Expert Interview: Hormones and Oral Health – What You Must Know
AUTHOR OF HORMONE HERESY AND OTHER POPULAR HEALTH BOOKS
Dr Sherrill Sellman
Dr Sherrill Sellman, a world recognized expert in the field of women’s hormonal health, addresses how the changing hormone levels through a woman’s life create or impair her experience of optimal immune function.
There’s plenty of information for the Gents here too!
Questions Dr Sellman expertly addresses include:
- How can we support our immune function during common challenge times like during pregnancy when gum disease regularly makes serious advances in a woman’s mouth?
- What modern tests are available to really provide us a much greater grasp of how to create greater overall health?
- The importance of minerals to optimize our oral health and much more!
Healthy Mouth World Summit
Guest: Sherrill Sellman
Hormones and Oral Health: What You Need to Know
Will: The next expert to share their experience with us here at the Healthy Mouth World Summit is Dr. Sherrill Sellman. Dr. Sellman, a doctor of traditional naturopathy and board certified in integrative medicine is a leading voice in women’s holistic health and wellness. She is internationally respected as a dynamic lecturer, authoritative write, and investigative journalist, assisting women to access truthful information and safe, holistic solutions regarding the many aspects of their hormonal health and well-being.
She is the author of the best-selling book Hormone Heresy: What Women Must Know About Their Hormones, and her latest book What Women Must Know to Protect Their Daughters From Breast Cancer. Sherrill is also a psychotherapist, health journalist, and hormone wellness coach. She teachers, lectures, and consults worldwide. Dr. Sellman also hosts a weekly radio show called “What Women Must Know: Empowering Women with Truthful Information and In-Depth Conversations regarding their bodies, hormones, and pertinent life issues.”
The title of Dr. Sellman’s presentation today is “Hormones and Oral Health: What You Need to Know.” Dr. Sheryl Sellman, welcome to the Healthy Mouth World Summit!
Dr. Sellman: Well, it’s a pleasure to be with you today!
Will: It is such an honor to have you here. We’re really excited to hear how you add to the conversation of the Summit uniquely regarding your expertise and the role of hormones to create optimal immunity in your experience in that specific field. So, I’m very excited about having you here today.
Let’s just jump right in! Can you give us a broad brushstroke through the subject of hormones as they relate to creating optimal immune response?
Dr. Sellman: [Laughs] Okay! We have a big topic! Well, I’m just going to give a little Hormones 101, if I may, because that will help a lot.
Will: Sounds great!
Dr. Sellman: You know, I have written a book called Hormone Heresy: What Women Must Know About Their Hormones. And I’ve been researching and really delving into the world of hormones for many, many, many years now. And, I must say I continue to learn as the research continues to unfold about what’s going on with our hormones and health.
But, there are some basic guidelines we need to understand. There are numerous myths, as I like to call them, about our hormones. And we need to set the record straight. So, I spend a lot of my time clearing out the old belief system so we can set in place a new foundation from which people can work, particularly women.
So, here we go. Essentially, our key reproductive hormones, most people know them as estrogens. An estrogen is a hormone that stimulates many functions in the body. It actually has an impact on our immune system. When our hormones are in balance, everything is coming along just fine. But, when they get out of balance, which is a common condition, then functions start to be impaired.
For instance, estrogen is necessary for a variety of hormonal messages that go throughout the body. Hormones actually deliver their messages to every single cell. And estrogen is appropriate to create [inaudible] in puberty. Estrogen starts to increase and it creates secondary sex characteristics. So, that’s when women start changing their body shapes, start menstruating. But, it also can impact our moods, our energy, our immunity.
The dance of hormones always have relationships. So, progesterone has a partnership with other hormones. One of the partners is progesterone. This is a hormone that is made primarily in menstruating women. Every time they ovulate, their little follicle, the little sacks that can emerge into the ovary as that follicle matures, is also an endocrine gland making progesterone. So, you must ovulate to make progesterone.
Progesterone and estrogen have a relationship. They do a dance together. While estrogen is proliferative in nature, which means the message estrogen gives to cells is to grow, grow, grow. It grows the lining of the uterus. It helps breast tissue to grow. It’s one of its jobs. And it has this partner, progesterone, which gives the brake on the growth process. So, it will tell the cells to stop growing, to have proper life cycles.
And progesterone has other functions. And it turns into other hormones, particularly being a precursor to our adrenal hormones, our stress hormones. So, progesterone as a hormone in itself is also a precursor. Estrogen in itself is just a hormone. It doesn’t have any other jobs to do than just give its little messages around the body.
The problem is that we live in a society and a culture right now that is extremely estrogenic in nature. So, there’s a term called estrogen dominance. It’s a term that means that we have exposure to numerous chemicals in the environment that are estrogenic. So, we are exposed to lots of these estrogen-like chemicals, more than every before in the history of humanity.
Of course, women are taking more hormones in the form of birth control pills or natural progesterone or bio-identical hormones. And that’s impacting how our body responds. Then you have conditions like pregnancy. And that’s when a woman is making the highest amounts of these hormones, estrogen and progesterone in her life. And combine that with toxicity in our environment and the impaired ability to clear these estrogens out because our liver is a little overworked, that creates other sources of turning estrogen that we should be clearing out into a more potent form and reabsorbing it.
So, we’re getting lots and lots of estrogen. And estrogen actually is pro- inflammatory in nature. So, when we are experiencing an imbalance of too much estrogen and too little progesterone, which is what is occurring when women are dealing with PMS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, endometriosis, fibroids, when they have menopausal symptoms, peri-menopausal symptoms, we’re talking estrogen excess, progesterone deficiency. And, that creates pro-inflammatory conditions in the body.
And then we have pro-inflammatory conditions in the body. Then the immune system really is out of kilter. It can be an overactive immune system. So, people who have estrogen dominance can have autoimmune conditions showing up. It can impair thyroid function.
So, then we have metabolic issues showing up. It can affect insulin levels. When estrogen is too much, it has a relationship in increasing insulin levels. Now, we’re into fat storage. Insulin and sugar is pro-inflammatory. And it suppresses thyroid.
So, we have this symphony going on that’s so delicate. And we need to be aware of what is really occurring so we can support our body, we can support our hormones, and we can stay in balance as we go through all the different cycles of our life.
Dr. Sellman: That make sense?
Will: It does! It really does. You so eloquently danced across that whole subject. Obviously, you’ve been at this a while!
Dr. Sellman: I want to just mention some of the myths that are really critical for women to understand because when we operate with misinformation, we are inclined to make bad choices because we’re not making choices based on truth. So, just real quickly, the things I’d like to share with women listening.
Number one, at menopause, we do not run out of estrogen. That our ovaries do not fail. We don’t give up the ghost, so to speak. In fact. we have this brilliant, brilliant innate intelligence within us that allows us to make changes in the hormone production, 40% to 60% reduction in estrogen in a menopausal woman. But, by no means do the ovaries cease totally.
So, that belief system operates in the traditional medical model, and hence has given birth to the need for hormone replacement therapy or bio-identical hormones. It’s not true. The ovaries don’t cease to function. The majority of women, if they’re carrying any extra weight on them, whether it’s premenopausal, peri-menopausal, or postmenopausal, are producing tons of estrogen. In fact, an overweight, postmenopausal woman has more estrogen in her body than a thin premenopausal woman or menstruating women.
So, we’re not running out of estrogen as the medical books are saying, as traditional medical doctors are saying. We’re showing up to have high amounts of estrogen. And what is a problem is a low production of progesterone. If women are stressed, if they’re overexercising, if they’re sick, if their nutrition is poor, then they are more liable to be skipping ovulations because the intelligence of the body will take offline that which is not essential for key functions of the body. And the first thing that’s to go offline is the reproductive system. So, when we don’t ovulate, we don’t make progesterone.
So, it’s so common for women with all the conditions we mentioned earlier are really showing up with estrogen excess / progesterone deficiency. And even menopausal and postmenopausal women are showing up with high levels of estrogen, not deficiencies.
And that gets measured by saliva testing, by the way, the most accurate way to assess your hormones. Unfortunately, blood serum testing for hormone levels is a seriously flawed test to really see what’s going on. It can lead to a lot of misdiagnosis and mistreatment.
Will: Hey, can I interject for just one minute? Because I’m under the impression that I’ll bet it still applies. And for the fellas who listen to this presentation here, not only does it apply for women — although obviously you’re discussing about the cycles of a woman’s life, and so there’s a changing terrain there — but, this idea of estrogen dominance also applies to men in our culture, it seems like, and the resulting liver congestion and thyroid impairment and all that kind of clicks all down for the guys, too, huh?
Dr. Sellman: Absolutely! I will tell you something that there’s a big problem with estrogen dominance in men. When men start putting a gut on, which we have a huge problem with overweight and obese, just huge, huge problem in our country and around the world, that visceral fat, that belly that men have, women put it on. They lose their waist. They put it in their hips or thighs.
Men just seem to stack it right in their abdomen. That fat isn’t just blubber that hangs out there. It is the most active metabolic organ in the body producing inflammatory chemicals. And, now we have chronic inflammation that becomes systemic. It impairs the immune system. And it also is a little factory making estrogen.
So, men are showing up with estrogen dominance. And in their case, while breast cancer is showing up in men, it also shows up as enlarged prostates or prostate cancer because the prostate is an estrogen-sensitive organ. And as it turns out, men over 50 have more estrogen circulating in their bodies than women of the same age. How do you like that?
Will: Oh, my. Our society is so confused at this point. Oh, my goodness. Wow!
Dr. Sellman: [Laughs] Our poor little bodies. So, we need to really cut through the myths and misinformation and the propaganda when it comes to our health. And, you need a really wise, experienced alternative practitioner to really help guide you. It’s often too much for people to do on their own, especially when we’re talking about hormones and autoimmune diseases and all the things that show up.
But, there are some practical guidelines that everyone really can follow that make a huge difference. And we can talk more about them, as well.
Will: Wow. Obviously, this is a Healthy Mouth Summit. It’s structured around oral health. But I also realize the implication and we’re very much grounded in the idea that as we support greater immunological health, then our oral health follows, which is why I think you’re such a key person to the Summit here.
So, how do hormones directly play into maintaining greater oral health?
Dr. Sellman: Well, first of all, we said if your hormones are out of balance and you’re dealing with too much estrogen, it’s pro-inflammatory. And it will alter the immune system as people tend to have an overactive immune system. But it can go either way. The hormones will impair the immune system. And, of course, that shows up in what’s happening in our gums.
But, I’ll tell you the hormone that probably is the big player when it comes to our oral health. And that is cortisol. That is the hormone made by our adrenal glands. It’s the long-term stress hormone which means it should be the hormone that we rely on to help us deal with stress that goes on for a period of time.
But, stress never turns off in our lives now. And, so, what’s happening is that we have high amounts of cortisol being produced. So, let me just tell you a couple of things about cortisol. So, again, it’s the stress hormone. Whenever we’re under stress or sitting in traffic or worrying about finances or having difficulty with our kids, even overexercising, the stress hormones come into play.
I’ve tested thousands of women. My practice is mostly women. I have yet to find a woman who wasn’t in some stage of adrenal dysfunction. So, this is a big issue in our culture. When you are dealing with stress and you’re making this stress hormone called cortisol, cortisol directly impacts the immune system. And it actually will alter immune function. It will overstimulate, under-stimulate.
If the immune system goes out of whack, it has a direct correlation with the gut immunity that is found in our digestive tract. Your key immune system is found in your entire digestive tract, your mucosal membrane throughout your entire digestive tract. That actually is an immune system. That’s part of your immune system. And when you’re under stress, that’s impaired. Your immune system gets weaker.
And, people who have periodontal disease and bleeding gums, this whole condition, which is part of a compromised immune system, is directly related to cortisol and the stress hormones and the stress levels that people are going through.
So, our stress shows up in our mouths as well as other places, as well. But it’s definitely showing up in our mouths because cortisol, amongst many things, it alters our hormones. It alters our insulin levels, how we process sugar. It affects our memory. It affects our moods. It affects our sleep. But, it definitely directly impacts our immune health and immune balance.
I see that as a direct correlation. The more stress you’re under, the more your immune system is impaired and the more it’s going to show up with conditions going on in your mouth.
Will: Sure. That totally makes sense. So, what about during times of stress like pregnancy? Why do so many women experience an increased breakdown in their oral health during this time?
Dr. Sellman: It’s a really interesting question. I’m not an obstetrician. [Laughs] But I’ve asked friends who are. And I’ve asked other people this question. So, my OBGYN friend who is a holistic practitioner, when I asked her, she also thought about it. She said, well, she doesn’t really know.
However, during pregnancy, your body makes a 60% increase in fluids. So, everything is enhanced. These fluid productions are intensified, so women tend to get a little more swelling going on in their hands and feet, they need a little more saliva. And she said that can alter the terrain going on within the mouth, as well.
My colleague who is a renowned biological dentist and a naturopath, I put it to him. And he has researched this. And he feels it correlates with the nutritional status and the mineral status of the mother before conception and at the time of conception during pregnancy.
So, we need to understand that many women conceive before they have actually taken 6 to 12 months to totally cleanse and detoxify their bodies, and their partners, as well.
So, we go into pregnancy, which is a miracle if we’re nutritionally deficient if we get pregnant. But, while we’re in that pregnant state, pregnancy draws so much energy from a woman that she has to be in tip top health because if she isn’t, then the demands of the growing fetus are going to rob the mother of her nutritional status and will put greater stress on the mother. She will get depleted because she can’t keep up with the demands for herself and a growing baby.
And the more we are nutritionally depleted, lacking in minerals, lacking in proper vitamins, the more we are going to be vulnerable to imbalances that show up because the body just can’t keep up with all of these demands. So, I always tell women, “You must take 6 months before you even consider wanting to conceive, and clean up your body. Get your nutrition sorted out. Get tested. Make sure everything is running optimally. You have optimal intracellular nutrition. You want to be in tip-top condition.”
Because what I always tell women is that the greatest gift…We all want to give our children the greatest inheritance. And we think about it as money and prestige and all that stuff. But, I’ll tell you what the greatest inheritance you give your child, and that is a strong constitutional health. And that strong constitutional health, which will impact that child’s ability to function in a dynamic healthy way throughout that person’s life is determined by the health of the parents at the time of conception.
I know you’re very involved in Chinese medicine. A key principle of Chinese medicine: you are giving your child your health at the time of conception. So, it better be the best health state you’ve ever been in.
Will: I wholeheartedly agree with you, Dr. Sellman. Whether you’re looking at it from a traditional Chinese medical standpoint or you’re looking at it from a nutritional standpoint, Dr. Francis Pottenger proved that, that whatever state of immunological function and state of health that we’re in when we conceive that offspring, we’re passing to them an epigenetic capability. We’re giving to them a possibility of reaching up from what we genetically can, or down, depending on our nutritional makeup.
Dr. Sellman: Well, I have to say, I do nutritional and genomic testing. I’ve been working with the tests that look at the genes that are critical for key functions in the body. And I can tell you, Will, 60% of Caucasians have glutathione genes that are impaired or deleted. They don’t even show up. Glutathione is your body’s number one anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxifying chemical or molecule the body makes.
And, if that is impaired, then we are at risk. We can’t detoxify properly, and we can’t deal with inflammation and free radical damage properly. I see that most women who do this test, and men, two, have genes that are paired with their vitamin D receptors. So, they may be sitting in the sun. They may be taking cod liver oil. They may be taking vitamin D supplements. But, it doesn’t mean the body has the blueprints to turn it into the levels of vitamin D they need, which also directly impact our immune system, which is why everyone should get a vitamin D test done. And you want to show up in optimal range, not just in normal reference range, an optimal range. 70 or 80 is the range.
And, also people are generally immune impaired with their ability to metabolize folic acid. And folic acid is necessary for having a healthy child because we know that spina bifida is from a folic acid deficiency. But this isn’t about taking tons of folic acid. This is a genetic inability to turn folic acid into the active form that the body uses to protect against birth deformities and cancers and detoxification and inflammation, healthy immune system.
So, genetically, we are challenged as a culture. And we need to really support our body by getting this knowledge to optimize the nutrition that we’re taking so we can hit the bullseye with the nutrition. We want to do that before we get pregnant. We want to do that at any point in our lives because the older you get, the more these imbalances and deficiencies start showing up as chronic health issues.
Will: I totally agree. I’m reminded of an ancient Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a fruit tree was ten years ago. The second best time is today.”
Dr. Sellman: [Laughs] Yeah. Right! And that is so true. And I believe, and we’ve seen this with epigenetic studies that have been done, that if we can optimize the health of our children and the time in the womb, because a lot of this damage is occurring in the womb right now, so if we can start off really healthy and then have a really, really healthy pregnancy, create the environment, the nutrition and the emotional state, everything, then we are actually creating the opportunity to switch these genes on that have been off. And switch them in an appropriate way so we can have our progeny show up with highly functioning genes. We can do that.
Our genes are kind of set. But, if we give our children starting in the womb all the support to optimize function, be in a toxic-free environment, good nutrition and compassion, meditate, then actually we are changing the future. We are changing the future.
Will: Yeah. Very, very well put. So, can you discuss how women can maintain greater oral health and generally greater immunological health during pregnancy? I know that a lot of people that follow us are moms or moms-to-be or still building their families. So, I think that hearing your take on what women can do during this critical time…You just touched on a lot. Can you give us some specifics?
Dr. Sellman: Well, I think we have to stay away from sugar. If you want one inflammatory food that is going to create inflammation…You’ve had so many great speakers and they’ve gone over the point that your mouth, when your gums are inflamed, when they’re impaired, it’s like open slather to get into the bloodstream. That tissue is open. It’s no longer a barrier. So, bacteria can get into your bloodstream when you have gum disease and it’s bleeding. It’s just going directly into your body.
So, we need to be sure that we are reducing foods that are inflammatory in nature, that builds up the bacteria in our mouths, that leads to the development of plaque, which will increase bleeding of the gums and, of course, of cavities. And, you have to give sugar the credit for being the most destructive substance, not even a food, that we can put into our bodies.
And, I hate to say it, but carbohydrates like the breads and the wheat products, the bagels, the pancakes, the cookies, they all go into that same category because they just become sugar as we start digesting them. And they are pro- inflammatory. So, you want to really be supporting your oral health with natural foods. And we will talk more about why I am a big fan of xylitol if you want to do it here, we can do it here. Or we can do it later on in our conversation.
But, I think we need to do things that are going to support our oral health with good mouth washes. There’s some great professional products out there. I have to say one of my personal favorite oral healthcare products is using a form of silver. It’s actually a nano silver. And that will kill bacteria, viruses, fungus. And I use it as a mouthwash, and I swallow it.
There are many good products out there that actually have anti-bacterial, anti- viral and anti-fungal properties. So, our mouth is the most toxic part of our body [Laughs] You know? And, when you realize how it’s a little incubator for bacteria, you have a totally different perception of kissing, I can tell you that! [Laughs] It ruins the romantic aspect of it! But, it’s true.
So, we need to support our body by getting rid of the junk food, the toxic foods, the sugary foods. And giving our body highly nutritious, what I call “dense nutrition,” so everything that we need to feed ourselves is available. We’re not putting anything in our body that is taking away and stressing and depleting the nutrition that is going on.
Oral health is critical. I don’t need to go into that. You’ve done that — the flossing, good quality brushing, maybe the irrigating, as well. But, it’s the sugar, sugar, sugar. And can we talk about that a little bit, all the sugar?
Will: Sure! Yeah!
Dr. Sellman: Okay. So, sugar is pro-inflammatory. So, we’ve talked about how the more inflammation we have, the more our inflammation could show up as bleeding gums. I don’t know if it’s been covered as much about the bacterial growth that goes on in our mouth…Well, let’s do that!
Will: Yeah, go for it!
Dr. Sellman: Even if that’s been discussed, we’ll do it again. So, here’s what I recently learned. There is a particular bacteria that is the cause of cavities and build up of plaque and what we call biofilms, which we can talk a little bit about, as well. And it’s called mutans S. It’s a streptococcus.
And this is fascinating. Sugar is a problem because it feeds the bacteria. It’s the bacteria. It’s this mutant S, this mutant streptococcus strain of bacteria that actually is the primary cause of the buildup of plaque and cavities and ultimately periodontal disease. Isn’t that interesting?
So, the thing about this bacteria, number one, when we’re born, we don’t have it in our mouths. It is acquired. It is acquired from our parents. So, as babies, when our parents kiss us and parents share food and there’s all sorts of ways that that bacteria from the mother and caregivers — father, grandparents, whoever — gets transferred into that baby’s mouth. And it begins a development of colonization of mutant strep.
And, if you add sugary drinks, bacteria thrive on sugar. So, the more we feed our body sugary things, the more we are actually feeding mutant strep. And that really is the ultimate cause, like one of those root cause issues, that generate into periodontal disease and cavities and plaque and a thing called biofilm.
So, a lot of people have biofilms. And dentists can do staining. They actually can stain the teeth. And if there are these conditions going on that shows up as purple on the teeth, they see it. And biofilms is this collection of bacteria and viruses and yeasts that all kind of band together. And they create this mucilaginous protection.
So, they seal themselves in. They are very difficult to get at through antibiotics. They’re very antibiotic resistant. They’re smart little buggers. They actually communicate with each other. And when they’re under attack like with an antibiotic directed at them, they will share information and figure out a way to survive that attack. So, they get stronger and more resistant
So, we have these biofilms throughout our body, but they’re also showing up in our mouth, making it very resistant to a lot of the attempts to reduce the periodontal disease and infections going on in our mouths.
So, the story is this. What has been shown to be really effective…I mean, there are many things. There’s ozone. There’s hydrogen peroxide. There’s silver. There are many things that can help keep these bacteria at bay. One of the things that we can be doing because there are studies showing how effective it is when you use xylitol.
So, xylitol is a natural sweetener. It is found in gums, in mints. It’s found as a mouthwash. It’s found in toothpaste. It’s used in many products now. You can just buy it bulk and make a little paste out of it and brush your teeth with just the powder or put it in your baking products. You can do all sorts of things with xylitol. It’s my favorite sweetener.
But, xylitol is a very special kind of sugar called a five-carbon sugar. You see, any other kind of sugar, organic sugar, maple syrup, honey, cane sugar, palm sugar, whatever it is, is six-carbon sugar. Six-carbon sugars feed bacteria. Five-carbon sugars do not feed bacteria or yeast, for that matter. And that makes five-carbon sugars quite unique. Stevia is also a five-carbon sugar.
So, what happens is that when you use five-carbon sugars in the form of xylitol, the bacteria take up the sugar, but they cannot use it for fuel. So they can’t grow.
And if you happen to have a yeast infection, candida, and you take xylitol, then you are contributing to that reduction of the yeast because it needs sugar to grow, as well.
So, xylitol is this amazing five-carbon sugar that is showing through studies since the 1960s, they’ve been studying xylitol to have a significant impact on reducing periodontal disease, reducing cavities, and reducing mutant strep because if you can reduce the streptococcus mutant bacteria, you actually are reducing the risk of developing cavities in your mouth.
Now, studies were done on pregnant mothers. They gave pregnant mothers xylitol while they were pregnant with their children. So, they gave them xylitol gum, xylitol mints, they recommended to do five exposures a day. You know, brush your teeth with xylitol toothpaste, take some gum, some mints, mouthwash, whatever you want to do. Just try to have 5 exposures a day, especially after meals.
And what they did in this study, which was done in Japan, they gave these pregnant mothers xylitol. And they tracked them. And they found that when they measured the amount of the streptococcus bacteria in the mouth of their children, it was a significantly reduced level compared to children who weren’t in this study.
And what they find is if you can reduce the growth of this bacteria in the mouth of young children — and by the way, they even have xylitol liquid that they put into the pacifiers. So, you’re giving this to these kids. — you are reducing the risk of cavities in these children for a lifetime. A lifetime! Especially if it’s given to them before they bring in their adult teeth.
So, just giving those mothers that xylitol reduced their bacteria load in their mouth. It reduced the amount in the mouth of their children. And that set up a condition where the immune system stayed on top of it and reduced the amount of cavities they had throughout their childhood and throughout life. I thought that was pretty amazing!
Will: Yeah, it’s a profound tool, definitely. And I’ll share with you here that originally, the main source of xylitol was actually from birch. And the only bugaboo I have about xylitol now is that the bulk of xylitol out there is coming from corn, which, here in the U.S., at least, is problematic for me because the strong prevalence of GMO corn in the commercial corn market.
Dr. Sellman: Well, Will, it’s not made from U.S. Corn. It’s brought in from China. It’s not made in the U.S. The raw material does not come from the U.S. There’s still some birch bark xylitol out there. But, it’s not made with GMO corn.
Will: Oh, I’m relieved to hear that!
Dr. Sellman: So, you’ll be happy to know that. Yeah, I’d be concerned about that, too. But, it isn’t. And they’re looking for other plant materials that they can make it from because xylitol actually is made from a fiber, a plant fiber. And we even have those fibers in our bodies. But, it’s not made in the U.S. It’s all coming from overseas, the raw material.
Will: Great, great. So, are there some danger zones that we would benefit knowing about? In our discussion a couple of days ago, prepping for this, you mentioned that certain pharmaceuticals were a bit problematic. Can you share on that?
Dr. Sellman: Absolutely! So, when we were discussing this, I was sharing with you what is happening with women. Especially, we’re talking about peri- menopausal, menopausal, postmenopausal women who are being diagnosed with osteoporosis, which, that’s a whole other story in itself because that is often not really as serious as women are led to believe.
But, anyway, the method of testing scare women into thinking they really have serious bone loss going on and they’re encouraged to go on drugs. And, the most popular drugs are a class of drugs called bisphosphonates. We’ve seen Sally Field talk about Fosomax. There’s numerous drugs that are out there being subscribed for prevention of bone loss.
So, I just want to state this very simply and very clearly. These drugs, these bisphosphonate drugs, actually do not, DO NOT, stop osteoporosis. What they do do is kill bone cells. And, the reason why they’re promoted for osteoporosis drugs is because they stop that healthy turn over of cells. Every cell dies and is reborn. But, when you take these bisphosphonate drugs, they actually are called a metabolic poison. They poison the bone cells. They can’t get rid of the old dead and dying cells, so they keep these poor quality cells in place, they can’t lay down new, healthy cells in the bone, and therefore the bone starts to become deformed, more porous, more susceptible to deterioration.
And where does the first sign of bone loss show up but in the mouth? So, when you start having receding gums, you are having bone loss occur. And what is happening is that women and men — generally women more than men because women tend to have smaller bone mass than men — women who are taking these drugs aside from the fact that they are carcinogenic and cause a lot of damage, including risk of fracture, but they are also showing up as deterioration of bone in the jaw.
And, it’s not only the deterioration of that bone, it’s causing the necrotic bones. It’s killing bone cells. And actually there are class action suits going on now against these drugs because people have taken these drugs, their jawbones were so deteriorated. And many of them, actually, the bone died. They had to have jawbone replacements.
And I talk to these women as I’ve lectured around the country. They have shards of bone showing up. They lose their teeth. It’s horrible. It’s horrible. You can heal osteoporosis at any age naturally. Never, never, never go on any of these medications for osteoporosis. It is an absolute disaster for your health.
Will: It’s no surprise to me when you told me that. It’s yet another alarming statistic and fact. You look at the Standard American Diet. You look at the average American’s diet that is totally repleted of minerals necessary to maintain the body in a functional state, and so the body starts to break down because we don’t have the mineral absorption that we need.Then you’re going to throw these metabolic poisons on top of it with the intent to address something which is ultimately a nutritional deficiency.
Dr. Sellman: Right, and you know, if you’re under stress, your digestive system is impaired. Your immune system is impaired. If your digestive system is in distress, you can’t absorb and assimilate. If you’ve got this issue with impaired ability to metabolize folic acid, that impairs the body’s ability to utilize these nutrients and get them into your immune system and the nervous system.
It’s a holistic approach. And we have to really understand that it’s not just one thing we’re addressing. If one thing is out of balance, it’s usually related to a lot of other things that are driving it. And we need to commit to a holistic approach and realize that’s the only way you can really heal. You can’t really heal with medications. That’s only addressing symptoms.
You can only heal by addressing the root cause issues and making dietary, lifestyle, nutritional changes, all of which are necessary to restore proper homeostasis in the body. That’s the goal at any age. And symptoms are just telling you, “Hey, wake up. Something needs attention.” Not, go run to the doctor and get a bandaid and try to get the symptom to be masked.
Will: Yeah, yeah. So, I’m curious here if you can offer some solutions and ideas. Since you work with women, let’s talk mostly about women. If you want to address men as well, that’d be great. But, just broad brushstroke things that people can do to help balance hormones.
You mentioned earlier in our talk you talked about estrogen dominance and the tendency towards a lack of progesterone in our systems. And I know that those two have to be in a specific balance and a ratio. Can you offer any ideas to support listeners in beginning the process? Now, I know that it might need professional support to really get it right. But, some broad brushstrokes to suggest us to head in the right direction.
Dr. Sellman: Okay, so, number one, the root cause of most of the hormonal imbalances going on starts with stress. And we talked about the adrenal glands. So, every woman I’ve looked at and tested…And by the way, if a woman really wants to know her true hormonal status, she needs to get a saliva test. And what you want to do is get a test that will look at your hormones, the progesterones, estrogen, things like that.
But, I’m even more interested in looking at your stress hormones, particularly cortisol and the rhythm throughout the day. So, you want to take four samples. So, that’s the test that I use, a comprehensive saliva test that looks at your cortisol levels and hormones and the ratio to each other and what’s happening with your gut immunity. All that is in the saliva testing. And that gives you a really good picture of what’s going on.
But from what I’ve learned, I can tell you that all hormonal imbalances are symptoms of underlying issues. So, if you are having estrogen dominance, for instance, you probably are dealing with a couple of issues here. Number one, stress, because when your cortisol is overproduced due to stress, it will increase estrogen levels and decrease progesterone levels and decrease thyroid function and impair insulin sensitivity. So, that’s pretty major. That’s going to set most of your physiological functions right there.
So, you’ve got to deal with stress to really nourish the adrenal glands. You have to make sure you’re getting a full complement of minerals. The adrenals need more vitamin C, which of course, is good for the gums. The gums need vitamin C to heal. Tissues need vitamin C to heal. We just don’t get enough of it. And if you are experiencing stress, you want to take like two grams four times a day of vitamin C. You need a lot of vitamin C if you’re under stress because that adrenal gland really depends on vitamin C.
You need some good quality B vitamins. You can take one of my favorite nourishing herbs for the adrenals and for hormones in general is maca, which is a whole food that comes from a tuberous plant from Peru. It’s very dense in nutrients. I like maca. It’s considered a great nourishing food for reproductive health for women of all ages.
And you’ve got to rest. And you’ve got to meditate. Unless you do that, you can take all the supplements in the world, and they’re not going to do the trick because you’re just jamming those adrenals all the time. But, some good nourishing herbs serves adrenal formulas.
I work with Chinese herbal formulas myself because I’m big on rejuvenating hormonal essences in women. I’m not a fan of bio-identical hormones. And I think that it compromises the functions. It never really heals the root cause. I know we can rejuvenate our hormonal essences at any age. So, the best way to do that is with good nutrition and some Chinese herbal formulas that excel at that.
And another issue that I see all the time in women, especially based on the genomic testing is impaired detoxification of hormones. So, we need good liver support. And particularly, we need to be eating foods that have active chemicals that support the clearing of estrogens by the liver. If the liver can’t properly clear estrogens for one reason or another — I see a lot of it is inherited genetic tendencies, weaknesses — then the estrogen is actually turned into a more potent form rather than made weaker. And then it can get reabsorbed. So, we can actually increase our estrogen levels with impaired liver estrogen metabolism.
So, you need lots of cruciferous vegetables — broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale. I don’t recommend doing them raw. They can impair thyroid. So, slightly steamed to slightly cooked. And, there are specific supplements that have the active ingredients of cruciferous vegetables, such as products called dim, which is an active ingredient of this cruciferous vegetable family that will profoundly help the proper pathway to be available for estrogens. Otherwise, you can create too much estrogen because the liver is not doing the job.
The other thing is sugar, insulin levels will increase estrogen levels. There’s a direct correlation: high insulin, high estrogen and low thyroid. If you have high estrogen levels, you’re going to be more insulin intolerant and insulin resistant. And you’re going to have a less optimally functioning thyroid, all of which thrives in balance. So, you’ve got to keep those carbs at a reduced amount.
When I look at genes, one thing I can tell you, there are three major gene categories. And all of them have one thing in common. We were never genetically evolved to deal with carbohydrates to the degree we are. So, we’ve got to reduce our carbohydrates. They turn into sugar. They will exacerbate estrogen. They will exacerbate insulin. They’ll exacerbate cortisol, all of which are fat-storage hormones. And the more fat you have, the more you’re creating estrogen. So, it’s a vicious cycle, right?!
So, stick to a low-carb diet. Support liver detoxification and support the adrenals. That would be the big message. And digestion. And just to get some good digestive enzymes. The lacto-fermented foods, all of that is really important, the probiotics.
Will: Wow, you just major shotgunned a lot of good information there. That was great!
Dr. Sellman: Well, it’s kind of overwhelming because the message is it’s a holistic approach.
Will: It is!
Dr. Sellman: And we have to heal at the root cause level. And that’s been my message for years and years. And helping to guide and negotiate that path can be very overwhelming and convoluted for so many of us. And we just need some guidance and help with taking some baby steps towards that. I mean, if you just cut out the sugar and reduce the carbs…
Wheat is pro-inflammatory. There are a lot of problems with wheat, we’re discovering beyond the gluten issue. It’s just a hybridized form that has been genetically altered that cannot be properly digested by the body. And it generates inflammation and brain chemicals that make us crave it. So, we need to really cut out the wheat. I would use that as one of the main points I would like to say, too, because wheat is very damaging and will affect the immune system and affect inflammation going on throughout the body. It’s a big problem.
Will: Yeah. Wow. That’s perfect. So, Dr. Sellman, where can folks learn more about you and your work?
Dr. Sellman: The best place to go is my website, WhatWomenMustKnow.com. And there, I give out special reports, I have many articles. I have videos. You will get my weekly one-hour radio show called “What Women Must Know.” I have a Facebook page called “What Women Must Know” with lots of tips and articles and guidance information.
So, my thing is really doing the best to empower women with truthful information so they can make an informed decision. If people want to consult with me, I do do phone and Skype consultations. Most of my practice is all over the world. I don’t see too many people in my office. I’m working with people everywhere.
So, that’s a possibility if you want to know about the testing. I’m happy to do that. There are lots of tests that are available I can help the with. So, the thing is we have resources available to us these days. And they don’t have to be in our hometown necessarily.
Will: Right, right. The wonders of the internet, I tell you! Dr. Sellman: Truly!
Will: Wonderful. Dr. Sellman, thank you so much for your time! I really appreciate it!
Dr. Sellman: It’s been a pleasure! Thank you again for having me, and for the wonderful work you’re doing!
Will: I appreciate you, too. Thank you!
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