One of the many fascinating things I’ve witnessed throughout my 30+ years as a chiropractor and wellness doctor is the way in which someone’s reality can completely shift in a matter of seconds. Have you ever been entirely convinced of something and then, perhaps all of a sudden, see it differently?
Think back to when you were a teenager. Teenagers and pausals (a word I may have just made up to refer to menopausal women and andropausal men) are often in hormone storms. As a result, these folks have lots of reality shifts and emotional storms due to the power of their changing hormone levels. If you’re not in one of these groups, don’t feel left out because the chemical-laden world we live in will probably take your hormones (and you) for a wild ride at times, too!
There are at least 50 different hormones in the human body, and probably even more as some last only moments before disappearing. I’m focusing on just three hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) because they are so inexplicably related to health and sanity.
While in different ratios, both men and women depend upon the proper balance of these hormones for maintaining good health and vitality. While all three are equally important, the most potent is estrogen; and there are four different types: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), estriol (E3), and estetrol (E4), only produced during pregnancy. While estradiol (E2) is the most potent form (due to its tenacious nature is and responsible for most of the problems), I’ll simply refer to it as estrogen.
The primary purpose of estrogen is to guide a woman’s body through sexual maturity, pregnancy, and childbirth. Estrogen drives the first part of the menstrual cycle. When estrogen levels drop, an egg leaves one of her ovaries. High estrogen levels interfere with the release of an egg so pregnancy cannot take place. Prescription birth control takes advantage of this fact by keeping estrogen levels high.
Many women were harmed by taking estrogen in the clinical trials by the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). Experiments using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) were stopped after five years (three years early) due to an unacceptable increase in the very diseases it was supposed to stop. Other studies have since identified and listed estrogen as a carcinogen. Now we are aware that unbalanced levels of estrogen in a woman’s body may lead to acne (not only in teenagers), weight/fat gain (hips to the knees), sexual dysfunction, fibrocystic breast disease, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, cancer, and more.
Estrogen imbalances also produce a fibrous net called fibrosis that can strangle muscles and organs eventually leading to one’s demise. Proteolytic or systemic enzymes can break up this fibrous net.
The pharmaceutical estrogen used in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) trials derived from a pregnant mare’s urine is still being prescribed. Estrogen is now commonly found in water supplies in addition to other endocrine-disrupting compounds. These compounds include anti-seizure medications and anti-depressant drugs that mimic estrogen, a plastic additive called bisphenol-A (BPA), synthetic crop fertilizers (i.e., Altrazine), herbicides, industrial chemicals, and estrogens from livestock fed hormones to increase milk production, fatten them for the market, or make them mature faster.
Hair loss is much more than being annoying; it’s a sign of problems due to a hormone called Di Hydro Testosterone (DHT). Despite the word testosterone in its name, it’s a derivative of estrogen. Did you know that estrogen and testosterone are similar in molecular structure and are made from the hormone cholesterol?
In today’s world, we see estrogen levels in men rising to unhealthy proportions by their mid-twenties to mid-thirties coupled with a drop in testosterone levels. Due to this hormonal imbalance, it’s no wonder that many of these men have problems. Males with high estrogen levels lose muscle mass, gain belly fat, get moody/cranky, often become depressed, develop a swollen prostate, and lack mental drive. By age forty-five, men may have more estrogen than their wives!
Another estrogen related problem stems from an enzyme in belly fat called aromatase that converts testosterone into estrogen. This estrogen produces even more belly fat which promotes estrogen dominance in both men and women.
Babies are also adversely affected by too much estrogen. In male babies, estrogen interferes with their ability to produce adequate testosterone which is what ensures their development as a male. Excess estrogen affects girls by forcing their bodies to mature too quickly as well as interfering with healthy development. This is why baby formulas with soy (which contains plant estrogens) should be avoided.
What else can you do? Read labels and avoid foods containing phytoestrogens. Avoid meat, dairy, and vegetables raised with hormones, herbicides, fungicides, and/or pesticides as they are also estrogen based. Eat organic, free range foods, and only use BHP-free plastics.
Learn about natural foods, such as maca, that act as estrogen blockers and reducers and add them to your diet. Eat cruciferous vegetables that have anti-cancer/anti-estrogenic properties due to their production of the chemical compound Di-Indole Methane (DIM). However, if you eat lots of cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli or other goitrogenic vegetables (meaning they can disrupt thyroid production by interfering with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland especially when there’s iodine deficiency) steam or quickly par-boil them first.
Homeopathic progesterone and progesterone creams can help the body offset the effects of estrogen. The addition of a high-quality fiber supplement, such as Gastro-Fiber, helps absorb and bind excess hormones so they can be expelled out of the body, instead of being reabsorbed.
It’s best when the body produces its own hormones rather than getting them from outside sources. I’ve found several specific whole-food based supplements that are formulated to assist particular organs within the body to manufacture the necessary hormones in the proper balance. When the body naturally produces its own hormones, it uses built-in feedback mechanisms to know which hormones to build and when to produce them with the correct quantities. The hormones produced by a healthy body are simply amazing. Come to my workshop to learn more about YOUR incredible hormones!
Dr. William H. Karl, D.C., is a Brimhall Certified Wellness Doctor with over 35 years of experience helping people obtain optimal health. Attend Dr. Karl’s FREE workshops on March 15th “Relationships: The Magical Chemistry.” Visit www.KarlWellnessCenter.com for more information. Ccall 734-425-8220 to register.