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Nutritional and Hormonal Support for Healthy Weight Loss
Your adrenal system and your thyroid work together to regulate your body’s production of hormones. If your adrenals are overworked or stressed, the thyroid automatically turns the metabolic rate down in order to “calm” the system. This reduction is metabolic rate means weight gain. It is important, therefore, to identify ways your adrenal system can be stressed.
Basically, what puts stress on the body, puts stress on the adrenals – excessive anger and worry, feeling guilty, overworking, not getting enough sleep, toxic exposure, hypoglycemia, nutritional deficiencies, trauma and injury.
Another important stressor is, frankly, the way we eat. When we expect our bodies to regulate vital functions by feeding it a steady diet of caffeine and sugar, we rob it of the nutrients needed to do its job. Not only do we rob it by what we do eat, we rob it by what we don’t eat. The body was meant to obtain a majority of its calories through fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. Our mass produced, highly processed, chemically saturated foods stress out our systems and wreck havoc with their ability to function optimally. The good news is a return to healthier eating and the use of nutritional supplements can assist the body and reduce stress to our adrenal system.
Common Causes of Adrenal Stress
- Overwork/physical or mental strain
- Excessive exercise
- Sleep deprivation
- Light-cycle disturbance
- Going to sleep late
- Chronic inflammation
- Chronic infection
- Chronic pain
- Temperature extremes
- Toxic exposure
- Chronic illness
- Chronic-severe allergies
- Nutritional deficiencies
Your body works very hard each and every day to cope with the situations of life. The more stress you put on your body, the healthier you need to eat and the more support you need to give it nutritionally. When adrenals are maxed, it affects the thyroid. When this gland is hampered by illness, causing reduced production of thyroid hormone, every bodily function is diminished.
When the body is supported with the nutrients it needs, amazing progress is possible. When the body is not supported, either through diet, lifestyle, or both, damage occurs that can have long-range effects, both physical and psychological. Listed below is Nutritional Supplements that help your body to function properly.
The American Medical Association has come out with a recommendation that all adults take a daily multi-vitamin, multi-mineral supplement. However, be aware, not all multi’s are the same. You want to look for a supplement that has a broad base of vitamins and minerals, including trace elements. A comprehensive supplement formula has the ingredients necessary for the body to take advantage of each one of the supplements. For example, most people have heard of the benefits of taking a calcium supplement, especially in later life. But calcium needs phosphorous for the body to assimilate it properly. Taking one without the other reduces the benefit.
Here are the components you want to look for in a multi-formula: Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folic Acid, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Phosphorus, Iodine, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Manganese, Molybdenum, Potassium. You want top make sure that the multi-vitamin and mineral supplements you take have biotin and chromium. Biotin helps regulate blood sugar and can be also be found in brewer’s yeast, cooked egg yolks, meat, milk, poultry, saltwater fish, soybeans, and whole grains. The absorption of this nutrient can be compromised by eating too many fats and oils that have been heated up or exposed to air for any length of time. Antibiotics, sulfa drugs and the artificial sweetener, saccharin, also interfere with biotin. Chromium is needed for glucose metabolism and helps maintain stable blood sugar levels by allowing the body to utilize insulin. Diets high in “white sugar, flour, and junk food” lead to a deficiency in chromium. It can be found in beer, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, cheese, meat, and whole grains. If you are diabetic and on insulin, you will need to consult your health care professional before taking supplemental chromium because it will alter your insulin requirements.
In addition, you want to look for a formula that your body can actually use. The terms you want to look for are optimal absorption and bioavailability. Basically, this means that your body is actually able to use and absorb the product. Avoid those with a high level of inorganic minerals like oyster shell, dolomite, calcium carbonate, or magnesium oxide. These are not from plant/organic sources and are too hard for the body to digest.
We have found that our Multi/Mineral Plus supplements work very well because they are made from highly digestible ingredients and are taken several times during the day. We have a formula with and without iron. Some people find that iron can upset their stomach or cause constipation, so we have both formulas available.
Thin for Life “Core 4” Pack Nutritional Supplement
“Core 4” Pack is a combination of four popular products conveniently packaged together in single-serving packets for enhanced compliance and ease of use.Each convenient pack includes 1) A multivitamin, 2) An essential fatty acid, 3) An antioxidant, 4) A probiotic.
Contains UltraPreventativeX, Opti-DHA, CoQmelt, Multi-Probiotic 4000.
Starting your morning with a protein/supplement mix is a great way to give your body what it needs to meet the demands of the day, as well as establish a healthy glucose level from the start. However, be careful in choosing your protein supplement. Ironically, one of the most popular brands out there for weight loss has numerous sources of sugar as part of its ingredient list, when you look closely. Anytime you see an “ose” at the end of an ingredient, such as glucose, lactose or sucrose, read “sugar.” Additional sugar in your diet is stressful to your adrenal system and the purpose for taking supplements to help your body, not put more stress on it.
Omega-3 fats, EPA/DHA
Let’s look at fats. You may be aware of the negative consequences of bad fats in your diet – the saturated fats and trans fats. As we look at the benefits of nutritional supplementation you need to consider a fat that is actually good for you. It’s the omega-3 fats found in cold water fish oil. These are also known as EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid). Together, these essential fatty acids do a world of good. They help with a healthy balance of triglycerides. They support proper nervous system function, along with cardiovascular health and immune system function. In fact, these fats are important to every hormone system and all new cell production.
Why not just eat the fish? Go ahead and eat fish as part of your food choices but be aware of the caution surrounding some types of fish, such as tuna, shark, and swordfish, given the high levels of heavy metals that have been found in their tissues due to oceanic pollution. Taking an EPA/DHA supplement is a great way to increase the amount of omega-3 in your diet, especially for those who don’t necessarily like fish. Omega-3 fats are also found in flax seed, safflower oil, and walnuts. The EPA/DHA supplement we sell at The Center, Inc. is highly purified and distilled. This avoids one of the common complaints of taking fish oil, which is burping up the taste. These capsules can also be frozen, which further reduces this unpleasant side effect.
L-Carnitine and Coenzyme Q10
These are two nutritional supplements that specifically help the functioning of the mitochondria. Now, you may not have heard that word since high school science! It’s very easy to overlook these cellular dynamos. Though tiny, they have a big job to do in the body. Mitochondria in cells act as little furnaces where fat is burned. They cannot leave the cell and go to where the fat is, so the fat must come to them. Therein lies the benefit of the two supplements.
L-carnitine is an amino acid required for the breakdown of fats into energy. It acts as a carrier, transporting fats to the mitochondria, where they can be burned as fuel. The easier fat is burned, the more efficient your physical activity becomes. The more fat burned as fuel, the less stored on your body. The more fat burned, the lower your cholesterol drops. The L-carnitine formula in use at The Center, Inc. includes chromium to support healthy glucose metabolism, enhancing its efficacy for weight loss.
Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) also supports energy production in the mitochondria, thus increasing your metabolism. In addition, studies have shown it to have anti-oxidant properties, removing cancer-causing free radicals from your system and as an important co-factor in many enzyme systems, especially in cardiac muscle health.
Ultra CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) has been shown to reduce body fat without a corresponding loss of lean muscle mass. Remember, the more lean muscle we have, the higher our metabolic rate, even when resting. CLA has increased in popularity as a method to combat obesity. Since 1999, this supplement has been used and studied for its effect on the reduction of body fat in animals and people. Please be aware that some CLA supplements come with a slow-releasing caffeine component called guarana, which is not healthy for you.
Thin for Life Metabolic Management Pack
1 Large, dark brown Flax Seed Oil softgel
1 White, speckled Fatty Acid capsule
2 Light tan Herbal Blend capsules
2 Dark brown Conjugated Linoleic Acid softgels
2 Brown Vitamin B Complex capsules
Metabolic Management is essential minerals, vitamins, herbs and other nutrients designed to support a healthy weight management program.
Glucosamine (glucosamine sulfate) and Chondroitin (chondroitin sulfate) Chondroplex
Glucosamine helps with the production of cartilage and connective tissue. Chondroitin protects existing cartilage and also helps to form new cartilage. Together, they are wonderful for joint health and repair. As we age, one of the areas where many people experience pain and inflammation is in their joints. It hurts to move, reducing a desire for physical activity in response. By taking a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement, you are safeguarding the cartilage you have and giving your body what it needs to rebuild and repair damaged joints. Chondroplex is a supplement that includes both Glucosamine and chondroitin.
Before discussing the benefits of Amino Therapy let’s take a look at one of the brain chemicals our body uses-GABA. GABA (gamma-aminobytric acid) is actually an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter, which is a fancy way of saying it facilitates communication between brain cells. Neurotransmitters allow brains cells to “talk” to each other. GABA also stimulates that part of the brain that produces HGH (Human Growth Hormone). HGH helps the body create lean muscle mass and lose fat. As we age, our bodies reduce production of HGH, so GABA is important in counteracting this effect. GABA also acts as an inhibitor of pain, fear and attention, allowing the body to relax and sleep.
Amino Therapy provides a full range of amino acids, including the building blocks needed for not only GABA, but also for the other neurotransmitters we will be talking about. Many of our clients at The Center, Inc. have found supplementation of amino acids to be beneficial, especially those whose digestive systems have been compromised by an eating disorder or disordered eating, making it difficult for their bodies to properly break down the protein they eat into its component amino acids. For them it is important to find a highly digestible additional source of amino acids.
Before we discuss the benefits of 5HTP (5-dyroxytryptamine), lets learn about some other brain chemicals.
Endorphins are neurotransmitters (they help brains cells talk to each other) that reduce the amount of pain we feel. Endorphins have been called the body’s natural opiates. They may be familiar to you, in reference to exercise, or the “runner’s high.” These natural painkillers are produced through prolonged, sustained exercise. They produce not only a reduction in pain sensation but also increased feelings of euphoria, a reduction in appetite, and release of sex hormones. Along with exercise, endorphins are released through laughter, stress, and sexual activity.
As you look for ways to relax and experience joy in life, don’t overlook what you can do for yourself through your own endorphins. When you exercise for a sustained period of time, your body responds to this stress with the release of endorphins. You may not be a runner, but you can still experience a feeling of well-being through exercise. Walking or exercising to music and swimming are also excellent ways to trigger endorphin production. Your objective is not to elicit pain but rather put just the right amount of stress on your body. You’re looking for well-being not stiff, sore muscles and pain.
One of the main ways to experience the euphoria of endorphin release is through sexual stimulation and activity. In addition, sexual arousal promotes the production of HGH (Human Growth Hormone).
Dopamine contributes to healthy sexual drive, increases learning and memory, and helps you be more alert. Dopamine is made from the amino acid tyrosine. Tyrosine can be found in dairy products, meats, fish, wheat, oats, and other protein-containing foods. (Tyrosine is one of the amino acids found in the Amino Therapy mentioned earlier.) A healthy, well-rounded diet generally provides the necessary supply of tyrosine but some people may benefit from additional supplementation. There are some psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, as well as Parkinson’s disease, that have been linked to a dopamine imbalance.
The release of dopamine has been triggered to the desire to eat certain foods. The dopamine does not appear to increase the pleasure of the actual food when eaten, but is released when a person sees, smells, or tastes something they consider enjoyable. No wonder the food is pleasurable! You feel better and become more alert. This cued response is based upon what each person considers enjoyable. I might love a certain type of food you can’t stand. Seeing, smelling, or tasting that food would release a dopamine response in me but not in you. Sometimes, the cued response comes from an experience tied to food, such as cotton candy at the Fair, or popcorn at the movies. We’ve basically told our brains what food to respond to. What would happen if we re-conditioned our brain to enjoy other types of food?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of well-being, calm, and satisfaction. It’s a wonderful substance! We use it constantly throughout the day to maintain emotional stability and, where our appetites are concerned, to feel full.
Serotonin is derived from tryptophan, an amino acid. When tryptophan enters the brain, it triggers the production of serotonin. If we don’t have enough tryptophan, or if we are using our serotonin reserve at too high a rate, we feel anxious, irritable, and hungry. Too often, the food we crave at this point is something sugary – a carbohydrate. There is a very good reason why carbohydrates are favorite comfort foods.
This leads us to 5HTP (5-dyroxytryptamine). There are other ways to boost your body’s ability to produce serotonin. At The Center, Inc., we use a product called 5HTP (5-dyroxytryptamine), which is a precursor to tryptophan. This additional supply can be utilized by the body to help maintain a more consistent supply of serotonin, resulting in improved mood and sleep.
Hormonal-Over 40 issues
Menopause is the ending of the menstrual cycle. . . . that’s it. Pretty short explanation, right? So why is it that this process seems to take forever? Just like in puberty, your body requires time to accomplish this complex hormonal dance. It took time to gear up to puberty and it takes time to gear down from menstruation. Time is an important factor in menopause, for the abruptness at which hormonal levels drop relates to the severity of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, weight gain, and mood swings. Yes, you heard it right – weight gain. This is a natural part of menopause. As estrogen production begins to drop off, the female body responds by encouraging the growth of fat cells. Why? Because fat cells have the ability to produce estrogen.
Your body is attempting to compensate for the loss of estrogen through one part of your body by producing it in another – your fat cells. You may not be happy with your fat cells during menopause but your body is. It is especially happy with abdominal fat cells, which are super estrogen producers. Your body supports what it’s happy with. Thus, when you put on weight during menopause, it is concentrated around the abdominal area. Your waistline expands.
During this time of menopause, you will also have a drop in progesterone production. Progesterone is highest in the body after ovulation. As menopause approaches, you will have times when your period happens without ovulation occurring first (anovulation). During anovulation, estrogen and progesterone levels can be extremely erratic, with dramatic dips and rises. Progesterone, which is released upon ovulation, counterbalances estrogen. But if ovulation does not occur, there are reduced levels of progesterone leading to an overabundance of estrogen in the body. For example, when estrogen spikes, you may experience mood swings, water retention, weight gain (again!), problems sleeping, breast swelling and/or tenderness.
For menopause, especially with elevated symptoms, some women utilize hormone replacement therapy (HRT). It was thought HRT would help women cut down on coronary heart disease and osteoporosis. Recently, the Women’s Health Initiative trial, which looked at the use of HRT through estrogen and progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone), was curtailed after preliminary results showed an increase in cancer risk and heart disease. That part of the trial that pertains to estrogen supplementation only is continuing and is slated to be completed in 2005.
In Seattle, Dr. Garnet I. Anderson at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center has found that the risks for ovarian cancer in women on hormone replacement therapy outweighed any benefits from lower risks of womb or endometrial cancer. In addition, over the past several years, other risks have come to light, including an increase in invasive breast cancer, a rare form of breast cancer, increases in coronary heart disease, stroke, and pulmonary embolism, and double the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, in women over 65. These were all in trials with a combination of estrogen and progesterone or progestin. These studies certainly warrant caution in hormone replacement therapy for healthy menopausal women with a uterus.
Transdermal Creams-Profeminell Cream, Estro Pro Cream, Femerone 17 Cream, Fem EstroPlex,
But what can be done for women who are experiencing the uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating effects of menopause? I believe the answer lies in the use of hormonal transdermal creams. Essentially, these are creams rubbed on the body that contain natural estrogens from plants (wild yam extract, in the case of the creams we use at The Center, Inc.). Some also contain estrogen and progesterone. The hormones in these creams are in much smaller concentrations than those used in HRT and are absorbed through the skin. There are versions with estrogen only, or with a mixture of estrogen and progesterone.
Men, also, experience a drop in hormone production and an alteration in their balance of the sex hormones testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen. This loss, or andropause, can lead to symptoms such as a loss of lean muscle with a corresponding rise in fat, especially around the middle. Night urination is a symptom, as are thinning and graying hair, along with an increase in prostate size. Perhaps the most disturbing to men is a reduction in their libido, or interest and ability to perform sexually.
Both men and women can benefit from an increase in physical activity. Because both menopause and andropause result in a loss of lean muscle, metabolism can decrease. Cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, jogging, biking or swimming, helps promote higher metabolic levels. There is also another kind of exercise that is very beneficial. It is often called strength training. This exercise is not primarily cardiovascular in nature, but rather builds lean muscle mass. Strength training specifically targets the addition of muscle tissue through resistance work. It places stress on your muscles, which respond by strengthening themselves and increasing in size.
If you don’t exercise, the muscle you do have will be replaced on your body with fat. For women and men, more muscle means a higher metabolism, a firmer, toned body, greater strength for daily activities. For men, physical exercise is an important component in testosterone production, and not just for younger men. Testosterone levels in middle aged men were also shown to elevate after exercise.
You say the word estrogen and most people automatically think of women. True, estrogen is one of the main female hormones. During menopause, estrogen levels can drop, causing menopausal symptoms. If progesterone production drops even more, the estrogen-progesterone balance can skew, causing an overabundance of estrogen in the system. Out of balance estrogen can have negative effects in women. It can also have negative effects in men.
In The Testosterone Syndrome by Eugene Shippen, M.D., and William Fryer, Dr. Shippen gives seven reasons for elevated estrogen levels in men during middle age. The first is the very act of aging, which increases male production of a substance – aromatase – that converts testosterone to estrogen. The next is an increased middle age load on the liver. Part of the liver’s job is to remove excess estrogen from the body. If liver function is compromised, it doesn’t do its job as effectively and more estrogen stays in the body. Add to that zinc deficiency. Zinc is used by the body in sperm and testosterone production. If zinc is low, sexual functioning is compromised. Fourth: remember the abdominal fat cells? Excess weight produces estrogen, whether you are male or female. In men, obesity causes a loss of testosterone and an increase in estrogen. The fifth cause of estrogen imbalance in middle aged men cited by Dr. Shippen is alcohol use. Alcohol, which must be processed as a toxin by the liver, puts added strain on that organ and decreases levels of zinc. The sixth effect, drug-induced estrogen imbalance, is also linked to zinc deficiencies. Dr. Shippen notes that the common use of diuretics to reduce male hypertension has the undesirable side effect of leeching zinc from the body. The last cause he notes is an insidious one – eating estrogen producing foods or being exposed to estrogen-like substances in our environment. Dr. Shippen recommends taking a supplement that contains zinc. 50 mgs twice a day until you see improvement and then 50 mgs after that.
We’ve already talked about the importance of keeping off excess weight, taking supplements, especially zinc, and maintaining a healthy sex life as ways to support your body’s production of testosterone. Testosterone not only is used in sexual functioning, it also gives you your can-do attitude and zest for life. You’re more positive, energetic, and optimistic. By keeping your weight down and your percentage of lean muscle up, you’re not just going to feel better about how your body looks, you’re going to feel better about yourself – period.
There is another way you can help yourself look and feel better, (and works well for women, too). It’s through supplementation with a compound called DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). Produced in the adrenal gland, this steroid hormone is found in sexes. The body takes DHEA and turns it into a variety of hormones. When testosterone declines, so does DHEA. When DHEA levels in older adults are returned to levels found in younger people, they feel better physically and mentally. In a clinical trial with men and women aged 40-70, participants were given 50 mg. of DHEA every night for six months (in a placebo-based, randomized study). Those who actually took the DHEA were found to have improvements in mental functioning such as mood and stress, as well as physical improvements such as energy level and sleep quality.
There are a couple of things you can do to help support digestive health. You’re already doing the first by eating healthier. You can also look for products with acidophilus and bifidus added. These are healthy digestive bacteria and are often found in milk products (look on the label to make sure they have been added) and to yogurt (the label will often say that it comes with active cultures). In addition, you can take extra acidophilus and bifidus by capsule. Adding healthy bacteria to your digestive tract is highly beneficial. To help control an existing yeast overgrowth, we have developed a product at The Center called Canditrol, which inhibits yeast growth.
Taking L-glutamine can help control sugar cravings and is valuable to the intestinal tract. Contact your health care professional before taking L-glutamine, as it is not for everyone. Those with kidney problems, “Reye’s syndrome, or any type of disorder that can result in an accumulation of ammonia in the blood” should not take supplemental L-glutamine. But those who are able to take it should find a decrease in sugar cravings.
Thin for Life Gluco Support Bar-Crispy Rice
A 40-30-30 optimal nutrition bar completely fortified for balancing blood sugar and increasing energy. Supports lean body mass maintenance and complete B complex vitamins. Made from rice protein. Low glycemic snack with Fruitrim. Antioxidant.
As you can see Nutritional Supplements can help you in weight loss and overall health. Please note that we are recommending supplements that help your body, not supplements, diet pills, etc. that are only for weight loss. This can be very dangerous and do not help your body to function properly. For information on all the supplements we recommend, go to Nutritional Supplement section of A Place of Hope Store.