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Hormone Balance - Feeling Normal by Ric Saguil, MD, FAAFP
Feeling Normal Again
by Ric Saguil, MD, FAAFP and Tom Jordan, MS, RD
Where's the passion and the drive we had in our 20's? Where's the spark I had just a few years ago?" It seems far too often that we see patients who mention a loss of focus or even an apathy with life. We consistently hear stories of employers downsizing (stress) and asking the remaining workers to pick up the slack (more stress). On top of this, cost of living continues to rise (more stress) and if you pay attention to the stock market… we won't even go there. The end result is little recharge. We see this in the above example, but also in the stay at home mom, the executive, or the recreational athlete. Despite our role in life we are in a culture that pushes us to the max and then stares us down and tells us "there's no time to be tired, you've got more work to do." Although this picture appears gloomy, there is hope for the victims of this story who are suffering from complaints such as:
Why do we see huge increases in the above complaints? HORMONE DEPLETION AND IMBALANCES! Hormones affect everything from the sound of our voice, to the distribution of body fat, to our thoughts and emotions. More importantly, Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone are the primary hormones that keep us focused, driven, and sharp. They are vital messengers to our vitality, energy, and metabolism!
We see this in overworked business men and women, we see it in women trying to be "supermom," and we even see it in apparently healthy individuals who just simply work hard and fail to supply their bodies with adequate nutrition and rest. These examples are growing so common that they are becoming known as "average." Most of these people are simply trying to "deal with it" and hope that this is just a part of life.
The problem with our current health system is that we usually focus on the conditions that are imminent for life or death. This is usually limited to basic screening for diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. But what about the hormones that define a person's sense of vitality, energy, focus, sexuality, and memory? At First Health Associates we believe that health is not only about freedom from disease but more importantly about making you the best parent, spouse, boss, employee, athlete, and/or friend that you can be! When it comes to hormones we believe that there are specific steps that you can take (before jumping to hormone replacement therapy) to restore normal balance and optimize vitality. Hormone levels DO respond positively to changes in diet, lifestyle, activity levels, and stress. Check out the recommendations below geared at restoring and optimizing your own hormone balance.
1) Avoid Sugary and Processed Foods!
Sugar is the primary offender of hormones. It stimulates an inflammatory response and provides none of the nutrients we need to produce these vital hormones (fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals). To add insult to injury, these foods cause increased body fat, which releases estrogen, and can lead to estrogen dominance.
2) Drink in Moderation
Think about the "beer gut" for a second. Alcohol suppresses testosterone production and leads to estrogen dominance. This sets us up for abdominal weight gain, increases risk for cardiovascular disease, and wipes out libido.
3) Go Lean
Try to select lean meats early and often. A balance of quality protein is required for hormone production-but watch out for the higher fat and fried meats since they trigger inflammation and will be counterproductive for managing weight, hormones, and health.
4) Get Going
Shorter duration/higher intensity exercise is great for hormones. Start by building your endurance for 1-2 weeks, then add 30-60 second "bursts" into your cardiovascular routine. No more 60-90 minute bouts on the treadmill or elliptical! 15-30 minute cardiovascular intervals with 15-30 minutes of strength training is the perfect regimen for success.
5) Get Tested
Ask about our hormone balancing questionnaire as a screening tool for potential imbalances. From there, we may recommend saliva testing for hormones to check for imbalances and get a good baseline prior to starting any rebalancing program. This is a non-invasive way to determine any specific imbalances.
6) Get Help
All the education and recommendations in the world are great but not worth a dime if you don't make them part of your lifestyle. Our Nutritionist is skilled in counseling as a Health Coach-meaning helping you get from where you are now to where you need to be for optimal function. We work together with you to determine the easiest high impact changes and build you up one step at a time. Because:
"The Easiest Changes Have the Longest Lasting Impact"