By. Dr. Chantell Groenewald
M. Tech Hom UJ
Is your oestrogen dominance the reason why your are struggling to lose weight?
What is oestrogen dominance?
We have two hormones that play a key role in preparing our uterine lining for pregnancy each month, oestrogen and progesterone. This is however not their only function and both hormones play a major role in many of our bodily functions, including but not limited to weight loss, libido and mental health. There should be a balance between the amount of oestrogen versus progesterone secreted, with anything between a 100 – 500 ratio being normal. Anything lower than 100 is seen as oestrogen dominance.
What are the signs and symptoms of oestrogen dominance?
1. Weight gain and difficulty losing weight
2. Difficulty conceiving (especially in the presence of low progesterone)
3. Headaches and migraines
4. Excessive PMS symptoms
5. Bloating of the stomach
6. Hair loss
7. Anxiety and depression
8. Decreased libido and sex drive
9. Fatigue and decreased energy
Higher than normal oestrogen levels (or rather an abnormal normal oestrogen versus progesterone ratio) can occur due to three mechanisms:
1. Excessive production of oestrogen in the body:
This can happen when you are overweight. Fat cells not only store fat but also acts as an endocrine gland secreting oestrogen, further exacerbating oestrogen dominance and further weight gain,
2. Activation of oestrogen receptors from exogenous oestrogen such as xenoestrogens:
Xenoestrogens are bad oestrogen found from sources outside our bodies in products such as cosmetics, plastic bottles, pesticides etc, and
3. Lower than normal levels of progesterone:
DHEA is the building block for cortisol as well as progesterone, during periods of stress our bodies favour the production of cortisol, which is OK if it is only for short periods of time, but this becomes a major issue when we suffer from chronic low level stress.
Why do we need adequate progesterone levels and normal oestrogen versus progesterone ratio’s? Well, progesterone counters all the nasty side effects of too much oestrogen and is responsible for:
1. Boosting body temperature and metabolism
2. Promotes healthy libido and sex drive
3. Promotes healthy thyroid functioning
4. Lowers blood pressure
5. Has a calming effects on the brain and acts as a natural antidepressant
6. Boosts immune system
7. Retains bone density
8. Maintains healthy uterine lining for pregnancy
9. Natural diuretic
10. Helps promote healthy insulin levels.
Weight loss efforts are often futile if you suffer from oestrogen dominance. Testing your oestrogen versus progesterone ratio is as easy as having a blood test done for serum oestrogen and progesterone levels during two key phases of your cycle. Correcting oestrogen dominance helps us feel happier, healthier and assists in long term and permanent weight loss.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at The Naturopathic Health Care Centre.
By. Dr Chantell Groenewald (M. Tech Hom UJ)
Difficulty losing weight is an issue that troubles many individuals at some point in their lives, if not most of their lives. In the past, mainstream medicine would have you believe that it is a simple equation of ‘eat less, exercise more’. An energy expenditure equation lifestyle can be very frustrating with little to no weight loss to show for your efforts.
In my practice, I focus on healthy living, whole foods and weight loss that is a side effect of a healthy lifestyle. The 5 most common obstacles to weight loss I have encountered are as follows:
1. Oestrogen dominance: This is a common issue today, aggravated by processed hormone loaded and antibiotic fed livestock. Xenoestrogens (harmful oestrogen derived from external sources) are found in our make-up, body products, plastic containers, meat, chicken, dairy and vegetables (pesticides). Higher than normal oestrogen levels (or rather higher than normal oestrogen vs. progesterone ratio) is responsible for weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Ageing alone contributes to higher than normal oestrogen levels starting from the age of about 35.
2. Thyroid dysfunction: Hypothyroidism refers to lower than normal levels of the hormone T4, which is responsible for our metabolism. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) increases when circulating levels of T4 is decreasing, so some people might have normal levels of T4 with elevated levels of THS, which is called sub-clinical hypothyroidism. Both hypothyroidism and sub-clinical hypothyroidism will cause difficulty losing weight.
3. Chronic stress: Chronic stress is responsible for chronically elevated cortisol levels. Cortisol is known as our fight and flight hormone, but it’s role in the functioning of our bodily systems is much more broad. Cortisol plays a role in immunity, metabolism, hormone production and insulin sensitivity. Chronically elevated levels of cortisol causes sluggish digestion, insulin resistance, poor immunity and issues with hormone production. All of the above will favour weight gain.
4. Leaky gut: A leaky gut is the root cause of chronic inflammation which affects all the other systems in our body. There is an inflammatory cascade which perpetuates the formation of fat cells in the presence of inflammatory markers, so a very oversimplified explanation is that chronic inflammation makes you fat.
5. Insulin resistance: Increased abdominal fat is linked to increased insulin sensitivity and decreased weight loss. Being overweight thus makes you more resistant to weight loss.
All of these obstacles to weight loss can easily be addressed through a tailored nutritional and diet lifestyle plan. There is no one size fits all and most women with obstacles to eight loss are left disappointed after following the latest diet trend. Each woman is an individual and should treat their weight loss journey as such.
By: Dr. Chantell Groenewald (M.Tech Hom UJ)
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is our body’s immune reaction following damage to tissue, to localize and eliminate the injury or infection. Acute inflammation has many triggers including:
This acute response is crucial to life, however when inflammation become chronic then it negatively impacts our health. Chronic inflammation happens when the triggering substance is not entirely eliminated, this can include but is not limited to:
Chronic inflammation damages healthy tissue. Most adults have chronic inflammation that goes undetected by physicians, fuelling disease. Research suggest that chronic inflammation either promotes or is the direct cause of many diseases including:
What role do our genes play in inflammation?
Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFA) and Interleukin-1 (IL-1) play a key role in the regulation of inflammation. Some individuals have variations in their nucleotide base pairs that favours the expression of IL-6, IL-1 and TNFA which in turn promotes inflammation. While most underlying causes of inflammation can be addressed, we cannot change our genes, so these individuals need to take special care in terms of diet and lifestyle interventions to combat inflammation.
What are the special investigations to identify inflammation?
Article by Dr. Chantell Groenewald M. Tech Hom (UJ)
(By Dr. Chantell Groenewald M. Tech Hom UJ)
What is a food intolerance?
A food intolerance refers to a hypersensitivity reaction to specific foods vs a food allergy which is an IgE immune mediated allergic reaction. Symptoms associated with food intolerances include but is not limited to:
What causes food intolerances?
There are several reasons that you may have a hypersensitivity reaction to specific foods, which we will discuss now. Before we do, it is important to remember that the health of our gut plays a vital role in protecting us from food intolerances. The role of our digestive tract is to form a barrier between the outside of our gut and foods that we ingest. Food is broken down and molecules are selectively transported across the gut barrier. When this gut barrier is damaged (leaky gut syndrome), unwanted molecules escape into our bloodstream often causing an inflammatory reaction. This adverse reaction is not necessarily because of a food intolerance to that specific food but rather because a substance has entered the bloodstream where should not have.
There are several other structural abnormalities as well as bacterial overgrowth or parasitic infections which can contribute to or aggravate food intolerance reactions to specific foods. In the absence of any of the above-mentioned issues, specific foods contain various substances which you can react to causing a food intolerance. This includes naturally occurring substances such as amine containing foods as well as substances added to foods such as additives or preservatives. These substances include but are NOT limited to:
Another cause of food intolerance can occur when our digestive tract lacks specific enzymes needed to break down food substances. Lactose intolerance is the best example of such a food intolerance. In the absence of the enzyme lactase, lactose found in dairy products cannot be broken down by our digestive tract, causing abdominal discomfort.
What are some of the most common food intolerances?
How to treat symptoms associated with food intolerances?
The first step to treating food intolerances is to identify which foods you are sensitive to. This can be done via a food intolerance test. These foods should then be avoided for several weeks to months and then reintroduced in a specific manner as part of a food elimination diet. Healing the gut with a gut cleanse diet, insures that toxic food reactions due to leaky gut syndrome is also addressed and eliminates chronic gut inflammation which further exacerbates food intolerances and food allergies.
What is a food Intolerance test?
There are various tests available to identify food intolerances. The Nutrismart food intolerance rapid test is based on an IgG4 reaction to food substances. It tests 56 of the most common food allergens with 1 drop of blood and you will have your results within 30 minutes.
For more information on the Nutrismart food intolerance rapid test, a food elimination and gut cleanse diet, please contact The Naturopathic Health Care Center for more information.