Episode 2: Interview with TS Wiley
Beauty Now: Interview with TS Wiley
Teri Struck: Hi. I'm Teri Struck, and I'll be your host for Beauty Now. I'm on a quest to be ageless, besides being a beauty junkie. Today, I am really lucky to interview TS Wiley, the author of "Sex, Lies, and Menopause."
TS Wiley: ... Right now, if you went to the doctor and had your hormones measured, they would tell you you're normal for a woman your age. But, it is normal, at 42, for some women to have a heart attack. It's normal for some women to start to get breast cancer. It's normal to not remember where the car keys are.
TS Wiley: ... Women have struggled for a very, very long time to get care. Decent care. They've spent billions of dollars on menopause, and they usually get nothing. And sometimes, they get hurt. And, I think that has to stop.
Teri Struck: That's true. I think we're actually of an age that it's lucky right now to find people like you, so that we can actually go forward, and learn more in a healthy way.
Teri Struck: Her book tells about bioidentical hormones, which is a hot topic right now. Welcome, Suzie, and thank you for agreeing to talk with us.
TS Wiley: Thank you for asking.
Teri Struck: Can you tell our listeners about bioidentical hormones? ...Which are so prevalent in the news today, with Suzanne Somers, and also all the news about cancer with synthetic hormones.
TS Wiley: Well, hormones are naturally-occurring molecules in the body, and, certainly, in all animals and all plants all over the planet. They report the environment--light, temperature, stress, magnetism--to the hypothalamus, the little place in your brain that controls your pituitary. And that gland sends out all sorts of messages to cause you to behave in a way to survive. Whether it's to find somebody to mate with, or to find dinner, or go to sleep. And right now, in the news, the Women's Health Initiative--which is considered the gold standard for the study of hormones--has reported that hormones cause cancer, and hormones cause heart attacks, and hormones in women after they don't make their own is not a good idea. But the reality is, the Women's Health Initiative never looked at hormones. The Women's Health Initiative looked at drugs with hormone-like effects. They're synthetic drugs. And they looked at one kind, by a company called Wyeth-Ayerst, named Prempro. It was a combination of Premarin and Provera, which meant it was a combination of a fake estrogen and a fake progesterone--we make the real thing. They looked at the substance when it was given to women over 65. So these were women who were already not well, in many ways. And they followed them for almost 17 years, and what they found after they stopped their study was that, in women on the combination pill of Premarin and Provera, called Prempro, they found that cardiovascular events--strokes and heart attacks--went up enough that it was considered criminal to keep the study going. What they failed to report in any giant way was that the estrogen alone, or the Premarin alone part of the study, was, statistically, almost protective against breast cancer. And from that study, all doctors in our country, and some in the world, decided that hormones could no longer be prescribed to women--what they thought were hormones, which is this synthetic drug. And a lot of women, because of Suzanne Somers' first book, "The Sexy Years," turned to a natural compounded substance of bioidentical hormones. And bioidentical hormones are what they sound like. They are biologically identical to the molecule of estrogen or progesterone we make in our own bodies, but they're made out of plants.
Teri Struck: And so, you have several doctors that you've trained?
TS Wiley: Oh, more than several, yes. Well, Suzanne Somers wrote about bioidentical hormones in general. And, in her new book, "Ageless," she writes about bioidenticals again, but specifically, what she takes now--what I invented--called the Wiley Protocol. And, while we use the same natural substances--estrogen and progesterone made from plants, that she discussed in her first book--I do it very differently. Right now, the standard of care, or the way all doctors will offer you bioidentical hormones, is in a template that Prempro followed. In other words, you'll get a little bit of estrogen and a little bit of progesterone, each day, together, every day, same dose, all across the month for 28 days. Or you'll get a Vivelle patch, which is a big pharmaceutical company's natural estrogen. And something called Prometrium, which is natural progesterone, in peanut oil, in a pill. Those are your options for bioidentical hormone replacement. And, sometimes they'll give you estrogen and cycle in the progesterone, or they give them both to you every day, same day. But, the important part is, you get a chronic dose. You get no change over the month. And, what I've added--for the science and the industry--is to replace women's hormones as they made them when they were 20. In other words, you have cycles that go up, go down, come in, come out. And I found a way to mimic a normal menstrual cycle in somebody 20 years old, by using these natural hormones and creams. So, in the Wiley Protocol, it's not just natural hormones, it's a natural dosing schedule too. So they are truly bioidentical in the Wiley Protocol.
Teri Struck: There's a quote in your book, "Sex, Lies, and Menopause," that "we only know what we are told, and that is little enough, and for all we know that isn't even true. For all anyone knows, nothing is." That's a partial quote, but that sums it up for me and most of my friends when it comes to bioidentical hormones. It's so confusing.
TS Wiley: Yes. It is. Bioidenticals are being sold as the answer to synthetics. However, right now, the government and the company that makes the synthetics is accusing compounding and doctors who prescribe bioidenticals of using substances that have never been tested in women. And that's not true. Big pharmaceutical companies produce estrogen patches that are, in fact, made from bioidentical estrogen and compounded estrogen. They're just made in a factory, because it's big pharma. And that pill I mentioned, Prometrium, is in fact bioidentical progesterone. So, the substances are FDA-approved. What has not been approved is a study watching women take these versus synthetics. The only thing that has ever been studied clinically by watching women and how they react, is the synthetics. So we don't know what's true. We don't know if bioidenticals are better. My argument is that they probably aren't much better, unless they're dosed naturally. I think the dosing schedule is the key to the whole thing. Hormones act in a dose-dependent way. So, if you don't reach a crescendo of hormones in your bloodstream on day 12--all the things that are supposed to happen to facilitate using the progesterone in the second half of the cycle never happen. And I don't know why no one has ever approached that idea before, but they haven't.
Teri Struck: So how do you monitor this? How would you know--?
TS Wiley: Bloodwork on day 12 and 21. The peaks in a normal menstrual cycle. Estrogen peaks on day 12. Progesterone on day 21. We go get a blood test. Usually, the third month someone's on this, and maybe once a year after that, or every six months, depending on if you have a problem or you're fine. And those blood tests come back to you in numbers, and we like to match the numbers to what was normal for a woman in her 20s. Right now, if you went to the doctor and had your hormones measured, they would tell you you're normal for a woman your age. But, it is normal, at 42, for some women to have a heart attack. It's normal for some women to start to get breast cancer. It's normal to not remember where the car keys are. It's normal to have a hot flash. It's normal not to sleep at night. So we don't want to be normal for your age, we want you to come back with bloodwork that's normal for someone 20, when none of those things happen.
Teri Struck: That sounds great. That sounds so great. And at what age do you recommend women get tested?
TS Wiley: Well, we have an awfully lot of women in their 20s and 30s on the Wiley Protocol, because of the environment we live in. They're older inside than their chronological years. But, if you're young, go get your bloodwork. Hang onto it. Then you know where you live, right now, in your 20s. If you're in your 30s, you can do the same thing. If you're 40 or older--from 35 on actually--you're entering menopause. And that means your hormones are fluctuating every day. That's why, suddenly there is evidence of dysfunction, whether it's sleeplessness, or urinary urgency, or whatever your symptom ends up being. So, for us to measure your hormones after 35, in order to tell if you need them, is a false lead. Because your hormones one day will be very different than they are the next day. So, you might be okay the day we measure them, and then you'd go another five years with no hormones when the next day, you weren't okay. So, we urge the doctors prescribing the Wiley Protocol not to do baseline hormones on women unless they're really under 35, because it's not going to tell us much. We start the program, and then we measure month three, because any hormone you put in from the outside will stop your production inside. It is not a situation of augmentation. It is replacement. So we put it in, and then we check to see if that was enough. And if it's not, the bloodwork will show us that, and you can have more. And of course, we monitor symptoms until you have none. And that takes six weeks to three months.
Teri Struck: So, if you're having hot flashes, then you just monitor those--
TS Wiley: Oh yeah. Your hot flashes should be gone in the first week or two. But, to get you to sleep normally. To make sure your brain, your memory, is back. To make sure your libido is where it was, or could be. That could take anywhere from six weeks to twelve weeks.
Teri Struck: That just sounds so fascinating. Let's just take a quick break to thank our sponsors. Then, let's get right back to you. I'm really interested in this. Thank you.
Teri Struck: All right. We're back now with TS Wiley, the author of "Sex, Lies, and Menopause." We were just talking about bioidentical hormones. So please tell us more. I'm so fascinated. What about men and their hormones?
TS Wiley: Well, there is a Wiley Protocol for men. Right now, it is testosterone and DHEA and cream. But I'm working on a rhythm to replace men's hormones in a normal rhythmic pattern that they would have. I'm getting close. I'm working on a book called “Sex, Lies, and Men...”
TS Wiley: ... to find out what happened to--”Sex, Lies, and Menopause” was about what has happened to women in the last 150 years. Why there's an epidemic of breast cancer, what menopause really is, and what it portends for your health in the 30 years that most women live after they stop ovulating. So, what I'm looking at in “Sex, Lies, and Men” are the same issues. What happened to men? What happened when we took birth control pills for their hormones? What happens to them when they become fathers? What happens to them in a world where it takes feminine behavior skills to get by? To sit still, to shut up, to work in an office and be behind a computer. What's changing in men's health?
Teri Struck: That's sounds really interesting. The only problem I would see: would a lot of men be resistant to this?
TS Wiley: I don't know. I did a study on prostate cancer seven or eight years ago and looked at hormones, and yes, young men don't seem as resistant as older men. Men of another generation seem to do the “I don't need any hormones” thing. Younger men seem to view it more as an experimental drug, in terms of recreational drugs. So, it's easier to make the young men understand the potential of being ageless than it is the older guys.
Teri Struck: Right. More vanity. That's good. That's good.
TS Wiley: Our problem right now in bioidentical hormone replacement is compounding. Because Wyeth-Ayerst, the company that makes Prempro, lost so much money after the Women's Health Initiative, when women switched to bioidenticals, and Suzanne's first book came out, and mine—they are trying to get the government, the FDA, to shut down the individual compounding of bioidentical hormones with the argument that it needs to be studied; with the argument that there's no standardization or package inserts; that it's not run like real FDA-approved substances are done. And they've gone to Congress to demand an investigation into the sales and marketing. And they've named Suzanne in that suit, actually.
Teri Struck: That's all the controversy we're hearing about lately.
TS Wiley: Yeah. That's all the controversy. So, what I did a long time ago--because I imagined this day would come--I made sure that there were package inserts. That it describes how to use the hormones and contraindications in terms of other things you might be taking. And then I have gone out in the last two years and registered little compounding pharmacies to standardize the Wiley Protocol. I mean, whatever else they're making, I have no input about. But, the Wiley Protocol, they sign a contract with me. And I direct patients to those pharmacies, because I know what they're taking. And, in exchange, those pharmacies will donate the standardized Wiley Protocol to a national study. Because in this country, a study substance must be donated. And right now, the government and Wyeth are counting on the fact that no little pharmacy can donate enough, and you can't run a study if everybody makes it differently. So, they pretty much think they've won. And it is my intent to make sure they don't.
Teri Struck: This is cutting edge...
TS Wiley: Unfortunately, it's very political...
Teri Struck: So what can our listeners do to find your protocol? How can they find a doctor, and how can they learn more?
TS Wiley: Well, if you're interested in the Wiley Protocol--if you read my book, or Suzanne's, and you certainly should inform yourself before you decide on any regimen--you can go to TheWileyProtocol.com. It's our website, and there are lists of doctors who are willing to prescribe. There are lists of registered pharmacies. If you can go to your own doctor and convince him, just make sure that he prescribes to one of those registered pharmacies so you're taking the same thing that every other woman in the country is taking when they pick up their Wiley Protocol. You're paying the same price, getting the same packaging. Because, once the study starts, and we have been approached by a major university who's interested in running an observational longitudinal study to follow women at registered pharmacies, then we have a chance to control our own destiny. We can make sure that bioidenticals don't disappear.
Teri Struck: Do you take these bioidentical hormones in the morning? At night? How often..?
TS Wiley: They come in syringes with no needle. They come in syringes with caps on them. They are dosed in the tiny lines on the syringes. And the dosing is on the back. Estrogen is in green syringes. Progesterone is in purple. The syringes come in two separate bags, green and purple. And, on the back, it'll say: “Do four lines in the morning. Do four lines at night.” And your dose will stay that way for so many days. Then it becomes six. Then it becomes eight. We go up and we go back down, then we add in progesterone on day 14, which of course goes up and goes down while your estrogen stays stable. Most people find it very easy to do this. It's pretty logical.
Teri Struck: Is this a cream that you take internally, or--
TS Wiley: No. You rub it on your arm. You pick one arm for estrogen, one arm for progesterone. You don't mix the hormones. You could do it on your legs. You need some thin skins, either the back of the knee or the crook of your elbow. And then the rest of it gets rubbed into your fat base, which could be the back of your thigh or your tricep area. We all have that wavy thing, you know?
Teri Struck: [laughs] We try not to. We try not to.
TS Wiley: It has to be for something. And then, every time your heart beats, a little tiny blast of blood goes through the fat base and picks up hormones, and that way we have pulsatility. By changing the dose every few days up and down, we have amplitude. And those are the hallmarks of any endocrine system. Any hormone has pulsatility and amplitude. So, we're getting actual, real replacement. Not just a placebo dose that masks a hot flash, or masks a symptom. The world works like this: A is healthy and B is sick. We want to go back to A, we don't want to go to C--which is this third thing which doesn't exist in nature, which is a constant dose of hormones, whether they're synthetic or bioidentical. Does that make sense?
Teri Struck: Yes, it does. I want to start immediately.
TS Wiley: [laughs] Well, good. Good.
Teri Struck: What advice would you have for women that are in their late 50s or...
TS Wiley: I would tell you, 95% of the women on the Wiley Protocol feel 150% better.
Teri Struck: Well, I'm so excited to start.
TS Wiley: On the website, there are testimonials, certainly. On the website, there are doctors you can email and talk to. There are doctors listed in your area. And, if you have a problem with a doctor--you go to a doctor listed on our website and they do not provide the Wiley Protocol--we want you to write us.
Teri Struck: Okay. That sounds great.
TS Wiley: They only get to stay on the website if, in fact, they are serving the women who keep them in business.
Teri Struck: [laughs] Right. Exactly.
TS Wiley: And if they won't send your prescription to a registered pharmacy--a lot of doctors have their own relationships--we want to know. We are certainly willing to register any pharmacy a doctor is fond of if that pharmacy will play ball. We need as many registered pharmacies as we can get so that we can hold a very large study. Because, again, this substance has to be donated.
Teri Struck: I know, for myself, I've talked about the Wiley Protocol with my friends, and I already have about eight or ten friends that want to come down to you and figure this out, because it's just so complicated.
TS Wiley: That would be great. That would be great. You know, we have doctors all over. We just added MapQuest--no, it's Google Earth--so when you tap on a doctor on our website, it'll give you a map to his or her office. So that's kind of fun.
Teri Struck: That's great. Technology's great.
TS Wiley: We're trying to make it easy. Women have struggled for a very, very long time to get care--decent care. They've spent billions of dollars on menopause, and they usually get nothing, and sometimes they get hurt. And I think that has to stop.
Teri Struck: That's true. I think we're actually of an age that it's lucky right now to find people like you, so that we can actually go forward, and learn more in a healthy way.
TS Wiley: Well, the evidence is out there. The information is out there. And right now, the way bioidenticals are offered to women is hit or miss. It's not scientific. And I think it can be done in a much better way, with a hypothesis, and then of course, with a study, to prove that we've either done what we think we've done, or we haven't. Women are in the dark right now. They go to a doctor and they spend a lot of money, and if it doesn't work, they go to another one.
Teri Struck: I want to take another short break. I'm so interested in this, and I want to tell our listeners more, but let's take another short break and thank our sponsors. You're listening to Teri Struck, PersonalLifeMedia.com.
Teri Struck: And we're back with TS Wiley, who wrote “Sex, Lies, and Menopause.” Hey, TS, I just have to ask you one last question before we wrap this up, it's really important. I have a girlfriend who has a family history of breast cancer, and she wanted to know: could she do the Wiley Protocol, and how does that affect her?
TS Wiley: It is my conclusion, after eight years worth of research on breast cancer, and the evidence that I provided in “Sex, Lies, and Menopause,” is that a woman who has a family history of breast cancer needs to reinstall a normal rhythm of hormones to protect herself more than a woman who doesn't have a family history of breast cancer. If estrogen caused breast cancer, all young women would be dead, and all pregnant women would be dead. So it is not estrogen, as such, that causes breast cancer. All of the studies in the world that link estrogen to breast cancer show low chronic doses. And that's what happens. In mid-life, women get breast cancer as their estrogen is falling off. Not when they're young and healthy, and have high level peaks and valleys the same way we provide them in the Wiley Protocol.
Teri Struck: So you feel it's more environmental, the breast cancer, than it is the estrogen..?
TS Wiley: No. I feel breast cancer is certainly heritable.
Teri Struck: Right.
TS Wiley: I feel breast cancer is the fall-off of hormones. It is the wrong rhythm. Hormones are songs. And the song has to be accurate, and as you become disrhythmic, entering menopause, and then have no hormones altogether and the song is lost. And the protection of ovulation is lost. So, estrogen and progesterone work together to normalize growth stasis and death in cells all over your body—certainly in your breasts. And when you don't have those rhythms anymore, it's all up for grabs.
Teri Struck: I think that's really good news for women that are concerned about their family history of breast cancer. Because I know that my friends that have that are concerned that they're not going to be able to get the Wiley Protocol.
TS Wiley: They will from the doctors we've referred them to. I've worked with an oncologist. My co-author on “Sex, Lies, and Menopause” is an oncologist. We reported on 55 cancer patients at a large doctor conference called ACAM. And those 55 cancer patients, we would've expected a recurrence of one in ten with no treatment. And, they had had the standard of care, and they'd been on the Wiley Protocol for an average of two and a half years, and we only saw two and a half or three recurrences in 55, when we should've seen five and a half or six. So we saw half the number of recurrences.
Teri Struck: This is great news for thousands of women, and I'm going to help pass the word. I definitely want to have you back. We're running out of time, unfortunately. I definitely want to have you back to do another show.
TS Wiley: That would be wonderful.
Teri Struck: Thank you so much for talking with us today, and I am going to grill you again, because I'm not done with this subject. This is such a fascinating subject, and we have to learn more for all of us. If you guys have any more questions, you can go to PersonalLifeMedia.com, or email me at teri@PersonalLifeMedia.com. We are going to have all the links to TS Wiley's book and her website, and you can learn more. Thanks for being with us today.
TS Wiley: Thank you.