WIWIK S1E4 Jennifer Foege
Jennifer Foege: [00:00:00] Every single cell relies on your thyroid, okay? And so that’s why there are so many different symptoms that can go along with having an underactive thyroid or hypothyroid.
Um, and. So we, so as women we’re like, oh, I don’t know. Right? Why am I fatigued all the time? Or brain fog or weight gain, or, I mean your hair, um, skin, nails, um, liver, kidneys, bones, brain, I mean, it’s all, all every cell is controlled by the, um, the thyroid hormones.

Irene Ortiz-Glass: Welcome to What I Wish I knew. I’m your host, Irene Ortiz Glass. What I wish I knew is dedicated to providing women with information in a guided path. To find purpose, healing and joy. It is to give women [00:01:00] power and permission to go inward during the time of perimenopause and menopause, to find their inner compass, while also actively making changes that allow them to thrive during this period of time in life.
In this season, we are focusing on issues surrounding the menopause transition. And I will share what I wish I knew. Today’s podcast will be focused on the power of the thyroid and cellular metabolism. As a disclaimer, this podcast is for informational purposes only and does not replace working directly with your doctor today.
I am thrilled to have my guest with us today, Jennifer Fay. Jennifer is a certified women’s. Holistic hormone specialist, a certified life coach, and a certified yoga instructor. She has been in practice for 27 years, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in functional nutrition. I have been [00:02:00] blessed by Jennifer.
She has been my, um, own practitioner coach during my certification. And Jennifer, I’m just really happy to have you here today. Um, would love for you to share with our audience today a little bit about how did you get into this world of nutrition and holistic women’s health?
Jennifer Foege: Well, um, it’s a big question. So I think like anything where we are today, it’s just been a confluence of events in our life that got us here. So, um, just. Whenever I ran into health problems or physical or mental health, um, no one seemed to be asking the right questions and it was just a bunch of like, medic medications were thrown at me or, you know, or you’re fine or this sort of thing.
And, um, that just wasn’t okay with me. So, um, I took those as opportunities to grow and to learn and to teach myself how to ask the right questions because I didn’t wanna feel helpless or powerless or, um, You know, not that [00:03:00] that’s, uh, how a lot, yeah, I, I, I think a lot of women probably feel that way, but it’s not our fault, it’s just that we haven’t been educated.
And so my mission then has been to, you know, whenever something came up in my life, um, to try and figure out the why behind it, I’m super. Curious about the why, and then I wanna fix it one time.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: Mm-hmm.
Jennifer Foege: So I don’t wanna go on like this path and that path and this one and that one. You know, I wanna find the one that works for me.
And, um, so, you know, uh, hormonally it started, um, I never got my, um, period. Never. And so it was, the doctors were just like, oh, you know, whatever. Finally when I was 18, they were like, well, maybe you know, we’re, this is not okay, so we’re gonna put you on the pill, right? Because that’s the answer for kind of everything.
And I was like, well, okay, I guess, you know, and so that I’m not gonna get into it. But that wasn’t a, a great experience. So then I stopped. Um, Um, but what I figured out was going on was that I had something called hypothalamic amenorrhea, um, which is when, uh, your body, so your body will always prioritize, uh, survival over reproduction.
Yeah. And so [00:04:00] I never had this feeling of safety, so my body was like, it’s not safe to reproduce. So just so all of you know, so stress on a woman is a real thing
Irene Ortiz-Glass: and was that trauma induced, Jennifer, was that like traumatic experiences that caused you to fear that? Okay. Okay. We talk a lot about that in our practice. Yeah.
Jennifer Foege: Right. And so, so then several things, um, happened and, uh, I’m not gonna get into all of it, but I figured out, you know, what it was, and then did a lot of work around that. Um, and then, um, you know, finally got my period and then, um, Met a man and then I had whatever, and then my husband died. And so then that was another trauma and I lost my period again.
And, uh, so yeah, our overalls are really, really important. Um, I had, uh, osteoporosis when I was 33, um, because I never cycled, so I didn’t have the estrogen and progesterone to build up my bones and
Irene Ortiz-Glass: Right. So all these hormones are so powerful, right? We sort of underestimate like the trauma, the. The hormones shutting down as a response to that. You know, people wonder in the transition why they feel so terrible. Well, you know, there’s just stress everywhere and stress impacts the hormone. And it also, you know, as we’ve [00:05:00] discussed, impacts thyroid, right?
So thyroid and thyroid metabolism. So tell us about the thyroid. Like what is the thyroid and why should we care about it?
Jennifer Foege: Yeah, exactly. We should all care about our thyroid. Um, so it’s lo it’s just a gland located right here. Okay. But it is a very, very important gland. So it controls the cellular metabolism of every single cell in your body. Every single cell relies on your thyroid, okay? And so that’s why there are so many different symptoms that can go along with having an underactive thyroid or hypothyroid.
Um, and. So we, so as women we’re like, oh, I don’t know. Right? Why am I fatigued all the time? Or brain fog or weight gain, or, I mean your hair, um, skin, nails, um, liver, kidneys, bones, brain, I mean, it’s all, all every cell is controlled by the, um, the thyroid [00:06:00] hormones. And so the active hormone would be the T three and a lot of doctors don’t test for that one.
So if. We have an underactive thyroid. We need to test for not just the T S H, but the T four and the T three, and then hopefully if your doctor will the reverse T three.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: And tell us about those different, um, you know, I, I know every doctor I’ve ever been to said you just need a T s H and a T four. And I believe that for years and then until I got into functional medicine, and they’re like, the only thing that matters is T three. So can you explain the t s h T four and T three to us for just a moment?
Jennifer Foege: Yeah, absolutely. So it’s all kind of a negative feedback loop, positive, negative feedback loop, telling your thyroid, you know, what it’s supposed to release. So, um, the reason that conventional medicine tests, just the t s h is again, they’re just not educated. They’re not trying to hurt you as a woman.
They’re just, they just don’t know. And so, um, t s h, they see as like an overall kind of [00:07:00] bigger marker of what’s going on. So they, they look at just that hormone. Okay. But if you think about it, and if we’re kind of even like, how does that even make sense? Because the hormone that actually does all of these great things for us is T three.
So wouldn’t we wanna measure the amount of free T three in our body? So the T four is excellent, right? But it’s the inactive form. It needs to be turned into the free T three. And that free T three needs to be able to get into your cells to do its job. So testing all four, or including reverse T three if we’re allowed to, um, is really important to get a big, the overall picture of what is going on.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: And hardly anybody knows about reverse T three. In fact, when someone told me about it, it was after surgical menopause, when I was going wacko. And somebody said, well, you know, everything looks fine. And then they did the reverse T three and it was like through the roof. Right? So what is reverse T three and how might it start to get a little wonky during the transition?[00:08:00]
Jennifer Foege: Oh, great question. So this is why. Um, okay, so first of all, let’s just talk about the hormones, estrogen and progesterone for just a second, because they drastically influence the thyroid and the thyroid hormone and your ability to, um, So increased estrogen is what’s gonna happen during the transition because we’re not ovulating as much, so we’re not producing as much progesterone, but the estrogen is kind of staying up here for a little while.
Okay? So what estrogen does is it increases, um, sex hormone binding globulin, okay? But that also grabs onto the, the thyroid hormone, so grabs onto T four and doesn’t let it turn into T three. Okay. And then progesterone is needed to let the, so progesterone helps with, um, forgive me, I’m gonna get a little bit technical here, but it
Irene Ortiz-Glass: We need it.
Jennifer Foege: okay.
It helps keep like zinc and potassium in your cells, which help the T three to get in there. So with progesterone, basically we would [00:09:00] think of it, it opens up the cell, it says, come on in T three. Okay. So without that progesterone we’re that the ability for, first of all, Estrogen is binding more of it, and then progesterone is like not there.
So it’s not getting, not as much as getting in. So when women are going through this transition, you’re, your, your thyroid is, is your thyroid hormones are affected by it. Like there’s no doubt about it. Okay. So, um, I think just having that knowledge is really important. And then secondly, if we get to reverse T three, that is again, something that we really have to look at because, um, evolutionarily t reverse T three makes sense.
Okay. It’s just the way that we live now, like our lifestyles, this is something I say our maladapted to hormone balance, not the other way around. Okay? So we as women have, you know, not that we can’t do all of these great things and we’re not like, [00:10:00] Powerful and you know, we can like get stuff done and we can totally do it, but we’re not supposed to be doing all of it all the time.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: mean the super, the superhero thing of, you know, all the homework and all the career while we’re ra, you know, taking care of parents and cleaning the house and making dinner. Yeah. Yeah. Nobody, nobody’s gonna relate to that.
Jennifer Foege: Yeah.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: That’s
Jennifer Foege: not me.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: Yeah. So
Jennifer Foege: So what happens? So if you think about it, okay, so, and then also like food that we’re eating. So during this time we’re like, oh my gosh, why am I gaining weight? Then we’re cutting back on, on uh, calories. Okay? And so, so if we go back to evolution, okay, so let’s say, you know, whatever, we’re living in a cave.
I know this is very trite to say this, but we’re doing that right? And there’s like, there’s no food. What your body wants to do is it wants to slow down your metabolism. Okay? All of those, because it wants to [00:11:00] save your energy, right? So that you don’t start to death. Okay? Okay. So then it turns that free T three into reverse T three.
And so reverse T three is not active and they both, um, They both, uh, connect to the same receptor site. So if reverse T three is there, it turns off the function of, okay, so that makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. Right. And then with our body, stress is generic. Okay. So our body doesn’t necessarily distinguish, you know, the endless to-do lists, um, in our brain from us having to run away from a tiger
Irene Ortiz-Glass: that’s right.
Jennifer Foege: Any of that sort of thing. And so, or from illness as well. So if you’re, if you’re ill, if you have um, just like too much stress, your body’s gonna be like, okay, so I’m gonna save again. I’m gonna save all my energy so that I can [00:12:00] heal, so I can lay in the cave and I can heal, right? So I’m gonna put my energy away from this cellular metabolism and I’m gonna put it to right here.
’cause this bone is broken. And so then you have more reverse T three.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: I cannot stress the importance of what you’re saying. I cannot, I, I mean, this right here is worth all of it. This education that you are explaining to us is why women are suffering. It is why we cannot get out of our own fogginess, weight gain energy. This was so big for me. When I got thyroid right.
Everything else, you know, kind of started to like, like me more was kind of a miracle.
Jennifer Foege: Yeah,
Irene Ortiz-Glass: Um, but the reverse T three thing I think is so interesting because after surgery, obviously I, my body wanted to heal, but it shut down my thyroid. So we had to be very slow and low about bringing some T three into my life.
Jennifer Foege: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: That’s amazing. So, you know, you have done a lot of testing with women, right? You, you, you offer this, you are a lead facilitator [00:13:00] for us at Men Coaching. You offer testing and feedback. Tell us how do we test, what is the best test for this and how do we heal? Like what should we be thinking about to heal the thyroid
Jennifer Foege: Oh, great question. Yeah, great question. So, uh, currently the way to test thyroid hormones is through a blood draw. And so, um, you test all of them. So the t s h, T four, T three, reverse T three. And, um, then once you have that information, then you know, you can talk with your doctor. There are synthetic, um, hormone replacements.
You wanna make sure that there, if you’re, if that’s the route that you’re going, that they’re not just giving you t S H. Because you need the, the T three. Okay. So that’s the active form. That’s what you want to supplement with. Okay. Um, other ways to then, so if you’re, that’s the medication route. Okay. You can also get a thyroid glandular.
I think you take that
Irene Ortiz-Glass: Yeah. Compounded thyroid. Yes.
Jennifer Foege: [00:14:00] Yes. Um, and so that is a desiccated, uh, thyroid. It’s usually from a pig or a cow. Okay. Um, and so that is giving you the thyroid, all the thyroid hormones
Irene Ortiz-Glass: like an armor, right? Or something like that, that used to be on the market? Yeah, so I, I, I was on that for a while, but now I’m actually on a compounded version. So it’s, it’s from, you know, a compounded pharmacy. We use kinks, but it’s been really the best thing for me.
Jennifer Foege: Yeah, absolutely. So there are, um, several different, um, co um, Desiccated thyroids that you can get. So yeah, one is, uh, thyroid armor. Um, there’s, uh, there’s a couple other ones. Um, my favorite one is, um, one that’s out of New Zealand. Um, I can’t remember the name of it off the top of my head, but it’s, uh, it’s, it’s a great one.
And New Zealand is known for, it’s like organic. ’cause if you’re getting a glandular, you don’t want the gland from, um, some farm lot pig or
Irene Ortiz-Glass: why I do compounding pharmacy. Yeah, I was a little worried [00:15:00] about all that stuff and I didn’t respond well. I mean, you know, a lot of us are, I’m super sensitive. Yes. You know, that’s just my life story, but I’m sensitive to everything including medication. So I don’t do well on synthetic and I don’t do well with anything from a farm.
And I just always prefer, you know, whatever as natural as I can get works best for me. And that’s different for everybody. But, um, no, it’s really good information. So what about natural ways? If somebody didn’t, you know, I always say like, first line. Maybe try some supplements that could try to stimulate the thyroid and see and nutrition and see if that works.
Before we go into other things, any recommendations on naturally stimulating thyroid?
Jennifer Foege: Yeah, absolutely. So, uh, first you want to feed yourself well, so we’re always looking at like, food first. So eat, it’s a like, It’s a very easy concept, but it’s revolutionary because we’ve been so, um, Uh, purposefully manipulated by the food industry and the diet industry and that sort of thing. But, [00:16:00] so we just wanna start with eating like real food.
Okay. Um, which is a whole other topic. Um, so that we’re healthy in that way. Um, great supplements to support the thyroid. Um, one that I really like is called Ortho Thyroid, and it has, um, there’s certain nutrients that your thyroid need needs, okay? So it needs, um, zinc, it needs selenium. It needs iodine.
Okay. And it also needs L tyrosine. Okay? And so those, um, those are like four key supplements, okay. That you can get to help your thyroid. Um, and so taking a supplement like that is a great idea. Um, and if we’re, you know, if we’re thinking about going back to food and like gut health, we wanna make sure that our gut is.
Is functioning properly. Because if we’re, even if we’re eating the best food and we are getting enough selenium, we are getting enough zinc, most people aren’t. Um, then, but if our, if our [00:17:00] GI tract isn’t, let’s say it’s permeable, or let’s say, you know, we’re under a lot of stress and we’re not digesting our food properly, then we’re not gonna get those nutrients to begin with.
So it, everything is just
Irene Ortiz-Glass: Connected. Yeah. And that’s what we preach, right? At mental coaching. So, you know, one of the things that I experienced here was the, you know, I had some trouble with my thyroid. We got it to a happy place. Then I’m, you know, taking H r t or you know, bioidentical hormones and all that went.
And then my body changed again, and then the thyroid got sluggish. And I’m like, I don’t wanna take more, you know, medication, right? I don’t wanna take more thyroid medicine. So I started Selenium and Selenium like changed my life. Um, and it did increase my T three. And then I, you know, I mentioned to you recently.
Here I am going through all of this, trying to help every person I can, and even now, most recently developed two fibroids, um, did not have fibroids before. Just found them two weeks ago in my uterus. And, um, you know, had some bleeding and some pain and, you know, freaked out that, you know, you know, immediately every [00:18:00] woman goes to have cancer.
Um, you know, so went there in my head. Um, went to the doctor and. It’s so interesting. The first thing, one of the doctors like, well, you know, we can take the uterus out. I’m like, for the love of God, can we stop taking my body parts out? And then I said, no, and oh, or we can monitor it or we can take down the estrogen.
I said, you know what? I’m gonna start with what I know and what I knew and what I wish everybody knew and why we’re here is that iodine shrinks tumors. It shrinks uterine fibroids. It shrinks a McCann, shrinks cyst. In the right amounts and if you can tolerate it. And so Irene went out and got her little desiccated iodine, and guess what?
I stopped bleeding. And they have been, they’re going down. I don’t feel them. And they’re there, but they’re not hurting me and they’re not in the way. And so this is lifesaving stuff, right? This is it. So when you think about Iodine’s power around, one last area I just wanna focus on for a minute, because everyone comes to us about this, [00:19:00] wait.
Jennifer Foege: Mm-hmm.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: Everyone cares about what? How does iodine, I, sorry. Thyroid affect weight?
Jennifer Foege: Yes, excellent question. Um, so it, as I said, it controls all of your cellular metabolism, okay? And so every cell needs energy in order to work. Okay? So if your thyroid. Is sluggish, right? So then all of the cellular metabolism is going to kind of slow down. Okay? And so your cells are saying, well, we’re, we don’t need that much energy right now.
Okay. We’re gonna save it for whatever else is going on here. Right? Okay. So then that then decreases your, your metabolism. So we would call that your, um, your basal. The, the way that you just, your, your basic basal body metabolism, what happens, how much calories you burn when you’re just like basically sitting and doing nothing.
So that decreases. And then so then women are like, oh my [00:20:00] gosh, like, what’s going on? I haven’t changed anything. Um, I get this all the time.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: Yeah.
Jennifer Foege: I was just on the phone yesterday with, um, a woman. She’s like, she’s like, what is going on? You know, she’s like, you know, I’ve always been in shape. She’s like, I still exercise.
I’m eating the same. She’s like, I have love handles. This is not okay. You know, like, what is happening? So, um, so yeah. So once you’re in like a, we started off saying once you’re in this, this perimenopause menopause transition and your hormones are fluctuating, your thyroid hormones are fluctuating as well.
So to support your thyroid with what we were talking about with diet and also with lifestyle, with, you know, trying to be mindful and, um, care for yourself with some self-compassion versus, you know, looking at your, you know, newly developed love handles and then getting judge judging yourself. Right.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: Well, judging yourself and then going to extreme measures not to eat and starve yourself and work out [00:21:00] 15 hours a day and then have the whole slowdown. Right. That’s the part that just makes me crazy,
Jennifer Foege: Yeah, exactly. And that’s what happens. Because that’s what we’re thinking. We’re like, I was, this was working before. Why isn’t it working now? And so once you reach this transition, we have to remember that what worked then probably isn’t gonna work now. And if it’s not working now, then we gotta try something new.
Right. And a lot of us are afraid to possibly try something new because we’re like, well, this worked. But if we think about it, okay, is it working now? No. All right. Let’s try something new. You’re, you have nothing to lose, right? We’re
Irene Ortiz-Glass: No, not at all. Not at all. So, Jennifer, thank you so much for this amazing information. Um, I, you know, you’re working with us. You know, as a lead facilitator and coach for minute coaching.com, how, how else can people find you if they’re interested in reaching out or connecting with you
Jennifer Foege: Oh, thank you for asking. Um, my website, it’s just my name, so it’s Jennifer Fae. That’s F as in Frank. O e g e.com. Yep.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: [00:22:00] Great. Um, so thank you everybody for joining us today. Please make sure to follow us on Apple iTunes. And, um, you know, make sure to give us some feedback on how we’re doing so other people can get information on how to find us. And please visit us@mencoaching.com. We have resources there. We have coaches, we have testing in the gut for gut microbiome, for thyroid, for hormones, and, um, a whole team of people waiting to help.
So thanks again for being with us today, and we look forward to another podcast together.
I just wanna thank our partner Mira fertility tracking for working with us to help women to get connected to the opportunity to actually measure hormones at home. It is the technology that I personally use during my menopausal transition. It was life-changing for me. You can find more information on Mira on our website@mencoaching.com and you can also find it on our show notes.
Uh, for this podcast, we look forward to supporting you and your hormone transition.
Okay. How do you feel about that one?
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