Dr Libby on the A to Z of Women's Health and All the Hormones in Between August 31 2013 by Simone Denny
Last night I was fortunate enough to attend Dr Libby’s seminar on the A to Z of Women’s Health and All the Hormones in Between. A fascinating talk on biochemistry, the nutrients we need to support our organs and systems plus how our emotional landscape impacts health and wellbeing.
Dr Libby Weaver (Ph.D) is one of Australasia’s leading nutrition specialists and weight loss experts. She is an author of the well-regarded book, ‘Accidently Overweight’ and more recently ‘Rushing Woman’s Syndrome’.
Libby completed her Ph.D examining biochemical and nutritional factors in children with autism at The University of Newcastle, Australia, the outcomes of which have affected the way in which the condition is treated in Australia and now also in New Zealand.
It was through this work that Libby came to better understand the role various hormones play in influencing our body shape and size, our appetites, our responses to exercise and stress, clarity of thought, sleep patterns and a host of other behaviours.
Dr Libby’s seminar held in Sydney went through the whole alphabet of women’s health and hormones and provided an extensive overview on the topic (too much to summarise in this week’s blog) – I have chosen a few key points that resonated with me.
Our New Reality
We now ask more of our bodies than ever before. We live in a very different environment to our parents and grandparents. We are exposed to a much greater amount of pollution, synthetic substances and stress. We eat food that is highly processed and are now hugely dependent on technology. We ask our bodies to eliminate things at a faster rate than it ever has before; therefore we need to have an optimized detoxification system to cope with these external factors.
Our lives also operate at a much faster pace, which can have a debilitating effect on women’s health (this is what the Rushing Women’s Syndrome is about). Dr Libby talks about the ‘Frantic Double Shift’ where women now have their father’s jobs and their mother’s responsibility – an enormous new pressure to juggle.
The Importance of Antioxidants
Living in this new reality means our bodies need to function in an optimal state , antioxidants help our bodies to neutralise free radicals, which are unstable molecules that damage our cells (and also accelerate aging). Oxidation of our cells can be accelerated by stress, cigarette smoking, alcohol, sunlight, pollution and other factors. High levels of Antioxidants tend to be found in coloured plant foods. For more superfoods and supplements high in antioxidants click here
Stress and Cortisol
There was a common theme throughout Dr Libby’s talk, which emphasized the negative impact stress is having on women’s bodies. Whether it is how our sex hormones work (estrogen and progesterone), our digestion functions, why fluid retention is so common or how the liver functions – there was a consistent negative correlation between stress and bodily function. Never before have so many women been operating with the degree of stress they have today.
Our adrenal glands produce two types of stress hormones, namely adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenalin is your short-term stress hormone and this is often initiated when we get a fright, it is designed to get us out of danger. However in today’s modern world, psychological stress drives us to make adrenaline, which has all kinds of negative impacts on our body. One example is the elevation of blood sugar in the body, which in turn affects our primary fat storage hormones.
Cortisol is the long-term stress hormone that kicks in when adrenalin runs out. Historically Cortisol was produced when food was scarce due to floods, famine or war. Today long-term stress is due to everyday life factors and has become a way of life for many. In modern day society the ancient function of Cortisol still exists, it tells every cell in your body that food is scarce, so the metabolism slows down and the bodies stores fat as result. Hence you can be extremely healthy and exercise every day but when you are stressed and have cortisol in your body it is very difficult to be look and feel a true bill of health.
Dr Libby maintains that conscious breathing and restorative practices (such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong or meditation) should become part of your daily practice. The simple act of breathing can have such a positive impact on ones life; there are also huge benefits for your nervous system, digestion, reproductive system and general wellbeing.
Beauty from the inside out
This is the name of Dr Libby’s newest book and it is something she talks about passionately. We have over 50 trillion cells in our body but only a small amount of these are external (external cells are replaced every 28 days), however there is an huge focus on taking care of our skin and face and spending enormous amounts of money on these external cells. You are the health of your cells; your true beauty comes from the inside out. It is for this reason that it is so important to nourish your body with what you eat, drink and think.
Libby’s favourite Vitamin
Dr Libby loves Vitamin C – amazing for the immune system, for healthy skin and a powerful antioxidant for the body. Vitamin C plays an important role in the detoxification process.
As a side note: did you know that Gubinge Powder (from the Kakadu Plum) is the highest natural source of Vitamin C in the world? It can be added to water, juices, smoothies, cereal or desserts. You can read more about it here
For more information on Dr Libby and her publications and delicious recipe book you can check out her website here: http://www.drlibby.com