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Originally published September 5 2006

Interview: Dr. Holly Lucille offers women relief from menopausal symptoms without hormone replacement therapy

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

Mike: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us. I'm Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, here with Holly Lucille, an ND -- naturopathic physician -- who is here to talk with us today about women's health issues. Thank you for joining me today, Holly.

Lucille: Thanks for having me. It's my pleasure.

Mike: Now, you are an expert in women's health and hormonal issues, but what does that mean to you? What are the special areas that you cover?

Lucille: Well, let me tell you a story. I graduated from naturopathic medical school. I was thrilled about my education. I think the way that we're educated is brilliant, having a medically based mind and then sort of marrying that with the philosophy that is based on those principles: First, do no harm; identify and treat the cause; treat the whole person; doctor is teacher; prevention is the cure and the healing power of nature. And so I went and graduated in Arizona, went back to Los Angeles, and I really wanted to have a family practice. I wanted to see anything -- kids, cardiovascular disease patients, cancer patients; I was so excited to get started.

But what happened to me is call after call, time after time, appointment after appointment; it was women who were coming to see me. And it wasn't just women having a very difficult time transitioning into a natural phase, menopause -- a very natural, once honored, once sacred, once celebrated time -- but it was younger women, not even close to menopause, having menopausal symptoms -- the basic motor symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats, the irritability, the weight gain -- and then women struggling with infertility.

Mike: Oh, yes.

Lucille: I couldn't believe it. And uterine fibroids, endometriosis and ovarian cysts. I needed to understand what was happening. And so that's pretty much how I got involved in being a women's health expert as far as it relates to hormonal health. I needed to put together the puzzle pieces of what was going on that was affecting and influencing the woman's reproductive cycle.

Mike: So what were your primary findings in that, once you really began to investigate the issues?

Lucille: Well, there are a couple of different things. First of all, all of these women were being treated with one form or another of hormone replacement therapy, whether it be just standard HRT moving into menopause -- the number one treatment option -- or the birth control pill if they had an increase in PMS symptoms or ovarian cysts. And they weren't getting any better, and we were starting to understand the literature that not only said the risk factors were increasing, but these medications were doing more harm than good.

So, number one: We live in an incredibly toxic environment and an increasingly toxic environment. We are the first generation that is this much of a chemically dependent society, full of xenoestrogens and other toxins, and they're basically endocrine destructors. They are everywhere. They're in the air that we breathe, the food that we eat, the water that we drink and the medications we take. They're in plastics, pesticides, soaps, emulsifiers and household cleaning products. And the car exhaust and pollution are fat-soluble. They can pass through our skin quite readily and accumulate over time, and this is having a huge impact on women's hormonal health. So these toxins are able to attach to estrogen receptors, causing havoc, because if you think about all of those things that I talked about -- endometriosis, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids -- I don't really care about the diagnosis. I care about the mechanism behind it.

Mike: Right.

Lucille: That's all estrogen-sensitive tissue that's being fueled by something; too much estrogen. What's happening? We've got too much estrogen coming in from the environment, so our livers aren't working effectively at a functional level, and the liver is the number-one organ responsible for metabolizing those estrogens. So, the environment was one thing. And the second thing was our increasingly stressful modern-day society. And the amount of adrenal stress on our glands. Most people reading this understand that term -- adrenal fatigue, adrenal exhaustion.

Mike: Right.

Lucille: Well, being that menopause is a natural process -- and I don't believe that nature has a design flaw -- our adrenal glands are the post-menopausal backup system for hormone production. And by the time a modern-day woman was getting to the crone years, the wisdom years, they were adrenally shot. They're stressed out from our modern-day society being so stressed out -- utilizing that fight or flight, not just for times of sheer danger, but just --

Mike: But chronically. Every day, right?

Lucille: Chronically, every day. And then coffee, caffeine and stimulants to keep us going. And so those two things -- our environment and adrenal fatigue -- were two things that I thought, "That's how you identify and treat the cause." That's what I was able to do, and that's why I wrote the book "Creating and Maintaining Balance: A Woman's Guide to Safe, Natural Hormone Health."

Mike: "Creating and Maintaining Balance." Now, is this in distribution right now?

Lucille: The best place to get it is on

Mike: Okay. Excellent. Now, everything you just mentioned -- this is great information. I've got to play devil's advocate for a second because conventional medicine says all you need is hormone replacement therapy. It's the fountain of youth, and you'll be forever young. You won't have any hormone problems.

Lucille: Right.

Mike: But now we know that's hogwash, right?

Lucille: Well, first of all, here's my question, I guess, back to conventional medicine -- which I adore and love, and there's a lot of reasons why I want conventional medicine to continue to evolve and get better and better at what they do -- but from this perspective: What are we replacing? Where did those hormones go? Which orifice did they fall out of? I was more interested in restoring the function rather than replacing it. Okay? To me the analogy of hormone replacement therapy -- when your body is symptomatic through normal hormonal transitions -- it's telling you something. For me it would be like you being really irritated because this building was on fire. And it wasn't the heat, it was just the fire alarm going off. Hormone replacement therapy, to me, is like going over and clipping that wire to the fire alarm. It's like, "Oh, I am so relieved." The problem is you have a mechanism going on. You have an estrogen-dominant -- most likely -- situation going on, and that's harmful. Why? Because -- what's on the rise? Breast cancer's on the rise. Breast cancer continues to be on the rise, not only for women, but for men. Prostate cancer -- estrogen-sensitive tissue.

Mike: Sure.

Lucille: So we need to step back and identify and treat the cause. Let me tell you -- the last thing that a menopausal woman needs in our modern-day society is more estrogen.

Mike: That's exactly what they're getting, and they've been getting it for decades under HRT.

Lucille: Right. And so let's think about that. What were the two claims of HRT? Cardiovascular protection -- okay, we all know that that's not true; in fact, causing more harm than good -- and skeletal health. But we all know that there's more to skeletal health than HRT and estrogen, because I have plenty of women in my practice who have had hysterectomies and have been on HRT for a long time, and they have severe osteoporosis.

Mike: So, what else do you cover in your book, by the way? We've touched on a few subjects.

Lucille: Well, detoxification, I think, is where hormonal health starts. Digestive issues. You know, we use to have a saying in school called "heal the hole." It's the hole that starts here (mouth) and the hole that ends down there because digestion is so absolutely important to almost anything. It's where we take in nutrients -- everything on a biochemical level in our body. Every process that happens is fueled by a cofactor. From a biochemical perspective, that's either a vitamin or a mineral. And we don't make these things. We really have to get them in.

Mike: Right.

Lucille: And it's not "you are what you eat"; it's really "you are what you absorb." And so digestion is extremely important. So I talk about digestion, I talk about heart health ... I talk about breast cancer being on the rise. One in every six women is dying of breast cancer and one in every two women is dying of heart disease these days.

Mike: Those are alarming numbers.

Lucille: So, I talk about pretty much every aspect of a woman's life, but really focusing in on hormonal health, identifying and treating the cause, and then also understanding that there are safe, non-hormonal, natural, effective ways to relieve those symptoms while we're identifying and treating the cause. Enzymatic Therapy has their incredible AM/PM PeriMenopause Formula that's a very effective, safe, natural symptom relief because it's important for women, I think, to be comfortable while we're detoxifying, while we're supporting the adrenals, while we're supporting the whole endocrine system and restoring function. The EstroBalance with DIM, diindolylmethane. It is extremely important because it works in the enzymatic pathways of the liver, and it assures safe estrogen metabolism, making sure that those metabolites of all the incomplete estrogen pool that we have are being metabolized into metabolites that are safe, and they have health benefits.

Mike: Now, you work with a lot of clients in your practice.

Lucille: I do.

Mike: And what kind of -- I don't know if you can even talk about this -- but can you talk about the results that you see when these women begin to change their diet and supplement these phytonutrients and nutrients that are really good for them?

Lucille: Well, first of all, I don't advertise at all, and I have a very busy practice. So by the time somebody comes to me and seeks me out and finds me, they're exhausted because what they have been doing or what they've been given is not working, and they're uncomfortable, and they're wanting something more. So I think the results that I see are phenomenal. Here's the deal -- and this is covered in my first visit -- it's a different paradigm than going into a medical office, having a seven-minute visit, getting a prescription, paying a $10 co-pay, going down to the pharmacy, paying a $5 co-pay, going home and taking your pill. It's a different paradigm where I think that I wanted to help people take power over their health. And I think when people are informed they are empowered. We're going to take a little time to talk about the body. We're going to take a little time to talk about what symptoms they're experiencing, what they've done, who they are, me establishing a relationship with them, but ultimately it's empowering them to take responsibility for their health.

Mike: I love it, Holly.

Lucille: Yeah. That's what we do.

Mike: That's true medical practice right there.

Lucille: I think so as well. It's about the patient.

Mike: Okay, so they get on these supplements or they change their lifestyle, what kind of results then do you see?

Lucille: I see phenomenal results. And mostly it is in the empowering. It's in them understanding and learning, and it's in them making the changes and taking responsibility, and also knowing that they have the education and they're armed now for their years ahead. That's the other thing about our health care, "We're living longer. Woohoo!" No, because we're living longer, and we're getting sicker. Who wants to be 112 and a debilitated mess?

Mike: Right. Sustainable disease.

Lucille: Exactly. So the results that I see in my practice are phenomenal, and it's a different paradigm. My job is to get people not to need me. I get people in, do some nice work with them, have some solid follow-ups, but ultimately it's their gig.

Mike: So, for example, are you able to see women who may be considering even a hysterectomy and show them a different way that they can take control of their outcome and ultimately be able to save them from that surgical procedure?

Lucille: Sure. That happens all the time. Women will come in and they've been thrown the appropriate thinking process of an allopathic physician. That's within their scope of practice -- uterine fibroids, bleeding, the patient's anemic -- you know, "Let's take out your uterus." I remember my mom telling me she had a hysterectomy and I'm like, "Why?" and she couldn't tell me. It was just common practice. So women come in not wanting that invasive procedure and, yes, in my principle, do no harm. So I want to make sure that they've had an endometrial biopsy. I want to make sure that I am not doing any harm by understanding their full situation because I think it's important to add that me being a naturopathic doctor and having a different philosophy of how I practice does not mean it's a we/they thing. It's not me against them -- it's about the patient. It's about who they are, what their process is, and utilizing all of their resources. That means utilizing their primary care doctor. But also certainly I think we need to be -- what's the word that I'm looking for -- realistic, perhaps, about shrinking uterine fibroids. It can be done and it can be done successfully, but once again -- different paradigm, a lot of different angles that we come at, but certainly helping women avoid invasive procedures is definitely something that I do on a daily basis.

Mike: Now, do you also have a website where people can learn more?

Lucille: I do. It's

Mike: All Heal Lucille. And, of course, Holly Lucille -- where is your practice located?

Lucille: It's in Beverly Hills.

Mike: So do you have out-of-state patients visit you sometimes?

Lucille: I do all the time. I do. I have the luxury of lecturing throughout the nation and getting that exposure and either linking up people in the country with other naturopathic doctors or holistically minded practitioners, or they're more than welcome to give me a call, and I'll take care of them.

Mike: It gives me a great deal of optimism, by the way, just to understand your philosophy and how much you hold sacred the idea of "first, do no harm" -- really helping patients and consulting with them. I'm so glad that you are in practice and just spreading this information.

Lucille: Me, too. I'm definitely thrilled every day when I wake up in my life because it makes so much sense to me. Some of the misconceptions about naturopathic physicians or even holistic practitioners often amaze me; our education, that it's "woo woo" (crazy) or we're witch doctors or we're using things like bark and berries -- you know?

Mike: Really?

Lucille: Yes. They're out there.

Mike: Bizarre.

Lucille: And because all I really am doing is, first of all, I'm developing a very therapeutic relationship with somebody -- maybe it's not that cost-effective because it takes some time, but you know what? It's effective because it's making a profound difference in their lives and in their health and in what we need to do.

Mike: It's a lot less expensive than surgery or missing six months of work or something like that.

Lucille: Exactly. It's like taking one step back and many steps forward. And the other thing I think I have the ability to do is just to think things through, to not stop at this idea that diseases are idiopathic. There are a lot of disease processes -- or diagnoses, I should say -- that the doctors say, "Well, it's an unknown cause." It's a multi-factorial cause. We've got to understand what people are eating, what their environment has been like that they've been exposed to, what they're putting in their body, what their cells have been bombarded with. And what's happening at a mitochondrial level.

Mike: Yes.

Lucille: Parkinson's is the perfect example. Yes, we know the cause. It's just multi-factorial, and it takes some time to understand and treat the cause.

Mike: Outstanding. Well, Holly, thank you so much.

Lucille: Yes, it's my pleasure.

Mike: I wish you the best in your practice and the success of your book. Again, it's Holly Lucille, ND -- "Creating and Maintaining Balance." Look for this on And again, your website is

Lucille: Thank you.


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