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Be Rested: Sleep to Get Skinny

solitude-1591169_1920Trying to lose weight? Chances are you’re already keeping track of what you’re eating and how much activity you get each day. You may also be keyed in on drinking more water, reducing stress, and taking supportive supplements. But in the long checklist of things you’re tracking, have you considered adding sleep? Research continues to prove that not getting enough sleep can contribute to weight gain because of how it impacts hormone balance. Dr. Hyman explores the concept, the research, and a case study in his engaging article on the topic:

“It’s all about the hormones… Your body has a finely tuned appetite control system that is governed by certain hormones. These hormones are affected by sleep. One group of researchers has found that depriving healthy men of sleep leads to increases in grehlin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry, and decreases in leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full.”

Getting your appetite… and waistline… back under control may start with adding more sleep into your diet. If you struggle with falling or staying asleep, check in with your doctor at Lake Pointe for solutions to help get you back on track.

Be Fertile: Gallbladder Health for Hormone Health

hyacinth-1402847_1280What if I told you giving your gallbladder a little TLC could relieve PMS symptoms? It sounds a bit crazy, but Lauren of Empowered Sustenance explains how it plays a crucial role in keeping your hormones in balance:

“You may not have considered the crucial role your gallbladder plays in hormone health. As a matter of fact, a poorly-functioning gallbladder paves the way to PMS and hormone hell.

How does the gallbladder tie into PMS?

  1. The liver synthesizes bile. It packages up old hormones – including estrogen –  and toxins that need to leave the body in the bile. Then it ships the bile to the gallbladder.
  2. The gallbladder stores bile and secretes it into the small intestine when we eat a meal with fat. The bile breaks down the fat, so we can absorb it, and then the old hormones/toxins in the bile exit the body with the feces.
  3. If your gallbladder is not functioning well, the bile become thick and stagnant in the gallbladder. As a result, the body reabsorbs the estrogen it needed to eliminate, contributing to estrogen dominance.
  4. To make matters worse, you can’t properly digest fats with thick, stuck bile. And the body needs to digest fats in order to synthesize hormones.

In a nutshell, poor gallbladder function equals the reabsorption of old estrogen and a deficiency in the building blocks required for new hormones.”

For more on how to eliminate PMS naturally, read the rest of the article here. In the meantime, schedule a Functional Physical to check in on your health and see how you can support your body to properly balance hormones.

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Be Fertile: Ganoderma and Cordyceps

Balancing hormones is a complex project because each one of them is in interplay with other hormones and the difference in ratios can impact the body in a variety of ways. One hormonal ratio important to athletes or highly active individuals is the relationship between testosterone and cortisol. When engaging in high intensity training over longer periods of time, athletes can edge into burnout, evidenced by an imbalance between these two hormones. A study of endurance cyclists supplementing with Ganoderma and Cordyceps showed positive results in preventing this state of burnout:

” The results show that, after 3 months of supplementation, the testosterone/cortisol ratio changed in a statistically significant manner, thereby protecting the athletes from (nonfunctional red-teaoverreaching (NFO) or the overtraining syndrome (OTS).) PMID: 24799948 Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:979613. doi: 10.1155/2014/979613. Epub 2014 Apr 1. PMID: 24799948 …We report the effects of a brief 3-month trial of two fungal supplements, Ganoderma lucidum and Cordyceps sinensis (3 capsules of O. sinensis and 2 capsules of G. lucidum per day), in 7 healthy male volunteers, aged between 30 and 40 years, who are all amateur cyclists that participate in “Gran Fondo” cycling races. This trial investigated the effects of fungal supplements on the level of physical fitness of the athletes by monitoring and comparing the following biomarkers just before and after physical exertion: the testosterone/cortisol ratio in the saliva and oxidative stress (DPPH free radical scavenging activity). A decrease of more than 30% in the testosterone/cortisol ratio after race compared to before race was considered as a risk factor for nonfunctional overreaching (NFO) or the overtraining syndrome (OTS). Endurance cyclists taking Ganoderma and Cordyceps: The results show that, after 3 months of supplementation, the testosterone/cortisol ratio changed in a statistically significant manner, thereby protecting the athletes from (nonfunctional overreaching (NFO) or the overtraining syndrome (OTS).) NFO and OTS. Antioxidant activity was measured by quantifying the scavenging ability of the human serum on the synthetic free radical DPPH. After 3 months of fungal supplementation, the data demonstrate an increased scavenger capacity of free radicals in the athletes’ serum after the race, thereby protecting the athletes from oxidative stress. PMID: 24799948 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC3995149″

This fascinating PubMed research showed the effectiveness of balancing hormones through natural supplementation and preventing imbalance in hormones. Both of the supplements mentioned, Ganoderma and Cordyceps, are ingredients in Organo’s Red Tea. Pick up a box for your favorite cyclist or athlete and prevent burnout while sipping on a tasty cup of tea containing these two powerful ingredients.

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Be Fertile: Stress and PCOS

relaxation-1082170_1280Many couples struggling with infertility hear the common but often frustrating advice to “just relax” during their fertility journey. While the physical and emotional challenges of infertility can make this advice seem trite or relaxation seem out of reach, it is necessary to acknowledge the hormonal implications of stress and how the chemical stress response can actually play an important role in hormonal imbalances. Women in particular, with delicately balanced hormones at play, can be even more susceptible to the impacts of stress and if you are a woman who is battling PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome), stress responses are even more of a concern.

Dr. Fiona McCulloch BSc ND, shares her thoughts on the interaction between stress hormones and female sex hormones (especially in relation to a PCOS diagnosis) in an article for PCOS Diva:

“As I’m sure you already know, stress is bad for humans, period. That said, for women with PCOS, stress can seriously imbalance the delicate interplay between hormones and can even interrupt the progress you are making as you put in the hard work to change your diet, exercise and balance your hormones with supplements or medications. Firstly, I just want to go through a little bit of anatomy and physiology with you. The adrenal glands are two small, triangular glands that sit right on top of your kidneys.  These glands have a very special job to do: they secrete crucial hormones in response to stress. The outer part of the adrenal gland is called the cortex, and it secretes cortisol and male hormones (androgens) like DHEA. It’s really important to know that the adrenal cortex is controlled by the pituitary gland, which is a small, pea-sized structure within the brain. The pituitary is actually considered the “master gland”, as it controls most of the hormone function in the body, and the connection from the brain to the adrenals is called the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA axis).” | Read More on PCOS Diva

Dr. McCulloch goes on to explain that these pieces of the hormonal puzzle are more intricately connected than we often realize and can create quite the domino effect if one gets out of balance. She explains what makes women with PCOS so susceptible to imbalances due to stress:

1.    Women with PCOS have low progesterone, a hormone which is “stolen” by the adrenals to be converted into cortisol in stressful situations, causing progesterone levels to sink even lower.

2.    Women with PCOS actually make more cortisol than women without PCOS.

3.    Women with PCOS have higher statistical rates of anxiety, depression, and other emotional disorders.

4.    A primary component in PCOS is insulin resistance, another disruption in hormone interplay.

5.    High cortisol levels interferes with how other hormones are utilized by the body rendering them less effective.

She then lists ten ways to help keep stress levels in check. Find the full article, elaborating on the five points above and including the ten stress reduction tips at http://pcosdiva.com/2013/10/stress-and-adrenal-health-in-pcos/.

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Be Fertile: Puberty

strawberries-828627_1280Puberty… would anyone want to relive those years? For most they consisted of discomfort, embarrassment, and surprise as one navigated the swiftly changing flow of raging hormones. Who was I today? Angry, sad, exuberant? Which face did I have: smooth and clear or riddled with acne? And why don’t my clothes fit right anymore?

Change is hard; it’s especially hard when you’re in your preteens. But the changes don’t have to be so sudden, so drastic, or so dreadful! Functional Medicine can find ways to support a healthy and smooth transition through puberty by maintaining balance in the body even as it changes. Schedule a Functional Physical to get started! Call 612-922-8100.

 

 

 

 

 

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