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Five Evidence-Based Ways to Boost Testosterone

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Posted on: Friday, December 27th 2019 at 3:15 pm

Low levels of testosterone can come with glaring symptoms such as erectile dysfunction and reduced bone mass. Before opting for hormone replacement therapy and facing the risk of serious side effects, here are five science-backed ways to optimize your testosterone levels naturally

In the face of aging and the treatment’s increasing popularity, many men around the world immediately opt for testosterone replacement therapy. While significant results may manifest in no time, there can be serious consequences down the road, particularly if the underlying cause of low testosterone isn’t addressed properly. Here are five things that you can explore for a natural testosterone boost:

1. Zinc

deficiency in zinc, an essential dietary mineral, has long been associated with testicular suppression, including suppression of testosterone levels. A 1996 study found a significant reduction in the blood testosterone of healthy young men after 20 weeks of zinc restriction.[i] It also revealed that six-month zinc supplementation in marginally deficient elderly men translated to a testosterone boost.

While research demonstrates that poor zinc levels in the diet can adversely affect testicular function, it is a reversible process and can be corrected via proper supplementation.[ii]

The exact mechanism behind how zinc deficiency exactly affects testosterone levels is yet to be fully understood, but the mineral may affect the cells in the testes that produce testosterone.[iii] Zinc helps your immune system function properly, plays a role in cell division and helps enzymes break down nutrients.

2. Magnesium

Studies have shown that magnesium intake affects testosterone and total insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).[iv] The age-related decline in these anabolic hormones is deemed a strong predictor of metabolic syndrome and diabetes, as well as mortality in elderly men.

One proposed mechanism behind this mineral’s testosterone-enhancing role is its ability to inhibit the binding of testosterone to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), resulting in an enhancement of bioavailable testosterone.[v]

3. Weight Management

Weight gain and related chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, have been strongly tied to a reduction in testosterone, especially in middle-aged and elderly men.[vi],[vii] Here’s how it works: as you gain weight as fat, your testosterone production drops. However, this can be reversed through weight loss via adjustments in diet and lifestyle.

4. Vitamin D

A dose of sunshine can be a handy solution to low testosterone levels, with studies vouching for vitamin D‘s impact on regulating testosterone levels.[viii] Ideally, you would be able to get all the vitamin D your body needs through optimal sun exposure. This, however, may not be the case for those who live far from the equator, are dark skinned or spend most of their time indoors. Here’s GreenMedInfo.health’s review and recommendations for vitamin D.

5. Adequate Quality Sleep

One of the insidious effects of regular lack of high-quality sleep is decreased testosterone production. A 2013 study probed the effects of 33 hours of sleep loss on endocrine function as well as reactive aggression in 24 young men and 25 women, and found that sleep deprivation lowered testosterone in the male subjects.[ix]

There’s a double whammy here, as sleeplessness also facilitates fat gain, which, as mentioned earlier, is linked  to impaired testosterone production.[x]

Scientific findings are quick to show that correcting a mineral or nutrient deficiency or insufficiency may raise low testosterone levels. For further information, check out the GreenMedInfo.com testosterone database to better learn how to increase testosterone naturally.


References

[i] Nutrition. 1996 May;12(5):344-8.

[ii] J Lab Clin Med. 1980 Sep;96(3):544-50.

[iii] J Nutr. 2011 Mar; 141(3): 359-365.

[iv] Int J Androl. 2011 Dec;34(6 Pt 2):e594-600. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2011.01193.x. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

[v] J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2009 Feb 20;49(2):175-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2008.10.041. Epub 2008 Nov 5.

[vi] J Clin Endocrinol Metab.  2011 Aug;96(8):2341-53. Epub 2011 Jun 6.

[vii] J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Apr;95(4):1810-8. Epub 2010 Feb 19.

[viii] Horm Metab Res. 2011 Mar;43(3):223-5. Epub 2010 Dec 10.

[ix] Psychol. 2013 Feb;92(2):249-56. Epub 2012 Oct 6.

[x] Ann Intern Med. 2010 Oct 5;153(7):435-41. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-153-7-201010050-00006.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

300+ Evidence-Based Longevity Promoting Natural Substances

© 16th January 2020 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
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Posted on: Thursday, January 16th 2020 at 1:15 pm

Written By: GreenMedInfo Research Group

This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2020

Research has concluded that a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory natural substances can increase longevity and improve the aging process by reducing the risk of age-related diseases

As you age, you may feel increased pressure to reduce the effects of aging through topical creams or pharmaceutical drugs. However, researchers have concluded that the dietary intake of several natural substances can successfully promote longevity.

You aren’t a victim to the passage of time — it’s possible to improve your health and longevity through daily activity and dietary interventions. This meme humorously illustrates your ability to mediate your body’s natural changes using diet and exercise:

Old Women

13 Substances for Healthier Aging

How you age is largely a matter of choice. Here are 13 top natural substances proven to promote healthier aging and longevity and get you feeling your best, and keep reading for a link to hundreds more:

1. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative stress. Vitamin E supplementation is proven to reduce the rate of cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, arthritis, cancer and other age-related illnesses.[i],[ii]

Further research has uncovered additional benefits of vitamin E unrelated to its high antioxidant content and determined that vitamin E may play a role in the therapy and prevention of age-related cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.[iii]

2. Green Tea

Green tea, which originated in China, is extremely high in antioxidants and is well-known for its anti-aging properties. The phytochemicals in green tea are highly reactive, making it a potent neutralizer of free radicals.[iv]

Results from several studies suggest that green tea delays the process of collagen-aging, the fibrous protein that keeps skin looking young by reducing the formation of wrinkles and decreasing skin pentosidine levels.[v]

3. Zinc

Zinc, a powerful micronutrient found in shellfish, dark chocolate and meat, is commonly known as a natural remedy to reduce the duration of the cold and flu.

Zinc works to regulate the immune system and reinforce antioxidant performance, and zinc deficiency in older adults can lead to increased susceptibility to infections and a higher risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Zinc deficiency has also been linked to depression, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.[vi]

4. Melatonin

Your skin is your largest organ, and as you age, it reflects the damages from air pollution, excess ultraviolet (UV) light exposure and smoke. Over time, these pollutants cause oxidative damage and provoke the skin to wrinkle, sag and become rough. Melatonin, a radical scavenger produced in the skin, protects cells from oxidative damage but gradually decreases as the body ages.[vii]

To counteract this decrease, melatonin-infused topical creams can improve skin tonicity and hydration levels, improving the skin’s appearance.[viii] Eggs, fish, and nuts contain large amounts of melatonin, which also boasts anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and neuroprotective properties, making it a potent anti-aging substance.[ix]

5. Curcumin

Low-grade inflammatory processes are believed to contribute to the aging process, and the anti-inflammatory benefits of curcumin could be the anti-aging remedy researchers are searching for.[x]

Curcumin, the yellow compound found in turmeric root, has been extensively studied as a potential anti-aging substance, but its main drawback is lack of bioavailability.[xi] To harness the anti-aging benefits of curcumin, look for supplements that also contain black pepper, which is known to improve the absorption rate of curcumin [xii]

6. Vitamin C

Healthy, young-looking skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C, and many manufacturers tout the addition of vitamin C to topical formulations as a way to improve skin’s appearance and counteract skin aging.[xiii]

While there is some evidence that topical application is successful, dietary intake of vitamin C is just as important, if not more so, for inhibiting wrinkles and preventing collagen loss in skin cells.[xiv],[xv] For effective topical application, look for serums or creams that contain both vitamin C and vitamin E.[xvi]

7. Magnesium

Magnesium, the fourth most prevalent mineral in the human body, has been extensively studied for its anti-aging properties. Magnesium supplementation can decrease the prevalence of multiple sclerosis in older adults and increases physical performance in healthy elderly patients.[xvii]

Magnesium also plays a role in the prevention of age-related diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.[xviii] Older adults wishing to reap these benefits should eat a diet of food rich in magnesium, including green vegetables, avocados, nuts and seeds..

8. Olive Oil

Olive oil consumption, especially within the context of the Mediterranean diet, has been extensively studied for its potential prevention of cardiovascular disease and antioxidant properties.[xix] Oxidative stress is believed to correlate with cognitive decline, a precursor for dementia in the elderly, and the high antioxidant content of extra virgin olive oil has been shown to improve cognitive function in older populations.[xx]

9. Acai

Acai, a reddish-purple berry native to South America, has long been touted for its potent antioxidant properties.[xxi] However, recent studies indicate that acai may also exhibit cardiovascular, antidiabetic, antiobesity and metabolic effects, making acai berries and supplements potential longevity-promoting substances.[xxii]

10. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The benefits of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and dietary intake are well known. In one study, researchers measured the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and the rate of telomere shortening, concluding that there is an inverse relationship between baseline levels of omega-3s and the rate of telomere shortening.[xxiii]

Telomeres, located at the end of chromosomes, limit the proliferation of cells and can suppress the regeneration of organs during aging, as well as increase the risk of cancer as they shorten.[xxiv] For this reason, increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids could increase longevity, especially in older adults with coronary heart disease.[xxv]

11. Ginseng

Both red and American ginseng varieties have been studied for their potential anti-aging properties, and research indicates that consumption of American and red ginseng may reduce age-associated oxidative stress and correct amino-acid metabolic disorders.[xxvi],[xxvii] Additional studies concluded that red or black ginseng may decrease cognitive deficits related to aging.[xxviii]

12. Flaxseed

Flaxseeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, both of which have numerous longevity-promoting benefits. Consumption of dietary flaxseed is linked to a decrease in cardiovascular disease and cancer risk, as well as improved cognitive function.[xxix]

However, flaxseed is not very bioavailable in seed form and needs to be milled to increase bioavailability. Since crushing or milling the seeds can cause oxidation, it’s best to wait to grind seeds until right before consumption.[xxx] To further extend the shelf life of flaxseed, store flaxseed in a cool dark place until ready to grind and consume.

13. Dark Chocolate

The antioxidant benefits of dark chocolate are well studied, but researchers have also determined that chocolate consumption is associated with better psychological health and increased optimism in older adults.[xxxi]

Furthermore, recent studies have found a correlation between chocolate consumption and longer telomere length, which is thought to inhibit the incidence of cardiovascular and infectious diseases.[xxxii],[xxxiii] To incorporate healthy chocolate into your diet, look for dark chocolate products that are organic and ethically sourced and avoid excess sugar and filler ingredients, as well as milk chocolate or white chocolate.

300 More Natural Substances That Promote Longevity

Aging is inevitable, but research backs these 13 substances as natural and effective ways to increase longevity and mediate the aging process. For a wider dataset on these and other anti-aging remedies, visit the GreenMedInfo.com Aging Research Dashboard, where we’ve compiled over 750 studies related to more than 300 longevity-promoting natural substances, including:

Resveratol

Melatonin

Soy

Ginkgo biloba

Aloe vera

Bacopa

Grape seed extract

Lutein

Horse chestnut

Fish extract

Black tea

Anthocyanins

Apples

Cocoa

Fennel

Rose

Artichokes

Amla fruit

Reishi mushroom

Blueberry

Walnut


References

[i] Antioxidants (Basel). 2018 Mar; 7(3): 44

[ii] Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2014 May; 14(2): e157-e165.

[iii] Biofactors. 2012 Mar-Apr;38(2):90-7.

[iv] J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005 Jun;52(6):1049-59.

[v] Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2003 Nov; 73(6): 453-460.

[vi] Pathobiol Aging Age Relat Dis. 2015; 5: 10.3402/pba.v5.25592

[vii] J Drugs Dermatol. 2018 Sep 1;17(9):966-969.

[viii] Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2018; 11: 51-57.

[ix] Nutrients. 2017 Apr; 9(4): 367.

[x] Curr Pharm Des. 2010;16(7):884-92

[xi] Immun Ageing. 2010; 7: 1.

[xii] Cancer Res Treat. 2014 Jan; 46(1): 2-18.

[xiii] Nutrients. 2017 Aug; 9(8): 866.

[xiv] Food Sci Biotechnol. 2018 Apr; 27(2): 555-564.

[xv] Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2015; 8: 463-470.

[xvi] Nutrients. 2017 Aug; 9(8): 866.

[xvii] Eur J Nutr. 2008 Jun;47(4):210-6.

[xviii] Int J Endocrinol. 2018; 2018: 9041694

[xix] Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2018;18(1):4-13.

[xx] JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Jul;175(7):1094-1103.

[xxi] J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Nov 1;54(22):8604-10.

[xxii] J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2016 Jul;68(1):19-26

[xxiii] JAMA. 2010 Jan 20;303(3):250-7.

[xxiv] Jiang, H., Ju, Z. & Rudolph, K.L. Z Gerontol Geriat. (2007) 40: 314.

[xxv] JAMA. 2010 Jan 20;303(3):250-7.

[xxvi] Phytochem Anal. 2018 Jul;29(4):387-397

[xxvii] J Nutr. 2003 Nov;133(11):3603-9.

[xxviii] Food Sci Biotechnol. 2017 Oct 16;26(6):1743-1747

[xxix] Nutrients. 2019 May; 11(5): 1171.

[xxx] Nutrients. 2019 May; 11(5): 1171.

[xxxi] Eur J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;62(2):247-53. Epub 2007 Feb 28.

[xxxii] Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2012 Jun 8.

[xxxiii] Pediatr Res. 2019 Oct 1

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

‘Sunshine Vitamin’ Regenerates and Detoxifies Your Hormones

© 17th December 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
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Posted on: Tuesday, December 17th 2019 at 10:00 am
Written By: Sayer Ji, Founder
This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2019

Sunshine Vitamin Regenerates and Detoxifies Your Hormones

Sometimes called the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because it is found in high levels in citrus fruits, vitamin C has a uniquely regenerative role in hormone health and cancer prevention that has been overlooked for over twenty years!

Truly groundbreaking research on the regenerative potential of vitamin C therapy for hormone health as well as cancer prevention was performed over twenty years ago, and yet still today it has received little to no attention.

Published in 1993 in the journal Radiation Physics and Chemistry and titled, “Photo-induced regeneration of hormones by electron transfer processes: Potential biological and medical consequences,” Austrian researchers explored the role that vitamin C plays in preventing the degradation of steroid hormones into toxic and cancer-promoting metabolites known as “hormone transients.”  Their stated goal was “to investigate if hormone transients resulting by e.g. electron emission can be regenerated.”

The molecular structure of progesterone, estrone (a form of estrogen) and testosterone is such that when exposed to differing biological and/or environmental conditions, e.g. UV light, pH, temperature, they lose electrons, becoming toxic and often carcinogenic metabolites that represent a burden on the body’s eliminative capabilities. Vitamin C is a well-known electron donor, which is to say a substance that donates electrons to another compound (i.e. a ‘reducing agent’). Vitamin C’s ability to donate electrons can have an antioxidant effect as far as neutralizing free radicals, or as is the case with transient hormone metabolites, a structurally regenerative one.

The study’s design and results were summarized as follows:

“Investigations were performed using progesterone (PRG), testosterone (TES) and estrone (E1) as representatives of hormones. By irradiation with monochromatic UV light (λ=254 nm) in a media of 40% water and 60% ethanol, the degradation as well as the regeneration of the hormones was studied with each hormone individually and in the mixture with VitC as a function of the absorbed UV dose, using HPLC. Calculated from the obtained initial yields, the determined regeneration of PRG amounted to 52.7%, for TES to 58.6% and for E1 to 90.9%.”

Remarkably, vitamin C was capable of almost complete regeneration of estrone and quite significant regeneration of both progesterone (52.7%) and testosterone (58.6%).

These experimental results have profound implications if they prove to carry over to human physiology. For instance, vitamin C may offer an alternative (or at least adjuvant and/or ‘drug sparing’ effect) to hormone replacement therapy, which suffers from the problem of ‘feeding the deficiency,’ i.e. negative feedback loops operative within our endocrine system can result in the down-regulation of endogenous steroid hormone production when exogenous forms are supplied.

The researchers noted that this was (at the time) the first scientific evidence proving:

“[H]ormone transients originating by the electron emission process can be successfully regenerated by the transfer of electrons from a potent electron donor, such as vitamin C (VitC).”

While a preliminary study, the researchers identified two possible implications of their research to human medicine:

  • Cancer Prevention/Treatment: “The regeneration of hormones by electron transfer process using a potent electron donor, such as VitC, might offer a new pathway for an efficient reduction in the formation of metabolites, also such initiating cancer among others.”
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy: “The reported results concerning the ability of VitC to act as electron donor in the regeneration of hormone transients might also be of benefit in the clinical application of hormones (e.g. contraceptive, HRT).”

Vitamin C, of course, is exceptionally safe at high doses and has hundreds of proven health benefits (view our Vitamin C health benefit database), whereas conventional chemopreventive agents for cancer, e.g. Tamoxifen, and hormone replacement therapy using animal derived and/or synthetic hormone analogs, cause a wide range of adverse health effects, including at times increased mortality.

For additional related research you can read two previous on vitamin C’s role in cancer treatment in intravenous form and vitamin C rich foods like pomegranate as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy.

Originally published: 2018-08-20

Article updated: 2019-12-17

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Black Cohosh Better Than Prozac for Menopause

© 27th November 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
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Posted on: Wednesday, November 27th 2019 at 4:45 pm

Do you feel fear or worry regarding the onset of menopause, either for yourself or someone you love? Antidepressants and hormone treatments may be the popular prescriptions, but before you take medications with serious risks, learn about the incredible results of black cohosh for those pesky, sweaty, hot flashy nights

Even in the modern day, there are abundant myths and mysteries surrounding menopause, the period in a woman’s life that occurs 12 months after her last menstrual cycle.[1] Perimenopause, the transition period before menopause, is marked by hormonal changes leading to the cessation of menses.[2]

Both phases, hereafter collectively referred to as menopause, are characterized by physical and psycho-social changes that lend to the stories surrounding women’s behaviors, thoughts, and feelings during this time of transition.

Menopause can range from a few months to several years in duration and is spurred by decreased estrogen production in the ovaries. These hormonal shifts can have associated and, at times, unpleasant side-effects, which may be managed through holistic or pharmacological interventions, or a combination of the two modalities.

Historically, some have prescribed to the belief that “the change” brings about an unwelcome and inevitable reality, both for women and the men in their lives. Is it any wonder that the “fix” has become to prescribe mood-altering drugs, or to attempt to “put back” the hormones that the passage of time is depleting? In truth, this natural cessation of fertility need not be synonymous with a distressing or unpleasant experience.

Antidepressants are widely prescribed for menopause symptoms ranging from depression and low libido, to anxiety and social isolation. Instead of directly addressing the emotional aspects of aging, empty-nesting, and our physiological need for strong social bonds, modern medical dogma is to simply prescribe a “magic pill” in hopes that these uncomfortable feelings will disappear.

Beyond the emotional and psychological impacts, vasomotor symptoms are commonly experienced during perimenopause up to full menopause. Changes in body temperature such as flushing and night sweats are frequently reported, and the condition known as “hot flashes” can onset. According to a 2008 study,[3] nearly 80% of peri- and postmenopausal women reported experiencing some or all of these symptoms.

Medicating Menopause: A Risky Prescription

A popular treatment administered to menopausal women in the U.S. is ERT, or estrogen replacement therapy. While it may seem natural to replace fading endogenous hormones with an exogenous supply,  warning bell has been sounded regarding potentially harmful side effects.[4] ERT has been linked to cancercardiovascular disease and stroke, among other concerning outcomes.[5]

Another prescribed treatment for vasomotor symptoms is gabapentin, known by the brand name Neurontin, an anti-seizure drug used to treat nerve pain and conditions such as restless leg syndrome. Also prescribed for anxiety, gabapentin has a high potential for addiction and misuse,[6] and can have undesirable side effects such as slurred speech, blurred vision and impaired motor function.[7] Even worse, Neurontin has been linked to cases of suicidal ideation[8] and respiratory failure,[9] among other serious side effects.[10]

Another option frequently prescribed are the broad spectrum of mood-altering and antidepressant drugs. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SSRIs, and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, SNRIs are often the first course of treatment when a menopausal patient complains of depression, lethargy, or hormonal issues.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women are 2.5 times more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant than men.[11] Nearly 23% of woman ages 40 to 59 are taking antidepressant medication in the U.S., more than any other age-sex group.[12]

Validated by Science: Natural Options for Hormonal Balance

While natural options for managing menopause may not be routinely prescribed by allopathic physicians, science has validated that black cohosh is a viable treatment for several discomforting symptoms of this life-changing transition.

This double-blind placebo-controlled study, found that black cohosh (scientific name: Cimicifuga Racemosa) was “equipotent” to mixed-estrogen drugs for relief from vasomotor symptoms, and for improving markers of bone metabolism, a factor related to osteoporosis.

What’s not equal when comparing most plant medicines to pharmaceuticals are potential adverse effects. Premarin®, a popular mixed-estrogen drug, has a warning label that cites increased risks of heart attack, cancer, blood clots and stroke,[13] while studies involving a 12-month course of treatment with black cohosh root (the part of the plant used in herbal formulations) show it was administered with no known adverse effects.[14]

Another impressive study pitting black cohosh against a popular prescription involves Prozac® for treatment of postmenopausal symptoms. The 2007 study, published in Advances in Therapy, compared questionnaires from 120 healthy women with menopausal symptoms who rated such factors as quality of life, depression scores, and frequency and severity of vasomotor symptoms like flushing and night sweats.[15]

Women in this study were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups, with one group receiving fluoxetine (generic form of Prozac®) and the other group receiving black cohosh. The women were surveyed before, during and after the study, for a period of six months. They kept daily diaries recording the number and intensity of hot flashes and night sweats, as well as completing several standardized questionnaires.

Results of this study showed that black cohosh reduced overall scores for hot flushes and night sweats better than Prozac®. At the end of the sixth month of treatment, black cohosh reduced the hot flush score by 85%, compared with a 62% result for fluoxetine.

By the study’s end, 40 women taking the prescription drug had discontinued the study, while only 20 women in the black cohosh group discontinued, potentially speaking to benefits gained from long-term use of herbs, the reverse of which is true for many pharmaceutical drugs, which are contraindicated for longer periods of use.

Managing Change Gracefully

Placebo effect dictates that the beliefs we hold about our health and treatment options have significant impact on our experiences. Be aware of any negative beliefs you might hold about menopause; despite popular opinions and superstitions,[1] there is no mandate that this phase of life must be a difficult one.

With improved psycho-social awareness of the stressors women experience mid-life, and better understanding of naturally effective treatment options, we can begin to view menopause as a celebration of life rather than the death of fertility. It’s the dawning of a new cycle, a time ripe for giving of your experience and wisdom. Protect your vitality with naturally effective plant medicine and enjoy all the seasons of your life.

To learn more about black cohosh and other natural treatment options for menopause, explore the 79 abstracts and 38 natural substances that are compiled on GreenMedInfo’s Research Database.


References

[1] Menopause and Hormone Replacement February 25, 2015 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279050/

[2] The North American Menopause Society, Menopause 101 https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments/menopause-101-a-primer-for-the-perimenopausal

[3] Frequency and severity of vasomotor symptoms among peri- and postmenopausal women in the United States. Williams RE, Kalilani L, DiBenedetti DB, Zhou X, Granger AL, Fehnel SE, Levine KB, Jordan J, Clark RV. Climacteric. 2008 Feb; 11(1):32-43. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18202963/

[4] Project Aware https://www.project-aware.org/Managing/Hrt/benefits-risks.shtml

[5] Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1995 Sep;173(3 Pt 2):982-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7573295

[6] J Exp Pharmacol. 2017; 9: 13-21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5308580/

[7] Toxnet, Gabapentin https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+7364

[8] Pregabalin-induced self-harm behavior. Tandon VR, Mahajan V, Gillani ZH, Mahajan A. Indian J Pharmacol. 2013 Nov-Dec; 45(6):638-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24347781/

[9] Recurrent hypoventilation and respiratory failure during gabapentin therapy. Batoon SB, Vela AT, Dave D, Wahid Z, Conetta R, Iakovou C, Banzuela M. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2001 Apr; 49(4):498. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11347805/

[10] Pfizer, Neurontin https://www.pfizermedicalinformation.com/en-us/neurontin/adverse-reactions

[11] U.S. CDC, NCHS Data Brief No. 76, October 2011 https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db76.htm

[12] U.S. CDC, NCHS Data Brief No. 76, October 2011 https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db76.htm

[13] Pfizer, Premarin https://www.pfizermedicalinformation.com/en-us/patient/premarin

[14] National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Black Cohosh https://nccih.nih.gov/health/blackcohosh/ataglance.htm

[15] Adv Ther. 2007 Mar-Apr;24(2):448-61.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17565936

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Do Synthetic Thyroid Hormones Work?

© 19th November 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC.
This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC.
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Sign up for the newsletter here:
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Reproduced from original article:
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Posted on: Tuesday, November 19th 2019 at 11:45 am
Written By: Kelly Brogan, M.D.

Originally published on www.kellybroganmd.com
If you walk into a doctor’s office and tell a conventional doctor that you’re depressedgaining weightfatigued, having trouble concentrating, cold, and constipated, chances are that the doctor would tell you that it’s depression, aging, or just stress, and that’s why you’re feeling the way you do. They might prescribe you some medication and off you go.

But one thing that the doctor might fail to realize is that those very symptoms of depression also double as symptoms of a commonly underdiagnosed condition–namely hypothyroidism. An underperforming thyroid (hypothyroidism) is one of the most underdiagnosed conditions in America, yet it’s incredibly common–especially in women. Over 20% of all women have a “lazy” thyroid but only half of those women gets diagnosed. Science has known about the relationship between a dysfunctional thyroid and symptoms of depression for a long time.1 2 Depression often occurs concurrently with changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis, which is a hormonal feedback control loop that regulates metabolism.3

So exactly how many patients are told they have depression when it’s really a thyroid problem?   A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Psychiatry is shedding a bit of new light onto that very question.

New Insight into Subclinical Hypothyroidism

In a 2019 study, researchers from several Malaysian universities used a meta-analysis technique to evaluate the association between subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) and depression amongst 12,315 individuals, hoping to further clarify the prevalence of depression in SCH and the effect of levothyroxine therapy, the most common synthetic thyroid hormone drug that is sold under the brand names of Synthroid, Tirosint, Levoxyl, Unithroid, and Levo-T.4

Though the relationship between depression and hypothyroidism has been evident to scientific research since around 200 years ago, the association between depression and hypothyroidism‘s sneakier and more subtle cousin, subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) has historically been more controversial. Subclinical hypothyroidism is an early, mild form of hypothyroidism where free hormones are low, but TSH is normal, a condition in which the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones.5 It’s estimated that a whole 3-8% of the general population (usually more women than men) is affected by SCH.6

In the study results, which the researchers found by compiling the data of many other studies, researchers found that:

Patients with SCH had higher risk of depression than patients with normal thyroid function controls, which means that patients with SCH were more likely to have depressive symptoms.

In individuals with SCH and depression, levothyroxine therapy didn’t help improve their depression or symptoms.

What does that mean? The researchers found that thyroid imbalance seems to be a driver of depression–and that trying to replacing those missing hormones with the most commonly prescribed synthetic T4 hormone, levothyroxine, doesn’t actually help alleviate depressive symptoms.7

This is an interesting finding because around 20 million Americans, mostly women, have some type of thyroid problem and are prescribed synthetic thyroid hormones such as Synthroid, a brand of the levothyroxine.8 Instead of using synthetic chemicals to “fix” our bodies, which apparently isn’t really working, we should be finding the root cause of the thyroid dysfunction and take a more holistic approach in healing our bodies.

The Thyroid

To better understand why this study was interesting, we first need to understand more about the thyroid in general. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits at your throat just a little under the Adam’s apple. The gland produces a range of hormones, but its two most active substances are T3, the active form of thyroid hormone, and T4, the storage form of thyroid hormone. A healthy thyroid regularly secretes T3 and T4 into the bloodstream so that most of the T4 can be converted into its active form, T3, around the body, including the brain.9 To do that, the process depends on a wide variety of factors: the amount of available specialized enzymes, optimal cortisol (your stress hormone) levels, and certain nutrients such as ironiodinezincmagnesiumselenium, B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin D.

But thyroids do much more than pump out hormones; they also take information in from the body to adjust its own pace. The thyroid sits in the middle of a complex and dynamic web of hormones and chemicals that controls metabolism, which is how fast and efficiently cells can convert nutrients into energy. In conversation with the brain, adrenal glands, and more, the thyroid indirectly affects every cell, tissue, and organ in the body–from muscles, bones, and skin to the digestive tract, heart, and brain.

One major way that thyroids affect us is through our mitochondria, the organelles in most cells that are widely considered to be the powerhouses of the cell. Mitochondria not only help generate energy for our body to do things, but they also determine the time of cell death and more. Our mitochondria are maintained by our thyroid hormone–which is why patients whose thyroids are underperforming experience an array of symptoms, including fatigue, constipation, hair loss, depression, foggy thinking, cold body temperature, low metabolism, and muscle aches.10 That’s partially why thyroid problems have such resounding and far-reaching effects on the body. When your mitochondria aren’t being properly cared for by your thyroid hormone, everything in your body has less energy to do the work it needs to do, and everything slows down.

What Makes the Thyroid Misbehave?

It’s no surprise that so many factors go into keeping the thyroid happy. The thyroid can be thrown off balance by all sorts of reasons: chemicals and food additives, like emulsifiers (found in commercial soda), synthetic plastic chemicals, fluoride (found in much of our tap water), and mercury (from large fish), or immune responses. Importantly, this circuitry is also influenced by another hormone, cortisol,11 which is produced by your adrenal glands at the command of your brain.

When we look at adrenal function, we have to take our analyses one step farther and understand what is causing adrenals to be stressed out.12 From there, we know that the adrenal glands are affected by gutdiet, and environmental immune provocation and that many lifestyle and environmental factors can influence this relationship, which in turn, can disturb the thyroid.

Thyroid Disease is a Psychiatric Pretender

The point of all of this is to say that because of how interconnected the relationship between the thyroid and other parts of the body are, thyroid imbalance often leads to the symptoms of depression when the culprit is an unhappy thyroid. The study that we talked about earlier is helping us better understand just how prevalent mistaking thyroid imbalance, particularly subclinical hypothyroidism, for depression is.

Of course, it doesn’t help that symptoms listed above are a vague bunch and could have many causes, so conventional doctors frequently write them off as a symptom of aging, depression, or stress in the few minutes they usually spend talking with patients. The way that lab tests for hypothyroidism (both subclinical and hypothyroidism) are run and the way reference ranges are established aren’t very accurate.

Keeping a thyroid healthy is an exercise in holistic medicine that requires you to pay attention to all aspects of your lifestyle. Check out our free symptom checker to see if your thyroid might be affected, or if you have any of the other Top 5 “Psychiatric Pretenders” (common physical imbalances that show up as mental or emotional symptoms).

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References

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15745924?dopt=Abstract

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16723325?dopt=Abstract

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3246784/

4. https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-018-2006-2

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664572/

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664572/

7. https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-018-2006-2

8. https://www.thyroid.org/media-main/press-room/

9. https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/physrev.00009.2005

10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11174855

11. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/06/19/mental-illness-hypothyroidism.aspx#_edn4

12. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article-abstract/75/6/1526/2655345

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.