The adrenal glands are responsible for the secretion of stress hormones, such as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. The adrenals are also responsible for secreting DHEA, an important precursor to sex hormones and potent “anti-aging” hormone.
Adrenal dysfunction (also know as “adrenal fatigue”) occurs when the adrenal glands over- or under-function. This syndrome can often manifest as weight gain, burn out and poor energy, stress intolerance, brain fog, poor immunity, anxiety and depression, poor blood sugar management, food cravings and low libido.
Adrenal dysfunction can also affect the balance of other hormone systems in your body, such as reproductive and thyroid hormones.
There are several ways to test your adrenal hormones. One of the best ways to test your stress hormone production throughout the day is to do a four-point salivary cortisol test. While a blood cortisol test will only test cortisol levels at one point in time, this test gives you a picture of your cortisol secretion throughout the day so that you can see if it follows a normal curve or not.
Naturopathic treatment for adrenal dysfunction can involve diet and lifestyle modification, stress management strategies, supplementation, IV therapy and /or botanical medicine.
The thyroid gland is responsible for secreting the thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. These hormones set the body’s internal thermometer and determine the rate of metabolism.
If the thyroid is unable to secrete enough thyroid hormones, hypothyroidism occurs. This means that the body’s set metabolic rate will decrease and symptoms such as weight gain, hair loss, fatigue, constipation, dry skin, depression, cold intolerance, irregular or heavy menses, low libido, elevated cholesterol and poor memory may occur.
An imbalance of other hormones, such as Estrogen or stress hormones may negatively affect thyroid function.
An autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s disease is a very common cause of hypothyroidism that is often overlooked in the conventional medical system. Hashimoto’s may be related to inflammation from food allergies and dysbiosis, or environmental toxins.
Many patients also present with subclinical hypothyroidism, where they experience the signs and symptoms hypothyroidism, but their blood thyroid hormone levels are normal.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid secretes an excess of thyroid hormones. Symptoms include an increased heart rate, weight loss, excessive sweating, anxiety and agitation, fatigue, tremor and increased bowel movements. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune condition called Graves Disease.
\We offer a full thyroid hormone panel at Port Moody Health, which tests for TSH (Thyroid stimulating hormone), T3, T4 and Anti-TPO antibodies (present in auto-immune hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s). In the conventional system, T3 and T4 will not be tested if TSH levels are normal but many people will have abnormal T3 and T4 levels despite normal blood levels of TSH.
Naturopathic treatment for thyroid disorders depends on the severity of the symptoms and can include dietary and lifestyle modifications, nutritional supplementation, botanical medicine or thyroid hormone replacement.
Sex hormone imbalance can manifest in women as:
PMS, irregular, heavy, or painful menses
Breast pain or swelling
Loss of muscle mass
Trouble sleeping and fatigue
Headaches and migraines
Weight gain and fatigue
Abnormal hair growth
Mood changes, insomnia and anxiety
Sex hormone imbalance can manifest in men as:
Loss of muscle mass
The sex hormones include Testosterone, DHEA, the Estrogens and Progesterone. Sex hormones can be tested in blood, urine or saliva.
Blood testing measures the total amount of hormone available. Most of the hormones in the blood will be tightly bound to carrier proteins and so serum testing does not always give an accurate depiction of the ‘free’ hormone available to be used by your tissues.
Salivary testing is a better measure of unbound or ‘free’ hormone levels and can give a better indication of what is available for use by the tissues.
Urinary hormone testing is beneficial because it allows the measurement of hormone production over a 24-hour period, rather than at one point in time. Urine testing also makes it easy to measure the break-down products of sex hormones to see how they are being metabolized in the body.