Part 6 of the Series: Aging and the "Pauses of Life"
Menopause - The Decline in Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, and More
Did you know that once menopause begins, the rest of the "pauses" quickly progress, as the imbalances feed on each other? Consequently, your health breaks down. The roll down the hill goes faster and faster, especially if our brains aren't in good shape. The imbalances in the estrogen-progesterone ratio can feel chaotic at best.
When estrogen production flags, the other "pauses" cascade. Loss of estrogen can create: changes in bone density, leading to osteopause; Heart pump failure, triggering cardiopause; Increased risk of breast cancer, triggering immunopause; Loss of memory and other cognitive deterioration, triggering electropause, and other "pauses." You can find out more on the other pauses in other blogs (beginning October 2016).
Most women are caught unaware by menopause. Despite scrupulous efforts to counteract the combined effects of gravity and aging, her arms have probably been getting progressively flabbier since around age 30. In fact, the typical woman begins losing muscle mass starting around age 25, while weight begins to climb. The unpleasant changes ahead are linked to shifting hormonal tides within the female aging body.
I often use the analogy of a boulder dropping into a still body of water to describe how these changes affect everything from mood and concentration to memory and quality of sleep. Imagine a boulder dropping into a calm, deep body of water, representing your 22-year old self at peak reproduction health. There are ripples, slowly spreading out, heading inexorably for the distant shore. As they approach that shallow shoreline (representing you, at about age 50) they gain strength and height, eventually crashing against the shore with tsunami force. The gentle swells and expanding ripples represent the years of perimenopause between about 22 and 50. The devastation of the tsunami represents menopause hitting with full force.
"Freak Outs" and Other Symptoms
Along with hot flashes, the following symptoms can be experienced during menopause:
The fall of estrogen and progesterone cause a cascade of rising blood sugars and lower mental activity. Women begin to feel both hungry and tired so often, they eat more junk food to stay alert and they exercise less. The good news is that we now have the ability to give low dosages of natural hormones that will transform not only the way you feel but the way you look.
GABA and serotonin agents can stop the "freak-outs" many women experience as a result of declining estrogen levels. This occurs because you're losing progesterone, the hormone that keeps you calm. Without progesterone, many women experience a general "sinking" feeling. With the right treatment, this feeling will go away.
If your hot flashes and other symptoms are severe, you may need to let your doctor know - estrogen-containing products can be a most effective treatment.
Progesterone to the Rescue
Progesterone is a medical gift. It's a natural mood balancer, stress reliever, and brain calmer, and it squashes cortisol (our stress hormone). It is a natural diuretic, antidepressant, antioxidant, and a precursor of cortisone and necessary for survival.
By taking natural estrogen and other bioidentical supplements, you can turn back the clock. While there's no medication that will stop menopause from occuring, you can trick your brain into thinking it is 50 forever.
The only way menopause can be successfully treated is by imitating the body's own mechanisms, which means replacing the hormones that the body naturally has lost. By maintaining and increasing hormone levels, you can restore your health and even reverse the symptoms that have been affecting you. Natural hormones have been found to be capable of doing this without causing negative side effects.
You can also strengthen your overall health by supplementing with vitamin D. Typically I prescribe 5,000 units per day as a natural brain builder.
My Rainbow Diet will allow you to control your weight and stop the cascade of illness associated with obesity. It's remarkable how carrying as little as 10 extra pounds can significantly affect your overall health. Keep your meals full of colorful fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
And discuss with your doctor about taking these code-breaking hormones:
Hormonal Treatment Brain Code Action
By understanding the intricate neurochemical relationships among organs, the brain, and the body's various systems, it is possible to marshal appropriate lines of defense against detrimental aging. These include lifestyle modifications, nutrition and supplement therapy, bioidentical hormone replacement, and if needed, prescription medications to help women achieve optimal health and minimize the ravages of "normal aging."
For more information or help, call us at PATH Medical to make an appointment. Early detection is always key towards better health.
There are many health care professionals, today, that still focus on treating disease once it is diagnosed. They're still not getting the big picture and miss 90% of silent disease. While early detection is key, prevention is equally important in guaranteeing a longer, healthier life. By focusing on preventive treatment, my patients don't experience unexpected illnesses or surprise deaths.
Preventing Heart Attack and Stroke
We can now conclusively predict who is most likely to become the victim of a stroke or heart attack, even though the majority of patients who die of a sudden heart attack have few or no symptoms. For example, a major study of 28,000 women at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital provided conclusive evidence that painless inflammation of heart and blood vessels is a major trigger of heart attacks - even more so than high cholesterol. Women with high levels of inflammation are twice as likely as those with high cholesterol to die from heart attacks and strokes.
The collective condition known as "cardiovascular disease" refers to disorders of the heart as well as the vascular system. Below are signs and symptoms that you want to be on the lookout for; and if they occur, talk to your doctor immediately.
Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack
Signs and Symptoms of Stroke
A C-reactive protein blood test is one of the simplest ways to identify chronic inflammation that may be smoldering in your body. Coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) is another useful technique for identifying heart disease.
The key to prolonging good heart health (and overall health) and continuing to lead a vibrant and active life is the ability to identify the aging parts of your body that may already be experiencing the ravages of silent disease.
Your Waistline Predicts Your Heart Health
You can never start a cardiovascular program soon enough. In assessing your heart attack risk, simply look at the notches on your belt. An increasing waistline is a reliable risk indicator of heart disease.
Potential heart disease patients may benefit from preventive hormone therapy, especially testosterone therapy (in men). Testosterone and other hormones strengthen the heart muscle, which will aid in heart contraction and improve the heart's pumping ability. DHEA may help protect against atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Contact our office for an appointment to discuss further hormone therapies.
Natural Supplements For a Younger Heart
Dietary Modifications For a Healthy Heart
By following a healthy lifestyle including exercise and a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy whole grains, and plenty of low-fat protein (including eggs, which are a perfect protein source rich in amino acids), you may lose excess weight that can contribute to heart disease and stroke. You also need to eat foods that are low in sodium, which will naturally reduce internal swelling and water retention. For more information on my Braverman Protocol and Rainbow Diet, you can read my book, The Amazing Way to Reverse Heart Disease Naturally. But a yearly exam that includes early detection tests is a must.
At PATH Medical, we can help you with all of your health, dietary, and supplemental needs.
Part 2 of the Series: Aging and the "Pauses of Life"
Thyropause - Aging and Weakening of the Thyroid System
Why is the thyroid important?
Your thyroid gland controls the rate that your body burns the fuel necessary to keep you and your mood going. It does this by synthesizing the hormones thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3). These thyroid hormones are necessary in adults for normal function of the other organs and systems. Thyroid hormones also affect tissue growth and maturation, help regulate fat digestion, and increase intestinal absorption of carbohydrates.
Signs of thyropause:
Thyropause marks the beginning of a metabolic disorder, which can begin as early as birth but typically begins between the ages of 30 and 50. If you know that you have a dopamine deficiency, you are a likely candidate for experiencing thyropause sooner than you think. Changes can be subtle, but many of the following symptoms could indicate the possibility that you're experiencing thyropause (the aging and weakening of your thyroid):
Thyroid Problems Can Be Reversed:
Any form of thyroid disease can be managed with medication. To treat an aging thyroid, you start with natural thyroid treatment. If it is picked up soon enough, the disease is stopped in its tracks. Taking natural thyroid supplements when you need them works like taking other bioidentical hormones. It's not a crutch. It doesn't make the thyroid weaker but actually makes it less likely to decline by getting its adequate support. Your thyroid health may require bioidentical hormone supplementations of the hormones T3 and T4.
Because there's a distinct relationship between your thyroid and a dopamine deficiency, you can augment your dopamine with foods and nutrients. But with thyroid problems, it may best to stay away from foods that are known as goitrogens (cruciferous vegetables, soybeans, peaches, strawberries, peanuts, radishes, spinach, and millet). Instead, choose Thyropause-reversing meals such as:
*omelets made with low-fat cheddar cheese
*black bean soup
*organic turkey with lentil sauce
*4 oz. lean steak, broiled with fresh garlic and basil and a green bean salad
*japanese seaweed salad
During these pauses, the failing organ, or part, becomes older than the rest of your body. At the same time, its associated hormone levels drop, sending a signal or code to the rest of the body whose purpose is to broadcast that the system is failing. This signal also begins the process whereby the whole body will begin to shut down. In essence, when diminished, the hormones of life and the electrical signals of the brain send a wrong or "anti"-signal to the rest of the life.
Aging occurs throughout the entire body through the following codes:
Our body parts will not pause at the same time. For example, a patient whose chronological age (real age) is 40 years old could have a heart that has aged to that of a 50 year old; or they could have bones that have aged to that of a 60 year old. You can find out your AgePrint by completing my AgePrint quiz and through testing and blood work. My AgePrint quiz can help you determine not only which pause(s) might be affecting your health, but what stage they have reached. The results from the quiz assign an approximate age for every organ and system of the body. Blood work and testing can easily confirm your findings.
Every aging code currently known is reversible in its early stages. I know of no aging signal that has not been reversed. The keys then to a Younger YOU are the tests that detect symptoms before a health problem hits you, instead of waiting for medical and surgical intervention. The most successful way to achieve total health and extend life is to prevent internal again from occurring.
This is Part 1 of a continuing series on the "Pauses." I'll discuss each pause in more depth which will include dietary, supplemental, and hormonal strategies.
But I have found that when we have excessive stress, we tend to either get caught in a rut or return to some old pattern that we had created earlier in life to self-sooth (food, shopping, crying, etc.) When the brain is too heavily focused on staying on task, it loses its ability to grow and stretch to allow for new memories that come from new learning and experiences. When you have "too much on your mind," the stress you may be feeling is your brain chemicals fighting for the chance to grow and remember.
As we age, our hormone levels decrease. But when our hormone levels get too low (which stress contributes to), aging accelerates, and our bodies can function as though they're far older than our chronological age. I refer to these hormonal changes as PAUSES - the concept being based on the idea of menopause. Because hormones regulate all of the systems in the body, this experience can be related to all organs and systems of both men and women. Pauses include Thyropause, Cardiopause, Adrenopause, Gastropause, Andropause, Osteopause, Dermopause, etc. (We'll discuss more on these Pauses in upcoming weeks.)
A person whose "PAUSES" begin sooner than they should is probably under great STRESS. When brain stress is high, hormonal imbalances start very early on.
What are some ways in which we can reduce our stress? It doesn't have to be a radical change. A one-hour nap, for example, is perfect for giving your brain a chance to restore its neurotransmitters naturally. And of course there's no lack of evidence about the efficacy of regular physical exertion in improving health. Meditation, chanting, and prayer have calming effects that allow the brain to slow down and resynchronize. Nurturing relationships also allows your brain to relax; but relationships fraught with stress and antagonism will eventually deplete your supply of neurotransmitters.
Call for an appointment to assess your brain chemistry and hormonal health. We can determine which part of you is aging quicker than others and help you to become balanced and return to health. You're only as Young as your Oldest Part.
Are you overweight? One way you can determine whether you need to lose weight is by identifying your leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone secreted by the body’s fat cells. Its receptor is found in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls your hunger and body weight. The discovery of this hormone has led to a greater understanding of how fat cells are formed and how we respond to hunger. These fat cells are no longer viewed as a part of tissue that merely stores excess calories. Instead, we now know that they are dynamic cells that work with the endocrine system to produce hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism.
Each fat cell has an internal sensor that demands food. As more fat enters the fat cell, that cell secretes leptin in response. The secretion of the leptin hormone signals your brain, “telling” you that you’ve achieved satiety: the feeling you get when you’ve eaten enough. The more leptin that’s present, the stronger the signal to your brain, and the less hungry you feel. However, if there is leptin overload, which often occurs when you are overweight, or if the signal doesn’t get received, your brain won’t transmit the message to stop eating. Unfortunately, the consequence is that you will continue to eat past the point of satiety, which leads to the accumulation of body fat. It becomes a vicious cycle then as, subsequently, more fat cells also accumulate and their food requirements need to be met.
As we age, our bodies can become resistant to the leptin message. This happens because the heavier you get, the more resistant you become to the leptin you produce, resulting in a weaker signal to your brain. A low leptin signal then sets off a cascade of brain chemical reactions, particularly in relation to metabolism. For example, when leptin is released, dopamine (a main brain chemical) production also increases, that enables you to be able to burn off the foods you eat instead of storing them as fat cells. However, without the leptin message, metabolism falls as well.
High leptin levels are correlated with obesity, while moderate to low leptin levels are associated with better fitness. However, extremely low leptin levels may be associated with other hormonal loss. For example, increased levels of the hormone cortisol also lead to increased leptin resistance, which contributes to even more weight gain. Also, low leptin levels lead to lower levels of estrogen and progesterone for women, which signal menopause; and for men, testosterone, which signal male menopause.
Your leptin level can be determined by a simple blood test. Call to make an appointment today to have a full body check-up and to learn more about nutrients and diet that positively affect leptin and other hormonal imbalances. You’re Only as Young as Your Oldest Part.
An expert on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy and natural approaches for the treatment of cancer, Ms. Somers shared her self-taught lessons with conference attendees and guest lecturers. Her remarks garnered a prominent Page Six mention. Dr. Braverman, who contributed a chapter to her bestseller, Breakthrough: Eight Steps to Wellness, was honored to have her participation in the groundbreaking conference, and is proud to have her ongoing support.
Other highlights from the all-day conference included:
Insomnia isn’t just a matter of being tired and catching up on sleep somewhere down the road. It’s a critical health issue that impacts health globally because without proper sleep, the brain and body do not have adequate opportunity for restoration/rejuvenation. And reversing insomnia and getting 7-8 hours of proper sleep every night isn’t just a matter of a warm glass of milk before bedtime or swallowing an over-the-counter sleep aid.
Every case of sleeplessness has to be carefully evaluated, and treatments must be tailored using multiple modalities:
Total dark room; 68° temperature; soft sheets; pillow that supports both neck and head;
Regular exercise (preferably in the morning); regular stretching (both sitting and standing); meditation; chamomile tea; hot baths prior to bedtime; brainwave modulation using the Cranial Electrical Stimulation (CES) device;
Melatonin; Inositol; Valerian Root; Tryptophan;
Adenosine; Aldosterone; Leptin; Pregnenelone.
The comprehensive four-to-five-hour initial visit at PATH Medical will get to the bottom of any sleep problem and identify the most effective combination of treatments.
Call 888.304.7284 to schedule the checkup that will get you on the path to total health.
It’s your life. Extend it.
Eric R. Braverman, M.D.
Dr. Braverman is a Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University and NYU Medical School, did brain research at Harvard Medical School, and trained at an affiliate of Yale Medical School. He is acknowledged worldwide as an expert in brain-based diagnosis and treatment, and he lectures to and trains doctors in anti-aging medicine.