Balance Hormones & Energy

Heal Your Gut

Cellular Energy

You must be able to produce Cellular Energy in order for your body to function: for your heart to beat, your lungs to breathe, your brain to process, your gut to digest and all the other essential functions to live. In fact,

“What distinguishes ALIVE from DEAD is the loss of ‘electrical potential’ across the cell membrane.”

Likewise, having balanced hormones affects our metabolism, mood, sexual and reproductive functions, our ability to heal and repair and determines how quickly we age.

Cellular Energy

We all think of ourselves as individuals, however, we are actually a collection of around 40 trillion cells – that’s 40,000,000,000,000.

One of the most important aspects of being alive and healthy is the ability to maintain an electrical charge across the cell membrane, turning each of those 40 trillion cells into little batteries, so to speak.

Why is this so important? Cellular Respiration is the ability to transport fluid and nutrients into the cell and to transport metabolic waste out of the cell. If you cannot maintain an electrical charge across the cell membrane, the cell cannot breathe, digest and transport nutrients, or eliminate waste.

How long would you survive if you could not breathe, digest nutrients or go to the bathroom? Not long, right? Now, you see why the cellular respiration of your 40 trillion cells is so important.

For example, when a mom comes in to me exhausted, has no libido and literally cannot get out of bed, I tell her that she’s like a wrestler and her body is On The Mat and Totally Tapped Out. When your body is in that state, how in the world can it have the energy for Repair or Regeneration? Forget about interest in sex. Why would your body be interested in reproducing when it barely has the energy to survive?

In order for you to do any of the millions of things necessary to get through the day, you must first be able to turn food, nutrients and oxygen into energy. Understanding how you metabolize food, nutrients, oxygen and toxins is at the very foundation of health and healing.

In fact, right now scientists are busy mapping every detail of how our cells produce energy and metabolize nutrients in a field called Metabolomics. This field and others like it are making Personalized Medicine possible - allowing us to see how you, your genes, the bacteria in your gut, your environment, and your diet and lifestyle all contribute to your health.

Metabolomics is at the center stage of research into chronic diseases. For instance, we know that normal cells rely on a type of metabolism called oxidative phosphorylation to generate the energy needed for cells. In contrast, cancer cells shift their metabolism to a more primitive form know as “aerobic glycolysis.” Aerobic glycolysis is an inefficient way to generate energy, however, it seems that the advantage for cancer cells is that it increases the uptake of nutrients needed to rapidly reproduce and grow – two things you definitely do not want cancer cells to do.

Cancer cells also have far more glucose receptors than regular cells allowing them to suck up all the available blood sugar nearby, again allowing them to rapidly reproduce and grow. https://tinyurl.com/y8akvxpd

Understanding the difference between a normal cell and a cancer cell’s metabolism, and how it allows cancer cells to grow and spread like wildfire, gives us a big advantage – we know that anything that increases oxygen to the healthy cells, or starves cancer cells of sugar, can help stop cancer from growing and spreading.

There is much more to the cancer story that we’ll discuss later. Just know it’s critical to understand how cells metabolize nutrients and produce energy, and how it can all get twisted under the right conditions - like a lack of oxygen and excess sugar.

You don’t need a PhD in Biochemistry to understand how important it is to be able to produce cellular energy. And where is all that cellular energy produced? In one place: The Mitochondria.

Every single one of those 40 trillion cells that make up YOU has anywhere from hundreds to thousands of mitochondria.

Mitochondria - Turning on the Powerhouse

Mitochondria are known as the “powerhouses” of the cell. They are tiny little organs that act like a digestive system which takes in oxygen, food and nutrients and breaks them down to create energy for the cell. These biochemical processes of the cell are known as cellular respiration and most of it takes place inside the mitochondria.

This is where all those reactions like the Krebs cycle happen, producing chemicals and enzymes that ultimately create adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP), which is the form of energy in the cell.

Muscle cells need a lot of energy so they have loads of mitochondria. In cells where there is a high energy demand, large numbers of mitochondria are found.

In heart muscle cells, about 40% of the cell is taken up by mitochondria. In liver cells, about 25% of the cell is taken up by mitochondria, and there are up to 2000 mitochondria per cell. The brain and eye also have a high density of mitochondria.

Think of mitochondria like a highly efficient furnace converting (burning) food, nutrients and oxygen into pure energy. Like any furnace, this process produces waste products, and in the mitochondria these waste products are known as “free radicals.” These free radicals can damage the mitochondria and the mitochondrial DNA. Foods high in antioxidants like blueberries can be very helpful in eliminating these free radicals.
Organs with a high energy demand (such as the brain, muscles, central nervous system and the eyes) are very vulnerable to damage of the mitochondria. There is no drug that can reverse the damage to mitochondria (just ask anyone suffering from Peripheral Neuropathy, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or liver disease).
People with these diseases have far more mitochondrial damage than do healthy people, and this mitochondrial damage severely affects their energy and ability to enjoy life, which is why understanding mitochondria and how they function and how to repair them, is so relevant to understanding the causes and potential cures of many chronic diseases.

Fatigue

To really understand energy, you need to understand its opposite: fatigue.

Fatigue is the persistent feeling of physical, emotional and/or mental tiredness (exhaustion) that significantly interferes with your functioning.

PAIN, BRAIN & DRAIN is an easy way to remember those conditions that have two things in common: Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Low Energy.

Cellular Enrgy

 

Recognizing Energy Problems

There are many factors that can contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction and loss of energy. Some of the most common patterns I see are

1. People suffering from “Prolonged Stress” – this could be from doing extended care of a loved one, active duty military service, childhood abuse or trauma, toxic relationships, etc.
2. Pesticide/Herbicide Exposure – common in people who work in agriculture or landscape maintenance.
3. Toxin and Heavy Metal Exposure – dental fillings, welding, smoking, overeating fish high in mercury such as tuna, etc.
4. Sugar/White flour/Alcohol consumption on any regular basis.
5. Prescription Medications, particularly Statins (cholesterol drugs) and Antibiotics, along with corticosteroids, chemotherapy drugs, beta-blockers and many other drugs.

Cellular Enrgy


Useful tests to help identify Mitochondrial Dysfunction

1. OATS Test (i.e., organic acid testing) looks at the metabolites or byproducts of cellular metabolism and can give us a great indication of where the Krebs Cycle may be malfunctioning.
2. Macronutrient and micronutrient testing to identify nutrient deficiencies related to ATP production.
3. Tests which identify oxidative stress, heavy metals or other toxins which can affect mitochondrial function.
4. Genetic testing for SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms which can affect mitochondrial function). One of my favorites right now is GenoMind which looks at about 30 genes which affect brain function, mood and sleep.

Remember – You are a unique individual and each and every patient’s health and goals are different. So, if you are looking for a Personalized approach to achieve the longest lasting results, schedule a 15 minute phone consultation to discover if our approach is right for you.

Hormones & Neurotransmitter Balance

Hormones and Neurotransmitters have profound effects on your mental, physical and emotional health. They also play a major role in controlling your appetite, weight and mood, sexual function and reproductive health.

Right now, more than any time in history, we are living completely out of harmony with our natural biological rhythms. We stay up late, over-commit, run from one thing to the next, stuff ourselves with sugary, processed foods, and are bombarded with chemicals and electromagnetic pollution.
No wonder the tiny molecules that help keep your body in balance – your hormones and neurotransmitters – have gone berserk.
Hormones and neurotransmitters are yet another of the body’s core systems we must address in order to prevent disease and create health and longevity. Understand how and why these systems get out of balance, and you will see why so many Americans walk around tired, depressed and overweight, and why no amount of pharmaceutical drugs will ever solve the problem.

A simplified way to think of the complex interactions between Hormones & Neurotransmitters is using the abbreviation – PTSD which stands for Production, Transportation, Sensitivity & Detoxification.

Hormonal Imbalance

All of our hormones and brain-messenger chemicals must work together in a finely orchestrated symphony to keep everything in balance. For example, the hypothalamus and pituitary glands in your brain are the command centers for all the endocrine (hormone) glands. They send signals to distant parts of the body to control everything from your stress response through your adrenal glands, your blood-sugar balance through your pancreas, your thyroid hormone via your thyroid gland, and your sexual function through your reproductive organs. They also control growth, sleep, mood and much more.
Neurotransmitters, meanwhile, send messages throughout the body to every cell, organ and tissue, and help you do everything from move your arm to make you feel happy or sad.

When our hormones become imbalanced, the health consequences can be severe. There are three big epidemics of hormonal problems in America today: too much insulin (from sugar), too much cortisol and adrenaline (from stress), and not enough thyroid hormone. These all interconnect with and affect the other major category of hormones: our sex hormones.

Imbalances in any of these interconnected systems can influence the way our brains function and lead to everything from depression and dementia to anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They also are linked to two other major epidemics we currently face: obesity and inflammation.

Hormonal imbalances can lead to a host of serious health problems, including inflammation, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia and more.

Fortunately, within Functional Medicine, we have a system to find and address the root causes of these imbalances, improve your hormonal health and allow you to feel and perform your best.

Imbalance

Sadly, what I see all too often are patients who have been to other doctors and have been put on hormones, without ever having proper lab testing.
Nor are they told that regulating stress, inflammation and blood sugar are the keys to hormone balancing.

Once we’ve addressed all the things that can affect Production, Transport, Sensitivity and Detoxification of specific hormones, then we begin to treat and balance the HPA axis. The Hypothalamic – Pituitary –Adrenal (HPA) axis is our central stress response system. It’s a complex and dynamic feedback network between the central nervous system and endocrine system.

Supporting and balancing the HPA axis often resolves the root cause of most hormone imbalances, and we treat in a specific order.

Imbalance


Remember – You are a unique individual and each and every patient’s health and goals are different. So, if you are looking for a Personalized approach to achieve the longest lasting results, schedule a 15 minute phone consultation to discover if our approach is right for you.

Stay tuned for future blog posts including My Top 5 Natural Ways to Balance Your Hormones.