Hey Love Club, remember that self-care is a necessity not a luxury! Check out what I've been doing for self-care this week to help balance my chakras. xo Dr. G
Dr. Gabrielle Francis Expert1,400 Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor, Acupuncturist
Hi! I'm Dr. Gabrielle Francis AKA Dr. G.
I've been practicing holistic medicine for over 35 years. I'm a Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor, and Acupuncturist. I received my medical training at National College of Chiropractic & Bastyr University & have training in Alternative Cancer Therapies, Environmental Medicine, Functional Medicine, Mind-Body medicine, & Bio-Identical Hormone therapies. I'm also the Author of The Rockstar Remedy, A rock’ n’ roll doctor’s prescription for living a long healthy life.
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Today I'm breaking down the difference between perimenopause and menopause and how early menopause can occur. Menopause is when the periods stop. Perimenopause is the 10 Years before! Check it out Love Club...
That gut feeling? The brain-gut connection is one of the most exciting and dynamic scientific discoveries in medicine that has immediate and direct influence on our health and well-being.
The science began to evolve from a field of medicine that started in the 1980s called Psycho-Neuro-Immunology. These scientists embarked on research to determine the connection between these 3 systems since they knew that these systems started from the same embryological origin. In other words, in utero, these are all one system, and then they differentiate into separate systems. These researches wanted to know if these 3 systems continued to communicate with each other. In the last 40 years, the brain-gut connection has continued to excite and surprise us.
Here are a few things we know about it:
The gut has a complex nervous system that is comprised of over 100 million neurons which line the inner walls of our digestive tract. These neurons not only help digestive functions of digestion, absorption and elimination, but they actually have sensory receptors and reflexes that help us perceive and feel information from our environment. The “enteric nervous system” is now referred to as the “Second Brain.”
There are over 30 neurotransmitters that are produced in the gut. The neurotransmitters are communicating messengers that share information between the gut, immune, nervous, and endocrine systems. These neurotransmitters include: serotonin, GABA, dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and endorphins. It is believed that more than 95% of our happy and well-being hormone, serotonin, is produced in our gut. Therefore, a healthy well-functioning gut is the foundation for emotional and mental well-being.
The gut microbiome is one of the ways that the gut communicates with the nervous system, immune system and endocrine system. It is believed that the microbiome has the function of regulating through production and elimination of the neurotransmitters. Therefore, a healthy microbiome that is nourished by a whole foods diet which is high in fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and probiotics…will contribute to a healthy and balanced brain chemistry. Small changes in our lifestyle, diet and supplement regimes can lead to big payoffs in our emotional and mental well-being.
The next time you have a gut instinct, follow it!
With age we have an increased exposure to toxins and stress which cause our bodies to be in “fight and flight” syndrome, which increases cortisol. Cortisol aggravates inflammation and causes a dysregulation of our blood sugar. The dysregulation of blood sugar AKA Insulin Resistance causes further inflammation.
When men and women enter their late 40's and 50's there is a hormonal shift called Menopause and Andropause. There is a decline in the hormones of Testosterone, Estrogen, Progesterone and DHEA. These are our natural steroid hormones and they help to reduce inflammation.
What Parts of Our Body Does Inflammation Impact Over Time?
Inflammation from injury and infection can cause problems in the tissues that are affected. If there is an injury, the inflammation causes the body to send support in the form of fibrinogen and calcium. Chronic inflammation in these areas will causes adhesions and scar tissue to form.
The more insidious type of inflammation comes from general toxicity, poor diet, and stressful lifestyle. These factors create a situation of high cortisol which disrupts the way our cells use insulin. This is called Insulin Resistance or Metabolic Syndrome. Insulin Resistance/Metabolic syndrome can lead to an inflammatory condition that is systemic in the body. The results are Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Heart Disease, Strokes, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Infertility, and even Cancer.
What Signs Point Toward Inflammation?
Fatigue, weight gain (especially in the midsection), blood sugar dysregulation, insomnia, anxiety, depression, pain and swelling, heart disease, autoimmune disease, allergy, immune deficiency, infertility and hormone Imbalances.
How Does Inflammation Affect the Skin?
Inflammation can cause premature aging, wrinkles, skin sagging, skin discolorations and melasma. You may also see inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, acne and rosacea.
What You Should Know:
Inflammation does not have to increase with aging, especially if we make lifestyle choices that reduce toxins and stress. We must also keep our bodies healthy and our diet in a healthy manner that promotes a balanced blood sugar. As we age, if we keep our hormones balanced, then there is better anti-inflammatory support in our bodies.
You'll notice that there are young people that have chronic infection, allergy, poor diet and extreme stress that will see premature aging in their bodies and their cells. Then there are older people that have a healthy diet, healthy lifestyle and balanced hormones. They may have bodies that are functioning at a much younger level and low systemic inflammation.
Inflammation is a factor of lifestyle, diet, stress, and toxin exposures. It is also a factor of how you respond to these things. If you make good and healthy choices, then inflammation does not have to increase with age.
Once you have detoxed the body and you have an organic garden for your fertility it is time to start the rebuilding of nutrients and balancing of hormones.
Here are some of the things necessary for rebuilding;
- Whole foods and an organic diet high in protein, healthy fats, vegetables, fruits and whole grains
- A food based prenatal is the most essential part of rebuilding. You must now fertilize the soil with all the essential vitamins and minerals that are necessary for fertility and a healthy pregnancy.
- Omega 3 fatty acids from either fish or flax oil
- Specific nutrients based on blood work that are needed such as Iron, Vitamin D, etc.
- Herbs and bio-identical hormones for hormone balancing
Rebalancing involves Balancing the Hormones that are tested to be deficient.
Estrogen is necessary for building the uterine lining that the baby will be growing in. It also helps to prime the egg and prepare it for ovulation.
Progesterone is the hormone that implants the fertilized egg into the wall of the uterus. Low progesterone is a common cause for Infertility and miscarriage in women over the age of 35.
Testosterone helps the sex drive, so that is helpful if you want to have a baby, however if the testosterone is too high there may be underlying PCOS that is stopping ovulation. FSH and LH are indicators of the ovarian reserve and function.
The thyroid hormone is like the gas tank and it regulates energy and metabolism. It is very important for fertility and pregnancy.
The adrenal hormones should be balanced and not too high or too low. If too high there may be “fight or flight” and this can interfere with fertility. If there is adrenal fatigue this can also interfere with fertility and a healthy pregnancy.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to rebalancing. You must treat and balance what is wrong with you individually and it should be based on the testing. I use a combination of diet, supplements, herbs and bio-identical hormones for this phase depending on what the patient needs.
In my first post, A Naturopathic Approach to Fertility Enhancement, I spoke about the several vital states that I take with my patients (and their partners) to prepare for and enhance fertility naturally.
In my second post, I touched upon the Detox Stage.
In my third post, I discussed The Mayan Abdominal Massage.
Stay tuned for article #5 where I'll dive deeper into this 5 Stage Approach and discuss the positive effects of Acupuncture.