is soy okay to eat when you're taking estrogen or testosterone
All Prism Blog Posts, Endometriosis, Menopause and Andropause, Self Care for Trans Health

The Soy Controversy

“Women consuming the equivalent of two cups of soy milk per day provides the estrogenic equivalent of one birth control pill… men who consumed the equivalent of one cup of soy milk per day had a 50% lower sperm count than men who didn’t eat soy. –Chris Kresser’s Paleo Code

Soy is often touted as a natural source of estrogen, but is it safe to use either for this purpose or as a food?

“About two ounces of soy products per day may be sufficient to ward off hot flashes and other symptoms” of menopause (Wright & Morgenthaler, Natural Hormone Replacement for Women over 45). However, as an estrogen source, it may not be the safest food option.

Soy is present in nearly every packaged and processed food in the U.S, in fact, the average American gets up to 9% of our calories from soybean oil alone. Compare this to about 2 teaspoons per day in China and 9 teaspoons per day in Japan, most of which is fermented soy, which neutralizes the toxins (like trypsin inhibitors that inhibit protein digestion and affect pancreatic function, and phytic acid, which reduces absorption of minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc) that are present in most of the soy we consume in the U.S. (Chris Kresser’s Paleo Code)

Unfermented soy also increases our requirement for vitamin D and B12 (the opposite of fermented soy which provides these vitamins!), and disrupts endocrine function (potentially causing breast cancer and thyroid problems). Processed unfermented soy often actually contains carcinogens as well. (Chris Kresser’s Paleo Code)

It is not fully known how soy consumption may impact synthetic hormones, and it’s nearly impossible to avoid all soy since it’s in most of the food we consume, but it would be wise for most people to avoid eating the major processed soy foods like tofu, soy milk, and soy protein isolate. Fermented soy still contains estrogens, but is not as disruptive (or potentially carcinogenic) to our natural hormones, and is probably a safe food for most people.

I would generally recommend that people transitioning towards the masculine side of the spectrum avoid soy foods, and for those looking for natural sources of estrogen, there are many safer feminizing herbs and foods out there. For example, “flax contains substances called lignans, which have been shown to have estrogen-like qualities” (Wright & Morgenthaler). A few foods have small amounts of identical-to-human hormones [about 1-2% potency of human hormones] (Wright & Morgenthaler), including:
Rice, apples, date palm, pomegranate (estrone)
French bean seedlings (estradiol)
rice, licorice (estriol)


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


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A queer family
All Prism Blog Posts, Endometriosis

Contact Needling for Needle Phobia

Contact needling is a method of acupressure that uses a needle only on the surface of the skin, without puncturing, to activate acupuncture points. It is stronger than acupressure massage, but gentler than acupuncture. This makes it great for people who are afraid of or sensitive to needles, kids, and sensitive areas.

Sometimes a regular, single use acupuncture needle is used for this, and sometimes teishin or shonishin -types of high quality reusable metal implements specific to this purpose- are used. A teishin is illustrated in the photo to the right. As you can see it is much thicker than a regular acupuncture needle since it is used only on the surface of the skin. This allows it to gently stimulate the point without feeling sharp or uncomfortable. Various types of shonishin are illustrated in the photo below. These many shapes are most often used for working with kids who are too young to have regular acupuncture.

This method is perfect to use on sensitive points, such as fingers, toes, and the face. It is great for clearing a “foggy head” (like when you feel a cold coming on or you’re exhausted or studying too much). Using contact needling on the face and head for this feels great and can help you pay closer attention at school or work and prevent afternoon fatigue!


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


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A nonbinary queer person with a face mask for hormonal testosterone acne
All Prism Blog Posts, Endometriosis, Menopause and Andropause, Self Care for Trans Health

Can Vitamins Treat Hormonal Acne?

Vitamin B5 supplementation can reduce acne caused by testosterone!

B5, also known as pantothenic acid, limits oil production in the sebaceous glands of the skin, a common cause of acne. Testosterone causes these glands to produce more oil, so vitamin B5 reverses this process, without counteracting any of the other desirable effects of T.

Doses of 500mg up to 5 g a day were used in the study, however 5mg is the standard recommended dose. It’s safer to start with a smaller dose and work your way up; I wouldn’t recommend going higher than 1g a day without working with a healthcare provider. Also, be cautious with any supplements if you are using oral testosterone, as it can be very hard on the liver.

B5 can also help lower cholesterol, which can be important with long-term testosterone use. It also helps speed wound healing and can be helpful for rheumatoid arthritis.

B5 is available in the diet, though it is often lost in processing, so fresh foods have significantly higher amounts than processed foods. The best sources are brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, corn, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, avocado, egg yolks, beef (especially organ meats), poultry, milk, legumes, peanuts, sunflower seeds, whole-grains, lobster, and salmon. Soybeans and sweet potatoes also contain large amounts, but be cautious with them as they have an estrogenic effect.

B5 is a water soluble vitamin, so it’s not stored in your body if you take too much (unlike vitamin D), but it does need to be filtered out by your body to get rid of it, which can stress your liver and kidneys. Overdose on B5 can cause diarrhea, an increased risk of bleeding, and a deficiency of other B vitamins, especially B1/thiamin. For this last reason, you may consider taking a B complex rather than just B5.

B5 can interfere with tetracycline (an antibiotic) function, so don’t take them at the same time. It can also increase the effects of certain alzheimer’s medications so should be used with caution if taking Donepezil, Memantine hydrochloride, Galantamine, Rivastigime, or other Cholinesterase inhibitors.

One study noted that taking L-carnitine along with B5 supplementation allowed patients to take higher amounts, since L-carnitine aids in the breakdown and absorption of B5. The study recommended 250mg a day, though the standard dose is up to 3 g a day. It is important to note, however, that the addition of l-carnitine can actually cause smoother skin with smaller pores (the opposite of testosterone’s effects), and weight loss; so consider whether you want those effects before taking it. High doses can cause diarrhea, increased appetite, body odor, and rash. L-carnitine can also make thyroid hormone replacement less effective; it can be beneficial for those with hyperthyroidism, but detrimental to those with hypothyroidism. It can also increase the risk of seizures in people with epilepsy.

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b5-pantothenic-acid#ixzz2iezHBkjN
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/carnitine-lcarnitine
http://www.trans-health.com/2001/tranzit/


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.

A beautiful woman wearing a swimsuit and looking into the distance
All Prism Blog Posts, Endometriosis, Menopause and Andropause, Self Care for Trans Health, Sexual Wellness

Ways Your Doctor Lied to you About Weight

What does weight have to do with health? Not much, it turns out.

Most people in our society believe they’re overweight. And many people are deemed overweight, or even obese, by doctors: did you know the definition of “overweight” for a 5’4″ tall woman is 145 pounds, even though the average weight for that height is 144 pounds? So if you’re one pound over average (aka almost half the population), you’re considered overweight.

Americans are afraid of fat because they believe it’s bad for your health. But it’s less related than you think. Contrary to common belief, there is actually NO correlation between body fat and atherosclerosis (fatty plaque in arteries). There IS however a correlation between amount of exercise and risk of diabetes, but NOT between body weight and diabetes. In fact, obese people who exercise live longer than thin people who don’t.

So what’s really unhealthy about fat? For one thing, it makes you less likely to get health insurance because obesity is a “preexisting condition.” Even if you can afford to pay for preventative care out of pocket, you’re a third less likely to get breast exams, gynecologic exams, and pap smears (but just as likely to get hands-off tests like mammograms) as thin women. This is probably due to both doctors’ and patients’ embarrassment at performing these tests, because of shaming around weight issues in our society. “Peter Muennig did research at Columbia University that found that being under the stress of constant shame and stigma over a long period of time was correlated with the same diseases with which obesity has been correlated” (Dances With Fat).

Doctors also often overlook the health concerns you actually came in for and just focus on talking about weight loss. You might come in to talk about a lump you found in your breast and your doctor won’t even do a breast exam until you’ve talked about weight loss options. So you could end up going months to years without knowing what kinds of health issues you’re dealing with. Even if you find a body-positive doctor, they may not have blood pressure cuffs, MRIs, or other test equipment that fits larger bodies so you can’t get the tests you need. So, though studies seem to show that fat women are more likely to get breast, cervical, endometrial, and ovarian cancer, but researchers have concluded that the lack of preventative care may actually account for this.

Dieting, too, can actually HARM your health. Dieting tricks your body into thinking that you are starving (and maybe you are!) so that when you do start eating real food again, your body automatically stores extra calories, so that it’s prepared for the next diet. This explains why many people gain more weight than they lost after each diet. This jumping back and forth between sizes is extremely hard on your body and can cause more health problems.

So what are the facts about our health? It’s true that getting regular exercise and eating plenty of protein and veggies and limiting sugar intake is better for your health. But this is true for everyone, regardless of body size. So, if we’re really so concerned about health, everyone should focus on eating a healthy diet and getting exercise, NOT losing weight!


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.


Contact us to see if your insurance covers services at our office!

Join the Prism Family! Subscribe to our newsletter and get $30 off your first visit.