Hormones control dozens of bodily functions including fat deposits, acne, energy, libido, fertility, sleep and more. They can affect any area of the body, including neurotransmitters and emotions.
Do you think you have a hormonal issue?
If you suspect you do, first get accurate hormone testing done. No guesswork, please!
Most doctors test hormones by blood if they test them at all. Blood analysis is accurate for thyroid and testosterone, but only if you order FREE thyroid and FREE testosterone (which doctors rarely do).
For adrenal (cortisol) and sex hormones, saliva testing is preferred in my clinic and by most natural health practitioners. A full saliva test can include testosterone, the three estrogens, DHEA, progesterone, cortisol and insulin.
Blood will give accurate thyroid numbers, with the right tests. Copy down the list from this post and take it to your doctor. Request these tests be run. Be polite but be persistent!
Why is saliva preferred for non-thyroid tests?
Saliva testing measures FREE HORMONE amounts. Most blood tests measure BOUND HORMONE amounts. A bound hormone is attached to something – perhaps another hormone or to a toxin such as metal pollutants (common with low thyroid disorders) or pesticides.
If it is already bound, it is unavailable.
Insulin is the key to a gluten free Paleo Diet
Insulin can also be tested by blood and is more well-known to doctors than saliva testing.
What’s surprising is how seldom doctors test insulin. They often test glucose or maybe Hgb-A1C, but not insulin both before and after eating. (You need to know both).
Once hormone levels are tested, the Paleo Diet can get insulin under control quickly if you’re not already diabetic. Insulin is a MASTER HORMONE, affecting all other hormones as well as red blood cells, glucose, liver function and more. Stopping high-carb starches and sugars allows cells to drop their insulin-resistance and function normally.
Spiking insulin levels, crashing glucose, and cell starvation cause chaos in all cells, but a steady supply of fat-burning fuel gives us relief! And the body moves toward balance all on its own.
Since Paleo replaces starchy carbs and sugars with proteins, fats and vegetables, it greatly improves blood sugar and mood and helps the adrenals be at ease. We get anxious and irritated when we’re hungry, causing great stress to the neurotransmitters too.
After 2 to 6 months on a Paleo/Primal diet, retest your hormones and address areas still needing support with herbs or Bio-Identical hormones. My motto is always FOOD FIRST. Let the body change as much as it can, and then see what needs help!
What about Hormone Replacement?
One caution about the new fad of doctors offering Bio-Identical hormones.
While it’s great to see more doctors who know about Bio-Identicals, I find that most physicians greatly overdose them. I commonly see women (and men) who have been placed on very expensive hormones and now find they are overloaded with them. This is a dangerous situation, as well as a huge waste of money.
If you are seeing a doctor for Bio-Identicals, ask for frequent blood and salivary testing, and request to start hormones at the lowest doses. You can always go up if your test says so, but it can take months or years to reduce elevated hormones.
You can order your own saliva test at www.salivatest.com by the way, and the test results are easy to read. I have several blog posts and podcasts on saliva tests for adrenal, female and male hormones. Here’s one, and here’s a podcast on the adrenals.