Hormones: It’s not just a question of too much or too little. If you had a conventional blood panel with your GP, and you came back with a “normal,” but you don’t feel normal, you are in the right place! We see this all the time — the link between hormones and health is often missed. The difference of assessing hormones through a functional medicine lens is that we we take a look at hormones from MULTIPLE angles through our advanced testing, give it context, and consider many factors to derive a personalized, meaningful solution for YOU, the bio-individual.
5 FACTORS AFFECTING YOUR HORMONES AND HEALTH
Production in this case refers to the fact that the right building blocks are available to produce the hormone. Remember that hormones are all synthesized on a cholesterol backbone. Intake of dietary cholesterol (eat the yolks folks!), appropriate fat breakdown from a digestive perspective (from chewing, to enough digestive juices like bile being present). Not to mention addressing inflammation and stress which can also affect both digestion and hormone production.
Ensure you are mindfully eating at each meal. This means sitting and eating when you are starting to feel hungry (not waiting until starving/hangry!), chew your food thoroughly, eat slowly and only eat until you are 80 percent full.
Did you know that in our blood, most of our hormones are bound, and not in their FREE (functional) form? This is in order to regulate their effects. One such ‘chaperone’ is SHBG (sex-hormone binding globulin). Think of these “chaperones” as an Uber driver. The hormone should be able to exit the Uber as needed, but in some cases, the doors are ‘child-locked’ by the driver, and the hormone can’t get out to exert its effect. So it’s not that we don’t have enough of the hormone, we might just have a transporter problem. Our body is not stupid! If our body senses estrogen dominance, it might be child locking the doors because there are already many circulating estrogens. (Except, continue below for more, it’s not always GOOD estrogens circulating about!).
Women with high levels of SHBG will have less available (free) testosterone which of course plays a big role in libido, muscle and bone health but also energy levels! High levels of SHBG in women is expected in pregnancy and as we age, but if not pregnant, can be from hormone therapy (birth control or HRT) or even thyroid issues.
Every cell in our body has receptors for hormones. Think of these receptors like helicopter landing pads on a building. They show our hormones where to land. Without them, the helicopter (the hormones) can’t actually land on the target cell where they work their magic!
Nutritional factors that can influence the cellular sensitivity to hormones. One big one is our omega 3 fatty acid status. Our cell walls should be built of these good fats creating a fluid and flexible cell wall. Too many pro-inflammatory fats (trans fats, vegetable oils, poor quality animal fats, deep fried foods etc), cause the cell wall to become more rigid, not allowing for an easy entry of the hormone.
Just like we have to produce our hormones, we also have to excrete them daily. Three of the main ways we eliminate excess estrogens (believe it or not): our bile, daily bowel movements and our detox pathways through the liver. The microbiome also affects estrogen levels through an enzyme called beta glucuronidase (we test for this in our FUNC MED programs!) which basically helps estrogen recirculate again. Which can be a driver of estrogen dominance in some.
Bowel movements: If you are not pooping daily and suffering from estrogen dominance, you may be recirculating estrogens, leading to the symptoms of estrogen dominance. To ensure daily bowel movements, make sure you are intaking a lot of plant fibres, adequately hydrating and getting in daily movement. (If you ARE doing these things and still have trouble with daily poops, might be time to get on a consult call with us to help you figure out what’s at the root of your constipation!)
We mentioned before that we can MAKE estrogens or be EXPOSED to them. Xenoestrogens are molecules in our outside world that mimic estrogen, and therefore sit on the receptors (the helicopter landing pad) for where our own estrogen should actually be. When our body detects a higher amount of these toxic “estrogen-like” molecules, it can interfere with our body’s own estrogen production/metabolism. Xenoestrogens come from from plastics, chemicals in beauty products of cleaning products (think: if it has a “fragrance”), air fresheners/perfumes, pesticides, or even synthetic hormones from the birth control pill or IUD).
You know the aisle in the grocery store with the cleaning products and how when you walk by, the chemical scent is overbearing? Keeping toxic chemical cleaning products or beauty products (again, if it has ‘fragrance’) around in your home, ensures you are taking in these toxic chemicals daily. Even if you have changed to more natural products, make sure you have discarded the old ones! If you can smell it, you’re inhaling a chemical toxicant which can affect your hormones and health.
HOW TMB CAN HELP YOUR HORMONES AND HEALTH
Don’t DIY your hormones! The DUTCH test in our FUNC MED program shows you which of these factors need support – so we can optimize your hormone function!
Book a free consultation call with us to learn more today!
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