Connection between hormones and brain health

Charles Carpenter, MD, talks about the connection between hormones and brain health.

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We cannot live without fat

The F-Word: 10 Facts You Didn’t Know about fat and why you need it.

“We’re talking fat here, people. Ask any person on the street for their definition of the exact opposite of “healthy” and they’re likely to say “fat.” – Grace McCalmon via Refinery29

Read the article at Refinery29

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How are my labs normal when I feel terrible?

“Your lab work is fine, you’re in the “normal” reference range!” Has your physician ever to said that to you?

Frequently in medicine, when you have your blood drawn to check various indicators of health in your body e.g. your cholesterol or blood sugar, your health practitioner usually suggests everything is ok as long as you fall within the “normal” reference range. However, being “normal” within a very large and broad reference range falsely misleads and lulls us into thinking our bodies are doing fine when in fact, we are really slowly developing a disease.

This is why it is important to discern where your lab numbers are ending up within that broad normal range..e.g. are they in the lower end, the middle or the upper end of the range.

This concept of where you end up in the reference range is vital because disease runs along a continuum-i.e. it does not just happen all of a sudden overnight. Diabetes is an example where you can be living your life for 10-20 years, thinking that everything is ok and meanwhile in the background your blood sugar is silently creeping up all the while within the reference range.

It is kind of like walking to the edge of a cliff…the closer you get to the edge…5 feet, 4 feet, 3 feet, 1 foot, 6 inches etc the scarier it becomes. As you get closer to the edge of the cliff, you still have not fallen off but the risk of falling is getting higher…So do you really want to wait until you are at the edge of the reference range before you decide to act or you’ve developed a disease?

In my practice, I focus on preventing diseases before they occur. I use the idea then of a functional range which has a tighter range within the normal reference range that enables a person to see if they are achieving optimal health or if they are edging closer and sliding down the slippery slope of disease.

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Does your man use Zoloft or any other Serotonin Reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) to increase his MOOD?

A recent study looking at the impact of the commonly used antidepressant, Zoloft, discovered that Zoloft may adversely affect a man’s fertility by a decrease in his sperm count and more abnormal sperm. This news is definitely not good because we know that these selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Zoloft, Celexa etc. can decrease a man’s libido and soften his erections. OUCH!

A man’s mood can be significantly impacted by a variety of factors such as stress, abnormal blood sugar or low testosterone, so it’s vital that one consider and appropriately evaluate these factors before ingesting an antidepressant. In my integrative medical practice, I search for the underlying causes that contribute to feeling down or out of sorts before reaching for the big pharmaceutical hammer!

Medications can do wonders for the body, however it’s important to learn about the mutiple possible side effects because of the ongoing and ever changing medical research.

A man who wants to maintain his fertility, must be cautious about using Zoloft and become educated and informed about other approaches to uplift his mood.

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Interview with Fat To Fit My Quest

This is a recent podcast interview with Fat To Fit My Quest.

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Introducing Effects of Menopause and Bioidentical Hormones

Dr. Carpenter talks about the effects of menopause and bioidentical hormones.

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Is your thyroid making you tired?

A growing epidemic in the U.S. is hypothyroidism—a condition describing an underactive thyroid. The thyroid gland is a major player in every aspect of our being. Despite its critical role, as much as half of the more than 25 million people with hypothyroidism are undiagnosed.

The thyroid gland is found in the neck and comes from the ancient Greek word meaning “shield,” due to the shape of its associated cartilage. Yet, the word happens to describe more than its shape—it shields us from wearing down due to stress and disease, serves as the catalyst for stimulating energy, muscle growth, and metabolic rate, encourages a balanced interplay of all other hormones in your body, and supports brain function.

In general, the main features of an underactive thyroid include low energy, never feeling rested, feeling cold, loss of concentration, menstrual irregularities, weight gain, constipation, chronic digestive problems, depression, dry and itchy skin, and hair loss. A poorly functioning thyroid means less energy, making it difficult to work out and be active. Even if you are able to muster the energy, it will be almost impossible to build muscle. In terms of weight loss, an underactive thyroid makes it difficult to lose weight and burn fat. Finally, a dysfunctional thyroid will play havoc on women’s and men’s sex hormones leading to low sex drive, menstrual irregularities, irritable mood, and a foggy brain. In other words, the thyroid makes or breaks your performance in all areas of your life.

It pays to identify a dysfunctional thyroid as early as possible. The challenge is that more than one hundred different symptoms may be associated with an irregular functioning thyroid. In addition, these symptoms may occur gradually, worsen over time, and mimic the symptoms of other illnesses, making an underactive thyroid difficult to diagnose.

A blood chemistry test may help identify a thyroid problem—yet, it may not be the best method. The most common and officially recognized gold standard to evaluate your thyroid is based on a measure called TSH, which is not as accurate or sensitive as it needs to be in order to identify when a person’s thyroid is malfunctioning. However, the test continues to be widely used because it was one of the first test methods for hypothyroidism and is easy to use.

Moreover, it takes years for new research findings and clinical discoveries to percolate through the actual practice of medicine. So while there are more effective and accurate tests available, the usual mode of thyroid testing reflects this sad reality. Meanwhile, people continue to feel lousy and are trapped in outdated and archaic standards of healthcare. As part of an integrative medicine approach, I include a more thorough and comprehensive lab panel in order to fully investigate a person’s thyroid. Only by incorporating the most current thyroid tests, I can either rule out or diagnose a thyroid problem as the source of your symptoms.

Finally, after determining if the thyroid is part of the problem, the individual must receive a tailored, personal treatment that goes beyond just the standard Synthroid dosing regimen. One size does not fit all. For example, a person may need both T4 and T3. In addition to treating the disease, it is essential to find the underlying root cause of the disease and create an environment for your body to self-heal and function properly. Thyroid problems can result from irregular blood sugar levels, poor digestion, food sensitivities, adrenal problems, chronic inflammation, nutritional deficiencies, and/or environmental toxins.

In order to support proper thyroid function, and to support overall health in general, I encourage you to practice the lifestyle pillars of health including proper sleep, a well programmed exercise routine, a low-glycemic and anti-inflammatory diet, and relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga. Despite these efforts, if you start to experience the symptoms of hypothyroidism, then a comprehensive thyroid panel and a targeted treatment strategy will keep you performing at your best.

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Learn all about bio-identical hormone replacement therapy

I have been delivering several presentations lately and wanted to emphasize how this is a great way to get to know me more personally, ask questions, and determine whether what I do fits with what you are looking for…all FREE of charge!

I have a few presentations coming up:

Professional Village Pharmacy: Attention MEN! BHRT (bio-identical hormone replacement therapy) has traditionally focused on women. However, hormone balance is a critical issue for men too, impacting quality of life and energy levels. Combined with a sudden large influx of ads and commercials advertising prescription testosterone and claiming how many men “suffer from low T,” it is important for men to understand the role that hormones play in their lives. At this seminar, you will learn about BHRT for men.

More info: Wednesday, March 20, 7- 9 pm; Professional Village Pharmacy, 1701 Professional Drive, Sacramento, CA 95825. Please RSVP at 916-483-3455 or on their website:

Parkside Pharmacy: I will discuss the role of BHRT in supporting women’s health, quality of life, and longevity.  Hormone imbalances in women can be the root cause of many conditions including migraines, fatigue, menopausal symptoms, and sleep problems.  I will answer your questions about whether BHRT is right for you, the risks and benefits, and why your primary care physician does not know more about BHRT.

More info:  Thursday, March 28, 6:30-8pm; Parkside Pharmacy, 4404 Del Rio Rd., Sacramento, CA 95822. Please RSVP at 916-452-2200 or email

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Hot Flashes and Bio identical hormones treatment-The GOOD Solution

In my last article, I talked about  the BAD form of estrogen, namely Premarin. Today, I am going to look at the GOOD form, appropriately named, Human Identical Estrogen.  Remember, estrogen is a term that is frequently used in a broad and global way, never truly differentiating the difference between the various forms of estrogen available. It would be like saying that all women are the same and you don’t have to bother getting to know the women in your life because they are all generic copies of each other, a concept which is as utterly ridiculous as the way estrogen is talked about in the current day.

My mother always taught me that I had to dig out the details of a story to find the truth, so dig we must into the dizzying world of estrogen. The twisting and conflicting medical opinions bounce back and forth like one of my children’s pendulum toys because the difference between the good and the bad estrogen is glossed over. The good estrogen which is the solution to hot flashes and other things to be discussed in future articles is the same estrogen that the female body has always made throughout her entire life prior to the time when her ovaries shut down and she enters “the change or called menopause.” This good form of estrogen is the same, down to the basic molecular level and this is why the mantra in our clinic is that the hormones that you are taking are the same ones that your body has been making.

What does this mean? Put simply, the estrogenic molecule found naturally in the woman’s body is identical to the one that can be prescribed to support the woman in managing her hot flashes and night sweats.  The woman’s body knows this good form of estrogen as intimately as her own flesh and welcomes it as a familiar friend.  Her body knows how to receive it and handle it well without causing any side effects.  This proper, correct and good form of estrogen stands apart in stark contrast to the bad, counterfeit form of estrogen, particularly premarin which is the one that the pharmaceutical companies have pedaled to doctors and advertised to women for decades, in their effort to make as much money as possible, while at great cost and terrible disease side effects to women.  Their mantra is one of deception not truth, confusion not clarity and now after the light has been shown on the bad form of estrogen, they continue to try and encourage woman to use their counterfeit estrogenic hormone saying that you can safely use it if you take the least amount for the shortest amount of time, but cant they see that the least amount of  counterfeit estrogen is none and the least amount of time is never!

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Hot flash therapy and bioidentical hormones

Hot Flash Therapy-The BAD and the GOOD

In my last article, I talked about a cooling hormone solution to those life disrupting, suffering inducing hot flashes and night sweats. This solution is found in the hormone called estrogen. But wait, you think, I read that estrogen causes cancer and heart attacks. So first, before you toss this article to the side,  I need to explain how the term estrogen is misused and causes so much confusion and exasperation in women who just want to know the truth so that they can feel better and move on with their lives in their menopausal stage of life.

There are two categories of estrogen available and which have been used to support the woman’s body in the postmenopausal time period.  One category consists of the bad form of estrogens which I call counterfeit estrogens. The second category consists of the good form of estrogens, which I call human identical estrogens. This human identical estrogen category is also referred to in the media by the term “bio-identical” and in a later article, I will explain why I avoid the use of this term.

Now, if a woman is prescribed the counterfeit estrogen as her hormone solution, she will experience relief from the hot flashes but unfortunately, using these counterfeit estrogens come at a great cost, in that, she will develop those terrible side effects that you read about in the media, regarding cancer, strokes and heart attacks.

So what was the main counterfeit estrogen hormone being given to women in  the famous Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study in 2002? It was a form of estrogen called PREMARIN. And what is Premarin you wonder. It is an abbreviation of estrogen that is found in a female horse. Yes, you read that right, It is not an estrogen found in a female human being, but rather a female horse. The word premarin stands for PREgnant MARe uRINe.  Now, why in the world would a pharmaceutical company create a pill that utilized as its ingredients , estrogenic hormones from the pregnant female horse?  The main reason is that they can patent it and make tons of money of which they did throughout the 1950’s, 1960’s and continuing on until 2002 when the WHI study demonstrated that using this horse estrogen carried with it terrible side effects of heart attacks and strokes.

This horse estrogen is as foreign to a woman’s body as a lunar rock is to the earth.  I recently visited the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. and had a chance to see some lunar rocks but I could not touch them because they were kept in a sealed glass container and that is exactly what we should do with the counterfeit estrogen hormone of premarin-keep it  in a glass container not to be touched or swallowed.  This form of estrogen is akin to trying to put gasoline as a substitute for water on a flower bed. It just aint gonna work. However, if a pregnant horse should walk into my office having hot flashes, then I will open up that sealed bottle and give it some premarin!

In my next article, I will discuss the good human identical estrogen.

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