Hormones are powerful chemicals that control almost every function in your body. Did you know that hormones, and their interactions, significantly impact your weight, your mood and attitude, your body’s temperature, and even your bone structure? When hearing about “hormones,” most people think of sexually related hormones. Yet, there are many more hormones than the commonly known hormones, and they all have a profound affect on your body.
Hormones are produced by your endocrine glands in very small quantities, and distributed through the blood stream to all of the cells in your body. Working as “chemical messengers,” they are designed to go to specific points on your cells and cause specific reactions to take place. In this way, every hormone has its own unique place to land on your cells – sort of like having a locked door and needing the right key to get in!
The places on the cells that receive these “chemical messengers” are called receptors. These receptors “up-regulate” or “down-regulate” based on how much of any particular hormone is available to keep your body functioning optimally. For example, when there is not enough of a hormone, as is often the case with thyroid hormones, the sensitivity of the cell goes up. By increasing sensitivity to the thyroid hormone on the receptor site, your body keeps functioning. This is called “up-regulation.” Your body does this until it no longer functions. This is the point at which it qualifies as a disease, and can be diagnosed through standard medical procedures.
“Down-regulation,” is when a woman learns that she is deficient in Progesterone, and begins to use Progesterone cream. In the beginning, she gets rave results. Then, about six months after beginning to use the cream or gel, the effect starts dropping off. The typical scenario is that the woman applies more Progesterone in an attempt to regain the same effect. Unfortunately, the reverse usually happens. “Down-regulation” occurs because there is too much Progesterone! The cell starts becoming less responsive. The result is that the woman begins to experience symptoms similar to symptoms experienced when her body had too little Progesterone. This is very common with Progesterone creams and gels because they build up in the fatty tissue under the skin, and the release of the Progesterone is no longer controlled. This is where things can start getting out of control.
There is an alternative. The regulation of your hormonal system starts at a place in your brain with your Hypothalamus and Pituitary glands, also known as the H-P Axis. These glands form a central control switch for your endocrine system to send hormonal signals to the rest of your endocrine glands. All of your endocrine glands are important and influence each other, but following in importance to your H-P axis are the adrenal and thyroid glands.
Healthy functioning of the thyroid’s glandular system starts in your brain with the H-P axis (the Hypothalamus and Pituitary gland central control system) and ends with your T-3 (thyroid hormone) going to every cell of your body. A deficiency of T-3 can lead to cold hands and feet, loss of head hair (and having it appear on other parts of the body-yikes!), weight gain, unwelcome weight loss, mood and energy swings and lastly, what was the last one? Oh yes, memory loss!
Your adrenal glands make many of the hormones that signal other organ systems. According to some estimates, the adrenal glands produce over 30 different hormones, including Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone. There are lots of different medications that alter the role of hormones. For example, Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) block the effects of estrogen in breast tissue. The contraceptive pill is another drug, for example.The adrenal glands do a good job producing these hormones, except when the body is under stress. When we become stressed, our adrenal glands produce Cortisol and Adrenalin, our “fight or flight” hormones, instead of other essential hormones. When our body is in this fight or flight mode, our digestion is halted, our cellular repair stops, and the functioning of our immune system is impaired. This is how our bodies deteriorate under stress. Do you see why it is important to create the conditions that enable your body to supply the proper hormones as they are needed? Your survival depends upon it! Remember that your body is amazing and incredible, and will serve you well if you learn how to take care of it.
Obtaining an accurate assessment of your hormones is a good place to start if you think that your body is not producing the hormones needed for you to obtain optimal health. Saliva testing is the most economical method. This type of testing can check for the “free” physiologically active form of hormones, and can tell you about the hormones your body has available to use. Blood tests can also be done, but it would cost thousands of dollars to obtain similar information from blood tests compared to what we can learn from saliva testing for a few hundred dollars. Saliva tests typically cost about a tenth of what blood tests run, although both test procedures have their place.
Saliva hormone testing is beneficial for both men and women at any stage of life. If you are considering hormone replacement therapy, you should have as much information as possible. Hormones are very powerful substances, and there is a lot of new information about them. At Karl Chiropractic & Wellness Center, P.C., we can provide you with the information you need, assist you with saliva hormone testing through one of the most reputable labs, and will refer when necessary. We can also help you get your body back into balance safely. Give us a call, come in for a free consultation, or come to one of our free workshops to get the information you need. Just remember, be very careful if you decide to mess with Mother Nature!
Dr. William H. Karl, D.C.
Dr. William H. Karl, D.C. is a Brimhall Certified Wellness Doctor. Combining over 27 years of experience, an extensive knowledge of the human body, and a keen interest in applying new and advanced technique, he provides the finest care possible for each and every one of his patients! To read other articles written by Dr. Karl, learn about techniques used in his office, and sign up to receive free health information or a monthly newsletter, visit www.KarlWellnessCenter.com, www.KarlHolisticHealthCare.com or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also call (734) 425-8220.