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Top 5 Hormone Superheroes: My 'Genius Bar'

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Perhaps you've noticed that the level of discourse on hormones and how they drive what we're interested in... well, sucks. Women feel they either need to martyr their way through the years from 35 to 50-plus, or they consider taking hormones with tremendous fear and trepidation, as if they might as well be eating mercury-laden tuna from a can lined in bisphenol A.

Not true. There's another way.

Here are the hormonal "best in class." The following thought leaders are my "genius bar." Vanguards of new paradigm medicine, they aim to repair and prevent rather than to postpone the inevitable or mask symptoms with the latest antidepressant.

Change agents, super smartypants, nutrition radicals, early adopters, cultural creatives, bio hackers before there was such a term and -- oh yes! -- the voice of reason (guess who!).

These are the folks I go to when I have a question, and my usual suspects, such as Pubmed, come up dry. Wanted to share 'em with you. I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

1. Mary Shomon: Yes, top of the list is not a doctor. How subversive. But Mary has an almost mystic-like capacity to understand complex problems related to the thyroid, explain them succinctly and, frankly, no one has outpublished this fireball. Check out her latest book, The Thyroid Diet Revolution: Manage Your Master Gland of Metabolism for Lasting Weight Loss. If you have thyroid problems, you know how hard it is to lose weight. Let Mary demystify it for you. Currently, Mary is writing a book with former Baywatch star Gena Lee Nolin called Thyroid Sexy. They are going to rebrand the thyroid from the stuff of middle-aged frump to the hottest new hormone to address. They had me at sexy.

2. Jonny Bowden, Ph.D.: The "rogue nutritionist." Is anyone more cogent on the swinging pendulum of nutritional science? OK, besides Gary Taubes? With more than 15 books to his credit, the man knows how to balance hormones with how you eat, and he's got the formula for weight management. His latest book? The Great Cholesterol Myth, due this fall and co-authored with Dr. Stephen Sinatra. Did you know that cholesterol is the precursor to your sex hormones? Yes, indeed. Lower your cholesterol, and you lower your sex hormones. Traditional medicine has it all wrong... again. I believe Jonny.

3. Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D.: Another non-M.D.! As an exceptionally-gifted systems thinker and nutritional biochemist, Dr. Bland synthesizes complex data like no one else. He founded the Institute of Functional Medicine, and... hmm, he founded the entire field of functional medicine! I've learned more from him than any professor at Harvard Medical School, hands down. The matrix? Brilliant. Grateful. Neuroendocrine communication is a meaty topic and he rocks it. And I won't write anything cheeky about his facial hair.

"We need to listen to the patients' story and develop a response to it. The approach to complex syndromes may be much more profound than just trying to point a round peg into a square hole and get a singular diagnosis. " -- Jeffrey S. Bland, Ph.D.

4. Christiane Northrup, M.D.: Dr. Chris Northrup makes perimenopause so much easier. She delivers the data, but with soul. She feels like my adoptive mom yet I've never met her. How many feel that way after growing up with her books and wisdom-of-the-female-body message? I heard about Dr. Northrup before going to Harvard Med, on a PBS Special, and I said to myself, "I'm going to be that kind of a doctor." Thank you, Dr. Northrup, for shining the light for the rest of us. You inspired me then, 20-plus years ago, and you inspire me now.

5. Andrew Weil, M.D.: I love this man. I know, I know... that beard is a bit stuck-in-the-70s, but he's crazy smart, and I think we can all agree that he was the first on base when it comes to integrative medicine. Have you read his books? OK, I can't finish them either, but he is my go-to for the voice of reason when it comes to my wilder ideas about herbal therapies, green tea and nutrition. His latest book serves up smart medicine on cortisol and thyroid in particular.

Sometimes I feel like Andy Weil's and Chris Northrup's love child.

Now, your turn. Who's runnin' your "genius bar"? Or, if you've found great resources, share those too. Would love to hear from you.

For more by Sara Gottfried, M.D., click here.

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