Friday, March 31, 2017

8 Causes of Hair Loss in Women (and what to do about it!)

Thinning hair worrying you?  Lets do something about it. 


Are you dismayed by how much hair you see in the hairbrush and shower each day?  Hair loss can be extremely devastating for women, and it is not uncommon for women to be in tears in the office because of emotional distress from their hair loss.  While women do not typically lose all their hair, once the hair shedding is underway baldness feels like a very real possibility!  



Here are 8 reasons you may be losing your hair.


 1.  Thyroid problems 

Thyroid problems are a common cause of hair loss, and since thyroid problems are very common in women, we see this often.  Other symptoms associated with low thyroid function include:  fatigue, weight gain, constipation, feeling cold, depressed mood, anxiety, poor memory, low libido, dry skin, and dry/dull hair.  Standard thyroid blood tests often overlook subtle thyroid dysfunction, but even mild problems can be associated with distressing hair loss.  Many women who are being treated with standard thyroid hormone replacement continue to have symptoms despite treatment.  Fortunately, with a more comprehensive lab assessment and natural thyroid replacement, we can optimize thyroid function and achieve healthier, thicker hair.   An over-functioning thyroid gland can also cause hair loss, so good thyroid balance is important. 

2.  Stress

 Cortisol is your main stress hormone.  It is produced in your adrenal glands  to help you cope with emotional stressors, as well as physiologic stressors  (such as pain, allergies, insomnia, toxin exposures, etc). If cortisol levels  are abnormal, hair loss can result.  If you can reduce your stress, your hair  loss may diminish, but you made need some help.  It is possible to measure  your cortisol levels and while there are no prescription medicines to correct  this problem, there are lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements that  can help resolve the issue.

3.  Menopause

Hormone changes associated with menopause (or peri-menopause) can also cause thinning hair (and thinning skin, and thinning bones….).  Restoring hormone levels with bio-identical hormone replacement can help improve the health of your hair (and skin, and bones!) . In a study of women receiving testosterone pellet therapy, 63% noted hair regrowth, and none of the women in the study reported an increase in hair loss after treatment with testosterone.  (Glaser et al, British Journal of Dermatology, 2012).

4.  Prescription medications

Many drugs can contribute to hair loss in women, including the use of birth control pills.  The American Hair Loss Assocation (AHLA) recommends that women consider using a low-androgen index birth control pills to avoid possible hairlsos, especially if they are genetically predisposed to hair loss.  Changing pills or choosing a non-hormonal birth control option may help to correct the problem.  .

5.  Pre-diabetes

Diabetes, or even pre-diabetes may be associated with hair loss.   A holistic approach to balancing blood sugar metabolism including lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements, and weight loss may have a positive impact on hair loss, as well as reducing the risks for some very serious longterm health issues.

6.  Nutritional deficiencies

While americans do not typically suffer with malnutrition, we tend to be nutritionally deficient due to poor quality food choices.  Even if you are trying hard to eat right, the food available at the grocery store may not have optimal vitamin and mineral content due to our modern farming practices.  If you have symptoms such as gas, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea your ability to digest and absorb the nutrients in your food may be impaired.  Certain medications, such as ant-acids, can also impair your ability to digest nutrients.  Nutritional testing is available to determine whether this may be a problem for you.


One of the common nutrient deficiencies we see associated with hair loss is an iron deficiency.  The lab test that is most helpful is a ferritin level -  this is a marker of your iron stores, and if your level is below 80 it is possible that insufficient iron levels may be contributing to the problem

7.  Chronic disease

If you have any chronic disease, hair growth may be slowed to help redirect your body’s resources to other areas to help promote healing.  So hair loss may be a symptom of another problem going on in your body, such as an auto-immune disorder or chronic inflammatory condition.



8.   Androgenic Alopecia

This is the medical name for genetic hair loss (female pattern baldness)  This is hereditary and happens slowly over time (over a period of many years). Typically there is family history of baldness in male relatives and thinning hair in female relatives.  Women do not typically become completely bald.  Hair loss is first noticeable at areas of parts, and hair thinning progresses until the scalp becomes visible.  The hair loss occurs even with normal levels of hormones so treatment for hair loss, such as a PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatment,  is frequently required to restore hair growth.

9.  Alopecia Areata

This is a medical condition where the immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing patches of hair loss.   This is much less common, but more difficult to manage.  The hair may not grow back on its own and may require treatment to restore hair growth.  PRP has been effective in helping with this type of hair loss. 




Healthy Hair Recommendations



Reduce stress.  Simplify your life if possible, and know that it is not always the AMOUNT of stress you are under that is the biggest factor, but how you ALLOW the stress to affect you that matters. 

Ensure hormonal balance – Take steps to restore hormone levels to optimal ranges.  Measuring your hormone levels and restoring normal hormone balance with natural, bio-identical hormone therapy can be life changing for women and affects far more benefits than simply improving the health of your hair. 

Improve nutrition and optimize digestive health to allow better absorption of nutrients.  Eat whole foods including fruits and vegetables, avoid processed food and especially sugar.  Ensure that you are not iron deficient, and consider being tested for a full panel of nutrients. 

Get regular moderate exercise – exercise increases blood flow to the scalp and improves your overall health.  Since your hair is a reflection of your overall health, your nutrition and fitness level are important to hair health.

Take biotin, a nutrient that can be helpful for hair and nails.  Our patients have found excellent results with RegeneMax Plus, which is a form of biotin with added silica (another nutrient important for hair).  This has worked better than standard biotin, and has quickly become one of our top selling supplements (people come back for more because they can see a difference!)

Consider PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatments.  PRP is appropriate for most woman concerned about hair thinning.  By the time the hair thinning is visible, approximately 50% of the hairs have been lost.  Most women are well aware far sooner – their pony tail is thinner, their part becomes wider and they can see the hair shedding.  PRP treatments will have the best effects on hair follicles that still have some function.  This innovative procedure has been featured on  ABC news (Oct 2015).  http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/treatment-millions-people-suffering-hair-loss-34336528

For best results, it is important to address your hair loss BEFORE it is in the advanced stages  So starting sooner rather than later (as a preventive measure) is perfectly reasonable.

If you would like more information or need help to correct your hair loss issues, please contact the office at 704-752-9346 or email us at questions@signaturewellness.org.  More information is available at www.signaturewellness.org.  

Deborah Matthew MD

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Imagine life without belly fat!



Top 5 hidden causes of weight gain 



Did you enjoy the holidays a little too much?  Is your New Year's resolution to lose some weight?  Here is what you need to know....

For many years you have been told that weight loss is straight forward - eat less and exercise more.  Unfortunately for many people it is just not that easy!

Whether you are a woman with perimenopausal or menopausal hormone problems, or a man with low testosterone, weight gain is typical (in fact the average woman gains about 20 pounds as she goes through menopause!).

Thyroid hormones and stress hormones including cortisol and DHEA closely regulate whether you burn or store calories.  Insulin is a fat storing hormone, so if you are creeping towards pre-diabetes (or if you are already there) your body will tend to store fat even if you are not over-indulging.

Obviously hormonal balance is important for successful weight loss.  But sometimes it is just not enough.

Apart from balanced hormones and good lifestyle habits, did you know that there are often many other underlying factors that are affecting your weight?

Here is a list of the top 5 hidden (fixable!) causes of weight gain.  


1.  Food sensitivities.   It is very common to develop sensitivities to common foods.  A sensitivity causes low grade inflammation which promotes weight gain.  Changing nutrition to avoid the foods you are sensitive to can help with mood, energy, memory, joint pains, digestive symptoms, menstrual problems as well as weight gain.





2.  Toxins.  There are tens of thousands of chemicals that we are exposed to on a regular basis.  Many of these are “hormone disrupters” - meaning that they interfere with metabolic processes and hormonal  balance.  We know that people with higher levels of toxins tend to be more overweight and more likely to have diabetes, as well as many other hormonally related problems.  Avoidance of toxins and learning how to help optimize your natural detoxification pathways can be a very important step in weight loss.



3.  Dysbiosis.  This is a word that means there is an imbalance in your “microbiome” - the trillions of micro-organisms that live in your digestive tract.  If you have too many of the wrong bacteria and not enough of the good health-promoting "probiotic" bacteria, this is associated with weight gain.  In some cases the bacteria literally cause us to extract more calories from the same amount of food.






4. Candida.  Overgrowth of digestive yeast (candida) is another common problem.  Candida causes sugar cravings that can be quite severe, making it much more difficult to avoid the sugary junk.  Candida also causes bloating, brain fog, fatigue, and hormonal imbalances








5.  Inflammation.  If there are too many inflammatory chemicals circulating in your blood stream, these directly cause problems with insulin and cortisol, resulting in weight gain.  Insulin and cortisol can contribute to more inflammation - so a cycle is created where your body wants to store more fat... 












Solutions are available!



As you can see, the "calories in vs calories out" equation is not the whole story.

If you have hormonal issues, these must be addressed.

In addition to balanced hormones, a medical weight loss program that addresses ALL of these underlying issues simultaneously is much more likely to result in successful longterm weight loss.



As the above issues are corrected, you won't just lose weight, but you can expect to FEEL better!  Symptoms that commonly resolve include fatigue, brain fog, bloating, joint aches, mood problems, and quality of sleep.

If you are ready to lose weight now,  please know that there are options and that we can help!  Call today to get started!  704-752-9346


Friday, August 26, 2016

Could you be in perimenopause?

Before you go through menopause, there is a period of time (up to 10 years!) where things start to change. The changes can be subtle or not so subtle. We call this phase of life "perimenopause", and it can be one of the most difficult transitions in a women’s life. Sadly, some women are told to tough it out and that it will pass. And often women are told that they are too young to be in perimenopause.

Addressing the hormonal symptoms of perimenopause can dramatically improve quality of life for many women. Lets talk about what is going on.

While estrogen levels start to decline around the time of menopause (average age of menopause is 52), progesterone levels start to decline much earlier.  In fact a your progesterone production may decline by as much as 80% between age 30 and 40.  This is one of the reasons that women in their forties have a harder time getting pregnant.

Progesterone is produced in two main places in your body. It is produced in the ovaries and in the adrenal glands. The majority of progesterone is produced in the ovaries after ovulation.  It helps to prepare the uterine lining in case of a pregnancy and is very important throughout pregnancy (it is “pro-gestational”).  

When a woman is in the second half of her monthly cycle, she is producing between 20 and 25 mg of progesterone a day. During pregnancy, production of progesterone spikes to between 300 and 400 mg per day.

When progesterone levels start to decline because of age, and symptoms of hormone imbalance become noticeable, we call this “perimenopause”.  

Progesterone deficiency is the most common hormonal problem we see in peri-menopausal women, but younger women can have this problem as well.  Because progesterone levels naturally vary over the menstrual cycle, the symptoms vary as well.  

Typically the week after a period is a “good” week; you are eating your broccoli, exercising regularly, and cleaning out your closets.  Then as you get closer to your period,  symptoms get worse and worse including irritability, anxiousness, and interrupted sleep.   You may feel more negative, critical, impatient, and easily frustrated - and this can affect how you behave towards your family and co-workers!

In fact, this variation in symptoms is a big clue that hormones are the problem.  If your mood symptoms or insomnia are exactly the same on every day in your cycle, it is less likely that hormones are the cause.

Progesterone has mainly been studied for its effects on the uterus but it turns out that progesterone has far more roles to play.  Women have progesterone receptors on cells in all parts of our bodies, and surprisingly the cells with the most progesterone receptors are our brain cells.  Anyone who has experienced PMS symptoms with mood swings and irritability may not be surprised after all!  

Research is showing that progesterone has important neurological effects.   It acts as a natural anti-anxiety compound, helps with sleep and is calming - sort of like nature’s version of valium or a glass of red wine.

Here is a checklist of symptoms that you may experience if you progesterone levels are declining:

Insomnia (especially wakening in the night)
Night sweats

Anxiety
Irritability
Mood swings
Weight gain
Increased PMS
Pre-menstrual headaches
Heavier periods
Shorter cycles (periods coming less than 28 days apart)

If this sounds like you, please know that there is help! You can feel like YOU again.

You can find more information at our website www.signaturewellness.org or contact the office at 704-752-9346

Yours in health
DrM

Friday, July 29, 2016

Is this why you are tired?

Do you have a hard time getting going in the morning?  Do you have an energy crash in the afternoon?  And then, after feeling tired all day, do you get a second wind late in the evening and have a hard time falling asleep?  If so, you certainly aren't alone!

Cortisol is your stress hormone.  If you have a sudden stressful experience, like being late for an important appointment and getting stuck in traffic, your cortisol level goes up to help you cope with the stress.  Then when you get there and everything turns out ok, your cortisol level goes back down to normal.  This is a normal stress response.

The problem is that in our modern world we tend to have lots of little stresses all day long.  In the past, our stresses were things like being chased by a saber-toothed tiger and having to run for our life. The physical activity (running) helped us to clear the extra stress hormones from our system.  Today our stresses typically don't involve running for our life - they are much more likely to involve fuming at the slow traffic while we sit in our car worrying about being late for our appointment.  The end result can be chronically elevated cortisol levels.

When we are thinking about stresses it is important to realize that we don't just include the emotional stressors.  You are typically well aware of those - family issues, work stress, etc.  But physical stressors count as well - things like allergies, chronic back pain, insomnia, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances.  And you can have stresses on your system without being aware - for example toxins in the environment.  It is very common in our modern world to have high stress burdens.

If cortisol levels remain chronically elevated health problems can follow.  High cortisol may promote fatigue, mood symptoms including depression and anxiety, food cravings, weight gain, insomnia, high blood pressure, bone loss, poor memory, impaired immune system function and increased menopausal symptoms.  In a nutshell, high cortisol is a wear and tear hormone; it ages you at an accelerated rate.    You have probably witnessed this - people who have lived under extremely stressful conditions often look older than their biological age.

Over time, cortisol levels may drop inappropriately.  If you now have insufficient amounts of cortisol to meet your body's daily demands problems can get even worse.  This is when you start to feel really exhausted, have difficulty coping with stress and feel like little things (that shouldn't really be stressful) feel somewhat overwhelming.

Do you think you may have a cortisol problem?  Here is what can be done.

Your cortisol level can be measured in a saliva or urine test.  We prefer to measure your level at multiple times during the day, since the levels change - they should be higher in the morning to help you wake up and lower at night to help you fall asleep.   We commonly find low levels in the morning and high levels at bedtime - when your daily pattern is backwards, no wonder it is hard to wake up and hard to fall asleep!

Reducing your stress is important.  Breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, walking, laughter and heartfelt prayer are good examples of stress management techniques.  Sometimes reducing stress is not easy.  Please talk to us if you need help.

Caffeine, alcohol and sugar may make you feel a little better in the short term, but in the long term they are not helpful and should be minimized.  Supporting cortisol levels can improve your energy so you don't need to rely on caffeine to keep you moving.

There are a number of supplements that are very helpful, and which ones we recommend for you depend on your symptoms and the pattern of your cortisol levels.  Ashwagadha, rhodiola and holy basil are examples of herbs that are typically safe and beneficial regardless of whether your cortisol is too high or too low.

If you have having symptoms that are affecting your quality of life, and would like to be evaluated to see if cortisol may be a problem for you, please contact the office for further information at 704-752-9346 or questions@signaturewellness.org.  You can also find more information at www.signaturewellness.org

Yours in Health,

DrM




Is this why you are tired?

Do you have a hard time getting going in the morning?  Do you have an energy crash in the afternoon?  And then, after feeling tired all day, do you get a second wind late in the evening and have a hard time falling asleep?  If so, you certainly aren't alone!

Cortisol is your stress hormone.  If you have a sudden stressful experience, like being late for an important appointment and getting stuck in traffic, your cortisol level goes up to help you cope with the stress.  Then when you get there and everything turns out ok, your cortisol level goes back down to normal.  This is a normal stress response.

The problem is that in our modern world we tend to have lots of little stresses all day long.  In the past, our stresses were things like being chased by a saber-toothed tiger and having to run for our life. The physical activity (running) helped us to clear the extra stress hormones from our system.  Today our stresses typically don't involve running for our life - they are much more likely to involve fuming at the slow traffic while we sit in our car worrying about being late for our appointment.  The end result can be chronically elevated cortisol levels.

When we are thinking about stresses it is important to realize that we don't just include the emotional stressors.  You are typically well aware of those - family issues, work stress, etc.  But physical stressors count as well - things like allergies, chronic back pain, insomnia, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances.  And you can have stresses on your system without being aware - for example toxins in the environment.  It is very common in our modern world to have high stress burdens.

If cortisol levels remain chronically elevated health problems can follow.  High cortisol may promote fatigue, mood symptoms including depression and anxiety, food cravings, weight gain, insomnia, high blood pressure, bone loss, poor memory, impaired immune system function and increased menopausal symptoms.  In a nutshell, high cortisol is a wear and tear hormone; it ages you at an accelerated rate.    You have probably witnessed this - people who have lived under extremely stressful conditions often look older than their biological age.

Over time, cortisol levels may drop inappropriately.  If you now have insufficient amounts of cortisol to meet your body's daily demands problems can get even worse.  This is when you start to feel really exhausted, have difficulty coping with stress and feel like little things (that shouldn't really be stressful) feel somewhat overwhelming.

Do you think you may have a cortisol problem?  Here is what can be done.

Your cortisol level can be measured in a saliva or urine test.  We prefer to measure your level at multiple times during the day, since the levels change - they should be higher in the morning to help you wake up and lower at night to help you fall asleep.   We commonly find low levels in the morning and high levels at bedtime - when your daily pattern is backwards, no wonder it is hard to wake up and hard to fall asleep!

Reducing your stress is important.  Breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, walking, laughter and heartfelt prayer are good examples of stress management techniques.  Sometimes reducing stress is not easy.  Please talk to us if you need help.

Caffeine, alcohol and sugar may make you feel a little better in the short term, but in the long term they are not helpful and should be minimized.  Supporting cortisol levels can improve your energy so you don't need to rely on caffeine to keep you moving.

There are a number of supplements that are very helpful, and which ones we recommend for you depend on your symptoms and the pattern of your cortisol levels.  Ashwagadha, rhodiola and holy basil are examples of herbs that are typically safe and beneficial regardless of whether your cortisol is too high or too low.

If you have having symptoms that are affecting your quality of life, and would like to be evaluated to see if cortisol may be a problem for you, please contact the office for further information at 704-752-9346 or questions@signaturewellness.org.  You can also find more information at www.signaturewellness.org




Friday, July 1, 2016

How to have younger looking skin

You know the basics for promoting healthy skin.  A “whole foods” diet (as opposed to processed foods), rich in a variety of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables is the basis of overall health, and skin health is no exception.   Staying hydrated is important.   Exercise improves blood flow to the skin, and helps maintain skin health.  

Avoiding sun damage is critical.  Some sun exposure is important to make sure you are getting vitamin D (which is also good for skin health!), but sun damage can be prevented by wearing a hat and a non-toxic sunscreen.

Did you know that hormonal balance is also important to skin health?  A medical study found that women with the lowest estrogen levels looked 8 years older than their actual age, and women with higher estrogen levels looked 8 years younger than their age (that is a 16 year differential!).  Estrogen helps maintain collagen production in your skin, which helps minimize fine lines and wrinkles, and it helps your skin remain hydrated.  You may notice that your skin “glows” when you are hormonally balanced.

Significant changes occur in your skin during menopause, including thinner skin, increased wrinkling, skin dryness, and loss of elasticity and firmness of your skin.    Skin thickness has been found to decrease by 1.5% per year after menopause, and collagen content can be reduced by as much as 30% within 5 years of menopause.  These skin changes appear to be more closely related to length of time that you have been estrogen deficiency than to your actual chronological age.  (In other words, the longer you have been without estrogen, the older you look!)

Hormone replacement has been shown in a number of studies to help improve hydration of the skin, maintain skin thickness and elasticity, improve blood flow to the skin and increase collagen production. 

In one study, estrogen replacement resulted in a measurable increase in skin thickness after only 2 weeks of applying topical estrogen.  Another study found that skin thickness was increased by 30% after 12 months of estrogen therapy.

A large study showed reduced wrinkling in postmenopausal women on estrogen replacement.    Another study of women on hormone replacement found less wrinkles in the estrogen treated group compared with women on no hormones.  

Estrogen has also been shown to speed up wound healing and offer some protection against photoaging (sun damage).  

Estrogen is good for your heart, your bones, your brain and also your skin!

Apart from maintaining your hormone balance, there are a number of aesthetic treatments that can help you to look as young as you feel!  

SkinPen treatments are ideal if you want to treat fine wrinkles, acne scars,   or sun damage.  A small device contains tiny surgical-grade needles that produces microscopic punctures in your skin.  This stimulates the production of collagen and elastin which give your skin a more youthful appearance. It mimics what a laser treatment does, but without the discomfort or downtime. 

And have you heard about PRP (platelet rich plasma) to rejuvenate the skin?  PRP is obtained from your own blood - it is the fraction of your blood which contains growth factors.  It is injected into your skin, where it activates your own stem cells to stimulate growth of collagen, blood vessels and nerve fibers.  We are harnessing your own innate healing potential to create younger looking skin! 

If you are interested in learning more about how to have younger looking skin,  please visit our website at www.signaturewellness.org.  Or you may contact us at questions@signaturewellness.org, or call at 704-752-9346.   

Yours in health, 
DrM


Monday, June 13, 2016

The most important nutritional factor in healthy aging

Fat used to be the bad guy, but recently carbs have become the dietary villain.  Low carb diets have convincingly shown more benefit than low fat diets for weight loss . But WHAT KIND of carbs we are talking about matters a lot.  A doughnut is a carb, but so is broccoli! 

In an effort to reduce the starchy carbs in our diet (which is a a good thing to do!) we need to be careful that we don't end up eating less fiber.  

A recent Australian study looked at 1,600 adults aged 50 years and older and evaluated their dietary risks for long-term sensory loss and systemic diseases, related to their carbohydrate consumption. Out of all the factors they evaluated,  including total carbohydrate intake, total fiber intake, glycemic index, glycemic load, and sugar intake - fiber intake resulted in the biggest difference in "successful aging.  

"Essentially, we found that those who had the highest intake of fiber or total fiber actually had an almost 80 percent greater likelihood of living a long and healthy life over a 10-year follow-up. That is, they were less likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, dementia, depression, and functional disability."

Here are a few possible reasons behind these important findings.   

1. Bowel regularity.    Insoluble fiber helps to keep you regular by "sweeping out" your colon.  Having regular bowel movements is an important part of detoxification.  We are all exposed to environmental chemicals and natural waste compounds from our own bodies that we need to eliminate.  Many of these compounds are excreted into the digestive tract.  If you aren't moving your bowels regularly, there is a greater opportunity for these compounds to be reabsorbed and result in increase health risks.

2.  Stable blood sugar levels.  Fiber in your meal also helps to slow the rate that your blood sugar rises as you digest your meal.  A slower rise in blood sugar is healthier - it allows the body to make an appropriate amount of insulin to handle the sugar load.  A meal high in sugar or refined carbohydrates (like white bread) and low in fiber results in a rapid spike in blood sugar and the body has to scramble to gain control over the metabolic situation.  Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.

3.  Prebiotics.  You have probably heard that the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract is very important to your health and disease prevention.  Probiotics are the healthy bacteria (for example found in yogurt) that you need to stay well.  Have you heard of Prebiotics?  This is the food source for the probiotics!  It is not enough to simply take a probiotic supplement - you need to nourish your gut bacteria by feeding them plenty of prebiotics.  And can you guess what your probiotic bacteria eat?  Fiber, of course!  So a diet rich in fiber is a diet rich in prebiotics, which help to nourish your healthy gut bacteria.

4.  Healthy cholesterol levels.  Soluble fiber does not dissolve in water (think about how oatmeal becomes gelatinous when you mix it with water).  Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol and helps you to clear it from your system.  We know that the actual AMOUNT of cholesterol is not really what is important - it matters much more whether or not the cholesterol is inflamed or oxidized.  But eating enough soluble fiber helps to maintain cholesterol levels in the normal range.  

5.  Estrogen metabolism.  Another factor to consider is the very important role that fiber plays in hormonal balance, and this is important in women AND men.  Each day you excrete estrogen into your digestive tract to clear it from your system (whether you made the estrogen in your own body or whether you are on estrogen replacement or birth control pills).  The insoluble fiber in your diet helps to keep you regular so you can excrete estrogen.  Soluble fiber helps carry estrogen out in your stool, and helps prevent it from being reabsorbed into the blood stream.  This makes sense when you remember that many of your hormones (including estrogen) are made from cholesterol!  So just as fiber is important for lowering your cholesterol, it is also important for clearing estrogen.  

This is especially important in women who have "estrogen dominance" with symptoms like heavy periods, PMS symptoms, breast tenderness, weight gain, insomnia, anxiety, fibroids, fibrocystic breast disease, or ovarian cysts.  Estrogen dominance is a risk factor for breast cancer, and a high fiber diet can help reduce the risks (we have lots of research to support this).  Too much estrogen is also a risk factor for prostate cancer.  As men age, they often convert more of their testosterone into estrogen, and an increase in fiber can help minimize the amount of estrogen that accumulates.

How much fiber do you need?  Many studies have looked at a goal of 30gram of fiber per day.  One challenge in trying to achieve this goal is that I typically recommend eating "whole" foods that do not come in a package (and therefore don't have a label to tell you how many grams of fiber per serving).   But here are some foods that are good sources of fiber, especially soluble fiber which is the best for balancing hormones.  

Fruits including citrus fruit, berries, apples, apricots, dates, prunes, and pears.  
Vegetables including asparagus, brussels sprouts, squash, zucchini, broccoli and root veggies like carrots, turnips and sweet potatoes.  
Legumes including lentils, chickpeas and pinto beans
Nuts such as almonds and walnuts
Seeds like ground flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, raw pumpkin seeds

While you are eating these terrific foods to make sure you get enough fiber, you will also be benefitting from the antioxidant vitamins, trace minerals and abundant "phytonutrients" (plant compounds) that will help keep you heathy.  Perhaps higher fiber intake was not the only reason the people in the study had reduced rates of disease - it may have been because fiber tends to come packaged by nature along with the other important nutrients you need to stay well!  So eat more fiber today to help maximize your chances for a healthy tomorrow.  

For more information on healthy hormone balance and healthy aging, please see our website www.signaturewellness.org or contact the office at 704-752-9346 or questions@signaturewellness.org

Yours in health,

DrM


1.  Association Between Carbohydrate Nutrition and Successful Aging Over 10 YearsThe Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 2016

2.  High fiber diet reduces serum estrogen concentrations in premenopausal women.  American Society of Clinical Nutrition.  1991

P.S.:  New testing allows us to measure your estrogen metabolites.  Would you like to know whether you are metabolizing estrogen in a way that increases your breast cancer risk (and then do something to correct the problem?)  Please contact the office for more information.  The test is $200 and is not covered by health insurance.