very low estrogens, that you’re not necessarily wanting to go on transdermal replacements? Are you seeing those numbers come up with foods and healthy fats and bile support and gallbladder and emulsification, to be able to boost those levels with increased amounts and targeted foods or it’s only hitting a window and you’re not getting to the levels that you want to get to?


Karen Martel: So what I’ve seen over and over again, is those interventions were using Phyto estrogens and there are some amazing supplements like black cohosh and Chasteberry and Vita which is also Vytex. Sage donk way, these are amazing Phyto estrogens flaxseed. Flaxseed is the number one most Phyto estrogen food and it is so good for you. Because these things all react on what’s called the betta receptor, that estrogen better receptor, which is just a softer estrogen signaling.

There’s alpha, there’s betta, we need both, but betta is the less harsh of the estrogen receptors. So it works so so well for it. When you’re in your 40s you’re hitting that perimenopause member, I said that estrogen starts to go on the wild ride. That is the time when you start using these Phyto estrogens and the foods and you’re going to make sure that you’ve got your like you said, like the good fats coming in because that’s what’s going to help you to make those hormones.

You’re going to support your adrenal system, you’re going to eat the right foods, you’re going to exercise, you’re gonna do all those things, and it’s really going to help and those things will help as well when you’re in your fertile years in your 20s and 30s. Taking things like Vytex Oh my gosh, amazing. I’ve seen women’s progesterone just skyrocket by taking Vytex which is the same as Chasteberry, which is the same as Chasteberry.

Yeah, right. Amazing. And I’ve seen women in their 40s who are riddled with perimenopause symptoms, there are hot flashes, I was one of them. I started going into menopause at an early age and started having hot flashes and night sweats and waking in and all of these problems. And of course, the hormone specialist has this has to happen to me, right?

And taking a really good menopause supplement and watching the food I was eating, did wonder for two years, it was all I had to do. And I see this constantly with my clients and my members as well where I can make these recommendations. They do amazing. And then it’s like it all stops working. It may be like those black cohosh, you know, the flax, the soy can help a little bit with those symptoms. But, once your ovaries stop producing hormones, which happens to every one of you women, it will happen. It’s inevitable to happen to every single one of us.

At that point, you cannot diet or supplement your way back into hormones, you just can’t. You have to have those things as a foundational piece. You know, same with the man it’s like, you know when you’re in your 30s and 40s, you shouldn’t be running off to a testosterone clinic and getting testosterone replacement. No, there’s so much you can do to bring back your testosterone levels before going down that road because as soon as you start replacing, that’s going to replace your production and you’re going to stop producing it so it will have a replacement. It’s replacing so you don’t want to go down that road until you have to. But when you’re at an age men or women where you are just simply not producing it anymore. Then if you are suffering even if you’re not I still believe in the benefits of bioidentical replacement because of what the research shows us.


Dr. Joel Rosen: That is transdermally This is transdermal.


Karen Martel: you can take bioidentical progesterone orally. It is it mostly converts into metabolizing when you take it orally but estrogen always transdermal. And same with testosterone, always transdermal.


Dr. Joel Rosen: When you say transdermal, like through skin through the lotion through some kind of trachea or something like that.


Karen Martel: I don’t know. I don’t like chokey is stroke easy. We’ll get down into your body so you’ll go through the first hepatic pass of the liver and we don’t want that so I don’t like testosterone or estrogen truckies progesterone but not I don’t think I’ve seen women’s lots of bad stuff estrogen goes out which is a more inflammatory estrogen when you take it orally, so none of that transdermal. So cream on your skin. patches, estrogen patch shots, some women do shots.

Vaginal suppositories Those are the main, the safest ones that you can take there are some bioidentical oral estrogens now on the market, I still know. Even though it’s bioidentical, it’s not forced from horse pregnant horses anymore. But still, you know, never take it orally. Because why would you when it’s when you can get it transdermally, it’s that much safer.

And then it’s identical to what your body produces. And so the research shows us that women that replace their hormones for at least 10 years post-menopause have a 30% reduction of all-cause mortality. So that’s pretty big. And so you can’t eat or supplement your way out of it, you have to have those as foundational pieces to take on the hormones when you if you do decide to replace them, you want to make sure that all those pathways are up and running because if not, you could start slapping on all this estrogen.

And if you’re not methylating, or you don’t have that phase one proper, or you’re not pooping every single day, you could then gain weight from it or have adverse side effects from it. And that goes with any hormone too. I’ve seen women even with progesterone where they don’t feel well on it. So you want to prepare your system for it. But I have found that you can’t Phyto estrogen your way out of it. In most cases, if you’re suffering from those symptoms, and indeed, sometimes they may not be outward symptoms drawl.

They can be internal, where you some women will be like, I’m not I don’t have any hot flashes, I feel great. I haven’t gained any weight. I haven’t had my period for years. But what’s happening on the inside? Like, is the cholesterol going up? Are they getting insulin resistance or are they’re gonna get osteoporosis? We’ve got estrogen receptors on every organ of the body. So it can affect how everything is running. It affects your immune system, your gut health, your adrenal health, and your brain health, it just goes on and on.


Dr. Joel Rosen: So yeah, yeah, you know, and obviously, the adrenal connection is depending on how much wear and tear and stress and whether you’re conscious or not, it’s still happening. But a lot of the times you have a history, that would make an amazing bestseller in terms of a book you can’t even think of right like with marriages and a house burning down and post-traumatic this and that, and then more than whatever it is if your body has been under so much stress, and now you’re heading into the twilight years, and the will that Twilight, but the sunset, if you will, of that reproductive system, then the adrenals are burdened with the task of picking up the slack.

And it depends on how much wear and tear is going to necessitate for you to decide, okay, I’m going to do the foundational things, I’m going to reduce my oxidative stress, I’m going to breathe through this, I’m going to enlist with my support system, I’m going to get my circadian rhythm aligned, I’m going to stabilize my blood sugar, I’m going to compress my time window, I’m going to do all these things, and then decide, okay, maybe I need to support this. So I guess that’s the Shades of Grey, where do you use them?

Karen, in terms of, is there an absolute benchmark level in terms of you seeing this number and you gave it a certain shot? And it just never got above there? When do you make that call with that shade of gray, where you don’t want to be too early and say let’s push it and give you this bio-identical transdermal before you no matter what have to put those other things in place. But how do you you know, decide at that point? Okay, let’s make that next leap. Because it’s not getting us to that next level.


Karen Martel: Yeah, that’s, that’s a very individual thing because some women are hit way harder than others. You know, had somebody looked at my hormone levels at 42, they would have said, Oh, you’re fine. You got lots of estrogen yet progesterone, you’re doing just great. But yet, I was hot flashing, and I’m like, I’m dying. Like it was terrible. It was all day long night sweats. And I could feel that my period was starting to go missing like I had all the symptoms of estrogen deficiency, and my follicular stimulating hormone was going up.

And I’ve been relying more and more on that marker because follicle stimulating hormone is telling your ovaries to make estrogen. And so it will continue to go up for the rest of your life unless you replace your estrogen so your brain will tell your ovaries forever to make estrogen. And the higher it goes, that seems the more weight women will gain and the more symptoms they start to have.

Now, this isn’t everybody’s very complex, but we’ll just general when I see that that is going up and And it matches with the symptoms that that person’s telling me. So maybe they’ve gained Sudden weight gain without changing their diet, their emotional instant, you know, unstable, there’s sex drive, that’s one of the first things to go.

Same with insomnia, like women, will say, I can’t sleep anymore, I’ve got no sex drive, my vagina is drying up, you know, like, what’s happening, and a doctor would look at her estrogen levels and probably say, Oh, you’re just fine, or just right where you should be, the range for estrogen is in Canada is 250 to 2000. So that’s ridiculous.

So there are some women that I say are more estrogenic, I’m very estrogenic always have that you look at even my genetic profile, and it shows that I’m more estrogenic. So some women are more androgenic. And then others are more estrogenic. And those estrogenic, women need that estrogen. So there are the women that are slight dip, and then a slight raise and that FSH and they’ve gained 20 pounds and their complete train wreck.

So for somebody like that, I’m not going to say, hey, wait till you’re done your period, because a lot of physicians will say, we’re not going to replace your estrogen until you are in menopause, which is one year without a period. But my thing is, is why are we waiting for a woman’s in a hot mess with 20 pounds overweight, and you know, her marriage is in the toilet. And so no sex drive, can’t sleep? No, and she’s done all the supplements, she’s done the diet, she’s done the exercise, at that point, then, oh my gosh, give her some estrogen and progesterone.

And so because it’s instantaneous like women will text me and be like, could seriously be this fast. And I’m like, Yes, that’s how fast it can work. It can be overnight that you feel better. And that, you know, I remember one woman, she was like, one weekend, I have her testimony on my website, she’s like, I can feel the juices flowing in my vagina, Karen, like, whoa, you know what she was so happy.

And so if it’s like that, if you’re that person, then don’t wait, because you’re being told that you need to wait one year or two without a period to be in menopause. Like take control of your health, you don’t have to suffer, go get the help that you need. And then there are some women that who just need to manage stress and their blood sugar, and they can go into menopause, maybe a year or two years. And then maybe they’ll say, okay, maybe I’ll start replacing my hormones just for health’s sake. And they don’t have a lot of outward symptoms. And those women tend to be more androgenic typically, and so it’s, it’s very different for each person, but just know that you don’t have to suffer.

And if you have done all those foundational pieces, then look into replacing the hormones if you are suffering because some women, can become suicidal they can, and it can be a terrible time. And ladies, this can be one of the best times of your life. So don’t cheat yourself of that. Don’t be like, Oh, I know, I’m gonna tough my way through this and tough my way through menopause. And I don’t want to do bioidentical hormones, that’s not natural. Well, it’s not, it’s also not natural to lose all of your hormones.

What it does to you is to can be terrible, and can take away your vitality. And you can have the best years of your life at this time, especially with your partner. I think it’s can be amazing. But if neither of you has hormones, and you’re losing your marvels, it’s not fun. And so just know that you don’t have to suffer.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, no, it’s some amazing things in there. And just to summarize that, Karen, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom as far as summarizing that what I look at is the old way and the new way, right? So the old way for a lot of women is to take the damn, I’m estrogen dominant, just get it out of me. And that doesn’t work, right? Or the old way is just to take these hormones, and let’s restore them to your, your biological age in your prime.

And let’s not look at the mechanics of everything else as to why they got there. Maybe they’re not clearing out effectively in phases one, two, and three, and figuring out where along the way they need to be supported. We’re not going to focus on your stress levels or your your your support system or your circadian rhythm, or your diet or your blood sugar, we’re just going to reductionistic ly give you this and then play Whack a Mole.

And when a test comes back, we’ll give you more or when a test comes back, we’ll give you last because that’s not going to cut it and the reality is is you need to work with someone that understands these things and doesn’t just say oh, I’m a functional medicine doctor and anti-aging specialist and all they do is give you hormones.

The other thing I kind of want to unpack too because it might have been confusing for a woman to listen is that if you’re more estrogenic versus androgenic it doesn’t necessarily mean you have more estrogen hormones. It just means that you have dysregulated metabolism or functioning of estrogen to what we’ve talked about earlier, where you may not be clearing it out in phases one, two, and three, effectively, you have partially metabolized the relationship to progesterone is not in that in an ideal balanced system, which is putting more pressure on your cortisol.

And ultimately, what it comes down to I like to say it’s a demand and supply thing you have more demand than you do supply. You don’t have the minerals, the B vitamins, the proteins, the enzymes to run the system at what you need to and your body’s going to take really important considerations as to allocating where do they go? And guess what takes the backseat? You know, is reproduction right? I mean, you’re not going to add to your house, I see you’re not going to add another wing to your house, when you know, you don’t have any extra spending money to do that.

You’re just going to use that towards buying groceries and making sure that you it may be contracting versus expanding. So awesome information. And I liked the reminder to Karen, in terms of what a doctor does is they ask their patients or their health coach and nutritional specialist, or functional medicine provider is they ask their patient, tell me about your life? What’s going on? What has been going on, you know, what did you get? How did you get here?

You know, and what are all the things going on for you and how you feeling and tell me about the impact it’s having on you and give me real-life examples of how this is going. And then let me look at your blood test to see if they are saliva or urine test to see if these correlate and then, of course, the LH and FSH. If those numbers are elevated, it means that that brain I use the LH FSH, TSH ACTH. All of those pituitary hormones are jockeys to the horses. And if those horses are running slow, those jockeys are whipping them to run faster. So you’ll see FSH V high, LHB, high, and the same thing for males with hypogonadism.

And the same thing for females where your boys or your girls, they’re not working at the level they used to, and the jockeys telling them to run faster, that might be a good time for you to realize that it’s time to support you. Just curious about Canada. Are you working alongside other doctors so that you can get access to these trends? thermals are you able to predict how you do that for your clientele?


Karen Martel: Yeah, so typically most of my clients are actually in the States. And I find that I’ll give my recommendations and I’ll usually tell them to first take them to the primary physician. Because a lot of the time doctors are not ever trained in bioidentical hormone therapy or menopause and medical school. So they typically have no clue.

They’re running on old evidence about bioidentical hormones and are not bioidentical, sorry, hormone replacement therapy, which came from the horse. That’s their knowledge about it. So a lot of the time, they can go to them and say, Hey, this is what I would like to do. I’m suffering, I want to try bioidentical hormones. And a lot of the time the doctor does get on board. If they don’t, then yes, I have physicians all over the United States and Canada that I work with that do the prescribing for me.

And that will work with me when I’m working with clients in the United States, you guys can get most things actually over the counter. I don’t typically recommend that as your first go I always want somebody to be under the care of their physician first. If that physician isn’t willing to do it, that person doesn’t have money to go to you know, a hormone clinic which can be pretty pricey, then you know, I’ll have them do some things like going having a pelvic ultrasound done, go and have your thermography down on your breasts, you know, we’ll do bloodwork we’ll test the hormones and we’ll watch you carefully we’ll prepare the body and then they can buy them over the counter from only a couple I only have a couple of companies that I’ve researched and that I’ve seen have really good quality products.

I have my own in my shop a couple of them like you know progesterone DHEA pregnenolone there are a couple of companies that do have estrogen as well. That works well so I have had to turn to that sometimes. Because if somebody can’t afford to see the hormone clinic or doctor and some hormone doctors are not doing a very good job they’re doing you know pellet therapy they’re you know that even testosterone clinics for men it’s overdone in the way they’re doing it is it’s not in a very safe way for men so I.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, I have my ways job a lot easier in today’s day and age. And I think that it’s, you know, I’m always team patients you can go to and have your doctor if they’re on board. I don’t know the recommended doses, do you have that listed on your site? Or in terms of the ideal if you are to get a go this route and do transdermal hormone replacements and optimization, what starting point would be on that at all?


Karen Martel: No, and I won’t publicly say that, because each of us is different. And it’s gonna take something different. There are some women, I’ve known women that have done what’s called physiologic restoration of hormones because that’s what they needed to feel their best. And that’s, you know, levels of 20 milligrams of estrogen a day, which most doctors would just die if they heard that. But I see some women flourishing on that high amount, right? I don’t recommend that personally, because I can’t if I can’t control it and be monitoring them, then I want them to go see a doctor that does physiologic restoration.


Dr. Joel Rosen: But the individualized, theory individual.


Karen Martel: And that’s where you also have to be very careful. So I educate women on this, this is what I do is I provide women with education, I provide them with reference ranges where it’s like, okay, if your FSH is above 10, you know, that this probably time to start replacing, especially if it’s above 20. We want to get it down below around 20. But really, it comes down to how your same town? Yes, because every one of us is going to be different right?


Dr. Joel Rosen:  That’s awesome information. Thank you so much for sharing all of your insight. As far as I mean, we can talk about so much, but I want to kind of get your insight. We call this podcast, we’ve gone back with different iterations that were your adrenal fix.

And I like to know you had your health challenges. And perhaps there were some roadblocks or setbacks or plateaus, or even not even that cared about, maybe you have all this amazing new information that along with those other things that I just mentioned, these amazing hacks or clinical pearls. I like that word clinical pearls are things that you could have implemented to maybe avoid some trials and tribulations or leapfrog you a lot further and faster. What would the sage-like Karen, tell I always say that bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Karen, about stress and the impact it has on your health and any things you’ve learned along the way?


Karen Martel: I think number one would be testing, honestly, because there’s so much overlap between the symptoms of hormone imbalance. And as we talked about, in today’s discussion, every woman thinks she’s got estrogen dominance. And also everybody thinks they have adrenal problems. And they just start downing the next best adrenal supplement, without actually knowing Do you have too high or too low? Do you have just dysregulation? Is it due to hypothyroidism?

There are so many moving parts to it, that you cannot know unless you test and so you can do so much harm. Without the testing. I believe that and I see it over and over again. Are these people just willy-nilly in their supplements? And it’s like no, and I wouldn’t have ever guessed. I have been in adrenal insufficiency ever. And I suffered for so long and had I just gone and tested my hormones, which nobody would have told me if my 33-year-old self, then I could have saved a lot of issues.

Even with my thyroid. I suffered for years and years and years with an underactive thyroid, because nobody tested it properly. And it wasn’t till my naturopath insisted that I do the full panel because I was like, no, no, I’ve had my TSH done I’ve had my free T four. And he’s like, do the free T three booth antibodies. And lo and behold, he phones me up. It’s like how are you even walking around your teeth? Your T-three is so low. Right? You know, like it just even just the testing I think it’s it’s invaluable.

And I understand that it can be a pricey thing to do. But save the money for it. It’s worth it to get that big picture of what’s happening with your hormones. You can’t test cortisol through bloodwork. I’m sure you’ve talked about this lots, it’s just not accurate. We need to see this full picture to be able to help somebody.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, and you know, I would say a couple of add-ons just to that is don’t test everything right test the things that are the most important because if you do say those heavy metal tests sticking in the lead testing, and you have all this information, start with the most important stuff, that’s blood work and hormones and kind of go from there and work with someone.

That’s great. And then the other point is, don’t just treat the test, right? Because you’re treating Karen, who came out with this test, and it was a day in her life of her and it doesn’t represent everything. And there’s no real standardized answer for everyone that this is the way it needs to be. So it’s more of a lighthouse of, okay, we get some insight, we’re not just, you know, hook line, and sinker on this result has to be this way, but at the same time, I need the test.

And that comes back to, to balance in terms of, you don’t want too much of something, you don’t want too little of something, you want to be able to have the just the perfect right amount of that. And that means the perfect amount of testing the perfect amount of reliance on the information on the test, the perfect amount of doing things in your life that has nothing to do with any of that. I mean, there’s so much balance.

So as far as getting in contact with you and seeing you on the internet, I’m sure most people have already heard of you. But just for the listeners that you may be new for. How do they get in contact with you, Karen, and the podcast you mentioned and your socials, and your website? Why don’t you tell our listeners where to find more information about what you do?


Karen Martel: Yeah, so I’m on Karen, I’ve got a great hormone quiz, which is a great place for people to start is just a general, of course, is just a quiz everybody, it’s not a test, but it will give you some understanding of if there is hormonal imbalance, possibly causing your weight loss resistance. That’s what the quiz is about. And then it’ll give you a little ebook about that possible imbalance. And then, you know, give you information on proper testing.

And I give you a two-week meal plan that is a carb cycling calorie cycling meal plan to optimize your hormones and your metabolism. So that’s a great place to start my podcast the other side of weight loss was rated as one of the top weight loss podcasts of 2021. We were in the top 20. Always been in t