Struggling to lose weight? Here are 6 things you may not be considering.
Category: Hormonal Problems
Most people have a negative perception of hormones. They think of teenagers having fits of anger and menopausal women having hot flashes. But balanced hormones are essential for a healthy body. The word hormone is derived from the Greek word hormon, meaning “to urge on, excite, or stimulate.” And this is exactly what they do. Hormones initiate and regulate the functioning of our cells. Made in various organs, they’re carried all over the body through the bloodstream.
Unfortunately, when it comes to assessing and treating hormonal imbalances, the conventional medical approach to endocrine problems is not very refined. Gross deficiencies and excesses of hormones can be successfully identified and treated. But subtle or early stages of hormonal imbalance are rarely detected—and therefore are not treated. At this stage of scientific knowledge, measuring blood levels of hormones is the only conventionally accepted way to make assessments. But more often than not, however, there are problems in hormonal functioning long before we can detect any abnormalities in the blood.
The two classic examples of this are thyroid dysfunction and adrenal fatigue, both of which are extremely common and probably two of the commonest problems I see in my practice. They both present with fatigue and both can be helped by a functional approach. My experience has shown me that balancing these two systems makes a huge difference in most people’s health because all your hormones work together, so when one hormone is off, it can have a domino affect and cause imbalances of all the other hormones. Very often the problem is an imbalanced system rather than a deficiency of any hormones.
Primary Hypothyroidism, or under-active thyroid gland, may cause a wide variety of symptoms and can affect all bodily functions.
Hypothyroidism used to be a laboratory diagnosis. A high TSH blood test signified that one had an underactive thyroid and was placed on synthetic T4 (aka Synthroid). Clinical diagnosis was reserved for people with advanced or severe hypothyroid disease, and even then, if labs were not “abnormal” physicians might have hesitated to treat. Functional medicine physicians are changing this practice by identifying the signs, symptoms, and cause of hypothyroidism early on and starting appropriate treatment.
Supplements – in my book, they’re essential health-boosters that can help fill in nutritional gaps and protect your body against the occasional diet slip-up. While they won’t make up for a bad diet, think of supplements as your nutritional pit crew, standing at the ready to make those quick adjustments, tweaks and fixes to your internal engines and get you back out on the road, raring to go.
Sometimes, pharmaceutical companies and their doctorly friends collectively make a bold move that shows their hand. Usually, this is in the form of indiscriminately and categorically broadening the eligible candidates for the suddenly lifesaving benefits of a pre-existing product. Recent changes in guidelines put forth by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology aim to expand the recommendations of lipid-modifying statins to include those for whom there is a stated “10-year risk of 7.5 percent or more” of cardiac events, based on a calculator that now eliminates LDL targets.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating condition characterized by severe and long lasting exhaustion, but it can also manifest in symptoms of sleep disturbance, memory and concentration difficulties, widespread muscle and joint pain, headaches, and extreme tiredness following any physical or mental exertion. It is estimated that over 25 million Americans have severe fatigue, lasting at least one month at any time.
Usually when we talk about toxins in personal products, we focus on women. After all, they typically use more personal care products on a daily basis. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted in one study that exposure to phthalates (a plastic chemical linked to hormone disruption) was widespread, but higher in women than men. The researchers stated that women had more phthalates used in “soaps, body washes, shampoos, cosmetics, and similar personal care products.”
According to the University of Illinois, the average woman in the United States uses 12 products a day. But women aren’t the only ones. The average man uses six.
When I was growing up in India, spices were not just a part of every meal, they were the main medicines my family used for everyday healing. My mother cooked with brilliant yellow turmeric powder daily, but she’d also sprinkle it on a cut when I hurt myself. Or put it on my forehead when I had a fever. If I was nauseated, my mother gave me ginger to make me feel better. If I couldn’t sleep, she gave me coriander in warm milk. On sweltering summer days, she made our family a refreshing drink out of kokum, an Indian spice that would cool us off as instantly as if we were all standing under a waterfall. It seemed like almost every spice in our giant spice cabinet was a food and a medicine.
1) Warnings From a Flabby Mouse! The only difference between these 2 mice is that the top one was exposed at birth to just one part per billion of an endocrine-disrupting chemical. The brief exposure programmed the mouse to put on fat, and although there were no differences in caloric intake or expenditure, it continued to put on flab long after the chemical was gone. Important piece by Nicholas Kristof.
I always tell my patients that it’s important that they clear their homes of as many endocrine disruptors as possible. EDs are hormone-mimicking, chemical compounds which interfere with and wreak havoc on your body’s normal hormone function (making them do things they shouldn’t) like stimulating cancer development and triggering immunity, fertility, metabolic, developmental and cognitive problems just to name a few (while stopping them from doing what they should be doing) namely protecting you from the aforementioned and keeping your body’s natural hormones balanced.
I had a chance to meet with the “thyroid whisperer” Andrea Beaman and learn some techniques that she uses to help her clients get their thyroid into balance. As a holistic health coach, she finds that diet is a great place to start but for complete healing you have to go much deeper.
Andrea’s journey started with her own thyroid problems, which she was able to heal naturally with diet, lifestyle and mega-doses of self-care. But the catch is — it didn’t happen overnight. It took 2 full years to get back into balance. In that time she swung from hyperthyroid to Hashimoto’s, and hypothyroid and then finally came into balance.