Reason 1: Women are Not Small Men
What this means for our male counterparts is a high success rate with the same biohacking routine each day – hence why men thrive using biohacks like intermittent fasting or HIIT workouts daily.
For women, it’s a bit more complex – we have a 24-hr hormone cycle like men (regulating sleep/wake cycle – driven by cortisol/melatonin) layered on top of a 28(ish) day hormone cycle (driven by estrogen/progesterone).
Because of this, women have to consider both cycles and the resulting ebb and flow of hormone, biochemical, neurochemical and physiological changes when making health choices.
Reason 2: Women = Biggest Limitation in Health Research
Women who experience a female hormone cycle represent a huge gap in health science.
Women have always been regarded as “risky” and “difficult” research subjects, but this fate was sealed in 1977, when the FDA formally banned women of child-bearing potential from participating in clinical research. This formal ban remained in effect until women’s health activism overturned it in 1993 and then the following year, The FDA opened the Office of Women’s Health. But unfortunately the standards were already set, and the damage was done.
To this day, women who have a hormone cycle, are still considered a research limitation.
And there is a little more bad news for the ladies…
You know all of that really cool supplemental, fitness, nutritional, and so on biohacks that you see recommended for everyone by your fav influencer?
Well, what they really mean (if they understand the research gap), is for everyone EXCEPT those with a female hormone cycle.
Which really sucks, I know!
But until the women’s health research gap is bridged, we, as women and biohackers, have a responsibility to become our own health advocates and build our own personal health expertise.
In doing this we can actually help to build the evidence base for women-centric science and biohacking, and begin to build a bridge for researchers to follow.
So, What are Women To Do?
The fact is, that the female hormone cycle is not a limitation.
It's a SUPERPOWER!
And one that the other 1/2 of the population does not have access to.
We just have to learn how to leverage it.
The first step is to gain an intimate understanding of your personal female hormone cycle.
The Female Hormone Cycle:
The female hormone cycle is more than just a PERIOD.
In fact, menstruation is only one of four phases in the female hormone cycle.
- Menstruation 2.Follicular 3.Ovulation 4. Luteal
(art by author)
Because of the four distinct phases of our hormone cycle, women are essentially 4 different people (speaking in biochemical and physiological terms) over the span of 1 month.
This is why the same routine or set of biohacks each day will not suffice for women.
True women’s health optimization can only be achieved if her biohacking efforts match the ebb and flow of her hormones, neurochemistry, and bioenergetics through the phases of her cycle.
Now, it’s important to mention and keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits all for women’s biohacking or universal template that applies to every woman’s cycle – this is why we are difficult research subjects!
Every woman’s cycle is unique to her in terms of length and the extent to which she feels the biochemical and physiological changes.
We Need a Paradigm Shift
The fact is that women are struggling.
Struggling to meet the high bar they set for themselves.
Struggling to take care of their families, careers, and themselves.
Struggling to fit inside the male-shaped box that defines their health.
If we continue to disempower women by leaving them out of the research equation, not properly educating them about their bio-individuality, and by not supporting their unique and ever-changing needs, we will continue to see women struggle.
Proposing One Solution & Needing Many More
In an attempt to flip the paradigm and begin to empower women to become their own health advocates, I have joined forces with top women’s health leaders from around the globe to bring The PowHer Program to life.
This is a 12-month masters-level women’s health program unlike any other – fully powered by women for women. Fully supported, evidence-based, individualized, hands-on women’s health education program.
Our hope is that this model for women’s health will not be unique for long. We hope to pave a path to make this the new norm in women’s health.
Join the ranks of powerful women who are reclaiming their health sovereignty at www.powherprogram.org
Author: Kayla Osterhoff, MPH, HOPe, PhDc