#46: Holly Lucille, ND – Tips to Prevent Stress From Causing Hormonal Imbalances and Metabolic Damage

by Mike Mutzel


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About Dr. Holly Lucille

Dr. Holly Lucille, ND, RN, is a nationally recognized and licensed naturopathic doctor, educator, natural products consultant, and television and radio host. Dr. Holly is also the author of several books including Creating and Maintaining Balance: A Woman's Guide to Safe Natural Hormone Health

Tips to Prevent Stress From Causing Hormonal Imbalances and Metabolic Damage

An acclaimed expert in the field of integrative medicine, Dr. Holly lectures throughout the nation on a variety of natural health topics. Her appearances include national media programs and networks including Dr. Oz, The Doctors, Lifetime Television for Women, PBS’s Healing Quest, The Hallmark Channel, and Discovery Fit & Health channel.

Contact Dr. Holly Lucille

Show Notes


05:27 Dr. Lucille’s Integrative Health Journey: Dr. Lucille’s parents were both pharmacists and reductionists. At a young age she rejected the pharmaceutical remedies of her ills. She went to nursing school, but she was unsettled in the field until she found the American Holistic Nursing Association. She entered a post graduate program to learn the holistic comprehensive approach to nursing. That brought her to become a naturopathic physician.


07:51 Taking Hormones: Menopause is a natural process in a woman’s life. Why would she need to replace hormones?  We strive to restore natural function first, before we consider replacing it. Bioidentical hormone therapies can be a valuable tool for treating severe imbalances.


09:15 Restoring Thyroid Function: Every cell in your body regulates aerobic and anaerobic metabolism: your digestion, your sleep, your cardiovascular system, and your liver’s ability to detoxify. Many things in our lives can cause our thyroid to under function.


11:28 Stress and Thyroid Dysfunction: When we have a stressful situation, our fight/flight response is activated. It is deactivated when the event is over and repair/recovery begins. We are not getting the recovery, nor do we have the building blocks used to make all of our hormones. This depletion pulls on our adrenal glands. Our thyroid puts on the brakes so we do not damage ourselves. During stress, our thyroid produces reverse T3. A prolonged stress response means that we have too much T3 and hypo metabolism, under functioning of your body. Supplemental synthetic T4 becomes reverse T3 with stress. If there is too much stress, cortisol will not allow the conversion of T4 to T3.


15:02 Autoimmunity: The number one cause of an under functioning thyroid is autoimmune disease.  We check for autoimmunity by testing for TPO antibodies and thyroid globulin antibodies.  Dr. Lucille has seen premature menopause occur when the thyroid autoimmune response is not put in check. The ovaries can be the next organ to be involved. The majority of our immune system is in our gut. Our guts need to be well functioning and our microbiome balanced.


16:32 Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems: These are two parts of our autonomic nervous system. Digestion, reproduction and bone remolding is shut down during stress response. In stress response, your body does not differentiate between being charged by a lion or receiving an angry email. A prolonged response is chronic compensation. Stress response creates poor digestion, which creates low thyroid, which slows metabolism and makes digestion more sluggish.  Symptoms of low thyroid function are your body’s way of getting your attention.


18:53 Better Management of Stress: Balance sympathetic responses with periods of parasympathetic for rest and repair. If you do not rest and recharge, you will begin to break down. Each person’s method for unburdening is their own. Each morning before doing anything else, Dr. Lucille spends time in her garden. Quality of your parasympathetic time is more important than quantity, though it needs to be done daily.


23:40 Autonomic Dysfunction: We get addicted to excitatory neurotransmitters. People can also use alcohol, drugs or food to bring stimulation, making the situation worse.


25:28 HeartMath Heartrate Variability: Go to It measures the beat to beat variability between heartbeats. You want a lot of variability. It reflects resiliency.  Many of us need the feedback of a HeartMath device.


26:55 Hormone Balance Strategies: Our hormone system is sophisticated and interconnected. Cortisol elevated from stressors could lead to a deficiency. As a response, progesterone, that allows you to hold a pregnancy, will be converted into cortisol to compensate. Survival is first and reproduction is second. It is important to know what is going on in the system.


28:17 Environmental Factors: Endocrine disrupting chemicals are everywhere. They are fat soluble. They pass through the skin and attach to our hormone receptors and provoke a response. Reduce exposure as much as possible. Use (Environmental Working Group) for product ratings, including a cosmetic database.


30:42 How to make it Work: Read labels. We look for a silver bullet to fix our issues. Take responsibility. If it seems to be too good to be true, it is. You have to be willing to do the work. Our bodies have an innate ability to heal. We need to look for the obstacles. Partner with a naturopathic doctor.  You can find one at


34:03 Exercise and Hormone Balance: Exercise is part of a treatment regimen. Through menopause, women’s bodies provide estrogen with a little extra fat. If you want to increase your metabolism, you need to do high intensity interval training. Working the treadmill or elliptical for 30 – 40 minutes does not do it. Your body adapts and accommodates. It can be a 10 to 12 minute 3 times a week thing. You will be in better shape than any long duration cardio.


37:14 Supplements: Dr. Lucille is a fan of adaptogenic herbs for both men and women, like ashwaganda, rhodiola, and holy basil. There are also blends available. She calls them fuse-lengtheners. They help us adapt to stressors, physically and emotionally.


39:11 Dr. Lucille’s Elevator Pitch: People need to become their own primary care providers. Be in charge of providing care for yourself and your family. It starts with education. Break down the healthcare decision-making hierarchy in which doctors are in charge. Doctors should work for their patients and not pharmaceutical or other product companies.

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