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Posts Tagged ‘hormones’

I’m so pleased to see that GPs are now advising their patients to have Vitamin D tests – it’s about time! If there is one vitamin of vital need, this is it.

Vitamin D regulates gene expression, has a positive fundamental effect on cell differentiation and growth, with anti-oxidative and autoimmune anti-inflammatory mechanisms. It positively affects the nervous system by stimulating neurotrophic factors, quenching oxidative hyperactivity and regulating autoimmune responses.

It’s made by the action of UVB sunlight as it strikes the cholesterol covering our bare skin. Unfortunately with our habit of washing with soap, all the cholesterol is washed off, leaving none with which to make vitamin D. So no amount of sunshine will help when skin is washed with soap.

For some of the best information on vitamin D have a look at: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/
Here is what Dr Cannell, of the Vitamin D Council said:

“During the last decade… ground-breaking laboratory studies have shown that the active hormone form of vitamin D interacts with receptors in more than 30 tissues and organs of the body and influences the action of some 1000 or more genes. By these means Vitamin D controls not only calcium homeostasis but another five physiological systems: the immune system, pancreas beta cells, heart and blood vessels, muscle development and strength, and brain development. In addition vitamin D has direct effects on cell activity. It facilitates cell differentiation and apoptosis, that is, it regulates cell death. Together with calcium it has a profound effect on cellular adhesion and initiation of cancer.”

30-50% of people have a Vitamin D deficiency, particularly those living in climates with little sun, living above 34 degrees north or south of the equator, work indoors, spend little time in the sun and have dark skin. The darker the skin the more sun exposure is required to obtain sufficient. The following list gives an indication of levels of vitamin D found in the blood. The test should be done for 25-hydroxyvitamin D, also called calcidiol:

Sufficient: 50-100ng/ml or 125-250 nmol/L
Hypovitaminosis: <30ng/ml or 75 nmol/L
Deficiency: <25ng/ml or 62 nmol/L

Vitamin D comes in three forms:

* Cholecalciferol or D3 which is formed in the skin, this also comes as a supplement to take.
* Calcidiol (25-hydroxyvitamin D) is a prehormone made from cholecalciferol by the liver. When testing for vitamin D this, and only this, is what should be tested for.
* Calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) is made from calcidiol principally by the kidneys, and is a most potent steroid hormone.

Finally a lack of vitamin D reduces the benefits of progesterone, of which, you may know, I’m a supporter.

If you have concerns, please consider having a test done. There is mounting evidence that many (74 at last count), if not all, of our modern diseases, syndromes, symptoms are possibly due to a lack of vitamin D.

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I am constantly being asked by clients about polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), from which many women suffer where cysts on the ovaries cause pain during ovulation, PMS, and excess hair growth on the face, legs and arms.  It’s been known for some time that PCOS is associated with high insulin levels, which stimulate the ovarian production of androgens (male hormones).  In a study of obese and non-obese women with PCOS (Nobumasa et al, 2002), various hormones were measured with interesting results: the average levels of testosterone and androstenedione in obese women were significantly higher than those in non-obese women.  This is yet another indicator that obesity can contribute significantly to hormone imbalance.  PCOS disappears rapidly in most women when they cut sugar and refined carbohydrates from their diet.

Can Progesterone help recovery from PCOS?

PCOS is a condition which is rising alarmingly all over the world.

PCOS is generally considered a syndrome rather than a disease, because it manifests through a group of signs and symptoms that can occur in any combination, rather than having one known cause.

Symptoms vary and include some or all of the following…

  • oligomenorrhoea (absent or infrequent periods) or amenorrhea (no menstrual period).
  • enlarged ovaries (usually 1.5 to 3 times larger than normal).
  • cysts (fluid-filled sacs), giving the classic “string of pearls” appearance to ovaries with many cysts. Cystic ovaries can lead to…
  • chronic pelvic pain – although the exact cause of this pain isn’t known, inflammation is the most likely cause.
  • anovulation (lack of ovulation), which is relatively common as the follicles mature only occasionally, this leads to…
  • low progesterone levels, as it’s only after ovulation that the follicle, now called the corpus luteum, produces progesterone. But low progesterone levels lead to…
  • high levels of luteinising hormone (LH) as the pituitary is trying to stimulate ovulation. High LH suppresses follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) so this leads to arrested follicle growth in the next cycle. But LH also stimulates the thecal cells in the ovary to produce androgens which leads to…
  • high androgens (hyperandrogenism), particularly high testosterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), leading to excess facial and body hair, male pattern baldness, deepening of the voice, weight problems including obesity and a smaller hip to waist ratio, acne, oily skin, dandruff, suppression of ovarian function, leading to anovulation which leads to…
  • infertility (the inability to get pregnant within six to 12 months of unprotected intercourse, depending on age) and low progesterone levels

Natural treatment

  • Above all have a vitamin D test done, and take a minimum of 5000 IU’s per day, bringing the level in the blood to 50ng/ml (125nmol/L) or above. A lack of vitamin D is found in PCO, with many authorities believing it could be the main contributing factor. A lack also leads to hyperparathyroidism which is often present in PCO. High levels of parathyroid hormone suppresses thyroid activity, leading to a higher than normal TSH level. The year round level of vitamin D should be 50ng/ml (125nmol/L) or higher
  • A lack of vitamin D reduces the benefits of progesterone
  • Use between 150-250mg/day progesterone, this helps stabilise blood sugar and suppresses androgen production. It also helps to correct ovarian malfunction
  • Take the B vitamin inositol, this aids in reversing insulin resistance and stabilizing glucose levels. Studies have shown this restores gonadal function.
  • Take the antioxidant amino acids L-arginine and N-acetyl cysteine, studies have shown these restore gonadal function.
  • The amino acids L-glutamine and L-glycine are very helpful. The brain can use them in place of glucose for energy, so they stop all binging, tiredness, cravings for sugary foods and alcohol. Glutamine also heals the lining of the gut, it boosts the immune system and is the most abundant amino acid in the muscles, so helping with muscle weakness. These two amino acids are also two of the three precursors to glutathione, which apart from vitamin D, is the most important antioxidant the body makes. The third amino precursor is cysteine, which is essential to take.
  • MCT oil (medium chain triglyceride) is another excellent source of energy which is not converted to fat, but can be used directly by the cells for energy, take 5-60ml/day. It’s extracted from coconut oil and comprises 60% caprylic acid, which kills candida, and 40% capric acid.

It could take a while for things to sort themselves out, so have patience. Researchers have found it takes from four to six months for the ovaries to start functioning correctly.

Additional Information

Progesterone

Apply 150-250mg of progesterone per day. The higher dose might be needed.

It should only be used at ovulation, for the last 14 days of the cycle, taking day 1 as the first day of bleeding.

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According to the private health group, BUPA, roughly 270,000 people in the UK take time off every day due to stress. Nearly 60% of all absences from work are caused by stress; stress is an inescapable part of modern life. Every year sickness absence, due to work-related stress, costs British industry around £10 billion. In today’s society 75% of diseases are associated with stress and tension. Holistic therapy in its various forms can help stress-related ailments.

In the USA side effects of prescription drugs are seen as the sixth most common cause of death and this is why more and more people are turning to complementary therapy which is a central part of a worldwide healing tradition.

The holistic approach is not just to work on the symptoms but to tackle the root of the problem, thereby preventing the ailment from getting worse. Furthermore, because holistic therapy is a preventative form of therapy, many people who have regular treatments report that they experience fewer ailments than they would otherwise.

The different types of holistic therapies available at Mind, Body and Sole significantly aid in reducing stress. The differences between the treatments can be seen when looking at the healing effects the treatments can offer in regard to different ailments. The benefits, very often, are noticed immediately, but may take several treatments to achieve their fullest and most worthwhile effects.

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The purpose of the adrenal glands is to help the body cope with the stresses of life and to survive. It is the job of the adrenal glands to enable the body to deal with stress from every possible source, ranging from injury and disease to work and relationships. Our resiliency, endurance and energy depend on their proper functioning. The hormones secreted by the adrenal glands influence the major physiological processes in the body. They affect the utilization of carbohydrates and fats, the conversion of fats and proteins into energy, the distribution of stored fat (especially around the waist), normal blood sugar regulation and proper cardiovascular and gastrointestinal function. Indeed, the protective activity of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant hormones secreted by the adrenals helps to minimise negative and allergic reactions to alcohol, drugs, foods and environmental allergens.

The propensity to develop certain kinds of diseases and the ability to respond to chronic illness is influenced significantly by the adrenal glands. The more chronic the illness, the more critical the adrenal response becomes. We cannot live without our adrenal hormones and how well we live depends a great deal on how well our adrenal glands function. Adrenal fatigue (whether mild or severe) is usually caused by some form of stress. This stress can be physical, emotional, psychological, environmental or infectious. Anyone who does not get enough rest and relaxation, who drives themselves constantly, who is a perfectionist, who is under constant pressure, who feels trapped or helpless, who feels overwhelmed by repeated emotional or physical trauma or illness is probably suffering from some degree of adrenal fatigue.

Signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue:

  • • Difficulty getting up in the morning
  • • Continuing fatigue not relieved by sleep
  • • Craving for salt or salty foods
  • • Lethargy – everything seems like a chore (even things you enjoy)
  • • Increased effort to do every day tasks
  • • Decreased sex drive
  • • Decreased ability to handle stress
  • • Increased time to recover from illness, injury or trauma
  • • Light-headed when standing up quickly
  • • Mild depression
  • • Less enjoyment or happiness with life
  • • Increased PMS
  • • Symptoms increase if meals are skipped or inadequate
  • • Thoughts are less focused, more fuzzy
  • • Memory less accurate
  • • Decreased tolerance

It is extremely sad that adrenal fatigue (hypoadrenia) is not taught in medical schools yet it has been recognised, written about, discussed and treated for over one hundred years. Unfortunately, the average doctor is unaware of its presence and so, not surprisingly, seldom looks for it. Even endocrinologists rarely recognise adrenal fatigue as a distinct condition or are prepared to treat it (unless it manifests in its most severe form: Addison’s Disease), that is why it is important that we become informed ourselves and recognise it.

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Natural Progesterone can be used to prevent menstrual bleeding, which triggers the pain of endometriosis. In his book ‘ Natural Progesterone, The Multiple Roles of a Remarkable Hormone’, Dr. Lee (the pioneer of natural progesterone) explains how, by applying sufficient progesterone from day 10 to day 26 of the menstrual cycle, bleeding and pelvic pain will be considerably reduced and, over a period of time, the body has a chance to recover. Interestingly, none of his patients following this regime had to resort to surgery.

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I get extremely cross when people think that progesterone is simply a female sex hormone – it’s not just that! So, you can imagine what I told my male friend when he came to me for advice about his anxiety and migraines, then turned to me and said “ I don’t want to turn into a woman”! Progesterone is commonly thought of as a ‘female’ sex hormone. This is misleading as it is vital for sustaining not just health but life itself in all mammals of both sexes.

As a man gets older testosterone is converted into di-hydrotestosterone (DHT), which some believe is the cause of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and cancer.

Oestrogen levels also increase as a man gets older. Oestrogen is known to stimulate cell growth. Reading between the lines, because as yet, there is no definitive study done on this, it appears to be the increased oestrogen level which is the problem and not the two testosterones. As progesterone is a powerful counter-balance for estrogen, progesterone for men is essential.

If in fact testosterone were the culprit, then men aged ±22 would have the highest incidence of BPH and cancer, as testosterone levels are at their highest point in the early 20’s, but of course they don’t. From the early twenty’s to the late twenty’s testosterone makes it’s greatest drop, thereafter it continues to decline, but at a slower rate.

Progesterone also down regulates the action of oestrogen if used in a sufficiently high dose. The endogenous oestrogen made by humans is now being supplemented by synthetic oestrogens found in the environment. They are now found in food, air, water, plastics, skin care products, no one can avoid them. Some authorities speculate this is the cause of the increase in problems such as hyperplasia or cancers of any hormonally sensitive tissues, such as the prostate, endometrium, cervix and breasts. So, despite often being, erroneously, thought of as a ‘female’ hormone progesterone for men is essential to preserve masculinity!

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