Let’s Talk About Hormones, Boys and Girls

June 19, 2024

The conversation revolved around the importance of addressing the root causes of illnesses through holistic healthcare, including hormone replacement therapy. Participants discussed the limited research on women’s hormonal health, the need for personalized protocols and technology, and the importance of understanding the difference between natural and synthetic substances. They also explored the role of androgens in women’s health, the effects of hormonal changes on relationships and intimacy, and the ethical considerations of hormone replacement therapy.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 0:00
The most important hormone that I work with in my practice to actually, progesterone. Progesterone, I think, is the single most important thing that I do period, and it’s not the most exciting thing for most people. I have seen lots of little articles that relate specifically to women when it comes to a lot of treatments, or what’s going on hormonally, and that there’s just, there’s just not nearly as much research as you would expect there to be. None. Barely. It’s offensive. They actually made a law requiring more research to be done in women. This is really sad. I mean, think about it. We’ve spent so much more money on understanding erectile dysfunction and so little in understanding women’s pathology. Do you know, oral contraceptives in women permanently reduces their ability to make free testosterone, creating that’s permanent reductions in libido, confidence, assertiveness, that’s documented. cervix? Yeah, testosterone is great. But similar concept is estrogen. But the idea is, well, you want your doctor to first understand why you don’t have it. We have such an estrogen rich environment around us, 43 chemicals around us, three insecticides, menopause and women, starts in your mid 30s believe it or not. When you put topical testosterone on a surface, you just put it on like a tabletop and leave it there for 10 years and come back, it’s still there. I don’t do topical hormones because it’s unethical. There are no normal any more. It’s incredibly rare to see a 900 testosterone anymore.

Natalie 1:27
Welcome to today’s episode of The Invigor medical Podcast. Today we are joined by Dr Brendan McCarthy, who is the Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Protea Medical Center. He’s an internationally recognized expert in hormone replacement therapy, who is dedicated to empowering patients with knowledge about their health and well being. Dr McCarthy, welcome to the Invigor medical podcast. Thanks for joining us today.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 1:49
Thank you so much for having me.

Natalie 1:51
Oh, we’re excited to have you. I know Derek’s especially excited. He was ready to just throw the iPad out the window for this one, because he has so much excitement and all the questions. Before we get diving into all the details of your knowledge and expertise. And I think this is going to be a great one, because this is something that we talk about a lot, and a lot of people have curiosity around but let’s talk a little bit-How did you get here, like why the Chief Medical Officer of Protea maybe tell us what Protea Medical Center is, and how you became an internationally recognized expert in hormone replacement therapy. Because that’s, that’s a big one there.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 2:26
Yeah, you know, they teach you to do elevator speeches. You remember that whole thing?

Natalie 2:30
Oh, yeah, I’m in sales, so I’m supposed to have that.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 2:34
I freehand mine every single time.

Natalie 2:36
Oh I love it.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 2:38
It’s always a little bit different, but it’s the same story. But I just, you know I never want to do two cans, so I’m going to-in essence, you know, I started practicing, you know, 20 years ago and and it was just me in a room, and then my wife joined me, and it was very, very small practice. But what we did, I feel had such a resonance with people I saw. And it was just a very natural, organic growth. It really, I am really in one of those practices that I start off with a in a single room, renting a single room in a small little shopping center, and I just slowly built-office center, excuse me. And I just slowly built it up. I have a staff of 40 currently. There’s seven doctors, there’s three nutritionists, there are med techs, there’s pharmacy techs. It’s, yeah, it’s been something that’s grown, and I think it’s grown because of what I do. And it’s not me special, but it’s, I think, I think the way it’s approached, and I think I’m, I’m hearing, I’m hearing a need. I think I’m serving it well. I think that’s what’s caused me to come to this place.

Natalie 3:47
Yeah, that makes sense. I can appreciate that, because my guess is that the general public, you know, has a general idea of what hormones are, and they hear about things like hormone replacement, and especially if you’re aging at all, like as a woman into menopause, or as a man being concerned about testosterone levels, that it may be something you’re thinking about, but don’t have a lot of knowledge surrounding.

Derek 4:10
Well, and there’s a lot of misnomers too.

Natalie 4:12
Sure.

Derek 4:12
It’s like you, like, you go to the gym and you look at any ad, you know, if they’re playing TV, that you look at any ad, and like, testosterone ads everywhere. Like, boost your testorone, build muscles, you know, do this and this and this, get your life back, which is, like, how much of that is true and how much of that is just, you know, just just totally lame?

Natalie 4:29
Yeah, yeah. So I’m excited for us to be able to dive into some of the specifics there. You told Derek a little bit ahead of time, but I think it’s kind of a cool story. So I’d love for you to tell us Protea Medical Center. What is protea and how did you get to that name?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 4:44
I lived in Hawaii for a bit. I traveled a lot in my 20s, but when I was living in Hawaii, my wife and I were both, we were both going to school, and a restaurant I worked at had these really interesting flowers at every table, and then. And I didn’t know what it was until I was hiking, and with a friend of mine, we went to the Haleakala. You know, we can take a little bus up there and then hike through and and then I saw these up the tree line almost. And it’s beautiful and but it’s not very hospitable to plants. It’s very wind blown these, these scrubby little bushes that grow these beautiful pin cushion Proteas on them. And I just thought that something that could be growing that is that beautiful in a place that’s inhospitable. It’s a way of saying that you could thrive in an in difficult environments. You could thrive in a place that’s not easy. And if you look at like the Greek mythology of Proteus, which is a Titan, the idea is that you know they could transform into what they needed to be in each moment. And the word protein, all these things are concepts of being able to grow and change. So protea just became that for me.

Derek 4:44
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 4:44
Yeah, I love that. Okay, Derek, I’m gonna let you go first, because I know you’re just like chomping at the bit. So why don’t you lead us into the discussion?

Derek 6:02
Well, I definitely appreciate that. I generally, I have a lot of excitement for all of our guests. And Natalie, I think, generally, is better at welcoming them in. And I think, I think that she’s a little prettier than I am, so guests generally like to interface with her more than me. But I am super excited about today’s topic. Hormone replacement I think is something that, yeah, like Natalie pointed out, there’s, there’s a lot of misunderstanding. There’s not a lot of-there can be some like confusion or just lack of knowledge around the topic. And so, you know, I think that there’s hormones that affect just women. There’s or, I guess, I guess maybe we can just talk about, like, what are the basic hormones? Let’s maybe just start there. And I think these are hormones that people know in general, like estrogen, testosterone, growth hormone, but maybe there’s other major players that you that you want to bring up.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 6:51
The most important hormone that I work with in my practice is actually progesterone. Progesterone, I think, is the single most important thing that I do, period, and it’s not the most exciting thing for most people, but the population of women that are being underserved by medicine is profound. And when women present with depression, anxiety and insomnia, you know, they’re treated with, you know, Zoloft, Xanax and, well, not as much Xanax as used to be, but and Ambien, and the concept is you just get medicated for these symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, which are profoundly common in women. And when you run labs, you’ll find that they are very low in progesterone. And when you treat a woman’s progesterone, you’re able to restore health in a way that they’re not able to get through a pharmaceutical prescription. And I’m not afraid to prescribe any of those medications, I will prescribe when needed, but it’s laziness I feel to prescribe something that’s unnecessary when I can find out what’s the cause.

Derek 7:49
And so progesterone, that’s something honestly that I don’t know a ton about. I know that it’s present in human beings, right? It’s present in both males and females, but plays more of a role in females. Can you talk a little bit more about, like, what it actually does in the body, and specifically how it touches on those, those symptoms that you’re talking about, you know, lack of sleep, anxiety, those kind of things.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 8:11
Well, most women, when they present to the clinic, or any clinic, they go in for like, PMS, you know? Any kind of like disorder associated around their cycle. A lot of times, they’re just put on oral contraceptives. They’re not running labs to understand what’s going on and what is progesterone. There’s two halves. There’s two parts of being a woman that are important in a cycle. The first half of the cycle, the first two weeks, is going to be associated with estrogen, and that’s associated with growth and femininity. It’s the idea of getting your body ready, ready to become pregnant, and so that estrogen is in circulation in those first two weeks, stimulating all that tissue, the breasts, the uterus, the cervix, the ovaries, adipose. It’s just basically getting you ready to go. And then you ovulate. And then there’s a switch that happens. Your body starts putting more progesterone out. That progesterone goes back to that same tissue, and it calms it down. It stops the breast tissue being overstimulated. It stops the lining of the uterus from becoming too thick. It stops the-so all these tissues, it just basically calms everything down. That’s on the physical aspect. The other thing that progesterone does that’s beautiful is it crosses the blood brain barrier. Now men, this is testosterone that does this for men, but when with women, it is primarily progesterone. Testosterone is necessary in women too, but I’ll just give you that breakdown a little bit so we can segue into testosterone, if you want, after. But progesterone, when it crosses the blood brain barrier, it gets converted to something called allopregnanolone, and that binds to the GABA receptor. That’s the part where your body quenches that anxiety part of your brain. It calms it down. If you don’t have progesterone, you don’t have allopregnenolum, no matter what, you can have a loving marriage and great friendships, you have the best support system. You just don’t feel good. There’s anxiety. You don’t make as much serotonin, and you can lab that. Their serotonin levels will be low. And when serotonin is low, downstream metabolite of serotonin is gonna be melatonin. You start seeing insomnia in those populations as well. So when you treat a woman’s progesterone, you’re securing her fertility, but you’re also playing a big role in her brain chemistry. And that’s, that’s really, really, it’s a big part of the practice for me.

Wow, that’s incredible. I just learned so much in that last little like, 20 second segment right there. That was incredible.

Speaker 1 10:10
I think it makes sense, because, as you said, you kind of just touched on testosterone a little bit as well. And I think, I mean for me as a woman, I’m like, know that estrogen and progesterone are going to play a bigger role with me and testosterone more with men. But testosterone also plays a role for women too, right?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 10:30
And progesterone in men.

Natalie 10:32
And progesterone in men. So maybe let’s kind of make the bridge of like, what is it that testosterone is doing in women and for women, and why is it important? And then progesterone for men.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 10:42
Testosterone with women and men crosses the blood brain barrier as well. For men, it has a better action on our anxiety, so the right levels of it is going to quench that anxiety for us as well. That’s why men with low testosterone have more anxiety. The other thing it does is it goes to the amygdala and it goes into that part of the brain that’s associated with confidence, assertiveness, aggressiveness, risk taking, libido, the fight or flight index, and these are all important parts of how you respond to stresses around you. When you have low androgen status, men or women, it’s the same thing. You don’t feel very confident, you don’t feel very assertive, you don’t set really good boundaries. And since we’re not animals like, we’re not like, you know, territorial animals anymore, we’re more emotional creatures. We’re not very good with emotional boundaries when we have low testosterone. Libido doesn’t feel like it should anymore. It’s diminished, and you can have a great relationship. It just doesn’t feel right, you know? So testosterone in men and women it’s very different. It’s about a magnitude of 10 is the difference between men and women. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not as important for women as is for men. You just have to use the correct volume to get the right benefit for them, but it still works on both.

Natalie 11:48
Sure.

Derek 11:48
It’s just a different ratio.

Natalie 11:50
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 11:50
Yes sir.

Natalie 11:52
What would be some signs and in a woman, I’m curious now for low testosterone?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 12:00
When women are prescribed, it’s um, you know-libido is a difficult one to talk about with women, because there’s so many other overlays -in their cultural overlays and social overlays, since it’s difficult to kind of parse into that. But libido is a big one. You know, feeling confident, and I said earlier, emotional boundaries, that’s an important thing. It’s like we as human beings, we set boundaries. So like, I have this analogy, it goes back to-I always like to pick on myself, because it’s easier to point out my flaws, than to point out other people’s flaws.

Natalie 12:29
Sure.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 12:29
So I just point this out. But early on in my marriage, I was not, I was slightly feral. You know what I mean? I didn’t wash dishes like I should.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 12:38
You know what I mean? And so when my wife and I got married, you know, it’s totally reasonable for her to say “Hey, Brendan, can you just do your dishes?”

Natalie 12:45
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 12:46
And I would do them because I want to be a good husband, because I care about her. I’m not a bad person. I’m just feral. And so I didn’t really wash dishes very often. And so she would get sick and tired of asking me to do the dishes, because every time I left the dishes in there, I was crossing a boundary. I was not regarding her in that moment. So my wife, like many women, just stopped bringing it up because you just want to keep dealing with it. So every time I cross that boundary, she just let it happen. And over time, that resentment built up in the background. When you have adequate levels of androgens in your brain, you tend to set better boundaries, emotional boundaries. You’re better at that. It’s just biological and you don’t, it’s not like something you have to force. You just are better at standing up for yourself, or speaking your peace, or speaking your mind.

Natalie 13:27
Interesting.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 13:28
And I think that’s an important thing.

Derek 13:30
You know, as you talk about testosterone, you know, there, I think that there’s this common conception that testosterone increases your aggression, right? And, you know, in a way, that kind of ties to what you’re talking about, of like increased confidence and confidence, increased boundary setting, all those kinds of things. I, I’m gonna bring up Huberman…

Natalie 13:47
[giggles] Ding. Ding. Ding.

Derek 13:47
Now’s the time as the stopwatch. The-one of the episodes he talked about testosterone. He said that testosterone doesn’t necessarily increase aggressiveness, per se, but that it increases, kind of like, whatever nature, like, it increases the drive for whatever that person is prone to, to do more of that thing. And so, like, I think, they did this experiment where they increased the testosterone of like monks, and they were going to see if they were going to, like, get into really big fights with each other, but they just ended up doing even bigger, more grand signs of like, of service, yeah, access service towards each other’s like, so Friar Joe gave somebody his breakfast, and so then Friar Frank, like, came over and, like, made him a whole meal or something, one upping each other in this kind of pursuit of what is really core to their identity. So I don’t know that’s kind of a bit of a brain vomit there, but what is your take on that?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 14:46
So the actual neurobiology of this, and there’s a whole field of medicine called psychoneuro endocrinology. Great journal, mouthful to say it though. When you have good levels of androgen, alright, so say you have low androgens. You have low testosterone, and your amygdala is not toned. It’s low tone. You just don’t respond very well. You don’t take that risk in your life. You don’t speak up for yourself. You notice when we’re kids, when we’re kids, before you go through puberty, and you have that surge of testosterone, you don’t your hand eye coordination is not very good. Then we go through puberty, hand eye coordination picks up when you go through andropause, you’ll notice people don’t drive as well as they used to-hand eye coordination. These are important parts of brain chemistry. So when testosterone is low in these guys, that’s important. But this is a point I want to bring with you, when you give a person adequate levels of testosterone, or even supraphysiological levels of testosterone. The thing is, that’s just the amygdala. We’re not animals. We have a frontal cortex-this is a beautiful, robust frontal cortex. And so the impulse the amygdala must go to the frontal cortex, and that’s how you interpret it and express yourself. So that frontal cortex is full of how you were raised, your beliefs, your spirituality, like who you are as a man or as a woman. And so when you push from the amygdala and you respond through the frontal cortex, everything’s lined up. Yeah, you’re good. And you can have mega levels of testosterone. You’re not a jerk. This is where it gets weird. If you have low levels of cortisol due to chronic stress, we have low levels of serotonin due to biology, or any number of reasons why you do, those two things when low, you don’t, you’re not able to kind of mitigate that, that impulse from the amygdala and so now you should shoot RAW aggressiveness. Where, before you have a good frontal cortex, you aggressively pursue the things that matter to you. You’re assertive in the things you believe in. But you’re not cutting people off on the highway or shutting people down. You’re saying, I really believe this is important. You pursue your dreams more, but you don’t shut people down. It’s a nuanced thing that frontal cortex and so when you have pathology of the serotonin or cortisol, yeah, that’s true, that’s a problem. But people with cortisol and serotonin deficits, the frontal cortex, a lot of times they already have certain like neurological, more psychological pathology. Does that make sense?

Derek 17:08
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Yeah, I don’t know if you want to clarify.

Natalie 17:13
No, I don’t think so. I think it’s, I mean, what I’m getting is, it’s a very, it’s a very nuanced, complicated system, right?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 17:21
You don’t want to give one thing without knowing what it’s going to do.

Natalie 17:23
Right.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 17:23
I think that’s, that’s, I don’t want to, like, say you’re my patient.

Natalie 17:27
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 17:27
And I could be any, like-any monkey out there can prescribe testosterone.

Natalie 17:31
Sure.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 17:32
And they do the marketing thing where it’s like they play upon our insecurities, and they always play upon our insecurities with these things. You know, I’m not sexy enough, I’m not strong enough, I’m not masculine enough. They play upon these insecurities in us and and then we feel like we have to go and do these things. So they go into these clinics, and they get these protocols put on them that what makes I believe us shine when we care for people is when I give them something I think about them all the way through, like, how is this hormone going to metabolize through their body? Will their body be able to handle this hormone? Like, when I give them testosterone, am I thinking about him as a whole person? Like, where is this going to go? How’s his cortisol? How’s his serotonin? How’s his life? You know what I mean?

Natalie 18:14
Yeah. Well, I would also say, I’m guessing, it’s important to test more than one thing, because a lot of these hormones are working in cooperation with one another. Like, I know, for example, I’d had labs done, you know, probably in my 20s, and I remember getting them done, but just a couple years ago, when I got them done, my nurse practitioner was like, do it on the 21st day of your cycle, because it’s important, like, what your levels are. I want to know where you’re at on your cycle, because progesterone being really high when you’re at the beginning makes sense. But if I take it for you, you know, or whatever, wherever it is on the cycle…

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 18:47
Yes. I hear you.

Natalie 18:48
…and I was like, Why did nobody do that before? You know?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 18:50
When I started practicing 20 years ago, like, no one would run labs at the right time of the month, and, yeah, like, 2000

Natalie 18:51
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 18:51
This is like, we’d already been on the moon. You know what I mean? Like, this is not new, and they still run labs anytime of the month, and just say it looks normal without really understanding the woman in front of them or the man in front of them.

Natalie 19:08
I have seen lots of little articles, and I’m curious if you could speak to this. It’s kind of adjacent to the conversation regarding how little research there actually is that relates specifically to women when it comes to a lot of treatments, or what’s going on hormonally, and that there’s just, there’s just not nearly as much research as you would expect there to be.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 19:30
No.

Natalie 19:31
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 19:32
None. Barely.

Natalie 19:33
That’s crazy.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 19:33
It’s offensive.

Natalie 19:34
Yeah!

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 19:34
You’re treated, you’re treated like your little men.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 19:36
Then they knew this. In the 1990s they knew this, and they actually made a law requiring more research to be done in women. This is really sad.

Natalie 19:47
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 19:48
And the World Health Initiative looking at the nurses-nursing study for breast cancer, they got it completely wrong, that was their attempt to correct this. But they still didn’t do a very good job of that. They said, they are so far behind in researching women. I mean, think about it, we’ve spent so much more money on understanding erectile dysfunction and so little in understanding women’s pathology, like around PMS, more women will have PMS at any given day than a man has erectile dysfunction, but we spend a magnitude, I think it was 10. I have to look it up, just a magnitude more than we spend on that and we don’t, we don’t really understand women at all. So I have a hard time with this one personally.

Yeah, no, and I appreciate your affront to it, it makes me feel supported.

Yeah! What’s right is right. You know what’s right is right, and I shouldn’t-it shouldn’t be just only women speaking out for this, because that’s what’s right, is what’s right, and this is not what’s right anymore. This has got to stop.

Natalie 20:52
I agree, and for you as a medical professional, I can imagine that it would, it would help you to have more research to pull from to know how to better treat your patients, right?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 21:04
Just to confirm, I start-you do 20 years, you kind of understand it. You get to that point, you’re like, yeah this is what we do.

Natalie 21:11
Yeah, it’s just frustrating.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 21:12
It’s just like that now. But no, we do need more research, I think, more research into different types of contraceptives for women, we haven’t come up with a new contraceptive. Do you know oral contraceptives in women permanently reduces their ability to make free testosterone?

Derek 21:26
That’s crazy.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 21:26
Creating permanent reductions in libido, confidence, assertiveness, that’s documented. That’s not even alternative. But we have not come up with anything better.

Natalie 21:28
No.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 21:30
Nothing that we come up with is better. We just make different versions of the same garbage.

Natalie 21:37
Right. Yeah, and I think that’s wild. That’s an interesting thing to kind of bring up that’s also adjacent to the conversation. You know, I got on birth control when I was 18, and was off of it within a year to a year and a half, because I got a ton of weight gain and I was getting migraines, and my doctor was like, well, the estrogen is causing one and the progesterone is causing the other. And really the only thing I can do is give you a birth control that is higher or lower in one of those two, but you’re having an issue from both of them, so you should just be off of it. And I’m like, Well, I’m 19, and I don’t want to be pregnant, you know? And it was wild to me how few options there were, you know? So I ended up getting a diaphragm, which you can use with spermicide, which is what it is, you know, it’s more effective than a condom, which is nice. But when I’ve talked to women now for years who are looking to do some kind of alternative kind of birth control, and I mention it to them, and they go to their doctors and they don’t even know how to get it, like, we have so few options anyway, and one of the few non hormonal birth control options, doctors don’t even know how to get it? Like, wild. That’s wild to me.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 21:38
I know.

Natalie 21:38
Yeah, all right, well, I’m gonna get off that soapbox, because I feel like Derek had another question.

Derek 21:43
No, you brought up an entirely other, a whole other slew of things. There’s actually a clip that I wanted to share with you at some point, either during the show or after the show, but this guy, he was talking about how women being on birth control that affects their hormones, as a byproduct, actually affects men and their hormones. And so, like, there’s this weird effect of like women being, you know, having artificially high levels of either estrogen or progesterone, affecting even like the type of man that they’re wanting to pursue. But then on top of that, now that that birth control is, like, saturated, essentially, the, you know, the population, that the hormonal effect is actually creating a secondary effect to men, and it’s affecting how they present in the relationship. And, like, anyways, super crazy, super crazy. And, you know, I don’t know if there’s necessarily any truth to that, but like, and maybe this would be a good time…

Natalie 21:48
He’s nodding.

Derek 21:53
…a good time to dive into this topic. Is like testosterone levels are across the population, are the lowest they’ve ever been. Why is that?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 23:55
Let me first just speak to some of this. I think-I’m gonna cry.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 23:58
Just feel this for a minute. You’re married. This is your person. He does the dishes. It’s a good marriage, and you’re taking contraceptives you’ve been taking all this whole time, and you don’t have the natural libido anymore, but you love him. If you’re the husband and you always feel like you have to initiate intimacy with your partner, your self esteem starts dropping off. What’s wrong with me? Why does she love me? You feel rejected. She feels like a failure. She can’t do for him what she wants. She can’t, she’s not present in the marriage the way that he, the way that it should be in a marriage where you’re both intimate with one another. It is a true thing. And if you practice medicine enough, and you pay attention, it’s everywhere. It’s a big deal. It’s a big deal. And then it gets forgotten about. There’s so many cultural overlays as well. It’s just, you know, and female sexuality is a whole other topic. There’s a a lot to it. But I mean, just from that biological part, it really does affect us. It affects us as a people, it affects our marriages, it affects our intimacy with one another. So I have a real big issue that. With men, with testosterone dropping off, why I learned this is how I got into this. I didn’t want to be an endocrinology specialist at all. That’s not what I came in to do. I didn’t want to specialize in women’s medicine. These are not the things I wanted to do. I was actually very interested in environmental toxicity, toxicology.

Natalie 25:30
Okay.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 25:31
That’s what I wanted to do, and where I got good at environmental toxicology, you know, during my fellowship and all these things was it went back to my training. Excuse me, went back to you know how the environment kept causing harm in reproduction. So with women inhibiting ovulation, that’s how I started getting into progesterone, because women were not ovulating, so I just started using progesterone. Men, no testosterone. Plastics, microplastics. We knew about this 20 plus years ago man. This is not new. We knew about BPA and phthalates. We knew the permanent damage it was causing. We’ve known about this the whole time. This is not new. It’s just now that it’s gotten so bad we can’t hide from it anymore. It’s just, it’s um, it’s microplastics and phthalates cause permanent damage to our germ cells and permanently inhibit our ability to make testosterone permanent.

Natalie 26:23
Wow.

Derek 26:23
Wow. And so, I mean, my brain is going in so many directions at the moment. I mean, so, so we’ve talked a little bit about, like, how these symptoms can present, right? I would guess that honestly, the best thing that you can do to to find out is, like Natalie said, is, is just get your labs checked and get them done regularly so that you can actually see and track over time, like, Oh, I’m trending in the right direction, or I’m trending in the wrong direction, and I should seek treatment, right? So, but when you actually go down to it, there, this almost feels like the cancer discussion. How, like, if you look up the list of everything that can that’s a carcinogen and they can cause cancer, it’s like, this enormous list that’s almost-makes you, like, not even want to try. I don’t know if that’s kind of the current condition of what’s affecting our hormonal health as well. Like, is it such a like, a massive list, or is it pretty targeted that like microplastics…

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 27:24
Let’s put it into two camps.

Derek 27:26
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 27:27
What is synthetic that causes cancer and what is natural that causes cancer? What is natural that causes a lower testosterone? What is synthetic that causes low testosterone? Let’s put it in those two places, and now when we go to the natural things that caused cancer, our bodies were made to handle them. The sun, the you know, for cancer, the sun. You see? I’m not come up with too many natural things.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 27:56
How about low testosterone? Things in nature that cause low testosterone? Naturally occurring soy, not the GMO version or modified versions. No.

Natalie 28:05
Hey, I hope you’re enjoying today’s podcast. I just wanted to take a quick break, because if you’re listening, you probably know what we do here at Invigor medical podcast, but maybe not what we do@invigormedical.com so let me introduce us. At Invigor, we provide prescription strength treatments and peptides for weight loss, health and lifestyle optimization. Every treatment plan is carefully prescribed by licensed doctors and sourced from legitimate pharmacies. You don’t ever need to buy questionable research chemicals again. And bonus, as a podcast listener, you get a 10% discount on your first treatment plan with code PODCAST10 at invigormedical.com Now let’s get back to today’s episode.

Derek 28:45
But not to a significant degree.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 28:46
A lot of soy will do it. So when you say what, it’s overwhelming, you’re right. It’s overwhelming because so much of our environment has become synthetic, so much of our diet has become synthetic. That’s it. I mean, at the end of the day, if you really, we really sat down and really thought it through that way, that, a synthetic life is going to cause cancer and low testosterone, just just, that’s it. Now your body, we are gifted with this amazing tool to navigate this world, that if you were able to build up your oxy, your antioxidants in your body, take good care of yourself, you can, you can push through a lot of environmental toxicity that could lead to cancer. Absolutely! Not permanently. Not you know, you’re playing the odds a little bit. You know, you roll the dice a little bit, but you know, you’re pretty safe for the most part. You can drink a certain amount. I mean, our our ancestors have been drinking for a long time, so, you know, alcohol may not be as bad, but all the other things added to alcohol probably in our lives, the the other things we do, plus now alcohol combined, yeah, not good. You know, maybe that.

Derek 29:45
You bring up antioxidants is something like glutathione is, is that something that you use in your practice?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 29:52
I run the labs on it all the time. I think it’s a really important thing to run antioxidants in people. I run serum coQ10, serum glutathione. Absolutely.

Derek 30:01
Awesome. Yeah. I mean, so we prescribe, here at Invigor Medical we prescribe glutathione as well. And kind of the moniker around it is that it’s the master antioxidant, that it’s like this massive kind of molecular structure that moves through the body and is able to suck up all those free radicals. Can you? Can you maybe touch a little bit more about like, what glutathione is and the effects it has on the body?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 30:23
Yeah, it’s, you said it you hit it perfectly. It’s your body makes glutathione. It’s the end product of, like, all the antioxidants you take you’re trying to make glutathione. You know what I mean? It’s the three proteins put together in your body. Now, there’s some people that really go by the concept you can’t take it in orally. And, you know, because people buy a glutathione pill, people say, oh, you can’t, that doesn’t work. And some people say you have to do use a patch. Some people use IV. Some people use IM. What I tell my patients is this, let me run your labs before and after. I see people do weird patches I didn’t think would work, and their glutathione went up. So, so I mean, if the patient is going to take something and increase their glutathione, like, if they’re gonna take actual raw glutathione, we show them the lab work. You know that it worked. IV, it’s like, you don’t have to do labs, it just doesn’t.

Natalie 31:11
Right.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 31:11
You should run Labs also, but you don’t have to. It’s gonna work. But when I try and do things like diet, and I want to make sure they’re eating foods that build natural glutathione, I run the labs around it too. If they buy still not doing enough with fruits and vegetables in their diet, I’ll start supplementing things. If I need to IV or IM I’ll do that as well.

Derek 31:28
Incredible, incredible. While we’re I feel like we’re kind of on this tangent of treatments. Like, obviously, if someone’s deficient in a hormone, right? So estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, like, the most brute force way that you can treat them is just by literally giving them more of that of that hormone, right? But obviously that comes with upsides and downsides. I don’t know. Maybe we can, maybe we can dive into those, and I’m thinking right now, I’m thinking specifically about testosterone, but maybe we I just because I don’t have as much knowledge around estrogen and progesterone.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 32:04
Yeah. Testosterone is great.

Derek 32:05
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 32:05
But similar concept is estrogen, but the idea is, well, you want your doctor to first understand why you don’t have it. Like some guys, it’s been diet. Once I’ve cleared up their diet, they start making testosterone. I’m happy. I feel like I’ve done the best. That’s when I feel like I’m the best version of me, because I got their body to make it itself. And, I mean, I played that role in their lives. I help them change that part of their lives so they’re making it themselves. So I feel that’s my best tool. Um, if they’re low, say you’re making, you know, 200. Your labs are around 200 I want you 900 I’m going to give you that 700 difference. That’s what we’re going to provide you with. Now, the different way I deliver it to the body. There’s going to be different surges, because I’m not natural. I’m not the original plan. You know, there’s the I’m not, “I’ll never be as good as God,” is my favorite saying with this, because how your body would make it, how it’s supposed to be in there, it’s really well balanced and controlled for. If I’m giving you a week supply, a seven day supply all at once, or a month supply, or whatever you, whatever format we’re using for you, I’m going to make a lot of other weird things happen, because I’m giving you a bolus of it, a bunch of it at once. I don’t want to do that without watching what it could do. So with men, you want to make sure they’re not turning because testosterone will aromatize in your adipose, your body fat, into estrogen. You can overdo your testosterone, where it can make something called dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone causes more side effects of testosterone, like hair loss and oily skin, body hair. It’s just that we want to make sure to watch that dihydro. It’s associated with enlarged prostate as well. And we want to make sure that that testosterone is not stimulating that-So testosterone will go into your bone marrow, and it’ll stimulate your stem cells, and it’s going to stimulate you to make more muscle. So that’s good, but it’s also going to stimulate make more red blood cells. And some guys, it makes way too many red blood cells, and they have thick blood, so we have to reduce their dose, or they have to donate blood.

Derek 33:56
Which is why you normally test amatocrit with most testosterone treatments.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 34:00
Yes, sir.

Derek 34:01
Great, great. I don’t know. So that’s testosterone. I don’t know if you want to dive more into the, into the estrogen and and progesterone.

Natalie 34:08
Yeah, I’m curious for sure, on how that plays a role in women. And I would say also, like, is it more likely that you see women going through menopause who start to need these kind of hormone replacement therapies, or are we seeing, are you seeing it across all ages?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 34:23
Women with progesterone across all ages?

Okay.

We have such an estrogen rich environment around us, with the foods as we eat, the chemicals around us, the insecticides, a lot of these things really do stimulate estrogen. And so we want to know if they’re ovulating. We want to know if they’re making progesterone. So we’re always, I mean, throughout the life cycle of a woman, our progesterone is a big thing, because can you know, anxiety, depression, these are big things that happen in women in their 20s and 30s. It starts moving its way into insomnia in their late 30s, maybe more in the 40s usually is when you start seeing that part. But menopause in women starts in your mid 30s believe it or not. No one wants to talk about this. No woman wants to hear this. And it’s true, and I know that, but, but when you turn your mid 30s, that’s when you don’t ovulate at every cycle, that’s when you start noticing, you know, the fertility rates start to drop off because you don’t ovulate as much, and if you’re not ovulating, you’re not going to make as much progesterone. So progesterone is low. That’s the first stages of menopause is that diminished ovulation and diminished progesterone, that’ll happen from your mid 30s all the way into your 40s, and then sooner or later, you start having drop offs in your estrogen, and then it finally drops off completely, and that’s full menopause.

Natalie 35:32
Hmm. Okay, so I’m in my mid to late 30s, 38 so technically, late 30s. What are, what are like some normal symptoms that we would be seeing, and is it an appropriate time to start, you know, looking into HRT hormone replacement therapy, you know? What-or is it just like, oh, this is normal. I just have to figure out how to deal with it?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 35:54
Your population is the trickiest. Because think about a woman in her mid 30s, the average woman in her mid 30s, you know, and I’m not-this is not all-average women in mid 30s. Mom, most likely working nowadays, most likely working. Kids, married, husband, those moms work two jobs, right? So most, not all. I know there’s other ones, but there’s but I could talk about them too if you want to. But that average woman gets up in the morning. She makes sure the kids have their lunch. She makes sure they have their breakfast, their clothes match. You know, the things they’re supposed to do. They go on the bus, they go to their job. They work at this job. They usually don’t get paid as much as their male counterparts, and that shows the women tend to work harder at their job, to be acknowledged a little bit more. That’s a fact that’s not arguable. And then women will come home, and then they get the kids ready to go on to their after school activities. They bring them to softball or soccer whatever they do. They bring them back home. The mom then starts making dinner. She watches the kids, make sure they’re doing their homework, puts the dinner on the table, has dinner, does the dishes. I do dishes now, though. I’m much better my dishes than my family, by the way. But she generally tends to do dishes and then make sure the kids brush their teeth, get off to the bed. She’ll start folding laundry, maybe have a glass of wine, watching a show, go to sleep and stuff the day over the next day. The average woman works more hours in a day than the average man. That’s not an arguable thing anymore. That is proven. Again, there’s outliers. I know that, and that’s good and and I hope they’re good outliers meaning they don’t-that there’s shared burden in the home. But that woman now, her adrenals, her cortisol levels, are not going to be so good, because she’s working harder. And also in her mid 30s, to start realization, is this the life I want to live? How am I with my life? Where am I going? My children are growing up. What’s my purpose now? These, all these things play a role, because then, when you have cortisol issues in that population, cortisol is linked to progesterone. So if their progesterone is not naturally going down because they’re in pre menopause, it sure as heck is going to be low because of the stress levels that they’re under. So that population we want to understand is this stress induced, low progesterone, pre menopause, early early menopause. You know? Low progesterone. Some women dietary low progesterone. There’s all these different things. So in your population, it’s like, I it’s a it’s we have to sit back and really take a lot of time to understand that woman in front of us, run the labs, and that’s how we come to a better understanding how to treat them.

Natalie 38:13
Yeah, I felt like I just felt tired thinking about you saying, saying all of it, because, man, and especially, I’m tired today. I don’t know if you could tell when I came in.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 38:20
I could tell a little bit.

Natalie 38:21
My energy is just like, a little lower. I like, had a great weekend. But also I’m, there’s a lot going on in my life right now, and there’s a couple times where you start talking. I’m like, if I start talking right now, I’m gonna cry because I’m just tired, and I’m a single mom with two kids. So like, I’m just, I do feel like, constantly the grind. I know a lot of people and adults, you know, feel like that. But man, I’m like, I would really like to not feel like my day is just so incredibly stretched all the time. And I think that you get-I think that me, and I’m sure other people feel this like, just get used to being stressed that like, I’m like, I’m not even aware I’m stressed, because I’m like, it’s just normal, right? Until I get a weekend without the kids. Go ahead.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 39:01
I feel like I left that really in a depressive way. Can I just clarify one thing that’s really important?

Natalie 39:05
Please, yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 39:05
There was a study done on women athletes, and this is in 2006 and it had to do with female athletes and gymnasts in the Olympics. And how are they able to do these amazing things and the thing is that women, when you are able to economize things, create a better balance with them, you can achieve amazing things. You can find balance as a single mom. You can find balance as a mom with kids and you’re doing this heavy workload. That’s a doable thing. It’s a matter of running those labs and understanding the person in front of you. And a lot of women just need to also find a balance with their downtime self care. A lot of times you feel guilty about having self care. A lot of women not you personally, but just in general. And so the role of the physician in those moments is to help them, because when you have those things right, they can achieve, achieve amazing things. Look at those kids and what they could do in the Olympics, like, what the heck is that? That’s insane. So, so I think if you were to work on the economy with these women, I know in my practice, you work on the economy of life with these women, you’re able to achieve a better balance, and they can navigate this. It’s possible. I feel like I was being depressed a little. I made it more depressing a moment ago, and I just want to make sure I didn’t leave it that way.

Natalie 40:21
No, that’s okay. And I appreciate that, because I think it is, I mean, and that’s kind of the point of the podcast, in the episode too, is right? Is to help people gain knowledge around the topic and help give hope and empowerment in how you can deal with these things and live a better, fuller, happier life, right? So I appreciate the kind of perspective shift there, and I also appreciate the way that you’re holistically approaching this, you know, not just a guy that prescribes hormones, right? You’re trying to get a full, complete picture and support the patient in their life. And we’re not just, we’re not just talking about hormones here. So, so I really appreciate that. Let’s talk a little bit about when it’s time to start introducing hormone replacement therapy. We kind of got on this, and then I got on a little bit of a tangent and got a little bit sad. But when somebody’s coming into your practice and you’re running all these tests, and you’re starting to get an idea of the levels. Now it’s time to start prescribing HRT. It sounds like there’s, there’s different ways to-for that vehicle, right? Different vehicles for that, for that replacement therapy. And so how do you know what’s what’s best? Is it kind of on a patient by patient basis, or are there some, some forms of HRT that you’re like, Oh, we really don’t do these anymore, and this is the best way, like just kind of run us through it.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 41:44
We had a woman present to clinic the other day with one of the physicians I work with, and she felt weird. She had no libido. She felt uncomfortable. We ran her labs. Her doctor ran her labs. Her husband had switched from injectable testosterone to topical testosterone. And this woman had so much extra testosterone…

Derek 42:05
Interesting.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 42:05
…that she was, she no longer had the benefit of libido being elevated. None of that. She had more testosterone than an average guy does. She was getting the rub off of the topical onto her.

Natalie 42:14
Woah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 42:15
When you put topical testosterone on a surface, you know, you just put it on like a tabletop, and leave it there for 10 years and come back, it’s still there. It doesn’t go away. And there’s no straw on the surface of your skin to suck the testosterone into your body, so you’re relying on some of the transfer over. But there’s a lot of it that doesn’t which goes into the environment around you. I don’t do topical hormones because it’s unethical. No one signed up for us to spread it to other people. Well, I love when they tell women, you just put this topical estrogen transvaginally, you’re fine until she has intercourse with her husband and now his penis is being exposed to all that estrogen. That’s not a good thing. That’s not ethical. So I avoid topicals because of that. There are very rare cases where I’ll need to use topical like boys who are born with with there’s certain endocrine disrupting compounds that are so profound that boys are being born now at higher rates with micro penis. So I’ll use the topical testosterone in their case, because I’ll have a higher rate of convergent Dihydrotestosterone on their penis, and that’s really helpful there. So sometimes the delivery system creates so many side effects, but in some ways, I can use it to benefit the person. So I guess I’m rambling, but let me be just really clear. Just because it doesn’t work for this person doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have it for this other person for this other circumstance here. Yeah, so there’s going to be injectable, there’s going to be oral, there’s going to be topical, there’s going to be subdermal implants. Those are four big ways of getting into the human body, and each one carries its own side effects and benefits that you have to be aware of with the woman and a man in front of you, making sure that when you’re going to give it to them, they’re aware of it with you, and you’re making sure you take good care of them, and running the labs around that delivery mechanism,

Derek 44:01
Yeah. You know, I think one of the big-with testosterone therapy, I feel like this is somewhat recent, but maybe it’s not, of TRT, testosterone replacement therapy, like compared to something like Clomiphene. You know, to me, it seems like a night and day difference. With TRT, you know, you get more of like this. And honestly, like, to me, it seems like, for those out there that kind of know, the differences between this, it’s like taking straight growth hormone versus taking Semorelin, right? It’s kind of the same thing, more or less, with testosterone, TRT and Clomiphene, I don’t know.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 44:41
Except for, Semorelin, your body makes Semorelin.

Derek 44:43
Really?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 44:44
It’s growth releasing protein. So it’s your hypothalamus. It’s what it is that’s a peptide your hypothalamus makes, and it sends that to your pituitary, saying, make growth hormone. So it’s natural. Semorelin is, like, just beautiful. It’s very elegant. It steps into the system the way it should be. Yeah, that’s great. Clomiphene, Clomid, that’s, that’s like black box medicine. That’s like-no black box is not the right term. I shouldn’t use that word um, because black box is like cancer warnings. It’s just black magic I think. What you’re doing is you’re, you’re hammering on the pituitary and you’re blocking off these estrogen receptors and the brains like I need more hormones. You really are amping up the pituitary. You’re manipulating the system. Now I use Clomiphene. I use these medicines, but they’re not benign, and they’re not my favorites, because they’re not benign. But when it comes for a man who has zero sperm count, and I can use this to get a sperm count going, I will do that. I will do that.

Derek 45:47
Or in the case of of a man who who wants to increase his testosterone but maintain his fertility, you know because, like, if you’re just getting into research on testosterone therapy, like you may or may not know that when you take large amounts of testosterone, your body, your your testes actually shrink, because it’s essentially, your testes are saying-are what’s in charge of, like, one of the parts of your body that’s in charge of creating testosterone. Like, if you I think I’ve given an example of this to to some of our staff at work, where it’s like, if you are a, if you are a pie maker, and you know your job is to make 10 pies a day, you’re like, okay, great, I’m gonna make 10 pies a day, every day, but, but if suddenly, like, one of your neighboring companies comes up and gives you 100 pies, you’re just gonna stop making pies. Because, like, now all of a sudden. So it’s kind of like, I don’t know, maybe you can tell me that that’s a good analogy or not. But just like, if all of a sudden you inject all of this exogenous testosterone into your body, your testes are just like, great, I don’t-I can take a vacation and they and they, and then they shrink.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 46:51
Yes.

Derek 46:52
And so in that case, if a man wants to maintain fertility, I guess that’s a good use case for Clomiphene,

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 46:59
Yes. And to speak to what you’re saying with testosterone, testosterone delivered is just like contraceptives, but not as good. And so when a man takes testosterone, it’s sort of like he’s taking birth control, but there-you can still get pregnant with it. It’s not perfect. You still have some guys that will make sperm count, but it is completely versatile. When I give a man injectable testosterone. And I discontinue the testosterone, whatever his fertility capacity was before it’s, it remains. It does not cause damage to it. I point out like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Derek 47:34
Yeah. Yeah, that’s a good example.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 47:36
That man was big. Man was juicing.

Derek 47:38
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 47:38
I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this online, but he was!

Derek 47:40
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 47:42
There’s no way around it. I mean, he has kids. He had kids after he’d used/abused testosterone, he had high levels for a while. He had an accidental child.

Derek 47:50
How long does that take? So if someone’s taking testosterone, TRT, and you know, they’re going through whatever phase they are, and then let’s say they get off and they want to have kids, how long does it take for that capability, generally speaking, to come back?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 48:04
It depends on-Okay, let me say, this is important. There are no normal men anymore.

Derek 48:11
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 48:11
None.

Derek 48:12
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 48:12
Well, you will never see or it’s incredibly rare to see a 900 testosterone anymore.

Natalie 48:20
Wow.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 48:20
In blood. You just don’t anymore. That’s just not there anymore. I mean, I’m sure there’s outliers. I’ve seen them rarely. It’s like, just wow, look at that. I was always a surprise when we find it, but it’s become less and less common. So we don’t see normal men anymore. So the men are no longer making testosterone. It’s the same pathway that microplastics are causing damage, that phthalates, rather BPAs are causing damage, that their sperm counts are gonna be low. So if we have a guy who presents the clinic with the testosterone and he’s, you know, like 20 something years old, his testosterone is like 200 his sperm counts gonna be real low.

Derek 48:58
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 49:01
So if I give him testosterone to bring him back to normal. He’s good for a while. And so he’s like, You know what? I’m trying, I’m trying to go off testosterone. I’m ready to have a family. We take him off testosterone. What I know for a fact, he’s going to have low sperm count, and I’m going to get ready to run those labs. Most men opt not to do this, but I offer to every man, if you want to do testosterone replacement therapy, it’s a good idea to check your sperm count to know what you’ll be dealing with when you do choose to have children.

Derek 49:25
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 49:26
So that way, when you discontinue it, you know how aggressive we need to be. Do we need to give you Clomid right off the bat? Can we just wait? Do we give you human chorionic gonadotropin? By the way, human chorionic gonadotropin, HCG, that’s analogous to Semorelin, because it’s the same stuff. It’s simulating the message, stealing the pathway to the brain, to the pituitary, make more. That’s what that is. Yeah.

Natalie 49:48
I think it’s a good time, because we’re going to run out of time, and I know we wanted to touch on human growth hormone and Semorelin. So maybe you can just talk for a minute, because I even, like, I know a little bit about peptide. And I didn’t even realize so we were having a conversation a couple of months ago, the differences and, like, I had kind of been pitched semaglutide as this thing and and it wasn’t the thing that I thought it was. I was actually thinking it was Semorelin. And so I was very confused. And I wish that I’d had more knowledge, because, you know, there’s peptides that are being talked about so much now out there, and especially, you know what they can do for weight loss, etc. And so could you take a moment to, I mean, we’ve kind of touched on it a little bit, but let’s just go into some more detail on what is Semorelin, what it does in the body, and why it might be useful, or you might prescribe it for a patient.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 50:41
Semorelin is um, it’s based off of human growth hormone releasing hormone. So your your hypothalamus sends the signal to the pituitary to make growth hormone. So that’s the signal that comes down and the pituitary makes growth hormone. As you get older, you send less of that signal to the pituitary to make growth hormone. If you take that person, you give them Semorelin, Semorelin is a condensed version. It’s just a snippet of that protein-of human growth hormone releasing growth hormone. It’s a snippet of it, but it’s enough to stimulate the pituitary to make growth hormone. So you’re returning the body back to a better balance by giving them Semorelin because you’re giving them what the body recognizes and would use. And so now the pituitary maintains that production. It doesn’t-you cannot get Supra physiological levels of growth hormone, even if you just gave them tons of Semorelin. It won’t work. You can never give them too much. The body has tight controls over it when you deliver it that way. And it works. It works really well. There are other things that we want to give with them to help stimulate the pathway. One of them is a ghrelin analog, which is, you know, if you’re really hungry, you release ghrelin.

Derek 51:49
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 51:49
Ghrelin, when when you’re when you’re fasting, it stimulates your brain to make more growth hormone. So you can use that as called growth hormone releasing hormone, which is growth hormones releasing protein, rather. Growth hormone releasing protein. Growth hormone, releasing hormone is semorelin. Growth hormone releasing protein is more based on ghrelin, and those two combined, you get better growth hormone secretion in those cases.

Natalie 52:10
Okay, that’s interesting. I didn’t know that about ghrelin. Ghrelin being the hunger hormone that when that’s released, you feel hungry.

Yes ma’am.

Right? Okay. And so when and why would you prescribe these to your patients.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 52:22
A lot of people, I test their growth hormone metrics right away, first thing I do. And when I start treating them with testosterone, when I start treating their diet, if I do everything right, I see them come up with growth hormone right away. You can make it naturally by optimizing diet and lifestyle and optimizing their endocrine system. Thyroid will optimize it. All these things will make more growth hormone. They do. It’s a fact, but sometimes it’s just not happening anymore. The brain kind of just starts to age. It’s just doesn’t produce it anymore. And that’s when you want to try and give them a little bit more semorelin directly, see if that works better. You give semorelin and you do that with different growth hormones, using hormones that work with it. Ipamorelin is one of the ones I prefer using. That combination tends to work really well for me.

Natalie 53:08
Awesome. Did you have more questions about it? Because I know you were curious.

Derek 53:11
I did. So I have one specific question about semorelin. So with semorelin, this may or may not become a knowledge, but like the primary time that growth hormone is released in the body is during sleep, and so when you take semorelin, one of the first things that a lot of our patients talk about is how like they feel like they’re waking up with amazing sleep. Huberman actually just did a recent episode about peptides, and he talks about semorelin. One of the concerns that he brought up is that it emphasizes-when you take semorelin, it emphasizes the deep sleep portion of your sleep cycle, and that it steals, essentially steals hours away from the REM, the rapid eye movement sleep. I don’t know if that’s something that you’ve seen or encountered during your practice, or if you have any strategies for like trying to reallocate those stolen hours, more or less, from the deep sleep to the, our rapid eye movement.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 54:08
I’ve never seen it clinically. And I use these, these heart rate variability monitors with all my patients these days. They use a watch, or they use the Oura ring or the root band, and I monitor their sleep because it’s part-Part of practicing medicine is to understand how your patients are resting.

Derek 54:23
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 54:23
But I haven’t. I haven’t seen that. I actually have not seen that.

Derek 54:26
You haven’t seen that. Well, I’m currently on semorelin, and I’ll tell you what. Previously, we had another sleep doctor on our episode and on our show, and told him that, like I hardly ever dream, I started taking some moral and my my dreams came back, and they’re kind of vivid, and it’s like some of them are like me training with The Rock

Derek 54:48
And just random people. I’m like, this is an awesome dream. And then I wake up in the morning, I work out first thing in the morning. So it’s, it’s great. Yeah, I’ve been loving it. So, yeah.

Natalie 54:58
This is just kind of a little tangent, but I’d love-you mentioned your Oura ring.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 55:02
Yeah.

Natalie 55:03
How much do you recommend something like that? Because we’re learning more and more with every single guest that we have the importance of sleep. And you know, if you asked anyone, they would probably be like, Yeah, I know sleep’s important, but I don’t think a lot of people understand how important it is and how much it impacts so maybe you could just briefly say, like, what is the benefit of having something like an Oura ring that tracks your sleep cycles?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 55:24
I don’t work for Oura ring, okay? I use it for so much of the practice, for not just sleep, but also stress management, how they take care of themselves, what’s their downtime like? Sleep schedule, sleep hygiene? Are you doing downtime before sleep? Because a lot of these things, you can use this and check out to see if their stress levels are going down before bed, and see what’s their hygiene level like, like, how are they hygiene is not just washing your hands. It’s like, how you’re living in a healthy way. So, so if they’re doing better hygiene, you can see that on these Oura rings. You could monitor their fitness, their output, how well they’re taking care of themselves, or their steps they’re working out. It’s a really good tool for accountability for the person, because this is the best thing about it. Once you put that on them and you teach them how to monitor it and care for them, care for watching this that it works, you’re able to give them a tool where they don’t need to keep coming back to you constantly running labs to see how they’re dealing with their stress, because they’ve become empowered as the patient themselves and they just understand how this works. That’s cool, like cold plunges don’t work for everybody. How do you know? The heart rate variability? Some people can meditate all the time. It doesn’t work for them. Heart rate variability, deep breathing. That only works for some people. Who’s it work for this is one of the tools you can use to find that out, and you could create a better protocol based upon the data that it gives you.

Well, you may not work for Oura ring, but I’m sold.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 55:44
It’s really cool. I mean, this is a, you know, they’re using it at the Olympics this year. Did you see that?

Natalie 56:40
Are you kidding?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 56:41
Yeah, they’re gonna do it on one of the parents of the kids. So you’re performing in the Olympics-your parents. And I don’t watch the Olympics. I’ve recorded the Olympics twice here. I don’t really watch the Olympics that much, but like, the parents are gonna wear their heart rate variability monitors to see how much stress they’re under when they’re watching the kids compete.

Natalie 57:07
Oh my gosh. I can only imagine. I can only imagine if my son-my son is eight years old and is playing his first season of soccer. I’m like, ridic. I’m like, so into it. Like, I can’t imagine if he was in the Olympics. I’d just like pass out.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 57:23
I still was joking around. It’s how you figure out which parents really love their kids.

Natalie 57:27
Oh gosh, yeah, or which of them are just really seasoned handling their stress.

Derek 57:32
Yeah, seriously.

Natalie 57:33
Yeah. I guess I didn’t even realize thinking about the oura ring, being able to monitor so much more than just sleep. Technology’s insane, like it’s just gotten crazy to think that something just like on your finger could tell you so much. That’s wild, and I love though, that you’re using it in a way, you know-I think what this sort of an overarching theme that I’ve heard with you, and that I just want to commend you for, is the way in which you’re caring for your patients that is holistic, all encompassing and also empowering. Right? To try to not make people a slave to specific medications, or to continually having to come in over and over and over again. You know? I feel like so much of our medical field has gotten in this cycle of just, we’re just treating sick people, and we’re treating sick people, and we’re not really trying to get to root causes or figure out how to make people well. And so anytime we, you know, we’re lucky enough that we’ve gotten to interview, you know, quite a few doctors who are this way, and every time, I just feel grateful. So I just want to say thank you for the way that you’re approaching your patients and the way that you’re approaching your practice and the overall impact that it’s going to have, because we need more people like you in the medical field.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 58:44
Thank you. Thank you.

Natalie 58:45
You’re welcome.

Derek 58:46
Yeah, I definitely can echo that sentiment as well, like you obviously know your stuff, and I think, I think that you’ve well earned all of the accolades that Natalie read off at the beginning. It’s, it’s been…

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 58:58
Yeah. [chuckles] Someone wrote that. I get very embarrassed about, that.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 59:02
I’m sitting in my living room right now, my dogs are around me.

Natalie 59:05
I love it.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 59:05
I’m a nerdy guy, this is my nerdy stuff I love.

Natalie 59:08
Yeah, you can tell you have a passion for it.

Derek 59:10
Yeah, 100% Well, it’s, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the podcast. We would love to have you back to talk about more of this. I mean, I feel like we really just barely scratched the surface. Yeah, but if people want to learn more about you and your work, you have a local clinic. Right? Where’s that located?

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 59:28
We’re in Chandler, Arizona. We’re gonna move to Tempe in a few months, but we’re in Chandler. We’re moving to a bigger office, but, yeah, Chandler,

Derek 59:36
Awesome. And do you have a website that people can look and see more about your work.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 59:41
You can tell, I’m not a very good marketing person, but it’s Protea Medical Center. It’s just protealife.com

Derek 59:49
Awesome, awesome. Well, Dr McCarthy, again, thank you so much for joining us.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 59:55
Thank you for inviting me. It means a lot to me. I always love talking about this, because I feel like when we do these things together, where we talk about this stuff, like what I love about this thing, and I know you do this too, you have no idea who you just touched today.

Derek 1:00:08
Yeah.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 1:00:08
You know what I mean? You have no idea somewhere, someone in another part of the world, just heard what you said, a question that’s the same question they had and and you give clarity to them, and you have no idea whose lives you changed. Or this kid gets inspired to get into this field, because of what you just said. It’s such a phenomenal thing we’re able to do together that we were never able to do this before.

Natalie 1:00:29
Agreed.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 1:00:29
So thank you for giving this opportunity to be here with you in this moment. And like, it’s exciting.

Natalie 1:00:33
Oh, I love it. It’s been such a pleasure to have you on and to interview you. And your bright light and your energy was just infectious. I felt kind of down when I came in and like needed to get it up. And just watching your passion as you talked about things really, really lit me up. So just thank you for the way that you showed up, and thank you for making the time to chat with us.

Dr. Brendan McCarthy 1:00:50
Thank you.

Derek 1:00:53
Thanks for tuning in to the Invigor medical podcast.

Natalie 1:00:56
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Derek 1:01:00
Your feedback matters, so feel free to share questions for future episode ideas in the comments section.

Natalie 1:01:04
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Podcast Guests

Brendan McCarthy
ND, LAc

Podcast Guests

Derek Berkey
Host
Natalie Garland
Host
5226 Outlet Dr, Paso, WA 99301
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