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Power Up the Female Brain!

Category: General Health Information  |  Permalink

Published: Friday, October 17, 2014

 

Ladies, balance your hormones to boost your brain.

There is a very strong connection between hormones and the brain. The brain produces signals that trigger hormones vice versa, hormones also influence the brain.  For example, low thyroid often go along with low brain activity, leading to depression, irritability, and the infamous "brain fog." Balanced hormones are critical to your brain's wellbeing. Healthy levels of estrogen can make you feel good. Conversely, too much estrogen can make you anxious or irritable.

 

Symptoms of excess estrogen include:

      -     Puffiness, heavy bleeding, fibrocystic breasts, low libido

      -     Carbohydrate carvings, weight gain around the middle,

             vaginal yeast

      -     Mood swings, breast tenderness, headaches or migraines

  

What are some foods that can help improve the conversion of estrogen into good metabolites?

 

      -    Dietary fibers such as lignans from green beans, peas, carrots, seeds, and Brazil nuts can bind harmful estrogen into the digestive tract so that instead of being reabsorbed into the body, they are instead excreted through the feces.

      -     Dietary fiber also improves the composition of intestinal bacteria so that harmful estrogen metabolites can be excreted from the body.

What are some dietary supplements that can help women improve their estrogen imbalance?

      -     Omega-3 fatty acids contain EPA, which has been shown in studies to help control estrogen metabolism and decrease the risk of breast cancer.

      -     Eating grass-fed organic beef further supplies these fats.

     -     Melatonin has also been shown in studies to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells and act as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in the brain and other tissue like the intestine.

      -     Progesterone can fluctuate greatly in women who are in their late thirties and forties, making them feel anxious and irritable. The brain is loaded with progesterone receptor sites, so healthy progesterone levels lead to healthy GABA levels and promote a calm, focused brain. Often, progesterone cream can be very helpful under the care of an experienced health care provider.

 

DHEA is another extremely important hormone in the brain. New studies report that people with Alzheimer's have lower DHEA levels. When DHEA drops, the protective effects on your brain are lost. Luckily, if your DHEA level is low, it can easily be supplemented.

 

I have a great pamphlet called "Reverse and Prevent Brain Aging: Restore Your Remarkable Memory!" that you can request for more info. I want you to feel as great as I do! The recommended dosage of DHEA is 10-20 mg per day for women and 50 mg per day for men.

 

Other supplements that can help:

       -     B vitamins  can help the brain deal with stress.

      -     5-HTP is a calming supplement that boosts serotonin levels and can support sleep so that you feel less stress, which can also help with weight loss.

      -     L-theanine, magnesium, and rhodiola have also been shown to be useful.

 

So here you go! A YOUNGER BRAIN FOR YOU! (And me) 

Love,

Barbara 

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Urinary Tract Infections or Over-active Bladder

Category: General Health Information  |  Permalink

Published: Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Have frequent Urinary Tract Infections or Over-active Bladder?

 


 

There are Natural Remedies!

The two most common urological problems that Americans can suffer from are urinary tract infections (UTIs) and overactive bladder (OAB).

 UTIs are caused by bacteria or germs that enter the urethra and infect the urinary tract. This type of infection is more common in women because of their smaller urethras. Some common symptoms include burning or pain during urination, a heavy or tender stomach, or kidney problems.

 

What can be done?

1. A cranberry a day

Guess what?  It can be treated in many cases with something as simple as CRANBERRIES. Recent studies have shown that cranberry products can actually prevent UTIs by prohibiting bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls. In fact, cranberry supplements can be even more effective than antibiotics in protecting against future UTIs!  The studies were done with Cranberry Juice cocktail, but you can also purchase cranberry tablets that are sold over the counter.

 

2. Another natural remedy for UTIs is PROBIOTICS, specifically lactobacilli can prevent the development of UTIs.  These natural supplements, may help those suffering from recurring UTIs more so than traditional antibiotics because they don't destroy both good and bad bacteria. Rather, probiotics restore the "good" bacteria to the body and help crowd out the infection-causing bacteria. Yogurt is a great source of Probiotics.

3.  VITAMIN C with FLAVONOIDS: 200-300 mg of each, 4 times per day for 3-4 days can decrease duration of symptoms.

 

4.  A LOW-SUGAR DIET: Consumption of sugar can impair immune function and decrease your resistance against infection.  Especially cut out all soda!

 

Over-active Bladder?  Read on!

Pumpkin! research has found that pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, or pumpkin seed extract supplements can help. Pumpkin seeds contain fat-soluble and water-soluble sections that are found in many urinary products and that strengthen the female pelvic floor, thus decreasing the risk of infection and helping to alleviate OAB.

 


MEN:  Pumpkin seeds may also help to shrink the prostate and relieve pressure on the urethra, which can alleviate symptoms of OAB in men.

 

SAW PALMETTO can also help to relieve symptoms of an enlarged prostate (BPH). One study has shown that a specific palmetto extract inhibits an enzyme linked to BPH. Other palmetto supplements were shown to suppress the growth of prostate cancer cells and work in combination with radiation to kill tumor cells in the prostate.

 

 

LYCOPENE, which found in tomatoes, was also found to be associated with a 35% lowered risk of developing prostate cancer in one survey of 40,000 men. One study showed that taking lycopene supplements daily had lower prostate-specific antigens, which are related to prostate cancer.

There you go…."God's Pharmacy comes through once again"

Go forth and be in good health!

Love,

Barbara

 

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PROGESTERONE MADE EASY PT2

Category: Hormone Balance  |  Permalink

Published: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

PROGESTERONE MADE EASY PT. II

Here you go, friends... More Wonderful News about Progesterone, the "Feel Good" Hormone! Progesterone and your brain suggestions

 

The brain LOVES progesterone and responds very well to supplementation.. In fact, the concentration of progesterone in the brain is 20 times higher than that in the blood! When progesterone levels are too low, estrogen and testosterone will be unbalanced and can lead to conditions like anxiety, insomnia, migraines, and weight gain which are all related to brain function.  In the brain, progesterone is able to counterbalance the negative effects of excess estrogen. While estrogen excites the brain, progesterone CALMS it.

Studies have shown that progesterone has anti-anxiety effects by acting on GABA receptors in the brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and relaxation and balances excitation with inhibition.  Progesterone INCREASES the GABA receptor sites, leading to balance and a lessening of anxiety.

The progesterone and estrogen ratio is also linked to migraines. Progesterone is found to relieve hormonal migraines, including those associated with PMS. Migraine symptoms are associated with low levels of magnesium in the brain. High estrogen or estrogen dominance causes magnesium levels to drop. Adding supplemental progesterone INCREASES magnesium levels. Magnesium can relieve migraine symptoms because of its ability to relax vascular smooth muscle.  (You can also take supplemental magnesium 400-800 mg per day)

 

Progesterone and Osteoporosis

Conventional medicine widely believes that osteoporosis is caused by declining levels of estrogen. However, bone loss begins well before menopause when estrogen levels in women remain intact. FACT:  a woman's peak year for bone density is at age 30, after which she will experience bone loss of about 1-1.5% per year. Countless women who take estrogen supplements and maintain a healthy diet still have disappointing bone density. It is actually PROGESTERONE not estrogen, which declines rapidly in women after age 30. So progesterone needs to be involved in the treatment of osteoporosis.


What is the physiology? There are two types of cells that regulate bone: osteoclasts and osteoblasts. OSTEOCLASTS function to dissolve old bone, leaving tiny spaces behind. These spaces are then filled in with new bone by OSTEOBLASTS. Both osteoclasts and osteoblasts require hormone balance to function properly. Estrogen slows down bone loss but does nothing to encourage NEW bone. Progesterone (and testosterone) facilitate the building of new bone by stimulating  the bone-building osteoblasts. So...Natural progesterone can stimulate the new bone formation required to prevent and reverse osteoporosis.

 

Progesterone and Cancer

Hormones "out of whack"  has  been associated with an increased risk of breast and endometrial cancers. Controlled studies suggest that synthetic progestins increase breast cancer risk.  (Write for my pamphlet Top 10 Reasons To Get Off Synthetic Hormones to learn more details)  Natural, bio-identical progesterone does NOT affect the risk of breast cancer. In fact, studies have shown that natural progesterone is a PROTECTIVE agent against breast and endometrial cancers. While estrogen causes breast and uterus cells to multiply, progesterone does not promote cell growth and cancer cells are inhibited.

Progesterone levels at the time of breast cancer surgery even influence survival rates, according to a 1996 study. The study revealed that 65% of women with higher progesterone levels were alive 18 years after the surgery, as opposed to only 35% of women with low progesterone levels. Wow!  Ask your oncologist about  progesterone, ladies!

 

Progesterone after a hysterectomy?

Many medical professionals believe that progesterone is not necessary for women who have undergone hysterectomies. However, scientific studies suggest otherwise-using estrogen therapy alone can lead to many negative health consequences.  See my blog about Estrogen Dominance or write for my hand-out).  When women are young, they have optimal levels of all hormones, not just estrogen. Replacing only estrogen after a hysterectomy will surely lead to estrogen dominance, so progesterone is just as necessary.  In fact, it can be even more important.

As one distinguished researcher said: "If you do not have a uterus, brain, or heart, then, fine... don't use progesterone with your estrogen.   Otherwise, you need it!"

 

Progesterone and Men

(see more on my Progesterone & Men blog)

Although typically considered a female hormone, progesterone is an invaluable tool for men's hormone balance as well. Just as estrogen dominance can severely affect quality of life for women, it has equally detrimental effects for men. In fact, excess estrogen in men is linked to breast enlargement, decreased sexual function, weight gain, and prostate enlargement.  A BAD combo!

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) appears to be related to long-term exposure of the prostate gland to DHT and possibly estrogens. In fact,  Dr. John R. Lee, considered the pioneer of natural progesterone research, (and my mentor!) stated that excess estrogen exposure was a primary cause of prostate enlargement and even prostate cancer. Progesterone can help prevent the conversion of testosterone into DHT in addition to counterbalancing estrogen.

 

How to use Natural Progesterone

Perimenopausal: From the 12th through the 26th day of the cycle (for heavy bleeding use from day 10-26). ¼ tsp. twice daily.

Postmenopausal: 1/2 tsp. daily for 25-28 days of the month. Use ¼ tsp twice daily if under 60.  Over 60, you can use your whole dose at one time.

For either of these two groups, if symptoms are severe you can increase the dose until you are comfortable and then cut back to 40 mg per day.

PCOS:  Day 1-10  20 mg of progesterone at bedtime

Day 11-start of period, 40 mg of progesterone at bedtime.

 

MORE QUESTIONS?

I sincerely invite you to write to me.  I want to help you feel GREAT... All the time!
I also have a FREE 30 page booklet entitled "Natural Progesterone For You" that I will send you or your loved ones.

You were NOT designed to suffer!  Natural progesterone can be your new best friend!

Love,

Barbara

 

 

References

 

1. Campagnoli C, Clavel-Chapelon F, Kaaks R, Peris C, Berrino F. Progestins and progesterone in hormone replacement therapy and the risk of breast cancer. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2005 Jul;96(2):95-108.

2. Stein DG. The case for progesterone. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2005 Jun;1052:152-69.

3. Heersche JN, Bellows CG, Ishida Y. The decrease in bone mass associated with aging and menopause. J Prosthet Dent. 1998 Jan;79(1):14-6.

4. Hotze SF. Hormones, Health, and Happiness. Houston, TX: Forrest Publishing; 2005.

5. Dalton, K. The Premenstrual Syndrome and Progesterone Therapy. Chicago, IL: Year Book Medical Publishers; 1977.

6. Lee JR, Zava D, Hopkins V. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer. New York, NY: Warner Books; 2002.

7. Huber J. Estrogen substitution therapy in climacteric: should progesterone be omitted in hysterectomized women? Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 1991 Apr;51(4):257-61.

8. Beckham JC, Krug LM, Penzien DB, et al. The relationship of ovarian steroids, headache activity and menstrual distress: a pilot study with female migraineurs. Headache. 1992 Jun;32(6):292-7.

9. Smith SS, Waterhouse BD, Chapin JK, Woodward DJ. Progesterone alters GABA and glutamate responsiveness. Brain Res. 1987 Jan 6;400(2):353-9.

10. Le Melledo JM, Baker G. Role of progesterone and other neuroactive steroids in anxiety disorders. Expert Rev Neurother. 2004 Sep;4(5):851-60.

11. Fettes I. Migraine in the menopause. Neurology. 1999;53(4 Suppl 1):S29-33.

12. Turner RT, Backup P, Sherman PJ, Hill E, Evans GL, Spelsberg TC. Mechanism of action of estrogen on intramembranous bone formation: regulation of osteoblast differentiation and activity. Endocrinology. 1992 Aug;131(2):883-9.

13. Cowan LD, Gordis L, Tonascia JA, Jones GS. Breast cancer incidence in women with a history of progesterone deficiency. Am J Epidemiol. 1981 Aug;114(2):209-17.

14. Formby B, Wiley TS. Progesterone inhibits growth and induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells: inverse effects on Bcl-2 and p53. Ann Clin Lab Sci. 1998 Nov-Dec;28(6):360-9.

15. Mahavni V, Sood AK. Hormone replacement therapy and cancer risk. Curr Opin Oncol. 2001 Sep;13(5):384-9.

16. Tilakaratne A, Soory M. Effects of the anti-androgen finasteride on 5 alpha-reduction of androgens in the presence of progesterone in human gingival fibroblasts: modulatory actions of the alkaline phosphatase inhibitor levamisole. J Periodontal Res. 2000 Aug;35(4):179-85.

Posted by: karime
Saturday, October 18, 2014 @ 2:51:44 PM

Thanks Barbara for taking the time to inform us ladies. I really like that you referenced your posts. It shows your dedication to stay aware of research and it gives us assurance that you are just talking from a biased position but rather, a very informed one. Keep up the great work and girl you look fabulous! I started using the cream as an eye-cream too! love Karime from London, UK


Posted by: Erika
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 @ 1:03:52 AM

Wow...thank you so much for this great article. You really helped me understand hormones. I'm sure I need progesterone based on what you've said here. I would like the 30 page booklet entitled "Natural Progesterone For You". Thank you so much!!!

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PROGESTERONE MADE EASY (Part 1)

Category: Hormone Balance  |  Permalink

Published: Tuesday, September 23, 2014

PROGESTERONE MADE EASY Part 1

 

Two recent studies of progesterone supplementation show that it can promote multiple health benefits, including balancing blood sugar levels, normal sleep, stimulating bone growth, and reducing anxiety.

For men and women alike, progesterone has the ability to balance and offset the powerful influence of estrogen, an excess of which can cause problems such as weight gain, insomnia, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and decreased mental clarity. For some women, too much estrogen can lead to migraines and also more serious conditions like uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, and osteoporosis. As men age, they often experience problems like weight gain around the midsection, hair loss, lowered libido, and prostate enlargement. More and more physicians are now becoming aware of the link between these symptoms and an imbalance in the levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone.

In menstruating women, progesterone and estrogen are produced by the ovaries each month. During the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle, the ovaries secrete increasing amounts of estrogen. After those two weeks, ovulation begins and an egg is released and progesterone production begins. Progesterone prepares the womb for gestation, but if the egg is not fertilized, no pregnancy will occur and as a result, the production of both progesterone and estrogen will rapidly decline and bleeding will begin.

However, if pregnancy does occur, the placenta will begin to secrete such high levels of progesterone that ovulation will cease for the duration of the pregnancy and the uterine lining will become rich and strong for the developing fetus.

 

PROGESTERONE FOR MENOPAUSE & PERIMENOPAUSE

 

After menopause, a woman's estrogen levels can drop by about 40-60% and progesterone levels  decline even more dramatically. Although the adrenal glands still secrete some progesterone, this decline upsets the body's natural hormone balance, especially in a world filled with xenoestrogens. Following menopause, a woman's progesterone levels can plummet to almost zero and lead to many negative symptoms. In fact, numerous health problems are directly caused by an imbalance of progesterone and estrogen that leads to something known as "estrogen dominance." This term was coined by Dr. John R. Lee, an M.D. who specialized in the study of progesterone.  He used the term to describe the condition when  the body does not produce enough progesterone to offset high levels of estrogen. This  can be caused either by normal levels of estrogen combined with low levels of progesterone or low levels of estrogen combined with non-existent levels of progesterone.

 

If you have any of the symptoms listed below, you may be experiencing progesterone deficiency:

-         Anxiety

-         Irritability

-         Hypersensitivity

-         Nervousness

-         Restless sleep

-         Headaches/migraines before menstruation

-         Weight gain

-         Breast tenderness

-         Decreased libido

-         Heavy periods

Progesterone has many wonderful functions in the body:

-         Maintaining a healthy uterine lining and preventing excess

           tissue buildup

-         Inhibiting breast tissue overgrowth & stimulation

-         Increasing metabolism

-         Promoting weight loss - is thermogenic tells the body to burn

           fat for energy

-         Balancing blood sugar levels

-         Acting as a natural diuretic

-         Normalizing blood clotting

-         Stimulating the production of new bone

-         Enhancing the action of thyroid hormones

-         Alleviating depression

-         Reducing anxiety

-         Promoting normal sleep patterns

-         Improving libido  

 

NATURAL VS. SYNTHETIC PROGESTERONE: A CRITICAL DIFFERENCE

What is the difference between natural and synthetic progesterone (like progestin). Natural progesterone is synthesized in the laboratory from the Mexican wild yam. This plant version has been in existence since the 1940's, so it has been around for a LONG time. This type of progesterone is bio-identical, meaning its molecular structure is identical to the hormones that our bodies produce naturally; it's a carbon copy so to speak. The most effective form of bioidentical progesterone, called micronized progesterone USP, works by enabling the progesterone to be absorbed at a steady, even rate.

Synthetic progestins, on the other hand, are NOT bio-identical. In fact, they were originally developed and manufactured as birth control agents. These synthetic progestins are very powerful and are able to function as contraceptive because a very small dose can prevent ovulation. In other words, they shut down normal ovarian function. One of the most common progestins, called Provera, is known to lead to blood clots, fluid retention, acne, rashes, weight gain, and depression.

By the way, there does exist an oral progesterone pill that has 200 mg of natural progesterone. However, when taken orally, progesterone is metabolized by the liver and can lead to complications in patients with a history of liver conditions. The pill also makes some women feel bloated, sleepy and/or constipated.  Therefore, a cream seems to be the most effective and efficient way to get progesterone into the body because it is extremely fat-soluble and can be easily absorbed through the skin. One important advantage of using progesterone in a cream form is that the dosage can easily be altered to fit the needs of individual patients simply by varying the amount of cream used.

 

(You can read more about dosing in Progesterone Made Easy Part 2)
 I LOVE natural progesterone crème and have been using it in transdermal crème form for the past 25 years!

 It's great for men, too!

Love Barbra,

 

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Collard Green Wraps

Category: Recipes  |  Permalink

Published: Saturday, September 20, 2014

Roasted Yam and Chipotle Black Bean

Collard Green Wraps

 

 

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 large collard green leaves, de-stemmed and blanched

1 large yam peeled, diced, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and cumin seeds (optional) and roasted for 25 minutes at 425 degrees until tender and slightly crispy

1 cup of baked/smoked/seared tofu (or chicken or beef)

1 ½ cups cooked black beans seasoned with:

  •          ¼ tsp chipotle powder
  •          ¼ tsp cinnamon
  •          ¼ tsp salt
  •          ½ tsp maple or agave

1 avocado, sliced

Cilantro springs

For the chipotle lime vinaigrette:

  •          1 tbsp lime
  •          1 tbsp olive oil
  •          Pinch of salt
  •          ¼ tsp chipotle powder

Directions

To prep the collard greens, slice off the stem and remove the "backbone" with a sharp knife. Then drop them in a pot of salted boiling water for about 45 seconds. Remove and place in a bowl of ice cold water. Blot dry. Now they are ready to fill!

For the yams: peel and dice and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cumin (optional). Roast in the oven at 425 for about 25 minutes, until tender and a little crispy.

Season the cooked black beans with the chipotle powder, cinnamon, salt, and maple.

      Now to put the wraps together: place yams, beans, and tofu/chicken/beef at the bottom end of the collard green. Add a slice of avocado and some cilantro on top. Roll up like a burrito, making sure to tuck in the sides as you roll. Cut in half and serve with a little chipotle-lime vinaigrette for an added burst of flavor.

 

 

Collard Green Wraps with Chickpea Walnut Meat

(no cooking necessary!)

 

 

Ingredients (serves 6)

1 cup cooked chickpeas (rinse and drain if using canned version)

½ cup walnuts

6 collard green leaves

1 tbsp low sodium Tamari or soy sauce

1 cup shredded purple cabbage

1 small avocado, diced

 

Directions

Combine the chickpeas with the walnuts and tamari and process in a food processor until it has the consistency of ground meat. Remove the backbone from the collard greens. Place an even amount of the "meat" mixture onto each leaf and add some cabbage and avocado on top. Roll up like a burrito and serve with peanut sauce if desired.

 

Mediterranean Tuna & White Bean Salad

Collard Green Wraps

 

 

Ingredients (serves 10)

10 large collard green leaves with stems removed

1 cup cooked or canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 6-oz. cans of solid white tuna, drained and flaked with a fork

Zest from ½ lemon

½ cup of jarred (packed in water) roasted red peppers, chopped

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

¼ cup chopped, toasted, unsalted walnuts

2 tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 ½ tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

 

Directions 

Fill a wide, deep sauté pan with several inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium to reduce to a simmer. With tongs, place 2 collard leaves in water and cook for 1 minute. Remove the leaves and transfer to a clean dish towel and pat dry. Repeat with remaining leaves.

In a medium bowl, add the beans and mash lightly with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine.

On a clean work surface, arrange 1 collard leaf, shiny side down, with the stem end closest to you. Spoon ¼ cup bean mixture onto the center of the leaf and spread lightly, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Fold the sides of the leaf inwards and roll tightly like a burrito. Can serve immediately or wrap individually and refrigerate up to three days.

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