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Hormones that Age Us: Part 1

Bestselling author, The Carb Sensitivity Program and The Hormone Diet, Dr. Natasha Turner talks about how hormones age the way you look. 


High insulin:

Insulin is an essential substance whose main function is to process sugar in the bloodstream and carry it into cells to be used as fuel or stored as fat.  A primary cause is excess intake of sugar or carbohydrates typical of many diets today. This includes nutrient-poor carbohydrates such as processed foods, sugary drinks and sodas, packaged low-fat foods, along with insufficient protein intake, inadequate fat intake and deficient fibre consumption. Insulin resistance may also be attributed to lack of exercise, overindulging in alcohol, stress, a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure and excess body fat, especially around the abdomen. Chronically high levels of insulin can also lead to a pre-diabetic condition called metabolic syndrome (or insulin resistance) and type 2 diabetes, which only furthers weight gain. It is currently estimated that one out of every four North Americans has insulin resistance.

Body fat site: Love handles, triceps, back, belly fat

Skin effects:

  • Age spots and wrinkling
  • Sagging skin
  • Cellulite
  • Skin tags
  • Acanthosis nigricans (a skin condition characterized by light brown to black patches
  • or markings on the neck or underarm)
  • Abnormal hair growth on face, chin (women)
  • Shrinking or sagging breasts
  • Water retention in the face/puffiness

Avoid foods like muffins, granolas bars, oatmeal, artificial sweeteners, pop and latte’s

Supplements: Alpha lipoic acid, Holy basil

High Cortisol:

Persistently elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, are very detrimental to your health as well as to your body composition. If you suffer from a mood disorder such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or exhaustion, or if you have a digestive issue such as irritable bowel syndrome, you can bet your body is cranking up your cortisol. Not only does it increase your appetite and cravings, it causes a loss of muscle mass, libido and bone density and also contributes to depression and memory loss. In other words, chronic stress makes us soft, flabby and much older than we truly are! Study after study shows that stress causes abdominal fat—even in people who are otherwise thin. Researchers at Yale University, for example, found slender women who had high cortisol also had more ab fat. More results published in the journal of Psychosomatic Medicine in 2000 established a link between cortisol and increased storage of abdominal fat.

Body Fat Site: Belly Fat

Skin Effects

  • Wrinkling, thinning skin or skin has lost its fullness
  • Hair loss
  • Water retention in face/puffiness

Include daily activities to lower cortisol – kissing, meditating, massage, aromatherapy

Supplements: Vitamin B6, Ashwaganda, Hydrolyzed milk protein

High Estrogen:

Abdominal fat in men increases the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. As estrogen levels rise, so does the tendency to accumulate more abdominal fat, fuelling the situation. The risk of prostate cancer also increases with higher estrogen levels. A premenopausal woman with high levels of estrogen (also known as estrogen dominance) will likely have PMS, too much body fat around the hips and difficulty losing weight. Menopausal women and, yes, men too, may experience low libido, memory loss, poor motivation, depression, loss of muscle mass and increased belly fat.

Body Fat Site: Chest/Breast, Belly Fat, Hips, Thigh, Buttocks

Skin Effects:

  • Breast growth (men)
  • Spider or varicose veins
  • Cellulite
  • Water retention, puffiness

Remove sources of estrogen from the diet – alcohol, excess fat and increase Fiber and sources of probiotics in kefir or fermented foods to rid estrogen from the body

Supplements: Turmeric (Curcumin), Calcium-d-glucarate and magnesium all aid estrogen removal

Low Estrogen:

According to projections by the government of Canada, one in six women will hit menopause within the next decade. Contrary to popular belief, menopause, which can begin as early as 40 years of age, is not just about estrogen decline. So many women come to my office intensely frustrated with the unwelcome changes in their body during this phase of life, especially an annoying thickening of the waistline. Other common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, headaches, heart palpitations, poor memory and concentration, urinary urgency or incontinence, vaginal dryness, changes in the appearance of their skin and hair and emotional changes including depression, anxiety and irritability.

Body Fat Site: Belly Fat

Skin Effects:

  • Dry or sagging skin
  • Thinning skin or skin has lost its fullness
  • Hair loss
  • Shrinking or sagging breasts

Increase phytoestrogenic foods: soy, flaxseed, pomegranate, fennel. Use herbs to raise estrogen effects in the body: red clover, angelica

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