This week we’re talking all things hormones with the founder of Your Hormone Balance, Candace Burch, who has been a hormone health educator for over 25 years.
Candace shares tips on how to recognize a hormonal imbalance through various symptoms, what tests to ask for to find out what that imbalance might be, and then how to remedy any imbalances through natural means, including dietary and lifestyle changes, and herbs.
Hormone Health Educator
Candace Burch is an internationally recognized Hormone Health Educator with over 25 years of experience in the field. Through her practice, Your Hormone Balance, she helps people of all ages detect, and naturally correct hormone imbalances. Her background includes working as a health writer and investigative journalist in London, and leading educational initiatives for ZRT Hormone Testing Laboratory and Metabolic Research Center.
Maria Marlowe: [00:00:34] Welcome back to the Happier and Healthier podcast. This week we’re talking all things hormones with Candace Burch, a hormone health educator for over 25 years. She’s going to be sharing tips on how to recognize a hormonal imbalance through various symptoms, what tests to ask for to find out what that imbalance might be, and then how to remedy any imbalances through natural means, including diet and lifestyle.
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Maria Marlowe: [00:03:06] Candace, thanks so much for coming on the show.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:03:08] Happy to be here. Thanks for having me.
Maria Marlowe: [00:03:11] So hormones, this is really an interesting topic and there’s so much that we have to discuss. But before we jump into that, I’m curious what your backstory is and how you became a hormone health educator.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:03:27] Ok, how do I cut to the chase on this? It’s a long story since I’m getting up there in years now. But I have a master’s degree in health education and I was living in England for a long time, working for Which Magazine as a health investigative reporter and was really into health maintenance, disease prevention. And I had little kids. I didn’t have my children until I was older. I’m an older mom. I had my first at thirty seven and my second daughter at forty one. So right about the time I went into perimenopause, which is when hormones start to fluctuate wildly, sometimes I started having lots of hot flashes and mood swings and looked at my little one one day and saw that she had tears standing in her eyes because she was afraid of mommy. And I realized then that I had to get a handle on what was happening. I knew it was hormonal. And from that day on, I started reading, researching about hormonal imbalances and what one could do to get back to where to yourself, because the symptoms were severe and I ended up focusing my health education into the world of hormones and hormone imbalance and ended up as the director of education for a very huge hormone testing lab here in the States, which tests people’s hormones all over the world.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:04:57] So I worked with the cancer researcher and was right in on that beginning into the world of integrative medicine and functional medicine. So I was able to work with all of those people who were moving towards safer solutions for women’s health care, especially in the world of hormones. And that was during the time that the Women’s Health Initiative, the first long term clinical trial of women on on hormone replacement therapy, right around then was lots of news about how hormones were really giving us breast cancer and blood clots and strokes, et cetera. So I’ve been kind of in on it from the heyday of reversing the approach to women’s hormonal health and was there at the in the lab setting for many years. So I’ve seen thousands and thousands of test results, but then decided I wanted to just start talking more to women. So now I have my own little practice online called Your Hormone Balance, because I you know, you get into the executive world of being up there in having lots of meetings and working with a lot of people but never talking to the women, you’re actually helping. So that’s where I’m at right now.
Maria Marlowe: [00:06:09] Well, I want to back up to the early part of your story, you mentioned that you had your kids at thirty seven and forty one, right? So can you talk a little bit about that? Because I’m at an age and a lot of people listening. You know, I have all ages listening to the podcast, but there’s definitely a large audience of 30 somethings. And I’m at a point where I have friends freezing their eggs and worried about now also with COVID, the marriage got pushed back and so that the baby making gets pushed back. And everyone in New York is on a very specific schedule when things are supposed to happen. And obviously that’s all going to the wind. So, yeah. Was it naturally or was it IVF? How did you get pregnant at thirty seven and forty one.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:06:54] Actually it was naturally. I probably was lucky. I don’t know. I having been a health educator for years, I had been off of birth control knowing that it was, you know, that could interfere with conscious conception for sure. I think I was practicing conscious conception for a while. I knew that I didn’t want, we were living in Europe and traveling a lot. And I think I can really relate to my own daughters who are one is delaying her marriage. One is delaying childbirth, you know, thinking about freezing her eggs, too. And I get it. They often say to me, well, mom, you didn’t have us till later. And I have to say I wasn’t ready emotionally. I didn’t think to be a parent. And I’m happy that I had them later.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:07:41] But I also was really into eating the proper way and managing stress and trying to be my own lesson. So I think probably that was part of the reason that I didn’t really have any trouble. I should mention I did have a miscarriage, come to think of it. And that was probably I had a miscarriage somewhere in there. And that can often have to do with the lack of progesterone, which is a big issue with women in their twenties and thirties who are probably been on. Many women have been on birth control for many, many years since they were like 13. And some women are on very restrictive diets and everybody is very stressed. And all of those things do interrupt ovulation, which can have a big impact on the adequate production of ovarian hormones, which are so crucial to getting pregnant. We can talk about that some more, but that is really key.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:08:38] And I do see a lot of younger women. Their test results are showing low progesterone, stressed out adrenal glands, you know, things that are not going to help to provide a successful pregnancy. So these things can be turned around with some attention to all kinds and the holistic approach. It’s not just taking things or it’s not just one thing. It’s lifestyle. It’s exercise, it’s its proper eating, et cetera.
Maria Marlowe: [00:09:08] Yeah. And I’m glad to have you on as another human example. I’ve had a few people on. I’ve actually had a gynecologist who also got pregnant, I think at forty or forty one, naturally. And I love these stories because I think that society makes us feel like thirty five is a cliff. And if you don’t have your kid by thirty five, it’s not happening, or you have to do IVF or even that your kid is going to be or is at a higher risk for developmental disorders. And so I just love hearing stories like yours where you were able to conceive naturally over the age of thirty five when you felt like you were ready to have kids.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:09:49] And you know, I it’s interesting because I went into menopause right around the time my eldest daughter turned, in fact, the day she got her period, I turned 50 and it was sort of symbolic that I’ve never regretted being an older mom. In fact, I’ve always kind of seen it as a source of a reason to stay extra super healthy, to be in good shape for them. And I think emotionally, I was much more ready as a more mature person who wasn’t, who was able to think outside myself more. But there are times when there are those years when you just need to make the most of it. And sometimes kids, you know, once you have kids, that’s the huge the big commitment. So I totally am in sympathy with younger women who have major careers. And you’re in the shank of your life right now. So it really has to be planned out.
Maria Marlowe: [00:10:45] Right, so let’s talk about that a little bit, what you mentioned about low progesterone and a lot of women that you see having adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalances. So let’s just start with how do you know if you have a hormone imbalance? What are some of the signs?
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:11:04] Well, you know, in my case, as I said, I was having hot flashes every 20 minutes and a mood swing in between. I wasn’t sleeping well. Those sorts of things start to give you a clue. But I do think it’s really important to be aware of the symptoms of hormone imbalance and to be aware I’m not sure how many women are aware that there is such a concept as hormone imbalance. You know, that their hormones shift like seesaws. They can and they can fluctuate. And there are all kinds of reasons behind that and we can get into that. But the main symptoms really are all those things that women suffer and struggle with and throughout their reproductive years, not realizing that possibly they have an imbalance. For instance, heavy, painful periods is a hallmark sign of hormonal imbalance.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:11:55] A lot of women I remember being in college and having a couple of roommates who had to stay, couldn’t go to classes and were curled up in a fetal ball while the rest of us were off having too much fun while they were in abject misery and pain every single period. And I’ve helped many women alleviate that through balancing their hormones. And they’ve said to me, wow, first time I could go to work without having to leave at some point during the day because my period was so horrible. Also, breast tenderness and fibrocystic breasts is another hallmark symptom. PMS, the-pass-me-the-shotgun variety and just really bad moods and irritability. That doesn’t seem right. And every time your period comes around, you’re ready to break up with your boyfriend or, you know, run away somewhere, leave your husband or your partner and never come back.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:12:51] Anxiety is another thing that can be a symptom of imbalance. But, you know, all those kinds of struggles that women go through with their periods, if it’s bad and extreme every month and you dread your period coming, that’s a good sign that you have a hormonal imbalance and then weight gain in the hips and the you know, how often do I hear I’ve done I do everything. I eat clean, I exercise, and I cannot lose this weight. So often weight gain around the waist or the estrogen fat pattern distribution of hips, thighs bottom is a big clue that there is something hormonal going on.And of course, low libido, that’s another big one.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:13:34] So on our website, Your Hormone Balance, we have a symptom quiz, which I encourage your listeners to take because that goes through all the symptoms and helps you interact and think about, oh yeah, wow. I’ve have that symptom for a long time and I just thought it was normal. People sort of become their symptoms. They get used to being tired all the time or tired and wired where they’re they’re exhausted in the morning and they can’t go to sleep at night, that sort of thing. Those are all really down. They can very easily be an imbalance that has a hidden hormone imbalance that hasn’t been addressed because you didn’t know that you were walking around with that.
Maria Marlowe: [00:14:15] Yeah, and I always tell people and I always tell my listeners that your body is meant to feel good. So if you don’t feel good frequently, like every day or every week or month, then there is something off. And I think so often I remember and I’ve talked about this before on the podcast, I remember growing up and being in high school and seeing ads for a Midol and for PMS. Right. And you’re just like, oh, OK. Whenever you have your period once a month, you take Midol to get rid of your PMS. I thought PMS is normal. Yeah. So I think people, we don’t realize we’re not taught that actually you’re not supposed to have PMS every month, like you’re it’s not supposed to hurt, like you’re not supposed to be curled in a fetal position for a week out of the month. So yeah, that’s just so it’s so sad to me that we’re not taught these things when we’re we’re growing up. So I’m so thankful for people like you who are educating the public on on all of this.
Maria Marlowe: [00:15:20] And I was just going to ask you if let’s say, OK, someone’s listening and they’re like, oh, my gosh, I do. I have really bad PMS or I have this symptom, that symptom. What tests should they do? Who should they see? What tests should they ask for to start figuring out what’s going on?
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:15:38] Yes, I just wanted to segway back to the PMS thing again. Interesting little side story that a very. Famous physician in the U.K., Dr. Katerina Dalton, back in the nineteen fifties, was had her first pregnancy and realized that while she was pregnant, she didn’t have a migraine. She had suffered with migraines her entire life. And during her pregnancy, she had no migraines. So she started studying the balance of she figured it had to be hormones. And of course, we’re swimming in a sea of hormones when we’re pregnant. And she realized that it was the lows, particularly of progesterone when you’re ovulating or not ovulating that were causing these problems. And she’s actually the person that coined the term PMS, premenstrual syndrome, wrote the first study and coined the term. So interestingly, the migraines and all of that are also one of the one hundred and fifty symptoms of PMS.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:16:40] So testing for these levels of, you know, what you’re really needing to know are what are my levels of estrogen? There are three different estrogens. Estradiol is the most potent of those, and that is the one we test. And that is a growth hormone. That’s the hormone that grew all of our female organs and then is dominant the first half of the cycle. It’s growing the egg in the ovary. It’s growing that blood rich lining that we shed as a period. But a growth hormone is very potent and active and needs to be checked and balanced. Otherwise, we get into things like estrogen driven fibroids and fibrocystic breasts and cysts and endometriosis. And down the road, breast cancers are often related. Ninety seven percent, in fact, are related to too much estrogen and we get into too much estrogen and estrogen dominance when we don’t have enough progesterone on board to balance estrogen. That is, it’s balancing partner and progesterones made upon ovulation. So we test for that at a particular time in your cycle. So when you test your hormones, you’re testing on particular days so that we can measure the optimal levels hopefully of estrogen, progesterone, also testosterone, the anabolic hormone that grows and maintains bone density and lean muscle mass and drive our sex, drive our competitive drive. Even mental sharpness is linked to testosterone metabolism.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:18:13] And then DHEA we also test for which is the most abundant hormone in the body and breaks down actually converts to testosterone and estrogen. And then we test for cortisol, the adrenal stress hormones that moderate your energy levels, your sleep wake cycle and your immunities against illness. So adrenal hormones are really important to measure and we have to measure those four times over the course of one day. So that tests that I do and that many functional medicine people are doing is in saliva because saliva is non-invasive. You don’t want to be doing a blood draw four times over the course of one day to test your adrenal function. And in fact, saliva is the gold standard for testing adrenal function.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:19:01] And so one day testing for morning, noon, evening, bedtime gives us a pretty good picture of what’s going on with your hormones, and it can help us identify specific imbalances. And then the great thing is, which I think helps a lot of people, is that we can correlate those imbalances to the symptoms that you’re experiencing. So the test requisition form has I think there’s one hundred and forty four symptoms that we ask people to fill out so that when we interpret the test, we can say, no wonder, no wonder you’re having such heavy periods. Look at these estrogen levels are no wonder you’re exhausted in the morning and you can’t get to sleep at night. Look at this cortisol pattern. It’s completely off.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:19:48] So that in one test is we call it The Jump Start. And I think that’s a really good way to begin to confirm your symptoms of imbalance and identify those hidden imbalances and then do something about it.
Maria Marlowe: [00:20:03] Well, and then what can we do about it? So what are some of the ways that we could start balancing our hormones naturally?
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:20:11] Well, you know, aside from actually adding in some supplements and herbs and possibly bio-identical hormones if needed, and that’s usually with older women, I think one of the biggest things with younger women that I see two things are the use of birth control and overexercising. And maybe a third, I would say, is restrictive diets. Those three things can really disrupt ovulation. So, I mean, obviously, birth control shuts down ovulation. And I see there’s so many women I’m talking to now that are really saying I’ve been on birth control since I was 13. I went on it for acne or heavy periods, and I’m still on it because I’m afraid to come off. But I really want to. I think there’s more and more information about the risk factors behind the use of birth control. The earlier you start, the more risky it is down the road. And those the birth control really shuts down these hormone levels. And it can take quite a while for the ovaries to come back. It can take up to a year.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:21:18] So women who really want to start practicing, thinking about getting having starting a family, I would advise weaning off the birth control pill at least six months to a year before you want to start a family and doing and then filling in, bringing back those hormones by eating foods that are going to provide the building blocks of hormones, which would be really good, you know, the good fats and the good proteins having a full on diet of, you know, you hear about the fiber greens, protein and fats that every meal. Protein and fats are in particular key to a healthy conception and healthy hormones. You don’t want to be also disrupting ovulation besides birth control with extreme exercise. A lot of people who are overweight or want to lose the last five pounds or the last few inches around the waist are are exercising every single day, maybe spinning and running and doing all high intensity interval training and not mixing it up with balanced with the kind of exercise that releases tension that we hold in the muscles. And that is not so high intensity.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:22:35] So I always advise people, yes, do the high intensity, get out there and get that cardio. But you also have to balance that with yoga or pilates or swimming or walking things that are less, low intensity because high intensity exercise can really disrupt ovulation as well. It’s a real whip to the adrenals. Too much caffeine. Some people are drinking way too much caffeine because they’re go go going all the time, although that’s a little different now with COVID. But people have their own there’s a whole new kind of stress level having to work indoors. And so many people are having to homeschool their kids and do their job full time and be with their partner. Twenty four seven when that wasn’t the plan. You know, living in the continuous present is a little bit weird, not being able to make plans and look forward to things exactly as we’re used to.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:23:30] So I’d say, you know, what was the other thing? And then restrictive diets. I have gotten in trouble before for mentioning things like veganism, which is fine, plant based eating is great if you make sure to get the right complement of proteins and good fats, because some people I’ve talked to who have been vegan or plant based for some time are very their go to is carbs. And if because it’s easy and that can be that can be another disrupter of ovulation. So I think with younger women and women who are still in their reproductive years, ovulation is the key. You want to make sure you’re ovulating and you want to make because at that point you’re making progesterone and progesterone is that key to balancing estrogen. Actually, it’s called the great balancer. It’s key to the adrenals. It’s a precursor for adrenal function and it balances estrogen and calms you down.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:24:28] If women need to supplement with a little bit of topical progesterone cream, bioidentical progesterone, always insist on that and I’ll define that, then that can be used at bedtime and it can really help people who are having a hard time sleeping, sleep well, get to sleep and stay asleep. So it’s also very helpful for heavy periods, fibrocystic breasts. So I don’t want to make progesterone sound like a panacea, but it is one of those very benign hormones that can actually be used without a prescription. It’s available over the counter, and I suggest one that’s actually available through one of the gurus of bioidentical hormones, Dr. C.W. Randolph. I don’t know if I answer that question fully, but I would say, yes, those three things are so important.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:25:17] And then there are some great herbs and vitamins. I think people who are burning the candle at both ends, haven’t been sleeping, have a lot of stress and their adrenals sort of are very flat. I’ll see these low adrenal levels in the morning when adrenal levels should be high. There’s something called the cortisol awakening response. When you wake up in the morning, if you’ve slept deeply and gotten into REM sleep, cortisol levels should be highest at their highest level in the morning. And yet I see so many low levels in the morning, people saying they can’t get out of bed, they’re dragging out of bed and they just can’t wake up. They have no energy. And then often those levels are just sort of bumping along the bottom all day. And this is kind of a shock to people who have a lot going on.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:26:03] They think that I’m you know, I’ve got kids and I’m working and COVID and I’m so stressed, how can my levels be so low? And actually the adrenals actually get fatigued and over time and stress levels being continuous or under prolonged periods of stress, the adrenals can really start to flag and not be able to keep up with the demand. And so then we start to see low levels and that’s when you start to have sleeping problems and allergies and asthma and maybe getting sick often and not bouncing back. That’s when libido is low. Or if you have fluctuations in those adrenal hormones, you can feel very anxious. So anxiety is a huge issue right now. Almost everyone I talk to is terribly anxious.
Maria Marlowe: [00:26:50] Yeah, we’re definitely living in an unprecedented time. So I think our stress and anxiety is at an all time high. So I’m curious. Well, I have so many questions for you. Based on what you said. That was a very thorough answer. But let’s just stick to this adrenal fatigue and stress and anxiety. What are some of the supplements and herbs that you would recommend for that if someone is out of balance, is under a lot of stress, or that could be helpful for a specific hormonal imbalances.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:27:19] If someone is under a lot of stress and I see low adrenal levels in the morning or levels that crash by noon and then just sort of stay low throughout the rest of the day and they have a low progesterone level. We will talk about a couple of things. Of course, B complex is, I should say, more than a couple of things. B complex is hugely important for the adrenals because the adrenals make cortisol to regulate blood sugar and insulin. So a stable blood sugar is hugely important. And that’s where we get into eating properly throughout the day so that we’re not skipping meals and eating sweet things or caffeine, et cetera, to keep going rather than protein and good fats and fiber and all of that.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:28:12] B complex as a supplement is very important for breaking down the glucose molecule and turning it, helping the adrenals turn it into energy. It’s a these are key factors in that break down into glucose, which is fuel for the brain exclusively and fuel for the body. Many people that I talked to are only taking B12. They’re often taking B 12 because they associate that with increased energy. But the entire B complex, B1 through 12 is really, really essential to adrenal health. And by the way, B5, Pantothenic acid and B6, you probably know this, Maria, are very essential to ovulation as well. So when you’re thinking about trying to improve ovulation, you definitely want to be doing that.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:29:04] And also there’s an herb called chasteberry vitex. If someone’s progesterone is low, you can use this herb, which has been around for centuries to help restore, especially for people who have irregular periods and all kinds of symptoms of PMS, et cetera. Chasteberry vitex has been shown over the years to help restore regular cycles and to actually they think that it it nudges the pituitary gland to trigger a surge of L.H. luteinizing hormone, which then leads to the production of progesterone. So I often talk about chasteberry which is called vitex. The Latin name is vitex. And then I may talk about progesterone because progesterone can, is the precursor for adrenal cortisol. And if people have been for whatever. The reason, as I was discussing before, disruption of ovulation, if they, if their ovulation has been erratic for years, you can have a period but not ovulate. If ovulation is wonky, then sometimes women need vitex and a little bit of progesterone cream at bedtime, especially if they’re not sleeping. Well, then I will I will suggest that.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:30:26] And then I mean, there’s so many things. But I also love the adaptogenic herbs. And I always ask women, have you heard that term? Do you know what an adaptogen is? And some do and many don’t. Those are the herbs that are known to help nourish and strengthen adrenal function. They help the adrenals to adapt to stress. So adapt-to-gens. They’ve been tested on astronauts and Olympian athletes and they’ve just been shown to boost adrenal function. And those are those herbs that we’ve all everything from ginseng to the Reishi mushrooms to ashwaganda, astragalus, maca. There are so many of them, it’s hard to keep track. So I like to suggest a tincture of a formulated blend of certain adaptogens put together in a way to for a specific blend to create a specific outcome. And I do suggest these herbal tonics that are put together by Dr. Aviva Romm. I don’t know if you’ve ever interviewed her.
Maria Marlowe: [00:31:38] I love Dr. Aviva Romm. Yes, she’s amazing.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:31:39] She is amazing. And she she’s not only an M.D. from Yale, but she started out as a doula, as a midwife. And she’s a botanical medical expert. She’s written an entire encyclopedia on botanical medicine for women. And she’s got these three really knock-out tinctures that I love. And I always suggest them for anyone with adrenal fatigue and that she’s got Adrena Nourish. These are available through Herb Farm. She distributes them through herbfarm.com. So one Adrena Nourish. And that, I suggest is an every day take that, do a dropper full and a little bit of water and then chug it because they taste terrible, I have to say. Although some people like that earthy, that earthy aftertaste, you know, they can be very startling. So they’re strong. So anyway, Adrena Nourish in the morning Adrenda Uplift is her tonic for you when you get that slump in the afternoon and you just can’t function. Adrena uplift is fantastic. Great choice instead of caffeine or reaching for some kind of sweet snack to keep you going. And then Adrena Sooth is her third tincture. And that’s great for anxiety and sleep problems, et cetera.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:33:02] I also suggest magnesium for people who have, you know, nervous racing, that nervous anxiety, chocolate craving, sugar cravings, can’t sleep, that sort of thing is often a magnesium deficiency. So magnesium plays a huge role in the adrenal support picture. And there are many there are many things that people find with anxiety attacks. GABA can help and some people are having outright anxiety attacks these days. So sublingual GABA, which is a neurohormone that hits the calming centre of the brain, that can be really helpful. In our action plan that we send people after they test people, test them, they talk to me, we go through the test results, and then I send an action plan and I will suggest these different things based on which imbalances showed up in the testing. I think those are key.
Maria Marlowe: [00:33:58] Yeah, I’m curious. Well, first of all, obviously, I love that you said you test, you figure out what the imbalances are, and then you can offer a very specific recommendation and action plan based on that. Adaptogens now have become increasingly popular and we hear about them quite a bit. And I’m seeing them infused into chocolate and snack foods and drinks and this and that. The other thing, so I’m curious, what are your thoughts on these adaptogenic snacks and things like that? Do you think that I mean, obviously they’re in sub-therapeutic doses, right? I’d imagine they’re using them in very small amounts. But what are your thoughts on consuming that, these adaptogens out of these foods, like as a food versus a supplement or tincture?
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:34:45] You know, that’s a good question. You know I think of when I often describe in people who don’t want to take so many things are are saying I hate to take pills. I hate to be taking too many things every day. I often try to encourage them as to think of these things as part of good nutrition. So if it’s something that, if there’s an adaptogenic blend that is in, I know of a certain chocolate, I think it’s beauty bar chocolate, actually, that has some adaptogens in it. And in that square to have chocolate per day can be a good thing. I think that’s fine.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:35:27] I like some of these mushroom, Four Sigmatic mushroom coffees and cocoas that have adaptogens in them. I think those can be awfully nice, but I’m never one to start suggesting eating sort of, as you put it, snacks for picking up the adaptogenic. I’m not sure about the absorption. I think it’s much better to do things as consciously that so that, you know, you are consciously using this or because you want to get the benefit of the adaptogenic content, the properties within it, rather than just sort of eating it on the fly. And that’s why I like tinctures, because you have to be very conscious about how you use them. You’re very aware that you’re using them and you’re needing to use them properly and routinely during the day instead of just kind of. I think when people snack and just throw any sort of added goody into their mouths for whatever reason, I don’t know that I trust those so well, so much.
Maria Marlowe: [00:36:30] Yeah. I think especially if there is an imbalance, you would want to take a specific supplement or a specific dosage of it to know that you’re getting what you need.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:36:40] Thank you. It’s the specific dosage. That’s what you’re not going to know if you’re just eating something you know. But if you want to have a square to have chocolate every day and it has some adaptive genes in it, or you switch from caffeine to mushroom coffees and they’ve got some Chaga or Eleuthera mushroom, I don’t know that that’s that can be a good swap for the other.
Maria Marlowe: [00:37:06] Right, definitely. I’m curious, what are your thoughts on we’re also hearing a lot about now and I’ve actually talked about this on some other episodes. What are your thoughts on planning your life around your period? So there’s this whole idea of, for example, seed cycling or exercise cycling based on where you are in your period. You’ll either eat certain things or you’ll exercise or not exercise a certain way in an effort to keep everything balanced.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:37:36] Yeah, I think I like all of that. I’m not an expert on all of that, but I do refer people to books like Woman Code, which is written by you must know Alisa Vitti.
Maria Marlowe: [00:37:48] Yeah, she’s been on the show. Yeah.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:37:50] And I’m sure that the reference to her interview would have been would be the best answer. But I absolutely concur with her that especially for people who are trying to become pregnant, who are trying to get their cycle back, some people haven’t had a period in years because they’ve been on contraception and now they they’re desperate to get their cycle back and they need to be doing certain things to encourage ovulation. And I think those, the seed cycling, the eating certain foods at different phases of the cycle, engaging in certain exercises and stress management is really, really hugely important. I’m all for it.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:38:34] And because people are now much more apt to track their cycles with tracking apps like Alisa Vitti’s Flo Tracker. there’s another great one called Natural Cycles. It’s making people much more aware of the different phases of their cycle, and then they can fit in those particular foods or activities, or there’s certain things that are at a certain phase in your cycle. It’s a good time to ask for a raise or a good time to just kick back and take time for yourself. Off course that’s always a good time.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:39:07] In fact, with stress issues, I forgot to mention that I often ask women to make a list of the ten things they love to do most in all the world that relax them and bring them joy. And that’s an easy list to make. But when you go back through that and jot down when is the last time I had a day to myself or did my scrapbooking or my sewing or my singing or my drawing, it’s often a wake up call. How notorious we women are really for taking care of everybody else and not doing things for ourselves that we need to do. So there’s a lot of that discussion in how we approach the different phases of our cycle in these new approaches to seed cycling and, you know, as you said, various exercise, et cetera. And I think it’s really, really important when adrenals are tired and you’re in your luteal phase, you don’t want to be working out intensely. You want to be doing more balanced things like yoga and stretching and then sometimes just staring into space and not being particularly busy, deliberately being having unstructured time where you’re not worried about being productive, but rather just phasing out and relaxing.
Maria Marlowe: [00:40:18] Yeah, I read this interview. I can’t remember who it was. This was a while back, but it was one of these top CEOs and he was saying how he actually schedules time in his calendar for nothing for literally like taking time to do absolutely nothing, but maybe just sit in nature or go for a walk or just do nothing. And have no agenda. And that is what really recharged him and just helps him think more productively when he gets back to work and come up with these great ideas because he makes space to do absolutely nothing.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:40:51] It’s really important. Even when you’re taking a walk, everybody’s tied to their Fitbit or their phone to be tracking their steps, et cetera. But I always make a point of going in my walks without any of that gear madness. I just want to I want my mind to roll. I figure out so many things. All the the monkey mind and the chatter sort of falls away. You’re listening to nature. You’re listening to just to the sounds. You’re noticing the leaves changing whatever’s happening, that your mind is sort of sifting out all the unnecessary stressors and letting them fall away and then getting I just find that you can become much more focused and concentrated. And I guess walking is doing something, but otherwise, not bringing your work with you into every single situation is really I think and I really do think we’re living from the neck up. We’re so stressed. We’re living in our heads. We need to really practice turning it off.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:41:58] So when I talk to people about turning off their cell phone and computer before bed, almost everybody’s addicted to their devices. We know that. But very few people are able to actually turn it off. And if you do actually turn off your phone or your computer, you wouldn’t believe the sense of liberation, the detachment, the calm, the actual calm that comes to you when you realize nobody can get to me. No, I’m yeah. I remember when it used to be you could walk down the street and nobody could reach you. Now, you know, you can get ten calls in five minutes. It’s really too much.
Maria Marlowe: [00:42:38] You know, it’s so interesting, I feel like we are trained to want to actively fix things, and so whenever we have a problem, I think our conventional mindset is like, OK, but really the only way to fix it is to talk about it. And talking about it could be a great way to solve certain issues. But the idea that just sitting in nature could also help you process and deal with the stress, even if you’re not thinking about the issue or breathing, for example, or whatever it is, there’s so many ways that are, if we just give our body the space and the time to do things, it can heal and it can it can process and release that stress and help us feel better. So we don’t always have to actively be doing something. Sometimes it’s doing the nothing that will make the biggest difference.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:43:26] Yeah, absolutely. And and I think it’s really important to have some space in there, some place you can go where there’s nothing but calm in nature is the best for that. I think a lot of people have begun to realize that in COVID times. Maybe we can’t go out to restaurants and cinemas and all of that, but we can certainly take a walk in nature. And then we sleep so much better. We breathe deep, we sleep better, and sleep is one of the sleep deprivation is one of those big bogey’s that really does get in the way of ovulation and hormonal balance. That’s a real adrenal stressor. A lack of sleep and a prolonged lack of sleep is obviously a major problem.
Maria Marlowe: [00:44:06] Yeah. So, you know, you’ve been just a wealth of knowledge. I would love to know if you could share, like if you had the ability to teach every girl or every woman something about their hormones, like it was mandate that everybody learned in school or somehow every woman got this information. What would you want them to know?
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:44:30] You know, it’s true, we don’t get this in the sex-ed do we, and I do I do find that most women I talk to don’t actually know what their hormones do. They don’t know how a hormone works. They don’t know the symptoms of hormone imbalances. So I think if I were to when I am teaching, in fact, when I interpret test results, I always go through what these hormones do, that hormones are chemical messengers. The word hormone comes from the Greek to put a force into motion. So I think it’s important for younger women, all women, to understand that hormones actually rule. We cannot do without them. They govern our mental, emotional and physical lives for as long as we live. It’s not just it’s not just for young women.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:45:19] The hormones are still important for older women in menopause as well. Older women are living to be we’re living to be 90 now. One hundred years ago, we lived to be 50. So none of this mattered. But now we’re living to be 90. So we have to be aware of the importance of hormones and that they actually have functions, that they take care of our heart, our brain, our our circulation, our reproductive, our sleep, our moods, our memory, our libido are all dependent on hormones being in the proper balance. So I think what women need to know is that hormone balance is achievable. You can get to a place of balance. You do need to know what your symptoms of imbalance are so that you can take action to reverse the imbalances through lifestyle changes and that it’s possible that you don’t need to become your symptoms, that you may be you may have forgotten how good you used to feel or be unaware of how much better you could feel.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:46:18] So I think awareness of symptoms, awareness of how hormones work, the importance of the master female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, balancing each other, the importance of testosterone and building and maintaining your strength and your stamina and your libido, the importance of the adrenal hormones which are bottom line, our energy, fuel for living, for thinking, for breathing, you know, just knowing what these things are, how they work and that we can’t really ignore them. They are Life-Giving. They are the life force. The importance of understanding that I think needs to be emphasized because so many women just don’t even think about what hormones do, what the long term short term effects of balance versus imbalance is, and how that all relates to how we eat and how we sleep and how we relate and deal with our stressors, et cetera. It’s a big answer, but it’s a holistic answer. It’s all of a piece.
Maria Marlowe: [00:47:21] Yes, and I know your website, Your Hormone Balance has information, I know you have a podcast, WTF Women talking frankly, but do you have any other resource of any books you love? Like I love Woman Code. You mentioned woman code. There’s also I had Lisa Hendrickson-Jack on the show who wrote the fifth vital sign. So I’m curious if there are any resources that you would recommend our listeners check out in terms of understanding their hormones a little bit better?
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:47:50] You know, I love the book Hormone Balance Made Simple by John Lee and Virginia Hopkins. I love the book Adrenal Thyroid Revolution by Aviva Romm. I love the book Fight Fat After 40 by Pamela Peeke, who is an M.D. with the National Institutes of Health and really explains the link between hormonal imbalances, particularly adrenal hormones and weight gain. And I love the Mood Cure by Julia Ross, which is a really important book to read. If you have anxiety or depression or you can’t sleep, those are all really, really important books. And then, of course, the guru, Dr. John Lee, who wrote What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause. And he also wrote one, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Pre Menopause. And then for people who are interested in knowing more about preventing breast cancer, it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So the book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer, How Hormone Imbalance Can Help Save Your Life by Dr. John Lee and Dr. David Zava are all really important. And I put those in my action plan as well. There are so many great books out there, but I think those are top of mind.
Maria Marlowe: [00:49:11] Yeah, you’ll keep us reading for a while, that’s definitely a good list. So one last question that I like to ask all of my guests. If you can leave our listeners with just one tip or piece of advice on how they could live a happier and healthier life, what would that be?
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:49:28] I would say taking time in your day to do what comes naturally, listening to just saying, what do I what do I feel like doing, taking time to pursue that thing that makes you feel joy, that sparks joy, taking some time out of every day, kind of that lesson about put the oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on anyone else. We need ways to rejuvenate ourselves. And we all know what those things are that we love to do, but we don’t do them. I think women are notorious for not doing these things. So whatever that thing is, if it’s singing in the shower or just having a cup of tea in the morning, a cup of green tea, of course, and staring out into the distance, however, whatever, you know, that calms you down, I would say that’s important.
Candace Burch, M.A.: [00:50:19] So, Maria, I would love to offer your listeners a one hundred dollar special discount on our Jumpstart Test kit, which is measuring the levels of all of those hormones we’ve been talking about. It includes phone conversation with me to go through the results in an action plan to get you on your way towards rebalancing naturally. Everything that we recommend, of course, is natural and holistic and use the code HAPPIER when you order at yourhormonebalance.com. And I really look forward to talking about hormones with you.
Maria Marlowe: [00:50:58] Well, thank you so much, Candace. Thank you for that very kind offer. Definitely check out her site, yourhormonebalance.com. And if you’re feeling a little bit off, I highly recommend checking out her test kit.