Are you excited about the holidays? Perhaps you have some “mixed” feelings as you look forward to family, friends and all the celebrations. You love the season and the festivities but may be thinking, “I wish I felt better.” If only I had more energy, more focus, was sleeping better, had less pain, and was experiencing less anxiety and depression. While the foods are a big part of the celebrations, you wish you had fewer cravings and that your stomach felt better.
You may have dancing holiday hormones.
You are not alone. The good news is these symptoms have solutions.
Balancing your body’s various systems is a delicate dance requiring experience and information. Putting together the pieces of this puzzle is paramount to finding the answers to your health.
The key is finding the cause of the symptoms. It is a matter of testing, not guessing.
Your symptoms may be due to any of the following:
- Hormonal imbalance
- Neurotransmitter (NT) changes
- Thyroid condition
- Adrenal fatigue
- Nutrient deficiency
You really can’t fix a problem unless you know the cause.
Balancing the hormones and neurotransmitters, resolving nutrient deficiencies, and eliminating toxins will put you on the road to optimal health.
Let’s start with celebrating the sex hormones.
Imbalances in the sex hormones cause a variety of health risks. Women often experience anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, pain, fatigue, brain fog, carbohydrate cravings, lack of motivation, muscle weakness, difficulty losing weight, hot flashes AND low libido. A man might experience irritability, loss of energy, muscle-wasting, increased body fat, osteoporosis, low libido, loss of an erection and depression. Recent research also shows that low testosterone also increases the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), insulin resistance, and increased mortality from CVD and cancer.
These symptoms are neither a sign of growing older nor created in your head. They are the result of hormonal imbalance and can occur at any age. They are often related to an estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone deficiency—and, yes, that includes men and women. They may also be due to low thyroid, an adrenal imbalance, or a neurotransmitter change—neurotransmitters are the chemicals found mostly in the brain that affects all our moods, actions, and mental clarity.
We need to test these systems and treat appropriately, using specific targeted natural amino acids, nutrients, and Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) to achieve optimum health. BHRT is a natural effective hormone replacement without the side effects of typically prescribed pharmaceutical drugs.
We know that hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) in women decreases osteoporosis, colon cancer, menopausal symptoms and supports mental function. Recent studies also show a decrease in diabetes.
But what about sex? Sexual activity at baseline in the Women’s Health Initiative study (WHI) was 60.7% in ages 50-59, 44.9% in ages 60-69, and 28.2% in ages 70-79. Most of the participants were satisfied with their current sexual activity (63.2%). Of those dissatisfied, 57% of the women preferred more sexual activity. HRT was associated with a higher percentage of participants reporting sexual activity.
Since neurotransmitters affect hormones and hormones affect neurotransmitters, their imbalances often lead to increased symptoms and chronic illnesses.
Neurotransmitters include the inhibitory serotonin and GABA, and excitatory nor-epinephrine NE), epinephrine (EPI), glutamate, and dopamine. Neurotransmitter imbalances can cause a wide range of mental, physical, and emotional symptoms. For example, low levels of serotonin result in anxiety, depression, pain, lack of motivation, insomnia, and carbohydrate cravings. In December you really need normal levels of serotonin!
When neurotransmitters are out of balance, brain fog results. Low levels of dopamine, nor-epinephrine, epinephrine, or glutamate can create lack of focus and low brain function. Once tested, specific amino acids can correct the imbalance for better brain function.
Maybe you have had your thyroid tested and it is “normal.” Do you have fatigue, weight gain, constipation, depression, pain, fuzzy thinking, low blood pressure, memory loss, loss of the outer most eyebrows, or decreased libido? Low thyroid may be the culprit.
Hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) is often misdiagnosed.
Thyroid hormones directly effect most organs, including the heart which beats faster and harder under the influence of thyroid hormones. Optimal thyroid function affects every cell in our body. On a cellular level, optimal nutrition absorption, detoxification of wastes, or stimulation of oxygen consumption requires adequate thyroid balance.
Don’t just settle for a TSH test. That is not enough to give you the answers you need to evaluate your thyroid. Have a comprehensive test that includes free T3, free T4, reverse T3, TSH, and thyroid antibodies.
Cortisol & your adrenals
Decreased thyroid function is often due to high levels of cortisol and inflammatory markers. High levels of cortisol (which can also be caused by high stress levels, low testosterone, etc.) can directly suppress pituitary TSH secretion and impair both thyroid and serotonin function.
Do you find yourself saying things like, “Help, I want to feel better for the holidays”?
Do you feel tired, suffer from lack of sleep, and have joint pain or muscle stiffness, frequently catch the flu or colds, feel anxious and depressed, and have headaches or gastrointestinal disturbances, difficulty concentrating or remembering, or experiencing various allergy symptoms? Do you have difficulty getting up in the morning, more fatigue from 3:00-5:00 PM, and get a second wind in the evening? Are you craving salt? Do you feel lightheaded? Are you sensitive to loud noises? Do you or others see you as “not your old self”? You may have low cortisol and adrenal fatigue. Cortisol, however, can be tested using specialty labs and easily treated.
You deserve to feel better celebrating the holidays and 2021 !
Nutrient deficiencies can cause or exacerbate all the symptoms. For example, low levels of Vitamin D can cause depression and a wide range of disorders. Nutrition is the most important tool for staying mentally and physically fit, and is by far the most underutilized tool. When you think about it, the only way we live and heal is by the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.
Toxins can create mood disorders and compromise every system in the body. Choose your personal skin care, food, and cleaning products carefully buying only the least toxic. www.EWG.org is good resource.
See a biological dentist to remove any amalgams (silver fillings) and avoid having more toxins put in your mouth. Be tested to determine if you have toxins and then have them safely removed through specific medically approved supplements and intravenous IV therapies.
I know this might sound complicated, but sometimes dances are. However, a physician trained in proper testing, diagnoses, and treatment of multiple bodily systems can guide you and show you the steps.
Functional Medicine is a field of specialty with a systems approach – finding the cause for the symptoms and treating the whole person. The focus of functional medicine is managing the transitions, prolonging life, and preserving a healthy, active lifestyle. The approach to achieving these important goals is to use natural approaches primarily and conventional pharmacology only when indicated to normalize as many hormones as possible.
Remember, hormone balance not only includes the hormones of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, but also thyroid, adrenal, and neurotransmitter hormones. All these systems and hormones interact and support each other. They are the dancing hormones, and you don’t want them to miss a step.