1136. Hormonal Mysteries: Why Do Doctors Struggle to Fix Hormones?


Why Doctors Struggle to Fix Hormones was the subject of an email Martin Clinic recently sent. Dr. Martin says the email was quite significant as hormones are something he dealt with every day with patients. Doctors just aren’t taught how to properly deal with hormones.

If you’ve followed Dr. Martin for some time, you know he refers to hormones as horror-mones, as that’s the experience for many women. In today’s episode, Dr. Martin further expands on that email explaining the hierarchy of hormones.


Announcer:  You're listening to The Doctor Is In Podcast, brought to you by MartinClinic.com. During the episode, the doctors share a lot of information. As awesome as the info may be, it is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. It's strictly for informational purposes.

Dr. Martin:  Well, good morning everyone. Once again. Welcome to another live this morning. Hope you're having a good start to your day, and we appreciate everyone coming on as you get your notifications. And don't be shy, say hello. Now, if anyone was new, you can flag me afterwards. I want to say hello to our new folks. I know we get new ones every day, but boy, we appreciate our audience so much. Okay, I want to go over an email that we wrote, I think a week ago or so. It's I think, a really significant email because we deal with this every day. I still deal with it. People really get messed up with their hormones. Here was the headline for that email. So if you don't get our emails, make sure you sign up. They come out usually twice, about twice a week. And we go into a lot of details on the emails. We give you a lot of information. And this one I thought I would unpack for you this morning, okay?

Why doctors struggle to fix hormones. That was the headline. I don't know if you remember it or not, and we went into a lot of detail about why doctors have real struggle to fix hormones. They're not good at it. And look, we appreciate our physicians, we do, and they got a lot on their plate, but they really need, I hate to say it, a lesson in hormones, horrormones. Why? First of all, why are so many people, especially women, not that it can't happen to men, but especially women, how come their hormones get so messed up? But what we did on that email is that we talked about the hierarchy of hormones. If you don't get that, you're in trouble. Now, I'm going to do a little drawing for you because I used to do this in my office.

Now, many of you have seen this drawing, not because you necessarily came to my office, but I've done it before on podcasts. Now, obviously people listening to the podcast can't see it, but it's easy to imagine it in your minds because I try and make things simple. So I am going to do a drawing, and I used to do this to my patients all the time in the office. I used to draw a triangle or a pyramid, and I flunked art. Okay? So just bear with me. And then I used to put circles, okay? And like this, wait a minute, you'll see it at the top. Okay? Now you get that. You see that? Okay, let me point out. Okay, so folks, if you're listening to this on a podcast, imagine this. Okay, I got a pyramid here at the top, you have your thyroid. In the middle, you have your pancreas secreting insulin. On the sides, you have adrenals secreting cortisol. And at the bottom of the triangle or pyramid, you have your ovaries. Okay? And if you want, you can put in the middle here another circle for guys, and that is your testosterone.

But mainly the reason that doctors have so much trouble fixing hormones is they don't get the pyramid. They don't see everything is connected. You can't separate these hormones. But the first thing you have to remember, because if you just test the thyroid, okay, see at the top here, if you only test the thyroid, you are going to get duped. Because the thyroid as we teach here, is a very finicky organ to start off with. Very tiny. It produces very little thyroid hormone in a year. And it sure doesn't take a lot to throw the thyroid off. And the reason is because the thyroid is a puppet and it has a lot of strings attached. And we're going to talk about that. What are the strings that attach to the thyroid that make it so easy to misdiagnose?

And if you rely on blood work, you are going to miss out. And so folks, when you send me blood work, okay, do I want to look at your T S H? Yep. Do I want to look at your T3 and T4, if you have it done? Yep, I want to look at it. But you must understand. You must understand. I don't focus on that. Doctors focus on it, endocrinologists focus on it. And I think they make a big mistake doing that because the thyroid is a puppet. Okay? Why do doctors have so much trouble fixing hormones? Horrormones? Okay, now let me tell you this, and this is in that email. So if you keep your emails, you can go and review this, but I thought I would unpack it and break it down. Okay? Now, let's look at a couple of things that are significant, significant, significant.

I found this out after years of experience. Listening, testing, thousands and thousands of women looking at the complete picture, looking at a woman, especially holistically. What do I mean by that? Well, you have to look at all the parts of hormones, all of it. So getting back to the pyramid, I want to show you two things, two hormones that are significant. They're the hierarchy of hormones, okay? It's not your thyroid. Your thyroid is a puppet. Let me tell you where you have to start with hormones, okay? Here's where you have to start. You have to start with the two main hormones. If either one of these are out of balance, you are in deep doo doo hormonally. One, of course, where do I start? Where do we start at the Martin clinic all the time? The pancreas, insulin, food. If your insulin is off, if you have insulin resistance, it will mess up your hormones. That is why, one of the reasons there are many, it's one of the reasons that we developed the Reset and why so many people feel better on the Reset. One of the reasons is you're lowering insulin resistance, right? When you lower insulin resistance, you are helping your hormones. You are lowering inflammation.

So you start in the kitchen. And there's other reasons, because when you lower your insulin, you lower your insulin resistance, you empty your liver. Why is the liver significant? I mean, doctors don't even think about this. They don't think about it for five seconds. They don't see the relationship. But where is T4 converted to T3 for your thyroid? Where's T4 mainly converted to T3. Remember, your thyroid produces five different hormones, but the one that it needs for it to function properly, it produces mainly T4, but it needs T3 to function properly. And I don't want to get into the weeds too much, but just understand that. But where is T4 converted to T3? Mostly 80% of in the liver. So when you fix your insulin, you are emptying your liver. Why are you doing that? Because when you lay off the carbs, when you lay off high fructose corn syrup, that takes a bee line for your liver, you're emptying your liver. Guess what? Your thyroid will respond to that because now you are going to be able to convert T4 to T3.

Guys, I'm telling you, I haven't even met one endocrinologist that ever thought that food. I mean, other than iodine, I get it. They understand the importance of iodine, but they don't think of T4 to T3. It's almost like it's something they didn't learn in medical school. They learned that, but they forget it, and that's why they have trouble fixing it. Okay? So that's one. Insulin is a big part of the hierarchy, and insulin by and large is a food hormone. Okay? You guys know that. If you're new today, you're hearing it and maybe for the first time, for you. Insulin, it's a huge problem today, not only because it's associated with chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer and cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's and dementia and autoimmune. All of the above, but also because it can mess up your hormones. And if you don't fix insulin, if you don't lower your insulin response, there's a real good stinking chance that you will not fix hormones, and you won't hear that almost anywhere else, guys. Okay, insulin.

Now let's get back to the graph. Okay, so we took care of the one in the middle, insulin. We talked about it. Start with food folks. Start with food. You don't feel well, you're losing your hair, you're losing your eyebrows, you're tired all the time. You're gaining weight. You got all the symptoms of a sluggish thyroid. Yeah. And no one seems to be listening to you. You know how many thousands of times I heard that? Okay, now, I am going to bring you to the sides, and I'm pointing my pen at both sides here. Halfway down the pyramid, these are called your adrenals on top of kidneys. They secrete. They're only little chestnut size, by the way. They're size of a chestnut and they're really important. And you can't fix hormones unless you understand that cortisol that comes from your adrenals can mess you up big time. It's part of the hierarchy.

I wrote a book years ago, Tony Jr. And I talked about it yesterday. I said, you know what, son? I think it's time to rewrite that book because we wrote it years ago. Let's put all the new research in that. We talked about that yesterday. Okay? We wrote a book years ago, Serial Killers: Two Hormones that Want You Dead. Okay? Two hormones that want you dead. You know when that came out? In 2011. You know why I know that? Because we brought it out on the 100th anniversary of the Martin Clinic. That book was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Martin Clinic. Two hormones that want you dead, insulin and what? Cortisol. And even back in 2011, I talked about the significance of insulin and high circulating insulin and insulin resistance and how it created havoc in your body. 2011. And then I talked about cortisol. They don't even think of it.

In the email, we talked about wearing a tie for men. For a lot of men, it's like that, right? It's bothersome, but it's not the end of the world, okay? It's a good illustration because a lot of men don't like wearing a tie. And especially in this day and age. My dad, I never saw my dad when I was a kid. I mean that. He went to work every day with a tie on. It was just men wore ties in the 1950s. He wore a tie every day. I can't remember seeing my dad without a shirt and tie on. And his hat, he wore a hat all the time, not a baseball hat I wear all the time. He had a dress hat, and that's just the way it was. Okay? But now, men, okay, not all men, but some of us a tie. It's sort of uncomfortable, but that's the way doctors think of stress. Ah, stress. It's normal part of life. But if stress, if your adrenal glands are secreting cortisol and you don't turn the tap off of stress, you don't sleep properly, your cortisol goes up, your cortisol goes up, you don't sleep properly.

But it's not just sleep. In my book, Sun, Steak and Steel, okay? I talked about the significance of sleep and the significance of cortisol. Cortisol over a period of time will mess you up big time. Okay? I mean, it does a lot of things. Cortisol. Think about it. Ah, doc, I'm not stressed. And then I would measure them and they go, yeah, you are your cortisol's through the roof. And they didn't even know it. They're so used to it that their body was producing cortisol, but they never thought about it so much. And the problem with cortisol, okay, I'll give you a rundown quickly. The problem with cortisol, when your cortisol is elevated for a long period of time, forget just the sleep and all that. It messes up almost everything in the pyramid, including insulin. What do you mean? Well, they work together. They're serial killers, and it's not a serial killer with a C, it's with an S, because cortisol stress elevates your blood sugar. It's getting you ready for the fight and flight instead of the rest and digest. Okay?

You got two modes, rest and digest and fight and flight. And guys, I used to test this. I used to test cortisol in the office. The vast majority of people, especially women, their cortisol was messing them up. It creates an increase in blood sugar. What goes up must come down. You get yo-yo in the blood sugar, what comes up must come down. So if your blood sugar's going up because you're stressed, you're getting ready for fight or flight, your insulin is taking that elevated blood sugar and lowering it sometimes way too fast. That gives you hypoglycemia. A lot of people don't realize they go up, they go down blood sugars, they're exhausted, they don't feel good, they're tired. Your body wasn't made to be under stress. Your body was made for stress, but not continued stress. Got it?

Okay. So I showed you the connection to the pancreas, the insulin. But do you know what happens when cortisol is high? This is first day, nah, maybe not first month of physiology. Doctors forget cortisol is a hormone, but when it's high, it robs progesterone, pro baby hormone, progesterone. So what happens? Stress, insulin resistance, insulin resistance, even more stress fluctuations of blood sugar up and down. Yo-yo, insulin secreted fat. You can't lose weight, but cortisol robs progesterone. What's that mean, doc? What's that mean? Well, when you rob progesterone, now I'm going to show you the other circles at the bottom of the pyramid. See these little babies right here? Okay? I'm showing the bottom circles of the pyramid. When adrenals, the cortisol is too high, fight or flight, it robs progesterone. Now you have a hormonal imbalance between estrogen and progesterone, and you get what we call estrogen dominance.

And when you're estrogen dominant, a lot of bad things happen. One, you have trouble converting T4 to T3 estrogen dominance. You can get PCOS, polycystic ovarian disorder, insulin and estrogen dominance. You get bad skin, you get acne, you get bad periods. Even in post-menopausal women, you get hot flashes. Guys, the key there is progesterone. Women don't have enough progesterone anymore. The estrogen, oh, Dr. Martin, I, I'm in menopause. My doctor says I need estrogen. I said, you don't need estrogen. Estrogen is coming at you at a hundred miles an hour from every plastic, every air freshener, every hand sanitizer, every house cleaner, just about everything you can think of from plastics in a bottle to you name it, estrogen. It looks like estrogen to your body. You're not low in estrogen. You are lower than you used to be, but you have an imbalance. It's imbalance. You know when you do well, when you're balanced. That messes up your thyroid.

You see why doctors have so much trouble fixing hormones? They don't get it. They don't get it. They don't think holistically. You have to when it comes to hormones, you have to, if you don't put this together, you are going to have thousands of women falling through the cracks. And Tony Jr and I, we named it the metabolic storm. They get into the storm, and some of them are in category five, like you know what a category five storm is, okay? It's not good. I saw thousands of women in the category five. Every hormone they owned was messed up. They're frustrated beyond belief. But I didn't blame the poor women, and I didn't even blame the doctors to some extent because they were just ignorant of it. They're taught systematically. They spend a day on adrenals.

And I used to have doctors tell me, even endocrinologists, well, you don't have Addison's disease. If you don't have Addison's or Cushing's. Why would I test your adrenals? I used to get migraines when I heard that. I said, well, look, I'm not talking about pathology. I'm talking about physiology, and I'm talking about imbalances. And you got to expand your thinking. You have to, because you won't fix it. You're not going to fix things, ladies, I'm telling you. And men, I mean men too, because men, their testosterone, I've never seen anything like it in the last 20, 30 years. Testosterone rates have sunk like the Titanic for men. Men are so full of estrogen. It's crazy. And that's not meant to be. Estrogen is a woman's hormone, for heaven's sakes.

But I used to get, I don't want to use the word frustrated, but women were frustrated. I had to teach them. I took up my chart and I taught because I figured, look, if you don't understand this, and I'm not expecting a lay person to be a doctor, I don't want you to know everything. You don't have to. But if you can understand that pyramid and you can understand what you can do about it, you'll go a long way to not be so frustrated. And guys, like I said, the top ones, the ones that really managed everything in that pyramid, including the thyroid, is insulin, food, and cortisol, stress. So it's not, like I said, doctor's stressed. Ah, you know what? Everybody's stressed. Yes, a lot of people are stressed today, but prolonged stress is deadly for hormone because it really messes up. It really messes up the body.

So guys, I'm telling you that hierarchy, and who knows if I get to teach this all for how long? But you know what, guys, all I'm saying is, and there's a lot of repetition for folks, but this is something that is understandable, and you don't have to be a physician to understand it. Okay? Why do doctors have so much trouble fixing hormones? It's almost like they're looking for love in all the wrong places. And you can't isolate if you only isolate thyroid, oh, I'm a thyroid doctor. You're going to be in trouble if you're a thyroid doctor only, and you don't figure out all the strings attached to that thyroid, and you get a gynecologist, okay, God love them. But oftentimes, they're not thinking of estrogen dominance. They're not thinking of those things. And how often do gynecologists actually give estrogen? I don't like estrogen as a hormone, not to give, I don't like it. It's a growth hormone. Estrogen's a growth hormone. So is insulin, and cortisol is a hormone that pours gasoline on that fire.

Okay, guys, what's Friday? Question and answer Friday. What time is it? Time to get a book. I push that book. I, I'm a marketer. I mean it. It's a great book. You guys have said it and you guys have made it so successful. Okay, we love you dearly. We'll talk to you soon.

Announcer:  You've reached the end of another Doctor Is In Podcast, with your hosts, Doctor Martin Junior and Senior. Be sure to catch our next episode and thanks for listening!

Back to blog