Tag Archives: fatigue

Hormone Testing

In my practice, I often see patients with a variety of symptoms that may seem unrelated but may all be somehow connected to either the reproductive (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone), stress (cortisol and adrenalin) or thyroid hormones. Some of the issues that are often related to hormone imbalance include menstrual problems, insomnia, migraines, anxiety, weight gain, fatigue, and menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and low libido. As a woman approaches menopause, the production of the reproductive hormones (estrogen and progesterone) will shift from the ovaries to the adrenal glands, which also produce our stress hormones. If the adrenals are already fatigued from a lifetime of other stressors, giving them this extra job can make this transition particularly uncomfortable. Additionally, shifts in the reproductive or stress hormones can also throw the thyroid out of balance.
Usually, just getting some good objective information is the best first step towards resolving the issue. Most of these hormones can be evaluated using a simple saliva test, with the exception of thyroid hormone which is best evaluated through the blood. Once we know which hormones are out of balance, either in excess or deficiency, then we have many natural options to help bring things back into balance and get you feeling better. Please feel free to call or email me if you have questions regarding hormone testing!

Balancing Blood Sugar to Feel Your Best

It’s a common story: “I wake up early for work feeling tired so I have a cup (or three) of coffee with milk and sugar to wake up, and a bagel or a donut for breakfast. Work is busy so I don’t stop for a break until 1pm, and then I have some chinese takeout or a piece of pizza for lunch. At 3pm I’m falling asleep at my desk so I have a diet soda and grab a couple pieces of candy out of the jar at work. I go home and make something quick for dinner and watch some TV, then go to bed. By 2am I wake up and can’t fall back to sleep until 4am so I wake up exhausted the next day and start over…”
For many of us, this cycle of stress, fatigue, and compensation for the two with marginal food choices becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. When we’re tired, we often go for caffeine, sugar, and refined carbohydrates (like those in bagels, pizza, and noodles) to boost our blood sugar for a temporary feeling of increased energy. The down side is that when we spike our blood sugar quickly, it will not be maintained and will crash again a few hours later, resulting in greater fatigue. Also, when we eat infrequently the blood sugar will crash and again we will feel exhausted. Additionally, when we eat early in the evening, by the middle of the night many people will wake because they are hungry and not be aware of it, which can keep us up for a couple of hours and make us more fatigued the next day.
The simplest way to combat this cycle and improve energy throughout the day and stay asleep at night are to follow a few easy rules:
1. Eat protein and fiber with every meal. This slows the rate at which food enters the bloodstream which prevents the blood sugar from getting too high or too low.
2. Eat Frequently, preferably every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day. You do not need to increase overall caloric consumption, sometimes breaking up a meal in to two separate snacks works great.
3. Limit sugars and refined carbohydrates, stick to complex carbohydrate sources such as whole grains and beans and high fiber fruits such as apples and pears.
4. Eat a protein snack at bedtime. Easy to digest proteins such as yogurt, hummus, or peanut butter are best.
Good luck and happy eating!