Tag Archives: DIM

How do Hormone Imbalances Make us Gain Weight ? Let’s Count the Ways!

In my last post I talked about the hormonal links to unwanted weight gain and immovable belly fat. If you simply cannot figure out why you can no longer shed pounds easily like you used to even though you try to eat right, exercise, and take your vitamins every morning, you might be walking around with an undetected hormone imbalance that is sabotaging your best efforts. How does hormone imbalance contribute to weight gain? Let me count the ways!  Better still I’ll let naturopathic Dr. Amy Shah, boil it down for you here (with a few italicized notes from me in there)….read on:
These are the top areas women neglect, even when they think they’re being healthy.
1. You have an estrogen to progesterone imbalance.

Many women — especially those of child-bearing age — have an estrogen dominance problem. If you exercise daily, it’s likely that you’re using up your progesterone and estrogen is dominating. Other causes of estrogen dominance include environmental factors such as pesticides, plastics, industrial waste products, car exhaust, meat, soaps, furniture and carpet.

Diet, most importantly making sure you eat “hormone-free” (the label should clearly read “these animals were raised without hormones or antibiotics) environmental avoidance of xenoestrogens, and taking supplements can bolster your progesterone and decrease estrogen dominance. Check out the Environmental Working Group on line (www.ewg.org) for the full revelations and actions you can take!

2. You’re not getting enough vitamin D.

Possibly due to our awareness of skin cancer and the use of sunscreen, our levels of vitamin D are lower than they were decades ago. Not to mention that we are spending more time working indoors in front of computers, or exercising inside vs. in the great outdoors. Vitamin D in that is it synthesized by the action of sunlight upon the skin acts like a hormone in our bodies, and deficiency has been linked to allergies, asthma, weight gain, fatigue, food allergies and even cancer. Vitamin D levels can be tested by your healthcare provider, and supplemental vitamin D can be found in various forms.

3. You have high cortisol.

High levels of cortisol (our “stress hormone”) is another big reason we tend to store fat and keep weight on our abdominal area until the stressor is minimized or resolved.. I used to wake up very early to do a spin class or intense run, then race home to get ready for work, then deal with my young kids and chores. That increased my cortisol levels and working against my goals of having a lean body.

Image

If you feel like you need to be on a caffeine drip at all times, it means you’re having too many highs and lows with cortisol as a big culprit. Cortisol is associated with increased appetite, cravings for sugar, and weight gain, belly fat in particular. You need to unwind everyday with whatever it is that shuts off your hypervigilence — even if it’s for 10 minutes per day.

4. You’re eating processed “healthy.”

Excess sodium, GMOs and sugar are all hidden ingredients that are both inflammatory and causes of excess weight gain. Just because it’s at a health food store and it’s “gluten free” or “low fat” or “natural,” DOES NOT mean it’s good for you. It took me a long time to get over this, because packaging with the words “natural” and “healthy” are very enticing.

5. You’re eating too much fat.

Paleo and other higher-fat diets work for some people, but many women, such as myself, don’t do well with them. Our bodies may do well with fat — especially when added to greens — but be careful not to go overboard.

6. You’re skimping on quality sleep.

This still remains tried and true. Your hormones need it. Your muscles need it for repair, and your brain needs it. The two hormones that are key in the relationship between sleep and weight loss are ghrelin and leptin. These hormones operate on the sleep-wake cycle so when you get less than 7 hours a night appetite hormones are disrupted. Put very simply, leptin tells us when to stop eating and when you’re sleep deprived it plummets so you have less. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you’re sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin and more appetite but may never feel full.

Often when I am having sleep disturbances or jet lag, I use melatonin and magnesium (an all too common deficiency associated with sleep disturbances AND chocolate cravings) as supplements to get me on the right track.

7. You’re not eating your cruciferous vegetables.

Cruciferous vegetables from the vegetable family Brassicaceae include cabbage, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, broccoli and other similar green vegetables. Not only are they good for you because of the feeling of fullness you get from the fiber, but they’re also good for estrogen metabolism through a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C). It is a natural source of DIM (3,3-Diindolylmethane) that helps promote estrogen balance AND helps clear the body of the toxic xenoestrogens we pick up from the environment. This is the cheapest, easiest way to get your hormones — and your weight — in balance.
Image
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10296/why-so-many-healthy-women-cant-lose-weight.html

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Women's Health & Happiness

Got Milk? Got synthetic growth hormones in it? …The FDA Label That Tells You Nothing….OR How misleading… Don’t these people realize they are messing with my hormones ??

So I have a simple question:

Is the milk (cheese, yoghurt, etc.) that comes from cows pumped up with synthetic growth hormones, the same as the milk that comes from cows that are not raised with synthetic growth hormones?

If you answered NO of course not,  you would be right, and judging from the According to the FDA… label shown below, you and I evidently know more than they do about the difference between good and bad hormones (see my last blog on the subject www.wordpress.candace.com).Image THIS LABEL TELLS ME NOTHING!  Worse it is misleading. Consumers have a right to know if xenohormones (xeno for foreign, and as in unnatural to the body) are in the product, in what amount, and the known risks to health. Not only that, labels like this should have been banned back in September 2010, when FDA protection was finally challenged and Ohio’s 6th circuit court  found “a significant difference between milk derived from rBST treated and Non-rBST treated cows.” Until that moment, the FDA ruling had never been questioned, not since Monsanto won approval in 1993 to pump cows up with Posilac (aka rBST or rBG both synthetic growth hormones) based on the strength of Monsanto’s own studies and reports (are we surprised?), documenting the safety and effectiveness of the drug. But in International Dairy Foods Association v Boggs, the 6th circuit found that the two milks were in fact different because the milk produced by rBST-treated cows was shown to have:
1)  increased levels of the growth hormone IGF-1
2) lower nutritional quality during each lactation
3) increased somatic cell counts (meaning the milk is of poor quality and will turn sour more quickly.)

 We also know from environmental medicine that synthetic hormones  disturb the delicate hormone balance within each of us to ill effect. In her brilliant book, The Molecules of Emotion, Candace Pert, Ph.D., (neuroscientist/researcher; discoverer of the opiate receptor in the brain) says, “only recently have we gotten the hard proof that the accumulation of these toxins in our bodies chronically stimulates our estrogen and testosterone receptors, putting them into a state of overdrive and leading to cancer. ” (BTW: at least 11 different xenohormones have been identified in the milk of injected cows…). And If that weren’t enough many scientists would tell you that all these environmental toxins are actually making our immune systems less resilient! In plain words, we don’t and/or can’t bounce back as easily and often as we used to….bummer…. not ever going there if I don’t have to….and I won’t have to as long as I am practicing balance in my hormones and thus in my physical, mental and emotional life.

That said, three cheers and more power to those who would bravely challenge the status quo. I’d like to be one of them…how about you? Because when the 6th Circuit struck down the FDA ruling there was more to it than that, more to do with integrity of information and informed choice, critical aspects both when it comes to staying healthy …  at the same time the court also overturned Ohio’s 2008 law prohibiting the labeling of milk from non-rBST treated cows citing it as “unconstitutional under the 1st amendment.”

Think of it. Before Mr. Boggs took the FDA to court, farmers who were raising healthy, hormone-free cows were not allowed to say so, prohibited in all 50 states from telling us, the health conscious consumer, that their milk was safe ….now, after Ohio, it’s legal in ALL 50 states to let folks know that the milk, cheese, or yoghurts we enjoy are free of the toxins that give us cancer….

The label to look for may or may not look exactly like the one in the pic below, but basically you want it to read: “RBST-free”,  “No r-BST”, “Our cows are raised without synthetic growth hormones or antibiotics,”  or words to that effect.

Image

And while we’re on the subject, write your congresswoman/man to insist on certified “hormone-free” labeling of food sources raised without synthetic hormones, antibiotics, or var. xeno hormones  such as herbicides, pesticides, PCBs, thalates, etc. that are toxic to the body and increase health risks for cancer and other diseases.

Please leave a comment to share that ONE GREAT THING that YOU do everyday to be aware of the toxins in our environment that are messing with our hormones and making us estrogen dominant….tell us how you minimize your exposure and bring that estrogen burden down.  I’ll go first…

I never eat any foods that have been shot up with synthetic hormones, THAT I KNOW OF>I sleep with the door open every night of my life, no matter how cold. I take DIM and/or eat a lot of brussells sprouts (see the cruciferous connection last blog in this series)!! Still enjoying the great recipes many of you sent last blog….but have not heard from anyone out there yet who can make cauliflower taste good…and I balance my hormones with bioidenticals based on hormone test results.

12 Comments

Filed under Candace Burch, Women's Health & Happiness

The Cruciferous Connection: Brussels sprouts and the Good Estrogens

You might ask what Brussels sprouts and “good” estrogens are doing in the same sentence, and I am going to endeavor to explain it here in 250 words or less….well, let’s give it at least 500 …this is too important! In my last blog I posted a plea for help in making the humble Brussels sprout taste good, why? Because eating more cruciferous vegetables, which by the way, also include cabbage, broccoli, kale and cauliflower, (plants that have been cultivated for centuries and were originally used as medicines) are super foods that can help me (and YOU)  turn our  bodies into temples of hormonal health and balance!

Brussels sprouts vs. Bad estrogens - a recipe for natural hormone balance

But how, you might ask, is it that the humble Brussels sprout has suddenly taken on this lofty purpose? Well, it’s called the “cruciferous connection,” and it boils down to biochemistry: the active ingredient in crucifers (a plant compound called DIM) when added to one’s daily diet, can right the balance between good and bad estrogens, in favor of the GOOD. Studies show that DIM acts by promoting more efficient estrogen metabolism in the body, multiplying the chance for it to be broken down into its healthy or “good” metabolites ( a.k.a. the “2-hydroxy estrogens” for you biochem buffs) vs. the “bad” metabolites responsible for estrogen’s many undesirable actions like unwanted weight gain, mood swings/depression, and higher risks for breast and uterine cancers.

The GOOD pathway to healthy estrogen metabolism

Most of the benefits attributed to estrogen – protecting our breasts, skin, bones, blood vessels, heart and brain against rapid aging and disease, are known to come from these good estrogens. So back to the brussels sprout – it is that active ingredient in crucifers that ferries our estrogens down the “good pathway” AND at the same time clears excess estrogens due to hormone imbalances like estrogen dominance, or “xeno-estrogens” in the environment. “Xeno” means from the outside, or foreign, and they are about as unnatural and toxic to the body as pouring sugar down the carburetor of your car would be…. they wreak havoc on normal hormonal operating systems by pretending to be an estrogen, mimicking its action but in a negative way. Where do they come from? The pesticides we spray on our rosebuds, the hormone-injected beef, chicken and dairy we eat, (did you know that some milk products can have 11 different kinds of synthetic estrogens?), the face creams, makeup and hair dyes we absorb into our pores, the harsh household chemicals we wash, spray, wipe and flush away into the water supply, the plastic containers we microwave in, soft plastic water bottles we drink from, and synthetic hormones and other drugs we swallow. They are called HRT, RBST, PCBs, PVCs, laureth sulfates, benzene, xanthine and all those other names that get harder to pronounce as you read down the label.

Toxic Xenoestrogens  are like the unwelcome house guest who doesn’t know when to leave. How do we get rid of them? We switch to hormone-free protein sources, from synthetic hormones to bioidenticals, go “green” with household, gardening and personal care products; microwave in glass or ceramic, drink from stainless steel or BPA-free water bottles, exercise in the open air whenever possible. (see Kyle’s most recent blog) AND to take us full circle back to where I began, eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables! (btw: You can also supplement with their extract, DIM, the active ingredient available in health food stores, compounding pharmacies or MRC weight loss centers.)

You’ll be off to a great start right here with all the mouthwatering recipes for B.sprouts provided by YO’ followers: menopausibilities.wordpress.com/category/candace-burch) Brussels sprouts with sea salt, with onions and garlic, with apple and bacon, and even curry and horseradish tossed… (that last one courtesy of Pamela Bateman, visit her stellar website on hormone balance and breast cancer prevention: www:theseventhwoman.org)

"You've Always Had the Power!" Glinda, the good witch (www.davidburchphotography.com)

Next stop on the cruciferous connection: Cauliflower crust pizza… really! Can’t wait to taste it, and any other creative cauliflower recipes out there that you can share, knowing their higher purpose  ….the power to turn bad estrogens into good …and imbalance to balance.

First Essential Truth: Hormones in harmony and living in balance is an attainable goal.


14 Comments

Filed under Bioidentical Hormones, Candace Burch