The topic of hormones seems so out of balance (no pun intended!). The attention is mostly reserved for women with the discussion focusing on PMS, hot flashes and menopause. I suppose this shouldn’t be too surprising, though, considering nearly 90% of women in the United States have some form of hormone imbalance. However, it is interesting when you consider that there are a myriad of hormones in the body produced in extremely small amounts, yet very powerful in their effects, that affect everyone.
The problem in “treating” hormones is that we never get to the cause of why the hormones are imbalanced or dysregulated in the first place. There is a reason, for instance, that estrogen or progesterone are out of balance, and if we don’t go “upstream” to the source of what is causing the dysregulation, we never truly fix the problem.
Other hormones you may be familiar with include thyroid hormones, insulin, growth hormone, testosterone, cortisol and adrenaline, however, there are many more. If you were experiencing problems with all of these hormones, it wouldn’t make sense to treat them all individually. What would make sense is to get to the source of why they are all dysregulated. So, where do we begin?
To get a better understanding, let’s start with the hypothalamus. This is a portion of the brain with different functions, one being to link the nervous system to the endocrine system. The endocrine system is comprised of glands that secrete hormones directly into the blood stream to be carried to specific organs. You may have heard of a few of these glands like the pancreas, thyroid or adrenals. However, the master endocrine gland, the pituitary, secrets hormones that communicate with the other endocrine glands that control growth, sex organs, thyroid, blood pressure, and temperature regulation.
Therefore, if a woman’s pituitary, thyroid or adrenal glands are functioning poorly, she will likely experience problems with her sexual reproductive organs or thyroid. This is an example of how disruption of one gland can disrupt another, causing a domino effect. You can see how treating the “downstream” sex hormone would be problematic if you didn’t correct the “upstream” situation.
HOW DID I GET HERE?
Now that we get a big picture of the hormonal system, your next question is probably, “How do these endocrine and hormone imbalances start in the first place.” The most prevalent answer is toxins, of which there are hundreds. Toxins that cross the blood-brain barrier into the brain make their way into the pituitary, dysregulating its function. Toxins can also affect the downstream pathways, as well. Mercury, a major toxin, can bind to the selenium receptor sites on the thyroid, blocking T3 from binding to the receptor. This new selenium bond is now seen as a foreign invader to the thyroid by the body and the immune system begins to attack it. The autoimmune condition created when this happens is called Hashimoto’s Disease.
Often times a person will present with symptoms of a dysfunctional thyroid only to reveal normal thyroid blood work. This is because when toxins block the hormone receptors, free-floating thyroid hormone does not bind and is found in abundance in the blood stream. Therefore, normal lab results.
COMMON CAUSES OF TOXICITY
Other common environmental toxins that can wreak havoc are plastics and pesticides. BPA (found in plastics used to store food and beverages, such as canned goods and water bottles) and phthalates, found in a wide array of products (detergent, shampoo, cosmetics and food products) mimic estrogen, leading to estrogen dominance - a well known cause of cancer.
Pesticides have also been found to cause cancer and dysregulate hormone function. According to the Environmental Working Group, “Neurotoxic organophosphate compounds that the Nazis produced in huge quantities for chemical warfare during World War II were luckily never used. After the war ended, American scientists used the same chemistry to develop a long line of pesticides that target the nervous systems of insects. Despite many studies linking organophosphate exposure to effects on brain development, behavior and fertility, they are still among the more common pesticides in use today. A few of the many ways that organophosphates can affect the human body include interfering with the way testosterone communicates with cells, lowering testosterone and altering thyroid hormone levels.”
At Genesis Health Solutions we do not treat diseases or conditions, but apply a systematic approach aimed at removing sources that cause disease, correcting nutritional deficiencies and healing your body at the cellular level, where healing begins. Call us today at 434-316-0001 to see how we can help get you back on the road to better health!
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