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Posts tagged ‘estrogen’

The Good Bugs: Why You Absolutely Need Them

Lactobacillus acidophilus

Image by AJC1 via Flickr

Probiotics, we hear all about them now. TV, radio and print ads! It’s great, considering that just a few years ago, most people didn’t know what they were. Probiotics, otherwise known as “good germs”, are part of the normal flora of our intestinal tract. They begin to inhabit our intestinal tract as soon as we’re born (by vaginal delivery, rather than caesarian delivery). They are nourished by eating healthy foods from infancy, starting by drinking mother’s milk (rather than cow’s milk or soy milk). As we age and are exposed to poor diet, antibiotics, chlorinated water, steroids and environmental pollutants (xenoestrogens), their numbers begin to decline. When their numbers decline, pathogenic yeast begin to overgrow (as well as bacteria), causing symptoms in both men and (more obviously in) women (such as vaginal discharge). Known functions of probiotics include: 1. the manufacture of B vitamins (such as folic acid, biotin, B3 and B6); 2. the manufacture of the enzyme “lactase”; 3. produce antibacterial substances; 4. produce anti-carcinogenic compounds; 5. help reduce high cholesterol levels; 6. improve the efficiency of the digestive tract; 7. help recycle hormones such as estrogen; 8. protect against radiation;  and 9. deactivate certain toxins, among many others. The primary bacteria inhabiting the small intestine is Lactobacillus acidophilus while that of the colon is Bifidobacterium bifidum. It is essential that these organisms be replaced when taking antibiotics of any kind. In today’s world, it’s a good idea to incorporate probiotics in a wellness program because of the antibiotics that we’re unknowingly exposed to (from food and perhaps, our water supply). There are different brands available. Some need to refrigerated while others do not. They come in various forms such as powders, liquid, capsules or “pearls”. To find out which brands are better, check out a study done by Consumer Labs. In the study, they found out that claims made by some companies such as number of viable organisms in their product somehow vary from the actual live cells. Factors such as improper storage and handling as well as shelf life affect these numbers. Therefore, it’s always important to do your own research.

Male Menopause: It’s Real And You Can Do Something About It….

As men age, hormones get out of balance just like in women. Testosterone levels (and growth hormone) tend to decline while hormones such as estrogen and DHT tend to increase. When testosterone declines, signs and symptoms such as the following could occur namely; loss of muscle mass, wrinkling of the skin, osteoporosis, mood changes (depression), hair loss, increase in body fat and cardiovascular disease, among others. With an increase in estrogen (due to increased body fat in some men as well as exposure to xenoestrogens in general), men could experience gynecomastia, emotional lability (mood swings) and prostate issues. With an increase in DHT, hair loss, acne and prostate problems could occur. We normally see this decline in men in their 50’s or older but we’re seeing this decline earlier in life now. Possible reasons for this include nutritional deficiencies, pharmaceuticals such as statins (which lower cholesterol, a precursor to testosterone), and environmental toxicity (organophosphates used in the agricultural industry for instance, mimic estrogen in our bodies). Among the people you know, how many of them actually manifest signs and symptoms of andropause? Unfortunately, most men who fall within the “normal” range may not be treated even if they’re symptomatic. The range of “normal” is so wide that those who are in the low normal range (and symptomatic as well) are not being treated properly. Fortunately, a doctor from Harvard named Abraham Morgentaler wrote a book called “Testosterone For Life” which seeks to educate more people about this issue. Anyway, the recommended treatment for low testosterone is testosterone itself. It comes in different forms such as sublingual tablets, transdermals gels or creams, injectables and pellets. Since everybody is different, the dose and route of administration is individualized to each person. It’s always good to do a baseline PSA (prostate specific antigen) and DRE (digital rectal exam) before starting anyone on testosterone. Since testosterone could metabolize into estrogen (esp. in men with excess body fat) or DHT, it’ll be wise to block those pathways with aromatase inhibitors and 5-alpha reductase (or DHT blockers) inhibitors, respectively. This could be done through natural supplements or prescription medications. Frequent testing is key to make sure people don’t get side-effects whatsoever. For men who are hesitant on using any type of hormone for improving their testosterone levels, options could include the use of amino acids (such as L-carnitine, which increases cell receptor sensitivity to endogenous tesotosterone) or herbal supplements (such as tribulus). While on a hormone replacement program, it’s important to include dietary and lifestyle changes as well to get optimal results. I highly recommend the Paleolithic diet and the PACE program by Dr. Al Sears for my clients.

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Bad Make-Up

Assorted cosmetics and tools

Image via Wikipedia

What I mean by bad make-up is not how bad the way a person is made up (although, that gives me an idea on something to write about in the future). I’m actually referring to how harmful some of the make-up/cosmetics/personal care products are for our health. The cosmetic and even the perfume industry are industries that are not regulated. As such, some unscrupulous companies could use whatever they hell they want in their products. Some of these products are known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) and hormone disruptors. Some companies (even those that claim to be natural) state that the amounts of chemicals (used as preservative agents, among other things) found in their products are so minute to make a dent in someone’s health. Not if you’re getting a little bit of everything here and there. Who decides on what is too much or too little? An article on called “Toxic Cosmetics” is quite enlightening. Some examples of toxic chemicals include formaldehyde in hair-straightening agents, toluene in nail polish, mercury in skin whitening agents, parabens in shampoos and skin creams/lotions, coal tar in mascara and lead in lipstick. Men are not safe from these chemicals either. Some agents found in men’s personal care products are hormone disruptors, causing an imbalance in testosterone and estrogen. My advise is to use natural, organic products as much as possible. And don’t take a company’s word for it, do your research. Dr. Haushka’s form Germany, Jurlique from Australia and of course, Young Living Essential Oils are among the purest skin care companies on earth.

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