B Vitamin Status and Miscarriage

In a 2014 study, women with adequate levels of vitamin B12 and folic acid, were found to be more resistant to the detrimental effects of the environmental pollutant DDT and therefore and lower risk of early pregnancy loss.

Measuring B12 status can be done through blood testing, however, there is controversy as to whether a normal serum B12 level is indicative of a normal tissue B12 level.  Urinary Methylmelonic Acid is considered to be a better test for this or an organic acid test, which identifies imbalances before any abnormal findings on a CBC or blood work. Organic acid testing can indicate the functional need for specific nutrients, diet modification, antioxidant protection, detoxification, and other therapies.

Source:  F. Ouyang, M. P. Longnecker, S. A. Venners, S. Johnson, S. Korrick, J. Zhang, X. Xu, P. Christian, M.-C. Wang, X. Wang. Preconception serum 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2,bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane and B-vitamin status: independent and joint effects on women’s reproductive outcomes. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014; 100 (6): 1470 DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.088377

Estrogen Metabolism or Clearing Excess Estrogen

Sex hormones are produced in the body via the following assembly line:
Cholesterol —-> Pregnenolone —-> Progesterone —–> Androstenedione —-> Testosterone —-> Estradiol (one form of estrogen).  Estradiol is our end product and when there is the right amount of our end product, it’s the liver’s job to take any extra and break it down through a series of steps known as Phase I and Phase II liver detoxification. There are several ingredients required for successful breakdown and clearance of estrogen, as well as chemicals, pollution, pesticides etc. that can act like estrogen. We want to remove any excess estrogen and these waste products so that they don’t accumulate and do harm such as promoting reproductive cancers.

The first step in estrogen breakdown is conversion of estradiol to estrone. Estrone is then metabolised through Phase I liver detoxification (hydroxylation) into 2-hydroxyestrone. Cruciferous vegetables, flaxseeds, soy and rosemary supply substances like indole-3-carbinol that are necessary for this step to occur. The next step in estrogen breakdown is Phase II detoxification (methylation) which converts 2-hydroxyestrone to 2-methoxyestrone. This step requires vitamin B6, B12 and ACTIVE folic acid (5MTHF) to proceed. The active folic acid part is important as most folic acid from supplements is inactive. Some people have a defective gene that doesn’t allow them to process folic acid properly, so that they cannot make 5MTHF. This causes sluggish liver detoxification. There are 3 final procedures the liver can do to our 2-methoxyestrone to package it up for elimination. Glucuronidation requires glucaric acid, methlyation requires active folic acid again (5MTHF) and sulfation requires sulfur.

If any of these ingredients is missing, estrogen breakdown will be incomplete and estrogen, estrogen breakdown products and other waste like it, can build up in your system creating health problems like endometriosis, acne, fibroids, painful periods, hormone related cancers, heavy periods, infertility and other hormone imbalance conditions. In treating these conditions, I find it successful to provide (in the form of supplements) each component necessary for successful completion of phase I, phase II and the final packaging steps.

The typical benefits of enhancing estrogen metabolism this way include reduced risk of hormone related cancers, lighter periods, less cramping, less breast tenderness, reductions in fibroids, improved fertility, and clearer skin.

How Often Should I Do an Estrogen Detox?

That depends on the person and their particular symptoms, but for the average person, once per year.

Should Men do Estrogen Detoxification?

Yes!  Men produce estrogen as well and  excess estrogen and accumulation of estrogen like chemicals like bisphenol a, can bind to estrogen receptors in men and promote cancer such as prostate cancer.

Source: Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Jan;94(1):e211 . Bisphenol a and hormone-associated cancers: current progress and perspectives.  Gao H1, Yang BJ, Li N, Feng LM, Shi XY, Zhao WH, Liu SJ.

Hashimoto’s Autoimmume Thyroiditis

What is Hashimoto’s?

It is an auto-immune thyroid disease, where the body is producing antibodies that are attacking the thyroid.

How would I know if I have Hashimoto’s?

If you have been diagnosed as hypothyroid, you may have Hashimoto’s.  If you have several of the symptoms listed below you may also have Hashimoto’s.

What are the symptoms of Hashimoto’s?

Tiredness, brain fog, body aches, weight gain, hair loss, depression, constipation, infertility or recurrent miscarriage, irregular periods, slow metabolism, and feeling cold all the time.  Often thyroid disease that runs in families is due to Hashimoto’s.

Is there a blood test for Hashimoto’s?

Yes, there is a blood test to diagnose it, but it’s not often done.  Why?  Because your medical doctor is going to treat your underactive thyroid the same way whether you thyroid is low from Hashimoto’s or not, so there’s no point in running a test that won’t affect his/her treatment.

Is there a medication for Hashimoto’s?

Yes, it’s the same medication given to anyone who is hypothyroid, most often thyroid hormone replacement therapy with thyroxine, called Synthroid or Eltroxin.

Does this relieve all of the symptoms of Hashimoto’s?

Sometimes, but not always.  Remember that Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune problem, replacing the thyroid hormone doesn’t change the fact that there is an autoimmune disease going on. Autoimmune conditions are tiring because your own immune system is fighting your body. Imagine how you feel when you’re first coming down with a cold or flu, pretty tired, huh?  Well imagine your immune system in overdrive like that all the time and how tiring that could be day in and day out.

What causes Hashimoto’s?

Good question and one for which there isn’t yet a clear cut answer.  With any autoimmune disorder there are a number of factors that may have set the immune system off on this destructive path:

  1. A latent viral or bacterial infection
  2. Dysbiosis in the gut
  3. Food allergies or sensitivities
  4. Stress
  5. Compromised adrenal glands

How can we fix these?

  1. Anti-viral and anti-bacterial herbs can fend off low lying infections
  2. Removing unhealthy organisms from the gut with anti-microbials like berberine, garlic, oregano oil etc and restoring healthy gut bacteria with probiotics
  3. Test for (by blood test) and remove food sensitivities caused by IgG antibodies
  4. Reduce stress through exercise, yoga, meditation, massage therapy, tai chi, reading a book etc.
  5. Support normal healthy function of the adrenal glands with vitamin B5, B6, C, zinc, magnesium and adaptogenic herbs like ashwaganda, rhodiola, schisandra and ginseng.

Eradication of the HPV Virus

A study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms has found that after two months of treatment with 2 mushroom extracts, Trametes versicolor and Ganoderma lucidum, polymerase chain reaction testing for HPV demonstrated 88% (P<0.001) clearance of the HPV virus, versus only 5% for those given a different mushroom extract (Laetiporus sulphureus).  This was for the high risk strains, HPV16 and HPV18.  Source: Int J Med Mushrooms. 2014;16(5):497-8.

What’s New with Fibroids?

There’s a new drug on the market that is a “selective progesterone receptor modulator”.  What that means is that the drug moderates the effects of progesterone.  I have had a couple of patients on this medication prior to fibroid surgery and for both it does seem to have shrunk their fibroid.  The thinking with fibroids has always been that estrogen was the culprit causing the fibroids to enlarge and in many of the women that I’ve treated for fibroids, that has been the case.  However, in some fibroid patients, that’s not the case as demonstrated by the efficacy of this drug.  For these women, we need more of a progesterone moderating approach.

How can we moderate the effects of progesterone naturally, without drugs?

  1. Ensure a healthy balance of all of the sex hormones so that no one hormone dominates over the others.  That means two main things to me: a) keep insulin levels low by avoiding processed starches and sugars and b) keep the endocrine system working optimally, that includes the ovaries, thyroid, adrenal glands, pituitary and hypothalamus.
  2. Vitamin B6 in it’s active state, pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P5P) modulates the cell’s capacity to respond to steroid hormones.  Although some of the professional lines contain the active P5P, most vitamin supplements don’t contain the active form of B6, relying on the body’s capacity to convert the inactive pyridoxine hydrochloride into the active P5P.  Source: FASEB J. 1994 Mar 1;8(3):343-9.
  3. Scutellaria barbata is a Chinese herb that has been shown to have progesterone moderating and anti-proliferative effects.  Source: Phytother Res. 2008 May;22(5):583-90