Community Spotlight: Putting Health Woes in the Rearview Mirror
Mar 31, 2020 12:15PM
By Linda Sechrist
Individuals in search of someone who not only believes in six impossible things before breakfast but also does them, needs to look no farther than Dr. Lindsey Berkson, who has recently joined the Naples Center for Functional Medicine (NCFM). An agile thinker and hormone scholar who specializes in anti-aging, Berkson is the author of 19 books, including Hormone Deception. Her impressive background includes a substantial amount of clinical, academic and scientific experience, some of which she gained in practice as a nutritionist since the mid-1970s and as an integrative nutritional, gastrointestinal and endocrine specialist since the early 1980s. A scientist with original research, she has collaborated on two patented drugs and served as a hormone scholar at Tulane University.
With such an unusually accomplished career, which includes lecturing for continuing medical education courses for physicians and nurses and at medical conferences, what makes Berkson even more extraordinary is her story of why and how she achieved them. “I was a patient and I was the subject of my research. I collaborated with other researchers and doctors to develop drugs that saved my life,” says Berkson.
When Berkson was young, she got the message about exercising and taking care of her body from her marathon-running mother. “I heard a ‘You are what you eat’ lecture when I was 16. It made total sense. I got into the Back to the Land movement and grew my own organic herbs and vegetables, raised goats and made goat products. I practiced yoga and meditation, and even lived at Swami Satchidananda’s ashram in India for several years. With my lifestyle, it didn’t make sense why I had multiple cancers and health issues and had to endure the loss of nearly eight of my organs and 18 lymph nodes,” she explains.
It wasn’t until Berkson researched and wrote Hormone Deception 20 years ago that she learned about hormone disruptors and how the endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC) chemical compounds made their way into food, air and water. EDCs are ubiquitous. They are in plastic, personal care and beauty products, as well as volatile organic pollutants, pesticides, etc., and they mimic our body’s hormones, deceiving their signaling system.
While writing the book, Berkson noticed experimental animals exposed to EDC in the womb had exactly the same health problems and tumors that she did and began connecting the dots. “Maybe this was part of my body’s tumor madness which required so many surgeries,” she says. “I wrote to request my mother’s medical records on microfiche film and discovered that I was the victim of what I was writing the book on. I was a ‘DES Daughter’. My mother had been prescribed the synthetic form of female hormone estrogen, diethylstilbestrol, when I was in her womb.”
DES was prescribed by doctors to 5 to 10 million women between 1938 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage, premature labor and complications of pregnancy. “While it was mostly used as a prenatal vitamin to make a normal pregnancy healthier, it was the most powerful estrogenic compound ever made, and was banned in 1971 as one of the most powerful carcinogens ever invented,” advises Berkson.
Berkson recalls her “Aha!” moment. “I knew then why I did everything right but got wrong outcomes. With more research, I figured out that DES created many of my tumors by tamping down on very specific tumor suppressor genes such as P53 and suppressed my immune system in my gut. I scoured the literature to find what upregulated those tumor suppressor genes so that they would be more active and effective inside my body. I had Dr. Jonathan Wright write me the first-ever prescription from a compounding pharmacy for a compound that no one else had ever taken. I have had no tumors since,” she shares.
“With health issues, I believe that if you really know the root cause of what’s wrong, then you can fix it. My specialty is complexity. I love to listen attentively, think, research and problem solve. It’s how I approach the health issues my patients,” notes Berkson, who is looking forward to working with the NCFM team.
“I love to remind myself and others to never take ‘old’ or ‘ill’ for an answer to health challenges. There is most often a way to put your health woes in your rearview mirror,” she says.
Naples Center for Functional Medicine is located at 800 Goodlette Rd. N., in Naples. For more information, call 239-649-7400. Visit NaplesCFM.com
The Naples Center for Functional Medicine has added hormone scholar and nutritionist Dr. Lindsey Berkson to its team of experienced physician. Read More »
Carol L. Roberts, M.D. has practiced functional/integrative/holistic medicine for 25 years. She provides patients with testing to uncover causes of chronic illness, guidance in resolving ... Read More »