The sex hormone Progesterone is also balanced by estrogen's sexy Smart Fats:
- High lignan flax seeds and flax oil
If there was ever a "magic bullet" hormone therapy on the planet, natural progesterone comes really close. Many women's bodies are simply not producing enough. Either because they are not ovulating regularly—although many are still menstruating—so there is no corpus luteum to create progesterone, or because their bodies are converting progesterone into other hormones like cortisol, estrogen or testosterone.
It is deficient in practically EVERY female I test from 18 to 80. Whether you decide to use a topical progesterone cream or nutrient precursors, like zinc, vitamin C and vitamin B6, or herbs like chaste berry or wild yam, you owe it to your brain to make sure your progesterone is in place.
Progesterone is well recognized as the "feel good" hormone because we have 20 times more of it in the brain than in the bloodstream. As a natural anti-depressant and diuretic, it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, control mood swings and can prevent those whiskers on your chin.
If you do have an excess of facial hair, chances are you do not have enough progesterone. When your levels are raised, the facial hair can start to disappear. Without sufficient progesterone, the adrenal cortex can secrete the androgen hormone androstenedione as an alternative chemical precursor for the manufacture of progesterone. This steroid is associated with some male characteristics, one of which is male pattern baldness. But when your progesterone level is raised with natural progesterone cream, your androstenedione level will gradually decline and the excess facial hair will become finer and begin to disappear.
Progesterone also contributes to activating osteoblasts, the bone builders critical for a strong stature and graceful appearance.
Smart Tips: Progesterone
How do you build up your progesterone levels?
- Jump on the flax bandwagon. Whatever you do to modulate estrogen will have an equalizing effect on progesterone too.
- Think zinc! Eating zinc-rich foods like pumpkin seeds, pastured eggs, and grass-fed beef can help shore up progesterone levels while the vitamin B6 in non-gluten grains and beans and vitamin C in citrus, squash, tomatoes, and potatoes can also help.
- Avoid stress. Easier said than done, I know. Coping with stress successfully will negate the possibility that precious progesterone will be used to make stress-managing cortisol. That's why I don't leave home without my Bach Flower Rescue Remedy!
The sex hormone testosterone can be reset with more sexy Smart Fats:
- Saturated fats
- Monounsaturated fats
- Saw Palmetto Oil, Even though "low T" is generally thought of as a male issue, both men and women need the hormone of desire for many reasons. This potent sex regulator governs sex drive, bone mass, fat distribution, muscle size and strength, and red blood cell production. And it starts to drop by about two percent each year, beginning at age 30, for both sexes.
In men, low-T is characterized by erectile dysfunction, libido drop, hair loss, and weight gain. In women, flabby muscles, as well as low sex drive and even osteoporosis, can rear its ugly head. Regardless of gender, excess fat turns muscle-generating testosterone into estrogen, which only causes a nasty cycle of more fat to be stored, usually in your abdomen. Since overweight men are more likely to have low testosterone levels, it is crucial to increase hormone levels for maximum weight loss results.
Too Much Testosterone
Elevated testosterone may signal insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and/or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), so I suggest that you follow a well-balanced diet to keep blood sugar levels steady and allow passion to return to the bedroom. Traditional testosterone replacement therapy is laden with alarming side effects, which include prostate cancer, increased risk of stroke and heart attack, and liver toxicity. Thanks, but no thanks.
Smart Tips: Testosterone
Here is a better way to keep your testosterone levels at an even keel.
- Consume saturated and mono-unsaturated fats. Research shows that in order to have healthy testosterone levels, men need a diet of at least 40 percent fat, and saturated fats, as well as monounsaturated fats, are the best sources. Since I have already covered many of the benefits and sources of these Smart Fats in other articles, I am simply including a list of the best ones to boost testosterone levels: pastured butter and ghee, coconut and coconut oil, olives and olive oil, avocados and avocado oil, raw nuts such as almonds or pecans, grass-fed meats.
- Saw Palmetto Oil. Saw palmetto is a remarkable supplement best known to support prostate health, but it can also even out testosterone. As a thyroid balancer, it stimulates metabolism. And, it has been shown to both decrease estrogen and increase testosterone. Saw Palmetto is filled with beneficial fatty acids and contains chlorophyll, lutein, and lycopene. With this power charged supplement, you will receive the lipophilic benefits of oleic acid and lauric acid with beta-sitosterol as the base ingredient.
- Do note that excess progesterone (which is not the norm, but does occur) can be converted into testosterone. If you are using a topical bio-identical progesterone cream or taking herbs such as wild yam or chaste berry, you will need to temporarily discontinue use to bring your progesterone and testosterone levels into balance together.
- If levels are too high, drink spearmint tea. One to two cups a day should suffice.
- Testing, testing, testing. Consider a salivary hormone test to keep tabs on your T levels.
- Consume plenty of zinc if you have lower than normal T levels. This mineral is just as important for testosterone production as it is for progesterone. In studies, it has been shown that taking zinc supplementation for as little as six weeks will cause a great improvement in testosterone among men whose levels were previously low. Zinc, of course, is also crucial to proper immunity and reproductive health in both men and women.
What you need to know about zinc is, it is associated with both progesterone and testosterone as a precursor. Zinc is related to these hormones the way copper is connected to estrogen levels. In tissue mineral analysis, we like to see an eight-to-one ratio in favor of zinc.
Elevated copper levels and a zinc deficiency have been associated with hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, violence, and depression. Lack of zinc can also produce acne, eczema, sensitive skin, sunburn, headaches and white spots on the fingernails.
Enjoy plenty of these protein-packed foods to get more zinc in addition to the zinc-rich eggs, pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, oysters, lamb, kelp, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, raw cheese, poultry, seafood, beans, yogurt or kefir.
- Increase Your Vitamin D. This steroid hormone (yes, you read that right) increases levels of testosterone. According to one study, overweight men who were given vitamin D supplements for one year had a significant increase in testosterone levels.
The best way to optimize your vitamin D levels is to get a healthy amount of sun exposure. If getting out and playing in the sunlight is not an option, then vitamin D3 should be taken as a supplement. Research shows that you will need to take about 8,000 IUs of vitamin D per day in order to increase testosterone.
What’s the Next Step?
Now that you can better appreciate the way food and environmental toxins evoke a hormonal response, it’s time to maximize your weight loss results. In the upcoming articles, you will find some helpful tips and recipes for integrating Smart Fats, powerful proteins, friendly carbs, fiber-rich seeds, and Smart Sweeteners, Sips and Seasonings into your daily meals, or adapting your current regimen to the Eat Fat Lose Weight approach and philosophy.
All of this is designed to help you accomplish basic nurturing of your body for painless weight control and lasting hormonal balance. Give yourself permission to enjoy the full gamut of self-care, from stress relief to proper sleep and targeted exercise, as well as satisfying food. As my grandfather Aaron liked to say, “May you live and thrive ‘til 120—but only in the very best of health.”
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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS
Visionary health expert Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, has always been a trendsetter. With millions of followers nationwide, she has the uncanny ability to pinpoint major health concerns and provide solutions years ahead of anybody else.
Highly respected as the grande dame of alternative health and award-winning author of 30 books, she single-handedly launched the weight loss/detox revolution in her New York Times bestseller The Fat Flush Plan. A Connecticut College and Teachers College, Columbia University graduate, Dr. Ann Louise was recognized as one of the top ten nutritionists in the country by Self magazine and was the recipient of the American Medical Writers Association award for excellence. She has been a popular columnist for First magazine since 2003.