There’s three ways of addressing hormone dysfunction:
- Conventional hormone replacement
- Bio-identical hormone replacement
- Functional Nutrition
The majority of hormonal problems aren’t due to a hormone deficiency. You can have plenty of things go wrong with your hormones without anything being wrong with the gland itself (ovary, testicle, thyroid, adrenals, etc)! If you’re given a synthetic or bio-identical hormone, there’s an assumption the gland isn’t capable of producing that hormone (the testicles can’t produce enough testosterone, the ovaries can’t produce enough progesterone, the thyroid can’t produce enough thyroid hormone, etc.).
In the functional nutrition world we take a look at the physiology behind what makes a hormone, how it interacts with its target tissue receptors, how the hormone is broken down, and how it’s cleared from your body. A list of things to look for are:
- Is there anything disrupting hypothalamus and pituitary gland feedback loops?
- Are we able to metabolize hormones in our gut and liver and then eliminate them from our body?
- Is there anything disrupting endocrine receptors?
- Are we supplying enough cholesterol to produce hormones or are we on a statin drug?
One of the first steps is looking at inflammation and the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These molecules can bring havok to every system in our body. Without addressing them and a host of other mechanisms we're missing the drivers for hormone imbalances. Ask any male diabetic about their testosterone levels. Without tackling a female’s ability to regulate sugar it’ll be an uphill battle balancing her hormones. An anemic person isn’t going to deliver enough oxygen for tissues to function optimally, produce energy, and make neurotransmitters. While hormone replacement might be the right answer for someone, I would first rule out any weak link in the physiology leading up to production of the hormone, its ability to reach its target, then be metabolized, and later cleared from the body.
If you have concerns about your hormonal health, please schedule an in-person or virtual/online consultation. We are able to order and interpret hormone and comprehensive panels if necessary.
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