Recently I have been working with one of my transgender clients. I am a strong supporter of the LGBTQ community and have worked with many LGB & Q but rarely any T. It occurred to me lately, that maybe the transgender community doesn’t think to seek out nutrition therapy. Now, I’m not lumping an entire group of people together, this is just my personal experience and thought. As someone who does quite well with helping others to balance hormones, I think about who I can help and how. My question here is, why don’t I get more clients looking to transition naturally?
That answer to that is, I don’t know. I think maybe since we are a culture dependent on and blinded by Big Pharma we are stuck inside a box of prescribed synthetic hormone replacement therapy. The unfortunate result of synthetic HRT can often lead to cancer and furthering hormone imbalances, as well as amplify other inflammatory conditions and gene expression (not good).
When transitioning from male to female and female to male there are medical procedures and psychological protocols that are rightfully put in place, but no emphasis on holistic nutrition or organic bio-identical hormones. As a holistic nutritionist my mind wanders and thinks of the possible inflammatory conditions that are being created by not allowing the natural suitable hormonal pathways to communicate properly.
My biggest fear is that if we are transitioning genders, that transition takes place in the core of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is not only comprised of sex hormones, it is also the house of our pituitary, hypothalamus, and adrenal glands. These glands are the epicenter of stress, adaptation, hunger, thirst, and growth.
My analogous way of describing this relationship is like thinking your endocrine system is a house and every gland and organ has its own room. Well, let’s say one of the organs decided to throw a fit and start some drama, you better believe that everyone in that house is going to feel the resistance. This is what it’s like for the endocrine system. If one organ or gland is out of sorts, they will all chime in. So my primary concern here is that the focus is entirely on the sex hormones and organs, and the adrenals, most of all, get left behind. They become an afterthought.
This is an extremely unfortunate circumstance given the adrenals have a very important job, stress and adaptation. When you put the body through a stressful event like gender transition my mind goes directly to supporting the stress response in the body. Why do I do that? Because the negative effect of stress on the body actually creates the exact hormones you are trying to transition away from. For women, when we are stressed and cortisol is on the rise we tend to lose our natural production of testosterone and increase our production of estrogen so for people looking to transition from female to male, this is not exactly the direction you are looking to go in. As for men, when cortisol is increased, natural progesterone levels decrease, therefore making it a more stressful long term transition from male to female.
The success of transition is not a question, the question is, if a holistic approach is not addressed, will there be long term issues that will take longer to heal because there was no attention paid to other equally important glands and organs…
Cited articles: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19179815