Adrenal Function

The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and are particularly vulnerable to environmental toxicity. A reason for this is that they contain the same enzymes that the liver uses in the first phase of detoxification. The liver works in two phases and the metabolites at the end of phase 1 are often more toxic than they were at the beginning. Phase 2 enzymes further process these metabolites for safe elimination. The adrenal glands make phase 1 enzymes but not those of phase 2. Therefore the adrenals are exposed to the most toxic substances in the body – the metabolites produced by phase 1 enzymes. They are bathed in these toxic substances disproportionately to the rest of the body.


In the late 1990s a book called “Our Stolen Future” was written by 3 anthropologists describing their own research and that of others looking at the effects of environmental toxins on human and animal physiology. They expected to find a correlation with cancer, but actually hormonal issues were most evident.


Chronic illness usually occurs in people who have higher levels of toxicity. To return to health it is important to have good adrenal function. The process of aging involves a reduction in the output of adrenal hormones. We can supplement with adrenal hormones to safely and effectively achieve and maintain health.


Detoxification treatments may be undertaken to clean the adrenal glands which can mean that they will function well again but during the detoxification process supplementation may be necessary.


Hormones are crucial for healthy animal functioning. During detoxification we need to ensure adequate circulation. Thyroid hormone activity is important for this and cortisol activity is necessary for adequate thyroid function because it generates thyroid hormone receptors. Levels of thyroid hormone can be normal in the blood but without adequate numbers of receptors thyroid activity is low and the patient will be clinically hypothyroid. Suboptimal levels of adrenal hormones and low thyroid activity often accompany each other.



Wanting to get rid of your Health Problems?

Where do we start…                      

Holistically thinking there are nutritional, emotional, environmental, spiritual, economic and social issues that impact on our health. Whatever the diagnosis or particular disease may be, supporting healthy function can lower the impact of the disease process and even effect a “cure”

When thinking about the physiological functioning of the body we start with the basics: history, physical examination and tests

These give us a clue about where to start: hormonal treatments, nutrients, detoxification, emotional issues, allergies.

Commonly we hear about cleaning the liver but before attending to the liver we must address kidney health because it is the kidneys that release the toxins from the body. The liver is a system that uses nutrients to convert toxic substances into less harmful ones that can safely be excreted by the kidneys. If the kidneys are not functioning well, the wastes from the liver will go round and round the body putting stress on the other organs of elimination: skin, bowels, lungs.

Heavy metals such as mercury and lead are probably the most offensive toxins to the kidneys and accumulate there, impacting on function. It is important to remove or at least lessen the accumulated kidney burden of heavy metals.

How do we do this?

1. Water

Adequate amounts of clean water. Water filters and ionisers can be purchased for this purpose.

2. Chelation

Chelating agents are proteins with a high sulphur content which is arranged in such a way that it traps heavy metals within the structure of the protein. The heavy metals are attracted to the sulphur and stay there instead of floating off again as they would if the sulphur was not part of the chelating protein. The chelating proteins pass into and out of the body unchanged over a day or so except that they leave carrying the heavy metals with them. They are thus very useful but need to be administered with care.

3. Sauna

Far infrared saunas can remove large numbers of toxins through the skin in the sweat; so much so that the sweat can be seen to change colour. At Karanga we have a 2 person sauna that can be used by patients and have organized a system for hirage of portable saunas.

5. Homeopathy, herbs and nutrients

The need for these can be assessed on an individual basis using kinesiology

6. Orthodox investigation and procedures.

Blood and urine tests assess kidney function and sometimes structural investigations such as an ultrasound may be required. Referral to a renal specialist will be advised if indicated by these tests.

A healthy digestive tract is also of prime importance

We become deficient in important nutrients if the gut is not breaking down and absorbing our food. Also, when the food remains in the gut undigested, it ferments, putrifies and goes rancid. This process is acid forming and results in acid wastes entering the blood stream.

The enzyme systems in the body which drive all the chemical reactions have an ideal pH. When the body is even slightly acidic the enzyme activity is suboptimal and you notice less energy.

Oxygen is released from the red blood cells according to the pH. When there is acidity there is less oxygen released to the cells and much less energy is produced in a low oxygen environment.

What do we do about this?

Chew your food well. Once food is swallowed there are no teeth below the mouth for breaking down clumps of food. The saliva in your mouth mixes with the food and contains enzymes to start healthy digestion. More chewing = more saliva. The food should be liquid and not lumpy by the time it is swallowed.

The stomach should secrete hydrochloric acid but stress, toxicity, infection etc can interfere with this and render the whole digestive process inadequate. It is ironic that acid is needed in the stomach to stop the rest of the body being acidic because of poor digestion. Sometimes we think we have too much acid in the stomach but this can be fermentation due to hydrochloric acid deficiency that we are noticing.

It may be necessary to spend a few months supplementing with the things the stomach should be making (hydrochloric acid and enzymes) until the stomach can do it for itself again.

The function of the small intestine may similarly be compromised and require supplementation.

Allergies to certain foods can cause inflammation in the gut and impair function so abstinence from the offending foods may be required for a time.

Colonic Cleansing by irrigation or herbs can be useful to clean out the lower bowel.

Thyroid Diagnosis & Monitoring at Karanga Health Centre

When assessing your thyroid activity and monitoring your treatment to decide if you are taking the right dose of thyroid hormone we look at

1. Your symptoms (things you feel and notice eg level of energy)

You have a chart that it will be useful for you to use to record your symptoms over time. Please keep a weekly record and bring it with you to your appointments.

2. your signs ( things we can observe about your body eg your pulse rate)

Your doctor will keep a record of this.

3. Your test results

There are several blood, urine and other tests that we do when indicated. The results of these will be discussed at consultations. There are 3 hormones in particular that we monitor in the blood regularly: T4, T3 and TSH. None of the tests on their own give a definitive answer as to whether we are giving you the right amount of thyroid hormone.  The level of hormones in your blood does not necessarily correlate with the level of thyroid activity in your cells. This is because there are thyroid receptors inside the cells which the thyroid hormone has to combine with in order to make you healthy. There are varying levels of thyroid receptors and we can’t measure them because they are outside the blood. Therefore, your body is the best indicator of the level of thyroid activity and so we place a lot of importance on what you and your body tell us.

Because the picture is complicated and because the doctors at Karanga Health Centre sometimes make a decision about thyroid treatment which could be different from the decision most other doctors in New Zealand would make, we would like you to be informed about the thinking behind our decisions.

One divergence of opinion you may encounter relates to the level of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) in the blood. Frequently doctors use TSH alone to screen for thyroid activity and to monitor the treatment. Karanga doctors consider this inadequate for both purposes.


1. Diagnosis

If your TSH is too high it is an indication that you have low thyroid activity. Your pituitary considers that the levels of thyroid hormone are low and it makes more TSH to try and get your thyroid gland to make more thyroid hormones. The level of TSH that is generally accepted in New Zealand as being too high and requiring treatment is higher than Karanga doctors and other leading groups internationally believe to be acceptable. Thus many hypothyroid patients go untreated and undertreated. The consequences of this are enormous, given the widespread effects of thyroid hormone in the body.

2. Monitoring

Sometimes when patients receive an amount of thyroid hormone that provides a good level of T3 in the blood and the patient appears to be well with respect to thyroid activity there is no TSH to be seen in the blood. Most doctors think it is not good to have no TSH in the blood. There is some truth in this because TSH does have a role to play in the body. But if the only way to have healthy thyroid activity is to do without TSH then the choice should favour healthy thyroid activity.  This is because the role of thyroid hormone is known to be far more important than that of TSH. Thyroid hormone drives your metabolism ie every chemical reaction inside the cell is dependent on it. It helps glucose out of the blood and into the cell independently of insulin and so low thyroid activity contributes to the development of diabetes. It helps cholesterol to be metabolized and made into your adrenal hormones, so low thyroid function contributes to heart disease and adrenal problems.

TSH is made in the pituitary gland in the brain when the pituitary receives a message that there is a need for thyroid hormone. It tells the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormone. If your thyroid gland is not making enough thyroid hormones anyway and we are supplementing your levels, then your TSH is of little use in this respect. A low TSH has been associated with osteoporosis but this can be avoided by having good levels of other hormones like estrogen and progesterone which are even more important than TSH for maintaining bone health. Low TSH has also been associated in elderly people with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat. We can monitor your pulse to avoid this.

There seems no good reason to sacrifice thyroid health for TSH levels. This is the opinion of many other doctors internationally with whom we have studied and conferred. The International Hormone Society has a section entitled “physician consensus” which includes a statement relating to the management of low thyroid function. The consensus has been signed by many hundreds of doctors internationally who agree with our thinking on this subject.

For more information about the complexity of TSH, T4 and T3 measurements in the blood as a tool for diagnosis of hypothyroidism, I refer you to Dr Kent Holtorf's articles

Testosterone Deficiency in Women

The Safe use of Bio-identical Testosterone Supplementation

Roles of Testosterone in women

  • Improvement of mood and assertiveness

  • Reduction in depression and anxiety

  • Improvement of bone density

  • Improvement of muscle size and strength

  • Improvement of skin sebum secretion

  • Enhancement of sex drive and sexual sensitivity including orgasm

  • Maintenance of female genital system (nipples, vulva, clitoris)

  • Possible protection against atherosclerosis

Normal daily production

  • Young healthy women make approx. 250 micrograms/day

  • 20-30 times lower than men

Progressive decline with age

  • Women age 40 have less than half their level at age 21

Life Style factors that deplete Testosterone

  • Intense physical activity e.g. Marathon training

  • Intense emotional stress

  • Diet high in sugars & refined carbohydrates

  • Wholegrain cereals (lower the reabsorption of hormones in the digestive tract)

Symptoms of Testosterone deficiency

Mental complaints

  • Lack of confidence

  • Lack of mental firmness, hesitating

  • Lack of assertiveness

  • Depression

  • Excessive emotions

  • Excessive sensitivity to difficulties

  • Low resistance to stress

  • Excessive fear & anxiety

Physical complaints

  • Abdominal obesity

  • Reduced muscle strength

  • Hot flushes

  • Day & night sweat outbursts

  • Fatigue that increases with physical activity

  • Low energy, tires easily

  • Back pain

  • Joint pain

  • Decreased or absent libido

  • Decreased or absent ability to orgasm

  • Urinary incontinence

  • Painful intercourse

  • Itchy vagina


Bioidentical Testosterone cream 1mg-10mg/day
Apply to soles of feet or inner side of arm

Balancing with female hormones

  • Most women who are testosterone deficient are also deficient in the female hormones estrogen & progesterone

Signs of Testosterone excess

  • Note: a lack of female hormones can also cause this

  • Women usually get the warning of acne & oily skin well before any body hair changes.

  • Symptoms go away with decreasing dose of hormone treatment if this is the cause

  • If you notice any of these symptoms developing on testosterone supplementation decrease your dose & discuss with one of our doctors

  • Oily hair or skin

  • Acne

  • Excessive sex drive

  • Excessive clitoral swelling or sensitivity

  • Irritability

  • Excessive muscle development

  • Excessive body hair

Diet to Improve Hormone Function

The optimal diet for healthy endocrine function approximates the Paleolithic diet

Healthy proteins & fats are the necessary building blocks of hormones


Eat healthy protein rich food at every meal
Only eat what you can digest easily. Avoid any food that you are intolerant or allergic to.

Healthy protein sources include:
Fish, meat, poultry, eggs
Healthy vegetarian protein sources include:
Sprouted peas, beans, seeds & grains (examples include sprouted lentils, chickpeas, mung beans, adzuki beans)
Fresh nuts & seeds

Saturated Fat

Contained in foods such as eggs, liver, butter & meat
Boosts production of steroid hormones made from Cholesterol (note: excessive amounts may lower thyroid levels)
Avoid eating denatured fats. These are created when fats are cooked at high temperatures. E.g. Frying & Barbecuing
Cooking at high temperatures produces many toxic chemicals
Cooking with water or slow cooking at low temperatures (<100 degrees C ) is safe.


Fruits & vegetables are healthy carbohydrates & increase thyroid hormones
Except for large amounts of cruciferous veges (cabbage family) which can have some antithyroid activity.


Rice & wheat based foods (e.g. bread, pasta, baked goods) are not easily digested.
They can cause gastrointestinal inflammation & bloating
They can raise blood sugar too quickly
Over time high intakes of high glycaemic foods causes hormone deficiencies & premature aging.
Eating sprouted grains may avoid these problems as the grains become easier to digest

High glycaemic foods

Avoid: sweets, sugar, soft drinks, and fruit juice
Alcohol will reduce hormone levels over time & cause hormone imbalances.
Men who drink more than 1 glass of alcohol have increased levels of estradiol
Caffeinated drinks can also put stress on the hormonal balance

Milk Products

The majority of people may be healthier if they avoid milk products
Many are lactose deficient
These foods can contribute to thyroid under functioning & weight gain

Avoid unconscious eating & over eating

As important as what you eat is how you eat

Poor digestion has many adverse follow-on effects for health

Including gut inflammation, poor absorption of nutrients, imbalanced gut flora, increased toxic byproducts.

  • Always sit down & carm oneself before eating

  • ‘Blessing’ the food & those who grow & prepare the food is helpful

  • Thoughts & feelings of appreciation signal to the nervous & gastrointestinal systems that we are ready to receive.

  • Eat slowly & chew carefully

  • If you have digestive symptoms avoid cold food & drinks (direct from fridge or freezer) these take more energy to digest

  • ‘tune in’ to bodily signals (you may need to actively withdraw your attention from ‘outside’ activity & focus on what your body is telling you)

  • Many eat to ‘full a gap’ which is emotional rather than nutritional

  • This may be a call to nurture ourselves & our bodies in other ways

  •  Neuroemotional technique may be helpful for this.  

Treatment of Hypothyroidism (Low Thyroid Function)

People who have low levels of thyroid hormones experience quite a long list of symptoms because the thyroid hormones direct all the chemical reactions in the body (the metabolism).

Weight problem
Brittle nails
Rough or dry skin
Menstrual problems
Poor circulation
Diffuse hair loss
Slow speech
Anxiety or panic attacks
Decreased memory
Difficulty concentrating
Muscle or joint pain
Back pain
Morning stiffness
Slow heart rate
Swollen eyelids
Decreased sexual interest
Cold or heat intolerance
Cold hands or feet
Low body temperature
Hoarse or husky voice
muscle weakness
Dry, sparse or coarse hair
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
Drooping eyelids
yellowish skin
Swollen hands or feet

Slow movements
Dull facial expression
Unrefreshing sleep

We can provide missing nutrients that are required for the proper manufacture of thyroid hormones and we can detoxify the body to remove intruders such as heavy metals that are inhibiting their manufacture. Heavy metals also attach to hormone receptors and prevent the hormones from doing their job.

We can identify allergens that contribute to the formation of antibodies.

We can also administer the thyroid hormones themselves. This is often necessary in the first instance to achieve health but is not necessarily a lifelong commitment.

Which thyroid hormones to use

The thyroid hormones are a complex of 4. We call them T1, T2, T3, T4 according to the number of iodine atoms in the hormone.


T4 is the main hormone that the thyroid gland in the lower neck makes. As thyroxine, it is the thyroid hormone that is most commonly prescribed in New Zealand and is funded by the health department. It works well for many hypothyroid people but has to be converted to T3 in order to be fully active. People can be hypothyroid when they do not make much T4 and also when they do not convert T4 to T3 very well. Some people remain unwell and have hypothyroid symptoms even when their blood tests indicate that they are taking enough T4.


Some T3 is made in the thyroid gland but most of it is made in the cells of the body. T3 is also prescribed by doctors but is not funded by the health department so costs more than the subsidised prescription of T4. It is provided by compounding pharmacies.


Whole Thyroid Extract

This is desiccated thyroid tissue from pigs. It contains T4, T3, T2 and T1. We know much less about the functions of T1 and T2 which are made in small amounts but studies are showing they do have a role.

May people who do not do so well on T4, feel better on whole thyroid. It is has been described as complimentary medicine and is not funded by the health department but is supplied by compounding pharmacies and can be prescribed by doctors.

The Diagnosis and Monitoring of Hypothyroidism

Blood tests have become the most commonly used way of diagnosing hypothyroidism and monitoring treatment.

However people with hypothyroid symptoms are sometimes told by their doctors after a blood test that their thyroid function is normal when a physical examination would suggest otherwise.

Blood tests are unreliable for several reasons. The levels of thyroid hormones in the blood are not the same as levels inside the cells. For this reason Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) has become the preferred test for diagnosing hypothyroidism. TSH is made in the pituitary. It tells the thyroid gland to make more thyroid hormone when levels of thyroid hormone inside the pituitary are low.

However TSH is also unreliable because the thyroid hormones cross easily into the pituitary whereas it requires active transport to get them into most other cells of the body. The pituitary can determine that there is plenty of thyroid hormone and it can lower its production of TSH when other parts of the body are deficient and require more hormone to be administered. Therefore a low or normal TSH does not necessarily mean that someone has enough thyroid hormone to be healthy.

While the blood tests are of assistance, they cannot be relied upon to give the final answer. This must come from the full clinical picture: the symptoms of the person, the clinical examination by the doctor and the results of blood test.

Reverse T3

T3 is also made by our bodies in the form of reverse T3 which has the same chemical makeup as T3 but is a different shape and is not able to instruct the cells the way that T3 does. In fact, it competes with T3 for the receptors. Reverse T3 can be measured but this test is not available in New Zealand and not funded. We send blood to Australia to measure it and if the ratio of reverse T3 to proper T3 is too high we treat you with T3 only for a period of time. This prevents you from making reverse T3 from T4.

Treatment of Adrenal Deficiency as well as thyroid deficiency

Successful thyroid treatment relies on adequate adrenal hormones.

1.    Cortisol from the adrenals is necessary to make the thyroid receptors

2.    If cortisol production is poor, then when thyroid hormones are administered the adrenals will spring into action with adequate adrenaline but without the cortisol to balance it and people will feel over stimulated.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D activates the thyroid receptors. Thus a vitamin D deficiency may be a cause of poor thyroid activity even though thyroid hormone levels may be adequate. Toomuch vitamin can cause excess calcium in the blood which can result in porr conversion of T4 to T3.

 Symptoms of thyroid overdosing include:

·       Increased resting pulse rate above 80 beats per minute (when calm & inactive)

·       Irregular heart rate

·       Increased nervousness or irritability

·       Excessive heat production

·       Excessive weight loss with increased appetite

·       Trembling fingers

·       Insomnia

·       Palpitations (awareness of your heart beating)

Note: symptoms that occur 1-2 days after starting or increasing the dose & are mild and are usually a normal adaptation that subsides after 1-2 days.

Problems with a low TSH when taking thyroid hormones

A low TSH may mean that you are taking too much thyroid and that your thyroid hormone needs to be reduced to prevent the problems associated with hyperthyroidism as above - in particular, those on your heart. Low thyroid function can also cause heart problems.

After menopause our estrogen levels plummet and we do not have the same amount of hormonal instruction to keep our bones healthy. In the absence of estrogen TSH plays more of a role. So there is concern that while your thyroid activity can be good with a low TSH your bone mineral density may not be if you are postmenopausal. Before menopause it is not a problem.

Therefore if you are postmenopausal requiring a low TSH for adequate thyroid function you should also be taking the estrogen and progesterone as prescribed by Karanga Health Centre.

If you have osteoporosis extra care must be taken and we may have to compromise thyroid function to protect your bones.


 An Holistic Approach

Hormones work by turning on or off certain genes. The genes then instruct the cell to make a protein. 50% of our proteins are enzymes that drive a chemical reaction and this is how the hormones make things happen.

The enzymes are proteins so it is important to have adequate protein in our diets and also to be digesting it well.

The enzymes have cofactors that are necessary for their proper function and these cofactors are mineral and vitamins. Thus it is also necessary to have adequate micronutrients – mineral and vitamins. Many people are not eating a diet that can adequately supply these things and take supplements to make up for it.


Reasons for Poor Conversion of T4 to T3

§  Deficiency of Minerals: zinc, selenium, manganese, iron, iodine.

§  Deficiency of Vitamins: A, B2, B6, B12.

§  Medication: Beta blockers, Oral Contraceptives, Lithium, Phenytoin, Theophylline, Chemotherapy.

§  Fluoride, Lead, Mercury, Copper, Calcium excess

§  Pesticides, Dioxins, PCBs, Radiation.

§  Stress, aging, xs alcohol, surgery.

§  Inadequate production of adrenal hormones

§  Diabetes

§  Over supplementation with Alpha lipoic acid.

§  Excessive soy, walnuts, cruciferous vegetables.

§  Low protein, fat or cabohydrate diet.



This is the website of the National Academy of Hypothyroidism and gives scientific reasons for disputing the orthodox information seen on

The website of the American Thyroid Association

How Karanga Health Was Named

Prior to the opening of Karanga, Tessa Jones was suddenly rendered immobile by muscle spasm in her lower back. Attempts to change this failed until a Maori healer came to visit and used her special powers. She asked Tessa if there was a question she was struggling to answer and Tessa replied that she didn’t know what to call the new health centre. The healer asked her ancestors for advice and they gave the name “Karanga”. Tessa felt honoured by this name but also inadequate and concerned that she might be considered pretentious or disrespectful.

The term Karanga refers to the exchange of calls that occur between Maori women when visitors are welcomed to a marae. It pays tribute to the departed and introduces the reason for the visit. The healer said that Tessa was calling people to come for their health and that it seemed appropriate.

The healing was successful but Tessa remained in awe of the name until a week or so later when she was at the wedding of a friend and the guest next to her whispered that the ceremony was like a Karanga.

Treatment of Estrogen & Progesterone Deficiencies in Postmenopausal Women

HRT has been found to increase the risk of breast cancer and some other unwanted problems. Bio-identical Hormone Supplementation (BHS) does not do this and the following 2 articles from medical journals present the evidence for this.


The Bioidentical Hormone Debate by Dr Kent Holtorf MD


The Effects of Compounded Boidentical Transdermal Hormone Therapy on Haemostatic, Inflammatory, Immune Factors; Cardiovascular Biomarkers; Quality of Life Measures; and Health Outcomes in Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women by Dr Kenna Stephenson MD, FAAFP et al.


The first article looks at the scientific studies and concludes that the physiological data and clinical outcomes demonstrate that bio-identical hormones are associated with lower risks including risks for breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. He also concludes that they work better than their synthetic and animal-derived counterparts.

The second article looked at 75 women and measured their hormones and blood for indicators of inflammation and clotting. They also asked them questions about their quality of life with respect to mood, energy etc. They then gave the women Estrogen, Progesterone, testosterone and DHEA in a human-identical form mimicking our natural physiology. The quality of life scores improved as did their blood markers for disease.

Estrogen deficiency can cause the following symptoms:

·       Fatigue

·       Depression

·       Poor libido

·       Poor memory

·       Hot flushes (fluctuating Estrogen levels)

·       Droopy breasts

·       Irregular periods

·       Light or absent periods

·       Uncomfortable intercourse due to poor lubrication

·       Decreased vitality of vulva & vaginal area

·       Recurrent bladder infections

·       Stress incontinence

·       Joint stiffness & discomfort

·       Dry eyes & mouth

·       Small sharp wrinkles above upper lip & corner of eyes


Estrogen deficiency is associated with the development of these health conditions:
Infertility, premature aging, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease

Progesterone naturally counterbalances the effects of Estrogen.
Most of the symptoms of Progesterone deficiency are also symptoms of Estrogen excess.


Progesterone deficiency (Estrogen excess) can cause:

·       Muscle & nervous tenseness

·       Irritability (as in Premenstrual syndrome PMS.)

·       Anxiety, anger, outbursts of panic or rage

·       Sleeping problems

·       Increased pain sensitivity

·       Premenstrual tension with breast tenderness & swollen breasts

·       Premenstrual abdominal bloating

·       Heavy periods

·       Reddish face/ swollen face

·       Enlarged breasts

·       Breast cysts

·       Swollen ankles


Note: a minimum level of Estrogen is required for symptoms of Progesterone deficiency to show up.

Progesterone deficiency has been associated with the following conditions
Breast cysts, uterine fibroids, enlarged uterus, infertility, breast cancer, PMS.

Tips for using Biest Cream

·       Spread a thin layer on a large surface area

·       Non hairy, non-fatty areas: upper chest, neck, inner arms, behind the knees. The face is also good because Estrogen acts against fine wrinkles and facial hair.

·       Avoid other creams & lotions where the Biest is applied

·       Avoid eating large amounts of cereal fiber (depletes Estrogen)

·       Don’t stop when being treated for anything else like an infection

The Story of Little Ms. Estrogen and Her Big Sister Ms. Progesterone

Ms. Estrogen is childlike in her exuberance for making things happen. She has little awareness of the effect of her actions. She is happy just to be doing something – anything. This is where big sister Progesterone comes in. Progesterone follows Estrogen around and tidies up after her, creating order out of chaos. When Estrogen goes to the beach she makes a big sand castle which is a blob. It’s up to Progesterone to define the doors, windows, turrets and moat.

These sisters depend on each other. Estrogen feels insecure without boundaries and gets herself into trouble with her friends and family because of her impulsiveness and lack of consideration. She tends to blame everybody else for life’s problems without being able to put a brake on herself. She needs Progesterone to put things in perspective.

Progesterone is able to be rational and creative in a constructive way, but she can’t do this on her own. She needs Estrogen to put the big blob of sand there before she can start shaping it. Estrogen grows in any direction, Progesterone defines the type of growth. Estrogen makes body cells grow and keep growing. Progesterone tells them to die off at the right time and let new ones take their place.

The first half of the female menstrual cycle is dominated by Estrogen who grows the lining of the uterus for implantation by an embryo and builds receptors for Progesterone. The second half of the menstrual cycle is dominated by Progesterone who either supports a pregnancy or allows the menstrual period to flow. If the hormonal balance is wrong then various problems occur. PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is quite common and refers to anything unpleasant that occurs regularly before and during the period each month.

PMS can occur when there is not enough Progesterone in the second half of the cycle – from ovulation (around day 14) to the menstrual blood flow (day 1) or not enough Estrogen in the first half -from bleeding (day 1) to ovulation (day 14).

Whilst women have these 2 hormones in or out of balance, men have just one, Mr. Testosterone. Life is a bit easier for Mr. Testosterone in this way. With only one sex hormone to contend with, he tends to be steadier. Testosterone has a calming, loving protective nature. He does well when he feels his love returned. He can find it very confusing when Ms. E and Ms. P are not in balance and his confusion and feelings of rejection can turn to anger. A mature Mr. T can recognise the symptoms of PMS and use his calming, loving influence to advantage until things right themselves with the flow of blood.

In a lesbian relationship, things can be more difficult if both women have PMS at the same time. On the other hand there can be more understanding of a direct nature.

More about Estrogen


Once upon a time on a church steeple, I saw a large and lofty piece of graffiti. It said “Eve was framed”. I sometimes think I would like to write a similar graffiti somewhere which says “Estrogen has been framed”.

Estrogen is probably the most complicated of hormones and very important being in charge of reproduction and the survival of the species. She herself is not just one hormone. There are 3 different types. We call them E1, E2 and E3.

E1 on its way out of the body goes down 3 different pathways:




These last 2 when they dominate can change things in such a way that hormonal cancers grow.

They dominate under the influence of plastics, pesticides, BPAs. These environmental Estrogen disruptors and a diet low in important nutrients found in whole foods are the problem – not our precious Estrogen. GM foods that allow “Round Up” to be used in agriculture without destroying the crops are dangerous. “Round Up” or glyphosate, we were told broke down quickly in the environment. No, it is in the rain, the rivers, the soils and our bodies. It is an Estrogen disruptor. The World Health Organisation produced a report in 2012 that pointed to an excess of 800 Estrogen mimickers in the environment.


Health professionals are in a difficult position being asked to return people to health when it is our environment and our lifestyle that is contributing to so many of our problems. If it is too expensive to buy organic food, then somehow we must find a way to grow our own. We must eat whole clean foods that are rich in nutrients and not wrapped in plastic.

Testosterone and Estrogen

Men make Estrogen out of their testosterone and are also vulnerable to the Estrogen disruptors. As men age and when they have not enough zinc they tend to make more Estrogen. When women have stopped having periods they tend to have less Estrogen than men.

Treatments for Hormonal Imbalance and Deficiency

When people have health issues that seem likely to be, at least in part, due to hormonal issues we can do tests to determine the levels of hormones. If we find that Progesterone is deficient in the second half of the menstrual cycle we can treat the deficiency using Progesterone in the same form that the body makes it. This is natural Progesterone and works as described above to keep Estrogen in control.

We can also measure the different types of Estrogen (this test is not government funded) and adjust the diet to aid the production of the healthier types of Estrogen.


When our ovaries stop making eggs and our periods stop, usually around the age of 50, our Estrogen levels are then much lower than we have been used to. This is a shock which is experienced as hot flushes and other unpleasant symptoms. which can be debilitating at a time of life when women often have important responsibilities.

·       Estrogen can be used in a form that is the same as the healthy Estrogens and balanced with Progesterone. This has been shown to be safe and effective.

·       Estrogen and Progesterone can be taken in the “bio-identical” form safely into “old age” with a view to having a healthier old age.

·       Estrogen helps to protect against dementia, arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease etc. Estrogen is also associated with happiness.


I have told this story in a way that is hopefully easy to understand without losing accuracy.

Dr. Tessa Jones