We are thrilled to welcome Gere Miller, MD., Board Certified in Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine, and Natural Hormone specialist for over 15 years to guest blog today and shed some light on an issue many of us know so little about, but would love to know more…
You were probably in high school when you noticed your mom started doing all these weird things and you wondered if she was going to end up in the asylum like crazy Great Uncle Harry. She was responsible for paying the bills and keeping the family’s financial books in order, and that was a scary thought! Perhaps now you are beginning to wonder if the curse of Great Uncle Harry has come to visit you too. Can’t remember your own bank account number? All of those crazy passwords scattered in your mind? Something as simple as your own phone number or remembering to meet your best friend for coffee starting to slip your mind? So you write it down, then you try to recall where you wrote it down… somewhere – where was that? And no, you haven’t been drinking..though you almost wish you had!
Well it turns out that forgetting is just one of the symptoms of ‘Mentalpause. The Brain – one of the most incredibly complex of all of God’s creations – has a lot of special requirements. Special requirements like enough water, enough oxygen, enough electrolytes, adequate sugar levels for energy, nutritional substances, enough restful sleep, and last but not least – Hormones. Really?
Really. Many different hormones are needed for your CPU (Central processing unit) to continue to function at optimum speed, while maintaining accuracy and focus. Be forewarned, this gets a little complicated.
First of all, let’s look at the thyroid, that gland in the front of your neck. If your thyroid hormone level is low, expect mental slowing, short term memory loss and depression. A simple blood test that includes TSH, free T3, free T4, reverse T3 and anti-Thyroperoxidase levels is mandatory to adequately assess thyroid function. The caveat is that it is difficult to find a physician who will test for all of the above, and even fewer who will consider treatment that includes the most active form of thyroid hormone, T3. (See the recommended specialists below). Approximately 40% of people do not adequately convert T4 (found in synthroid, levothyroxine, levothroid, etc) into the active T3. That’s why the majority will benefit from supplementing with T3 (There are many other signs and symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, that we’ll discuss in a later blog). Consider one of the below mentioned specialists to get accurately tested. And keep in mind that having results somewhere in the lab range does not necessarily mean that you are ‘normal.’
Next up, Cortisol, from the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys. Cortisol that is too low will result in decreased concentration, while cortisol that is too high will result in increased forgetfulness. Again, there are multiple other signs and symptoms that point to either condition. Best testing is done by a saliva collection, 4 times over a 24 hour span to aid with the determination. (A standard cortisol stimulation blood test does not show adrenal dysfunction, only whether the adrenals can respond to increased stimulation.)
Next, Pregnenolone (nothing to do with pregnancy) is considered the memory hormone. It actually improves nerve transmission speed thereby improving slowed mentation, as well as enhancing memory. A blood test is useful here. Again, test results somewhere in the lab range don’t mean that you are normal.
Then we come to human growth hormone, which is produced throughout life, not just in childhood. Low levels result in poor memory and depressed mood. This one is a little trickier—you will need to see an Anti-Aging or Integrative Medical Specialist to get proper testing and possible treatment.
Last but not least, you probably thought I was never going to get around to it, the so-called sex hormones – Estrogens, Progesterone and Testosterone. A combined progesterone/estrogens deficiency can result in memory lapses and foggy thinking, while deficiencies of estrogens and/or testosterone alone can also result in memory lapses and foggy thinking. The best tests for these must be for the ‘free form” of these hormones, and therefore best done by a saliva test. The reason is that the ‘free form’ is the only active form of these hormones (there is no correlation between total hormone levels and ‘free’ hormone levels) and there has never been a blood test developed for ‘free progesterone.” Best treatment for these deficiencies is by a cream that is applied to the skin to avoid the rapid inactivation of progesterone that occurs when it is taken by the mouth. These creams can be formulated in concentrated form so that only 0.1 cc is needed to be massaged into a small area on thin skin (a teaspoonful is 5 cc) so you can see that this is a very tiny amount. Topical forms of these hormones have been available for many years and are best made by a high quality, certified compounding pharmacy on a custom basis to avoid the ‘one size fits-them all’ philosophy of big pharmaceutical firms — individual requirements can vary significantly which is why one size does not work. So-called natural hormones cannot be patented which is why big pharmaceutical firms have formulated partial copies of the natural hormones to maximize their profits.
Mentalpause – you don’t have to live with it or the fear of the curse of crazy Great Uncle Harry. There are many testing and treatment methods available. Bear in mind that the human body is very complex, so that testing must be repeated to ensure that you are optimized on the correct formulations.
A list of knowledgeable experts from American Academy of Anti- Aging Medicine – www.worldhealth.net
Click here for a great website on hormone restoration