- It is not about calories in and calories out – as some can exercise and eat less yet gain weight
Roadblocks to weight loss:
- Liver toxicity
The liver detoxifies toxins and wastes and stores glycogen, amino acids and fats. It detoxifies by Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification. Each requires different compounds. Phase 1 needs folate, B2, B6, flavonoids, Glutathione, B12 and phase 2 needs Glyine, Taurine, B12, methionine, Cysteine, folic acid, Glutamine, Choline. Birth control pills deplete B6, Vegans are low in B12.
Signs of a Liver abnormality: sleep disturbance, foggy thinking, stiffness, blood sugar abnormalities, skin abnormalities, cholesterol issues, low energy.
Lemon in water | Increase fiber: flax seeds, psyllium, apple pectin, rice bean, oat fiberm chia seeds, sun fiber. Eat beets, apples, lemons, onion, cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, artichoke, milk thistle Herbs : dandelion root, artichoke, milk thistle, Turmeric. Use ALA, Calcium D Glucarate, NAC, Selenium, Choline, Methionine.
- Thyroid disorders
Low Thyroid: Hashimototo’s autoimmune, adrenal imbalance, estrogen dominance/progesterone deficiency, liver toxicity, food allergy, iron deficiency anemia, nutritional deficiencies( Zn/selenium, food allergy, Vitamin D deficiency, Candida overgrowth, heavy metal toxicity – lead cadmium, mercury stop T4-àT3 conversion. Low Metabolic rate with low thyroid.
TESTS: TSH, free T4, Free T3, TPO TSH
Identify heavy metal toxicity, and food allergy | zic and selenium for T4àT3 conversion | minerals such as Tyrosine, Iodine, Copper, Se, Zinc, Vitamin A and D3 \ Herbs Kelp, Ashwaganda, Blue Iris, Nettles, Coleus, Guggul | Use dessicated thyroid with T4/T3 in it
- Estrogen dominance
Estrogen dominance due to infrequent ovulation, xeno estrogens, cysts of ovary, stress, obesity,, liver toxicity, B6/Magnesium deficient, Caffeine, HRT/BCP cause estrogen build up.
Estrogen reduces sensitivity of Thyroid receptors.
Symptoms: PMS, depression, anxiety, hot flashes, disturbed sleep, night sweats, weight gain, dry skin, fibromyalgia, fluid retention
Get estrogen: Progesterone ratio | reduce exposure to xeno estrogen (dry cleaners, household products, cleaners) | consume crucifers – broccoli, cauliflowers, cabbage, brussel sprouts, choy, arugula, mustard greens, water cress | Increase fiber – chia, psyillium., apple pectin, beet fiber, sun fiber, rice bran |
Detox for estrogen : Diindolemethane (DIM), Indole 3 Carbinnol, NAC, Calcium D Glucarate, Curcumin, Green Tea extract
Progesterone promotion with wild yam, Bupleurum , Passion Flower, Coleus Forkskohli, Peony root
- Food allergies
Delayed onset food allergy IgG and IgA reactions 30 minutes and up to 3 days after exposure-
Elimination diet – glutein soy eggs shellfish citrus nightshade sugar alcohol caffeine, peanuts
Eliminate glutein for three months- take L Glutamine to promote gut healing and omega 3 to replaces deficiencies.
- Hidden yeast issues
Yeast is kept in balance by good bacteria | Sugar craving | Digestive issues, vaginal infection, PMS, fibroid disorders, brain fogs, allergy, chemical insensitivities
Treatment: Candida Questionnaire | Probiotics | Vitamin D3, Zin, Selenium, Vitamin A, Omega 3 || Liver Detox – Calcium Glucarate, NAC, Burdock Root, Dandelion root, Artichoke | Fiber – flax, psyllium, chia, apple pectin, sun fiber
- Sleep and stress
Those who Sleep 5 hours or less per night gain weight – also get impulse control and decision making problems. Also you increase Ghrelin and decreases Leptin… Melatonin deficiency, cortisol excess, RLS (iron, B6, D3, C, E) Magnesium deficiency, thyroid, progesterone, estrogen, stress, caffeine, are sissues
GABA 200-500 mg, Relora 300 mg, 5HTP 300 mg before bedtime Take Phosphatidylserine. Valerian, passion flow, Hops, Lemon balm
Adrenal glands excrete cortisol in stress and causes fat and calorie storage, conservation of energy . Abdominal fat cells have more cortisol receptors than any part of the body.
Feeling tired and wired, difficulty sleeping, abdominal weight gain, muscle mass loss, anxiety – High cortisol
Low cortisol: Fatigue in the morning , infections, decreased exercise recovery, low blood sugar, burned out depression, low sex drive
For stress: balance blood sugar with meals every 3 hours, eliminate gluten, sugr, alcohol, caffeine, and dairy | Identify your stress. Get adequate sleep and gentle exercise, walking strectching, and swimming.
Take adrenal supporting herbs like : Licorice root, Ashwaghanda, Reolora, Rhodiola, Siberian Ginsengm Schisandra.
Take supplements to support the adrenal gland: Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Phosphatidyl Serine, and DHEA. Take adrenal cell extract
- Insulin resistance
Insulin maintains balanced sugar and is secreted depending on what we eat.
What causes Insulin Resistance? Generally apple shaped body habitus – excess fat leads to insulin resistance .Results in elevated blood triglycerides, high blood pressure, high cholesterol.
At menopause, women seem to get a new body: changes in progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone as well as insulin levels change with insulin resistance. You need to balance DHEA, cortisol, thyroid, progesterone, estrogen and testosterone levels.
How to treat:
Avoid juice, sweets, alcohol. Avoid processed flour and deep fried foods.
Consume sugar balancing foods such as lean protein, omega 3, eggs, vegetables above ground, raw nuts, seeds, low glycemic foods, coconut oil, low glycemic legumes, garlic, and onions
Use herbs like turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, basil, and oregano
Balance blood sugar with chromium, alpha lipoic acid, omega 3, biotin, and antioxidants
Consume extra fiber to reduce blood sugar and decrease appetite: Ground flax seeds, apple pectin, sun fiber, chia seeds, PGX fiber, oat fiber, and psyllium.
Exercise regularly 30 minutes per day
Omega 3 fatty acids are neded
Hormone panel : Estradiol, Progesterone, testosterone, cortisolx4, DHEA, TSH, T4 free, t3 free and TPO
Sleep panel : cortisolx4 and melatonin x 4
Metabolic blood tests : CRP, fasting insulin, HbA1c, triglycerides, cholesterol total, VLDL, HDL
Food allergy blood tests : ELISA/EIA 94 IgG Panel
Candida – Blood, stool, urine and Candida Questionaire
What is Relora:
Promotes healthy cortisol and DHEA production, moderates occasional stress and promotes satiety when combined with a healthy diet and exercise
*Relora is a natural, proprietary blend of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense. This synergistic combination of extracts helps promote positive mood and moderates occasional stress, in addition to supporting satiety and healthful eating. The magnolia and phellodendron fractions may bind to key central nervous system receptors, including those for GABA and the serotonin transporter, which encourages feelings of satiety and relaxation. A pilot clinical trial reported that Relora was well tolerated and helped promote emotional well being, muscle relaxation and moderated occasional stress. A follow-up trial reported similar results, as well as indicated that supplementing with Relora may help diminish stress-related sugary snack cravings and promote healthful eating habits. An animal study further demonstrated the supplements ability to support mood and relaxation. A recent pilot clinical trial performed in Cincinnati, Ohio, suggested that magnolia and phellodendron helped to maintain healthy cortisol and DHEA production and metabolism, which helped support healthy body-fat distribution.
Relora is a standardized blend of extracts from Phellodendron amurense and Magnolia officinalis that studies have indicated helps mediate everyday stress-related emotions, eating behavior, and muscle tension, without causing sedation. Supports central nervous system relaxation.
Vitamin Link: https://www.nhc.com/
Hormones and explanations in weight Gain:
Estradiol (E2) at optimal physiological levels in women promotes a healthy distribution of fat in hips, thighs, breasts, and subcutaneously. However, in excess, and in the absence of progesterone, estrogen predisposes to unhealthy surplus weight gain in these tissues. Men generally have much lower levels of estradiol and higher testosterone, which is responsible for greater muscle mass and less fat distribution in areas of the body normally seen in women. In overweight men testosterone levels drop and estrogens rise leading to the same problematic weight gain in the hips, thighs, and breasts (referred to as gynecomastia) as seen in women .
Progesterone (Pg) in addition to its primary role in attenuating the effects of excess estrogen in the body by downregulating estrogen receptors, aids weight management by acting as a natural diuretic. Its natural calming effects in the brain may also reduce stress-related overeating and food cravings. As a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist, progesterone counteracts the effects of mineralocorticoid activation, which include the stimulation of fat cell formation, increased body weight, and release of inflammatory cytokines. However, excessive supplementation with progesterone to higher than normal levels can increase appetite and also slow the rate of food emptying from the stomach and moving through the digestive tract, causing slower digestion and bloating.
Testosterone (T) and DHEA-S (DS) are androgens that increase lean muscle mass and metabolic rate. As androgen levels decline, muscle mass also decreases with a corresponding increase in adiposity. Low androgens can also reduce vitality and tolerance for exercise. Weight gain itself, with its resulting hormone imbalances, can trigger a drop in testosterone as the aromatase enzyme within fat tissue converts androgens to estrogens. In men this contributes to a femaletype body fat distribution, including breast tissue development. In women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), high testosterone and DHEA are linked to insulin resistance and weight gain, particularly in the abdomen.
Cortisol (C) imbalances can create problems with blood sugar control, sleep patterns, appetite, food cravings, and tolerance exercise. Under stress, excessive cortisol production particularly in concert with insulin, promotes fat storage in abdominal adipose tissue. This visceral type of fat is closely associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome and thus more hazardous to health. Chronically elevated cortisol is a known risk factor for pre-diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) elevations, even within the high-normal range, are linked with hypothyroidism, low metabolic rate and obesity. Hypothyroidism is linked to elevated cortisol and can also be a consequence of oral estrogen therapy, which increases the production of binding proteins that reduce thyroid hormone bioavailability. Vitamin D (D2, D3) deficiency is common in obesity and particularly associated with hyperinsulinemia and visceral fat. Whether by cause or effect, identifying and correcting vitamin D3 deficiency may improve insulin sensitivity.
Fasting Insulin (In), when elevated, is a marker of insulin resistance which precedes metabolic syndrome, PCOS, and type 2 diabetes. Increased levels, particularly in concert with cortisol lead to central obesity and increased inflammatory and other cardiovascular disease markers. Hyperinsulinemia also contributes to decreased testosterone levels in men, but increased testosterone and decreased ovulation in women.
Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is an indirect measure of the average circulating glucose levels over the previous three months. An HbA1c of more than 6% is predictive of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk.
Hormone Weight Gain Connection
Estrogen/progesterone imbalance: weight gain in hips, thighs; water retention; low thyroid/metabolism
Testosterone/DHEA imbalance: decreased lean muscle, low metabolic rate; abdominal obesity
Cortisol imbalance: increased appetite, sugar cravings, and belly fat; inhibits thyroid and metabolism
Vitamin D3 deficiency: hyperinsulinemia; visceral fat
TSH elevated: hypothyroidism, low metabolic rate, obesity
Fasting Insulin: insulin resistance, abdominal obesity
HbA1c: predictive of type 2 diabetes
Candace BurchTuesday, February 17, 2015
During the Balance Your Hormones to Balance Your Weight Webinar, many questions were asked that we couldn’t get to during the one hour presentation. We followed up with Candace Burch, and she took a few minutes to respond to your questions below.
Ever since I went into menopause I feel like I’m living in a different body…and have a much harder time losing weight…is this the new normal?
Menopause is a new normal for women but it need not be a nightmare! The extent to which you are gaining weight and feeling like a stranger in a strange body, is very often tied to how far your hormones are out of whack. Shifting, declining hormones along with a slowing of metabolism are to be expected at menopause, but their effects are made worse by lack of sleep, chronic stress, and exposure to endocrine disruptors (pesticides, BPA, growth hormones in milk, etc.) in the environment.
At the same time additional burden is placed on the adrenal glands as they take over hormone production from the ovaries at menopause. That can lead to tired adrenals that cannot keep up with demand, so this is prime time to start taking better care of ourselves with improved nutrition, sleep, and stress management. We know that cortisol rises when stress rises, triggering us to refuel by eating more. If stress stays high, blood sugars and insulin will stay high with continued overeating, and inevitably, weight gain. It bears mentioning that the belly fat we women love to hate happens to be the body’s favorite depot for storing energy reserves, which is why doctors often refer to belly fat as the body’s answer to stress.
I think I may be deficient in Vitamin D but I take a multivitamin every day…isn’t that enough?
If you are overweight you will want to make sure that you are not D-deficient, given what researchers are finding is a strong association with increased body fat and obesity onset. The so-called ‘sunshine vitamin’ is actually a ‘prohormone’ made in the body by the action of sunlight upon the skin. So those of us who live in the grayer, northern altitudes are typically low in D, but deficiency occurs even in sunny climates where you would least expect it, attributed to overuse of sunscreens and covering up against the D-enriching rays of the sun. As humans increasingly spend more time indoors in front of computers, and less time working or exercising outside when the sun is shining, the problem is taking on epidemic proportions. Sensible sun exposure, from15 minutes to a half hour a day can help boost D levels as nature intended.
To circle back to your question about supplementation, the amount of D3 contained in the average multivitamin may not be enough to raise D levels into the healthier ranges. If testing your D levels reveals a deficiency (30 ng/ml or below) talk to your provider about increasing your daily D intake. Supplementing between 2000 and 5000IUs of Vitamin D3 is generally suggested to bring levels into the optimal (50-80 ng/ml) range.
Could an imbalance in Estrogen/Progesterone cause low cortisol? I have low cortisol across the board.
This is certainly to be considered, particularly when there is too much estrogen relative to too little progesterone, an all too common imbalance known as estrogen dominance. This often shows up in the test results of women in menopause and perimenopause, when waning ovaries no longer make estrogen and progesterone in balanced proportions. This is also not atypical in younger women on birth control, with anovulatory (lack of ovulation), or erratic cycles.
Progesterone being high up in the hormonal cascade is also a precursor (source) of primary adrenal hormones, so if it is in short supply, DHEA and cortisol, the key arbiters of adrenal health will also be down with some level of adrenal fatigue to follow. So your question is a good one: imbalances of estrogen and progesterone can and will negatively impact cortisol levels down the line. If you feel this is what’s going on with you consider testing your hormone levels to identify hidden imbalances and work with a provider to restore balance naturally.
If a patient is on birth control pills, can a saliva test be accurate?
Hormones levels tested while ‘under the influence’ of the pill will reflect its’ contraceptive effect and test at lower levels than would be the case in the absence of contraception. To get a true baseline level of hormones, it is suggested that birth control be suspended for four to six weeks before collecting hormone samples. Having said that, women who do test their hormones while taking contraceptives may use the results of testing to guide decision making about hormonal vs. non-hormonal birth control methods.
I am estrogen dominant, taking lots of supplements, I do bioidentical progesterone the last 2 weeks of my cycle; I’m perimenopausal, periods now 6 weeks apart, I have really high cortisol in the morning and in the evening, I do yoga, exercise and all the supplements -what else can I do?
Sounds like you are doing many things right, but if you still have depression, weight gain, and stress demands high enough to spike your cortisol levels morning and evening, look to your adrenal glands. These master stress responders need extra support especially during perimenopause when hormonal shifts and fluctuations trigger imbalances that can amplify stress demands upon the body.
Supplements like Vitamins C, B-complex, adaptogenic herbs, and natural progesterone, etc., when taken in the right amounts are essential adrenal supports, and the practice of yoga with its stretching and deep breathing is known to help lower stress hormones. All good, but if as you say your cortisol levels are still high, you may have to drill down a bit more and ask yourself how you are dealing with stress. If you’re overworked, overbooked, over-caffeinated, or feeling overwhelmed in general, it’s time to take stock of your stress, figure out where it’s coming from and how you can alleviate it at the source. That may be as simple as turning off your cellphone after 8pm and going to bed earlier, or as complicated as switching careers and walking away from the ‘dream job’ that drained you dry.
Lack of sleep by the way is one of the biggest contributors to cortisol imbalance, and a serious disruptor of appetite hormones, leading to sugar cravings and increased hunger. Getting by on just 5 or 6 hours a night will undermine your best efforts to stay healthy and balanced and a number of studies show that ‘short sleepers’ are more prone to weight gain. Aim for 7 to 8 hours a night at minimum, and “sleep in on the weekends whenever possible,” says Dr. James Wilson in his must read book: Adrenal Fatigue, The 21st Century Syndrome.
Do you feel saliva over blood tests is better?
If you want to test active bioavailable hormone levels that correlate more closely to the symptoms you are experiencing, saliva testing can be a better way to go. That’s because this method (see also blood spot collection) captures the ‘free’ fraction of hormone that has left the blood stream to become active in the target tissues of the body; in contrast the standard blood test measures inactive hormones still bound by their carrier proteins in the blood stream. Saliva testing has another big advantage: collection is non-invasive, that is without needles, so all one has to do to collect hormone samples is spit into a tube – a painless change from the stress of a blood draw that can skew results.
My doctor did a blood test and said my hormones are fine and that I’m just depressed. Now I’m on Prozac, and gaining more weight!
I have a one-line response to your comment: Depression is NOT a Prozac deficiency. (see question above regarding blood tests.)
What is the call to action?
In a nutshell; become aware of, and determine your own symptoms of hormone imbalance, test your hormone levels to identify imbalances that match up with the symptoms you are experiencing, and last but not least find a natural hormone friendly provider who will work with you to rebalance your hormones.
A savvy practitioner will test, not guess using hormone test results as a guide to individualizing treatment. After all, each of us has a unique body chemistry, so what works for one woman does not necessarily apply to her friend, sister or next-door neighbor. Today’s more enlightened and effective approach to a woman’s hormones and weight gain is bound to include lifestyle and dietary improvements, stress lowering techniques, key vitamins, minerals, herbs and/or bioidentical hormones as needed, to replenish and restore balance.
Common hormone-related causes of weight gain often involve the following scenarios:
Estrogen & Progesterone Imbalances
Result in weight gain in hips and thighs, water retention & sluggish metabolismLow Testosterone or DHEA
Lead to decreased lean muscle and increased body fat, decreased metabolic rate & abdominal obesityHigh Cortisol
Results in insomnia, anxiety, sugar cravings, feeling tired but wired & increased belly fatLow Cortisol
Causes chronic fatigue, low energy, food and sugar cravings, poor exercise tolerance or recovery & low immune reservesVitamin D3 deficiency
Associated with hyperinsulinemia & increased belly fatHigh TSH
Leads to hypothyroidism, low metabolic rate & obesityHigh Insulin
Indicative of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome & abdominal obesityHigh HbA1c
Predictive of type 2 diabetes
Balance Your Hormones to Balance Your Weight
- Hormones regulate weight, blood sugar, and when and where the body stores fat
- Hormones are the driving force behind metabolic regulation
- Estrogen and progesterone promote healthy fat distribution in hips and thighs
- Testosterone/DHEA support muscle mass and metabolic rate
- Cortisol regulates sugar control
- Thyroid regulates metabolism
- Insulin regulates fat storage
Symptoms of imbalance of hormones:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Sluggish metabolism
- Raging appetite
- Emotional eating
- Fatigue and burnout
- Decreased libido
- Less lean muscle mass
- High body fat
- Stress is unresolved
Hormonal Weight Gain in Women
Premenopause: irregular cycles, cravings, premenstrual weight gain
Peri-menopause : erratic ovulation, shifting hormones with onset of symptoms, increased cortisol and belly fat – more stress
Post-menopause: Endof ovulation – leads to imbalances of female thyroid hormones/cortisol
Hormone weight Gain in Men
Men lose testosterone and DHEA – lean muscle goes and body fat goes away – ratio of estrogen rises and female fat pattern
Slowing of metabolism, feel muscle soreness and exercise less.
What Tips the hormonal balance:
Chronic stress triggers blood sugar and insulin imbalances – weight gain and belly fat in creases
Poor nutrition causes food cravings, weight gain and insulin resistance.
Lack of exercise is linked to overeating, obesity, blood sugar imbalances and loss of lean muscle mass that is replaced by fat
Xeno-estrogens are endocrine disruptors that cause weight gain and hormonal imbalance
Imbalances in hormones are demonstrated by:
- Estrogen dominance in which weight gain is primarily in the hips, thighs, buttocks, and breast tissue. There is a difficulty in losing weight and maintaining weight with sugar and fat cravings. Slow metabolism with thyroid being low symptoms. Hunger even after you just ate. Estrogen dominance can interfere with the thyroid function
- Adrenal Imbalance- adrenal makes cortisol to regulate glucose Stress causes cortisol to rise and insulin rises as a result and causes fat deposition. Adrenal fatigue occurs – tired in the morning and wired in the evening. Results in hunger and cravings – hard wired to be hungry.
- Causes of adrenal imbalance – chronic stress | Diet high in sugars, carbs, caffeine | Lack of sleep | Midlife
- Increases cravings for sweets and carbs – overeating and constant hunger
- Breaks down muscle for energy – less lean muscle and lower metabolism
- Causes more fat in the abdominal area
- Linked to DEPRESSION – when depressed you eat more
Androgen Imbalance: (testosterone and DHEA)
- High Testosterone linked to insulin resistance, central obesity, PCOS
- Lows leads to lean muscle loss and lower metabolism
Adrenal and estrogen imbalance can interfere with thyroid function
Insulin regulates blood sugar and elevates from high carbs and sugars and eventually gets resistance . Eventually sugars are used to make fat and not for energy: Results in inflammation, metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin D Deficiency in Weight Gain:
- Vitamin D is a hormone – low sun exposure and fall in Vitamin D results in Winter metabolism increasing energy stores as fat mass
- Low vitamin D is associated with insulin resistance and increased waist circumference. Low Vitamin D has 3x more subcutaneous fat and low vitamin D may increase obesity over time.
- Supplement Vitamin D to get above 30 ng/ml (50-80 ideal)
- Foods with Vitamin D like fatty fish (salmon and sardines) milk, OJ suggested.
Balance your diet:
- Organic only to avoid xenohormones, pesticides
- Whole foods
- Crucifers: Kale, cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts rid xenoestrogens and xenohormones
- Low glycemic
- Low sugar
- High Fiber
- Good fats
- Herbal teas
Caffeine raises cortisol and glucose levels
Balance your supplements:
- DIM – indoyl methane – in cruciferous vegetables
- CA, Magnesium
- Omega 3 – decreases inflammation in the body
- Vitamin D3
- B complex
- Adaptogenic herbs – Maca, Rhodeola – strengthen the adrenal gland – normalize stress levels to decrease cortisol levels
- Zinc and selenium – for thyroid hormone
Get sleep – less than 7 hours of sleep increases increased ghrelin and decreased leptin. Lack of sleep disrupts the appetite hormones that operate on the sleep-wake cycle.
Strength and weight training builds lean muscle and increases DHEA and testosterone