Transforming healthcare through
personalized lifestyle medicine
Our May Focus is on Women's Health
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
–Motto, Harmony Hill Cancer Retreat Center, Union, WA
Wendy Warner, MD
Most of us were taught that hormone balancing in women is just about estrogen and progesterone. (note the singular “estrogen”). Actually, it involves all the estrogens, progesterone, and androgens. Recent research is showing that androgen levels actually fluctuate more than estrogen levels around the final menses; the level of estradiol actually remains fairly constant during the year or so on either side of the final period. However, androstenediol, 5-diol and DHEA go through large swings. So maybe we’ve been focusing on the wrong thing all along?
Sara Gottfried, MD
It’s August, 1989. Something weird and wonderful is happening en route to Harvard Medical School.
My hair is astonishingly full, thick and shiny even though I haven’t used “product” on it for the entire summer. My nails are curiously strong. My skin? Radiant, and it’s not just from the young love I feel for my latest boyfriend, whom I met in the Alaskan “Bush.” (As you probably know, the “Bush” in Alaska is the term that Alaskans use to describe the vast regions of the state not connected to the US road network or ferry system, which happens to be the majority of land). I spent the previous summer in Bethel, Alaska, working on a research project for the Alaskan Department of Fish and Game.
Susan S. Blum, MD, MPH
Author of The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor’s 4-Step Program for Treating Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune diseases are much more prevalent in women; 75% of autoimmune diseases affect women, while 25% affect men. This statistic makes it seem like estrogen is involved in some way. We know that estrogen affects the immune system, because all immune cells have estrogen receptors and these hormones also encourage your immune cells to begin to make too many antibodies. The role of estrogens in autoimmune diseases has been well studied in women with lupus, where research has shown that oral contraceptives and the use of post menopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increased the risk of lupus and that the incidence of lupus increases after puberty and drops after menopause when estrogen levels are lower. (1) These findings make sense because estrogen causes a shift toward Th2 (lymphocytes that make antibodies), and women with lupus are already Th2 dominant, thus the extra estrogen makes the disease worse. The severity of symptoms in patients with lupus often gets worse as estrogen levels climb, like during the menstrual cycle and during pregnancy.
Mira Dessy, NANP
Our health as adult women starts as adolescents. Developing into womanhood, there are certain dietary considerations that are of vital importance as this time period is when adolescent bodies lay the foundation for the rest of their adult lives. Outside of the rapid growth of infancy, adolescence is the second fastest growth period in the life of a woman. This makes ensuring their nutritional status critical, in order to not only provide them with the nutrition they need now, but to support their emerging adulthood.
Cheryl Harris, RD
Infertility is one of the hardest things for couples who want children, and celiac disease is frequently an overlooked cause.
It’s commonly known that around 1% of the population has celiac disease, and we often think of it as a gastrointestinal disorder. But celiac is 4-8 times more common in women who are experiencing infertility without any other known cause. It’s particularly tricky, because many of these women are not experiencing any of the typical celiac tummy troubles, and most don’t even have anemia, which is often the most visible sign of celiac.
Osteoporosis is not your fate. Petite women have a higher risk, but smart choices canimpact the outcome. Keep those bones strong, because you have things to do andplaces to go! These 5 tips may surprise you: Got Milk campaigns would have us believe that calcium comes from dairy alone. You’d never know from those ads that you can obtain all your calcium without ever touching a glass of milk. In fact, the acidity in cow’s milk can impede absorption of calcium. For years, we were told to UP our calcium. Now, we know that calcium works inconcert with other key nutrients. In fact, we need magnesium, and vitamins D and K, as well as healthy fats, to absorb and utilize the calcium. Consider these sources of calcium instead of milk:
Jill Troderman, NC
Breathing. We do it all day long but how often do we actually pay attention and bring our awareness to the quality of our breath? We often forget what the ancients knew; how we breathe is directly connected to our emotional, physical and mental states of being. One particular type of Pranayama or yogic breathing is called Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana). The name implies that through working with our vital life force energy, we can use Nadi referring to the different pranic channels in the body and Sodhanana, meaning to cleanse orpurify, as a tool to greater health and wellness. I was first introduced to this kind of breathing during a yoga retreat with yoga masters Michelle Hebert and Sheri Baptiste, both of whom I continue to learn from. I instantly felt the power this kind of breathing had on my mind, spirit and physiology and later, especially during times of stress, would call on it for instant balancing.
Latest Breaking News
A report from the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project:
"Our approach that emphasizes biochemical pathways, rather than individual nutrients, revealed that breast cancer risk may be more strongly associated with glycemic control factors than those from other pathways considered. Our study emphasizes the importance of accounting for multiple nutrient pathways when examining associations between dietary intake and breast cancer."
Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Related Health Conditions
Ben Brown, ND
Low mental energy in the cognitive domains of memory and attention is frequently found in the general population. Age-related cognitive dysfunction occurs across a gradual continuum of preclinical cognitive decline (PCD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). PCD precedes MCI and AD by several years and begins at least as early as 45 years of age. The prevalence of MCI is 10% at 70-79 years and 25% at 80-89 years of age. The frequency of AD is also high with prevalence rates in people over 60 years of age in North American and Western European populations estimated at 6.4% and 5.4% respectively. The clinical characteristics of PCD and MCI are deficits in memory with more advanced cognitive impairment in AD.
Robert Hedaya, MD, DFAPA
“Dementia” is a term which refers to the loss of cognitive (thinking) abilities in adults, over a long period of time (at least 6 months). It may affect any of a variety of higher brain functions including memory, language, problem solving, judgment, impulse control, and attention. In many cases it is progressive, although sometimes it does not progress.
Memory loss creates fear in the very core of one’s being because it threatens one’s identity, and raises the specter of losing one’s independence. Forgetfulness can be a signal that dementia is imminent, but it can also be a warning that other problems are present, which left untreated, may develop into pseudo-dementia (a false dementia). The idea that it is normal to lose memory as one ages is not correct. Memory loss is always a result of abnormal body processes. In this post, I will review some basic information, which you can use for dementia and its prevention (yes, it can be prevented), and second, I will review some of the causes of pseudo-dementia.