Sunday, October 23, 2011

Metabolism Enemy #4 - Female Hormones

Women’s bodies are more complex than men’s due to their hormonal system. It is a well-known fact that men lose weight more easily, while women experience much more difficulty in losing weight. This is due to the following reasons:

1.) Men have more muscle and therefore use more energy and "burn" fat easier

2.) Men produce the male hormone testosterone, which is a muscle constructing and fat burning hormone.

3.) Women produce the hormone estrogen, which is a hormone that accumulates fat in the body.

4.) Women tend to have higher emotional stress levels than men and therefore produce higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is a hormone that accumulates fat in the abdomen and hips.

It is due to these factors that women always lose weight slower than men. One of the reasons, the excess of the hormone estrogen has to do with a condition that many women, especially over weight ones, suffer from. The condition is called "estrogen predominance". This hormone, estrogen, in reality is a group of various substances that are vital to a women's body.

Without estrogen, pregnancy couldn't exist, nor would they have menstruation, breasts or soft skin. Estrogen is a hormone that a woman’s body balances with another hormone that is produced during ovulation called progesterone. Progesterone is a hormone that reflects its name very well because it allows "gestation" or becoming pregnant.

Women’s bodies depend on a certain hormonal balance between these two hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Just about everyone knows that estrogen is produced in the ovaries of women. But few know that the body’s fat also produces estrogen with the help of an enzyme called aromatase. Fat produces estrogen and that’s why obese men develop breasts and start to have more feminine characteristics, even to the point where their tone of voice changes in pitch.

In his book, "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause", Dr. John Lee explains the problem of the "estrogen predomination" in women. It is a condition where the body of an overweight woman keeps producing estrogen from her fat even if her ovaries don't work anymore. When the estrogen isn't being balanced in the body by the progesterone hormone, which is only produced during ovulation, it increases an "estrogen predominance" that doesn't allow the woman to lose weight. A "predomination" means that the estrogen dominates the body internally because the progesterone isn't there to oppose it. This creates a situation that makes it very difficult for women to lose weight because the excess estrogen accumulates fat and makes you gain weight and at the same time doesn't allow fat loss.

The problem is that the estrogen hormone accumulates fat and makes you gain weight. This has been a well known fact for many years; you might have seen in the news that some years ago the pig and the hen breeders tried to make their animals gain weight by supplementing their diet with estrogen to make them fatter. This was publicized on the front pad of newspaper around the country as a scandal and as a result, many people are still upset about the attempted manipulations in using estrogen to make the animals gain weight. They still refuse to consume chicken due to the fear that it contains estrogen.

When a woman suffers from an "estrogen predomination" she can experience the following symptoms:

1.) Accumulation of fat in the hips and abdomen

2.) Reoccurring yeast infections

3.) Autoimmune conditions like Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis and Fibromyalgia

4.) Difficulty losing weight of losing weight very slowly

5.) Difficulty becoming pregnant

6.) Water retention (edema)

7.) Lack of energy or constantly tired

8.) History of breast cancer or uterine cancer

9.) History of fibroids, edemas or vaginal polyps

10.) History of having miscarriages

11.) Painful menstruation cramps

12.) Osteoporosis (loss of bone density)

13.) Facial hair

14.) Loss of sexual interest

15.) Excessive menstrual bleeding

16.) Breast tenderness

17.) Sleeping too lightly or sleeping difficulties

"Estrogen predomination" keeps the metabolism low and makes it very difficult for the women suffering from this condition to lose weight. Estrogen is a growth promotion agent for cancerous cells, which is why having "estrogen predominance", puts a woman at a high risk for breast and uterine cancer.

When a woman starts getting a lot of facial hair, it is generally a result of the "estrogen predominance" that makes the body produce more masculine hormones(androgens) to counteract the estrogen. The body will do its best to try and balance out the "estrogen predominance" by producing more masculine hormones if it can't produce the progesterone it needs. This increases facial and body hair.

The solution for women is to use natural progesterone cream. This natural hormone is applied to the skin and counteracts the harmful effects of the "estrogen predominance", successfully balancing the hormonal system. The natural progesterone has a calming and antidepressant effect. Also, it helps women have deeper, sounder sleep.

For women that have experienced a great deal of difficulty in losing weight and especially those that have gained a lot of weight in their hips and abdomen (caused by estrogen), the natural progesterone cream can be an excellent help. Along with all of these benefits, natural progesterone also has an anti aging effect on the body, Women who use natural progesterone have nice skin. Natural progesterone also has an effect of detaining bone loss or even helping to recover bone that has been lost due to a condition called osteoporosis. This is something that can be proven months after having begun to use the cream by doing a bone density exam and comparing it to an exam done before using natural progesterone.

If your weight or obesity problem is centered in lower parts of your body (hips and abdomen) and you are feeling various symptoms like those described for "estrogen predominance", you could experience a miracle in starting to use the natural progesterone cream. When the "estrogen predominance" is very strong, the use of the natural progesterone cream causes an amazing increase in the metabolism and helps achieve the balance that your body needs to stay at its optimum state. I recommend that you buy and read the book by Dr. John Lee on this topic.

-Frank Suarez, Author of the book “The Power of Your Metabolism”

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chiropractors Warn About "Text Neck"

Several stories appeared in a number of publications warning people about the dangers of texting excessively. Chiropractors are leading the call of caution that texting for hours puts the neck in a position that creates health issues.

A CBS News story on October 10, 2011 advises the readers to "Add 'text neck' to your new world, digital dictionary". The problem is that continuously texting causes a person to lean their head forward for long periods of time thus causing a loss of the normal forward curve in the neck. Chiropractors have warned for years that a loss of forward curve in the neck leads to a variety of health issues. Texting is the latest and most popular new technology that leads to this neck problem.

This problem has become international as was pointed out in an October 6, 2011 story in a British publication, the Telegraph. The story quotes Dr. Rachael Lancaster, a chiropractor from Leeds England, "Text neck is caused by the neck being flexed for a prolonged period of time. Sufferers are increasing as the use of smart phones and tablet computers become more popular."

Dr. Lancaster likens it to putting other parts of your body into an awkward position for long periods of time. "Imagine sitting on your ankle sideways for 10 minutes. It would feel stiff and sore when you returned it to its natural position. That is exactly what people are doing with their necks. If people continue to put their necks in these positions, the body will gradually adapt to the stresses."

Dr. Tim Hutchful, of the British Chiropractic Association noted that doctors are seeing a rising number of patients with similar neck problems. He explained the problem by saying, "When the head is over the shoulders it is a bit like a balanced see-saw, and when you move it forward you need to put a force in place to keep it in that position. The longer you are in that position for, the more the muscles have to accommodate it."

An October 7, 2011 story from MSNBC on this same subject quoted Texas chiropractor and spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association Dr. Cynthia Vaughn who stated, "It’s a known phenomenon and that’s increasing and doctors need to educate their patients on the proper ergonomics of this." Dr. Vaughn continued by offering a practical solution to prolonged texting, "I tell my patients the easiest thing to do is pick up the phone and call people."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Metabolism Enemy #3 - Inadequate Breakfast

One of the worst habits of overweight people is that they do not eat an adequate breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for anyone, but most especially for this people who want to lose weight and recover their metabolism.

When our body sleeps at night the metabolism slows down because our body enters a "repair" period. While sleeping, all of the basic functions of the body slow down and even our breathing is much slower than normal. In order to sleep it is necessary that the metabolism and production of energy slows down in the body. Experts estimate that our metabolism becomes as much as 40% slower while we are sleeping.

When you wake up in the morning your metabolism stays at a slow speed until one of two things happens: you eat food (which gives your body the signal that it should increase your metabolism) or you do exercise (which forces the body to increase its production of energy and the metabolism). In other words, only two things increase the metabolism early in the morning, eating or exercise.

It has been found that proteins (meat, egg, cheese, etc.) and fats increase the metabolism more noticeably than carbohydrates (bread, flour, sugar, oats, etc.). If one wants to "awaken" their metabolism early in the morning their breakfast should be high in protein and low in carbohydrates. People who don't eat breakfast and they to go throughout the morning with coffee and a piece of bread, are little by little slowing down their metabolism because they simply aren't "waking” it up.

There is a popular saying that expresses our food intake should be like. The saying goes, "we should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and eat dinner like a beggar". This saying is true. The most important meal of the day is breakfast, it is called "breakfast" because it is the moment you "break the fast" of the long hours in which your body was sleeping and repairing itself.

The longest period in which our body is without food is during the hours we are sleeping. The lightest meal of the day should be dinner. Foods are made of condensed energy. Eating too heartily at night forces an entrance of energy (food) to the body and going to sleep lowers your energy use which forces a "storage mode" fat. It is an aspect of pure logic; dinner should be like a beggar, not a king.

If you want to strengthen your metabolism, it is necessary to begin your day with eating breakfast high in proteins that is good enough for a king. Later continue on to a lunch that has a good combination of proteins and unrefined carbohydrates (vegetables, salad). Make sure to consume very little refined carbohydrates (rice, flows, bread, sugar, act.). Finally, end the day with a light dinner to prepare your body for its period of sleep and restoration.

-Frank Suarez, Author of the book "The Power of Your Metabolism"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Metabolism Enemy #2 - Stress

Everyone talks about stress. But, what is stress? Stress is a reaction. It is the reaction that our mind and body have when our survival is threatened. Any threat, real or imaginary will all cause a stress reaction. Stress is an instantaneous reaction that can become so violent that it causes a heart attack. Generally stress doesn’t get to the point of causing a heart attack, but it does create a state of general alarm so extreme that our entire hormonal and nervous system is affected. Each cell in our body is affected by the reaction we call stress. It is an effect that is definitely cumulative. You only need to notice how worn out and tired a person looks who has recently lost a loved one in order to see how stress affects the entire body in a thousand and one ways.

Some people live in a state of stress that is so continuous that they can’t distinguish whether they feel stress or not. When someone is stressed out on a routine basis they find it difficult to be fully aware of the fact that they are living a stress filled life. For example, a person who finds himself or herself forced to work in a job in which he or she is mistreated will feel continuously stressed while at their job. The same thing happens when a person experiences problems with their family or with a romantic partner and they have to live with it day after day. When stress becomes part of our daily life we grow accustomed to it and sometimes accept it as “normal”.

Hormonal Response to Stress - Cortisol

Besides the observable damage that stress can cause to your body and health, there is a factor that is measurable. It is a hormonal factor. When you are stressed your body produces an excess of the hormone cortisol. This hormone cortisol is called the stress hormone because your body produces it when you experience a stressful situation. Cortisol is a vital part of our internal alarm system. Our body produces this hormone with the purpose of using it to handle any emergency that is detected in our environment. It is a hormone that prepares the body for fight or flight. It was designed by nature to allow us to overcome a dangerous situation using our best physical and mental resources. That is why when we produce cortisol in response to a stressful situation our body responds by producing internal changes that help us survive the supposed danger or threat. These are internal changes like raising the blood pressure and greatly increasing the level of glucose to higher levels. The glucose level is increased so that the cells have enough energy available to fight or flee.

If the source of stress were a tiger that was chasing us down to tear us to shreds, all of this excess glucose that the cortisol put in our blood stream would be consumed by our efforts in running to get away from the tiger and there wouldn’t be a surplus of glucose after the period of stress. The problem is that when the source of the stress is for a short period of time, say some bad news, the glucose levels increase due to the cortisol, but the excess glucose that is not taken in by the cells is turned into fat to be stored. Glucose is the principal source of energy of all of the cells in our body, but when it isn’t used and there is an excess, the body turns it into fat to store it, as a source of energy for future use. Thus, stress produces an excess of glucose in the blood through the action of cortisol and this excess of glucose ends up being converted to fat that is then stored into our waistline, hips and abdomen. Yes, stress definitely makes us gain weight.

People that live in conditions of stress from work, family or daily life gain weight much easier because their levels of cortisol tend to be excessively high. When a stressful situation occurs and the cortisol successfully uses our liver glucose reserves we automatically feel hungry, especially for sweet foods and those that are a source of glucose like carbohydrates: bread, flour, chocolate, pasta, etc. So it’s not just that stress makes you gain weight, it makes you feel hungry. That’s why a person that feels depressed by a personal problem many times seeks solace in the refrigerator.

The best way to find out if stress is affecting you too much and to see if it is one of the reasons that you are experiencing a slow metabolism is to take note of your quality of sleep. Since the cortisol hormone is an alarm hormone it creates a strong state of alert in the body that doesn’t allow us to sleep peacefully. To the body’s cells cortisol is like an urgent warning of impending danger. Cortisol excites the cells and puts them in a state of alert so you won’t sleep well when under stress. The cortisol produced while under stress keeps the cells in a constant state of alarm and impedes what is called the “deep sleep” stage, which is the most restful and invigorating sleep for the body. It is the state of alarm created by cortisol that steals our quality or sleep.

Something additional that we know about cortisol and about stress is that when we experience a condition of stress our levels of cortisol dramatically increase and remain in our body for more than 8 hours after the incident before going back to normal levels. So, the effects of high levels of cortisol are long lasting. However, when we do moderate exercise (walking, swimming) for 30 to 45 minutes our body eliminates huge amounts of cortisol through the liver and this also makes the state of alarm produced by cortisol to go away much earlier. That’s why many people find that if they have had a very stressful day, they will have a very difficult time sleeping unless they do a bit of exercise before going to bed. Exercise helps us get good sleep because it lowers the level of cortisol that is in our bloodstream.

Your metabolism will be affected greatly by the cortisol hormone that it generates during stressful moments. All of this is enough to help you realize that your lifestyle is very much related to the condition of your metabolism and to the general state of your health. Anything that reduces stress increases our metabolism and helps us in losing weight. A better job, a good partner, an entertaining hobby, 30 to 45 minutes of moderate exercise and enjoyable vacations are all successful and positive influences to increasing your metabolism and reducing stress.

-Frank Suarez, Author of the book "The Power of Your Metabolism"