What follows is a transcript for the podcast How Do I Balance My Hormones? The Science Behind Women's Health
Sub-section topics within the interview include the following:
- How Do Hormones Work?
- Why aren't Women's Voices Heard Enough?
- What are Natural Ways to Balance your Hormones?
- Finding Time to Ground, Meditate and Eat Right
- Supplementing Nutrients
- How can a Woman Balance her Hormones During PMS?
- Inner Knowing and Balance
- How Psychedelics Affect People with Anxiety, Depression and Addiction
- Transitioning into being a Parent
- How to Find Balance in Life
- About Dr. Northrup
- Finding your Voice
How Do Hormones Work?
Dr. Heather Sandison: Welcome to Collective Insights. I'm your host today, Dr. Heather Sandison, and I feel very honored to be joined today by Dr. Christiane Northrup. She's the author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom that is now in its fifth edition. Dr. Northrup, thank you so much for joining us today.
Christiane Northrup: It's my pleasure, my pleasure.
Dr. Heather Sandison: So, hormones play a huge role in our thoughts, our actions, our experience of the world. Can you talk about the scientific basis of how hormones, both men and women's hormones, influence our day-to-day lives?
Christiane Northrup: Yes, hormones are kind of the messenger between our emotions and also our physiological situation. So if we look at, let's just take what is the result of excess stress hormones. Because if you have excess stress hormones produced from the adrenals, that would be epinephrine and cortisol. Epinephrine from the cortex and then cortisol from the internal medulla of the adrenals. They raise havoc with all the other sex steroids and also with insulin and glucagon.
And so, when we think about hormones, we tend to think about the things that are produced by the gonads, like the ovaries produce progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and in male's the same. It's just that in women or today, we have to say cisgender women, then it's mostly estrogen with progesterone coming at ovulation.
In men, the testosterone outweighs the estrogen, except that interestingly enough, at midlife, in the like late 40s, men begin to produce more estrogen and women begin to produce more testosterone. So there's kind of a cross thing that happens for many couples during perimenopause, where the woman will find a new career interest and she's interested now in going out into the world and he's interested in staying home and doing gardening. And that's an interesting thing that happens. And it's related to androgens and testosterone.
The other thing that's fascinating about hormones is that when you are living from the heart, when you have perfect synchronicity of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. So that's rest and restore, digest, rest and digest versus fight, flight or freeze. When those are in harmony, you get beat to beat cardiac coherence, which you can see on a cardiac monitor.
And when you're there, you actually are producing more of what's called the mother hormone, DHEA, from the adrenals and also from their connection with the ovaries in women. And so when we live in a heart-centered way, when we're in a kind of a loving state, and not so much in our heads, we actually are producing hormone balance and that's of great interest to me.
And the other thing, there's the thyroid hormone, which is huge in women. You know, you're a clinician, so you know how many women you see with Hashimoto's thyroiditis and all the rest of it. And a lot of that comes from the fact that for at least 5000, maybe 30,000 years, the voice of those who are considered more on the feminine spectrum has been squelched. Keep your voice down, your voice carries, your shrill, don't say this. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
And then over time, over the generations, this literally shuts down the fifth chakra, which is about creativity, will, timing. But it's also, I just learned this yesterday on a wonderful YouTube channel, it's also a stargate, this area. And so when we speak our truth and when we are in touch with this voice resonance, we are becoming more of who we really are from a soul standpoint and our thyroid function improves.
Why aren't Women’s Voices Heard Enough?
Dr. Heather Sandison: That's so profound, right? Because there is this idea that women are not as heard in society, right? We don't tend to be the leaders. We don't tend to be the ones making some of the most important decisions and that inability to speak or even to be heard. My own voice is very much a West Coast feminine voice and so it doesn't carry the authority that a British male accent might.
Christiane Northrup: Right. I was interviewed by this British male who had been the voice of the Globe Theatre, Shakespearean Theatre, Stewart Pearce. And it was as though all of masterpiece theatre was interviewing me with such profound authority, with this gorgeous Shakespearean, male British voice that says, "Anything I say is the truth and it's backed up by centuries of the right education."
Dr. Heather Sandison: And they can be speaking bubbles.
Christiane Northrup: Yes, yes.
Dr. Heather Sandison: And you still have that experience of, well, they have this authority. And so, I don't know if society needs to start respecting and giving maybe more reverence or more value to the female voice, or is it that the female voice maybe needs to be told that it can have more authority? Do you have a sense of that?
Christiane Northrup: I do. But I want to tell you about one study from way back and this feminist, Dale Spender, wanted to see how often women spoke and how often men spoke. And so what she did in a university faculty lounge, she just set up a tape recorder. And she recorded the number of minutes that male faculty spoke versus the number of minutes that female faculty spoke. So very quantitative study.
At the end of the study, the most strident, outspoken faculty woman spoke only 30% of the time, but she was perceived by her colleagues, both male and female, as overbearing and taking up all of the space. So that's how we've been entrained about the female voice.
Now, many of us have had to develop a male way of speaking. So for instance, for me, during medical school, it's grand rounds and so you need to, as you're going around to the bedside, you need to be spouting the studies from the New England Journal of Medicine or the Journal of the American Medical Association. And that was the only dialogue that was considered worthy of attention.
Now, when I would go back later in the evening to actually talk to the patients, I would find out all kinds of things that were absolutely relevant to their clinical course. Like once, I remember a woman looking at the sunset, saying, "Tonight, that's where I'm going." She was on the cancer ward, and I knew she was going to die that night. But that kind of information was considered utterly useless.
And so when I would gather information from the patients, going around and actually talking with them the way you do, there was no value to that. What was valuable were the figures and the blood count and the blood chemistry and what the EKG showed, as though these all existed in a vacuum separate from the patient's experience. And that's actually, ultimately, why I wrote Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom because I wasn't seeing anything like this in the medical literature. How a woman's experience determines what's going to go on in her body?
I would have women with breast cancer come in and I would just say, "What's going on in your life for the last two years?" And she'd tell me and then she and I would both get a clue as to what needed to be balanced so that she could heal properly. Now, here's what happens with that conversation in a left hemisphere dominant, right-handed male environment. That conversation is seen as blaming the victim.
So the one place where you have enormous power, that's off limits. You can't talk about that. The one place where the person has power to bring in every aspect of themselves, not just the part in the physical body, but the soul and the spirit that we're always connected to, that's where your power is. So it doesn't actually matter.
I was just reading a book, The Sophia Code, and the woman who wrote it had been sold into sex slavery at the age of three, and she didn't get out until she was a teenager and watched all these ritual abuse and all of that and that goes on on the planet. Most people are like, "No, no, no, no, no, no. Don't tell, no." Now, the truth is, it's important for us to know, for everybody, for women, for men, what happened to you? What happened to that gorgeous two-year-old who laughed all the time?
Because by the time you reach adulthood, people aren't laughing anymore, but they're rolling around like little puppies as a kid. As Ashley Montagu, the late Ashley Montagu said, "Most adults are nothing more than disintegrated children." So what the woman said about her abuse and so on, she said, "It was only when I connected with my spirit where I realized, Sophia, God, Jesus, whatever name you want to give it, can heal anything and that's where our power is."
But you'll never get that power if you think that everything's related to a blood test or I need the next screening test or you know how we're trained. I mean, we're trained as though the body is a disaster waiting to happen. So therefore, it requires constant monitoring from these Western tools in order to make sure that everything's going okay. And so people will say, "Okay, well, I was just given a clean bill of health." You and I both know, that means pretty much nothing. But I mean, it does make you feel good for a month or two.
Dr. Heather Sandison: Well, and it really doesn't if you don't feel good and then someone tells you, "But all your labs are normal. There's nothing to see here." It's so-
Christiane Northrup: That's the other part, the other part of it.
Dr. Heather Sandison: ... in contradiction.
Christiane Northrup: Yes, yes, exactly. And so, you know there are many, many things that show up in the electromagnetic field of the body or what you know intuitively that we simply don't have the refined test for yet. So for instance, way back in the day, women with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia that I saw, were told that's all in your head. And then, Big Pharma developed a pill for it. Suddenly, it's real. And they do that with all kinds of things. But generally, when it comes to women, it's a psych med.
What are Natural Ways to Balance your Hormones?
Christiane Northrup: We now have a way to treat your hot flashes. You look, it's Prozac in yet another guise. They just rebranded it. I mean, this is what I believe when people say, "I need to balance my hormones." What is the first thing you must do to balance your hormones?
All right, you need to decrease cellular inflammation. And cellular inflammation is the root cause of all chronic degenerative diseases. When insulin levels are high, blood sugar levels are high, then you get cellular inflammation. Now, how do we decrease it? I'll give you a quick and easy that anyone can do, 20 minutes standing barefoot on the ground or the beach or hugging a tree. That will ground you to the electromagnetic field of the Earth and it decreases cellular inflammation by 20%. That alone.
Dr. Heather Sandison: We recently had Clint over on the show.
Christiane Northrup: Oh, great.
Dr. Heather Sandison: And he is really the champion of a lot of this idea around earthing and grounding and that negative ion. Well, it's the balance of ions, right? That we have this positive charge accumulation when we aren't in touch with the earth.
Christiane Northrup: Right. So we do that. Also meditation. Herb Benson's work from way back at Harvard, the relaxation response. So here's the relaxation response. I can teach it to anybody. Okay, you breathe in, you breathe out. And then you have a word that you think it could be peace, it could be gross. I went all the way to Thailand last year for a Buddhist meditation retreat. Okay, here's what I went to Thailand for. Ready? Here it is. Okay.
Sit, breathe in, breathe out. Sit, in, out, sit. That's Buddhist Vipassana meditation, you don't have to go to Thailand. And then we had walking meditation where you just lift your foot up and put it down. And then whenever you have a thought that intrudes, you say, "Thinking, thinking, thinking." When you hear a bird, you just say to yourself, "Hearing, hearing, hearing," so that you're constantly coming back to the moment. And over time, you get better and better at sinking into a physiologic state that is associated with balanced hormones. And with greater increases in an odorless gas called nitric oxide.
Now, nitric oxide is produced by the unicellular layer of a lining of every blood vessel in the body, the endothelium, and that produces nitric oxide in states of meditation, exercise, anything blissful. Anytime, when you're producing a lot of oxytocin from warm embrace, sexuality with the right person or with yourself, and that increases nitric oxide, which is the Uber neurotransmitter.
So when nitric oxide is high, it balances all the other neurotransmitters like prolactin, dopamine, beta endorphin, beta enkephalin, all the things that the late Candace Pert discovered. And she says, "These are the chemicals that the brain makes when it thinks," and they also act as hormones.
So you see, the whole hormone balance, when you say, "My hormones are out of balance," everyone's been led to believe, I need a hormone from the outside. And sometimes, like during perimenopause, that can really help. There's no question about it. But oftentimes, you can do a tremendous amount by changing to a diet that does not spike your blood sugar and also by meditating and just calming down. And for that, I would recommend a week of no mainstream media, no television news, no news on your cell phone, no mainstream media news.
What my daughter does every weekend is she literally takes her Instagram app out of her cell phone. She just takes the app out so that she can't look at it. Both of my daughters will do a week where they're just off social media. They both use it for business. But I think this is a tremendous idea because we know that every time you look at social media and you see a like or you see something, it increases dopamine, which is the molecule of reward, the hormone of reward, and that's why social media and your cell phone is so addictive.
Finding Time to Ground, Meditate & Eat Right
Dr. Heather Sandison: And this answers a common question in my clinical practice that women will ask is, "Well, how do I find time to ground or meditate or eat right or get enough exercise?" Well, you can get off social media.
Christiane Northrup: That's right. And here's what you do. The first thing that you do in the morning sets the tone for everything. So if you don't have little kids... Now, if you do have little kids, chances are good that they're up at 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning. So it's not like you're going to get an hour to yourself. But I'm going to just talk to the ones who... but you can do it during nap time, but your body has to come first. This vessel comes first and this has taken me years to undo my medical training because it's always been the work has to come first. The to-do list has to come first. Then I get to take care of my body and the body's always last.
In our culture, the body's always last because of the masculine training. I saw it on the T-shirt of a guy who was a marine, and it said, "Pain is weakness leaving the body." Now, that's a very masculine approach. Run till you throw up, push through the pain. I had a good friend who literally remembered running a marathon with the knee hurting, an old football injury. His knee is killing him but he remembered how to go into the pain from some meditative practices that he learned. And he got so good at it that he completely wrecked his knee because the body is always giving you signals.
Now, what you want to do, and I learned this from John Douillard who wrote Body, Mind & Sport, when you get on a treadmill, let's say, you don't ever want to go faster than where you can comfortably breathe through your nose. When you breathe through your nose, you instantly are balancing parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system.
When you have to breathe through your mouth, you're creating stress hormones and this is why distance athletes very often die way younger than they should. They are immunocompromised because they're constantly over stressing the body. But if you breathe in through your nose, out through your nose, and you begin to train like this, over time, you develop a much more effective cardiovascular-respiratory system.
So what John would do is he'd have you walking on the treadmill, breathing through your nose, then gradually either increase the speed or the incline of the treadmill. And then the minute that you found you could no longer breathe comfortably through your nose. He'd go, "Let's get out of there." Boom, he'd put it back to normal level and slow it way down so that you could regain control.
Then, with each increment, you would find that you could ask your body for more and the body would respond. Ask it for more and it would respond. So you don't start off in that place but by the end of a, say, a 20-minute workout, you are able to go much faster at a higher angle, still breathing through your nose. And over time, you'll get very good at. My mother climbed the hundred highest peaks in New England and went to Mount Everest base camp at the age of 84. And she did it by learning how to breathe through her nose.
And then what happens with that is, you don't care who's ahead of you, who's behind you. The only competition is with yourself. If you can comfortably breathe through your nose, you're going at the right pace and you're balancing your hormones. And I think that that is fascinating. Also, most people need more magnesium as you well know. We are a magnesium-deficient culture and most people need more because magnesium is involved in every single conduction of a nerve. And because of farming practices and so on, we're quite low on magnesium. So most people need to supplement with more magnesium, and that helps tremendously.
Dr. Heather Sandison: I've heard you mentioned vitamin D as well, which is a hormone.
Christiane Northrup: Yes.
Dr. Heather Sandison: And that being a nutrient that a lot of us are deficient in. So magnesium and vitamin D are easy ones to supplement. Can you recommend how to supplement vitamin D? Do you want to go back to those labs and have a target kind of number? Or is there an amount that you typically recommend in terms of magnesium a day?
Christiane Northrup: Yeah. Generally, the level should be between 40 and 80 nanograms per milliliter, and you can get that tested just to see where you start. And I always tell people, do not be satisfied with your healthcare practitioner saying, "Your number is normal," because normal is not optimal and we want optimal. So optimal is 40 to 80.
We know that most women who get breast cancer have vitamin D levels that are much lower than that. Same with multiple sclerosis. Same with most heart disease. So you want to get it up to the regular level but you're not going to do that unless you have enough magnesium. They work together. And you also need vitamin K2. And we know that if you have enough vitamin K2, then the calcium which the vitamin D helps to bring in doesn't get deposited in your arteries.
So K2, vitamin D, magnesium, that's vitamin D3, probably the best sources are like red sockeye salmon, the really good fish oils, not the rancid stuff. Those are very, very good. And now, let me tell you, if you're a fair-skinned person, you can get 10,000 international units of vitamin D made under your skin with a 30-minute sun bath, but you've got to work up to that. So those studies are done in lifeguards. And the body will never make more than that. So you can't overdose from the sun. Most of us don't get enough sun. But if you can, I've seen many times where the vitamin D level only goes up when someone's in the sun. I would cover your face.
Most of us don't want to get the aging although if you have plenty of antioxidants in your blood, vitamin A and C and E and the B vitamins, then you don't get the free radical damage that leads to wrinkles in the skin. In general, to keep vitamin D levels optimal, you need 5 to 10,000 international units per day. And that's the work of Michael Holick of Boston University who's been a pioneer in this area, but remember it's vitamin D, K2 and magnesium.
Now, the way magnesium works, there's really no good test to measure magnesium levels. If you get leg cramps, any kind of cramps, or if you have heart palpitations, chances are very good, you're magnesium-deficient. My favorite, favorite brand is Dr. Carolyn Dean's ReMag, ReMyte, and this is pico levels of this mineral. It's so absorbable. And Carolyn invented it because she could not find any magnesium that relieved her symptoms. So she literally made sure that she had the right kind. So it's liquid and you build up gradually because it will also detoxify your system.
I'm a big fan also of Epsom salt baths, two cups of Epsom salt, that's magnesium sulfate in a bath soaking for 20 minutes before going to sleep. That will be absorbed through the skin. There're also magnesium lotions. Again, that's a transdermal approach. And people really, there's quite a variable on their magnesium tolerance. Some people will get loose stools on a very low dose of magnesium and others, you can just load them up.
Now, if you can't take the ReMag and the ReMyte because you don't want to take the liquid, then magnesium threonate is really, really good. Some people do well on just plain old magnesium oxide or magnesium chloride. Those are the cheaper ones. But remember, the transdermal and the Epsom salt, really helpful.
Dr. Heather Sandison: So when we have these minerals or nutrients out of balance, that basically puts us at risk for some of these hormonal imbalance symptoms.
Christiane Northrup: Yes.
How can a Woman Balance her Hormones During PMS?
Dr. Heather Sandison: Things like PMS. So, let's talk about PMS real-quick, what's normal? Because some people I think can... Some women or even men will say, "Oh, it's normal that she's acting crazy because she's about to get her period" or, "She just got her period." "It's normal that my skin's breaking out. It's normal that I get these horrible cramps." So what is normal? What do we have to live with? And what can we maybe shift? What's maybe a nod which mean, what's maybe a symptom that's telling us that something's out of balance and an invitation to correct that balance?
Christiane Northrup: Well, here's what I've always said. When you have 60, 70, 80% of the population suffering around a completely natural cycle, then something's wrong with the culture, not with the woman. So one of my patients said it so beautifully. She said, "When I'm running around like an idiot and I'm trying to get everything done on the same day and I get my period then I usually, I come crashing down. I get cramps" and remember cramps are completely different from PMS. Cramps are dysmenorrhea, painful periods. PMS is 100 different symptoms. Could range from irritability, easy, being clumsy, running into things, feeling very sad, crying at Hallmark commercials, that kind of thing.
Now, here's what I would say to all women in general, that luteal phase, from ovulation to the onset of your period is a time when you are more porous. You're more porous to whatever is not working in your life. And if you just say, "Oh, that's my hormones. I'm fine, that's my hormones." That's a con. That's a con.
I remember one patient saying to me, "Is it me or is it my hormones?" as though the hormones existed in the separate universe. It's always your life, your thoughts, your activity, whether or not you're on enough magnesium, whatever leads to the hormone imbalance which often doesn't show up until the second half of the cycle. So the menstrual cycle is a wonderful measurement of health.
Now, from the time of your first day of your period till ovulation, let's say after your bleeding, you're in that follicular phase where you're producing more estrogen. Most women feel their best during this time and then it's amplified at ovulation when the follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone from the pituitary go down to the ovary cause an ovulation.
And there's also a testosterone surge then. And you feel maximally, I call that, maximally open to cross pollination from every kind of source. And also, the cervical mucus has what's called spinnbarkeit, a German word that looks like ferning. It's very beautiful and I've so often, I'm sure you've seen this too. You see that in a woman and you say, "If you want to get pregnant, tonight's the night," that kind of thing.
So this is everything comes together for this wonderful ovulation and then if the woman does not get pregnant, I like to say, she's preparing to give birth to an aspect of herself. And so you go into a more a... You get progesterone then. It raises your temperature by 0.8 degrees. And if you ride that wave, then it's calming, you're more inward, that kind of thing.
My daughter, Kate Northrup, actually has an entire business called Her Origin Collective around using your lunar cycle to optimize your business because it really works. When are you in the fertile void? When is it time to do stuff? When is it time to just let things lie fallow? Because you really can, you can map a good business strategy from where you are in your cycle.
But what we do in this culture is then we vilify the hormones or we vilify the period. And I mean, for thousands of years, what have we called it? The curse or I don't know if you ever heard this from a man, "I don't trust anything that bleeds and doesn't die." I mean, these are the kind of nasty things that I've heard throughout the years. And so, the menstrual cycle should be seen as a cycle that we treasure. By the way, menstrual blood is full of T cells. It's full of stem cells, so it's like rejuvenating. I always tell people if they use a cervical cap or anything like that, make sure you put some of the blood in your plants, they will thrive.
So what you want to do, the first thing you want to do is be more mindful, slow down. I have friends who literally will not do any work during their period. They put it in their calendar and they don't book clients and they don't book travel. Literally, I had one. During the time of President Obama, she said, "If Obama came to visit me and I were having my period, I would not see him." That is how strict she was about this time period. This is my time to rejuvenate.
And imagine, if we all did this in moon lodges, where the women having their period would be taken care of and food would be brought by other women and you would rest and there were whole Indian tribes, mostly West Coast, that would use women having their period, because the veil between the worlds of the seen and unseen was thinner and their visions would guide the tribe. So think about it. We've taken this cycle that connects us to divinity and our own inner knowing and we have hijacked it so that women then think it's the curse and it's something to be medicalized. So what do we do?
Young woman comes in and she's bleeding heavily, periods are irregular. And the doctors say, "We'll put you on birth control pills to regulate your period." What will those do? They will make you be in tune with Big Pharma, not with the moon. And it's, I've said this often, many others now do as well, it's like putting duct tape over the indicator light on your dashboard because you don't want to see what's going on. That's what birth control pills do.
Now, is there a place for them? Yes, yes, there's a place for everything. There's a place for hysterectomies. There's a place for everything but it shouldn't be the first thing you do. Yeah.
Inner Knowing And Balance
Dr. Heather Sandison: Right. That's so validating. I tell my patients often, if there is an imbalance in their hormones or if there is an imbalance in their thyroid, it's not the thyroid's fault. It's not that the hormones just went out of balance because they wanted to, something else pushed them. And so our job is to figure out what was that push? Where did that come from? What's the cause? What's the cause of the inflammation? What's the cause of the hormonal imbalance?
How do we get back to the causal level pieces which include a lot of what you've already brought up, this not being grounded, this inadequate balance of the autonomic nervous system, the parasympathetic-sympathetic drive. Also, the media, these pressures of the media, so that stress, not getting enough sleep, not detoxifying well?
And I was watching a video that you did that talked about kind of these seven things that you think are most beneficial and you've already been through a couple of them. The list surprised me and so that's why I want to talk about it. But you talked about grounding, meditation, vitamin D, a break from the media, sleep, sweat and the Divine Love Petition.
So I think, so much of the value that you bring is how to get back to that inner knowing. And so of course, there's balance in this too, right? Like the labs are helpful, they give us, they're an indicator, right? And yet, the real healing happens when we're connected to that inner knowing. So can you talk a little bit more about this Divine Love petition? And how that can be helped with this inner knowing and balance?
Christiane Northrup: Yes. I've learned this originally from Robert Fritchie, who runs the World Service Institute, so worldserviceinstitute.org. And Bob is by training a chemical engineer and has worked with many rocket scientists and he's worked all over the world. But when he had retired, he sat in a chair and he prayed and he said to God, "I want to be of service. I've had a good life."
And he literally saw, and this is not a guy who has this happen, he saw a pyramid in front of him sort of rotating and he heard the voice, "study energy medicine." And around that time, there was a TV show called One Step Beyond. And so, he found a guy who was doing work with energy. So Penn had 100 patents in crystal technology with IBM. So he went to study with this guy for 25 years using crystals.
And then Bob learned you didn't need the crystal, that the body is a crystal. Our teeth, our bones, our fascia are all crystalline structures. And that all we have to do is ask and you've probably heard the adage, " Ask and it is given. Knock and the door will be opened on to you." That is part of our humanity. He taught me how to use petitions, which are no different than prayer.
What you do is you sit with your feet on the ground. Generally, you take off all jewelry. You put your hands in the upright position, like the receiving position, you close your eyes. And then you say something of this nature, and Bob has the exact petitions on the website. "With my spirit and the help of the loving angels of the light, I focus divine love throughout my system. I acknowledge" and then you can put in any symptom. I acknowledge my insomnia, or I acknowledge my headache, or I acknowledge my weariness, "And I ask that this now be completely healed with divine love according to the creator's will."
And then you take a breath in through your nose, hold it and pulse it out through your nose. All right, that's it. And then what you do, I always set my cell phone timer for two minutes and I just pay attention to any thoughts, any images that I get and any song because I get a lot of soundtracks with this, and then I just use it for guidance. And what people will find is that when they practice, this intuitive sense gets stronger and stronger because you've paid attention to it. Now remember, all kids are born with this. And then we're talked out of it in school. And it should be our first sense, not our sixth sense.
Julie Ryan is medical intuitive with whom I work and she said, "Spirit is right there always. You ask a question, it's the first thing you hear in your head." So just ask yes or no questions. And the problem with all of us is we've been so well trained, especially people like you and me. You've been taught out of your own intuition because you can't prove it. Where's the proof? Where's the studies? Where did you find that?
Dr. Heather Sandison: Where's the numbers?
Christiane Northrup: What journal did you look it up? Where are the numbers? But what you do is the first thing that comes into your head is the answer. But you have to practice that. So I'm so talked out of that first thing that comes into my head that I tend to use tarot cards and a pendulum because it sort of helps me to... It's like a control. I know what I hear in my head and then I'll use the pendulum to control.
And a pendulum just actually helps you use your innate intelligence because it'll go either a yes or no. And the more you do it, the more that instrument reflects your innate intelligence but we've all been taught to stay away from this stuff because it's not scientific and all the rest of it.
How Psychedelics Affect People with Anxiety, Depression and Addiction
Dr. Heather Sandison: Some of the new science around psychedelics and that connection to the spirit guides or inner knowing is showing that there are these really profound effects on things like anxiety and depression and addiction. Do you have a sense of the role of that type of plant medicine or psychedelic medicine in the future of women's health?
Christiane Northrup: I do, actually. It's interesting. Richard Rockefeller was a friend of mine and I hadn't seen Richard for a while and we ran into each other and he talked with me for an hour about his work with ecstasy, MDMA, with soldiers who had PTSD. And he said, "If your name is Rockefeller, it opens doors in the government."
So Richard was working with the Department of the Navy and he was using a shamanic container and sweat lodges to bring these people into a state of calm and then using ecstasy. And he said, "The results were incredible with people who had PTSD. So I think that there's absolutely a place for plant medicine and it needs to be done by someone skilled in sacred ceremony. Because I'll tell you what I've seen because we're America, so you're going to overdo it. So I see these people who do ayahuasca every weekend and they're just going around throwing up and it doesn't help them in their lives at all or you know.
However, a friend of mine just did mushrooms in a sacred ceremony and realized that he had a very specific talent for creating radio shows with music. And so he began to do that. Again, it's something that he had done before and the mushrooms spoke to him. I know, for me, I can't go near that stuff. My brain says do not go near this stuff. I've never done marijuana. I can't stand alcohol.
And I was once given ketamine for a fibroid tumor scar revision and I thought I went to hell. And I thought I will never ever get out of here. And ketamine is one of the drugs that they're using as a psychedelic. And I was the last one in the recovery room. I was sicker than anyone you can imagine. And then suddenly, at 8:30 at night, I got this stuff at about noon, 8:30 at night, boom, it cleared my system. And I said, "Never again. I do not have the kind of system that can tolerate this." However, there is absolutely a place.
Then I had another thing I did with a shaman and he blew some stuff up my nose in some ceremony. It was supposed to bring your presence in like a Peruvian woman walking in the forest, I don't know. Again, I was sick for 24 hours, I threw up and it was horrible. No one else in the group though had that happen. So I just know, for some of us, the body says, "No sweetheart, not for you." However, I have definitely seen mother ayahuasca help people.
In fact, when someone is really heavy duty left brain and they need the proof and they need the science or they say, "I'm a scientist, I'm a realist." Those are the people who should probably use the sacred medicine because they need something to knock them out of the gridlock of the intellect of the ego. So that's what I would say about that. But Richard's work had a profound influence on me. And then shortly thereafter, he died in a plane crash. And I don't know why because he was an amazing pilot. He had more hours than most commercial pilots. And he took off from Teterboro and crashed in a nearby neighborhood on a cloudy day, so I don't understand it...
Dr. Heather Sandison: That's tragic.
Christiane Northrup: ... but he was doing great work.
Dr. Heather Sandison: What's really phenomenal about this is that what we're talking about is this tapping into that inner knowing, into that guidance, that truth. And there's so many different ways to do it. That is if meditation hasn't been the right way for you, then there's a couple other options. If the pendulum doesn't work for you or applied kinesiology, I think is the other one that comes out.
Christiane Northrup: Yeah, that's right.
Transitioning into being a Parent
Dr. Heather Sandison: There's all these different avenues that you can take to get to the same place and receive that wisdom. So, fertility, this very, again, another sacred transition for a lot of women and men is this transition into parenting.
Christiane Northrup: Yes.
Dr. Heather Sandison: And fertility becomes a big conversation around that in this day and age where we're sort of overriding using those oral contraceptive pills from the day that we reach menarche until we decide to have a baby. And then uh-oh, I can't but I'm 38 and I had to go get that law degree. So now it's time and I'm struggling. So many of my patients are either struggling at some point in this very sacred transition of either getting pregnant, being pregnant or going through the process of giving birth, also that new-mom period. So what are your insights in assisting women through and men as well, through families, through that transition?
Christiane Northrup: First thing I would do is you want to conceive consciously. And in my practice, the number of women who had come in and say, "It just happened. I don't know how it happened." It's like, "Stop it. You know how it happened." Learn about your body. So like in the Tibetan tradition, the mother who wanted a baby, the couple would go out and meditate and pray to bring in a soul that was a high vibration. So you do it on purpose. Then we have whole programs available with traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture herbs, to prepare the body for having a baby. You don't go out...
I mean, women have got to get this together. I've always thought you've got to start using your fertility. You have to bring the same awareness there that you do with your checkbook. Like, come on. Okay, so you need to know when you ovulate. You need to be aware of this. You need to bring in the spirituality of it. Prepare the body. I remember reading a meme from the AMA, American Medical Association years ago, it said, "The time to start feeding your baby right is two years before it's born." So you want to have an optimal vitamin D level. You want to make sure you have enough iodine in your body.
That's one thing we did not talk about with the hormones. But when you have enough iodine, it changes the way estrogen is used. It protects your breasts. The ovaries and the breasts and the thyroid have active iodine pumps in them. And many, many people have suboptimal iodine levels because chlorine, bromide and fluoride take this iodine off your cells. They're all halogens. So you need enough iodine. You can get that with kelp. You can get it with Lugol's solution. There's all kinds of ways to do it.
Dr. Heather Sandison: What's your favorite way to test it? There aren't great tests for iodine.
Christiane Northrup: There really aren't. So this is my favorite because it's so easy. You get some iodine, tincture of iodine, you put it on your skin, like maybe inside your elbow, and it should still be there 24 hours later, the patch. And I would be willing to bet, in 90% of the people who are hearing me, you put that on there and it'll be gone in 20 minutes because your body has absorbed the iodine. So that's really my favorite test. And the other thing is this.
You can try your basal body temperature because your temperature will go up with enough iodine. I worked with this guy, Ray, who calls himself the health medium, and when he moved to Maine from Florida, he said "I just had to up Lugol's solution, so I'd stay warm," because it really helps with thermoregulation, which is the thyroid. So he takes seven drops of Lugol's on a Dunkin donut hole every day, not holistic, but it works.
Again, you've got to go really slowly because if you've been really deficient in iodine and you bring it in, it detoxes the chlorine and the fluoride and the bromide and you'll get a skin reaction often, a rash, and then you'll say, "Oh, I'm allergic to iodine." No, that's not it. And by the way, when someone says they're allergic to shellfish and all that, it's not the iodine, it's a protein in that shellfish but it's not the iodine. So there's a lot of misunderstanding around that, as you know.
But I think for women wanting to get pregnant, first of all, it's important to know that that thing we have, it's a cultural portal, age 35, all the assisted reproductive technology, people would tell you that after the age of 35, you're going to need all this test, all this assisted reproductive technology to get pregnant. And that in and of itself, that cultural belief will shut down ovulation. Like, "Oh, god, I'm 35 and I haven't found the right guy or whatever it is and I've read that fertility falls off dramatically after 35," which is not true.
This is where you've got to go with biologic age, not chronologic age, because you and I both know 42-year-olds who are way healthier and biologically younger than a lot of 25-year-olds who smoke and drink and have diabetes and all the rest of it. But you want to see your body as an organic garden and you want to do regenerative agriculture for a couple of years before you decide to have a baby.
Now that said, having delivered hundreds of babies, it always amazes me how perfect most babies come out. Now, while I have you though here, I just have to say something because I find this is hard for me to believe. Giving DPT shots, DTaP and flu shots to pregnant women has now become standard practice. And I do not understand this. There is no science to back this up. Why would you ever give a pregnant woman a shot with those adjuvants of tiny amounts of mercury, aluminum? Why would you ever do this to a developing fetal brain?
And the same with the hepatitis B shot at birth? It contains 15 times the FDA safe amount of aluminum and you're injecting this into a newborn. 99% of the newborns in this country now get that hepatitis B vaccine in the first three days of life and they don't have an immune system yet, this makes no sense. So I'm just going to go on record here as the loose cannon that I am to say don't do that.
Dr. Heather Sandison: How do you feel about vaccines, generally? So, should we be getting vaccines as the children get older? There's all these requirements before they hit kindergarten. Should we catch them up or is there not a place for vaccines, a safe place for vaccines?
Christiane Northrup: What I would like people to do at this point before they make any decision is to watch Andrew Wakefield's latest movie called The Act 1986. It is such an eye opener about vaccine science. But here's what happened in 1986, Congress gave the vaccine manufacturers carte blanche to do whatever they wanted with absolutely no liability. After that, the vaccine schedule tripled, tripled. So we're now looking at 69 to 72 different shots by the time someone is 18 years old, and there are 200 more in the pipeline.
So I testified in front of our legislature, here in the state of Maine, about a vaccine mandate bill which we didn't need because we have a 95% voluntary vaccination rate in our state. So there was no worry that these dread diseases were coming back. And the vaccine mandate passed because of propaganda. I went to Connecticut to testify down there. They had the same pressure. So what we're finding is this enormous pressure now to vaccinate and a narrative that's just wrong. And the narrative is this, your unvaccinated child is a risk to my child. And it's never been proven to be true.
We now have the most, the sickest kids in the world, in the United States, 54% of them have chronic illness. In some groups, in African-American boys, the autism rate is now approaching one in eight. Who's going to take care of these people? Yes, if it's a little bit of autism like a little Aspergery, yeah, you can see that as a kind of a genius. But if you've got a 21-year-old in diapers who can't talk and is beating up his mother, that's a different story. And this is all from encephalopathy where they're now giving seven different shots at the same time.
I have a friend who is a pediatric cardiologist and he said, "Pediatricians are judged on the quality like the Yelp rating. The more vaccines you give, the higher your rating as a pediatrician." So, informed consent needs to be brought back in. So what I would do is one shot at a time and then informed consent. Has any other sibling had a reaction to this?
In Maine, things have gotten so out of hand with the new law. Here's an example of how crazy it's gotten. We passed the mandate, so that's everyone in college as well. So we have this one boy who has one year left in college and he needs an MMR in order to fulfill the criteria but he's definitely allergic to eggs. And there's albumin and eggs within the MMR vaccine, as well as, by the way, fetal DNA, and all of the adjuvants which are toxic. All you have to do is read the ingredients.
Anyway, he was told by the college administrators that he needed the shot but that he should have it in the emergency room in case he got anaphylactic shock, in case he went into anaphylaxis from the shot. Now, it's gotten out of control. So what I would say to people, educate yourself, watch 1986: The Act. It's available for $12. Andy Wakefield is one of my absolute heroes from his whole journey. And just educate yourself and then make a decision. But what I feel is delay as long as possible and just learn about it. Also, read Dissolving Illusions by Suzanne Humphries who did a deep dive into the history of vaccine.
Dr. Heather Sandison: Would you speak to the controversy around Andy Wakefield and how the paper that he wrote was withdrawn and there was this accusation that the data had been manipulated?
Christiane Northrup: Yeah, he was completely exonerated from any wrongdoing. And the whistleblower at the CDC, I can't remember his name, basically said, "Indeed, you were correct that when this vaccine is given at an earlier age, like you think two or before age two, there is in fact a greater risk of autism but if you wait, there's not." And this guy had, William Tompkins, I think, is the guy's name, Thompson. He had all and he was told by the CDC, "You cannot reveal this data."
And so what he did is he took it home and then gave it to Andy Wakefield later because Andy was a good doctor who specialized in gastroenterology. He was just seeing that there seemed to be GI problems in kids who got the MMR, that's all. He was absolutely framed. And when you read the real story, you realize that the press just vilified him for no good reason. He is one of the most articulate, good physicians that I have ever, ever worked with.
So I would say to people, "Open your eyes, things are not always what they seem." And the mainstream rhetoric around vaccines is not supported by the science. But all you want to do is look at the package insert, just read it, and make up your own mind. And unfortunately, these vaccine mandates now are... It's like why would you have to... If these worked and everyone's kid was absolutely protected, everyone would want them. No one would be questioning this. But now when you question it, you're called an anti-vaxxer.
Judy Mikovits who wrote Plague of Corruption, she said, "You can make really safe vaccines. They're a really good idea. You can make them safe." And I think, but they didn't want to make them safe and 1986: The Act talks about how they decided not to make the DTaP safe to save one penny per dose. It's horrifying.
Just like the people who made the Ford Pinto. It was going to cost them $10 extra per car to make the gas tank safe. About 900 people burned to death in Pintos. When they got rear ended, the gas tank would explode. Turned out, Ford knew that but they just made a business decision. Same with the vaccine manufacturers.
And this is hard for people because of a thing called cognitive dissonance and that is, we want to believe that our doctors, that our government, they're keeping us safe and they're telling us the truth. And you grow up thinking, well, someone's in charge, they must be telling the truth. And then when you find out that maybe not, it creates what's called cognitive dissonance, which is so uncomfortable that you have to either go, "Well, I guess I was wrong." Or you make the person who's questioning your belief wrong.
And I always think of the movie Spotlight about the Catholic Church and how they found out these priests were indeed molesting a lot of little kids. Imagine being a lifelong Catholic who believed in the church, who found great solace in your community within the church and then you find out that your son, an altar boy, was sexually abused at the age of 12 and is now depressed and whatever. And you find out that that happened and that you were lied to. That's cognitive dissonance. You don't really know what to do with it.
Dr. Heather Sandison: Or this like idea of the default to truth where we're going to assume people are telling the truth until we have enough evidence built up that we cannot believe it anymore.
Christiane Northrup: That's right. That's right.
Dr. Heather Sandison: And I think one of the big pieces of evidence that I always go back to is, well, if conventional medicine is right, then why are there so many freaking sick people?
Christiane Northrup: That's it. That's it. Exactly. Do you know the average 65-year-old is on six prescription drugs? And I remember a political campaign, prescription drugs for seniors. Anyone could get elected if they said prescription drugs for seniors. My mother is 94. She's not on a single prescription drug. So, and my friend Gladys just called me, Gladys is just finishing her latest revision of Living Medicine. It's going to be published on her 100th birthday. She's not on any prescriptions either.
So you're absolutely right. We have a system that the goal is just to create lifelong patients, it's not to create health. And I think people are starting to wake up to that. We have a pretty sick population.
Dr. Heather Sandison: Well, and almost out of a sense of desperation, right? You go to the doctor enough and you're told you're fine or get on this medication and then now get on this other medication to deal with the side effects of the last one I gave you and this is the way to do it. And when you spend enough time, enough energy and then obviously, in our country, enough money, going back into that system and not getting any help and only getting worse, then there's only that evidence building up that starts to topple the whole perception that it actually does work.
Christiane Northrup: That's right. And then probably people come to you, a naturopath, trained in plant medicine, natural remedies and so on. They come to you very often after exhausting all the possibilities in the conventional world. When in fact, in my opinion, we should start with naturopathy. We should start with acupuncture and only use conventional drug and surgery medicine when all else has failed.
Dr. Heather Sandison: From the mouth of a surgeon.
Christiane Northrup: Which usually it won't. That's right. Yeah. Yeah.
How to Find Balance in Life
Dr. Heather Sandison: So, Dr. Northrup, I know that you are a very, very busy human, one of my questions is, how do you do it all? You have all of these books and amazing website. You have a clinical practice, still. How do you-
Christiane Northrup: No, I don't have a clinical practice.
Dr. Heather Sandison: Okay. Thank you for that.
Christiane Northrup: I don't, so okay, so you should feel better about that.
Dr. Heather Sandison: Personally, I do. Thank you. That's a little bit of a relief.
Christiane Northrup: Right, right.
Dr. Heather Sandison: But you do take a lot on, how do you find balance?
Christiane Northrup: What's happened is I've surrounded myself with people who support this way of living. And I think that's the key. I live in a beautiful place, surrounded by nature. I have a staff with whom I've worked, the one who runs most everything, Diane, has worked with me for 41 years. And I have a very clear mission now, which is to teach. Having become board certified in everything that can go wrong with a female body, I'm now teaching women how to find everything that can go right and make that their experience.
And also, right now, at this particular time in history, I feel as though I'm midwifing people through this time of great change on the planet. As we see, many of the old systems breaking down. It's like the matrix is dissolving and we're moving into a new consciousness.
About Dr. Northrup
Dr. Heather Sandison: So, before we go, I want people to know how they can find out more about what you have to offer. Find your books, buy them, read them, listen to them.
Christiane Northrup: Right. Okay. So if you just go to dr.northrup.com, that's my main website, all the books are on there. I also created a company with the herb, Pueraria mirifica, which is from Thailand, and the company is amatalife.com, that's also on the website. And it's perfect for perimenopause or women with PMS. It's a phytoestrogen and it's great for people who don't want to take a pharmaceutical product but everything's there. I'm also on Instagram, Dr. Christiane Northrup. I'm on Facebook, Dr. Christiane Northrup. I'm on Twitter. And so you'll find me all of those different places. And I would like to say, I'm really not for everyone.
I realized that, especially the older I get, I think the more controversial I've become. And the reason is only that the noose is off my neck because I don't have a clinical practice. I don't have the board of registration in medicine constantly monitoring what I say and what I do. And for years, I've seen things that needed to change 20 years ahead of when they actually changed. And therefore, I see things that need to be different. And very often, and this is what I hear about my book when women read it, they say, "I always thought that too. I just never heard a doctor say it."
So what I'm doing, I think, is creating a place where women's wisdom wakes up because women know all this stuff and many men do as well. But I'm just articulating it and giving it some citations.
Dr. Heather Sandison: I noticed that as I was reading through your book. I have the 2020 version, but this was first published in the '90s.
Christiane Northrup: Yeah, yeah.
Dr. Heather Sandison: This information was, I want to say, ahead of its time and yet it's wisdom that's eternal. Right?
Christiane Northrup: Right.
Dr. Heather Sandison: It doesn't have a time.
Christiane Northrup: That's right.
Dr. Heather Sandison: But it was suppressed for so long. And now, here, thank you for being a voice of it. Thank you so much for all of your time. And as always, thank you to our listeners for joining us to hear this important message from Dr. Northrup today. Thank you.
Christiane Northrup: Great. Thank you.
Finding Your Voice
Dr. Heather Sandison: Before you go, can I tell you a little story about myself?
Christiane Northrup: I'd love it.
Dr. Heather Sandison: What you're saying today, when you started talking about the voice, so I've been sort of, I guess, maybe denying that it's time for me to speak up and I am the host of this podcast. But everything lined up to kind of push me to do that. And I guess I'm just wondering, I feel like you've done this before me and it was very clear to me that like my role in helping, contributing the most I can and serving my highest potential is to be a voice around health and healing. And you've done it.
You've spent your life doing that. And my voice is this West Coast, not very authoritative voice and yet you've found yours. What was your path to finding that and to feeling like you could speak up?
Christiane Northrup: If you look at my astrologic chart, you see that my North Node is in Aries and in the Second House is Pluto and Mars conjunct 15 degrees in Leo. It's almost as though I couldn't not. It has cost me. It's cost me in my personal relationships and all of that stuff but I had to. It's almost like, the way I see it is I frittered around for lifetime after lifetime and I finally said, "Okay, all right. I'm doing it. I'm doing it." And in the Fourth House, home and roots, I have the Sun conjunct Neptune, conjunct Mercury, conjunct the South Node.
The truth is, in my heart somewhere, I am the little married woman behind a white picket fence with a loving husband and all of that stuff. And this time, in my life, it was, if you try to do that, if you try to pull that off and you don't do what you came to do, your life will disintegrate. You absolutely must say what you know to be true. But because I had an aunt and uncle who were medical doctors and my dad was a dentist, I grew up with a tremendous love and respect for my profession. But the way I see it is I'm bringing something in that just is missing. I like a lot of it but I'm bringing in what's missing.
And Andy Weil years ago, he said to me, "You can say almost anything if you're not angry." And I think there's great truth in that. And then I worked with Bernie Siegel and all the people in the American Holistic Medical Association. We were all kind of new then. I remember one of our members said, he was in Washington, DC, sometimes he said, "I go over to the window. I open it. I yell the word holistic." We really were always concerned that our licenses would be taken away and I have colleagues who've been murdered. So let's be clear, this is a time of awakening and you'll have to do it.
Dr. Heather Sandison: Well, that's how it feels right now is I have no other choice.
Christiane Northrup: You have to do it.
Dr. Heather Sandison: Did you notice that things happen with more ease when you're... Well, you said no. Like it's super painful, sometimes you've-
Christiane Northrup: Well, it's painful but the roads open up.
Dr. Heather Sandison: Yeah.
Christiane Northrup: I mean, I was on Oprah 10 times. Why? How could that happen? I mean, she called me at home when she was having heart palpitations. And then I was on that show with the wisdom of menopause. So my career stuff has always been it's just the path opens. And I always use the lessons from my personal life. The more personal it is, the more universal. So my book Goddesses Never Age was my whole journey after divorce and being a midlife woman and all of that stuff.
But you'll find, I think increasingly now, we're splitting into two worlds. We're splitting into the world of five dimensions: love, holistic medicine, regenerative agriculture, all of that. And then a world where people are scared to death and they want a vaccine and they're going to stay locked in their homes until they die. We've really, it's almost like we... I tried to work in both worlds for many, many, many years. I loved my colleagues, loved the hospital. Now the way it's going, we're creating a new earth. We're creating a new world and you will be a voice in that new world because you're hearing the call.
Dr. Heather Sandison: Yeah.
Christiane Northrup: You're hearing the call and you'll do it.
Dr. Heather Sandison: Thank you.
Christiane Northrup: You're welcome.
Dr. Heather Sandison: I appreciate it. Thank you for doing what you have been doing. It takes courage.
Christiane Northrup: Yeah, yeah.
Dr. Heather Sandison: I'm so grateful to see your example. Thank you.
Christiane Northrup: You're very welcome. My pleasure.