Live Long and Master Aging podcast



Periods, pills and health span

Lara Briden: Author and naturopathic doctor

Monthly menstrual cycles provide hormones a woman’s body needs regularly to stay healthy and keep her immune system strong. But what happens when that process is interrupted? Scientist, author and naturopathic doctor, Lara Briden believes hormonal birth control can have tremendous effects on the body’s longterm health and ability regularly to produce hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Halting the body’s natural monthly menstrual cycle with hormones is akin to castration, Lara believes. In this LLAMA podcast interview with Peter Bowes, Lara, author of Period Repair Manual, describes what happens to a woman’s body when she is taking hormonal birth control pills, and what this could mean for immune and brain health later in life. She also discusses birth control alternatives, and what she does to keep her body’s sleep cycle on track and lead a healthy life.

Published on: 11 Jul 2018 @ 12:19 PT

Notes and quotes

Connect with Lara: Website | Twitter | Book

In this interview we discover:

  • When women produce the bulk of their hormones, and what this means.
  • How hormonal birth control could affect your health span.

“The great thing about periods – about ovulatory cycles is what I call them – is they are a great barometer of health. I refer to them as our monthly report card.”

  • What should a healthy menstrual cycle schedule be like?
  • How important are healthy estrogen levels in relation to brain health later in life?
  • What special factors do women need to consider when dieting and intermittent fasting.

“Up until fairly recently, human health was kind of synonymous with men’s health.”

  • Studies suggest birth control is linked to depression and anxiety in women.
  • Why does Lara liken hormonal birth control to castration?

“What cost do we, as women, pay when we give up those hormones to the drugs?”

  • How important are carbs for ovulation.
  • How does stress affect women’s ovulation cycles.
  • How does the health of women on birth control compare to women with natural cycles?
  • Which increasingly common behaviors does Lara sees in her patients that could be causing irregular periods.
  • Women with very few periods a year should check for pre-diabetes, says Lara.
  • Why it can be difficult for women who have been on birth control pills from a young age to establish a regular ovulatory cycle once they come off birth control, according to Lara.
  • What are the alternatives to hormonal birth control, besides condoms.

“It’s 2018 … we have self-driving cars. Why are we still using some, I’ll say barbaric, type of contraception that was invented in the late 1950s?”

  • What new forms of birth control are on the horizon, and why Lara believes they could take some of the burden off women when it comes to preventing pregnancy.

“To have to shut down a woman’s entire hormonal system to avoid pregnancy – it doesn’t make sense.”

  • What are Lara’s diet habits to promote a healthy, hormonally balanced life.

Related: Check out our episode about the circadian rhythm with Dr. Felice Gersh.

Follow us on twitter: @LLAMApodcast