What can you do to balance your energy and repair adrenal burn-out? First, consider healthful lifestyle choices: eating right (limiting alcohol and comfort foods, especially those high in sugar and fat), getting plenty of rest, and exercising regularly. Second, the proper use of dietary supplements can help reduce the cortisol levels associated with the over production of stress hormones, enhance your body’s immunity, as well as increase and ground your energy levels.
Because stress takes such a toll on your immune system, choose nutritional supplements that support both the immune system and the adrenal glands. Vitamins A and C, as well as the mineral, zinc, help boost the immune system, which can be weakened during times of chronic stress. Vitamin C can also help reduce inflammation caused by stress and excess cortisol.
Other support includes licorice, which extends the life of the cortisol already released, thus giving the adrenal glands a break from having to produce more; and purified adrenal extract, a glandular nutrient containing vitamins, enzymes, and co-factors to help repair adrenal function. Fatigued to Fantastic! Adrenal Stress End, from Enzymatic Therapy, incorporates all these essential nutrients and glandulars in one formula.
For stress reduction, Rhodiola rosea, an herb native to Russia, has been shown to improve focus and energy while decreasing fatigue and irritability. Sixty-four percent of participants in a clinical trial reported that Rhodiola supplementation helped them gain energy, focus, and improve their mood. Enyzmatic Therapy’s Rhodiola Energy provides the necessary support.
We know that taking B vitamins can be an important nutritional strategy for managing our stressful lives. The more stress we have, the more B vitamins our bodies use; therefore, we require more to maintain optimal health. Vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, thiamin, pantothenic acid, niacin, and riboflavin are crucial for building energy for they support the conversion of carbohydrates to glucose— the body’s main source of fuel. They also play an important role in the function of the nervous system and in the development of healthy skin and hair. Pantothenic acid specifically is known to activate the adrenals, and a deficiency causes adrenal dysfunction. Being “water soluble,” your body does not store B vitamins so you can take them every day. Your body will use what it needs and discard any excess. A good source is Multi-B Complex from Integrative Therapeutics.
By making smart choices and using appropriate dietary supplements, you can recharge your adrenals and your life!
Excerpted from Repairing Adrenal Burn-Out .
Questioning Joint Pain
This spring I have vowed to exercise more and get in shape for summer activities with my family. But I realize that pain in my knee has been holding me back and making me reluctant to even go for a walk. What supplements are the most effective for alleviating pain and possibly preventing more joint degeneration as I get older?
~C.P., New York
Dr. Jen’s Answer:
Arthritis and chronic joint symptoms are some of the most common complaints in the US, affecting about one of every three adults. There are two forms of arthritis: Osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is the more common of the two forms and may be caused by overuse of the joint, or by other predisposing factors such as trauma, congenital abnormalities, crystal deposition (such as in gout), or other inflammatory diseases.
Fortunately, there is a long list of effective supplements to choose from in the category of joint health. Omega-3 fatty acids are the foundation for decreasing inflammation associated with joint pain, and are therefore at the top of my list. Fish, krill, sardines, algae, flax, and hemp oil are good choices that offer omega-3 fatty acids; be sure to take in adequate dosages, which vary by the type of oil.
Glucosamine is another foundation for joint health, as it helps in the regeneration of cartilage. Numerous studies using 500 mg of glucosamine sulfate three times a day have shown significant improvement in relieving symptoms of OA, most, even better than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and with fewer side effects. Glucosamine should be used for at least two months to truly determine if this supplement will be beneficial.
Boswellia is an Ayurvedic herb that has been studied for its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to block some key inflammatory compounds produced by the body, to help improve joint pain, respiratory conditions, gastrointestinal inflammation, and other conditions related to inflammation. In arthritis-related research, it is recommended to take at least 450 mg daily, and up to 1,200 mg can be taken quite safely.
There are many other options for joint pain that aren’t covered in this response, but I generally recommend to give most joint products a few weeks to a month to determine if they are effective for you. Add in one new product at a time to measure its effectiveness, and if it isn’t the right one for you after the first bottle, then try something else. For more personalized recommendations, call a NEEDS wellness educator at 800-634-1380.
The balancing of hormones for men and for women has become a very important message for health! The reason is that our hormones are chemical messengers that tell our bodies what to do, when to do it, and why! Our hormones rule over the endocrine system, consisting of the pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid, and adrenal glands. If one hormone is out of balance, we can experience many different uncomfortable symptoms that we might not even think are related to our hormones, but certainly are.
Some symptoms that can occur from hormonal imbalances are: aches and pains, sleeplessness, moodiness, fatigue, osteoporosis, wrinkling skin, even weight gain and water retention, as well as many others.
Why are we experiencing these imbalances?
A big part of the answer is that everyday we use so many things that are made from petroleum. The byproducts from petroleum can act as strong estrogens, getting into our cells causing unpleasant symptoms as well as estrogen-dominant cancers. Petroleum can be found in shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, cleaning products, fabric softeners, perfumes, and in the exhausts from cars and planes. One way to protect ourselves is to shop for products that don’t have parabens in them, as parabens are petroleum-based.
Some of the most popular food that we eat also contain estrogens. Cows are given the hormone of estrogen to make them grow bigger and fatter faster. So make sure that when using dairy (milk, cheeses, yogurt), and buying meat, they are without hormones. Chickens and eggs also need to be antibiotic and pesticide free to ensure that what we eat will not create an abundance of harmful estrogens that can cause our cells to proliferate or grow.
What can we do to resolve these imbalances?
Use a natural bio-identical hormone cream that comes from a wild yam plant. These creams are put onto thin-skinned areas, and very often, in a short period of time, these symptoms go away (for women and men as well)! As I travel around the U.S. meeting people, I have learned, especially from women, that when they begin to balance their hormones, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, lack of their libido, PMS, and forgetfulness, are all a thing of their past. When men become more balanced, their libidos come back, weight is easier to manage, and their prostate glands are in better shape.
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By Carol B. Blair, BS, DiHom, CNC, Wellness Educator
In my last blog, I discussed hypothyroidism and some key nutrients that can help this condition.
There are many other factors that can play into hypothyroidism. Gluten intolerance, unfermented soy, raw cruciferous vegetables, plasticizers and phthalates, dysbiosis in the GI tract (which is why probiotics have become one of my pillars of good health), estrogen dominance, and liver or kidney issues that slow down conversion of T-4 to T-3 are other possible factors contributing to hypothyroidism.
For the adrenals, you might consider extra B and C vitamins as a starting point. Most of the C in your body is stored in the adrenals and can be depleted quickly under stress. Pantothenic acid, also known as B-5, is very important for stress which is why I often direct people toward B-Healthy because it has 250 mg. of this particular vitamin in addition to all of the other Bs. As I pen this, we are also adding 5MTHF (the active form of folate) which will make this superior to just about any B vitamin on the market! Of course, there are many other adrenal and stress supplements available.
Some of my favorite thyroid supplements include Thyroid Support by Gaia, MegaFoods’ Thyroid Strength and Enzymatic Therapy’s Metabolic Advantage. All of these contain tyrosine, iodine, and herbs that support the thyroid and can help with that important T-4 to T-3 conversion. Eating seaweed is the best way to get iodine and minerals, but if that is not your taste, then consider a kelp supplement. Thyadine and Potassium Iodide are good liquid iodine supplements that are well absorbed. Coconut oil is also thought to aid thyroid function.
Acupuncture, dry brushing of the skin, juicing, detoxifying, and exercise are all other options for improving thyroid function. Remember also that our livers are very toxic today so be sure to work on that, too!
Much can be done for sub-clinical hypothyroidism and if you have been stressed for a long time, you could be suffering from this under-diagnosed condition. At the very least, work on your liver and stress levels, and if you want some additional support, please call me for a free consultation. Having had borderline thyroid issues for many years, I have been able to avert the Rx for the most part and I would be glad to share my insights with you.
In our society today, thyroid disorders have become rampant, especially among women since they have larger thyroids than men as well as more hormonal fluctuations. In this article, I will focus on hypothyroidism (low-functioning thyroid), which is often under-diagnosed. Typically, only the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is measured. My naturopathic doctor, however, looks at the entire clinical picture and uses the blood test as confirmation only. Further, she suggests that most individuals feel better when the TSH is on the low end of the range on the blood test. TSH is produced by the pituitary gland, but gets its message from the hypothalamus, and the hypothalamus can nearly shut down when stress occurs. When my brother died of a Coumadin bleed three years ago, my thyroid went into a rapid downward spiral. I was able to get it back on track in a few months with natural supplements.
One of the best gauges of a thyroid issue is the old Brody Barnes test of symptoms along with basal body temperature. Take your temperature first thing in the morning before you get out of bed. If your temperature is 97.4 or below, discuss it with your doctor because you likely have thyroid AND adrenal problems. If you try to correct the thyroid first, you will end up with more issues. You need to work on the adrenals and the thyroid simultaneously.
The thyroid is a hard-working gland that affects every cell in the body. Hypothyroidism has over 40 symptoms. Some of the most common are thinning hair, inability to lose weight, constipation, dry skin, leg and foot cramps, goiter, depression, cold intolerance, impaired memory, high cholesterol, and infertility. There are many more!
Iodine is one of the key nutrients for the thyroid. A combination of iodine and the amino acid, tyrosine, makes T-4 which must be converted to T-3, the active hormone in the body. This requires good liver function, and there are many supplements including glycine that can help in this regard. When we are stressed, the adrenal hormone, cortisol, often becomes elevated and interferes with the body’s ability to convert T-4 to T-3; this conversion also requires adequate selenium, zinc, copper, iron, and vitamin D3 at the very least.
In the body, the halogens, fluoride, chlorine, and bromine (from bromated flour) can all fill iodine receptor sites reducing the availability of iodine. Fluoride also binds to selenium making it unusable. Factor in that selenium and zinc are also quenched by mercury, arsenic, and cadmium as well as the day-to-day detoxification of chemicals, and you have the makings for hypothyroidism.
Check back next Thursday for Part II of this article.