In the first part of this blog, you may remember that I briefly decribed what Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN) is and what it is not. I also mentioned that a part of FDN is balancing of the steroid hormone pathways (SHP).
Within the SHPs, the ratio of Cortisol / Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is crucial. When these two hormones are in balance, the body is able to adapt to the stresses that it is under. However, when the body is under stress for prolonged periods, this delicate ratio is thrown out of balance and is no longer able to adapt to the stresses.
Cortisol is the hormone released by the Adrenal glands during stress. It is one of the ‘fight or flight’ hormones. DHEA is the precursor to the sex hormones Testosterone and Estrogen. When we first receive high stresses, Cortisol levels are raised to deal with the extra stress. After all, when we are stressed our hormonal system thinks our life is in danger. The extra Cortisol is produced by ‘stealing’ Pregnenolone a precursor to the sex hormones to make Progesterone which then gets converted to Cortisol.
After prolonged stress, the Adrenal glands will begin to tire and Cortisol output will begin to reduce and this is when we begin to feel tired most of the time. However, in some people, they still won’t notice any difference at this stage.
Eventually, if this ‘Pregnenolone Steal’ continues, the bodily systems will be compromised and eventually symptoms will appear. Common symptoms include:
- Fat accumulation on the body / weight increase
- Skin problems
- Menstrual irregularities
- Sleep problems
- Mood swings and low mood
- Memory loss
- Digestive problems
- Chronic fatigue / lack of energy
- Muscle and bone aches and pains
- Higher susceptibility to colds and flu
- Reduction of muscle mass
- Foggy thinking
- Reduction in bone density
- Vision problems
In addition, to re-balancing the SHP, we also look any where necessary to find the under-lying causes of dis-ease. It may be that the person also has a bacterial overgrowth, a parasite infection, a fungal infection, free radical damage, an over burdened detoxification system and/or damage to the immune system barrier (Mucosal barrier).
Results from specific lab testing, which can be done with saliva, urine, stool or blood, depending on which test is being performed, allows us to pin point where the causes of the problem are and where-else we may need to look.
Stay tuned for the final part of this blog, when I will outline how to build health from the ground up using a mixture of CHEK, Metabolic Typing and FDN…