I got the results of my Saliva and Blood test yesterday. The chemistry of our bodies is mind-blowing. Everything needs to be in balance for optimal health. Yet there is no way we could know if our levels are out of balance without comprehensive tests. Concerning-ly, most doctors don't order full blood workups and don't always interpret the results for our maximum health. It is very easy to treat the symptoms or discount the primary blood evaluations without looking deeper into the actual cause of our issue.
You're depressed, here's a pill. You're tired, you're getting older. You are gaining weight, eat less and exercise more.
It's dismissive and dangerous. It's time to be informed.
Quite honestly I started this Hormone Quest just to find out why it's so hard to lose weight. (Okay, I admit it, I wanted a pill! Be careful what you wish for!) No matter how much I blather on about the number on the scale not being important, I can't help it, I matters to me! I hate being chubby. I hate that my clothes don't fit. I hate that I'm always looking for a "completer piece" to cover my belly rolls and my flabby arms. AND I hate being unmotivated and tired.
So when Dr. Revitalize went through my results and showed me that my imbalances put me on a direct path to cancer and/or heart disease it scared the shit out of me. How can that even be possible? I eat okay, feel okay, exercise. There is no way I would have suspected that my chemistry was so potentially unhealthy.
One of the base blood test numbers says that I am in menopause. Which, after a whole year of no periods, means that I could, if necessary, start hormone replacement therapy, usually a combination of Estrogen and Progesterone. BUT numbers from my saliva test show that I have too much Estrogen and no Testosterone or Progesterone. Taking more Estrogen would increase my risk of getting cancer or heart disease! No thanks!
Dr. Revitalize prescribed Progesterone. The purpose of taking only Progesterone is to balance out the Estrogen. The side effects include bloating, weight gain and tiredness. Ick! Though cancer is ickier to be sure. The question is: when the hormones are back in balance do those side effects subside and the risks of long term illness reduce? Need to get that answer.
Let's talk Thyroids.
Your thyroid basically is your metabolism. It sends hormones to every cell in your body to give you energy. You have T4, T3, (Free T4, Free T3) and Reverse T3. You also have T1 and T2 but not much is known about them. Synthroid is a T4 hormone therapy. Many people with Hypothyroid take Synthroid (or the generic equivalent). My amateur explanation of how the hormones are supposed to work is this: T4's job is to tell T3 to enter the cells to give energy to the body. Sometimes T3 gets blocked by the cells. Blockage can be caused by heavy metals from the environment, over exercise, low calorie diets, and/or stress. Blocked T3 becomes Reverse T3 (RT3). RT3 floating around your body puts the break on the whole process. Your body goes into energy conservation mode and your metabolism slows down. You are taking T4 in the hope of improving your energy and over-all health but T3 can't get into your cells to do their job. T3 becomes RT3 and you are no healthier than before. You are still tired, your hair is still falling out, you are constipated, you are depressed and you have unexplained weight gain. Your Thyroid may need a combination of T4 AND T3. The only way your doctor is going to know this is if they check your RT3 number. If RT3 is high, your T3 isn't able to get into your cells.
Nutrition, vitamin deficiencies, stress, leaky gut, over exercise, adrenal issues, environment, and genetics are some of the reasons T3 can't enter your cells. That's a long, overwhelming list but my "research" (reading a couple books, talking to a couple doctors and googling the shit out of the internet and WebMD) shows me that it can all be "fixed" with the correct medication, supplements and dietary changes.
Let's talk Diet.
April 2016 I decided to try Vegan-ism. Grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit. Organic as often as possible. No dairy, meat or sugar. Now, of course, we are talking about me and I A) have no attention span and B) never completely deprive myself. So, I've been a Flexitarian. And I will say I've eaten pretty 'clean' since 2016. Though I never gave up my wine.
Everything I've read about Hypothyroid suggests that grains and legumes can cause inflammation. The Thyroid diet is Paleo. Meat, healthy fats and vegetables. Eliminate or limit grains and legumes. No sugar, caffeine or alcohol. Here's the thing: I hate the weird cult-ey-ness associated with the Paleo Diet. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit 'Paleo' is my eating program.
I guess, I'll just say 'protein and vegetables'.
Let's talk Vitamins.
We are all deficient in something. It's nearly impossible to get what we need from our food. And there isn't enough sun in NE Ohio to fill our Vitamin D requirement. Speaking of Vitamin D, did you know that to maximize the benefits of D you should take it with a healthy fat (nuts, avocado)? And you should take it in the morning. I've been doing it wrong!
The Athlete and I have started taking Probiotics because a healthy immune system starts in your gut.
I take a multi-vitamin with iron and also (now) Reactive Iron. Reactive Iron is because the Iron in the Multi isn't well absorbed. I (now) take the Reactive Iron with Dinner and Vitamin C. Iron is better absorbed with C. I did not know that either.
In the morning I take DHEA, a hormone produced by the Adrenal gland. Since I have Adrenal Fatigue I'm not producing enough DHEA (important for bone health, lowers inflammation, aids in weight loss and depression). I also take AdrenalVie to wake up my Adrenal gland.
My list includes 10 (TEN!) different pills. (Point Proven: Be careful what you wish for!) Probiotics, Vitamin D & C & Multi, Iron, DHEA, Adrenal, Thyroid, Progesterone. AND they all have to be taken at different times of day with or without food and/or other vitamins. I'm gonna have to get me a super-sized, multi-timed pill case!
It's a Quest for Optimal Health My Friends!