You’re NOT Losing Your Mind… You ARE Losing Your Hormones!
By Marie Pace, DNM
80+ WARNING Signs Your Hormones are out of Balance
Hormones are vital to your life… They help determine how you feel, think, digest foods, poop, smell, taste, sleep and much, much more…
They are like little tiny messengers or administrative assistants that run up and down your body telling each organ or system what to do. Without these “messengers” you’d be dead. Sometimes clients come to my office and tell me that they “feel dead” or like they’re “dying”… When that occurs I know instantly we are dealing with someone whose hormones are imbalanced!
HOW ARE HORMONES PRODUCED?
Hormones are produced by the body`s major endocrine glands, such as the brain, thyroid, pancreas, reproductive glands, adrenals, and more.
To operate effectively, hormone levels must be at the right level, not too high or too low. In other words, hormonal imbalance affects the overall body and can lead to various health issues.
MAJOR ENDOCRINE GLANDS
- Hypothalamus: The main gland acted on by the hormone is Anterior pituitary. The hypothalamus is responsible for body temperature, hunger, moods and the release of hormones from other glands. It also controls thirst, sleep and sex drive.
- Parathyroid: Controls the amount of calcium in the body. It is mostly linked to the kidney and bone cells.
- Thymus: This gland plays a role in the function of the adaptive immune system and the maturity of the thymus, and produces T-cells.
- Pancreas: This gland produces the insulin that helps control blood sugar levels.
- Thyroid: This produces hormones associated with calorie burning and heart rate.
- Adrenal: These glands produce the hormones that control sex drive and cortisol, the stress hormone.
- Pituitary: Considered the “master control gland,” the pituitary gland controls other glands and makes the hormones that trigger growth.
- Pineal: This gland produces serotonin derivatives of melatonin, which affects sleep. These are also called the thalamus.
- Ovaries: Only in women, the ovaries secrete estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, the female sex hormones.
- Testes: Only in men, the testes produce the male sex hormone, testosterone, and produce sperm.
Conventional medicine usually runs basic serum blood labs for hormone health. If those tests don’t come back normal, the patient is given synthetic hormone medications. On the other hand, if the tests come back normal but the symptoms don’t go away, you may be told that you are overweight, getting old, or that you’re depressed. That is why working with a functionally trained Holistic doctor is your better choice… and that is where we come in…
Let’s take a look at the most common hormone symptoms that we deal with and how to correctly test them…
COMMON HORMONE PROBLEMS
Below, there are some of the most prevalent hormone issues.
Insulin resistance is a hormonal resistance pattern. Even though most people know it when it comes to type 2 diabetes, it is seen in people who are not in the full-blown disease yet.
The pre-diabetic metabolic syndrome is marked by insulin resistance. This means that the body IS producing insulin but your cells have become RESISTANT to the insulin which causes sugar (glucose) to store in the blood stream instead of entering into the cells where it belongs.
What You Might Experience:
Cravings for sweets
Irritableness if meals are missed
Dependence on coffee
Become lightheaded if meals are missed
Feel shaky, jittery, or having tremors
Agitated, easily upset, or nervous
Fatigue after meals
Eating sweets doesn’t relieve sugar cravings
Waist girth is equal or larger than hip girth
Nerve damage (neuropathy)
Increased thirst and appetite
Difficulty losing weight
BEST METHOD OF TESTING: fasting serum blood test
Cortisol is the body`s major stress hormone and an imbalance in cortisol rhythm typically causes adrenal fatigue.
What You Might Experience with LOW LEVELS of Cortisol:
Dizziness when standing up quickly
Blood sugar issues (low blood sugar, POTS syndrome, etc.)
Nails are weak
Difficulty losing weight
You’re slow to start in the morning
Cravings for salty or sugary foods
Low sex drive
You’re fatigued in the afternoon but get a “second wind” in the evening
Can’t stay asleep
Muscle aches and pains; cramps in legs
Body temp fluctuates
Negative thoughts late at night
What You Might Experience with HIGH LEVELS of Cortisol:
Impaired cognitive performance
Suppressed thyroid function
High blood sugar
Belly Fat / weight gain
Higher blood pressure
Decrease in muscle size
Decreased bone density
Brain less sensitive to estrogens / hot flashes
Interrupted estrogen and progesterone
Slow wound healing
BEST METHOD OF TESTING: Saliva Hormone testing_____
Thyroid hormones are important for each cell of the body. There are various underlying thyroid issues that fail to show on standard labs. For instance, thyroid conversion issues, thyroid resistance or autoimmune attacks against the thyroid (Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease).
What You Might Experience with LOW Thyroid function:
Depression or lack of motivation
Morning headaches that wear off as the day progresses
Outer third of eyebrow is thin
Thinning of hair on scalp
Excessive hair falling out
Aches and pains in hands, joints, feet, etc.
Feeling cold in your hands, feet, or all over
Requiring excessive amounts of sleep to function properly
Weight gain, even with a low-calorie diet
Difficult, infrequent bowel movements
BEST METHOD OF TESTING: serum blood testing or blood spot testing as a fasting test (do NOT swallow thyroid hormone pills the morning of the blood draw until after the blood draw)
The ratio of the three forms of estrogen [estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), estriol (E3)] is critical for both genders. According to a research, estrogen imbalance is linked to mortality rates in those with heart disease as well as a progression of some types of cancer.
What You Might Experience With LOW ESTROGENS:
Feeling puffy and bloated
Rapid weight gain
Increased stress levels
Dry eyes, dry skin
Heavy menstrual bleeding
Period disappears or is late
Feeling anxious and/or depressed
Have had cervical dysplasia (abnormal pap smear)
Insomnia, trouble with sleep
Weepy and emotional
Vulvovaginal atrophy (painful sex, etc.)
Joint pains (knees, shoulders, neck, elbows, hands, feet, etc.)
UTI’s due to thinning tissues
Common Myth: A woman no longer produces any estrogen or progesterone during menopause because she is no longer releasing any eggs: But the truth is that women do not ever stop making sex hormones but levels drop during menopause naturally.
Common myth: Estrogen causes breast cancer! Estrogen DOES NOT create breast cancer or any other cancer and its supplementation after menopause might actually have a protective effect. It is known that estrogens can FUEL but NOT CAUSE cancer… that means it can fuel and feed cancer that is already present in the body.
WHAT Men or Women Might Experience with HIGH ESTROGENS:
Swelling and tenderness of breasts
Decreased Sex drive
Mood Swings (irritability and depression)
Cold hands and feet
BEST METHOD OF TESTING: Saliva Hormone Testing
Again, both genders need healthy progesterone balance. This hormone helps to neutralize the effects of excess estrogen, which becomes harmful and out of control without optimal progesterone.
What You Might Experience with LOW progesterone compared to higher estrogens:
Unhealthy looking skin
Stubborn weight gain
Fibrocystic breasts, ovaries, etc.
Short menstrual cycles (2 periods in 1 month)
What you might experience with HIGH progesterone levels:
More yeast infections
Waking up groggy feeling
Anxiety and/or Depression
Discomfort or pain in the legs
BEST METHOD OF TESTING: Saliva hormone testing
6. Testosterone or DHEA
Low testosterone is very common in both men and women. Low testosterone in women is associated with low sex drive, breast cancer, and heart disease while men with low testosterone have a higher death rate.
What Men/Women Might Experience With HIGH Testosterone / DHEA:
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Excessive hair on the face and arms
Hypoglycemia and/or unstable blood sugar
**NOTE: High DHEA with Lower Testosterone is indicative of INSULIN RESISTANCE / Metabolic Syndrome caused by high fat – high protein diet.
What Men/Women Might Experience With LOW Testosterone / DHEA:
Muscle loss / muscle weakness
Low sex drive
Immune system not working correctly (autoimmune diseases)
Bone loss (osteoporosis)
Demotivation and depression
Hair loss / hair thinning
Extreme aches and pains in muscles and joints
What Men Might Experience:
Men don’t produce estrogen like women but convert it through a process called aromatization. Excess activity of the enzyme aromatase can cause low testosterone and high estrogen in men, which in turn results in the following:
Low sex drive
Extreme aches and pains in muscles and joints
BEST METHOD OF TESTING: Saliva Hormone Testing
Fat cells play a very important part of the hormonal system by producing leptin. This hormone controls how the body stores its fat for energy use. If not recognized by the body, it creates leptin resistance and causes the body to store more fat.
What You Might Experience with HIGH leptin:
Difficulty losing weight easily
Constant food cravings
BEST METHOD OF TESTING: serum blood test
Produced in both male and female bodies and often described as the mother OR master of all hormones, naturally occurring pregnenolone acts to improve memory and combat depression – and has powerful anti-inflammatory arthritis pain relieving properties. Your body cannot make progesterone, dhea, testosterone, cortisol, estrogens, etc. without proper amounts of pregnenolone as the precursor! A person might have any of the following:
Low body temp
Unexplained hair loss
Difficulty building muscle
Moments of confusion and poor memory
Poor resistance to infections
Loss of joy
BEST METHOD OF TESTING: Serum blood test
9. Vitamin D3 (range is 32-100 and the ideal is 50-100 and if dealing with major illness 80-100):
(Vitamin D really isn’t a vitamin at all but a potent neuro-regulatory steroidal hormone.)
Symptoms of low D3 are:
Autoimmune disease is developed in the body (MS, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, etc.)
Aches and pains in the shins of your legs
Generalized bone pain and/or stress fractures
Upper respiratory issues
Tender sternum (chest bone)
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Low B12 or low iron
Lowered immune function
Hair Loss (alopecia, etc.)
Aberrations of estrogen metabolism = infertility, pms, rocky menopause
Lowered progesterone hormone
Sadness and/or depression
Greater pain sensitivity
Fatigue and/or sleep issues
Extreme crankiness / grouchiness
Sweating (even on top of head)
Vitamin D is necessary for building and maintaining healthy bones. That’s because calcium, the primary component of bone, can only be absorbed by your body when vitamin D is present. Your body makes vitamin D when direct sunlight converts a chemical in your skin into an active form of the vitamin (calciferol)
The amount of vitamin D your skin makes depends on many factors, including the time of day, season, latitude and your skin pigmentation. Depending on where you live and your lifestyle, vitamin D production might decrease or be completely absent during the winter months. Sunscreen, while important, also can decrease vitamin D production.
Many older adults don’t get regular exposure to sunlight and have trouble absorbing vitamin D, so taking a multivitamin with vitamin D will likely help improve bone health.
Research on vitamin D use for specific conditions shows:
- Research suggests that vitamin D, especially when taken with calcium, might help prevent certain cancers.
- Cognitive health.Early research suggests that vitamin D might play a role in cognitive health. In one small study of adults age 60 years and older being treated for dementia, researchers found that taking a vitamin D supplement helped improve cognitive function.
- Inherited disorders.Vitamin D supplements can be used to help treat inherited disorders resulting from an inability to absorb or process vitamin D, such as familial hypophosphatemia.
- Multiple sclerosis.Research suggests that long-term vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis.
- Vitamin D supplements are used to treat adults with severe vitamin D deficiency, resulting in loss of bone mineral content, bone pain, muscle weakness and soft bones (osteomalacia).
- Studies suggest that people who get enough vitamin D and calcium in their diets can slow bone mineral loss, help prevent osteoporosis and reduce bone fractures.
- Applying vitamin D or a topical preparation that contains a vitamin D compound called calcipotriene to the skin can treat plaque-type psoriasis in some people.
- This rare condition develops in children with vitamin D deficiency. Supplementing with vitamin D can prevent and treat the problem.
BEST METHOD OF TESTING: serum or blood spot testing
10. SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin) – SHBG is a protein made by your liver and binds specifically to your estradiol, testosterone and DHT (dihydrotestosterone). Its job is to carry these hormones throughout your bloodstream. While it’s doing this and the hormones are “bound” they are NOT available to your cells for use. It’s your body’s way of regulating hormone levels. If your SHBG levels are low, your body has more unbound sex hormones available for use. When the levels are high your body has FEWER free sex hormones at its disposal.
What you might experience if your SHBG is LOW: with lower SHBG your hormones might be high in the body! This can lead to…
Fluid retention, Acne, Increased appetite and weight gain, mood swings, larger breast tissue, ED in men, excessive facial and body hair, menstrual irregularity, bloating, breast tenderness, PCOS, Insulin resistance, diabetes
What you might experience if your SHBG is HIGH:
Less available testosterone in the body, decreased sex drive, impotence, decreased body hair, infertility, hot flashes, reduced bone and muscle mass, decreased energy and motivation, vaginal dryness, memory loss, tiredness, irregular or absent periods, excessive thyroid hormone production, liver stress!
Ok… now you realize that you really AREN’T LOSING YOUR MIND… that you just are imbalanced… so let’s get you tested properly for each hormone and gland and put together the right program that is unique for you! Call our office for a consult. We’re here to help you.
Legal: The information provided is not intended as a means of diagnosis or treating illness or as a replacement for any medicine or advice from a competent physician. Individuals having serious health problems should consult a competent licensed physician specializing in their condition. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. We assume no responsibility for anyone choosing to self-administer any suggestions in this publication; they do so on their own determinism. The information in this publication is for educational purposes only.
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