The Hidden Hormone Hazard

March 31, 2015
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Unraveling the Mystery of Hormone Imposters

Many years ago I read a book called Our Stolen Future which sounded the alarm on hormone disruptors in the modern day environment.

This pioneering publication identified how synthetic chemicals, like the 70+ pesticides used on fruits and vegetables, could mimic natural hormones.

These chemicals, along with the 700,000 tons of pollution released into the air daily, cause birth defects, sexual abnormalities and reproductive failure in both wildlife and humans.

Reading this eye-opening book prompted me to want to test my readers and clients to see if their hormonal balance was being affected, and so I have been offering hormone testing for over ten years.

The Sad Truth

Today we know that this prediction was true.

Parabens, plastics, and pesticides have a xenoestrogenic effect and can impact overall health, and especially weight.

I suspect the overwhelming increase of type 2 diabetes is related to these man-made pollutants as well!

My recent blog highlighted the epidemic of progesterone deficiency and relative estrogen dominance—a trend that wasn’t surprising to me because of the hormonal threats predicted in Our Stolen Future over a decade ago.

But what I didn’t expect to see was yet another type of exogenous hormone “poisoning.”

Too Much “T”

Elevated testosterone—which is tied to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), metabolic syndrome, infertility, acne, mood disorders and insulin resistance has become a major red flag.

Where is the excess testosterone coming from?  The normal range for testosterone levels in women is 10-38 pg/ml, and men generally are normal at 60-135 pg/ml.

In a rising number of my female clients I am seeing values in the seventies, eighties and even thousands!

Scary Symptoms

Some of these women have complained about having a hoarse voice, seeing male pattern baldness, and much to their dismay, hair growth where women don’t want it—on their chest and chin!

After doing some detective work, I have come to find that these individuals have a range of personal care products in common.

The Culprits

These women are using hydrocortisone creme, bronchodilator inhalers, steroid eye drops, and most alarming—eyelash growth serums.

There are even some anti-aging face creams that contain hormones that are not listed in the ingredients.

Of course, some hormone replacement therapy can cross-convert, too.  DHEA and pregnenolone have been known to divert from their intended path and turn into testosterone.

Take Action! Turn Down The “T”

Adopt the following habits to reduce elevated testosterone:

Drink spearmint tea, 1-2 cups daily.

Use saw palmetto 1:2 tincture, 1 teaspoon daily in water—traditionally recommended for men with prostate problems, but profoundly helps women with high testosterone!

Take dandelion root capsules, 2 capsules twice daily with meals to support the liver.

Season with cardamom, 2-3 seeds in your tea, soups, stews, chili or other bean dishes offers digestive aid and has the unique ability to help the liver detoxify.

Cleanse with taurine—this amino acid helps metabolize chemicals and heavy metals thereby allowing the liver to more effectively conjugate all hormones.

Do you have symptoms of elevated testosterone? 

We want to hear from you!  Please leave comments below.

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Jennifer Thornton

    I have had facial hair that is slowly spreading for about five years. It is on my chin and above my lip. I had a Salivary sample turned in. My testosterone level was 13.2. And my Progesterone to Estradiol ratio is 295.90:1. So why do I have facial hair?

    • Team ALG

      Hi Jennifer, who did you have your test done through? What are the normal levels given for that test?

      • Jennifer Thorntoj

        Hi Team ALG,
        I did the testing with the kit UNI Key sent me and the lab they use.

  2. Jennifer Thornton

    I have had facial hair that is slowly spreading for about five years. It is on my chin and above my lip. I had a Salivary sample turned in. My testosterone level was 35.6 And my Progesterone to Estradiol ratio is 295.90:1. So why do I have facial hair?

  3. Sophie

    Thank you for raising the issue of too high testosterone!
    I have long believed my teen nieces, and many of their friends, are not only estrogen dominant, progesterone deficient but also with excess testosterone. I observe them to have signs of masculine-like changes such as severe acne, broadened shoulders, bulky thighs, deeper voices, bad PMS, etc. They have had dramatic changes in their physical appearance since their puberty which I have always believed was a warning sign of something seriously wrong. What is especially surprising is my nieces were raised on good largely organic diets and have tended to use natural products. I fear the environment is a big culprit here, perhaps also excess copper, heavy metals and other toxicity.
    Can a teen girl be given saw palmetto? Are saw palmetto capsules also acceptable and ,if so, what dose for a teen girl? Any thoughts on VITEX to balance out hormones?

    Thank you for the natural remedies listed above. I welcome any other advice to help balance hormones in teens. As you write, excess testosterone is another “poisoning” of female health. It seems estrogen dominance, progesterone deficiency and excess testosterone are occurring together and severely harming teen girls and women alike.
    Thank you very much!

    • Bobette

      Hi Sophie,
      I have used saw palmetto for years for inflammation. Its good for hives and bites and I usually use it via drops. Great stuff for females and males.

    • Team ALG

      Hi Sophie, yes she can have saw palmetto at the dose described in the blog.

  4. Ickle

    What sbout the opposite – too low testosterone? I have that…

    • Team ALG

      Low testosterone can be helped by supplementing with Pregnenolone and monitoring levels via salivary hormone testing.

  5. Amber

    Can a woman have estrogen dominance and high Testosterone and low progesterone, all three?
    What would you recommend for asthma sufferers besides a bronchodilator? Thank you for all your great info!

    • Team ALG

      Yes, that is possible, and not at all uncommon! Adrenal support can lessen dependency on steroid inhalers in some cases.

  6. Gaillery

    My daughter, age 23, started getting male like hair growth on her face, lower back, forearms, has a bumpy, pimple like surface on her upper arms, after she had what was diagnosed as mononucleosis as a 16 year old. After that, everything took a turn and she does not get a regular menstrual cycle. I’ve pleaded with her to check a regular check up with an OB/GYN to no avail. Any thoughts.

    • Liz

      If she were my daughter, I would ask her to take a Salivary Hormone Test. It sounds like she might have a couple of imbalances going on. With the test results, Ann Louise will give her a letter of recommendations for natural remedies to use.

  7. Sophie

    Team ALG and Bobette, thank you very much for your responses above.
    I cannot locate saw palmetto in a 1:2 ratio. The lowest gelcap dose I find is 160 mg. Could a teen girl take one 160 mg gel cap daily as a substitute?

    To Gaillery, unfortunately many ob-gyn doctors order the pill as a “fix” to balance hormones. Natural and nutritional remedies are best from my experience.

  8. Ann Louise

    Dear Sophie:

    Call UNI KEY to see if they can order the Standard Process saw palmetto for you which is a tincture. If you speak with Sierra, that would be best at 208-209-8256.

    Best wishes,

  9. Deb

    I was diagnosed 20 years ago with PCOS with all the attendant symptoms mentioned. I went through the birth control pill/spironolactone/metformin route for years and it didn’t really even dampen the symptoms for me.

    At 46, my most difficult symptom still is the facial hair, it seems to get worse every year and is quite a challenge to keep under control. I have given up on the natural products as well as all the recommended ones you mention in your post did nothing for me either. I have spent thousands and thousands on attempting to just control my symptoms and have failed miserably. The only symptom that has eased off is the cystic acne- it seems to be much less than before, but for no reason that I can account for. My weight is at an all time high with diet and supplements and drugs not making a dent. I’ve given up and while I find posts like this interesting, there is nothing new that I haven’t tried. I guess I must be the *one* case where treatments just don’t have much if any effect on this syndrome.

    • Team ALG

      Have you ever had your adrenal glands evaluated? Your answer could be uncovered there…

  10. Deb

    my family doctor will not order anything outside of the standard tests on the requisition form. I would have to pay out of pocket from a Naturopath and I can’t afford the hundreds of dollars for the appointment, consultation plus test fees.

    Is there a test I could purchase online which would give me results even though my doctor would not be cooperative? I’d like to know for my own sake even if I can’t do much about the results.

    • Team ALG

      Hi Deb, you are not alone in your frustrations! UNI KEY offers just the test for you. The results are evaluated personally by Ann Louise and her recommendations are conveyed to you in a letter and supplement chart. Here is the link:

      • Deb

        thank you! I will be saving up for that for sure. Are there any issues with shipping this to Canada?

        • Team ALG

          No issues at all, Deb! You’ll only have to send your saliva sample with an expedited mail service to ensure it arrives to the laboratory within 8 days of collection.

  11. Gaillery

    Where does a person buy a salivary hormone test? Does Anne Louise offer one? How would she recommend?

    • Team ALG

      Hi Gaillery, UNI KEY offers just the test for you. The results are evaluated personally by Ann Louise and her recommendations are conveyed to you in a letter and supplement chart. Here is the link:

  12. Linda

    What is the ingredient in eyelash growth serums that is the culprit?

    • Team ALG

      They vary, but is always some derivative of testosterone hormone, or something that promotes testosterone production.


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