Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Perils of Neolithic Plastics: MOOBIES, PCOS

Perils of Plastic: Chemicals in plastics and other products seem harmless, but mounting evidence links them to health problems -- and Washington lacks the power to protect us

TIME magazine (issue: April 12, 2010) featured a special report entitled 'The Perils of Plastic' HERE (or HERE or HERE). Below are are choice quotes I like by reporter Bryan Walsh [including my emphasis].
  • "Since World War II, production of industrial chemicals has risen rapidly, and the U.S. generates or imports some 42 billion POUNDS (19 billion kg) of them per day, leaving Americans awash in a sea of synthetics."

  • Those chemicals have a habit of finding their way out of everyday products and into the environment — and ultimately into living organisms. A recent biomonitoring survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found traces of 212 environmental chemicals in Americans — including toxic metals like arsenic and cadmium, pesticides, flame retardants and even perchlorate, an ingredient in rocket fuel. “It’s not the environment that’s contaminated so much,” says Dr. Bruce Lanphear, director of the Cincinnati Children’s Environmental Health Center. It’s US.”

  • "As scientists get better at detecting the chemicals in our bodies, they’re discovering that even tiny quantities of toxins can have a potentially serious impact on our health – and our children’s future. Chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates – key ingredients in modern plastics – may disrupt the delicate endocrine system, leading to developmental problems. A host of modern ills that have been rising unchecked for a generation – obesity, diabetes, autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder – could have chemical connections."

  • " Invented in 1891, BPA has been used since the 1940s to harden polycarbonate plastics and make epoxy resin, used in the lining of food and beverage containers, among other products. Polycarbonates can be identified by the recycling number 7 on the bottom of some plastics containing it. Other plastic ingredients – including potentially dangerous ones – are also indicated by the recycling number, known as the resin identification code."

  • "BPA does its job well, and today some 6 billion lb. (2.7 billion kg) of the chemical are produced globally each year. The problem is, BPA is also a synthetic estrogen, and plastics with BPA can break down, especially when they’re washed, heated or stressed, allowing the chemical to leach into food and water and then enter the human body. That happens to nearly all of us; the CDC has found BPA in the urine of 93% of surveyed Americans over the age of 6. If you don’t have BPA in your body, you’re not living in the modern world."

  • Epigenetics... "In 1998, Patricia Hunt, a geneticist at Washington State University, found that female mice dosed with BPA had serious reproductive problems, including defective eggs. More recently, she published a study showing that the offspring of mice exposed to BPA while pregnant can end up with corrupted eggs, a situation that leads to trouble for their offspring. “That’s a powerful effect,” says Hunt. “You disrupt three generations with one exposure.” "

  • Xenobiotics, XENOESTROGENS... "As a synthetic estrogen, BPA can mimic hormones, those powerful chemicals, like testosterone and adrenaline, that run the body. "

  • "Tiny amounts of hormones produce immense biological and behavioral changes, so it stands to reason that a chemical that mirrors a hormone might do the same, especially if a human being were exposed to it during critical periods of development, like the first trimester of gestation. (Children are particularly vulnerable to chemical exposure, not just because their smaller bodies are developing rapidly but also because they eat and drink more relative to their body weight than adults.) "

  • "That’s exactly what dozens of scientists have found in animal studies, linking fetal BPA exposure in rodents to everything from mammary cancer to male genital defects and even neurobehavioral problems. Nor is BPA the only industrial chemical in common use that may mess with the endocrine system. "

  • "Phthalates – a class of chemicals used to soften polyvinyl chloride plastics, found in products ranging from shower curtains to cosmetics to intravenous-fluid bags – have been shown to disrupt hormones in animals and have been linked to reduced sperm counts and other marks of feminization in male rodents. Ditto for a class of long-lived chemical fire retardants known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), used in electronics, polyurethane foam and other plastics, though they’re being phased out. (PBDEs can remain in the body for years. BPA and phthalates are excreted within a day or so, but their ubiquity means we’re exposing ourselves anew almost daily.)"

  • Codes of chemical contempt... picture of recycling codes courtesy of HERE.

Prior Nephropal from Dr. Tourgeman MD: Bisphenol A (BPA) lowers adiponectin, associated with insulin resistance, weight gain, fat gain, twisted testosterone metabolism, lower sperm count

Happy Earth Day... *contemptuous sigh*

Does This Affect Adrenals? Thyroids?

Possibly? Any hormone disruption and dysregulation at the cellular or macro-biology level affects adrenals. Heavy metals are implicated in the formation of free T4 to rT3, which is a useless form of thyroid hormone and not selenium or iodine-dependent (unlike activation of T4 to T3).

MOOBIES: high DHT, high Estrone, high Prolactin, low vitamin D

Boys becoming physically and metabolically like girls... that's called MOOBIES, higher prolactin, higher estrogen expression, erectile dysfunction, hypogonadism, testicular failure, andropause. Pollutants are highly associated with delayed maturation in adolescents and significantly interrupted hormone pathways. (Diagram, courtesy of health-spy.com)
"In 2002, the Centre for Environment and Health in Flanders, Belgium started a human biomonitoring program. For 1679 adolescents, residing in nine study areas with differing pollution pressure, hormone levels and the degree of sexual maturation were measured. Possible confounding effects of lifestyle and personal characteristics were taken into account. Participants from the nine different study areas had significantly different levels of sex hormones (total and free testosterone, oestradiol, aromatase, luteinizing hormone) and the thyroid hormone free triiodothyronine, after correction for confounders. Significantly higher hormone concentrations were measured in samples from participants residing in the area around the waste incinerators, while significantly lower values were found in participants residing in the Albert Canal zone with chemical industry."2

PaleoHacks Forum Thread: Middle-Aged Male Gynecomastia, aka 'Moobs'

Check out this thread HERE. Thank you Dexter -- forgot about my comments! Jae and Kevin Teague covered all the bases. Good job, boys! Eat paleo, do HIIT (to raise T), lose body fat (reduces DHT conversion), take vitamin D (lowers prolactin, raises T), eat fat, eat low carb, etc. This works. Current conventional medicine treatment includes... surgical options (moob-ectomy), aromatase inhibitors, or Tamoxifen (estrogen blocker): HERE.


Males: Avoid Xeno-Estrogens

Xenobiotics are found in food, herbs and pharmaceuticals. These are chemical structures which our bodies need to metabolize and eliminate via our P450 enzyme systems in the liver and other tissues. Many are fat-soluble and require a healthy liver (phase 2), gallbladder and biliary system to conjugate and eliminate from the entero-hepatic cycling that occurs in our gut. Our body has evolved to conserve and 'recycle' the 'good stuff' from our skin and oral exposures like cholesterol, vitamins, steroid derivatives, endorphins, sex steroids, fatty acids and other constituents. Unfortunately, toxins get recycled too.

The best is to avoid toxins.

Phytoestrogens are plant-derived xeno-estrogens; they are everywhere but some phytoestrogens have higher biological potency. Both plants and animals utilize estrogen phylogenically. Xenoestrogens vary in their effects. Some may protect against estrogen and xenoestrogen-induced breast cancer and other cancers but the downside for men are the ubiquitious estrogenic effects including breast tissue growth and penile reducing effects.

Some bind estrogen and progesterone receptors and potently or partially enact the below or some combination:
--inhibition of estrogen receptors (block)
--activation of estrogen receptors
--inhibition of progesterone (block)
--activation of progesterone
--inhibition of androgens (block)

Estrogen is producted by men and women (in the adrenals in both genders and ovaries in women). It feminizes however our understanding of estrogen has greatly expanded to include countless brain, neural and immunity related activities. Men need some, but not a lot. Women, we need a lot comparatively and it protects against Alzheimer's, infections and looking wrinkled. Important.

Progesterone is made by both men and women (again in the adrenals of both genders and ovaries of women). Progesterone has some androgenic action for fat burning, muscle building, mood, immunity, neuroprotective (give me 'P' if I ever have a cerebral edema) and well being. Progesterone is the MAIN hormone in pregnancy. It sustains the pregnancy and allows for exponential tissue growth. At high levels, tissues and collagen relax and cortisol and insulin go up (providing even sustained glucose supplies for the fetus). Women make ~20 mg/d of 'P' but during pregnancy, fetal adrenal and maternal production increase to ~200 mg/d. Fetal adrenal glands are 10-20x that of an adult. It shrinks after birth and post-natally.

Many xeno-estrogens block progesterone and lead to anti-adrogenic actions. In women, pomegranate, like RU486, was once used in ancient Greek as an abortifacient and to induce uterine contractions.

Below are known to raise estrogen effects and lead to gynecomastia should be limited in exposure by mouth, skin, or breath if you are trying to limit your moobie growth:
--soy SOY SOY (!OY)
--BEER (hops contains high phytoestrogens)
-- whisky in oak (per Paleo hacks)
--omega-6 (peanuts, sunflower, cottonseed, safflower oils) which increase inflammatory steroidogenesis including cortisol which raises DHT and endogenous estrogens
--pomegranate, red clover, yucca
--topical use of tea tree oil, lavender oil
--excessive caffeine (raises cortisol and depletes adrenals too; fibrocystic breasts)

Synthetic xeno-estrogens, unlike some of the natural, plant-derived compounds that exist in food and plants, are chemicals and therefore not recognized by our mammalian receptors for appropriate metabolism and elimination. Worse, they are stored in the fat tissues with extremely long biological half-lives. Synthetic xeno-estrogens and xeno-progestins may take weeks, months or decades to be excreted. Birth control, Provera (medroxyprogesterone), Depo-Provera, plastics, BPA, environmental pollutants are in this class.

Bisphenol A Elevated in Women with PCOS Compared With Non-PCOS Women

Girls. We are affected too. PCOS is the female version of moobies... females veering toward male dimorphic expression (hirsutism/facial hair, higher androgens (T, DHT), male pattern baldness/alopecia, masculinization, low estriol/estradiol, PMS, ovarian failure, sterility, early menopause). Takeuchi et al discuss the dose-related bisphenol A effect and how related to degree of hormonal dysregulation in women with PCOS. Obese women without PCOS also showed higher BPA levels compared to non-obese without PCOS. Not surprising. BPA, mercury and other pollutants have been shown to increase insulin resistance and body fat.
This study was performed to investigate the serum levels of bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor, in women with ovarian dysfunction and obesity. Fasting serum samples were obtained from 19 non-obese and 7 obese women with normal menstrual cycles: 7 patients with hyperprolactinemia, 21 patients with hypothalamic amenorrhea, and 13 non-obese and 6 obese patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). BPA was measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. BPA was detected in all human sera. Serum BPA concentrations were significantly higher in both non-obese and obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome (1.05 +/- 0.10 ng/ml, 1.17 +/- 0.16 ng/ml; p < 0.05, respectively) and obese normal women (1.04 +/- 0.09 ng/ml, p < 0.05) compared with those in non-obese normal women (0.71 +/- 0.09 ng/ml). There was no difference among women with hyperprolactinemia, women with hypothalamic amenorrhea, and non-obese normal women. There were significant positive correlations between serum BPA and total testosterone (r = 0.391, p < 0.001), free testosterone (r = 0.504, p < 0.001), androstenedione (r = 0.684, p < 0.001), and DHEAS (r = 0.514, p < 0.001) concentrations in all subjects. These findings show that there is a strong relationship between serum BPA and androgen concentrations, speculatively due to the effect of androgen on the metabolism of BPA.

Boys and Girls: Avoid BPA and other Xenoestrogens
  • Avoid plastics for food containers
  • Avoid drinking water from water bottles (esp heated) -- use metal
  • Never heat up food in plastics (even BPA-free) -- use glass or pot on the stovetop
  • Minimize/avoid Starbuck and Peet's coffee cups (I KNOW! I don't follow)
  • Buy local and organic and avoid pesticides, especially for the Dirty DOZEN
  • Leave your shoes at the door (very ASIAN *wink*)
  • Avoid consuming synthetic hormones fed to and pesticide-exposed, mass produced chickens, pork, beef, dairy; eat grassfed and local
  • Avoid/minimize wild seafood (heavy metals, PCBs, flame retardants)
  • Avoid inferior produced omega-3 fish oil or cod liver oil (heavy metals, PCBs, flame retardants)
  • Avoid consuming synthetic hormones fed to and pesticide-exposed farm-raised salmon, tilapia, catfish, shrimp, and other seafood
  • Avoid certain cosmetics
  • F*CKIN AVOID BIRTH CONTROL (oral, insertable, injected), Premarin, Provera, PremPro, Ergocalciferol (D2), Accutane, and ALL synthetic Big Pharma non-bioidentical steroid hormones


I've had to deal with synthetic progestin toxicity for the last 2 years. There was not that much I could do but what helped the most in excreting the xenobiotic I found was the below. Whenever I gained body fat (holiday eating, stress, stopping vitamin D, etc), I found the symptoms I was having were exacerbated and acutely worsened. When I dropped body fat with exercise and yoga, then the symptoms curbed down again. Body fat for me has been the biggest factor I can vary which affected symptoms and the control symptoms.

--exercising frequently to lower body fat and control insulin/cortisol/leptin (cardio 50-70% max HR four to seven hours per week) (leptin RAISES aromatase)
--HIIT 1-2x/wk (NONE unless rested/relaxed; don't over do it;BSS rocks)
--yoga, massage (relieves stress, prevents injury, resets adrenals which produce cortisol and hormones, moves lymph and circulation)
--hypocaloric high protein diet with carb cycling (900-1200 kcal/d -- I'm ~120 lbs)
--fiber -- this removes bile acid conjugates (metamucil, non-starchy vegetables dominated diet, cruciferous, seaweed, leeks, green apples, etc)
--fat (coconut milk, grassfed meat eggs, etc), omega-3, flaxseed oil
--cilantro, garlic (helps glutathione which uncouples toxins from binding), NAC (glutathione precursor, keeps liver/kidneys strong), Vitamin C, tocopherols/ tocotrienols, chlorella (antioxidant and removes toxins), coenzyme Q10 (tags proteins and DNA for proper disposal or recycling), pycnogenol (antioxidant and removes toxins), silymarin (helps glutathione and keeps the liver strong), trace minerals (metal detox and detox enzyme functions), lipoic acid (increases glutathione in WBC RBCs)
--normal bile conjugation, synthesis and elimination (fermented foods, digestive enzymes, betaine (TMG), indole-3-carbinol/DIM, taurine/glycine (and/or raw grassfed or uncontaminated-seafood), egg yolks, low carb/high sat fat diet) (when my adrenals were shot x6-12 months, I couldn't tolerate much taurine which made me dizzy and ataxic; need a modicum of decent adrenals)
--GUT, thyroid, adrenal and vitamin D optimization (affect temperature and metabolism of enzymes, P450 detox enzymes, liver, steroidogenesis and neutrotransmitters)

References1. The Perils of Plastic. Walsh B. TIME Magazine 175(14);April 12, 2010, pp.44-54.
2. Hormone levels and sexual development in Flemish adolescents residing in areas differing in pollution pressure. Croes K, Baeyens W, Bruckers L, Den Hond E, Koppen G, Nelen V, Van de Mieroop E, Keune H, Dhooge W, Schoeters G, Van Larebeke N. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2009 Nov;212(6):612-25.
3. Relationship of thyroid hormone levels to levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, lead, p,p'- DDE, and other toxicants in Akwesasne Mohawk youth.Schell LM, Gallo MV, Denham M, Ravenscroft J, DeCaprio AP, Carpenter DO.Environ Health Perspect. 2008 Jun;116(6):806-13.
4. Relationship of lead, mercury, mirex, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene, hexachlorobenzene, and polychlorinated biphenyls to timing of menarche among Akwesasne Mohawk girls.Denham M, Schell LM, Deane G, Gallo MV, Ravenscroft J, DeCaprio AP; Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment.Pediatrics. 2005 Feb;115(2):e127-34.
5. Human thyroid in the population exposed to high environmental pollution by organochlorinated pollutants for several decades.Langer P, Kocan A, Tajtakova M, Petrik J, Chovancova J, Drobna B, Jursa S, Pavuk M, Trnovec T, Seböková E, Klimes I.Endocr Regul. 2005 Jan;39(1):13-20.
6. Reproductive hormone levels in men exposed to persistent organohalogen pollutants: a study of inuit and three European cohorts. Giwercman AH, Rignell-Hydbom A, Toft G, Rylander L, Hagmar L, Lindh C, Pedersen HS, Ludwicki JK, Lesovoy V, Shvets M, Spano M, Manicardi GC, Bizzaro D, Bonefeld-Jorgensen EC, Bonde JP.Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Sep;114(9):1348-53. [FREE PDF]
7. Exposure to bisphenol A is associated with recurrent miscarriage. Sugiura-Ogasawara M, Ozaki Y, Sonta S, Makino T, Suzumori K. Hum Reprod. 2005 Aug;20(8):2325-9.
8. Positive relationship between androgen and the endocrine disruptor, bisphenol A, in normal women and women with ovarian dysfunction.Takeuchi T, Tsutsumi O, Ikezuki Y, Takai Y, Taketani Y.Endocr J. 2004 Apr;51(2):165-9. [Free PDF]
9. Exposure of newborn male and female rats to environmental estrogens: delayed and sustained hyperprolactinemia and alterations in estrogen receptor expression.Khurana S, Ranmal S, Ben-Jonathan N.Endocrinology. 2000 Dec;141(12):4512-7. Free Article
10. Effects of xenoestrogen bisphenol A on uterine and pituitary weight, serum prolactin levels and immunoreactive prolactin cells in ovariectomized Wistar rats. Goloubkova T, Ribeiro MF, Rodrigues LP, Cecconello AL, Spritzer PM. Arch Toxicol. 2000 Apr;74(2):92-8.
11. The environmental estrogen bisphenol A stimulates prolactin release in vitro and in vivo. Steinmetz R, Brown NG, Allen DL, Bigsby RM, Ben-Jonathan N.Endocrinology. 1997 May;138(5):1780-6.
12. Prepubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils. Henley DV, Lipson N, Korach KS, Bloch CA. N Engl J Med. 2007 Feb 1;356(5):479-85.
13. Red clover isoflavones biochanin A and formononetin are potent ligands of the human aryl hydrocarbon receptor. [like DIM and indole-3-carbinol] Medjakovic S, Jungbauer A. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2008 Jan;108(1-2):171-7.
14. Early life and adult exposure to isoflavones and breast cancer risk. Tomar RS, Shiao R.
J Environ Sci Health C Environ Carcinog Ecotoxicol Rev. 2008 Apr-Jun;26(2):113-73. Review.
15. The red clover (Trifolium pratense) isoflavone biochanin A inhibits aromatase activity and expression. Wang Y, Man Gho W, Chan FL, Chen S, Leung LK.Br J Nutr. 2008 Feb;99(2):303-10.
16. Effect of curcumin on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor and cytochrome P450 1A1 in MCF-7 human breast carcinoma cells. Ciolino HP, Daschner PJ, Wang TT, Yeh GC.Biochem Pharmacol. 1998 Jul 15;56(2):197-206.
17. Effect of biochanin A [red clover] on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor and cytochrome P450 1A1 in MCF-7 human breast carcinoma cells.Han EH, Kim JY, Jeong HG.Arch Pharm Res. 2006 Jul;29(7):570-6.
18. The effects of pomegranate seed extract and beta-sitosterol on rat uterine contractions.Promprom W, Kupittayanant P, Indrapichate K, Wray S, Kupittayanant S.Reprod Sci. 2010 Mar;17(3):288-96.
19. Dominant transmission of prepubertal gynecomastia due to serum estrone excess: hormonal, biochemical, and genetic analysis in a large kindred. Binder G, Iliev DI, Dufke A, Wabitsch M, Schweizer R, Ranke MB, Schmidt M.J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Jan;90(1):484-92.
20. An unusual case of gynecomastia associated with soy product consumption. [this happened to my daughter age 2 on soy formula. The Pedi knew nothing. wtf. Resolved when we stopped.] Martinez J, Lewi JE.Endocr Pract. 2008 May-Jun;14(4):415-8.
21. Role of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone in spontaneous gynecomastia of adolescents. Villalpando S, Mondragón L, Barrón C, Pérez-Pastén E, Castañeda G, Alonso-Uriarte R, Cortés-Gallegos V.Arch Androl. 1992 May-Jun;28(3):171-6.
22. Neonatal Exposure to Bisphenol A and Reproductive and Endocrine Alterations Resembling the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in Adult Rats.Fernandez MO, Bourguignon N, Lux-Lantos V, Libertun C.Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Apr 22.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Brain and Adrenal Health

Our big phat brain is not only our largest sexual organ but also the most vital and important organ for rapid responses, reflexes and ultimately both short-term and long-term survival. [Image courtesy of daviddarling.info]

Another wonderful medical image of the adrenal glands which sit at top the kidneys at our flank, below.

Note the proximity of adrenals to our major blood highways, the aorta and the vena cava which feed from the BRAIN and the heart which pumps and circulates 5 liters of your blood every second.

Nephropal post: Evo Brain, Survival of the PHATTEST

Instantly in less than one minute, chemical messengers that are integrated from the brain and its structures -- hypothalamus and the pituitary -- as a response to environmental and internal cues elicit changes immediately in the adrenals glands.

What Do the Adrenals Control?

The adrenals produce ~50 hormones (98% cholesterol-derived): all the sex hormones and their intermediaries, adrenaline (NE, EPI), aldosterone and cortisol. We need cortisol like we need insulin. Type 1 diabetes individuals make no insulin as a result of autoimmune damage and insults at the pancreatic islet cell level; to survive insulin must be injected or I.V. basal dosing all day at low levels. Insulin is necessary to make muscles and fat but not mandatory for fuel utilization. On the other hand, cortisol is necessary to integrate all food -- carbs, proteins and fats -- as well as to burn and produce energy -- ketones, glycogen, gluconeogenesis (GNG), and fatty acids. Cortisol may be the master hormone because it may control insulin and leptin, not the other way around. And... the BRAIN controls cortisol.

Natural Cortisol Secretion Patterns

Cortisol secretion follows a circadian pattern under normal relaxed circumstances. Generally, cortisol blood levels are highest in the morning as we are getting up and ready for the day. Shifting from a comatose, restful sleep tone to an alert, reposed, wakeful tone requires all the products from the adrenal glands, as directed by the brain (pineal gland downshifts melatonin, our internal 'clock' and 'calendar for seasons', light hits past the eyelids to crank out chemical messengers from the hypothalamus and pituitary to turn us 'on' for the day).

Spikes occur with 3 types of stimuli:
1) to produce energy from fats, protein, glycogen/glucose/GNG -- for waking, lower blood glucose, starvation/fasting, exercise training
2) to store energy -- post meal storage
3) to react to stimulation to maintain blood pressure and suppress inflammation -- caffeine, environmental cues (scent, sight, hearing, touch), mental stress, physical stress, sleep deprivation, nutritional deprivation

Cortisol Pathologies

Chronic 'spiking' may be pathologic if all the above are present or stimulus from an autoimmune or hyperplasia of growth at the hypothalamic, pituitary or adrenal cellular level (pheochromocytoma, Cushing's disease, hyperadrenocorticism).

Over time, alternatively, production can be halted, staggered or even chronically depleted.

Adrenal Insufficiency in the 21st Century

If there is one condition that may characterize neolithic living in our hyper-informed, hyperaware, super active, 'go-go-go', multi-tasking, 24/7 plugged-in age, adrenal insufficiency is IT. Btw, don't bother asking your conventionally trained physician about this condition. Currently, as far as I am aware, adrenal insufficiency just as vitamin D insufficiency and gluten/wheat-intolerance is not a part of the med school curriculum. Current M.D.s' are not trained to identify, diagnosis or treat this 'subclinical' condition unless you are about to keel over and display non-existent, undetectable serum levels of cortisol. Addison's is at the extreme end of the adrenal insufficiency 'spectrum' and is considered life-threatening, leading to complete shut down of organs if untreated. Like diabetes and celiac sprue, it's all a SPECTRUM which we may all be on... somewhere. Pre-diabetes? Silent-celiac? Show me someone who is not...

Trivia: who was a notable famous person with Addison's? [John F. Kennedy]

Signs of Low Adrenal Function

What are the signs and symptoms of poopy adrenals? The same as poopy thyroids? YES.

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms (courtesy and adapted from HERE)

Low body temperature
Lack of energy (reduced energy metabolism)
Unexplained hair loss (grrrrrls, pay attn)Nervousness
Difficulty building muscle (hitting WODs but no gains??!)
Difficulty losing weight (grrrrls and boys...)Irritability
Mental depression
Difficulty gaining weight
Reactive hypoglycemia (feeling shaky/cranky/palpitations after high carbs)
Inability to concentrate
Excessive hunger
Tendency towards inflammation
Moments of confusion
Indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome
Poor memory
Alternating diarrhea and constipation
Osteoporosis, osteopenia, bone fractures
Auto-immune diseases
Poor resistance to infections
Frequent infections
Respiratory infections, pneumonia, bronchitis
Low blood pressure (but high occcurs too)
Lightheadedness especially upon standing
Palpitations [heart fluttering]
Dizziness that occurs upon standing
Food and/or inhalant allergies
Craving for sweets and carby foods
Dry and thin skin, dry skin, acne
Headaches, Migraines, Abdominal Refractory Migraines
Scanty perspiration (or excessive with reactive hypoglycemia)
Alcohol intolerance
Caffeine intolerance
Iodine intolerance (heart palpitations, racing heart, jittery? probably adrenal fatigue)
Thyroid replacement intolerance (ditto... with Armour, Cytomel, Synthroid, Levoxyl, Nutri-med Thyroid, etc therapy)

Causes of Low Adrenal Function

I've tried to look into the multivaried causes of adrenal insufficiency. They are the same as other organ and subsequent hormone failures (thyroid, kidney, coronary vasculature, brain/migraines, brain/Parkinson's, ovaries/PCOS, testicles/T-deficiency, etc) and insufficiency spectrums.

Causes Of Adrenal Fatigue (courtesy and adapted from HERE)

Stress, Stress, and more Stress!
Work pressure
Death of a loved one including beloved pets
Changing jobs, losing jobs
Physical illness
Marital and interrelationship problems
Feelings of helplessness and powerlessness
Overwork/ physical or mental strain
Excessive exercise, endurance training, elite athletic events
Sleep deprivation
Light-cycle disruption
Going to sleep late
Skin burns, sunburns involving extensive areas
Head trauma/injury
Frequent fevers
Chronic inflammation
Chronic infection
Chronic pain
Temperature extremes
Toxic exposure (live near a refinery? have silver-mercury-filled cavities?)
Environmental toxins (smells, pesticides, heavy metals, PCBs, dioxin, and other endocrine disruptors)
Food toxins (gluten/casein, MSG, nitrates, preservatives/fungicides, bromides in flour, bromides in yellow sodas and veg oils, deep-sea fish (tuna, ahi, shark, etc), seafood/mercury, etc)
Drinking water toxins (alum, aluminum, cadmium, lead, mercury, FLOURIDE, CHLORIDE)
Poor gut biofilms
Chronic illness
Chronic-severe allergies
Food allergies (gluten, casein, corn, egg-whites, legumes, SOY, nightshades, etc)
Nutritional deficiencies (B-vitamins, pantethenic acid, vitamin C, vitamin D, mixed tocopherols/trienols, vitamin K1 K2s/probiotics, vitamin A, coenzyme Q10, trace minerals: magnesium iodine selenium zinc chromium manganese molybedenum, omega-3 EPA DHA ALA, protein, saturated fat, cholesterol, egg yolks/caviar/organ meats, etc)
Drugs that cause autoimmune diseases (statins, all drugs with sulfur groups, hydralazine, SYNTHETIC HORMONES: oral contraceptives, progestins, Premarin, Provera, treatments for prostate cancer, prednisone, methylprednisone, dexamethasone, etc)

Adrenal Recovery

Inducing the adrenals to perform and function the way that we are meant to evolutionarily involves a multi-tiered program geared at feeding and recovering the adrenals. I am no expert but I am getting through recovering. Part of how my thyroids and adrenals pooped out can probably be traced back to childhood and even the in utero environment. Children can be born with adrenals working subpar (like many autism and spectrum children/adults). The factors for me: mother with IBS (gluten intolerance) and probably vitamin D/EPA+DHA deficiency, childhood 3rd degree burn involving majority of L-thigh (comatose for a few days), mother's death during childhood, asthma, bronchitis, infections, decades of gluten/n-6/candy toxicity, college and other stressors, finally use of synthetic birth control hormones, C-section surgery, 4 years straight not sleeping (pregnancy/lactation), our cat falling unrecoverably ill and passing away, stopping yoga and exercising less last year, caffeine dependency, progesterone-excess and extreme endocrine disruption from Mirena hormone IUD, 18-24 month lowgrade dental inflammation/abscess, and a bike accident (proverbial last straw).

One the best resources I have found is Dr. J. Wilson PhD ND's book 'Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome'. So far I agree with everything except the use of omega-6 (he advises a Tbs of sunflower oil daily) and whole grains, though he addresses gluten sensitivity. Achieving success in an evolutionary fashion would be far superior I believe and prevent further taxing of the adrenal organs. Otherwise, Dr. Wilson's recovery plan appears complete, thorough and borne out of deep 20+ years of research and experience. He covers medical data and research from 100 years ago combined with current medical publications but has written the book for the layperson. Part IV reviews the anatomy and physiology excellently and explains very well role of adrenals and the pathophysiology of damage.

The recovery program is multi-tiered:
(a) Pro-active relaxation and 'programmed' laughing (seriously, LAUGH LAUGH GIGGLE)
(b) SLEEP and nap
(c) Address nutritional deficiencies which occurred in the course of burning out the adrenals or from incomplete diets (iodine and mineral deficiencies are in fact very common as shown in the medical literature)
(d) Routine regular eating combining small amounts of carbs at each meal with plenty of fats and protein, including starting the day off w/good breakfasts; often people with low adrenals have low hunger in the morning (few in the morning however, and no fruit for most secondary to hyperglycemic effects)
(e) Routine regular deep breathing: exercise, yoga, meditation, massage, stretching (more sex)
(f) Avoiding as much of the above listed 'causes' because they are all adrenal depletors

Adjusting our internal cues is the key. I have observed in my hypertension and diabetes patients incredible blood pressure lowering and even glucose lowering with simple 5 minute breathing relaxation exercises in the clinic.

We indeed have extreme control of mind and therefore body. Tap into the mental inner core. (In yoga they say 'the breath is the bridge between the body and the mind')

Easy? Incredibly so. Once one is not in denial *haa!*

Part of the recovery plan, I'll be on vacation for several weeks in Beijing and Shanghai. YIPPEE! More to follow (or not *hee*).

Thank you Gentle Readers for your insights (you know who you guys are) and those sharing your adrenal stories with us at animal pharm and nephropal.