Let’s Talk About Folic Acid!
Folic acid fortification was heavily implemented in 1998. Thank goodness it's 2019 and we now know better! The thing I love about science is it's ALWAYS evolving, it's constantly changing. If it wasn't, we would still be practicing bloodletting or performing lobotomies for mental illness.
Folic acid is what we’re supposed to take while pregnant, right? WRONG! Folic acid is not the same thing as folate. If you are pregnant, please look on your prenatal bottle and make sure you are taking folate.
Folic Acid Vs. Folate:
What does this mean? Folic acid can inhibit transport of the necessary active folate across the blood-brain barrier where we need it to be able to support reductions in neuroinflammation.
Has your doctor suggested folic acid? Do you have questions on what prenatal you should be taking? Please, contact us today!
Let's get back to health,
Dr. Valerie Ferdinand, ND Functional Medicine University
Pietzrik K et al. Folic acid and L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate. Clin Pharmacokinet. 2010; 49(8):535-548. Choi JH et al. Contemporary issues surrounding folic acid fortification initiatives. Prev Nutr Food Sci. 2014; 19(4):247-260.
Smith AD et al. Is folic acid good for everyone? Am J Clin Nutr. 2008; 87:517-33. Bailey RL et al. Serum unmetabolized folic acid in a nationally representative sample of adults > 60 years of age in the United States, 2001-2001. Food & Nutrition Research. 2012; 56:5616.
I know I have already touched on estrogen in https://www.stittleburgrhc.com/lifestyle-blog/lets-talk-estrogen BUT there's so much more to estrogen AND it's vital in women's health.
This blog is going to be specifically about estrogen dominance.
Estrogen induced inflammation may be the reason why women account for 75% of all autoimmune diseases. *Read that again* Excess estrogen can cause inflammation in the body and push the immune system to make too many antibodies. Women make up SEVENTY-FIVE percent of ALL autoimmune diseases- women deserve better.
Estrogen is not a single hormone, it's a complex hormone. It is a class of hormones and hormone like compounds that have estrogenic properties. There are human estrogens, synthetic estrogens, animal estrogens, phytoestrogens, and xenoestrogens. Estradiol, estrone, and estriol are the three human estrogens- they belong to the steroid hormone family.
As Functional Medicine University explains, '"Estrogen dominance" is a term coined by Harvard physician John R. Lee M.D. It describes a condition where a woman can have deficient, normal, or excessive estrogen but the body has little or no progesterone to balance its effects."
Signs and symptoms of estrogen dominance include:
Speeds up the aging process
Weight gain around the middle
Cold hands and feet as a symptom of thyroid dysfunction
Decreased sex drive
Muscle and joint pain
Early onset of menstruation
Fat gain in abdomen, hips, and thighs
Increased blood clotting
Irregular menstrual periods
Pre-menopausal bone loss
Water retention and bloating
You shouldn't have to struggle before menopause, through menopause, or after menopause. You shouldn't have to struggle before your hysterectomy or after your hysterectomy. There is hope and there is help.
Quick Fact: Too much estrogen can cause Hypothyroidism (low thyroid) in two ways: it can inhibit the conversion of T4 to T3 and it can bind to thyroid hormones from its own receptors.
What causes estrogen dominance?
Well, besides the typical hormonal fluctuations of menopause, certain lifestyle choices, diet, and conditions can also contribute to estrogen dominance syndrome. For example, a low-fiber diet, overloading the liver with internal toxins, and absorbing toxins from the environment. Women live a very different lifestyle now-a-days. It's constant stress- how you look, what you drive, do you be a stay at home mom, do you work, how do your kids look, do I look fat in this, how do I contour, what makeup should I use..... It never ends. The toxins just continue, and continue, and continue. Women are in a fight or flight response, continually.
Your liver cannot keep up!
"The liver is a filter of sorts. It detoxifies our body, protecting us from the harmful effects of chemicals, elements in food, environmental toxins, and even natural products of our metabolism, including excess estrogen. Anything that impairs liver function or ties up the detoxifying function will result in excess estrogen levels, whether it has a physical basis, as in liver disease, or an external cause, as with exposure to environmental toxins, drugs, or dietary substances.
Estrogen is produced not only internally but also produced in reaction to chemicals and other substances in our food. When it is not broken down adequately, higher levels of estrogen build up."
Our Standard American Diet (SAD) is just that, sad. Having our diets rich in animal fats, refined starches, sugar, and processed foods- it can lead to estrogen levels in women twice that of women in third-world countries. Foods high in estrogen include soybeans, tofu, soy milk, bran cereals, alfalfa sprouts, dried fruit, especially dried apricots, dates, and prunes, flaxseed, sesame seeds, chickpeas, beans and peas.
We are consistently exposed to xenobiotics (petrochemicals), xenohormone-laden meats and dairy products, forms of pollution, and synthetic hormones ('The Pill'). It's not surprising that estrogen dominance has become an epidemic in America. What we don't recognize is- over exposure to these potentially dangerous substances have significant consequences, like passing on reproductive abnormalities to children.
Every human being is the author of his own health or disease-
let us help you get back to health. Please, contact us today!
Environ Health Perspect. 1999 Oct;107 Suppl 5:681-6.Gender and risk of autoimmune diseases: possible role of estrogenic compounds.Ahmed SA1, Hissong BD, Verthelyi D, Donner K, Becker K, Karpuzoglu-Sahin E.
Endocr Rev. 2007 Aug;28(5):521-74. Epub 2007 Jul 19.The complex role of estrogens in inflammation.Straub RH.
Functional Medicine University. Dr. Ronald Grisanti, D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., M.S., CFMP
Let's Talk About Estrogen!
Estrogen is a major hormone affecting women, daily. Let’s face it, we’re not getting any younger! Women’s life expectancy has increased from age 47 in 1900 to age 80 in 2005. Estrogen imbalance is a very common ailment that most women know little about!
Did you know that there are three types of estrogen?
– Estrone (E1) 5% - 10% (primarily during menopause)
– Estradiol (E2) 5% - 10% (primarily for reproductive years)
– Estriol (E3) 80% - 90% (primarily during pregnancy)
Most estrogen is created by the ovaries with lesser amounts from the adrenal cortex.
Estrone (E1) Quick Facts:
• Is the least abundant of the three estrogens
• Primary hormone during menopause
• Made in the ovaries and peripheral tissue
• Is converted into estradiol and estriol
• Can also convert into testosterone
• Synthetic estrone has been shown to cause cancer
Estradiol (E2) Quick Facts:
• Estradiol is the most biologically potent estrogen
• Primary hormone during reproductive years
• Most biologically active estrogen in the body
• It is 12X as potent as estrone
• It is 80X as potent as estriol
Estriol (E3) Quick Facts:
• Weakest form of estrogen
• Non-pregnant production is from the conversion of estrone and estradiol
• Produced by the placenta during pregnancy
Some functions of estrogens:
• Activates immune system
• Can have pro-inflammatory effect
• Improves insulin function
• Increases action of cilia in fallopian tubes
• Promotes sleep
• Induces ovulation
• Prevents bone loss
• Increases metabolism
• Softens and smooths skin
Many women experience estrogen dominance, with some experiencing estrogen deficiency- this can be caused by a significant amount of factors. Now remember, this blog is only addressing estrogen, specifically!
This chart shows some "typical symptoms".
When a woman’s estrogen levels aren't where “they should be”- it causes a cascade of other issues. No, you are not crazy! Yes, there is hope! Hormonal regulation is a complex system- if you would like to know more, please, contact us today!
Let's get back to health,
Let’s Talk About Anxiety, Gut Dysbiosis, and Benzodiazepines!
I’m going to start this off by saying anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the United States. Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Research shows that in 2018, more than one in eight U.S. adults (12.6%) used benzodiazepines, a class of drugs primarily used for treating anxiety, in the past year. But research from 2013 and 2014 found about 4 to 6 percent of adults used benzodiazepines. It’s 2019, why do these numbers continue to increase? If the solution was benzodiazepines- shouldn’t the numbers be decreasing?
Typical benzodiazepines used for the treatment of anxiety-related to panic disorder or other anxiety disorders include:
Benzodiazepines “work” by increasing the effect of a brain chemical called GABA. GABA is the most common neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, it reduces brain activity in the areas of the brain responsible for:
The most common side effects associated with benzodiazepines are:
“This same basic paradox-that a psychiatric drug may curb symptoms over the short term but worsen the long-term course of the disorder-has been found to hold true for benzodiazepines, at least when used to treat panic attacks. In 1988, researchers who led the large Cross-National Collaborative Panic Study, which involved 1,700 patients in 14 countries, reported that at the end of 4 weeks, 82% of the patients treated with Xanax (alprazolam) were "moderately improved" or "better," versus 42% of the placebo patients. However, by the end of 8 weeks, there was no difference between the groups, at least among those who remained in the study (Ballenger et al., 1988). Any benefit with Xanax seemed to last for only a short period. As a follow-up to that study, researchers in Canada and the UK studied benzodiazepine-treated patients over a period of 6 months. They reported that the Xanax patients got better during the first four weeks of treatment, that they did not improve any more in weeks 4 to 8, and that their symptoms began to worsen after that. As patients were weaned from the drugs, a high percentage relapsed, and by the end of 23 weeks, they were worse off than patients treated without drugs on five different outcomes measures (Marks et al ., 1993). More bad news of this sort was reported by Pecknold in 1988. He found that as patients were tapered off Xanax they suffered nearly four times as many panic attacks as the nondrug patients, and that 25% of the Xanax patients suffered from rebound anxiety more severe than when they began the study. The Xanax patients were also significantly worse off than nondrug patients on a global assessment scale by the end of the study (Pecknold, Swinson, Kuch, & Lewis, 1988).
I’m not sure about you, but this is terrifying to me. On top of the side effects and the shocking research shared above, benzodiazepines have such significant withdrawal that it’s now classified as “benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome”. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines is arguably as difficult, if not more difficult, than street drugs.
Pétursson explains in PMID: 7841856-
“Physiological dependence on benzodiazepines is accompanied by a withdrawal syndrome which is typically characterized by sleep disturbance, irritability, increased tension and anxiety, panic attacks, hand tremor, sweating, difficulty in concentration, dry wretching and nausea, some weight loss, palpitations, headache, muscular pain and stiffness and a host of perceptual changes. Instances are also reported within the high-dosage category of more serious developments such as seizures and psychotic reactions. Withdrawal from normal dosage benzodiazepine treatment can result in a number of symptomatic patterns. The most common is a short-lived "rebound" anxiety and insomnia, coming on within 1-4 days of discontinuation, depending on the half-life of the particular drug. The second pattern is the full-blown withdrawal syndrome, usually lasting 10-14 days; finally, a third pattern may represent the return of anxiety symptoms which then persist until some form of treatment is instituted.”
So how do we get to the root cause of anxiety? Because, remember, anxiety is a SYMPTOM.
Well, gut dysbiosis is an imbalance of bacteria and microbes in our intestines. Time and time again, studies continue to show that our gut is essentially our second brain.
So, let’s talk about a study by Yang, et. al., published in the Journal of General Psychiatry, entitled “Effects of regulating intestinal microbiota on anxiety symptoms: a systematic review.”
A systematic review is arguably the highest level of scientific evidence. Why? A systematic review will often review the available randomized control trials and summarize the findings. Everyone loves summaries! Thankfully, what Yang has concluded is that treatments for the gut can improve anxiety.
Yang explains that the aim of their study was “To find evidence supporting improvements in anxiety symptoms by regulating intestinal microbiota.” Because, “More and more basic studies have indicated that gut microbiota can regulate brain function through the gut-brain axis, and dysbiosis of intestinal microbiota was related to anxiety. However, there is no specific evidence to support treatment of anxiety by regulating intestinal microbiota.”
This systematic review of randomized control trials looked through 3,334 articles and only 21 were high-quality enough to be included in this analysis, with a total of about 1500 patients over the 21 studies. “14 studies chose probiotics as interventions” and “six chose non-probiotic ways”, mostly low FODMAP diet.
Probiotics help to heal and rebalance the gut and can have an extensive array of positive improvements, because they treat the root cause of multiple systems. Therefore, we see probiotics show improvements in things like allergic conditions, skin conditions, and neurologic conditions. Moreover, there’s evidence showing improvements in things like depression, IBS, constipation, loose stools, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
This is the statistic that really gets me excited, “56% of studies could improve anxiety symptoms.” Yang continues, “We find that more than half of the studies included showed it was positive to treat anxiety symptoms by regulation of the intestinal microbiota.”
What does this mean?! IT MEANS YOU HAVE OPTIONS! Medication is NOT the only option for anxiety relief. I cannot tell you how many patients tell me they started an anti-anxiety medication because they felt their doctor offered them no other option. I am here to tell you- there is hope. Those of you who are suffering with anxiety have some great natural, nutritional, and supplemental options.
Anxiety is a complex symptom. Anxiety relief must have guidance, please, contact us today to see how we can help!
Dr. Taryn Stittleburg, DC, CFMP, PSc.D