Mindy Pelz, DC is a leading functional health authority educating women on hormonal health for more than two decades. She is a pioneer in the fasting movement, teaching the principles of healthy and safe fasting, diet variation, and detoxing to help the body heal itself. Her YouTube channel (which just celebrated 24 million lifetime views) regularly updates followers on the latest science-backed tools and techniques to help you reset your health. She hosts one of the leading science podcasts, The Resetter Podcast, and is the author of several best-selling books, including the recent Wall Street Journal bestseller, Fast Like a Girl. Her celebrity clients include Danica Patrick, LeAnn Rimes and Kat Graham.
Q: What was your motivation behind writing The Menopause Reset?
A: I was completely unprepared for menopause. I’d taken good care of myself my whole life, so when my early 40s hit and my health started to fall apart, I had no idea how to handle it. I had anxiety, depression, mood swings, night sweats. It felt like I had become a completely different person. Doctors weren’t much help, and I was concerned about the side effects of hormone replacement therapy, so I began doing a ton of research into lifestyle changes that could make menopause easier.
That’s how The Menopause Reset came to be. It’s everything I wish I’d known before my own menopause journey. I’m hoping I can help women avoid all the pain and suffering I went through.
Q: How important is diet when it comes to balancing hormones? What should women eat or avoid if they want to “reset” their hormones?
A: Diet is so important for balancing your hormones! Almost all the building blocks your body needs for hormone production come from food. If you give your body an abundance of nutrients, antioxidants, healthy fats and high-quality protein, it will have everything it needs for plentiful hormone production. Conversely, [if you are] eating a ton of sugar, refined carbs, fried foods and so on, your body will struggle to make hormones, your inflammation will go up—you’ll run into all kinds of problems.
And it’s not just what you eat. When you eat is just as important. I’m a big fan of intermittent fasting, especially for women with hormone imbalances. Daily fasting can be an amazing tool for bringing your hormones back into balance, and you’ll be shocked how good it makes you feel.
Q: Please explain the estrobolome.
A: The estrobolome is a group of bacteria in your gut that can influence your body’s estrogen levels.
It turns out your gut health is a big deal for modulating your hormones. If you have a healthy gut, your estrobolome will favor keeping estrogen levels in balance—but if your gut becomes overrun with the wrong bacteria, they can end up metabolizing a lot of estrogen before your body can use it, which can impact your weight, libido, mood and more.
The estrobolome is one reason I talk so much about improving your gut health. It’s important, especially for us women!
Q: How is detoxing helpful for menopausal women? What steps should they take?
A: When you’re going through menopause, your ovaries stop producing almost all estrogen and progesterone. One of the side effects of that is a sharp decrease in liver and kidney function—so much so that, in 2015, a study found that menopausal women see a significant increase in risk of liver disease.1 In other words, your body loses a lot of its ability to detox during menopause. It’s important to give your detox organs extra support so that they don’t get overwhelmed by toxins.
Q: In the book, you mention a number of functional health tests. What tests do you recommend for menopausal women and why are they beneficial?
A: The biggest one for me is the DUTCH test. It’s a comprehensive hormone panel that gives you an accurate inventory of all your different hormone levels. That’s invaluable during menopause because changing hormones are the major driver of almost all menopausal symptoms. DUTCH testing can tell you exactly what’s going on, and what changes will bring you relief.
I also recommend getting your gut biome tested. Your gut plays a major role in bloating, cramps, sleep, mood and mental clarity, and for some women, gut bacteria change a lot during menopause, causing pretty major symptoms. My favorite gut test is the Gut Zoomer 3.0. It’s one of the most accurate and comprehensive gut biome tests on the market.
And as a nice bonus, you can get both these tests from home!
Q: Why do many menopausal women have trouble with sleeping?
A: For most menopausal women, trouble sleeping comes down to melatonin. It’s your body’s natural sleep hormone and it declines as you go through menopause, which is one of the big reasons menopausal women struggle to sleep well.
Q: What are some strategies that can help women get a restful night of sleep?
A: Go down to the pharmacy right now and pick up a bottle of 1 mg melatonin pills. Take one each night, an hour before you go to sleep. You’ll support your body’s natural melatonin production and make up for the decline many women experience during menopause.
While you’re there, pick up some magnesium glycinate as well. A ton of research shows that magnesium eases stress and improves sleep quality. I suggest 400 mg of magnesium a night, taken alongside the melatonin.
A quick third tip is to avoid electronics like your phone and computer for at least an hour before bed. Nighttime exposure to blue light (like the kind you get from electronics) stalls your body’s natural melatonin production, which is already lowered during menopause.
1 Carla W. Brady, Liver Disease in Menopause, World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Jul 7; 21(25): 7613–7620. Published online 2015 Jul 7. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i25.7613.