What do you think of when you hear the term ‘Hormone Imbalance?’
Loss of Muscle Mass?
Poor Sex Drive?
Anxiety, Depression, Irritability, or Brain Fog?
What hormones come to mind if you’re seeking hormone imbalance treatment?
These initial impressions just scratch the surface concerning hormone imbalances. Before you even think about the specific hormones, you should back track and look at what coordinates and organizes your hormones, the nervous system. If you’re not addressing the nervous system, you’re not getting to the route cause of your hormone imbalance.
The nervous system organizes and coordinates your life. The hormone that is released is just an effect of how your nervous system (you) is interpreting your environment. This organization can be generally lumped into 2 categories.
Life is organized into PROTECTION or it’s organized into GROWTH.
Dr. Bruce Lipton PhD says it best, “You can’t be in growth and protection at the same time.”
What does that mean for your hormones and the results of your hormone imbalance treatment? Unless you address the underlying nervous system imbalance, your desired results probably won’t be lasting or satisfactory.
What does Protection look like?
This is the side of life that is going to help save your life in the immediate. Your nervous system will unleash a series of communications that will increase cardiac output like blood pressure, heart rate, blood clotting factors, faster breathing, and even elevate cholesterol. Your immune system will be suppressed, digestion ignored, and fertility capabilities will be ignored for the time being. Your body will do anything and everything to make sure you can escape that perceived danger.
That danger can be physical, chemical, emotional, spiritual, and social. There are many aspects to life that will affect how your nervous system organizes and coordinates it.
Since we’re talking about hormones, one of the key hormones that gets activated during this time of protection is Cortisol. Cortisol gets a bad reputation as being a ‘stress hormone.’ Stop calling it a stress hormone and start referencing it as a life saving hormone. Its primary role is to free up stored sugar to give you instant energy to act quickly…so you can survive another day.
What does Growth look like?
Growth would be the antithesis of protection. In protection, digestion is suppressed. In growth, digestion is king. In protection, the immune system is sacrificed to escape the bear. In growth, the immune system is favored so you can readily heal up after escaping the bear.
The growth side of the nervous system is where so many seek when looking for hormone imbalance treatment. This is the side where estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid will prevail. But again these are effects of the nervous system. If your nervous system is organizing life as happy and safe, the growth hormones are more apt to express. If the nervous system is organizing life as sucky and scared, you will suppress the expression of these hormones.
One hormone that is a growth hormone but can actually stimulate the protection side of your nervous system is insulin. Before you get hung up on estrogen and testosterone, you must catch up on insulin first. Please read that link before proceeding.
Because the body is resourceful and connected, most of your hormones are built from the same building block…cholesterol. Since you only consume 10-25% of your cholesterol through diet, this means your body is playing major triage with this life saving and life building molecule. Remember, you can’t be in growth and protection at the same time. The body will always air on the side of caution to make sure you live another day opposed to creating the next generation.
Are you beginning to see why so many people have a hormone imbalance and are seeking hormone imbalance treatment? For one, most people live on the side of protection. We are a stressed out society, physically, chemically, and emotionally. Our nervous system is just adapting to how you life is interpreted.
We’ve been sold a low fat, low cholesterol diet for the past 40 years. Not only are we missing that 10-25% of dietary intake, not having enough fat in the diet is a stressor to the body, shifting you towards protection. And even if we are consuming enough, being in protection shifts function away from digestive processes and we aren’t internally processing our foods to maximum benefit. Do I even have to mention the drugs to lower cholesterol?
A hormone imbalance is just scratching the surface. Cholesterol is needed for brain and spinal cord development. Hello Alzheimer’s, MS, and dementia.
The point being, your hormones start with the same building block but it’s your life experiences that will determine how that building block is used. If your hormone imbalance treatment isn’t addressing the nervous system, forget about it. This is why functional chiropractic is an essential tool when I work with clients. The outcome is to make the nervous system efficient, not just rub your back to make you feel better.
What else should be considered?
Before taking an estrogen pill, slathering on progesterone, and shooting up with testosterone, there are other things to consider. To recap, you have to address cortisol, insulin, and your nervous system.
What about the liver? Your liver has a role of detoxifying the body. Many people have impairments with the detoxification of hormones. For example, estrogen won’t get completely broken down or eliminated and it gets recirculated through the body in an altered, more potent form. This impairment can be an impairment in a process called methylation. You may have heard of the MTHFR genetic impairment but there are many aspects of a methylation problem far more reaching than MTHFR.
With that said, methylation problems are also far reaching. People with methylation problems can have a host of conditions from neurological, fertility, energy production, auto-immunity, joint dysfunctions, and so on.
Inflammation has to be addressed. When I say addressed, I don’t mean throwing NSAIDs at the problem. It means uncovering why you are inflamed. This is where functional medicine helps address and uncover the root cause.
Ultimately, your lifestyle has to be addressed. The daily choices you are making are the single greatest determining factor for how well your hormones are going to be expressed. Your choices either shift you towards protection or they shift you towards growth. A hormone imbalance treatment plan that only provides a hormone intervention will never address the underlying cause of the hormone. I know you want instant results but you have to weigh the short term benefit with the long term consequence.
If you don’t think there are any long term consequences of taking hormones, just watch TV at 2 am and listen for all the class action law suits against hormone medications. Why would you be up at 2 am? You have a hormone imbalance, remember? You can’t sleep.
Hormone imbalance treatment is a tricky business. It’s easy to fall in love with the short term results people are getting. Just be careful of the long term consequences if the true underlying causes aren’t addressed.