August 10, 2012

Gluten Sensitivity Hormones, and Vitamins


Unexpected Side Effects

Gluten is a known to disrupt a number of hormones, estrogen included.  If you have been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity and you are having hormone related troubles keep reading.  Often times woman are placed on prescription estrogens for birth control, for pre-menstrual symptoms (PMS), and for menopause symptoms (hot flashes…).   Doctors will frequently prescribe estrogen pills without measuring for the presence of hormone dysfunction to treat the above symptoms.  Unfortunately, there are a number of unintended nutritional side effects associated with taking estrogen…

Removal of Gluten Often Times Resolves Hormone Imbalance

I commonly see women in my clinic who are experiencing multiple hormone based problems.  A large majority of these women report normalization of hormone related symptoms after discontinuing ingestion of gluten based foods.  That is not to say that all hormone related diseases will spontaneously heal on a gluten free diet, but you should be aware that the connection is strong.  The following diagram displays common reasons why women are prescribed estrogen based medications along with the nutritional deficiencies that estrogen has been shown to contribute to, and the side effects of these nutritional deficits…

Estrogen and vitamin deficiencies

Are You Taking Estrogen?

If you are currently taking prescription estrogen (including the natural or bio-identical versions) you should be aware of the nutritional side effects.  Ask you doctor to test your nutritional levels while on this type of medication and supplement accordingly.  I recommend using Spectracell labs as they perform an advanced nutritional evaluation of more than 30 vitamins and minerals. If you need a source of TRUE gluten free supplements, click here or visit the links below:

6 Tips to Follow If You Suspect You Have A Hormone Imbalance?

If you have abnormal cycles, excessive bloating, heavy carbohydrate cravings, headaches, swelling, heavy bleeding, and infertility issues, ensure that you do the following:

  • Visit a functional medicine doctor to help you identify the underlying cause of the imbalance.  Ask him/her to check your vitamin/mineral levels.  Additionally, you might want to be checked for food allergies.
  • Make sure that you get adequate sunshine – sunlight helps to produce vitamin D and melatonin.  Both of these hormones help regulate your endocrine system function.
  • Get adequate sleep.  Many of the hormones in our body are regulated through sleep.
  • Remove and eliminate environmental estrogen exposure.  Environmental estrogens are found in petroleum byproducts.  These chemicals are commonly used to make plastics.  This means do not eat, drink or store foods in plastic.  Store food in glass.  These chemicals are also found in the air and in water, so it is highly recommend that you filter your air and filter your water to remove as much as possible.  Cosmetics and soy products are also sources of environmental estrogens.
  • Eat organic foods.  Many pesticides sprayed on foods are chemical estrogens.  Eating organic will minimize your exposure to these chemicals.
  • Exercise daily.  The body depends on movement for adequate lymphatic flow and oxygen delivery.  Additionally, daily exercise is critical for regulation of cortisol and epinephrine.

All the best,

Dr. O

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