These are the highlighted notes from a presentation we had on hormonal imbalances:
So everything begins with gut health and how well our digestive system is functioning. If you do nothing else and just focus on this, every other function in your body will improve.
In an ideal world our stomach and digestive system will function at 100%, but unfortunately there are many things that compromise this. Everything from prolonged stress, food we are intolerant to, chemicals, toxins in the environment and even age work against us to impair this function.
So let’s say that we are functioning at only 60% of our ideal potential, that means we are undernourished by 40%. This is not good we are not taking in the protein, fat, carbs, vitamins and nutrients we need to run smoothly on a biological level but if we are exposed to anything out of the ordinary (say a cold, injury, increased stress levels we have no reserve to deal with this) This will cause our system to become progressively more compromised resulting in even greater sickness and lethargy and just plain feeling like crap. The good news is we can fix this!
Step 1: Remove the incoming toxins.
The easiest way to accomplish this is to remove the foods that we think we are intolerant to and give our system a chance to balance itself. The most common foods here are gluten/grains, dairy, soy, peanuts, corn, eggs and even nuts. We also want to take a look at what we are putting into our bodies via personal care products/laundry detergent etc. The website Environmental Working Group or ewg.org has a skin deep database that is a great start to cross reference what you are currently using to see the toxic effect it may be having on you. As those products run out replace them with safer options from their helpful lists.
Step 2: Strengthen our stomach and intestines.
What we are trying to do here is to fix the damage we have already done. Glutamine is an amino acid that is very abundant in the human body and is the main building block for intestinal and stomach lining tissues. Taking a high dose of this helpful amino acid can be extremely effective at treating gut related damage. I normally recommend 10-20 grams as a good general dosage. For more severe cases a dose up to 60 grams a day for 10 -14 days is not unheard of. Zinc carnosine is the second supplement I would recommend and is great for helping to heal the stomach lining. If you suffer from acid reflux this will be a go to supplement for you. Just taking 2-4 capsules for 2-4 weeks in conjunction with Glutamine is usually enough to clear this issue up.
Step 3: Repopulate the good bacteria.
If you have ever taking a round of antibiotics and chances are you have. Then the odds are you don’t have enough probiotics living in your gut flora. This will contribute to undigested food particles making its way through your system. So not only are we not absorbing what we are eating but now we are causing even more damage to an already compromised system. Taking a good quality probiotic for 2 weeks at a time is the most effective way to increase your natural levels. Taking in enough fiber in the form of vegetables and things like chia and flax seeds also helps to ensure everything is running smoothly.
Insulin is a hormone released by your pancreas to metabolize glucose. Basically it takes the sugars you eat and transports it to various places in your body to be used for energy. The easiest way to think of this system is that your body has spots for the insulin to go. When you eat to much sugar these spots get full and you start storing excess as fat. To reverse this, we need to stop the incoming sugar, giving our body a chance to empty its spots. We can also boost how sensitive our cells are to insulin which can help speed this process up.
How can we fix this?
Step 1: Stop the incoming sugar.
We are really looking to cut the carbs here and focus on a diet that consists of protein, healthy fat and fibrous vegetables. Your typical meal would consist of 4-8 oz of lean animal protein (say a chicken breast), at least 2 fist size servings of veggies (say a mixed greens salad), with either a small handful of nuts, ½ an avocado or 1-2 tbsp of a healthy fat (olive oil on your salad in a vinaigrette).
For beverages focus on water, tea and coffee (ditch the milk/cream and sweeteners)
Step 2: Increase your insulin sensitivity.
There are a number of strategies we can use here. As far as supplements go fish oil is an excellent choice as it not only helps to control and stabilize blood sugar levels but will actually increase your cells ability to uptake more insulin and sugar. If you are deficient in magnesium it will also greatly effect your insulin sensitivity. This supplement is best taken in the evenings as it also has a calming effect in the body and can improve your sleep as well.
Exercise will help to improve insulin sensitivity as well by adding new muscle tissue that will increase your metabolism and add new insulin receptor sites. Adding cinnamon to your foods and even your coffee not only helps to control inflammation in the body but to stabilize your blood sugar as well.
This is the stress hormone. Think of all your stress as cumulative. If you have a cup that all your stressors go into whether they be from life, sickness, poor nutrition or lack of sleep all contribute a little bit to how full your cup is. The more we can balance each category the more natural our flow of cortisol will be, leading to a calmer, healthier body.
Our natural rhythm should be elevated in the morning and gradually decrease over the course of the day. One of the downsides to elevated cortisol is that it down-regulates the release of insulin. This is because our body needs to ensure that it has a readily available glucose supply for quick energy in an emergency. However, when there is no emergency this free circulating glucose just gets stored as fat for later use. To help rebalance your cortisol levels there are a few things that are easy to implement.
The first is to focus on eating a balanced diet that is not inflammatory. This again will be focused on animal protein, fibrous veggies and healthy fats. A good night’s sleep is also essential to help properly manage your cortisol levels. Stress management techniques like writing in a gratitude journal, doing yoga, meditation and mindful eating all help to keep us balanced. From a supplemental viewpoint whatever we can do to control blood sugar will be very beneficial here. Fish oil and a good multivitamin are the best bang for your buck in this regard.
The main thing we will be focusing on in this regard is xenoestrogens which are compounds that mimic estrogen in the body. They attach to estrogen receptor sites and block your naturally occurring estrogen from attaching and doing what it is meant to do. This will show up in an elevated hamstring reading in particular. This is very important information as having a high toxic load in this department is linked to serious illness including cancers.
Step 1: Stop the incoming toxins
The best thing we can do is to stop the incoming bombardment of estrogenic compounds that we encounter on a day to day basis. We want to revisit what we covered earlier by cross referencing all our products on ewg.org. Plastics are a huge contributor in the form of bpas, bisphenol A and a host of other estrogenic toxins. Switching to glass or stainless steel bottles and glass containers for food is a big step in the right direction and very easy to implement. The food that we are eating is also a big concern. When animals are exposed to hormones, toxins and antibiotics. They will store the incoming toxins in their fat as a defense mechanism to keep it away form their vital organs. So when we eat these animals the highest concentration of toxins will be in the fattiest part of the animal, makes sense right? This is one of the reason that red meats are supposedly so bad for us.
But what happens when we get wild or free range meat that eats its natural diet? That’s right the toxic load is very low and also the amount of inflammation in our bodies is reduced as a result of eating a better food source that is higher in anti-inflammatory omega 3’s. When your meat is organic and grass fed the fat can actually be very helping to improve your body composition. Grass fed beef for instance is very high in conjugated linoleic acid which is great for burning body fat. Conventional beef has about half the levels of cla. Now if you can’t afford to eat all organic meat, first off you just are not prioritizing your health as on average you will add about 40% to your food bill when done in a smart way (shopping around for local farms and buying with the seasons) for an average family of 4 that’s only a few hundred bucks a month and I am sure that by sacrificing a few things throughout your week you would be able to make this INVESTMENT in your health. But I digress, if you are not able or choose not to eat organic meat then you are not doomed for failure. Focus on choosing the leanest cuts, trimming the fat off can be very beneficial to reduce your toxic load in this department and avoiding all conventional dairy especially, if not altogether.
Boosting natural detoxification of these nasty compounds. Crucifoures vegetables are a great cancer fighter as well as the spice turmeric. Adding fiber in the form of chia/flax/hemp seeds not only helps to control blood sugar and keep you regular, but will also improve the removal of estrogenic toxins in your body. Making sure you are not deficient in magnesium and vitamin d will also help big time here. When you are deficient in either of these it will greatly decrease your ability to properly remove these substances form your body.
Sleep in a black room, no light source at all.
No electronics in the room, if there is a tv unplug it.
Avoiding blue light 1 hr before bed (again no electronics), tyr to read fiction instead to help your brain quiet down.
Writing in a gratitude journal or light stretching can help calm the mind before bed.
The supplements taurine and magnesium can be very relaxing to both your mind and body especially when taken before bed.
Remember poor sleep leads to increased insulin resistance and even increased cravings.
My top supplement recommendations:
Fish oil - Progressive and nutra sea both make an excellent cost effective product 5-10 grams or so is a good dosage
Multivitamin - Progressive make a great active men’s and women’s formula is one of the best I have found especially for it’s price point and is taken 1 cap 3 times a day
Glutamine-There are a lot of good brands out there, allmax makes a fairly cost effective one, 10-20grams as a general dose or up to 60 grams for 10-14 days to help up the stomach
Magnesium - Ideally we want a blend here, which means several types in one capsule as different types target different muscle tissues. Natural calm also makes a great magnesium product
Probiotics - Taken in cycles of 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off has been shown to improve levels the fastest