Tag Archives: cortisol

Menopausal reduction of hormones and resulting symptoms.

Going through menopause for some women can be a breeze. But, for the rest of us when our hormone levels are dropping, we can get symptoms. A deficiency of one hormone can trigger a relative excess of another and result in common imbalances such as:

Estrogen dominance or low progesterone can result in mood swings, migraines, fat gain in hips and thighs. Low estrogen or fluctuations of estrogen
t can trigger hot flashes, night sweats, palpitations, foggy thinking, memory lapse & vaginal dryness. Low testosterone or DHEA may lead to decreases in bone or muscle mass, metabolism, energy, strength, stamina, exercise tolerance & libido.

High cortisol (produced by the adrenals as a reaction to stressors which could include hormone imbalance) results in insomnia, anxiety, sugar cravings, feeling tired but wired and  increased belly fat, whereas low cortisol causes chronic fatigue, low energy, food and sugar cravings, poor exercise tolerance or recovery & low immune reserves.

Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels can impact neurotransmitter levels. For instance, a drop in estrogen can result in a drop in serotonin which is you feel good neurotransmitter resulting in more depression or feeling of anxiety.  Changes in estrogen levels can also lead to thyroid symptoms like slowed metabolism and always feeling cold. In fact, many women experiencing menopause will be diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

A simple saliva test can determine your levels and a good naturopath can suggest supplements that may alleviate those conditions. You can also take velvet antler which is the tonic used in Asia for menopause that helps correct hormone imbalances. See the website www.4EasyMenopause.com

What’s clinically behind your stress?

Recent surveys have found that the majority of Americans are living with either high or moderate levels of stress on a daily basis. What triggers the body’s response to stress? Cortisol, secreted by the adrenals, peaks and falls with emotional response. In addition there is a daily cyclical rise and fall of cortisol levels that govern the level of wakefullness during the day, spiking just after we wake up in the morning (like your body’s natural cup of coffee). The trouble arises when stress levels are maintained throughout the day. Your cortisol is working overtime and can stay at a high level putting you at risk for heart disease, sleep problems, digestive problems, depression, obesity, memory impairment and skin eruptions.

So what can you do to help yourself besides try to reduce the stress in your life? A supplement, PS (phosphatidylserine)  helps by decreasing cortisol levels and distress. In addition anxiety can rear its nervous head during high cortisol secretions. Neurotransmitter imbalance (GABA, serotonin, dopamine) can trigger anxiety responses along with the adrenals releasing high levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline which can cause increased heart rate and breathing. Rather than just popping supplements to try to get these secretions under control, we advise getting a proper neurotransmitter test (the one we took was a saliva, urine test given to us by Certified Nutritionist Kristine Bahr www.kbahr.co ). Once you know what is being over or under excited, she can then advise you on what supplements to take to temper your response. I did this and it “cured” my anxiety attacks.

Too many companies will try to sell you on their pills to fix your problem. If you don’t know what the problem is exactly, how do you know you are not making it worse by following their protocol? You may be causing your stress through your thought processes and emotions, but there also could be a clinical explanation. Better to get to the root of the problem before your try to self-diagnose and self-treat.

-Nina Anderson, Specialist in Performance Nutrition