Logically, if something is low, like oil in a car, just fill it up to replace it. If only the body was that simple.. we know it’s not, but we may not always grasp its complexities as that’s why whenever a medication or supplement is offered to solely replace, other problems still occur. The endocrine system is comprised of at least 7 different organs + fat cells (yes, our fat cells secrete hormones and signals too) with at least 3 different messages that go to certain organs. That’s at least 21 conversations happening at any given time, and sometimes those conversations need the attention of other structures like our heart, bones, and gut, for example, to optimize function. However, those conversations can get muddled when there’s not enough nutrients to make those signals, too much stress, poor sleep, poor lifestyle, and a sedentary lifestyle. Symptoms occur when there’s something like a rock concert of dis-ease going on inside our body and those conversations have to get really loud.Read More
Weight is a symptom- not a disease, an imperfection, something to be shamed, or beat yourself up about. I can relate because in the middle of medical school I gained 20 pounds in 4 months, and just told myself I was bloated and the clothes shrank in the drier. Amazing how defense mechanisms kick in.. In any case, what really happened was that there were many more concerns going on that had to be healed, because clearly this did not happen overnight, but through a culmination of many processes that went unnoticed until well, they were.Read More
Synthroid, otherwise knows as it’s generic name Levothyroxine, is commonly given when people have underactive thyroid (hypothyroid), or Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune hypothyroid (antibodies disrupting thyroid function). It replaces T4, a hormone produced by our thyroid gland in the inactive version, where then predominantly the liver, to a lesser extent the gut, and remainder of the body converts it to the active form, T3. T4’s half life is about 5-7 days, taking longer to break down, versus T3’s half life of about 1 day- thyroid is metabolism, so given a short-term dose can ramp up our whole system (aka T3), hence why we’re commonly given T4. However, if we’re stressed, the body converts T4 to a hormone called reverse T3 (rT3), which is also inactive.Read More
The check engine light in a car is one of the worst lights to come on in the car because it's so vague. It can mean literally anything. Super comforting too when thinking about all the different parts in the car..-> sarcsam. So we may google or post on facebook or ask friends (kind of sounds like that show, 'Who wants to be a millionaire') to see if anyone has experienced the same thing and what we should do. Maybe we find the answer and the light goes off- but what if it comes back on again. And even though it went off, why was it there in the first place, aka do we really know our car well enough to know why, and if this will happen again? At this point you may be on the way to the mechanic so they can give you the full work-up, diagnosis, and prognosis.Read More
Cholesterol is the building block of hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, cortisol (stress hormone), and aldosterone (responsible for our salt/water balance). Cholesterol is comprised of a number of particles that each serve a function such as:
-LDL ('bad' cholesterol; but not really bad because it delivers cholesterol to cells. The real question is 'what predisposes it to oxidizing in a way that causes damage'- more on that later).
-HDL ('good' cholesterol; transports cholesterol molecules to liver to get metabolized. Yet over 75 is not so good as elevated levels can be an inflammatory marker).
-Triglycerides (a marker of sugar/carbohydrate intake, as it's energy for later use).
There are a few more cholesterol markers, but these are the main ones.
We know we're different than the next person, yet there's so much advice that seems generic that it's can be difficult to differentiate what's right for you, and can even include some trial and error (hopefully not much of the latter). Just like the blood type diet offers insight on eating right for our type, we also have a body type that helps guide our nutritional intake and fitness motivation. Especially when it comes to weight, it's an uphill battle as our fat cells are their own endocrine organ that tend to mess with our already probably somewhat off balanced hormones.Read More
Cruciferous vegetables.. some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet are in the form of broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, collards, watercress, brussels sprouts and arugula. They are incredibly high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and can help us lose weight, detox, and protect us against cancer and heart disease-related conditions. They are best cooked in coconut oil, or sauteed in olive oil, or other healthy fats, as they also have a high content of fat-soluble nutrients that are best absorbed when cooked in fats.Read More
As humans we are meant to move, live, love, laugh, and enjoy life- yet as one of the most developed species, we also have a wide range of emotions (thank you Mercury in retrograde for emphasizing these- it's when communication and technology can go wonky) that can also make us appreciate those joyful moments. And to hone in on the first characteristic, movement is incredibly important to our health, allowing optimal blood flow (carries oxygen for additional energy), lymphatic movement, and nutrients to circulate to our cells, improving digestion, detoxification, metabolism, sleep, and memory/thought processes.Read More
Diet and exercise... I know, exactly what you wanted to hear (please note sarcasm), or maybe you actually did because you've already made some changes and want confirmation you're on the right path. And the more you eat your veggies and move your body, many other health concerns may improve too, which doesn't always happen with a weight loss supplement. Unfortunately, some of these supplements land people in the Emergency Room, mess with their thyroid in the long-term (controls weight, metabolism), leave us not feeling good after the course usually due to poor adrenal function (constant revving up of our systems leads to a crash), and can cause serious, sometimes deadly, cardiac issues like heart attack or stroke.Read More
Sleep is so important. As in we have like 10+ hormones that regenerate while we sleep, and that's at certain times of night assuming we go through different stages of sleep. Unfortunately there are a number of medications like various psych meds, cold medicines and decongestants (ironic because sleep is imperative when we're sick), statins, steroids, antihistamines, and blood pressure medications that can cause vivid dreams, and disrupt sleep at any given time. Melatonin can be ok for a short period of time, except in some people it contributes to insomnia, and overall can limit our own production as melatonin is a hormone (like how birth control, hormone replacement, and testosterone can all eventually tell our body 'you're good, you don't need to make this- I got this').Read More
It's really easy to demonize sugar- it's everywhere, the cause of so many health issues, and a good part of the reason why we just don't feel good, which then you know there are processes gone awry in our body...sugar anyone for that endorphin boost to make this seem less depressing?? Common sources of sugar include juices, dessert, refined carbohydrates (e.g. white flour), candy, dried fruit (if anything eat the real fruit because it's higher fiber content helps stop the quick sugar rush/crash), soda, energy drinks, flavored foods, and alcohol (gets metabolized immediately to sugar). Less obvious sources include protein bars/meal replacements/granola bars, and restaurant foods (e.g. sauces, dressings). However, sugar imbalances, including those values seen on your bloodwork like triglycerides, hgbA1c, and glucose, aren't always because of a sugar laden diet.Read More
Prolactin is a hormone measured in blood that's commonly associated with a new mom's ability to breastfeed post childbirth, as well as being able to nurture, and sex drive. It's released by the anterior pituitary by a signal from our hypothalamus (both located in the brain) to target breast tissue for lactation, and serves to modulate our immune system, metabolism, reproductive systems, and overall health for both men and women. Prolactin increases with estrogen, blood sugar issues, under active thyroid hormone, stress, pregnancy, and medications (e.g. opiates, anti-hypertensives, psychotropics, H2 blockers), and decreases with dopamine.Read More
Even with all scientists, doctors, health professionals, and Dr. Google know about the human body, we are learning more and more each day in how we are so interconnected. Sugar cravings go beyond a cold turkey 'stop eating sugar', because sugar is like a drug it can make us feel happy and loved, which then prompts, are we happy and loved in our own lives? Food is commonly known to reward us by reducing stress and improving mood- and we'll consume more until it does. It can also indicate imbalanced sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone, too much stress, crappy sleep, nutrient deficiency, and/or flat out insulin resistance (we're eating sugar but our body is not taking it into our cells to use, so in turn we eat more).Read More
In lieu of recent celebrity deaths Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, this post comes with a heavy heart. Unfortunately we won't know what was really going on in their minds as they chose a path like many others before them, famous or not famous, yet the impact to those close to them is still the same. Hurt, frustration, confusion, wished we could have done more, wondered what we could have done, feeling helpless, etc. and many more feelings can arise during these times. Is there someone to blame? Or something? Or rather what was that final breaking point?Read More
The skin is the largest organ, protecting us whatever is going on in the outside world, acting as a barrier for our muscles, bones, and organs. It's also said that skin is a reflection of what's going on inside of us, such as acne as a sign of imbalanced hormones, and dry skin potentially a sign of under active thyroid. Skin concerns can also be from a food intolerance, medications, imbalanced gut bacteria, detoxification/liver issues, blood sugar issues, or new face/beauty product, or a product you've been using forever that has so many chemicals that it's only just now that it's turning you into an itchy/scratchy/blotchy mess. Or it could be a combination of everything, which can make treatment daunting.Read More
Sometimes what brings us to the doctor's office, or any professionals' office, is only the tip of the iceberg, only to have more revealed during the visit. It's no different in medicine, yet unfortunately these correlations are not always google-able. Common pairs especially in the endocrine/hormonal systems are blood sugar & thyroid, Epstein-Barr Virus & Hashimoto's, asthma & eczema, hormone imbalance & thyroid, erectile dysfunction & heart disease, and anxiety/depression & heart disease.Read More
Calorie counting used to be all the rage, and yet to some extent it has still stuck, especially when people want to lose weight. The math seemed simple- we have a basal metabolic rate (BMR), somewhat reflective of thyroid health (how fast processes move, aka our metabolism), and its calories in versus calories out. Right? Not so much.. carbohydrates and protein provide 4 calories per gram, and fats provide 9 calories per gram. Then depending on how much muscle we have, muscle (anaerobic) will burn more calories in the long run than cardio (aerobic), and what/when we eat can get metabolized differently when we're sitting on our butt versus post marathon. Further, the majority of foods are grossly underestimated, and as humans, we also have the tendency to underestimate as many studies have shown that we're not accounting for nearly 1/3 of calories consumed! Now add in the stress of being totally unsure of those counts, unless you want to weight your food (a viable option).Read More
Genetics are the building block of our material, the stuff we got from a male and a female, and that's what we're made of. Not so much.. the good news is that we're in control of about 90-95%+ of our health outcome, but doesn't mean there isn't something to be said about the foundation we've been dealt. Crazy thought- we were in our grandmother's uterus. We also store past emotions, trials and tribulations, anger & happiness, etc. in our DNA. So should you get 23&me done? Perhaps, but there's also many more genes that are not accounted for and then it's still a piece of the puzzle in terms of health too at the end of the day.Read More
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was developed in the 1960's to 'liberate women' from the woes of menopause- think hot flashes, insomnia, sweats, etc. Socially, much of the credo was that women can stay youthful forever, a desire by many, both men and women alike (think stigma of getting older). A few decades before, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) was developed to help relieve men of depression, impaired memory, fatigue, and low libido. And back to 1960, was the development of female birth control, the oral contraceptive pill- used both to prevent pregnancy, and for relief of painful periods, acne, and mood swings.Read More
Bones are pretty important to our health- they hold us up (literally), house some of our organs, provide attachment for muscles, store calcium, and produce blood. They constantly change and shift throughout life, breaking down then being built up, to fit the body's needs. And bone health is more than just calcium, as important vitamins & minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin D, strontium, and boron, for example, are imperative for their integrity. Lifestyle choices like weight bearing exercises and regular movement also aid in healthy bones.Read More