When did you last feel great ?
Have you accepted that it is ok to not feel the best you can feel? Many people have adapted and accepted to live this way. Often everything else becomes a priority and our health is at the bottom of this list. Looking after your health is a sign of self-respect.
Make your health a priority.
You are at the very heart of your own health. You are the person who can make the changes. You are the person who can decide today I will start a new approach to my health.
Thyroid health is vital for regulating many processes in the body. Metabolism, temperature, growth & development and energy are just a few.
The thyroid is a very sensitive gland and often the signs and symptoms of reduced thyroid health are confused with many other symptoms.
A good place to start with understanding your own thyroid health is to do a full thyroid panel test. This will look at all the thyroid hormone levels, reverse T3 and antibody status. Conventional physicians usually don't run antibody test as it won't change conventional thyroid treatment. Functional medicine practitioners usually do run antibody tests so that they can address the underlying issues and autoimmunity.
Thyroid health can be supported with nutritional support.
Cortisol has a vital important role in our daily survival but our modern day lifestyle has made this important hormone move from friend to foe. How often have we heard the word "stress' used when talking about our health and wellbeing. One crucial misunderstanding is our perception of stress. Stress is very personal to each individual.
Our brain is wired to only interpret any stress response as a threat. A stress response triggers our adrenals to release cortisol. This prepares our body for a physical attack. When our body is in fight and flight mode we are engaging the sympathetic nervous system. Which means our para-sympathetic nervous system is switched off, this system engages our rest, digest and reproduction function.
The systems can't work in unison, one needs to be switched on while the other is then switched off. Cortisol has a role in health, constantly raised cortisol levels do not. It is at this point that immunity becomes compromised and health deteriorates.
To better understand how your body is managing cortisol I would recommend the Dried Urine Test Comprehensive Hormone (DUTCH) as this looks at both urine metabolites and salivary cortisol, there is also an option to include your cortisol awakening response (CAR).
Blood sugar dysregulation is more common than we realise. Cravings, irritability, feeling hungry and 'hangry' between meals are all common signs that your blood sugar may be imbalanced.
Changing your eating habits and making better choices can help to support glucose balance. The importance of regulating your glucose levels is to avoid insulin resistance which is often the first stage of type II diabetes.
Our cells need a fuel source to function optimally, this source being glucose. The concern is how we get the glucose into the cell. When insulin resistance is present the ability for glucose to enter the cell is compromised. Without an adequate fuel source our brain interprets this as a need for food, releasing our hunger hormone. Low glucose levels triggers cortisol levels to rise and so we start a trigger of events.
To better understand how your body is managing glucose I would recommend a HBA1C test. This test provides you with a 120 day snapshot of your red blood cells.
Menopause can be a horrendous time for some women and an absolute breeze for others. Most women become menopausal between the ages of 45 and 54 years. As we are all individuals, there is no single approach to navigating a way through this stage of life.
During the reproductive years, the female body has constant exposure to oestrogen. One of the main functions of oestrogen is to build tissue. Oestrogen initiates tissue building within the female body for creating a new life. Oestrogen builds breast tissue and works hard every month to replace and build new tissue in the uterus. The longer a woman is exposed to oestrogen the greater her risk of cancer. The reproductive years are typically between the ages of 12 years and 55 years, extended beyond these years and again the risk is greater.
Many woman will look to use hormone therapy replacement (HRT) during menopause, as this can provide much needed relief of symptoms. HRT will replace the natural hormones that are starting to deplete naturally. Bio-Identical hormone therapy (BHRT) is another option for women to consider and works on a similar principal as HRT. Their main attraction is that the hormone preparations are made from plant sources that are similar or identical to human hormones.
Menopausal symptoms can be supported with nutritional and lifestyle changes, after all it is a time when the body should be nourished and replenished for all the work it has done during the reproductive years.
To better understand how your body is managing your hormones I would recommend two tests.
- The first being a Nutrigenomics DNA hormone profile to establish any genetic variations that you may have.
- The second test being the Dried Urine Test Comprehensive Hormones (DUTCH) Plus.
A combination of these test are incredibly useful to understanding the individual challenges you may have.
Gastrointestinal symptoms are often overlooked when considering general health. Many people will accept or continue to live with well known symptoms such as constipation or reflux. I challenge all my clients to consider their own gastro health and think how the process of eating feels for them.
Digestion and absorpotion is the only way that we can truly nourish our bodies.
Up to 80% of our immune system resides in our gut which is why when someone experiences frequent or reoccurant illness, hives, sensitivities it is important to evaluate the integrity and robustness of the gut.
Female hormone health is also effected by the glucoronidase enzyme that is produced in the gut from certain bacteria.
Dysbiosis, SIBO and LIBO focus on understanding the relationship of various commensal bacteria within the gut and looking at the end products such as methane, hydrogen or hydrogen-sulfide. Research now reflects the importance of having a healthy mircobiome, allowing all the various bacteria to be present within their recommended ranges. This provides wonderful health benefits to us, the host.
When focusing on gastrointestinal health all areas need to be incorporated, often there will only be a focus to erradicate pathogens or certain bacteria and the efforts to restablish a healthy mircobiome and environment are neglected.
I recommed my clients consider doing the GI Effects stool test to be able to assess all of these areas. The results allow us to formulate a phased approach.
"I am so used to waking up feeling tired, grabbing snacks or a coffee keep to keep me energised and then when I climb into bed I find its a struggle to feel rested in the evening as my mind is wired from the day and I can't switch off"
"I need to get to the bottom of why I have this skin condition, it doesn't make sense. One day I was absolutely normal and then the next day I noticed these small red angry looking patches appearing all over. It has started to effect everything I do and I know people have noticed these lesions. The GP has prescribed a steroid cream that works but when I stop using it, they are back worse than before"
"I like food but the problem is that food doesn't like me. If it is not indigestion, then it is bloating or just feeling uncomfortable after eating. It can be really painful at times, which has made me become quite selective and fussy around food. I was never like this, so am not sure why the change"
"I really can't work out why all of a sudden, over the last few years I have developed allergies and reactions to what feels like so many things? My skin has become so sensitive and now I am constantly worrying about what it is that I am doing to make me react this way "
"I often joke that losing my trail of thought or not remembering things is a sign of getting old but I think its because I have such a busy brain and that it's normal to feel like my focus & thoughts are lost in a dense fog. I just write everything down but it would be nice to have a focused mind and be able to concentrate for longer"
"I know something isn't quite right, my hair is thinning quite a lot, I feel sluggish and don't seem to have the energy for much. I can't put my finger on the exact thing but just know this is not how I used to feel"
Does this sound like you ?
To Test or Not to Test
If you regularly visit your GP you may have had some standard blood panel testing or something slightly more specific tested. The parameters for these tests will be different to what I work with however these tests are still a good snapshot of your health and can be useful in understanding your health.
Functional testing is more detailed and look at various systems, processes, enzymes, catalysts, hormones and various other biological markers.
Mainstream medicine approach would be to always run any investigatory tests on patients before a course of treatment is decided. I take the same approach. In order that my clients achieve the best outcome, I need to be working alongside an evidenced based approach. My approach is tailor made to what is chemically and biologically going on in your body. This is achieved by utilising tests. Once we have the results, the plan is then constructed. Each step will be linked back to your test results, focusing on supporting key areas.
The downside of functional testing is the cost and it is fully understandable that not everyone has an endless supply of cash to fund their health. For this reason I don't build testing into my cost structure, I would rather discuss this with the client providing them with as much information and support on relevant tests. If this is something that the client would like to utilise then I would work with my preferred trusted laboratories.
My preferred trusted laboratories are :
- DNA Profile : Lifecode GX
- Hormones: DUTCH Plus
- Thyroid: Medichecks - advanced Panel
- Blood Glucose : HBA1C and Freestyle Libre
- GI Effects : Genova Diagnostics