Intro to Managing Hormone Balance

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ladies night at racesHey Ladies!!!

We humans, men and women, all have hormones.  We women sure seem to have a whole lot more running around, which is why we have the greater challenge of keeping them balanced.

I’m not just talking about menopause, I’m talking about years leading up to it, as well as general well being.

That’s why in this post (which I dedicate to my special friends “The Melody Makers”), I’m gonna share with you steps you can take to keep your PMS and your hormones in CHECK.  Some of this is repeated from my earlier posts… if you read my blog long enough you’ll start to figure out optimal health really is the same thing over and over.  You just have to do it.

calcium citrateCalcium/Magnesium

Let’s start with the basics.

These two minerals, calcium and magnesium, are crucial for liver function. In fact, you require a certain level of calcium in your body at all times in order for the liver to function optimally — men and women.

If you get depleted, your body ‘robs peter to pay paul’ by stealing it from other parts (this is the start of osteoporosis). Therefore, in order to keep the liver functioning at its highest capacity, and to prevent other depletions, it is crucial to take Cal/Mag at night — which is when the liver rejuvenates.

Now, your liver processes all the hormones in your body.  So if you’re liver’s congested or running on empty, guess what?  Your hormones are not going to be processed efficiently.

Moreover, if you do not have enough calcium in your blood at night when you are sleeping, the parathyroid gland will secrete an enzyme into your blood stream to dissolve the calcium from your bones.  Which means you’re on your way to osteoporosis.

All this nonsense can be stopped by taking cal mag at night before bed.  Every night.  Don’t worry, you can take cal/mag on an empty stomach and it will not cause agitation (magnesium is the same thing in Milk of Magnesia which calms stomach upset).

Gary and I keep our cal mag right next to the bed and take it before sleep (he takes whatever quantity I take, which for me right now is the pre-menopausal prescript [see below]).

Not only does it keep the liver healthy, it prevents nighttime leg cramps (muscle cramps are a sign of magnesium deficiency) and will help calm the nervous system, giving you a better night’s sleep.

You can take liquid or capsules, just make sure you get the recommended dose.  Your body cannot absorb calcium without magnesium, so you must take them together. Read your label to make sure you get the right quantity.

Pre-menopausal: 1000 mg calcium CITRATE only (no carbonate if you are of child-bearing years, since it has lead); 400-600 mg magnesium.

Peri- and Post-menopausal: 1500 mg calcium carbonate AND citrate (half and half), and 600 mg magnesium.

I toggle back and forth between Solgar and Twin Labs brands from Whole Foods, and Metagenics.

Oh, you should also do an annual liver flush.  I’m gearing up for mine, which will start on Sunday.  The best one I’ve found is Tiao He Liver Cleanse from Nature’s Sunshine, and is about $20.

Cooling OffWhat If I’m Already Having Hot Flashes?

If you are having hot flashes, balancing hormones will help.

The first step is to eliminate hormone-injected meats and dairy products, since any food source you consume that contains hormones will automatically impact your metabolism and hormone balance as well.

If you are experiencing hot flashes, night sweats or any other menopausal symptoms, it is crucial that you only eat red meat that is hormone free.  Did you know in Japanese, there is no traditional word for ‘hot flash,’ because Japanese women rarely get them?  That’s  because they eat a diet mostly consisting of fish.  (That is probably changing now that American fast food is intruding on the Japanese lifestyle.)

Alcohol, sugar and caffeine will also wreak havoc on your system, and should be detoxed from the body, then taken moderately or with food enzymes at the very least.

Evening Primrose oil is great for helping to balance hormones. You can get this from Whole Foods or any health food store.

An Ayurvedic herb I LOVE is Sitiwari, which translated means ‘woman of 1,000 husbands’ because of its powerful tonifying affect on the female reproductive system. You can order Sitiwari, which is a gentle herb (can even be taken during pregnancy) in it’s highest quality from Ayush Herbs in Washington. All their herbs are grown organically and harvested with the highest quality processing.

Dong Quai and Black Cohash are also known for their effectiveness in balancing hormones. The best way to take these herbs is in tincture form, 20-30 drops 3x daily in water. You can get them also at Whole Foods.

pregnant inversionHate to sound like a broken record, but…

Yes, that’s me doing an inversion at four months pregnant.  I did it every day until 8.5 months, and I felt and looked great.

I can’t say enough about the power of inversions and yoga. Your power lies in your ability to link your mind, body and spirit together, in harmony. When you ‘yoke’ them together, which is what the word yoga means, you are literally unstoppable at whatever you set as your intention.

If you live near Manhattan Beach, check out The Yoga Loft which offers a variety of classes, class times and special series. Genvieve, the founder and owner (and also a teacher) is always offering specials. Right now you can get a three-month pass for unlimited classes for $225! It’s a deal, and it will bring you into energy, power and balance faster than the fountain of youth.

If you do not live near MB, contact your local Iyengar Center and ask them about classes.  They will either offer them directly, or will be hip to where you can go for a really great class.

My great teacher and mentor, Loretta Pharo, RN, who I studied with in Boston for 7 years, has been teaching for almost 40 years now.  She developed the most powerful form of shoulder stand I’ve ever seen (which is what I’m doing in the photo).  I’m leaving you detailed instructions here so you can do it yourself.  Read more about this powerful pose in my Get Healthy Now post from April 23.

the female brain

The Female Brain

One last thing: if you want to know more about yourself, check out Dr. Louann Brizendine’s book, “The Female Brain.” She’s a smarty pants, ivy league (both coasts), and she started a clinic for women and girls outside San Fransisco that helps us with hormones and how they affect the brain.

It’s a great manual that we should’ve read in 7th grade.  But you know what they say…  it’s never too late.

That is all for now. As always, I am available for private consult and group presentations, including 10-minute one-on-one assessments. For more information, send me an email.

Namasté.

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