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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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September 27 2017

9 Ways to Normalize Your Hormones

By Mark Sisson
56 Comments

Hormones word cloud conceptThere are straightforward, pharmaceutical methods for altering specific hormones, and, as I showed in last week’s testosterone replacement therapy post, they can really help. But a safer intervention for your overall endocrine environment is a systemic one. Some might call it scattershot approach in that one input affects multiple endocrine targets. I’d say, “That’s the whole point.”

Today, I’m going to give you some tried and true methods for helping to normalize your endocrine health. These are things that apply to everyone, as far as I can tell. They won’t fix every problem, but they’re good places to start. Whether you’re a post-menopausal woman, a 21-year-old bodybuilder worried about overtraining, or a thyroid patient, these interventions can’t hurt and will probably help.

Get Your Sleep in Order

When you sleep poorly, everything falls apart, including the normal function and patterns of testosterone, thyroid, and growth hormone. Sleep loss itself alters the activity of the master endocrine organ, the pituitary gland, so following good sleep hygiene is a non-negotiable.

Sleep in a cold, dark, quiet room.

Get plenty of bright natural light throughout the day, especially the morning, and limit bright light after dark, especially blue and green lights. Sun lamps can help if actual natural light is unavailable during the day. Blue-blocking goggles or glasses like these (inexpensive, block blue but not much green light) or these (expensive, but block both blue and green) can help at night.

Use the seasonal variation of daylight as a rough barometer for how much sleep to get. In the summer, when it’s lighter longer, you can probably get by with 7-8 hours. In the winter, when it’s darker longer, you should aim for 8 at a minimum and 9 as an ideal.

Check out TS Wiley’s Lights Out for a full treatise on seasonal sleep variations, and why they’re so important.

Make the effort—nay, commitment—to get more sleep. Stop fiddling with your phone at 10 PM (you always regret doing it). Don’t fall asleep with the TV on (read a book instead). Get a bedtime routine.

Get Your Diet in Order

To make hormones, you need the basic structural building blocks. That means eating enough dietary fat, especially saturated, monounsaturated, and omega-3 fats.

Cholesterol is an important building block, too, and has been shown to increase muscle and strength gains in weight training adults, an indication of testosterone boosting.

Minerals like zinc, selenium, magnesium, and calcium are also extremely important for healthy hormone production and metabolism.

You also need to make sure you’re eating enough calories—not too many, not too few—as the amount of food you eat sends a strong signal about the bountifulness of the environment around you. Hormones like leptin, thyroid, testosterone, insulin, and others all perceive and are modulated by the caloric balance. Your endocrine system responds to the availability of energy by up- or down-regulating hormone production. You’re not going to get pregnant very easily during a famine, nor will you produce much testosterone if you’re obese.

Carb/glycogen balance is another indicator your endocrine system uses to determine production. If you’re training hard and burning through glycogen, you’ll probably need to eat some carbs. If you’re just doing easy slow movement, some sprints, and strength training, you probably don’t need extra carbs. The key is to eat the carbs that you earned—no more, no less.

Hammer Home Primal Style Exercise—and Avoid Any Whiff of Chronic Patterns

For Crossfit hardcores, that might mean dropping from 4x/week to 2-3x. For endurance heads, that might mean trading 140.6 goals for 70.3 goals, or 26.2 2 for 13.1 (and buying the requisite new bumper sticker, of course). For everyone, that means making your short, intense workouts even shorter and more intense.

My good friend, former co-competitor, and current writing partner, Brad Kearns, more than doubled his free testosterone simply by sucking it up and lowering his assumed aerobic base heart rate (the heart rate at which you’re burning primarily fat) from 145 to 130. Didn’t change his actual training, diet, or anything else. Staying at or below 130 HR during long slow days was enough to get his free T to the 99th percentile for his age.

Increase Your Non-Exercise Movement

Increased daily movement—fidgeting, walking, housework, gardening, carrying groceries, playing with your kids/pets—adds up, and it’s something that the most health- and fitness-conscious tend to ignore or discount. This is the stuff Katy Bowman talks about in Move Your DNA and Don’t Just Sit There.

Exercise isn’t enough.

Manage Your Stress

When we’re stressed out, everything gets put on hold until we can deal with the stressor. This makes sense, because back in the day a stressor was usually a life or death situation like an enemy tribe encroaching on your tribe, a huge predatory cat, or famine. Even though most stressors these days aren’t life or death in the immediate sense, our body treats them like that—and there are a seemingly endless string of them to contend with.

What happens when stress hits? Cortisol appears. If stress sticks around, or constantly wells up, cortisol levels become chronic and disrupt your endocrine system. Chronic cortisol opposes testosterone production. Chronic cortisol reduces thyroid hormone production and impairs the conversion of inactive T4 to active T3. Chronic cortisol makes you insulin-resistant.

Everyone’s stressors are unique, but there are some big ones to watch out for: toxic relationships, terrible commutes (at the very least, find a great podcast you can listen to on the drive/ride), lack of time in nature, excessive technology exposure (especially social media). 

Discover Meaning in Your Life

Hormones direct physiological processes in the body. They’re a bit like software programs—if they’re riddled with bugs, nothing gets done. But just as computers need a user to tell the software what to do, our bodies need a narrator to give the hormones a goal to work toward. Without meaning or life purpose, the endocrine system drifts aimlessly. Why produce testosterone if there’s no competition on the horizon?

There’s admittedly not a ton of clinical support for this hypothesis. Middle-aged women with strong life purposes have better sex lives, indicating a more favorable hormonal environment. I suspect a lot of the links between life purpose and hormonal function are circular, with causation going in both directions. But that means disrupting the circle at any point can help.

Search within for what makes you tick. What makes you get up in the morning. What inflames the passions and makes you feel strong and good and right when you’re knee-deep in it. Then stick to that.

Test Frequently and Track Relevant Variables

I’m a big believer in following the symptoms, in going by how you feel, look, and perform. But having the numbers in front of you can really help, especially if you if you pair them with your symptoms, get tested at regular intervals, and track the trends.

Case in point is the earlier example of Brad Kearns, who more than doubled his free testosterone by tweaking his training and tracking the trends in his numbers. Had he not done the testing, he wouldn’t have any reference points.

Directlabs has good deals on male and female hormonal panels.

Get Uncomfortable

We lead comfortable lives. Everything works. We don’t have to face pulse-pounding situations or bring down large game just to eat. If we get cold, we turn up the heat. Hot, we turn up the AC. Things are so easy that we can spend all winter in short sleeves. It turns out that exposure to uncomfortable physical and mental sensations is important for hormone function.

Cold exposure is great at improving insulin sensitivity and reducing insulin levels. In one study, women swam in cold water at least twice a week for 7 months, enjoying huge increases in insulin sensitivity and drops in insulin.

Heat exposure also has positive hormonal effects. It increases endocrine homeostasis in Russian fighters. Sauna use increases insulin sensitivity. A 1989 study found upwards of 5-fold increases in GH after using a sauna.

Bring In the Professionals

Sometimes you just need modern professional medical help. As I’ve said time and time again, the Primal Blueprint is about availing ourselves of everything both traditional wisdom and modern science have to offer. And because our environments are so wildly different from our evolutionary environments, we occasionally need to step outside of “natural” methods to get the help we need. Sometimes replacement therapy is the ticket. Sometimes supplementation and healing protocols. That’s okay, especially if they’re laid atop a strong foundation of ancestral health practices. There are no purity tests.

And yes, they may recommend hormone replacement therapies or pharma/nutraceuticals. Exercise caution and implement extreme vetting, but don’t dismiss them out of hand. According to Weston A. Price, North American Indian tribes would often harvest moose thyroids when they were at their largest and most potent and reserve them for men and women trying to conceive. They may not have known the word “thyroid” or even understood the concept of a hormone, but they took artificial steps to enhance men and women’s hormonal health.

For more guidance, check out the podcasts Elle Russ did with Dr. Gary Foresman. He’s a former UC Irvine doctor who got sick and tired of all the nonsense and decided to branch out into integrative medicine.

NourishBalanceThrive does comprehensive testing and consultation for the peak performance minded client interested in maintaining or regaining hormonal health.

I can vouch for Dr. Howard Liebowitz in Santa Monica. A former athlete with an athletic mindset, he curates customized regimens that emphasize hormonal health, especially for the aging adult.

Don’t sell traditional docs short, either. At least not before you actually see them. They may know more than you assume, and if nothing else, they can help you order the necessary tests.

That’s it for today, folks. There are plenty of other ways to modulate your hormone function, I’m sure, and I’d love to hear about any of the ones I missed. Thanks for reading!

Question: Has anyone done all these measures and had your hormone situation worsen?

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56 thoughts on “9 Ways to Normalize Your Hormones”

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  1. Thank you for the comprehensive, balanced approach in addressing this topic! I teach high school Health and yesterday my students were sharing frustration with feeling like their hormones were out of control (acne, emotional swings, irrational stress, etc). We’ve talked about sleep, diet, screen time, and exercise, but I am very excited to share this article with them. Even though you are generally talking about hormonal issues in adults, I think that this information could be very beneficial for teenagers as well!

  2. Such a great post!! Speaking from my own experience, this stuff works! The sleep stuff is the biggest challenge for me…so much good stuff going on right now. But I’m working on it. Adding more animal fat to my diet, getting plenty of natural light and movement during the day and finding healthy ways to deal with stress have have had a huge impact on my overall well being. Last time I had some tests run (it’s been a few years) my integrative doc said my levels were optimal. But I still go by how I feel more than anything else. And huge yes to having a life purpose…that might be the biggest factor of all!

  3. What about when you’re a pre-menopausal woman–fit and active–not overweight–and rollercoaster hormones are wrecking your sleep? AND, you’re arleady doing the above suggestions? Is there a way to help naturally balance female hormones for a middle aged woman?

    1. Hoping you get an answer as I am in the same situation!

    2. Same boat here too! I have found that a 4-point cortisol saliva test (available to order at mymedlab.com for about $130) was very helpful in determining why I’m having trouble falling asleep and waking up when I should be sleeping. The saliva test is sent to your home and you add your samples then mail it back. I learned that I have off the charts high cortisol in the morning, then lesser (but still high) levels throughout the rest of the day. My results told me that I need to take measures to reduce stress (like all of us) and I have added an adaptogen called phosphatidylserine which is known to reduce cortisol levels. I also had DHEA tested by saliva which revealed I am very low–which in turn means that sex hormones are off too. Going to test sex hormones (by saliva, which is best) to see where I need to supplement. Knowing your cortisol and DHEA levels is a great place to start!

    3. ATP Science natural organic herb supps are getting me through menopause. Controlling hot flashes, night sweats and emotional roller coasters. Combining there supps and education myself with there podcasts are working beautifully for me.

    4. I hear you sister. Try Progesterone topical cream. Ask your GP to provide it. Makes a positive difference.

  4. I am currently struggling a bit with hot flashes at this menopausal stage of my life. I have good days and bad and am amazed at how I can track the bad days back to when I am not as conscientious with all your recommendations above. I have also found a few Yoga poses and calming music at night have helped ease the stresses of the day and get me ready to sleep well and deep. Thank you for reminding me of these important lifestyle tweeks!

  5. The simplest expedient I’ve found to improve hormonal response (subjectively, in the sense of testosterone and insulin sensitivity) is carrying weight during normal daily tasks.

    There is an amount of added weight that actually improves efficiency at tasks like housework, by reducing distraction, demanding economy of motion, and creating the ineffable sense of “doing battle”. I generally use a 40 pound weight vest with occasional wrist and neck weights but the optimal amount obviously varies among individuals.

    Interestingly, this also seems to improve cognition and creativity acutely, perhaps by the same mechanism commonly attributed to walking.

    As we adapt to “moving around at a slow pace” unencumbered, raising the weight seems to keep those adaptations coming. Moving around while encumbered is something our ancestors certainly did regularly.

    Don’t take my word for it, try the n=1 experiment. If you don’t have weights, water bottles in a backpack will do.

    1. I do something similar. I do three thirty minute walks throughout the day over a twelve week cycle. The first week I just walk with my own body weight. The next week I walk with five pounds. The next, ten pounds. The next, fifteen pounds and so on and so on. I also vary the load distribution for each session between backpacks, ankle weights, shoulder carry, head, etc.

      I do this in combination with everything else I preach so I’m not exactly sure of the benefit but it feels right and always feels good to move. As the biological law of accommodation sets in, I increase weight and/or vary the load distribution.

      Great comment Timothy!

      1. Very interesting protocol!

        It’s funny how often we start with a biochemical insight — “doing X improves Y hormone according to a study” — or an n=1 experience.

        But how often do we proceed from an anthropological observation? “Apache squaws carried 200 pounds on their backs when moving camp, so how can we work this into our routine?”

        Even when we are trying to take the primal view, so often our justification comes after the fact.

        We need more anthropology. Like medicine it is too important to be left to the “professionals”!

        By the way, “The Way of Men” is very good.

        “Bonobo masturbation society.” Merciless!

  6. Does anyone have any suggestions or resources for low cortisol? I’ve worked on general lifestyle changes for the last year (I was a wreck!), but while my thyroid and general sleep issues seem to have improved, my cortisol curve still looks like a flatline. I see a lot of stuff for high cortisol, but not as much for the other end of the spectrum.

    1. Sounds like you should supplement with hydrocortisone. Talk to a doctor about getting a prescription. And bring your test results!

      1. Indeed, Dr. Lam is awesome. I especially would direct your research to Dr. Lam and NIR Infrared sauna. I am currently using a NIR infrared panel system in my traditional FIR sauna (Saunaspace). Do some good research on the differences of FIR and NIR saunas. I have both, but use the NIR almost exclusively now. The results are spectacular.

  7. Cleaning up one’s diet is, to me, paramount for good health. I have a few friends and one family member who think food is food, and the only reason we eat is to keep from feeling hungry. Yet these same people know exactly what their car needs in order to run properly. Interesting that they never seem to make the connection.

  8. Thanks for the great post! Really appreciate it. I am a 29 year old female currently struggling with my hormones. I’ve been 95% primal for 5 years, lean, very active and manage stress pretty well, but I am without a period now for 10 months (since going off the pill). The problem for me is my testosterone is too high – both free and regular T levels are off the chart, though I have NO symptoms (no hair issues, acne, weight gain, etc.). I’m seeing a fertility doctor and will try to incorporate your post. Are you aware of any natural ways to LOWER testosterone in women? Supplements, slightly different diet or exercise, etc? THANK YOU!

  9. I did bioidentical HRT (testosterone and progesterone only) last fall through this spring and had wild swings in my hormones. I felt great, but my testosterone was going between 20-500. (I’m a woman, so the latter is rather high). I started experiencing some anxiety issues and we never were able to get my estrogen dominance under control. I discontinued HRT for 6 months and used DIM (a supplement that helps keep hormones “in their box” according to my doc) and my last tests revealed I’m finally no longer estrogen dominant. I have restarted HRT because all of my hormones are very low and my energy was in the toilet. The testosterone, particularly, helps me have more energy.

  10. Good point, Katie. I think its important for our youth to get an early start in learning about hormones and how lifestyle/nutrition affects the future of growing bodies and minds. These (hormonal) issues are ones that will effect the health of the world, (by extension) eventually and its never too soon to become educated about it all.

  11. Hi Mark! Regarding my hormones, what should I get tested? I’m a 30 y/o female. Thanks

  12. Traditional peoples, Native Americans and early ancestral healers believed that eating the organs / glands from a healthy animal would strengthen and support the health of the corresponding organ / gland of the individual (hint: this is where hormones come from). For instance, the traditional way of treating a person with a weak heart was to feed the person the heart of a healthy animal. Similarly, eating the thyroid of a healthy animal was believed to support thyroid, energy and metabolic health. Pancreas was fed to people with digestive and endocrine problems… and brain was frequently consumed raw and was thought to support clear thinking. Science has validated the ancient practice of “like supports like” with radioisotope label studies. It turns out that we became the apex predators of the earth because we were doing something right.

    Organs and glands provide specific proteins, peptides, cofactors and enzymes that are found and expressed from their respective organ / gland. For instance, undenatured spleen contains tuftsin, splenopentin and splenin which are potent immunomodulatory compounds. Organs and glands are loaded with active hormones that exert a natural, balanced biological benefit that nourishes, restores and “normalizes” our own hormones. You won’t find these types of compounds on any nutrient assay! Nothing beats the balance, wisdom and nourishment found in nature. So if you’re looking to get your “diet in order,” don’t forget to included the things that made us the baddest mammalian predators that ever lived (tip of the hat to Timothy Williams)… eat nose-to-tail like our early ancestors did. Think liver, heart and marrow to get started (or) think about where you need targeted support. If you’re not going to go to your local farm or butcher, find the grass-fed / grass-finished supplement version… they’re all over the place.

    Sleep like a rock… eat like our early ancestors did… move like our ancestors did… avoid danger like our ancestors did (think lions, trans fats, sugars, fluoride, excessive wifi, emfs, vaccines, mercury, etc)… go barefoot, connect to the earth… get sensible sun exposure… get cold (environmental conditioning)… mind your magnesium… stay positive, think about the wonderful things in your life that you’re grateful for.

    Around every corner in the modern world is yet another ancient ancestral practice that has been tucked away for comfort and convenience. It’s a journey and it just keeps getting better!

    1. A couple of caveats regarding organs and glands… Make sure the animal is very healthy. Nasty things like mad cow disease are more likely to settle in the organs and glands than in the muscles. Also, organs and glands are very high in purines for those who have a tendency to develop gout.

      1. Thank you Shary!

        Get to know your local farmer… shake their hand… look ’em in the eye… take a walk with them on their pastures. This makes a world of difference. Nothing beats it. A far second is a organ / glandular supplement that comes from grass fed and grass finished cows raised on the pastures of New Zealand.

        Maybe I’m a little biased… maybe a lot biased but it’s hard not to be when there has never been a case of mad cow disease in New Zealand. BSE (mad cow disease), scrapie and other known TSE’s, do not occur in New Zealand. A national surveillance program is in place to provide comprehensive monitoring.

        The freeze dried variety removes virtually all moisture; since microbes (viruses, bacteria, parasites etc) can’t survive without moisture, this allows for an ultra pure product profile with a very long shelf life — of course, with no need for additives or preservatives. If you’re still concerned, ask for a health certificate.

        1. Great explanation LK.

          Just as Mark above noted that hormones “perceive and are modulated by caloric balance” it only stands to reason that they would also perceive and be modulated by micronutrition.

          It would certainly be adaptive if our bodies could sense when we are dining on rich organ meats — as opposed to when we are dining on lean muscle cuts, or heaven forbid, vegetarian fare — and modulate our hormones and even gene expression accordingly.

          So we can reasonably expect that eating organ meats will bring benefits beyond their gross nutrient content, by making the body a bit less stingy with historically risky adaptations such as increased lean mass, decreased fat storage and more generous metabolism overall.

          I’ve found that I’m able to sustain a greatly increased physical workload eating four pounds of liver a week, and for those in North America who are concerned about quality, consider me your food-taster for Northstar Bison in Wisconsin. Absolutely the best and I’ve tried a lot. Over several months (and two years of regular liver) I have neither developed gout, nor mad-cow disease, nor hypervitaminosis A.

          Northstar Bison is also one of the only places you will find raw adrenal glands. Those that suffer cortisol problems, or think they may have some kind of adrenal insufficiency, would be well advised to give these a try.

          There aren’t many available, but then, there aren’t many who will read this deeply into the comment section…

          1. Wish I could stomach liver! I am very close to Wisconsin, so I will look into their other products. The liver I eat is *freeze-dried in capsules from Ancestral Supplements. I also use their Beef Organs and Thyroid (especially good results for me is the Thyroid). I have tried the route of buying organ meats, but just cannot abide the taste, let alone the smell when in the pan, even though I’m nearly famous for my creative dishes. That sounds snobby (sorry). I’m re-assessing my supplements, and these make more sense to me, in what they actually provide.

          2. Funny you should mention, I also can’t stand the taste or texture of cooked liver, and avoided it for years because of that. But turns out I can eat it raw with no problem, and raw in a shake with fermented veg, kefir and berries tastes absolutely fantastic to me.

            But whether you try to savor them, or just hold your nose and “take your medicine”, your body learns by experience what makes it feel good, eventually developing an acquired taste.

          3. Chicken liver I can’t handle – it puts me to bed with a scratchy throat for about 6 hours. Beef liver seems to be ok, but I get it from totally pastured beef – the kind where you go pick it up at the farm and the farmer is an amazing woman who is dedicated to treating her animals wellest – Smiling Tree Farm in Shropshire, UK. Her blog is filled with useful info, too.
            Anyway, to get around the liver taste/texture thing, I mince it and combine it with hamburger meat, then season it up with salt, pepper, as many fresh herbs as I can stuff in there. Lately, cos I don’t have a BBQ, I also add a couple of pinches of dry Lapsang Souchong tea leaves for a smokey flavor. Hmmm. I bet mayo would be nice in the mix, too! Mashed up leftovers sometimes. Especially curry! Oh, I am getting hungry now …
            I started with a 1/4 lb liver to a pound beef, but I am at half and half now without a problem. They freeze well, so I can have one a week. I have done it with heart as well.

  13. Loved the article ! I have tried all this but it has become almost impossible for me to sleep on time. Not that i don’t sleep enough but the timings are way too off. Maybe because i don’t have anything in the morning to look forward to. Can anyone please help ?

  14. Reading books at night wire me up much more than TV. I wear the blueblockers for tv, but can’t read in them.

  15. autophagy –> hormesis –> autophagy –> hormesis … rinse and repeat. 🙂

      1. dee, we homo sapiens have a 24 hour circadian rhythm almost like a sine wave. So the night phase when experts like Mark recommend blue light blockers, sleeping in a dark, cool room and getting enough hours of sleep, meditation, IF etc. that is the autophagy stage (recovery). When we wake, get exposure to sunlight and during the day lift heavy things, do HIIT, sit in a sauna, take a cold shower, that is hormesis (beneficial stressors) which increase the quantity and size of our mitochondria (mitochondrial biogenesis) in our cells. So in my mind a lot of what Mark recommends as per this article is a way to optimize that circadian rhythm which is vital to good health. Take care!

  16. Here’s a simple one–take off sound notifications, or popups on your electronic devices. The sounds/alerts trigger adrenaline each time they appear.

    1. Good one. I hate sound notifications. I usually keep the sound turned off on my computer for that reason. I can watch TV or read before going to bed, but using the computer gives me too much of a second wind. I limit that to earlier in the day.

  17. I don’t understand the comment about ‘lowering his assumed aerobic base heart rate’. The way you say it sounds like he just decided one day to concentrate really hard and things changed. What are you actually talking about here? If the exercise didn’t change, what did and how?

    1. The way I interpreted that is if someone who does distance cardio, if they are in such good shape they can maintain a heart rate of say 145 BPM for a long period of time, it can reduce free testosterone levels. So by actually “slowing down” to 130 BPM and saving the higher rates when you do “short burst” and shorter time HIIT he was able to increase his testosterone levels. If I’m wrong about that someone feel free to correct me. 🙂

    2. Google MAF heart rate which will take you to a site that explains the 180 formula of training at a lower heart rate. I have adopted this method with good results (which I assume will be different for everyone). For me, it provided a faster recovery rate, stronger body, able to keep my muscle base and I found deeper layers of endurance for my sport which is mountainbiking.

  18. My message has nothing to do with the fantastic article, but I need to send it.

    I have had na enormous difficulty in reading the articles in the site, Mark. The font you are using are too small, thin and too light… There is no contrast… I am able to increase the size, but I cannot make the font darker or change its colour to black… Please, check this. Thnaks.

    1. Might be something to do with your computer, Rita. I’ve never had a problem with the contrast, font size, or overall legibility of any of the articles. The print always appears black on my screen..

  19. Great reminder to get your lifestyle right in the first place before munching down on maybe sometimes unnecessary medication that does more harm than good in the first place.

    I just want to add an important aspect for all those millions of women suffering from hypothyroidism (and maybe not being taken serious by their doctors as it so often is the case… :-/): GET YOUR IODINE LEVELS IN CHECK AND DON’T FORGET ALL THE CO-FACTORS, esp. SELENIUM! (be careful though if you are or could be a Hashimoto-patient!) – do not do this alone!!!

    Really! Do not underestimate iodine and the relevant cofactors (selenium, magnesium, vitamine b2 and b3, c and d, and sufficient omega-3-fatty acids). I am 30 years old and my whole life I have been lazy, sleepy, clumsy, had dark undereye circles howevermuch I slept, had dry skin issues since birth, strange pain, ear symptoms, eye twitching, headaches, extreme hair loss, binge eating, emotional and overeating, depression…. everything. I’ve ever been a little overweight and any activity simply felt aweful. Guess what – IT WAS NOT ME, IT WAS MY IODINE!

    I fought hard for 3 years now to get on a primal diet but always failed after a while. I did therapy, yoga, meditation, read books about eating disorders, pyschology…just to get through days and days of wanting to get healthy but failing and feeling guilty. I supplemented only a little bit of iodine to get my thyroid (and menstruation) running but even that did not work for long. Until now.

    3 days ago, having symptoms despite supplementing iodine again, I ate a good few brazil nuts to spike up selenium. Since 3 days I feel as energetic, euphoric, focused and urging to get active as much as I almost never have before. It feels a little like being in love cause everything is suddenly awesome.

    So, before you start working out and going paleo but fail and blame yourself: GET YOUR THYROID IN CHECK AND DOING SO, GET YOUR IODINE AND COFACTOR LEVELS RIGHT – WITH PROFESSIONAL HELP!! (don’t eat handfuls of brazil nuts every day – selenium can have toxic effects if overdone!)

  20. Perfect and timely read considering how many chemicals and endocrine disruptors they are putting in our foods.

  21. I like the sleep more part, seriously I do. But having the menopause knocking at my door it isn’t easy. I want to, but I can’t convince my body to do the same. Some nights I sleep easily up till 12 hours, but there are nights I barely sleep at all. I have a cold and dark room, since I easily get it too warm, I have magnesium before bedtime, I got dim lights in the evening, barely more than candle light, eat clean (Really Mark, your low carb diagram made me even lose weight, where most would gain, awesome!) . Any suggestions are more than welcome!

  22. Great topic. Everytime I reach for my hoodie in the winter, I think about how soft we are in our modern world, but how adaptive and incredible our bodies are. I am a strength & conditioning coach in SLc and i am trying to start an outdoor winter training camp to encourage my athletes to get ucomfortable and reap the benefits.

  23. Managing stress – I’m curious how long it takes to correct cortisol, and corresponding insulin sensitivity, once a stressor is removed (resolved). Is there a formula for this? Let’s say there was a persistent and genuine stressor for a year. How long would it take a body, assuming it was being taken care of, to right its cortisol levels?

    I’m all for prevention – most of us are. But sadly most people don’t have the option of eliminating acute, prolonged, stressful life events. They happen and suddenly you’re looking at a 2017 equivalent of a sabre-toothed tiger. I would like to see articles on resetting proper hormones after a stressor is eliminated.

    1. it is very difficult for me to normalize my hormones. I hope with the help of these tips I can do it

  24. The only thing I’m dubious of is the idea that we should eat cholesterol to gain strength. That study, Dietary Cholesterol and Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy with Resistance Training: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial, was done back in 2008, and despite its simplicity, I can’t find it to have been verified or replicated. I can’t even find this study listed as a peer-reviewed article using my extensive Brandeis University database, which in the past retrieves me anything I want. Furthermore, it was supported by the US Poultry and Egg Association, which I perceive as a conflict of interest and potentially a source of scientific misconduct.

    And as a sample size of one, my cholesterol dropped from 314 to 190 when I stopped eating egg yolks, coconuts, and red meat. And my strength improved a little bit during that time as well.

  25. A few years ago, I was prescribed injectable testosterone. About 3 months later I started feeling more and more tense, then suffered a massive panic attack. I finally figured out that about three to four days after my weekly injection, when my test levels were at their highest, I would have another panic attack. When I figured this out, I stopped the treatment and recovered completely. Out of control hormones are no joke! If your considering testosterone injections, beware!

    1. I’m so glad I read this. After a testosterone level test, my personal physician had suggested testosterone injections but I was a bit skeptical. I eat well, get plenty of sleep, and train often so I thought I would try to do it naturally but after 3 months, there were no improvements. Now, I’m looking into alternative methods and was strongly considering the injections but now….

  26. i think that stress and not organize your time well is the main responsible of this. so i think we should have enough sleep besides avoid any kind of stress. what do you think, im i right ??

  27. I don’t have a working heater in my car for a 40 minute commute. Is that enough uncomfortable cold exposure?