Hormone imbalances, like most other imbalances, are probably best understood by understanding normal hormone function. Hormones are made in the body from amino acid precursors that we get from proteins in our diet. Sometimes the process of producing these hormones is adversely affected by a diet deficient in the raw materials necessary to make these hormones, such as amino acids from a poor protein intake or a lack of co-factor vitamins and minerals which are required to make the amino acid convert to the hormone.
An example of this might be in the case of hypothyroidism. You can have a decrease in metabolic activity virtually anywhere in the body just from the lack of the body’s ability to produce enough thyroxin, which is the thyroid hormone. Thyroxin is made up of iodine and the amino acid tyrosine. If the diet is deficient in either of these nutrients, the body won’t have the raw materials to make the thyroid hormone, resulting in the symptoms of low thyroid, including soft and peeling nails, dry and lifeless skin, fatigue, and mental fogginess, chronic infections, weight gain, difficulty losing weight in spite of exercising, depression and PMS mood swings. Someone with lowered immune function, who catches every cold and flu going around, may also be experiencing low thyroid function.
I have found basal axillary (under the armpit) temperatures taken in the morning before rising to be a reliable indicator of thyroid function. When the body has a certain level of metabolic function, it generates a certain amount of heat as a result. Your temperature should be in the range of 97.8 – 98.2. Anything under this range is considered hypothyroidism, above this range indicates hyperthyroidism.
To take your basal temperature, take a standard mercury or mercury substitute oral thermometer (not a digital) and shake it down, placing it next to your bed at night. In the morning, before arising, simply grab the thermometer and place it between your arm and your chest wall, high up in the armpit so it’s touching directly on your skin. Leave that in place for ten minutes, then place the thermometer back on your nightstand. Ten minutes gives a more accurate reflection of the body’s lowest temperature of the 24-hour day. This allows us to find out how your metabolism is functioning. If your temperature is low it reflects a slow metabolism, and if it’s high it reflects an increase in your metabolism, indicating an infection or hyperthyrodism. Movement before taking your temp will artificially raise your body temp so it’s important to take the reading before you move. You can download a Basal Temperature Form here.
After seeing at least a week of basal temps, I then test a patient using AK to find out what nutrients they need to bring those temps up. These are be used until their temps normalize and symptoms disappear. I use a number of Standard Process products as well as a high-quality iodine, which has been very successful. These supplements improve the function of the thyroid gland and give it what it needs to make the thyroid hormone, and get it into the cells where it can be of use to the body. Sometimes we make enough thyroid hormone, but it can’t get into the cells.
Proper thyroid funtion is important because the thyroid sets the metabolic pace for all of your 100 trillion cells, so its an elemental glandular function that sets the pace for your whole body’s health. I recommend at least a week of taking your temperature every morning to get an accurate idea of where your body is at. For women, a month of temps is even better due to the fluctuations that occur during the menstrual cycle.
PMS symptoms such as breast tenderness are usually a result, in my clinical experience, of estrogen excess relative to the progesterone level. Sometimes this is a function of poor estrogen clearance in the liver. A lot of people may not be aware of this, but the estrogen is usually broken down relatively quickly after it’s secreted. If the liver is sluggish in it’s ability to do this, the estrogen levels can rise higher than they should be and you will feel their effects longer than intended. One of the effects of this is that the water-loving estrogen will be retained in the breasts and extremities, causing edema pressure and pain.
An important function in improving liver activity would include the avoidance of toxin, alcohol, refined carbos, baked goods, soda, and candy. The problem with eating these goodies is that your body has to deal with them, and it needs the nutrients required to process them. For example, when you eat refined sugars, you are eating something that has been stripped of the nutrient material the body uses to produce the insulin molecule that processes the sugar you’re consuming. This chronic deficiency of the nutrients that would normally induce insulin secretion can lead to pancreatic stress and a diabetic type pattern. Ensuring a healthy functioning intestinal tract is also important since a toxic colon is a major source of burden for the liver.
Many women having severe PMS have elected to do a surgical procedure to eliminate the organ to eliminate the symptoms, but there are alternative approaches. I’ve had success working with women who were on heavy medication for PMS symptoms that would incapacitate them for 3 days a month who after getting nutritionally, structurally and neurologically balanced had zero symptoms. Nutritional supplements, reflex work or dietary changes are designed to bring the progesterone and estrogen into balance, improving mood swings, cravings, and cramps.
Sometimes the nutritional balancing requires supplements such as calcium, essential fatty acids, B vitamins, iodine, B-Complex, E, and black current seed oil. Black current oil is a source of essential fatty acids, which are used by the body to produce prostiglandins and other hormone-type substances which help to normalize the progesterone and its functions in the body. Calcium is used to relax muscle tissues and release spasms. Often a topcial progesterone cream is also used to increase the blood levels of progesterone.
Menopause should be a time in a woman’s life when she grows her creative side and uses the energy she had been using for motherhood into a process of opening up and blossoming in her creativity. Unfortunately, too many women in America have difficulties during this time due to deferred maintenance of hormonal balance during the previous decades. When the adrenal glands or the ovaries have been dysfunctional for some time, it’s unlikely that they will improve function spontaneously when stress demands or functional demands increase. This is the kind of change that occurs with menopause when the adrenal glands are supposed to take up the slack when the ovaries go into "retirement". If the adrenal glands have become depleted during a woman’s life, these glands won’t be able to pick up the baton and run with it, so to speak, and hot flashes and other symptoms results.
Common stressors of adrenals include chemical stresses from fake food diets, taking synthetic drugs and vitamins, caffeine, alcohol, pesticides and herbicides, antibiotic residues, and hormonal residues in meat products and poultry. Mental stress includes such things as finances, job, family, etc. Thermal stress can occur if you frequently move in and out of warm/cold buildings. Physical stress can be overworking at the gym, or attempting a high level of activity when you’re not in shape.
I have an excellent video available for viewing called The Breakthrough Treatment for Menopause, by Dr. John Lee. This is an excellent source for a comprehensive overview of women’s health issues, including a very important solution to many common complaints.