Alisa is a functional nutritionist, hormone expert, and coach to women around the world. A best-selling author, Alisa is the author of The WomanCode System and has recently written a new book, In the FLO. On today’s show, she will be drawing on her experience of coaching others to healing their hormone issues and how women who learn to adapt to their hormonal cycles can change their energy, health, and lives.
In today’s conversation, we’ll explain the unique qualities of female brains and what women are naturally placed to be best at. Alisa will tell us about the hormonal cycles that govern female brains, and how women can harness them to optimize mood, brain performance and health. We’ll leave you with some quick ideas on how you can reclaim power over your hormones in your everyday life, and some suggestions for self-care through each cycle.
WHY FEMALE BRAINS ARE AMAZING
- Structurally, the female brain has superior qualities.
- Bigger prefrontal cortex, meaning superior decision-making abilities.
- Larger insula. This is connected to our gut intuition, meaning women have a stronger sense of the right thing to do at the right time.
- Bigger hippocampus, meaning better recall and memory for emotion.
- Bigger corpus callosum, the nerve fibers connecting the brain’s hemispheres, resulting in superior problem-solving abilities. This can mean women are better able to step away from triggers and find the right path forward.
- Many of us know about the negative effects of ignoring our circadian rhythms, but women have another rhythm they need to know about: the infradian rhythm.
- Circadian rhythms are day-long cycles, but an infradian rhythm is a cycle that takes longer than a day.
- Infradian rhythms affect brain chemistry during women’s menstruating years and last about a month for each rhythm.
- Infradian rhythms affect our memory, mood, interests, brain performance, and natural proclivities.
- Because many of us don’t know how our infradian rhythm works, we unknowingly create neuroendocrine disruption, by not behaving in ways that support our infradian rhythm.
- Little was known about infradian rhythms in women for a long time.
- Early research documenting the effect of estrogen patterns on the brain chemistry was completed by Catherine S Woolley of Northwestern University in 1996
THE FOUR HORMONAL PATTERNS
- Our hormonal levels change through each phase, affecting our metabolism, brain performance, stress levels, and health.
- Follicular: 7-10 days
- Ovulatory: 3-4 days
- Luteal: 10-14 days
- Menstrual: 2-7 days
- In the ovulatory phase, there is a surge of estrogen that stimulates the verbal and social centers in the brain, making you optimally communicative. You can organize your time to take advantage of this e.g. schedule meetings or talks during this phase.
- Once you understand your own cycles, you can remove the self-judgment and negative self-talk related to them.
- There tends to be a negative association and negative cultural narrative associated with female hormonal cycles. A common myth is that they make women unpredictable and unreliable.
- Males are governed by hormonal levels too e.g. the 3 pm energy, mood, and concentration drop leading to people seeking out caffeine.
- Both genders experience hormonal impacts on their brain chemistry—it just affects each gender with different timing.
HOW TO RECLAIM YOUR POWER
- Start tracking and noticing which phase you are in.
- Be aware you are shifting from one phase to another, and know that you will think and feel differently in each stage.
- You can be a genius and do whatever you like in each phase of the cycle, just know you will have shifts in hormonal stimulation through each phase and might find yourself more interested in activities at certain times.
- Alisa’s new book will help you to better understand your infradian rhythm and best look after it: check out intheflobook.com
- Take a screenshot of this episode, tag us (@jimkwik and @FLOliving) and tell us your favorite aha! moment. We’ll repost some of our favorites!