Category Archives for Hormones

Any Idea What The Courage Hormone Is?

The hormone that makes us brave?

When I first read about the description for this hormone I thought first of testosterone, adrenaline, or even cortisol. But I was mistaken.

This hormone is the hormone that I have been speaking about as the under-appreciated giant hormone personality in our lives and health.

This hormone has the ability to destroy the negative effects and high levels of chronic stress hormones like cortisol.

The way this hormone works and why it is considered the courage hormone is that when this hormone is stimulated it down regulates our fear response and can stop the fight or flight response of freeze or flee. When activated it amps up our social awareness and lights up areas of the brain associated with meaning and value and has been shown to make people more trusting, be more trust worthy and help others.

The hormone I am talking about is oxytocin. Oxytocin drives our mental awareness to what is important to us, opens our thinking to include others and promote empathy as it stimulates trust and therefor gives us courage to act in our social world and makes us brave with less fear and more compassion.

Oxytocin has been called the "bonding" hormone or the "love" hormone and is strongly stimulated during breast feeding, intimacy, and in close familiar relationships. It is also stimulated when you get or receive a compliment, play with your kids, when you hug or shake someones hand, when you pet your dog or cat, when you talk and when you journal.

The biggest social evidence of the power of oxytocin is how it changes our physiology through laughter. We have all heard that laughter is the best medicine and we can thank oxytocin for that.

Men in particular I hope you are reading and hearing this message. Many men experience mild to moderate depression and write it off under the guise of stress, corporate living, being the provider, having an "A" personality or being a "driver." These are issues I speak about in my presentation on the "Irritable Male Syndrome," and they are very real, and at these levels very responsive to oxytocin "therapy." Keep it in mind my brothers.

My friends I extend a virtual hug and mental handshake as I tell you all that I love and appreciate you and hope you join me today in seeking out a little extra humor and together we can all build up a little bit more courage and live the life of the brave!

Dr. Don

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Is cancer genetic?

It appears......not.

When you transplant healthy genes into a cancer cell it still produces more cancer cells when it divides. AND if you take cancer genes and put them into a healthy cell that cell still produces more healthy cells when it divides.

If cancer was purely genetic, as in our DNA housed in the nucleus of each cell, when you remove the nucleus and transplant it into another cell then the new cells that get replicated from that cell with the cancer genes should have cancer as well if cancer is genetic. But, as it turns out, THEY DON'T.

In the medical research text book, "Cancer as a Metabolic Disease," the 3 plus decades of collective cancer research lead by Thomas Seyfried, the book's author, shows that cancer is not a genetic disease but rather a metabolic disease.

Now, are there genetics at play that make one more susceptible to cancer, I would say yes. Are there genetic variants that effect our metabolic pathway that plays into cancer, yes. But is cancer a purely genetic disease, it seems not.

This should be very exciting! This means no one, no matter what gene they might have, even if that gene is believed to cause cancer, is determined to get cancer.

What this means is that the environment and how we live our life and our lifestyle is what is the driving force behind the development of cancer and how our genes respond. AND this is something we can change, improve, and effect. We not only have a say in this, but we have a very high level of control.

If cancer truly is a metabolic disease, and I believe it is, and this research does too, then how we chose to fuel and care for our body becomes extremely important.

The basic, fundamental first tier step is deciding to become a fat burner rather than a sugar burner. That is the the fundamental summary concept. You influence this by what you eat, when you eat, and how you move. As you do this you need to keep a healthy balance of your body's coordination systems so it can play nice and be as strong and effective as possible. The body's communication system primarily breaks down to 2 sides:

Nervous System and the Hormonal System

So, here is the focus:

1. Become a fat burner over a sugar burner
2. Keep you Nervous system tuned up and in proper healthy repairing tone
3. Be hormone focused and stay hormonally sensitive

Everything I post here and write about is trying to drive those 3 point above. Go back check them out and keep learning, when you do, share what you have learned with me please!

Health is Freedom!

Dr. Don

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My Ethical Issue With Reduction vs. Elimination In Dietary Recommendations.

Just about every standard diet around or that has ever been proposed have all used the same model and construct of calorie reduction and reducing fat.

There have been many clever ways to package this idea from grazing on small meals and snacks all day long, to having a point system that maxes both fat and calories in a day, to constructing blocks designed of food combinations, to straight up calorie and fat gram counting.

This massive effort was promoted by all of our government agencies, stamped with approval by all our many medical associations and institutions, and embraced by the eager food industry to all help us loose weight and get healthy.

What came next was the introduction off modern "health food," labeled as low fat and reduced calories being now called "Diet," "Light," "Lean," and used terms such as "Healthy Portion," "Heart Healthy," and were quickly promoted and partnered by the new industry of weight loss and all their new programs like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Lean Cuisine, all they way up to Slim Fast, Nutrisystem and Medifast and all the other countless shake based meal replacement groups out there.

This new cultural model for eating essentially promoted REDUCTION. The only thing limited was fat and calories. By reducing what you ate by 25% or 500 calories a day you would lose 1 lb of body fat a week. This new fad diet concept, and yes, it is the ultimate fad diet, did not care what you ate with your daily points, blocks, and the 75% of the food you were allowed to eat.....just keep the calories lower and the fat low overall.

The 2 main concepts, the very backbone and rational off this model, low fat and daily calorie restriction are both anecdotal hypotheses, not facts, and not evidence based, AND as it turns out very limiting and actually DANGEROUS.

Calories do not determine metabolism. Fat is essential and when it gets too low it causes part of the chronic stress and malfunction that leads to disease.

Low Fat, Low Calorie dieting may induce short term moderate weight loss but it does so by injuring our metabolism. What we now know from long term EVIDENCE is that it increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and overall causes of death. AND 98% of the weight loss (usually in the form of water, some fat, and some muscle) is regained plus interest (and usually as fat giving us a net gain in fat for our efforts).

Hormones drive metabolism and paint the landscape that our health is resultantly depicted. Hormones determine hunger, satiety, fat loss and gain, muscle mass and atrophy, and even mood, mental clarity, emotions, and quality of life.

Our current Standard American Diet creates imbalances in our hormones that in time can cause our health issues. By simply reducing the frequency and severity in which we imbalance our hormones but continue to imbalance them will not stop the disease process, and doesn't seem to slow them much once started either. To recommend them knowing this is unethical and to utilize these models knowing this is denial.

Elimination is the key to today's weight and chronic disease issues. There simply are behaviors and actions that we much stop if we want to loose weight and get healthy. There are other actions and behaviors we simply have to start for the same reason.

First steps:
1. Eliminate snacking
2. Eliminate sugar

Add in first steps:
1. Eat more healthy fat
2. Mix intensity exercise/training into your physical activity

Bonus musts:
1. Improve your sleep
2. Celebrate silence: meditation and paced breathing
3. Neurological tune up: chiropractic

For more advanced concepts, scroll back on my wall and keep an eye out.

Let me know how it goes!

Dr. Don

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So many men are failing the test!

Low testosterone.

It is becoming rampant and our men's health is paying the price. It has been estimated that men today have one third of the testosterone that our great grandfathers had. Why?

Diet, stress and inactivity.

First, it is important to know that men have a hormonal cycle as much as women, but not the same. A man's testosterone levels cycle every 15-20 minutes.....that's right, 3-4 times an hour. They also fluctuate daily with the highest levels being in the morning around 8 am and the lowest in the afternoon about 3. Men have a monthly testosterone variance that changes from man to man, and we men have a yearly cycle that is highest in October and lowest in April.

So men, if you think you are not hormonal, your just delusional. In fact when given surveys where female identifier questions are removed men report experiencing PMS symptoms as much as women!

DIET: Insulin resistance is connected with low T. As a man becomes more insulin resistant his testosterone drops. Eating. Each time a man eats his testosterone drops sharply. So frequent (5-7) meals a day on a moderate to high carb diet really hits us men where it hurts. Oh, and soy products, alcohol, licorice, and stevia have all shown to lower a mans T levels. FYI

STRESS: Cortisol and testosterone seem to have an inverse relationship, when one is up, the other is down. So the regular stress response, hyper stress reactions, poor emotional management, sugar and caffeinated drinks, excess belly circumference and body fat will all contribute to a drop in T.

INACTIVITY: Human Growth Hormone and testosterone are tightly connected in the man's body. Weight lifting and High Intensity Interval Training have been shown to boost HGH 2,000% and raise T. Walking, or what I call stress release cardio has shown to drop cortisol levels, lower insulin resistance, and raise T.

Here is a bonus: Sleep. Sleep is when our hormones do most of their action, build us up, repair, recovery, and reset. No sleep, no hope at stable hormones or T levels.

Fasting: Fasting has been shown to raise T levels 180% in just a short term (one day) fast and keep them high and even higher after the 3rd day of a fast.

Sharp T fluctuations and overall reduced T levels in men have been connected to irritability, anger issues, moodiness, and even depression. Take this seriously.

So there you go my brethren, you have the info, now take the action!

Dr. Don

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Internal Friction…….Hijacked Hormones and Brain Chemistry

Part 4 of 5

hormone treatment

As our hormones shift and start to take short cuts and get all thrown off we start to see changes begin to happen in our brain and nervous system. Our brain and nervous system’s cells do not reproduce like most other cells so we have to take excellent care of them. These nervous system cells do make new connections and re-connect constantly to give us countless new options in our health, healing and function and this process can be displaced and interfered with when the inner friction builds to this point. Our brain cells are very high powered little machines and they need a lot of energy and nutrients to keep them happy and firing in a healthful way. When our hormones are causing friction for our brain chemistry and we add life stress into the equation we see a compounding negative effect. The process of running our brain cells is very expensive so to speak using a lot of different vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep that high quality, high performing brain running. When these sources of nutrients from our food start to run low the brain has to start to budget and starts cutting corners.

As the brain budgets, just like we do, it has to start to picking and choosing which processes and mechanisms it is going to “fund” and with what. One of the first things that we see is that it starts to try and stretch its energy use and downgrades the fuel it uses and how it uses it. It is like going from super octane fuel to a plus grade, then to a standard grade, and to eventually a low grade and at times a very substandard fuel. With each downgrade of the fuel that the brain uses it burns more and more dirty, as in producing more and more residues, just like in the engine of your car. As these residues build up they clog up a whole lot of the machinery in the brain. Soon, due to this lack of nutrient resources forcing the down regulating of how the brain uses fuel it causes oxidation which is like rust in the brain and that causes inflammation. Oxidation and inflammation in the brain is the friction that takes our health issues to a whole new level.

At this level of friction from the oxidation and inflammation we start seeing changing in the normal balance, function, utilization and production of brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. When these chemicals, or neurotransmitters, start developing issues in this process it changes how we feel, our mood, our energy levels, ability to concentration, our memory, and can produce potentially addictive behavior like urges, impulsivity, and can hi-jack other parts of our brain that run our logic centers, rational thought, morals, decision making, and cost benefit balance type of thinking. Oh, did I mention it can change our mood? Big time, and it can change our demeanor, our motivation, adherence to our values, it can blur our goals, and can literally alter what and how we think.

Once this brain chemistry friction wheel starts turning it is real hard to stop it, never mind turn it around. It is a slippery slope that once we start down it we slide right down the mountain into nothing but trouble and despair. This is exactly what happens in this poor mental economy when the friction tips our cup and we spill over with negative thoughts that come fast and furious, one after another, quickly escalating the perceived negative thoughts and pulls us into a hole of anxiety, depression, and altered thinking. We start thinking in ways that are not us. Just like we are thinking someone else’s thoughts and it doesn’t take long to start to feel we are really far off our mental mark and in a word, crazy. In reality it is the mental friction and the breach of our tipping point that is changing our biochemistry and physiology and driving our thoughts to a place we would never go otherwise.

So far I have outlined how we accumulate the different friction byproducts and fill our glass to the very rim leaving us vulnerable to a tipping incident at any point of the day. Some days it seems all we do is mop up the spillage from the constant, repetitive, tipping that can happen multiple times a day. Three fourths of the friction equation is body centric, building from the cells, then flowing to the hormones, and then reaching the brain chemistry, with the remaining one fourth of the equation being mental, or more specifically, what we believe.

Yes, you read that right, I said what we believe. A very oversimplified way to think of it is that our experiences throughout our life forms our memories and based on these memories and experience concept we choose our beliefs. Now, we can’t change our past or the experiences we have been through, but we can change how we interpret what those experiences mean to us and how we approach similar experiences in the future. What we believe about any given experience will determine how any future experience impacts us mentally and physically. I know it sounds out there, but it is true and this concept has been shown sound in multiple studies with thousands of people in multiple countries spanning many years. What these research studies found was that it was not the level or type of stress that determined how stress effected their health and happiness.

Yes, some people did have very negative health outcomes from their stress, and others had very significant stress events with little to no negative health effects. What made the difference? Remember this concept from the beginning of the article here? What determines which side of the stress line these stress events in life fall? What determines whether my stress hurts me or heals me? As it turns out, it is whether you believe stress is bad or not. People who believed that stress was part of life, that is was not necessarily bad or thought stress could even be good for you are the ones that were not negatively effected health and happiness wise from their stress, even at very high and prolonged levels of stress. People who believed that stress kills people and will ruin their health saw major negative health effects from their stress, and not just at high levels but even at relatively low levels of stress. In fact, the low stress level people who believed that stress was bad had more negative health effects than people who saw stress as part of life but had very high stress levels! The only discernable difference the researchers could find in these groups was how they believed stress would effect them.

Those are some amazing facts are they not? I find this stuff fascinating.

To be continued……

Read Part 1
Read Part 2
Read Part 3​