Hello out there, can you hear me???? What if I stand this way? Or over here? Can you hear me now? Part of me giggles as I recall television commercials regarding poor cell phone reception. However, another part of me, is concerned about how our cells deal with bad reception or poor communication.
Hormones are the chemical communicators between all cells. All hormones depend on each other to do their job. For the body to function in a balanced manner, we must strive to keep all hormones at a normal level. Our bodies are comprised of three hormonal systems that are all interconnected and influence one another in countless ways.
Blood Sugar Hormones: Insulin, Glucagon, Testosterone
Adrenal Hormones: Stress Hormones, Sex Hormones
Ovarian Hormones: Estrogen, Progesterone
The master gland or pituitary, secretes chemical messengers (hormones) that act on the adrenal glands, thyroid gland, ovaries and testes, which in turn produce other hormones. Through production of its hormones, the pituitary gland controls your metabolism, growth, sexual maturation, reproduction, blood pressure and many other vital physical functions and processes. Thus if the desire is to create homeostasis within our chemical messenger system, it makes sense to create the focal point within the blood sugar hormones: insulin and glucagon.
The hormone insulin’s major function is to regulate blood-sugar levels and protect the brain from receiving too much sugar after you eat. Insulin accomplishes this in two ways: First the presence of insulin alerts the liver to incoming high amounts of sugar so that the liver does not let this high sugar pass through to the brain. Second, insulin stows away sugar into cells which then decreases blood-sugar levels. When sugar is stowed, insulin levels normalize.
I liken insulin to a taxi driver. As stated above, its role is to deliver blood glucose (sugar) to the brain. It finds the available ports (cells) willing to receive glucose, deposits them, and moves on. A good question to ask oneself is what happens to excess insulin? What does the body do with it??? A taxi driver would leave any excess baggage on the side of the road. Insulin (taxi driver) will do the same only it looks like Type II diabetes, stored fat or stored cholesterol.
Glucagon is insulin’s counterpart; its first job is to add glucose to the blood when dietary sources of glucose are inadequate to keep blood glucose levels from falling too low (known as a blood sugar crash). Additionally, glucagon tells the body to release fat from storage and use it as fuel, convert glycogen to glucose, and stimulate the conversion of protein to amino acid to glucose. The sad part is that Glucagon can NOT come out to play until Insulin is BALANCED!!
Insulin resistance means that the cells will not allow insulin to upload sugar from the blood stream. Because the cells do not respond to insulin, the pancreas reacts by secreting even more insulin in an attempt to open up the closed cells. Insulin resistance is acquired through poor eating and lifestyle habits. Another vicious cycle leading to insulin resistance occurs when the body is deprived of the proteins and fats necessary to build muscle. Muscle is filled with cells that have insulin receptor doors. Less muscle mass equals fewer insulin receptor doors, which contributes to insulin resistance. Schwarzbein (1999) The Schwarzbein Principle calls the midsection the insulin meter because this is an area of the body where insulin first deposits extra fat. So if you are wondering if you are carrying excess sugar, go look in the mirror at that midsection.
Other causes of prolonged high insulin levels include: eating a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, stress, yo-yo dieting, caffeine, alcohol, aspartame, tobacco, steroids, stimulant and other recreational drugs, lack of exercise, excessive and/or unnecessary thyroid replacement therapy, and all over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
There are a multitude of symptoms that arise in the physical body to let us know our hormones are out of balance. For a woman these can include, but are not limited to: allergies, anger, insomnia, joint pain, blood sugar imbalance, sagging breasts, breast tenderness, depression, facial hair, fatigue, fuzzy thinking, hot flashes, night sweats, panic attacks, skin eruptions, mood swings, lack of sexual interest and water retention. For a man these can include, but are not limited to: lowered or lack of sexual interest, difficulty passing urine, impotence, allergies, anger, insomnia, joint pain, blood sugar imbalance, foggy thinking, memory loss, leg and or muscle cramps, diabetes, adult acne and water retention. As you can see, there is quite a bit of crossover between the sexes. Warning for men: do not attempt to tell a woman that she is the only one with mood swings, foggy thinking, blood sugar imbalance or a shift in sexual interest, as you might get hit (laughing out loud over here)
You know that as a Nutrition Specialist I will always begin with your fork, a focus on cleaning up your daily intake of food (eating protein and healthy fats with a small portion of complex carbs in each feeding), and bringing exercise to the forefront of your regime. However the following tidbits of information are offered for relief of hormonal imbalance symptoms.
*High-Lignan Flaxseed Oil & Ground Flaxseeds ~ Known as the #1 all-around hormonal balancer – especially for skin conditions, depression and fatigue – nothing beats a daily tablespoonful of flaxseed oil that is high in lignans. Swallow as is or use as a salad dressing or topping once your recipe has been prepared.
*Black Currant Seed Oil ~ This is great for mood changes, anxiety, hair loss, irritability, headaches, water retention and particularly useful for female breast tenderness. Suggest two capsules (500 mg) of black currant seed oil twice daily after food.
*Multivitamins and Magnesium ~ the following combination of supplements offer relief for symptoms such as mood swings, insomnia, anxiety, tissue dryness and water retention. Magnesium in particular is great for ‘cravings’. When folks tell me they crave chocolate.. it is not really the chocolate they are craving but magnesium the body needs and wants:
-Vitamin B complex, including 50 – 100 mg of B6
-Vitamin C, 1000 mg three times a day
-Vitamin E, 400-1200 IU
-Magnesium, 500-1000 mg before sleeping
*Zinc ~ (15-50 mg a day) promotes immune function to fight illness, supports healthy cell growth and development, and ensures a proper sense of taste and smell. It is especially important for men in maintaining prostate health, testosterone levels and overall sexual health. For women, zinc helps to lower estrogen and increase progesterone levels, as well as to build strong bones. A must for vegetarians, whose diet is often lacking in this vital mineral.
Ladies: Natural Progesterone Cream ~ Progesterone cream balances estrogen dominance symptoms, such as decreased sex drive, depression, abnormal blood sugar levels, fatigue, fuzzy thinking, irritability, thyroid dysfunction, water retention, bone loss, fat gain, and low adrenal function. Massage a high-quality progesterone cream into the soft, capillary-rich skin of your face, neck, upper chest, breasts, inner arms, palms and backs of hands, and soles.
*Exercise ~ oh the things I can say about moving your body!!!! Be vigorously active for a minimum of a half hour five days a week. Do different things each day—and do what you ENJOY.
*Destress Your Stress ~ Remember that you perceive a stressor as such and that stress is a three-step process:
The process can be interrupted at any time
*Adrenal Refresher ~ At times of a lot of stress, replacing lost minerals and vitamins can help the adrenal glands secrete stress hormones. The following are offered for your trial:
B Complex vitamins
Vitamin C, 500 mg every three hours
Adrenal gland extract
Schizandria root (suggest 2 caps three times a day)
Green and Yellow-Orange vegetables
Sea Vegetables (nori, hishiki, arame, dulse, kelp etc)
*Saw Palmetto berries ~ boosts prostate health in men, and contributes to regulating sexual health/development and normalizing the reproductive health activity of the those glands and organs for both men and women. So yeah for the promotion of healthy libidos!! Saw Palmetto is great for hair growth, its effects on general health and disposition (tranquility), appetite stimulation as well as digestion and nutrient assimilation.
From a holistic approach I teach to take only the absolute minimum that you need to alleviate your symptoms. As a Nutrition Specialist, you know I will always start with: clean up your food! Focusing on protein plus healthy fats + veggies + a small portion of complex carbs (around 25-35g) per feeding. Eating 5-6 times a day.
Should you be up for further exploration, I highly recommend the following books loaded with key information regarding balancing your hormones.
Dancing a jig with you as you continue to take responsibility for yourself.
JOY, Empowerment and Inspiration await you within the SOUL Food deck one by NADINE, N.D., C.N.S. The app is a beautiful deck of 66 cards providing Soulful Nourishment for the Body, Mind, Emotions and Spirit. Available NOW for your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices. If the link does not work for you enter SOUL FOOD + NADINE in the search window within iTunes.
NADINE is a Naturopath and Holistic Nutrition Specialist with over 30 years experience in the Health and Fitness Industry and teaches her clients the Art of building and maintaining lean muscle tissue as they drop body fat in a unique program designed for them. Nadine has coached all levels and genre of people and has taught a variety of programs including but not limited to Personal and Sports Nutrition, Sports Psychology, and Weight Lifting/Bodybuilding. Nadine is available for seminars and workshops based on availability. For more information contact Dr NADINE at 970-443-2541, email: Nadine@CoachNadine.com or visit www.coachnadine.com
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