Getting older ain't for sissies! That's for sure.
The body is amazing! Constantly working behind the scenes, putting out fires, redirecting resources, always batting invaders..be they internal or external. Striving for an equilibrium allowing you the freedom to worry about getting your job done. I believe that you should create a diverse diet with plenty of variety to support your body. Stay away from anything made with preservatives if you don't want your body to preserve it too! ;) Just foods in their natural state, the way nature intended. Becoming a health coach confirmed these beliefs, but opened my eyes to more.
In today's world, we find ourselves with extra burdens....extra stressors. Our bodies may need just a little bit more to cope and keep up. That is where supplements and nutritional/replacement therapies can help.
It started a couple of years ago when I tried micronutrient testing from Spectracell. It's a snapshot of how your body is operating on a microscopic nutrient level for the previous 3 months.
At first, I was concerned with helping my brain and eyes recuperate from a car accident. It was fascinating to see from my first labs that I was low in Serine and Inositol. Inosi-what?? you ask :). Inositol is sometimes referred to as Vitamin B8 even though it is not technically a vitamin. It is found in citrus fruit, fiber-rich foods (beans, brown rice, sesame seeds). It affects the processes that make neurotransmitters within the brain. Serine is a non-essential amino acid needed for the formation of brain cell membranes, immune system and muscles. I was blown away by how adding these supplements helped me in recuperating from my "information overload outbursts". I gave my brain the extra boost it needed to heal and handle information simultaneously.
Those tests also informed me that I was post-menopausal and my Testosterone, Estradiol, Progesterone, and DHEA were WAAAAY LOOOOW. When the Pandemic hit last year, life became a TOTAL rollercoaster. My life was still pretty full speed, but it had some curves and summersaults along the way. Even though I was still walking 6-8 miles per day and doing Pilates regularly in my home studio, my muscles were disappearing. They were getting their job done, but they had lost their enthusiasm. I tried eating the right foods that help hormone development, but it wasn't working. It wasn't a simple more output over intake. Without testosterone, my body could not build muscle. Muscle burns 60 calories/hour versus only 6 calories for fat. Your LDL cholesterol enters into your liver, depending on which nervous system you are operating in, Sympathetic (Fight or Flight)or Parasympathetic (Rest or Digest), the LDL is converted to either hormones that you need OR Cortisol....the stress hormone that likes to collect fat around your mid-section. I was running an uphill battle smeared with Vaseline and sliding backward.
This past November, I found a Functional Doctor/OBGyn in Chevy Chase. Functional medicine focuses on the ROOT cause and not just treating the symptoms. We did blood work for my hormones and a food sensitivity test. I am now prescribed Bio-identical hormone cream with testosterone, DHEA, Estrogen along with progesterone capsule taken at night and an herbal supplement that supports my adrenal glands/cortisol production that I take in the early hours. The hormones in the cream have started to help me build my muscle back. They now have their old enthusiasm to perform. The Progesterone helps me sleep at night and I notice a HUGE difference during the day with how I manage stress from the Adrenal/Herbal supplement. In 2 months, I am starting to climb the hill....down 9 pounds keeping the same diet and exercise. And I'm happier!
What surprised me the most? My flexibility!! Wow! I have noticed an incredible difference. This convinces me that my male clients over 50 need to consider hormone replacement too. This is a new concept. Men are lucky. For most of their lives, they do not need to consider what their hormones are doing....but this is a disservice to them. Pretty much all of my male clients over 50 complain of losing flexibility. Not just one or two...ALL! Interestingly enough, my brother has been doing Testosterone pellets along with other supportive supplements for the last 3-4 years and is amazed at his improved ability to focus, building muscle is normal again and he feels "like himself". Men need to be especially diligent about bloodwork (every 6 months) to keep things steady. Testosterone can be switched to Estrogen if they are not careful. Many husbands of my older clients seem to shut down and shut out their families when their bodies start to confuse them. Yes, it is aging. Yes, it is tough. But that is the time to open up and share so that you don't suffer more than you need to. Why subject yourself to that? If your pain or confusion can be at a 3 or 4 versus a 10? Go for it!
I have found with my various issues that once my MIND knows what is going on, things tend to feel better. It's a powerful tool. Use it :)
On the side of caution, any issues with cancers caused by hormones, i.e breast or prostate, this might not be the solution. Find a knowledgeable doctor who can help guide you, and there may be other solutions. Be your own best advocate! Ask until you get a good answer. It might be no....but when YOU dig a little deeper, I find the doctor to invest a little more!
I still eat a variety of foods from different sources and drink at least 70 ounces of water/day along with water already present in foods. I still enjoy my morning coffee and a sweet morsel in the evening. With a little help from my hormonal friends, I am on the right path, in charge of what I consume and how I live.
Move Better. Fuel Better. Look Better. Feel Better. Live Better.