The Best Functional Medicine Approaches for PCOS with Dr. Dian Ginsberg MD

Welcome to Episode 6 of Season 6 of The PCOS Revolution Podcast:

The Best Functional Medicine Approaches For PCOS With Dr. Dian Ginsberg, MD

Sit back and hold on because this episode might just be the most crucial one for understanding your PCOS from a deeper perspective. What really is normal? When looking at your lab results, what ranges should you really be looking for? Learn more about understanding your lab results and how functional medicine can help with PCOS during this episode. To join our FREE workshop, go to!

This week on PCOS Revolution Podcast, I am having a conversation with Dr. Dian Ginsberg. Dr. Dian Ginsberg completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the Bowman-Gray School of Medicine in North Carolina. Through Dr. Ginsberg’s extensive experience, she developed a special interest for functional medicine. This passion now encompasses a particular concentration on the understanding of genetics and methylation, optimal hormone balance and overall healthy aging. She lectures for the Functional Medicine University on PCOS.

In this episode, Dr. Dian and I talk about everything from the benefits of sunshine and movement to optimal levels of vitamin D, normal lab result ranges, the impact over-exercising can have and using functional medicine.

Episode Spotlights:

  • How Dr. Ginsberg became interested in functional medicine ([1:28])
  • Optimal levels of vitamin D ([4:54])
  • Difference between OBGYN vs someone who practices functional medicine ([6:22])
  • Transitioning from relying on birth control pills ([8:52])
  • Normal ranges on lab results ([13:00])
  • Impact of over-exercising ([15:25])
  • Grounding in the morning ([16:30])
  • Benefits of getting tests done and gaining the knowledge ([18:52])
  • Using functional medicine testing ([21:49])
  • Example of someone who has benefited from functional medicine ([25:35])
  • Eating seasonally and rotating plants ([29:30])
  • Looking outside the box ([31:45])



Read the Transcript Here

Read Full Transcript

Farrar Duro [0:02]
Well hello and welcome back to the PCOS Revolution podcast. Today I’m here with Dr. Dian Ginsburg, who completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine and North Carolina before Houston’s sunny climate brought her to Texas. Dr. Ginsberg has years of experience providing comprehensive obstetrics and gynecology treatment. As her career advanced, she developed a special interest in functional medicine, and the manner in which it bridges the gap of a patient’s illness, while minimizing severe symptoms and optimizing health. And her passion now accomplices a special focus on understanding of genetics and methylation, optimal hormone balance and overall healthy aging. She’s also a black belt in Taekwondo and an accomplished marathon runner, and triathlete. And this has led her to explore the latest medical advances in wellness for athletes along with an anti-aging therapy for both men and women. And Dr. Ginsberg also has used to extensive experience to help men and women with hormonal imbalances to regain the vitality and fitness they thought was lost forever. And she lectures for about functional medicine on the topic of PCOS, and its natural reversal, and pathways to fertility. So I’m very excited, we have so much to talk about. Thanks so much for coming on.

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [1:20]
Thank you for having me. It’s exciting!

Farrar Duro [1:22]
So tell us a little bit about how you became interested in working with functional medicine? When you were telling me earlier that you started as an OB GYN, the same route giving women birth control for PCOS and what what changed for you?

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [1:38]
So I was a classic OBGYN. I had been in practice for about 10 years. And PCOS…you know, diagnosis, check hormones, periods are irregular, do the ultrasound, here are pills, and now magically, your periods normalize out. Probably at that same period of time, about that 15 years ago, I had two young boys, one was about six or seven, and the other one was about four. And both of them had very, very, very delayed language. So I had gotten all kinds of traditional medical evaluations that said they would never talk. Their future was bleak. And looking then at the microbiome and hormone balance, and male and female health, all of that was starting to emerge.

And so I became more interested in learning about how that just affected the body in general. So while I worked on my kids’ microbiome gut health, if you would, and got them away from the video games and got sunshine in their eyes, and really, you know, got in touch with the circadian rhythms again, at the same time, I started to look at the hormones in my female patients in my office. And when you start drawing blood, all the hormone panels and you look at estradiol and you look at testosterone, and you look at FSH…when you look at all those things together, you realize, wait a minute, if I can get that in balance, and then look at insulin, and glucose. And look at leptin, which is the hormone that says “I’m full” and realize that that has been disregulated, when you get those back in line again, periods came back, fertility came back. So I saw my kids improved significantly. And I saw my patients get better. And probably that was a time when fast food was getting worse. And people sort of lost their way. And so trying to bring everybody back to eating more of the rainbow and getting sunshine….the things that functional medicine preaches, I saw huge changes.

Farrar Duro [3:37]
And vitamin D levels are chronically low in so many women and especially with PCOS.

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [3:43]
One of the stories, one of the big things that are really significant is not just blood vitamin D, but PCOS women can check…there’s actually a gene called the VDR TAC gene. And that is how vitamin D actually enters the cells. So one of the problems with vitamin D, right, is it’s fat-soluble, so you don’t want to run blood levels too high because it’ll overwhelm the liver. But the problem with these women is that they can’t get the D into their cells. So it’s more important for them to make sure they get sunshine on their skin. So their levels will find the therapeutic level that’s healthy, as opposed to just putting more and more down them in a drop or in a pill. Not that I don’t think pills her and drops can help. But it’s more important for them to be outside.

Farrar Duro [4:30]
Interesting. Yes. And you would think…I’m in Florida, I’m the sunshine state. And I can’t tell you how many times people come in and they’re like, Well, my vitamin D level’s 30. It’s normal. It’s not normal! That’s what it says, it doesn’t flag it, you know. So what would you tell women that this is a level that you should aim for…that sort of thing?

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [4:51]
So you want to run your vitamin D optimally to about from 60 to 80. But what I try to tell women is they can’t walk around with a needle in their arm going, what’s my D today? What’s my D tomorrow? What’s my D, you know, three weeks from Tuesday. So sort of a good way to think of it is if you get absolutely no sunshine, you’re inside. It’s been rainy a couple days or you’re you know, you’re an accountant and it’s busy season and even living in Florida, you just can’t get sunshine, I tell patients use drops, because then every little droplet, you can buy the better vitamin companies will sell drops, and then each droplet is about 1000 international units. So days when they really get no sunshine, they’ve come home, they use between 4000 and 5000. So between four and five droplets. If it’s the middle of the day, like I always try to do…I live in Houston. So sometimes even 15-20 minutes, I’ll try to go out lunchtime, and take a walk. It’s not big exercise, but it’s moving. It’s outside. So then I’ll tell people, take 2000-3000. And a day when they do get to go to the beach or they find themselves outside for a big chunk of time, then they don’t have to take any and this way, they generally won’t overdose, but they will get themselves therapeutic.

Farrar Duro [5:57]
Okay, that’s good advice. Definitely. We’re talking about functional medicine. I think that we need to clarify this for some people that maybe have never heard of functional medicine before. What would you say the differences between, let’s say, going to an OB GYN who does not practice functional medicine vs. yourself who you know, has actually done a little more studying on this. And you know, as far as looking at someone’s lab work and all that, what is the difference?

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [6:29]
So unfortunately, OBGYN’s are actually taught functional medicine because that’s what medicine is, right? We spend four years in medical school learning the body’s function, that’s what functional medicine should be. We learn the hormone pathways. We learn what makes the cells tick. We learn about the DNA health and the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell that’s going to make our energy. So we spend four years learning that but then the problem is we come into residency, and you get…”Okay, I have to deliver babies and I have to learn surgery. And I have to make sure I know how to use the robot to do a hysterectomy or I have to be able to…if somebody has a postpartum hemorrhage,” I mean, I delivered babies for 25 years. And if somebody starts to bleed, they bleed fast.

So the OBGYN resident, unfortunately, in four years is expected to learn everything and how to pick up cancer and how to do biopsies. So they’re given 15 minutes in a doctor’s appointment to say, “Okay, do you need a pap? What’s going on with your bleeding? How are you?” And I think what happens is, is that that’s where the patch comes in. So they understand medicine, but they’re just patching them with a birth control pill. What functional medicine is just said is, wait a minute, let’s go back and say, let’s look at the body’s pathways. And if this is broken, what’s the problem? What is your insulin? What is your leptin? What is your thyroid function? One of the things you and I were talking about before we started is that it’s not just about your thyroid labs themselves, it’s about how you’re converting within your different thyroid hormones. But that depends on your state of being. Your thyroid will make one basic hormone, but then your T4, but it’s going to convert to T3 after it looks around and says what’s going on in the body? So what functional medicine tries to do is take a little bit more time and take each part of the body into its own piece and say what how is it disrupting the whole? Whereas allopathic medicine, unfortunately, has gotten a little bit to the point where it’s looking at sort of the overall big picture and saying, “Okay, what band-aid can I put on to make the body look normal?”

Farrar Duro [8:37]
Okay, so that’s a good clarification. And what would you say when you started realizing, okay, maybe birth control is not the best option, we need to look a little deeper? Was that a hard transition to make or how did you make that transition?

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [8:52]
So I think the problem I have with birth control pills is not that they’re bad, because I think if you don’t want to have a baby, whether you have PCOS or not, I think birth control pills are a viable option, as long as you’re looking at all the other things to keep you as healthy as possible. Where the problem comes in is that if I give my 95-year-old grandmother birth control pills, she’ll have a period. So what was happening is, is that people said, “Okay, I have PCOS”, and the doctor would give them the birth control pill. But now the patient walks out the door, thinking they’re cured.

“Now I have normal periods, now it won’t be a problem.” So now that poor woman is going to live 10 years of her life, say from 20 to 30, and she gets married and she goes off the pill, and she thinks she’s better. And now “boom!” Her periods are still upside down, her fertility is a problem. So for me, what happened is, is I sat down and talk to the patient. And when she said, “Well, I don’t feel good, my brain doesn’t function normally, (probably because of the blood sugar,) my periods are irregular, I can’t lose weight, I’m frustrated by sleep issues,” all of these things come together.

And you know, “I’ve got the hair growth of PCOS.” And so what happens is, if you give somebody birth control pills, they have a very high level of estradial. The body recognizes that. And what it will do is it will get freaked out. So your body makes something called sex hormone binding globulins to make sure all the hormones are organized. So the body will then make more sex hormone binding globulin to pick up that extra estrogen, but it picks up extra testosterone along the way. So now your energetic effects are going to go down. I’ve got a lot of patients that somebody is actually drawn their hormones on birth control pills. So now the patient says “Great, my hirsuitism or my hair growth is gone, my testosterone levels are normal, and my periods are fine.” So for me, when the patient said, “No, I just want to get better.” That’s where I started looking at the whole hormone panel, and then started looking at their vitamin D levels, and again, looked at their leptin levels, and their insulin levels. A couple other labs that are very important to look at, is adiponectin because when you have blood sugar dysregulation, your body will pack on fat, and it won’t allow it to release. So you kind of become this one way valve, and you start to see adiponectin disregulated. So insulin, leptin, fasting blood sugar, adiponectin…and looking at those and saying to the patient, “Wait, this is broken. Let’s figure out how to get that back in line with all the various methods we use.” And that’s what reverses the syndrome.

Farrar Duro [11:37]
Okay, so if somebody wants to get these tests, do they request them maybe at their, let’s say, ob gyn appointment or their primary? To say, “Look, I’m interested in having a checkup. But I also want to check these levels.” Is that something that they can get done with their primary would you say or do they need to see a functional medicine specialist?

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [11:57]
No, they can actually get those with their primary care doc, and that’ll run through Labcorp and Quest. They’re really basic labs. One of the big things that’s really important to look at, and I see a lot in PCOS, and I think this will help everybody. One of the reasons that some people develop this syndrome is because their gut bugs or their gut microbiome dysregulates. When that happens, their ability to burn fat gets compromised. Because you can only make energy from fat or glucose, when your ability to burn fat goes down, you become a primary sugar burner, a primary glucose burner. If that is your primary source of energy, your body won’t store a lot of it. So you won’t have high insulin levels, you won’t have high glucose levels.

So a patient with PCOS may go to her primary care doc, and he’s going to go “Oh, you’re fine. Your insulin’s in normal range, between four and six, your blood sugar looks fine.” And that’s very frustrating, because they’re not going to draw the other labs. So yes, primary care will get their insulin and their glucose but make them draw those other labs. And now the patient can see her adiponectin is a problem, she is leptin-resistant. And then she can find a nutritionist or a functional medicine doc or a dietitian, somebody that can now address that resistance to help reverse the syndrome.

Farrar Duro [13:15]
That’s really important information. And this is great. We’ll have all of this in the show notes too. But I’d say that, you know, with the those levels, once they get them back, when they appear elevated, that’s what they’re looking for, or is it going to flag it if it’s abnormal on like a Labcorp or Quest?

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [13:30]
So no, and, and that’s what’s so brutal about Labcorp and Quest, because what happens is, is that if your blood sugar is 105, it’s flagged red, and you’re a diabetic, if your blood sugar is 103, right? It’s not flagged, you’re used to that reading blood, right? You see that? So the patient looks and goes, “Okay, my fasting blood sugar’s 103. You know, I’m not diabetic, I’m healthy”, or the hemoglobin A1C, right, where the blood sugar is hooked to the red blood cell… “that number’s normal, I’m not a pre-diabetic.” So Labcorp numbers won’t flag that.

We can put numbers in the show notes. And in our book, the PCOS Environmental Roadmap, we put those kind of normal numbers that you want. So for leptin example, you will be leptin-resistant if your leptin is greater than 25. But if you start seeing a leptin greater than 12, or 13, that means your central nervous system isn’t looking at that hormone saying, “Okay, I’m full.” So it’s kind of where the system connection is broken. And we see that a lot in PCOS. So now when you go to bed at night, your body is still thinking, “Oh my god, I’m starving…leptin’s not there. I’m not full, you know, I got to panic.” So the poor PCOS patient is working so hard, she’s looking at her diet, she’s trying to count calories, which she’s probably read online. But the other, the circadian rhythm, and the leptin hasn’t been addressed. So what happens is, she goes to bed at night after say, trying to do that Soul Cycle workout, but her body is just more panicked. Now it’s worked out, and it’s more stressed. So it’s getting those back in a normal range. That’s key.

Farrar Duro [15:03]
And that’s interesting, because we talk about over-exercise also, that might… my husband’s a triathlete. He’s doing an Ironman actually next month. And sometimes he gets frustrated, because he eats a lot during the training season. And he says, “I’m gaining weight, I don’t understand.” And it’s like, the more he exercises, sometimes the more he gains weight. And I think that sometimes that’s true with our patients who are over-exercising, and I’m concerned about, you know, the fact that they will just kind of give up on exercise altogether. So do you find that that plays a part in it, as far as have you seen an issue with over-exercise?

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [15:39]
Yes, and I think you can get that at all level. I’ve also done two IronMans. And so I get that. What now when you have aggressive exercise in a kind of crazy distance athlete like we are a little bit, right, your blood flow to the gut decreases when you do aggressive exercise. So remember, the gut sloughs, the microbiome gets dysregulated. And when you have persistent exercise day-in day-out to that extreme, that’s where your extreme athletes are going to suffer a little, body’s going to panic, and you’re going to hold on to weight. Where I think some of the PCOS situation gets into problems is they don’t need. I don’t think. to over-exercise, or I should say worry about that hour Soul Cycle class where I think they will benefit more is more consistency. So you want the system to stop panicking. So they would be better getting up in the morning, before they get into their car and rush off to work. Sit outside for 10-15 minutes on the ground and ground and sit up straight, sit Indian style, sit up straight, work on posture, work on strength there and let your eyes see the sun.

Now the message to the brain has said “It’s good, the lights out, we can burn fat a little bit.” Then it’s important, they would do better at their desks to have a standing desk. And I don’t think you need a $5,000 standing desk, just a little platform maybe to put your computer on. So maybe to spend more time during the day standing up. That’s when then lunchtime, eat calmly and then go for a walk. Where they will also benefit is good healthy strength training. And that can be strength. It can be like a vinyasa yoga type of class, like the Flow Yoga.

And the thing I love about Flow Yoga is there are people in my Flow Yoga class that are like beyond amazing, you know, their left foots behind their right ear, but they give you modification. Sometimes when I’ve had a long day, you can go down on your knees, but you’re using your body weight. Pilates is good with that. So the problem with PCOS patients is they think, “Oh, my testosterone is elevated, I can’t lift, I can’t do body weight, I gotta go try to do that aggressive bike class.” So I think a consistency of movement through the day paired with sunshine and circadian rhythms. And then with lifting and a little bit of a reasonable cardio a couple times a week, I think is a perfect balance and they will see results.

Farrar Duro [17:53]
Okay, great. And so these tests I think are not on the typical PCOS panel that’s somebody’s going to get ordered for them if they go to their obgyn, they have to ask for it. So being that strength training is so good for PCOS too, I think that’s something really important not to be afraid of, like you mentioned, and just being more consistent. And I know some of the guidelines say, you know, exercise five or six times a week, and sometimes we tell that to our patients that are like mouth is like dropped open. Like, there’s no way. So I think it’s like, okay, we’ll start with a walking plan. So we actually give our patients a walking plan sometimes. That’s just, that’s how we start and in whatever way we can, and just walking fast, you know, and with a little hand weight, sometimes this is something to start with, if you’re not exercising at all. But definitely, what have you seen as far as a benefit when somebody gets those results back? And then they go “Okay, now what.” What is the benefit of getting those tests done, and also having that knowledge?

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [19:02]
I think the problem with PCOS is again, I go back to people think that the PCOS fairy kind of bit them and gave them a disease state. And where I think it helps is it helps..there’s no power, like understanding what has created a dysregulation in the first place. Both my boys have pretty significant dyslexia. So their issue was their brain is together in a way that standard language, when it comes in, it doesn’t get interpreted. They don’t make the pictures everybody else makes in their brain. So the understanding was an issue. So they can, they’re going to have to read it more, they’re going to have to get different access to ways that they can learn, but they can be very successful.

And so PCOS is kind of the same thing. You figure out where my kids’ weaknesses, and you support that, “Okay, I need to read the book twice. Okay, I need to test orally, I need to take notes a certain way.” So if a PCOS patient understands that maybe paleolithicly, my great, great, great, great dinosaur grandma lived in the equator area and also had times of starvation. So therefore, I have insulin-resistance at the level of my muscle. So that was real valuable back then. So when I had two months of food, it was great, because then I could keep walking when I had months of no food. But now that I’m in a sedentary job at my office all day, and I don’t get enough sunshine. But I eat those three meals a day, even if I eat well, there’s still calories there.

That’s tipping my system to where I’m creating this syndrome in myself. So getting the labs then puts power back in me and it turns around and says “Okay, I have to watch how I put my carbohydrate and fat together in the morning. Or maybe I need to eat more carbohydrates after I have a little bit more activity, or I need to eat a little bit differently. I have to pull carbohydrates out if your leptin-resistant. I really have to go lower carbohydrate maybe for a month to break the leptin resistance. So I think it’s a guideline on what you need to do individually to break the negative cycle to get better in touch with where your body is.

Farrar Duro [21:11]
I agree. Definitely, it’s knowledge is power with us. And there are tests now like the Dutch test that we use a functional hormone test that we can look at, to see how their body is actually detoxifying their estrogens and looking at so many things from a whole different perspective, in addition to any lab work that that they’ve had done previously, or ultrasounds and all of it. So I feel like we’re at a good moment in time where we have all this available to us. And we can we can really use it to our advantage. So do you use any functional medicine testing like the Dutch test?

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [21:45]
I use a lot more. So I tend to use salivary testing more, a little bit more than the Dutch test. I use the Dutch test more for offload, for how they’re offloading estrogen. But one of the things that you can see is when you use salivary testing, and whether you use Access or ZRT or Genova, any of those, I look a lot of estrone. So all the hormones turn into estrone right before we offload them. And you will see elevated levels of estrone in somebody that really has a backup in that pathway. So I tend to use that more to show the patient where their estrogen dominant backup is. One of the biggest things that happens is a lot of patients with PCOS want to take progesterone. Their immediate problem is “I’ve got this problem, give me progesterone.”

But if you give somebody progesterone on a system that is clogged, their detox is already problem, you will actually make them more insulin-resistant. So I do salivary testing through Access to say, “Look, your estrone is elevated. So we’ve got to get that detox pathway working.” I pair that a lot with Spectracell’s cardio-metabolic panel, because that will give us the Omega balance because you need the DHA-EPA. And then it also gives you your fasting insulin, fasting glucose, leptin, adiponectin. It also gives you homocysteine. And you want an optimal homocysteine between about seven and eight, that means your methylation wheel, the wheel that sends a lot of important products all over the body without getting into methylation, sends a lot of what you need all over the body to make your chemical reactions efficient. So it’s a good…the cardio-met especially is a really good baseline to say, “Wait a minute, let me get these normal,” because if you can normalize that, and a lot of times I’ll pair that with Spectracell’s, micronutrient test, if you can get their nutrients normal and break that leptin resistance, a lot of times the hormones will normalize themselves.

Farrar Duro [23:47]
Interesting, so you see this with your patients, when you do have a completed test and you look at you know, maybe adding some vitamin B 12, if they’re low or are upping the D and that sort of thing…that the leptin actually starts to regulate on its own or or is that more with exercise and diet?

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [24:07]
I think it’s a little bit of everything. But I think like anything else, right, B-12 is key in that methylation pathway. So B-12 combined with folate needs to turn off your bad genes, right when you get your methyl, your carbon hydrogen group. So I tell people that’s like a Lite Bright peg. And the way I look at methylation is taking the Lite Bright pegs and making the sailor, the different colors right ,make the sailor or the clown or whatever you used to play when we were little and played that game Lite Bright. So you need to take those pegs all over the body.

So you have to turn off your bad genes you have to make choline which makes your gut lining. You have to make creatine which makes muscle. You have to feed COMT which is the enzyme as you know is significant in estrogen detox and balances neurotransmitters. So if your nutrition is off, and you can’t balance it, you don’t have enough B12 and you can’t balance COMT and balance your neurotransmitters then dopamine and serotonin are off, right? And dopamine is the feel-good hormone. So if you can’t balance that a lot of patients will crave sugar to up their dopamine.

And if they do have a little bit of insulin resistance at the level of the muscle or even incomplete penetrates, right, they’ve got a little bit of an abnormal cell receptor, you can take somebody who really would have no PCOS, and blow that system up just based by the fact that there B12 deficient, that cycle doesn’t work, they can’t get their gut healed, they can’t get their neurotransmitters balanced. And now they’ve got a syndrome. And now somebody puts birth control pills on top of that.

Farrar Duro [25:37]
So much for the B12 deficiency!

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [25:40]
Yep. So I go back to the start point. And I know people’s lives are busy, but I go back to you really have to look at those six parts of the roadmap of the six pillars, whatever you want to call it, and really get those in line. And a lot of times the system will fix itself.

Farrar Duro [25:56]
Very good. And I think that will link to that, to that. So helpful to have that visual, and perhaps even avoid so many problems down the road, like you know, weight gain and fertility issues and pregnancy issues and diabetes and heart disease. So just starting with it’s a domino effect. So I think just being a little bit of a detective is really important, like you said, so if you could just share one story from personal experience of a patient, perhaps you’ve had or a case you’ve seen who’s benefited from from using functional medicine in your practice, could you explain a little bit about that?

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [26:33]
So I have a great story. And I love this patient dearly. So this patient, her parents had gotten divorced when she was maybe 14 or 15 years old. And her father, I think moved to California, her mother was say in Texas or something. And what happened is she went to visit her dad, and ate off a food truck in California, got a parasite, and got a GI bug. And nobody ever got her gut microbiome in line. So even though they might have killed the parasite…she had bad diarrhea. They never got her gut back in line. Her teeth fell out. I mean, this poor kid got really sick. She went GI doctor to GI doctor day in day out from 20 to about 30 years old. Nobody ever got her better. They never looked at “Okay, let me fix the B12. again, let me get the gut bugs back where they need to be. Let’s look at your vegetable rotation. So she couldn’t digest fats, she became a blood sugar burner, and boom, what happened? Weight went up.

When you increase the ovary, people have to understand with PCOS, the ovary’s insulin-sensitive, it is not insulin resistant. It is very capable of looking around and seeing what’s going on. And what happens is, when it sees the body’s blood sugar, insulin dysregulation, it actually flips the barometer to make testosterone. So this girl’s gut was a problem. It led it to look like she was more of a PCOS problem, because now her gut’s off. She’s sugar-burning. She’s making too much testosterone. And she’s overweight, probably 250 pounds, and she’s miserable. And I actually ran into her. I met her…I was at a sports doctor’s office. She was getting…she had a joint problem or something and I was running aggressively at the time. So I was seeing them for the same reason. We went to talking in the waiting room. And that’s when she came to see me as a patient, and I learned her story. And we looked at her microbiome. We did the GI map on her. Got her gut back in line again. We did the Spectracell test. We did a little bit low carbohydrate just to get through the leptin resistance. Varied the vegetation, right, because you can get tons of good healthy fats through your avocados and your olive oil and all your colorful vegetation. The weight came down, the barometer shifted, the periods went back to normal, and she’s got two kids today.

Farrar Duro [28:45]
Oh, that’s incredible. That’s fascinating, amazing. And nobody would have thought to look at the gut first, but then we’re finding out so much more information about how so many things start in the gut. So that’s so important. And there are tests out there now that can detect not only the bad bacteria, but also if you have enough of the good bacteria. And that’s important as well, it’s equally as important.

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [29:09]
Correct. And even if you’re not looking at fancy testing, the number one healthy tribe in the world is actually the Hunza, they live in Tanzania and they eat 600 different foods. So what we tell our patients, you can tell your patients “You know what, write down on a piece of paper, the different foods you eat in a week.” The average American eats 12 foods. So the number one thing you can do for your microbiome, right is eat seasonally and rotate your plants.

So I would tell patients with PCOS, take Omega 3, get your vitamin D where it needs to be and even take just a good probiotic, just a good pharmaceutical-grade probiotic. Rotate your plants, get your sunshine and do a little bit of kind of good strength training or even at work talk like we’re doing, then stand when you’re talking on the phone, even if you don’t have time for exercise, just those simple things to start. And you’ll see dramatic changes and then coming to a functional medicine doc or a doctor that’s tuned into health and wellness, then you can start to focus on the tests you need.

Farrar Duro [30:03]
That’s really good. And I think that a lot of people listening to this are going to go “Oh yeah, it’s true, I only eat the same meal every day, same breakfast.” And we’re creatures of habit, sometimes we don’t realize that we’re just not burying our food choices. So, so important. And so if you could recommend a good book for our listeners, a good source of information, what would that be?

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [30:27]
So we wrote The PCOS Environmental Roadmap. It’s about 100, and probably 150-160 pages, it was not meant to be a super long read, because I want something actionable. So it’s about 100 pages of a little bit of the science we talked about. And it’s about 30 pages of a little bit of a more extended roadmap you can follow. And then the last part of it is about a five-page 30-day Reset. And it takes simple things out. Eat five or six different vegetables with lists you need to eat, turn off your Wi Fi, get your computer off your lap. Make sure you take a 30 minute walk every day. A list of plants to put around your computer to offset your EMF’s. So I think that’s a good read to give you some basics, a lot of the PCOS books really get deep into…get deep, very, very deep into diet stuff.

And I think they’ve heard that a lot over and over again. So I am a huge Jack Kruise and he is a neurosurgeon who’s a functional medicine doc. And he wrote a book called Epipaleo RX. And he’s a little extreme in breaking leptin resistance with real keto, but he’s got good labs in there. He’s very tuned into getting back in touch with your environment. And he really gives you great food for thought to get you with PCOS to think outside the box you’re in. Get away from just focusing on food and look outside the box.

Farrar Duro [31:53]
That’s so important, the whole approach, even getting sunshine like you said. You can you know, just walk outside without your sunglasses and just get that information to the pineal gland…it’s so important. Because I always find sleep, we always ask, “how’s your sleep,” and a lot of times sleep is one of those things that kind of go downhill even though people think it’s normal to sleep six or seven hours a night. And I mean, even the quality of sleep, it can influence your hormones and so many things. So that direct sunshine can even help your sleep, you know, on down the road throughout the day as well and the circadian rhythms and all that but we just tend to forget we’re in buildings so much. And even driving, our our glass in our car is UV-coated. We’re very protected from UV and all the light generally throughout the day. So it’s good recommendations you’re for making for sure.

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [32:49]
Yeah, I think again, it just helps people get away from food, food, food. I think food’s important. Don’t get me wrong. But I’ll tell people, “Take a Saturday, go to the farmers market. You’re out with somebody you have fun with, take a friend, take a boyfriend, take your mother. Now your positive vibes back and forth with somebody you love, you’re walking in the sunshine, you’re supporting local culture, you’re interacting with people, you’re eating seasonally. I mean, just those kind of simple actions, it keeps you moving around, it gets you outside of the box of where we’ve been so disconnected from our environment. And I think that’s a really big thing. And I think you’ll see a lot of reversal of PCOS then.

Farrar Duro [33:25]
Great. This has been so, so helpful. And I really appreciate you taking time Dr. Ginsberg to really talk about this. And I’m going to link to your resource that you’ve mentioned in your book that you wrote, and I encourage women to reach out if they have this discussion with their providers, if they’re having any issues with getting this bloodwork done, definitely just you know, hopefully they can find your website, you can get a link to that. And also have a little bit more discussion around getting to the root of their PCOS instead of band-aid approaches for sure.

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [34:01]
Very well said. We do Instagram and Facebook. We try to do a Facebook Live type of thing every week, because the more snippets of info we can give, can help people take control of themselves. So I appreciate you taking time to talk to me.

Farrar Duro [34:15]
Great. Thank you so much, and I look forward to speaking with you again.

Dr. Dian Ginsberg [34:19]
Have a great day.

Farrar Duro [34:20]
Thank you. You too.

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