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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Tips for Naturally Lowering Your Cholesterol Levels


Worried about high cholesterol? If a recent blood test has you fretting over high blood cholesterol levels, don’t miss these helpful tips for lowering them:

What is cholesterol?
Turns out, all the cholesterol your body needs it actually produces itself. All the cholesterol you consume through food is only surplus. Cholesterol as a critical component of your biology is a fatty and soft, wax-like substance that resides in your cells. Cholesterol plays a handful of important roles in helping your body make vitamin D, hormones, and substances like bile which help you digest food.

When cholesterol is transported through your body, it travels in molecular packages called lipoproteins. These lipid (fat) protein vehicles move through your bloodstream in two ways. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) carry cholesterol from your liver and deliver it to cells and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) carry cholesterol from your cells back to your liver. LDL is sometimes referred to as “bad cholesterol” because it can cause dangerous buildup in your artery walls, while HDL is sometimes refers to as “good cholesterol” because it helps your body to eliminate excess cholesterol.

Why is high cholesterol bad?
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute shares that high cholesterol levels increase your risk for developing coronary artery disease which is a condition that results from atherosclerosis, or the buildup of cholesterol, fat, and other substances on the walls of your arteries - these are called plaques. When blood vessels and arteries have less and less room for blood to pass through, your heart has to work harder and harder to pump blood through your circulatory system. This places stress on the heart, artery walls, and organs.

How can you lower cholesterol levels?
The good news is that with basic lifestyle changes, reversing high cholesterol is completely possible. Check out these quick expert tips for lowering high cholesterol and decreasing your risk for heart disease:

Be Smart About the Fats You Eat

Big fan of animal-based foods like red meat, butter, ice cream, and cheese? The saturated fats in these foods are a big no-no when it comes to lowering bad cholesterol levels especially. The Mayo Clinic  shares that in fact only 7% of the calories you consume in a day should come from saturated fats. Instead, you want to consume more foods with unsaturated fats, specifically mono-saturated fats which are derived from plant sources. Cooking with olive oil instead of butter is a good example of replacing a saturated fat with a mono-saturated fat. Avocados, almonds, cashews, and pecans are other good sources of mono-saturated fats.

Eat More Soluble Fiber
Fiber has a unique way of lowering bad cholesterol by reducing how much cholesterol is actually absorbed in your bloodstream. Soluble fiber, also referred to as viscous fiber, both slows down the motility of food through the small intestine as well as disrupts bile absorption. The body compensates for this by triggering the liver to make more bile silts which requires cholesterol. The liver starts pulling more bad cholesterol out of the bloodstream to aid the process, thus lowering overall levels. Getting 10 to 25g of soluble fiber a day can be effective in lowering cholesterol levels - look for foods like whole oats, barley, apples, kidney beans, pears, lentils, and vegetables.

Increase Daily Exercise
The Centers for Disease Control recommend 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise daily for lowering risk of developing all types of diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. When it comes to battling high cholesterol, exercise is just as important as diet changes! Low impact activities like swimming, cycling, yoga practice, hiking, dancing, and rowing help keep the heart muscle strong, help you lose weight, and can increase good cholesterol levels in your bloodstream. Additional strength training activities like light weight lifting and resistance training are also important. The best resistance bands will facilitate fun and safe strength training, especially for older adults.

Additional lifestyle modifications which support not only reducing cholesterol but lowering risk for high blood pressure and heart disease include quitting smoking and being vigilant about little to moderate alcohol consumption. Anything you can do to help power a strong heart, clear arteries, and manage a healthy weight is guaranteed to add years to your life.

This is a guest blog post.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Hormone Replacement Therapy for Weight Loss


Part of losing weight is the ability to “train your brain” to accomplish that goal. This takes more than mental focus, at times, as the brain is the primary organ that controls functions such as metabolism, health, and aging, all in the process of hormonal regulation. It only seems right that a change in any or some of these very same hormones could be the cause of weight gain, necessitating the need for hormone therapy to lose weight.

This is a simple concept to understand:
  • Hormones regulate everything in the body from energy to sleep to hunger to stress to mood to libido to stimulating the secretion of other hormones.
  • When certain hormones decline in production, others tend to increase production to counteract their actions.
  • In some cases, the increase in certain of these chemical messengers can cause bodily functions to change, such as a lack of energy stimulating the need to consume larger quantities of foods – especially those high in sugar, fat, and carbohydrates for instant energy.
  • As a person ages, the brain tends to lose some of its effectiveness at providing the various hormonal signals from places such as the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, and thyroid. This signal reduction affects many of the body’s organs, weakening their abilities to function. Health begins to decline, weight begins to increase, and these factors, in turn, cause further problems for hormonal production.
The goal of using hormone replacement therapy for weight loss is to do more than help a person get rid of excess fat, as that is not going to be a valid reason for a doctor to prescribe some form of bioidentical treatment. The real goal is to put the body back into a state of homeostasis – balance – so that it can function properly.

When the body is in a state of balance, everything will be working as it should, including the metabolism. Food consumed will be properly converted into usable fuel, or energy, rather than stored away as fat. Although a person will lose weight with hormone therapy, that is only a small part of the benefits that will be achieved. The purpose and goal of this treatment are going to be to reverse all of the symptoms associated with the particular hormonal decline that has occurred.

Hormones that Contribute to Weight Gain

There are approximately sixty different hormones in the body, and some of them can have a direct influence on hormonal weight gain. When a person has tried diet after diet to no avail, it may be time to examine how one of these three types of chemical messengers are influencing weight gain:
  1. Stress hormones
  2. Thyroid hormones
  3. Sex hormones
We are going to begin with a look at how stress affects the body and causes weight gain. Many people will automatically associate stress with eating. Think about how comforting it is to grab that donut, pint of ice cream, or bag of chips when stress levels are skyrocketing. The real reason why people grab food at times like this are:
  • Cortisol
Cortisol is the stress hormone. When the body has too much cortisol in the bloodstream, hunger levels will increase. Hunger causes a person to eat and overeating packs on the pounds. Cortisol is the antithesis to growth hormone, which will be covered in further detail in the next section. When growth hormone levels are low, cortisol levels are high. This also interferes with the ability to fall asleep at night, and decreased sleep, as we will also discover, increases the odds of weight gain.
  • Ghrelin
Ghrelin is being included here because it has a direct response to an increase in cortisol. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone. In study findings, individuals who were overweight showed increased cortisol, ghrelin, stress, and hunger following a laboratory stressor. (http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v37/n8/full/ijo2012166a.html )

Continuing the examination of hormone replacement therapy and weight loss, we move to the role of thyroid hormones in fat accumulation.
  • Thyroxine and Triiodothyronine
These thyroid hormones work to increase metabolism. If the thyroid is not putting out enough of its hormones, metabolism will slow down, and weight gain will ensue. A sluggish, tired feeling will also be present, again leading to the need to increase caloric intake. An individual may also feel a greater sensitivity to cold, have dry skin, and be subject to bouts of constipation.

Finally, we have the sex hormones. Testosterone and estrogen have their own significant roles in changing body shapes, as will be discussed below:
  • Estrogen
As estrogen levels decline during menopause, the numbers on the scale tend to go up. Doctors have now realized that this may, in fact, also be due to decreasing testosterone levels, especially since some of the excess testosterone in the body is converted into estrogen.
  • Testosterone
The primary male sex hormone is directly involved with weight gain in men and women as they age. This is due to the natural decrease in production of this chemical messenger from the testes and the ovaries, along with the adrenal glands.

The use of hormone replacement for weight loss relies on blood analysis to determine which, if any, of these hormones are at levels that are not optimum for the maintaining an ideal weight.

How Human Growth Hormone Helps Weight Loss

Human growth hormone plays a critical role in metabolism. It aids in the conversion process of turning body fat into muscle mass. HGH reduces both subcutaneous and visceral fat while inhibiting the formation of body fat. A person who is experiencing growth hormone deficiency will find that falling asleep is difficult to achieve at night. He or she will be tired in the daytime, and this fatigue will increase the production of both cortisol and ghrelin. In order to increase energy, food consumption will be required. Higher cortisol = lower GH = weight gain. Since sleep is where more than half of the day’s supply of growth hormone is secreted, this creates a vicious cycle.

Keeping all of this in mind, how can hormone therapy help lose weight for a person dealing with low GH levels?

It is quite simple – give the body back what it needs in order to thrive and let it do its own thing. Now, that does not mean HGH injections provide the impetus to go out and consume an entire pizza. Lifestyle choices do still hold a place in any weight loss program. Please note that HGH is not a diet or weight loss plan. As with any other type of hormone replacement therapy, it will only be prescribed when a deficiency has been diagnosed, and there are symptoms of the deficiency (besides weight gain) present in the individual.

In addition to the many benefits achieved with HGH therapy for people diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency, the average person can expect to increase lean body mass by about 10% and decrease fat mass by about the same amount during a six-month course of therapy.

How Testosterone Helps Weight Loss

Low testosterone levels in the body typically cause a number of unwanted symptoms, including weight gain. In the past, declining estrogen production was blamed for menopausal weight gain, but science has now found a correlation between Low T and higher estrogen levels, so it may actually be that this is the cause of weight gain in women dealing with menopause. That makes testosterone treatment the better option for helping with weight loss.

Once again, it is essential to point out that testosterone replacement therapy for weight loss will not be prescribed, per se. This is not a diet program. If weight gain is the only symptom that a person is experiencing, the doctor will look elsewhere for another form of treatment. Low T therapy with bioidentical testosterone should only be prescribed when there are other symptoms present, and blood analysis shows a valid decline in testosterone levels.

Testosterone weight loss is also attributed to the reversal of the sugar cravings that are present during Low T. These sugar cravings can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain.

How to Choose the Right Hormone Therapy to Help with Weight Loss

Choosing the right weight loss, hormone replacement therapy is not a decision that a person can make on his or her own. Treatment with bioidentical HRT medications is not often prescribed for the sole purpose of ridding the body of excess pounds. There has to be a viable deficiency before it is approved and even makes sense, to prescribe these treatments.

Each hormone has a natural range of where it should be in the body - its normal level. If blood test results show a deficiency, then that is when it is possible to provide treatment. Remember, there will also be other symptoms present that can be attributed to that particular hormonal decline, and these will also reap tremendous benefits from the prescribed therapy.

Receiving hormone therapy to lose weight means that there has been a decline in the production of a particular hormone in the body. Raising its level will bring a higher level of functioning to the body. Many people experience changes in mood, energy, libido, memory, cognitive functions, and appearance, along with a decrease in excess fat.

At National HRT, our medical staff and doctors are here to provide free consultations, answers to questions, guidance, diagnostic testing, support, and treatment medications to adults with hormonal deficiencies or imbalances. Call today and discover the ways that we can help you.

This is a guest blog posting.