The Two Flavors Of PCOS

The Two Flavors Of PCOS

Until relatively recently, I was of the understanding that Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) was simply one condition, with many different degrees of severity. Some women had very irregular cycles, while others were fairly normal. Some had terrible facial hair, some cystic acne, some thinning hair, some were obese while some couldn’t put on a pound. Variety abounded!

While all of that remains true, it turns out that there really are two quite different conditions, with many similarities, yet with foundational differences. The two distinct types of PCOS are the type with high levels of testosterone, and the other type, characterized by high levels of DHEA-S. This is not “new” news. We’ve known for a long time that different androgens can be elevated in different women with PCOS. But all were still lumped together under the single umbrella of PCOS.

Here are my observations. Please understand that these are generalizations. Women with high testosterone PCOS are easier to treat regarding their acne and weight issues compared with the elevated DHEA-S group. The women I see with very high DHEA-S tend to have recalcitrant cystic acne, often very severe. And their excessive fat tissue is very difficult to burn. Though I am opposed to the use of oral contraceptives in general, I’ve had women with high DHEA-S go on oral contraceptives and in general they do poorly. Their skin doesn’t improve and they gain more weight. Similarly with Spironolactone, it simply doesn’t help.

I’ve treated the high DHEA-S women group in the same ways I treated the high testosterone group, and I now think that may not be the best approach. They are indeed different.

I believe that the women with the high DHEA-S need to work on reducing stress and improving sleep more than the high testosterone group. Getting to bed by 10:30 PM, getting some sun most days, and controlling stress should be very beneficial and high priorities.

The DHEA-S comes from the adrenal glands, not the ovaries, and it’s the adrenal glands which respond so dramatically to stress. It’s so essential for those women to keep stress levels low. Exercise would be even more important for the women with high DHEA-S, in part to lower stress and also to increase metabolism. Getting on a diet with low amounts of animal meats and high amounts of varied vegetables, should be a mainstay of treatment as well. I’ve also found a high percentage of women with elevated DHEA-S levels to be poor detoxifiers. Emphasizing cruciferous vegetables and taking a great B vitamin complex, with methylated B’s, should be tried. And be sure the levels of Vitamin D are around 50. Getting genetics checked is also reasonable.

I’d like to end by saying that much more needs to be learned about these two quite different types of PCOS. But one thing which has been found out is that women with high DHEA-S have no higher risk for diabetes and heart disease than does the general population. This is amazing and encouraging news! The unpleasantness of today will be the anti aging foundation of the future. There is indeed much to celebrate and to look towards. There is, to put it simply, much hope and much happiness ahead.

Veggies and Fruits are Magical!

It’s been scientifically proven a significant number of times – vegetables and fruits are magical! They contain an array of amazing ingredients which perform amazing things for our bodies and our health.

The magical phytonutrients found in these plants can turn on and off genes, as do hormones, and do special things to help our microbiota, the trillions of bacteria within our colons and intestines, to thrive. In turn, the healthy microbiota, known collectively as the gut microbiome, can perform their magic to optimize our health.

Autoimmune disease has been reversed, cancers placed into remission, and Alzheimer’s Disease reversed, solely with lifestyle programs. The foundational ingredient of each program is and must be – nutrition. So aim to eat a dozen vegetables daily and 2-3 fruits … and see your body truly thrive!

Read more: High Fruit and Vegetable Intake Linked to Reduced Risk for CVD, Cancer, and Mortality

Losing weight – and keeping it off!

In a previous blog, we discussed how difficult it is to maintain weight loss, and that one of the key strategies used most successfully by long-term weight losers is to exercise about an hour per day. The same, by the way, goes for losing weight in the first place. You need to exercise for about an hour per day to burn enough calories to have a significant impact on weight loss. Of course, the more elements of a healthy lifestyle you add to your daily routine – good sleep, reduced stress, healthy diet, avoidance of toxic exposures, and others – the more effective your weight loss efforts will be.

But, you may ask, how practical is it to spend an hour every day “working out?” Don’t you already have way too much to do without adding even more “chores,” especially ones you don’t particularly look forward to doing?

Well, without diving too deeply into the motivation discussion – how important is living long and well to you really? – let’s focus, instead, on how practical it is to exercise for that hour each day.

First off, exercise doesn’t have to be a knock-down, drag-out affair to be effective. Walking at a moderate pace – 3.0 to 3.5 mph (about a mile in 20 minutes or a little less) – is enough for most people. Your heart rate quickens a little, and you breathe a little harder. You probably won’t want to do this in high heels; but you also don’t need a sweat suit, running flats, and a shower afterwards.

So, it doesn’t have to be a “big deal” or annoyingly disruptive to a normal life. But the question then is: when do you do it? Not surprisingly, the answer varies according to the specifics of the life you lead. Some people like to set aside an hour during the day, and get their exercise done and over with. For some, early in the morning, before getting swept up in the day’s activities, works best. Others prefer late in the afternoon in the slot between the end of the workday and dinner. If you happen to be retired, then you have even more flexibility in your choices.

An effective alternative to the all-in-one-shot approach is to break up your exercise into three 15-20 minute walks following breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you do this within 15 minutes of finishing your meals, you get the additional benefit of cutting your after-meal insulin spike in half and giving your weight-loss efforts a significant boost. It’s also an incredibly pleasant experience, whether you do it alone or share your walk with someone who can share your thoughts. Try it, you’ll like it!

Detoxing and Weight Loss

The obesity epidemic is still increasing, but the efforts to lose weight are declining. Weight loss is rarely successful when done in the traditional manner of trying to simply consume fewer calories, and many are simply giving up hope! Obesity is associated with an increase in all health problems, and is a very serious matter.

It’s now becoming apparent that gaining a healthy gut microbiome – having a healthy balance of bacteria in the intestines – is essential for the successful and permanent loss of excess body fat. As well, dealing with the high body burden of environmental toxicants is equally important for permanent weight management. Environmental pollutants actually alter metabolism so that fat is accumulated, which is why they are now labeled “obesegens.”

Successful weight loss and maintenance of a healthy weight requires detoxing the body, improving gut health, getting proper sleep to nurture our Circadian Rhythm, managing stress, increasing physical activity, and having all essential nutrients onboard so as to enable the body’s metabolic machinery to function optimally – to successfully burn fat!

This isn’t a simple process, but it is worth the effort – as living a life of optimized health brings with it a level joy and exuberance otherwise unattainable!

Read more here:  http://time.com/4692274/americans-lose-weight-obesity/

Helpful Hints to Ward Off the Flu: Your Flu Shot Alone Isn’t Going to be Enough to Keep You Healthy

It’s here—flu season. Scientists do their best job trying to anticipate which variants of influenza will strike and they create the flu shots for the upcoming onslaught of germs. However, they don’t know how effective it is until the first cases of flu start showing up and they can compare reality to their predictions. The statistics are in, and the vaccine has been deemed 48% effective.

Don’t despair, however, there are additional measures you can take to boost your immunity and help keep you healthy.

Take N Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) daily in the dose of 600-900 mg twice a day, and three time a day if you’re exposed! NAC has been repeatedly shown to assist in preventing flu by reducing the virus’ ability to replicate inside of your body. Additionally, NAC also reduces an inflammatory response once you are exposed. This results in less severe symptoms should you become ill.

Be sure to eat a whole foods diet with lots of vegetables! Get enough sleep! Try a diffuser with orange oil; it is quite useful at killing airborne viruses. As always, wash your hands if touching surfaces which may be contaminated. (Door handles, light switches, countertops, etc) And think positive thoughts!

If you do get sick – come see us right away for additional therapeutic modalities!!

We’ve many suggestions to help you recover faster!

Flu Vaccine 48 Percent Effective This Year, CDC Says

Bloomberg News (2/16, Cortez) reports the flu vaccine has been 48% effective so far this season, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brendan Flannery, an epidemiologist at the CDC’s influenza division, said, “The 48 percent overall is not as good as we would like to see for flu vaccine, but the protection we see is significant.”

       Medscape (2/16, Brooks) reports CDC officials said that “elevated” influenza activity is expected to continue for several more weeks in some parts of the US. Lenee Blanton of the CDC’s Influenza Division said in the report that influenza activity began to pick up in mid-December and has been “elevated” since February 4.

Why Breastfeeding is Good for You and Your Baby

A wonderful article was published last week in the Journal of Women’s Health, relating the most obvious, yet not recognized fact – breastfeeding is really good for the woman doing the nursing.

This particular article states that women who breastfeed for at least a year, significantly lower their risk for cardiometabolic diseases. Considering that February is Heart Awareness month, that’s especially welcome news. As you may know, heart attacks and strokes are the leading killers of women, by far, and at aged we really don’t wish to contemplate. Women so often think they are “bullet proof” for cardiovascular problems, and that is so far from the truth.

So … why do you think that doing a lot of breast feeding would lower your chance of having a stroke or heart attack anyway?

I guess that the answer may not strike you as obvious. Well … the article doesn’t touch on the subject, so here are my thoughts. I’ll number them!

  1. Women who breastfeed have lower stress hormones
  2. Women who breast feed tend to lose the weight gained during pregnancy better
  3. The hormones of breastfeeding, prolactin and oxytocin do wonderful things for your heart, your immune system, and your mood
  4. Women who breastfeed have less overall inflammation
  5. Women who breast feed tend to eat a healthier diet, as they are eating for the baby as well
  6. Genes are turned on and off by breast feeding in such a way to give the woman a better overall health status

Well… Let me know what you think are the reasons that breastfeeding lowers cardiovascular risk!

The one thing I do know for absolute sure is that we are destined to be healthier when we live in accordance with nature’s laws for us. If we live in tune with our female rhythms, we will live better lives … healthier, happier, and likely longer! We are what we are … we are designed and programmed to make babies and breastfeed.

You don’t have to do that, but be aware that your female body was designed for that!

Just recognize that we are genetically programmed to be reproductive females … like it or not … at least know inside that is nature’s plan! And at the very least … chose food from nature to eat!! Enjoy!!

How Much Exercise is Needed to Maintain Weight Loss?

I have some bad news and some good news. But, as always, the bad news comes first.

If you have lost a significant amount of weight, it will undoubtedly be harder for you to maintain your new weight than it is for someone of the exact same weight and body composition who was never overweight.

What do I mean by this? Let’s assume that you’ve just lost 50 pounds and now weigh 150 pounds with 30% body fat – a reasonably “good” percentage for someone your age. Your friend, who may or may not have PCOS, also weighs 150 pounds with the same percent body fat. For ease of comparison, we will assume that you also do the same amount of daily physical activity – you sit, you walk, you sit some more – pretty typical for the twenty-first century.

Let’s guesstimate that your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories you burn, if you’re sitting at rest all day) is around 1500 – we multiply your bodyweight in pounds by 10 for a rough estimate. Then we multiply that by 1.6 to account for the additional calories you burn from a day’s worth of average physical activity for a total of 2400 calories per day.

Here’s the problem. Your friend can eat her 2400 calories per day and her weight bounces up and down the normal 2-3 pounds, but long term it stays the same. You, on the other hand, for reasons we don’t fully understand, can only eat 1900 calories per day to keep from gaining weight. If you eat the same diet as your friend, you’ll gain an extra pound every week (500 calories per day x 7 days = 3500 calories, which is the energy content of a pound of fat) and within a year will have regained every pound you lost.

You didn’t overeat; your body has simply become super-efficient and now under-burns calories. This is exactly what the Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition study showed us. Contestant metabolic rates averaged 500 calories per day lower than similar sized people who had never lost weight.

It doesn’t seem fair, but that’s the way it is. This problem is further compounded by the fact that when you’re only eating 1900 calories per day, you will most likely be hungry almost all the time. Except in rare cases, your appetite center doesn’t adjust well to this fact and still expects to consume 2400 calories to maintain your 150-pound body. This is absolutely, unequivocally unfair, right?

So, what can you do? What’s the “good” news promised at the beginning?

It turns out that you can exercise the 500-calorie daily deficit away, rather than starving for the rest of your life. How much? Roughly an hour per day at moderate intensity – oh, come on, it’s not that bad! And the only side effect is that you’ll be even healthier than you ever imagined. In a future post, I’ll show you just how easy this can be.

Risks of Conventional Hormone Replacement Therapy

This is data from rats but shows that periodic, as opposed to continuous, treatment with estradiol, is protective for the brain from ischemic damage. This article urges research be done in human females to investigate a more physiological approach to estrogen therapy than what is currently being done.

This is what I absolutely believe – hormones must be replaced in a physiological manner for there to be maximum benefit and minimal negatives.

The conventional manner in which female hormones are given to menopausal women simply makes no sense, as it is not consistent with physiology. Women are cyclic, beautifully rhythmic creatures … not static ones … and must receive hormones consist with how they were designed for them.

I know I’m an outlier now, but time will bear me out. The functions of estrogen are well known and highly protective … and after menopause women suffer in varying degrees from hormonal deprivation. Yes … It is natural … but it is so very negative to a woman’s very being.

After menopause … women simply dry up! They can get dry eyes, dry bladders, dry vaginas, dry skin, dry arteries, dry brains, dry muscles, dry hearts, dry mouths, dry guts, dry bones, and on and on … And yes … I use the word dry a bit loosely … but it’s really quite close to the truth!!

Women must demand that proper research be done for them! Women are wondrous and rhythmic and should live their lives in harmony with nature!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3625208/

Artificial Sweeteners Absolutely do not Belong in Your Food!

Most women with PCOS suffer with being overweight or obese, living in a constant battle with their weight and food. Many have binge eating disorder, some have bulimia, and some even have anorexia nervosa. With the exception of the weight problem, lean women with PCOS have most of the same issues as their heavier “sisters,” and should follow the same dietary rules, one of which is: absolutely no chemical sweeteners, or really, sweeteners of any sort!

In the desire to achieve good health, weight loss, or weight maintenance, many women with PCOS choose non-caloric sweetened foods and beverages (those containing chemical sweeteners with few or no calories) in the mistaken belief that these are wise and healthy choices.

Sadly, there is now clear evidence to the contrary. In fact, more and more data is clearly indicating that these nasty chemicals actually lead to further weight gain and insulin resistance, thereby increasing the risk of pre-diabetes and diabetes. Additionally, by disrupting the normal functioning of the gut microbiome (the bacteria that live in our gastrointestinal tracts) these sweeteners can foster cognitive decline, as well as increase anxiety and depression, worsen or initiate irritable bowel syndrome, and elevate the risk for problems affecting the cardiovascular and immune systems.

A likely reason for these terrible effects is the negative impact artificial chemicals have on the different species of gastrointestinal bacteria, upsetting their natural balance by suppressing the growth of some populations, which then allows for the overgrowth of others. These bacteria, collectively called the microbiota, play an enormous role in our metabolic, emotional, cognitive, immune, and cardiovascular states by producing metabolites and signaling molecules that are absorbed and then circulated throughout our bodies. Altering the microbiome alters the natural balance of these chemical messengers and metabolites, resulting in a host of ill effects which no one, and certainly not women with PCOS, can afford to deal with.

The take-away message is, as I see it, to avoid all processed foods, as they often contain chemicals harmful to our microbiome and other aspects of our health. Try hard to eat only real and unaltered food … the food your great, great grandmother could and would have eaten! And though she may on occasion have had a special sweet treat, try to avoid those as well, unless and until you regain the health and vitality you seek and deserve.

What’s for Dinner?

When you sit down at the table to eat, what do you think makes for a great meal?

My first rule of thumb is quite simple – all food must taste good and be good for you! Those rules simply cannot be broken. Next, once it meets those qualifications, it is really important that it is truly scrumptious. If given a choice, why go for food you don’t really love, and who doesn’t love to eat? Eating is one of the true joys of life, and it makes me, and actually everyone, happy and satisfied when eating wonderful food.

Second, we should think about nutrition – is the food we’re eating supporting our long-term health. If it isn’t, then we’re setting ourselves up for all the dangerous health consequences that plague PCOS women: obesity, pre-diabetes and type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and more.

And of course we will think about the toxin content of the food. Is it organic or not? What chemicals are contained in it or is it a processed food, which, by the way, I never will eat! And is it fresh and full of nutrients, or old and wilted.

Rarely, however, do we think about the food we eat in terms of feeding the 30-40 trillion (that’s right, trillion!) bacteria that inhabit our GI tract, call the gut microbiome. This is a lot more important than you might think, because the latest scientific research is telling us that these little fellows – who have been part and parcel of who we are for the past several million years – have an incredibly powerful impact on virtually every organ system in our bodies.

They help digest and process our food and create a vast range of metabolites that we absorb and use all over our bodies. They also produce neurotransmitters that control our feelings of anxiety and depression and also help regulate our blood glucose levels through several mechanisms – and that’s just scratching the surface.

So, the bottom line is: when you sit down to eat, remember that you’re not just eating for yourself, the 20-30 trillion (yup, there we go with the trillion again) human cells that make up your body, but also for the gazillion microbial guests, who are also seated at the table.

And exactly what, you may ask, would they like to eat?

Fortunately, the answer to this is relatively straightforward and not at all discouraging. They like to eat high-quality, whole foods, and they like variety. They love lots of vegetables, both above ground and root vegetables, and a slightly lesser amount of fruit, especially when they are organic and not tainted by residues of herbicides and pesticides. They prefer plant-based sources of protein (beans, lentils, quinoa, and amaranth) over animal-based sources and do well with good doses of the fatty acid, Omega 3. And please avoid simple sugars and sugar substitutes, as they are quite toxic to the microbiome. It is simply much better to be focusing on carbohydrates containing lots of fiber. Fiber is the foundational food for the microbiota which dwells within our gut.

If you give these single-cell companions what they want, they will reward you in spectacular ways. Your weight, blood pressure, body fat percentage, cholesterol levels, and fasting glucose level will drop, all of which will lead to substantial reductions in inflammation and oxidative stress. And, if you stay tuned to this blog, we’ll give you wonderful recipes and cooking advice that will make your new diet every bit as delicious as it is good for your health!

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