Vibrant Sexual Health for Ladies!

sexual health

I decided to broach this topic…. well because it’s a big topic, Half of all ladies live without optimal sexual function and reduced libido.  Truth is… at ANY age, a woman’s sexual function and her libido depend on having healthy “biochemical pathways”.

A woman’s loss of sexual vitality is related to a number of key issues, including below optimal levels of “sex hormones, i.e. estrogen, progesterone, testosterone”, neurotransmitters, and nitric oxide; and INCREASED levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and monoamine oxidase.

There are a couple of herbal remedies that go widely over-looked for assisting in this category.

  • Cordyceps:  Which is a fungus herb that also contains the larval remains from the caterpillar larva on which it grows.  Though like reishi and shiitake mushrooms it strengthens the immune system, and helps to build strength and endurance.  It’s fabulous for strengthening a sore back and dealing with issues like “sciatic”, wheezing, chronic cough, impotence and menopause.

The mushroom extract modulates the levels of sex hormones and promotes their downstream flow; boosts mitochondrial energy and sex interest by increasing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production;  supports vaginal lubrication and sexual function by promoting nitric oxide; and inhibits pro-inflammatory cytokines that can blow out the flame of sexual desire.  There have been some placebo-controlled studies, scientists have documented that Cordyceps improved sexual function and desire in 86% of ladies in just 40 days of use.

  • Maca:  Falls in the category of an adaptagen, it’s an extract of the plants root, It has the reputation as an aphrodisiac, strengthening sexual desire and performance in both the gents and the ladies.  It has also been called Peruvian ginseng, because it is an overall general tonic and adaptagen, helping to reduce stress and increase general health and energy.  a bonus is it helps with mental concentration too.

This herb has been cultivated for over 2,000 years, and the root extract has been shown to modulate levels and flow of sex hormones; support adrenal function; and promote libido and sexual pleasure by helping to optimize brain neurotransmitters and monoamine oxidase (MAO) levels.  Women who took Maca scored over 35% better than placebo subjects on a standard sexual function and libido scale after just 6 weeks!

MENOPAUSE RELIEF AND ENHANCED SEXUAL HEALTH

Menopausal transition is considered the most difficult time for ladies to remain sexually active.  In addition to struggling with hot flashes and fatigue, vaginal dryness and loss of sex drive, bone density loss, interrupted sleeping patterns, mood swings. another natural addition to assist the changes your body is rolling through is something called Natural Changes:  Which includes 5 different herbal and nutrient combinations in each packet.

Remember when the body exhibits symptoms that are out of the norm, at the heart of any of them are nutritional deficiencies and/or overloads, bringing balance nutritionally is what assists YOUR body to bring back inner harmony.

Incorporating other lifestyle changes as well is also paramount, like healthy eating by consuming a higher quota of fresh fruits & vegetables, reducing fried foods, high refined sugary foods, reducing caffeine intake as well as alcohol intake which can trigger hot flashes and contribute to emotional agitation.

Reduce your use of plastics with your foods, like water bottles, and anything oil based that is in plastic bottles, as this increases the entrance of “xenoestrogens” into the body causing an estrogen overload which emphasizes hotflashes, and can contribute to estrogen fed cancers.

Avoid products that contain Methy/poly parabens in your health & beauty products especially soaps, lotions and shampoos/conditioners. Nail polish and polish removers also add adverse chemical cocktails towards causing hormonal imbalance as well as bringing a heavy toxic load on the body.

Embarking on some form of daily exercise to keep bones strong, stimulate lymphatic system, and keep muscles firm all play their important role in keeping us ladies healthier as our body’s transition into this glorious zone!

Quit drinking soda’s especially DIET soda, the artificial sweeteners used in those actually do the opposite of why most folks drink them, thinking because they are called DIET, they won’t make them pack on the pounds! That couldn’t be further from the truth, those sugars actually pump up your fat cells, and they are considered to be “excite-neurotoxins”, they are not healthy for your nervous system, contribute to migraine headaches and the detox symptoms that many go through when taking them out of their daily routine can be brutal for some.

Healthfully yours,

Jodi Barnett N.D.

QFA Clinician, Orthomolecular Nutritionist,

Harvested Health LLC

All of the herbal products mentioned in this article can be obtained at http://www.harvestedhealth.mynsp.com

References:

  1. J Sex Med. 2010;7(4);1598-1607
  2. 2. J Alt Complement Med. 1998;4(3); 289-303
  3. 3. Menopause. 2008 Nov-Dec;12(6);1157-62
  4. 4. Phytother Res. 2011;doi:10,1002/ptr3597
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Why Can’t My Hormones Play Nice Together?

female hormones

There seems to be an almost epidemic of ladies who are suffering from hormonal imbalance.   PMS, to Endometriosis, Menopause seem to be plaguing ladies of all ages. These hormonal imbalances can also contribute to some of the female cancers too.

When you get a hormone panel done what are they looking for?
Estradio (E2): there needs to be a correct balance between estrogen and progesterone. It is one of the critical factors for maintaining hormonal health.  Estradiol is needed for proper function of progesterone receptors.  High estradiol levels may also compete with T3, a thyroid hormone at the T3 responsive gene sites and interfere with the tissue activity of T3 contributing to hypothyroidism.  High estradiol levels can also increase Thyroid Binding  Globulin levels, which bind up free T3 and T4 hormone, resulting in decreased tissue action of T3.  Having low estradiol levels post-menopause may be because of adrenal dysfunction since post-menopausal production of estradiol comes by conversion from the adrenal hormone DHEA.

Progesterone: enhances the sensitivty of estrogen receptors.  Even with normal E2 levels progesterone deficiency contributes to, or exacerbates, estrogen deficiency symptoms.

  • Estradiol & progesterone, put the two ratio levels together for an index of their balance.  IF there is an overload of estradiol, over progesterone, this can explain a whole bunch of symptoms in reproductive age ladies like endometrial hyperplasia, pre-menstrual syndrome, fibrocystic breasts, and uterine fibroids.  When estrogen supplements are prescribed without the balancing effects of progesterone, a deficiency in progesterone can result.  Some of the symptoms of estronge dominance include:
    weight gain in the hips and thighs
    fibrocystic & tender breasts
    uterine fibroids
    irritability
    water retention
    thyroid imbalance
  • Estrogen dominance can lead to cancers of the uterus and breasts and insulin resistance.  Low estradiol levels happening at the onset of menopause can trigger a host of symptoms including:
    hot flashes
    night sweats
    vaginal dryness
    sleep disturbances
    foggy thinking
    rapid skin aging and bone loss
    It is important to maintain proper levels of estradiol balanced with progesterone at any age for optimal hormonal health

What about “testosterone?  Unbalanced testosterone can lead to hormonal disrution whether levels are deficient or excessive.  If the testosterone is elevated:
ovarian cysts
polycystic ovarian syndrome
excessive facial hair
acne
oily skin and hair
These symptoms are usually an indicator that you may be rocking elevated testosterone levels.
Low testosterone can be brought on by excessive stress, certain medications, contraceptives, and surgical removal of ovaries.  Some of the symptoms of testosterone deficiency include:
low sex drive
thinning skin
vaginal dryness
bone loss (osteoporosis)
loss of muscle tone
depression
memory issues
What is the Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)?  It is a protein produced by the liver when exposed to any type of estrogen.  This exposure can include estrogen produces naturally by the body or consumed as a synthetic like oral contraceptive estrogen, estrogen therapy, or as foods , also referred to as xenoestrogens.  The Sex Hormone Binding Globulin binds tightly to circulating estradiol and testosterone.  This prevents rapid metabolism and clearance and limits their bioavailability to tissues.  SHBG gives a good index of the extent of the body’s overall exposure to estrogens.
DHEA sulphate is produced by the adrenal glands and generally reflects the adrenal gland function.  DHEA is usually present in larger amounts than all the other steroid hormones as it is the precursor for estrogen and testosterone production. DHEA levels peak in late teens to early 20’s and then naturally decline as we age.  Cortisol and DHEA have opposite effects on immune function and insulin regulation.  When cortisol levels are increased, more DHEA is required to be released to balance the effects of elevated cortisol.  Thus, chronically elevated cortisol levels can result in a lack of DHEA.  Low DHEA can bring out a decrease in sex drive and feeling sluggish, where as high DHEA can have a masculinizing effect because it metabolizes into testosterone.
Low DHEA levels can be connected:
hypothyroidism
lupus
rheumatoid arthritis
Cortisol levels portray overall adrenal function and indicate exposure to stressors.  Healthy adrenal cortisol production is highest early in the morning, soon after waking and then falls to lower levels at mid-day and continues to decrease into the evening.  Low cortisol levels can indicate adrenal fatigue (meaning your ability to respond to stress is reduced), it can leave the body more vulnerable to poor blood sugar regulation and immune system weakness.  Chronically high cortisol is a result of constant exposure to stressors, and can pose a serious long-term effect on the quality of one’s health including:
higher cancer risk
osteoporosis
Alzheimer’s disease
Elevated cortisol levels can also interfere with the action of progesterone and testosterone at gene regulatory sites.  Which long story short, can lead to estrogen dominance.  Excess cortisol can cause significant bone loss, depression, exhaustion, muscle wasting, brain fog, impaired thyroid function.
When you go for a Female Hormone panel these are the elements they will be checking for.  Saliva testing is one of the most accurate as far as I am concerned professionally.  Contact me and I can put you in touch with a lab that offers this form of testing, or check with your OBGYN and see if they work with a lab that offers Saliva testing, it will also fall under the label of bioidentical hormone testing.

Realizing these hormones need to be in balance is important.  So ladies, reading stuff that are marketed for female hormone disorders and taking “ONE” thing, i.e. hot flashes, means you are not dealing with the issue, just trying to get rid of the hotflashes isn’t going to fix the imbalance, there is a nutritional deficiency going on and you need to address the whole picture not just one sentence on the proverbial page. Rather than feel like you are spitting in the wind, put the whole sequence back into balance.

Hormones are chemical messengers in the body, they have to work together in tandem.  If one is trying to over-power the other you will exhibit unpleasant symptoms.

If any of the symptoms I’ve shared describes what you may be dealing with, and if you’d like to approach this from a nutritional/natural perspective, I’d be honored to work with you.  You can go to http://www.mkt.com/harvested-health-llc and sign up for a 1 hr. consult which can be done in my office, or via e-mail consultation, or phone consultation.  If you are local and want an in office consultation we can also do a QFA Analysis where we work with your (urine & saliva) to paint a clearer picture of what is going on nutritionally to achieve better balance.

Hope this was able to shed some light.
Healthfully yours,
Jodi Barnett N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathy)
QFA Clinician, Orthomolecular Nutritionist

Harvested Health LLC

http://www.harvestedhealth.mynsp.com (high quality whole food herbs/supplements)

http://www.facebook.com/harvestedhealth

 

 


The Battle of PMS, Menstrual Hell, and Menopause.

pms

Over the years, I have gone out of my way to study and read as much as time would allow on this varied topic of Health & Disease,  kind of like which came first the chicken or the egg.  I find that so many folks don’t seem to appreciate feeling healthy until they have struggled with some sort of illness or disease.  Instead of making “health” and “healthy lifestyle” the 1st priority.

When I ran across Dr. Bieler’s book” Food is Your Best Medicine”, it just solidified what I already knew and believed in my own heart.  Dr. Bieler states that the body has 3 lines of defense against sickness.  PMS symptoms, menstrual problems and menopausal symptoms are signs that all t3 lines of defense have become stressed, which means that all 3 have to be repaired before health can be rebuilt.

1ST LINE OF DEFENSE:

We start with the gastrointestinal tract. The job of the gastrointestinal tract is to digest the food that gets consumed and it has to prepare the nutrients for absorption and use in the body.  It also blocks the damaging substances from being absorbed when its working as it should.

Unfortunately, since childhood, most of us have been fid foods that are highly irritating or out digestive system.  These foods cause the lining of the intestines to become irritated or inflamed.  This not only causes poor digestion and absorption, it also inhibits movement in the gastro tract, which then causes waste to be retained too long.  Most of us ignore this part but “constipation” is a real bad guy when it comes to our health.

When there is intestinal inflammation happening, this allows irritating substances to enter the bloodstream that normally would be barred, so by passing this first line of defense the body now activates defense system #2, which is the liver.  The liver has to filter the blood coming from the intestines.  When the liver also becomes over worked and under paid, it is unable to act as a proper filter.  When this occurs this affects the body as a “whole”.

This triggers defense line #3 which is the endocrine system.  By altering hormonal production, the endocrine system stimulates certain tissues to become avenues of elimination.  This hormonal response is the origin of PMS symptoms.  In PMS, the uterus is used as an organ of elimination for toxins that need to be removed from the blood.  According to Dr. Bieler, this is the cause of ALL the symptoms of PMS.

PMS and MENOPAUSE:

What does PMS look like for those who may have never experienced it?  Cramps, bloating and water retention, headache, irritability, emotional tend to run like a rollercoaster, painful breasts.  All these symptoms are the result of accumulating toxins in the pelvic region prior to menses.  Edema is created by the inability of the kidneys to handle the dump of toxins being sent for removal. Pain and headaches are due to the irritating effects these have in the body.  Finally, heavy menstrual flow, which results in weakness, anxiety and anemia, is caused by the body trying to toss out as much garbage as possible during your monthly cycle.  The body will use whatever door appears to be opening for trash removal and each month that now becomes your uterus.

Thus, all PMS symptoms are related to a breakdown of the 1st two lines of defense and a general toxicity of the blood.  So over time, these same toxins irritate the female organs sufficiently to cause cysts, fibroids and other chronic reproductive issues.

Taking this same explanation and now applying it to menopause symptoms we can better understand that when the monthly period stops, the body loses this “extra Channel” of elimination. At that point, the toxic condition of the body now taxes the adrenal glands, this creates the “Hot-flashes”and other menopausal symptoms. So by turning up the inner thermostat the body is trying to “cook” the bad guy to render him harmless.

Dr. Bieler’s model makes sense to me, especially in the light of my own observations over the years.  For example, I have notices that women who have a biliary eye patter (in iridology) tend to have some of the worst problems with PMS.  The biliary eye pattern is a sign of a genetic tendency to poor digestion and liver toxicity.

So what is next?  Might I suggest some Chinese Herbal Formulas for PMS:

This is why the Chinese herbal formulas that deal with the “wood” element are often helpful for ladies with PMS.  Chinese Liver Balance : aids the detox process of the liver and colon, especially when used in the Tiao He Cleanse Kit.  You will find these particularly helpful when your PMS involves irritability, bouts of anger and anxiety.

When there is anemia and heavy blood loss, Chinese Blood Stimulator can be very helpful.  Many of the herbs in this formulation are standard in Chinese herbal formulas designed to help ladies have healthy periods throughout their childbearing years.

Finally, Chinese Mood Elevator assists when one may find themselves struggling with sad, heavy feelings and even monthly depression accompanied by their cycle.  This formula is very supportive of the liver and gastrointestinal tract.

When it comes to menopause, these above formulas can also be helpful, however, I personally lean and rely on the Natural Changes kit

  •  Supports the female glandular system.
    Helps the mature female body balance hormones.
    Strengthens the body by providing nutrients for the structural system.
    Aids the body under stress.

One needs to also be willing to start removing all the lifestyle elements that are contributing to false hormone collection within the body causing an estrogen overload.  Plastics, chemicals, cleaning products, perfumes, laundry products all can contribute to xenoestrogen overload which minics estrogen in the body.  I will do another post specifically around what these endocrine disruptors are.  But for now I do hope the information I have shared can begin to point you in a direction that you can begin to support your body to start to achieve some balance and relief.

Please follow my blog so you can be notified when I post new articles in the future and I encourage you to remember that “Sharing is Caring”, so if you know of someone who would benefit from any posts I put together, feel free to share the links and articles with them.

Healthfully yours,

Jodi Barnett N.D.

Harvested Health LLC.