The Hormonal system regulates all the various functions of the body including energy production, fat storage, mood, reproduction, sleep, and immunity. Imbalances in this system can manifest as weight gain, depression, fatigue, and problems with fertility. Hormonal imbalances are typically the result of chronic and accumulated emotional stress, dietary stress, pain and hidden inflammation, and lack of sleep.
Various forms of stress can accumulate in the human body, all of which add to the body’s total burden. Most of the stress we experience can be considered to be either emotional stress or dietary stress. Many people in our modern world are not only emotionally stressed, but who is also eating poorly, not sleeping well, and sedentary. Indeed, these things tend to go together for people. Stress taxes the body and uses up valuable resources, making it challenging for the body to perform its normal functions.
Our hormonal systems are well-equipped to handle breif episodes of stress, but if the stress is constant and the body is not given a chance to recover it can start to breakdown. If the body is stressed for too long, the feedback loops between the brain and the glands of the body can be disrupted, making normal function impossible. Hormonal imbalances are frequently a significant component in any chronic health condition.
Stress uses up a tremendous amount of resources and wears the body down, making it less vital. Chronically elevated stress hormones also cause a decrease in the body’s natural immune response, which results in a decrease in the natural repair mechanisms of the body as well as an increase in autoimmune activity. Stress affects the body in stages. Initially, there is a deviation from homeostasis, then dysfunctions begin to occur, then structural changes in the cell begin to occur, and finally symptoms begin to appear. If this goes on long enough a disease can start to develop.
The sex hormones can be particularly affected when the body is overwhelmed with stress, which can manifest as weight gain, mood swings, cravings, headaches, and diminished sex-drive. Woman can also experience menstrual cramping, night sweats, hot flashes, and infertility as a result of these imbalances.
Our own thoughts can be a significant source of stress, because our emotions respond directly to our thoughts. An emotion is the body’s response to a thought. When you feel negative emotion or pain, you’re body releases stress hormones that are flooded into the body.
Dietary stress includes malnutrition as well as toxic and reactive foods. Chronic inflammation from the diet, as well as pathogens, leads to chronic stress and furthur weakening the hormonal system.
The trillions of cells in our body all depend on the digestive system to breakdown and assimilate the nutrients in our food. Without nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, essential proteins and fatty acids, normal cell function is impossible.
Inside the human digestive tract is roughly about three to five pounds of bacteria and other microorganisms with which we have a close symbiotic relationship. These flora play a critical role in the health of the digestive tract and its ability to properly breakdown food and assimilate nutrients as well as in the strength and integrity of our immune system. These flora are so essential to our well-being that we probably would not be able to live without them.
Gut flora are generally divided into two groups- the beneficial and the not so beneficial. An imbalance between the beneficial and the more opportunistic flora can significantly impair the breakdown of nutrients and their subsequent absorption into the body. In a healthy digestive tract, the numbers of opportunistic flora are normally kept under control by the more numerous beneficial flora. If given the opportunity to thrive, they can overgrow and start to cause problems first in the digestive tract, and then in then in the rest of the body.
Many people don’t realize that 90% of the body’s immunity is the gut. The immune system is compromised to the extent that there is digestive dysfunction. When the immune system is weakened, the body is less able to defend itself against the bacteria, fungus, and parasites that are omnipresent in our environment.
Antibiotics and other medications, emotional stress, poor diets, and toxicity all contribute to the disruption of the body’s inner ecosystem and can significantly impair digestion as a result. Parasitic infections, bacterial overgrowth, and yeast overgrowth are all extremely common and can be the driving factors behind many common digestive symptoms such as gas and bloating, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux or heartburn. These infections are also a source of chronic inflammation for many people, leading to hormonal imbalances and fatigue.
These pathogens not only compete with you for resources, they also generate significant amounts of endo-toxins that disrupt your body’s normal metabolic functions. If this is allowed to go on long enough, the body can begin to be overwhelmed with toxins, which will furthur disrupt normal function.
Until recently, our gut flora has been passed down from generation to generation with relatively little change. Changing trends in breast-feeding along with the discovery of antibiotics and our modern diets have had a tremendous impact on these flora. We now have a situation with several consecutive generations of gut flora having shifted progressively furthur away from their natural balanced ecology. With such altered flora and modern diets it is inevitable that people are going to be infected with pathogens.
This inner ecosytem is so sensitive that even giving antibiotics to a child just one time for seven days can permanently alter their gut flora and the way their immune system functions. When you consider the antibiotics that are consumed through commercial meats, poultry, and dairy products, you can start to fathom the magnitude of the problem here.
A damaged mucosal barrier can be porous enough to allow toxins and undigested food , fungus, bacteria, and parasites into the bloodstream which sets the stage for developing food sensitivies and unnecessary activation of the immune system. Fungus can literally poke its roots into the gut lining, making the gut permeable. Now the fungus and other toxins can get into the bloodstream and affect the rest of the body. This condition is referred to as Leaky Gut Syndrome.
THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
The human body is always prone to attack by opportunistic organisms such as bacteria, yeast, viruses, and parasites, all of which are capable of causing a multitude of diseases and maladies. The primary function of the immune system is to neutralize and destroy these microorganisms and their toxins whenever they threaten the body.
These microorganisms, chemicals, and toxins from the outside world are normally prevented from entering the body by a thick layer of bacteria that lines the entire surface of the gastro-intestinal tract. This layer of bacteria is your body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens, and apart from providing a physical barrier between the interior of the body and the outside world, these beneficial bacteria also produce a host of antibiotic, anti-fungal, and anti-viral like substances that keep invasive micro-organisms in check. This bacterial layer also produces organic acids, which change the pH of the gut wall making it a difficult place for these pathogens to thrive.
When functioning correctly, the gut wall can allow nutrients into the body while simultaneously protecting the body from these infectious agents. When compromised, the chances of acquiring an infection are significantly increased. If the gut wall is significantly damaged, toxins and undigested food particles can leak into the bloodstream and disrupt normal brain, endocrine, and immune function leading to symptoms and disease. Stress, poor diet, toxicity, and inadequate rest all contribute to compromising the integrity of this lining, which provides an opportunity for these pathogens to thrive.
Besides interfering with digestion, these hidden infections cause inflammation, which creates havoc in the hormonal system and drives the body into further imbalance. Clinical experience has shown that gastro-Intestinal inflammation alone can drive the body into a 24-7 stress response. When left unchecked, these pathogens can thrive and produce toxins that furthur damage our gut lining leading to chronic inflammation.
THE DETOXIFICATION SYSTEM
Alcohol, caffeine, sugar, medications, processed foods, and hormones and antibiotics fed to animals all contribute to our overall toxic load and can cause serious symptoms and side effects when not properly eliminated. Heavy metal toxicity from dental fillings, contaminated food and water, and other environmental toxins also add to the burden. If there is a significant gut dysbiosis, our own gut can become a huge source of toxins produced by opportunistc flora.
The detoxification system is responsible for neutralizing and eliminating harmful toxins from the body. Impaired detoxification deprives the body of a clean blood supply which will affect every cell in the body. Toxins can build up in tissues and disrupt metabolism and degrade health, leading to allergies, asthma, joint pain, skin problems, headaches, and lack of concentration, as well as accelerating aging and the onset of degenerative diseases.
Although the body has an amazing capacity to process and dispose of toxins, modern living is now testing its limitations. Many people are both overwhelmed with toxins and while simultaneously deficient in the nutrients their bodies need to neutralize and eliminate those effectively . People’s bodies are often overwhelmed with toxins from heavy metals, industrial chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs. Exposure to any of these chemicals can cause significant metabolic disruption and profoundly influence how our bodies function.
The liver is the center of the body’s detoxification system and has many critical functions in the body, including the job of filtering toxins out of the bloodstream. If the total burden on the liver is too great, or if its functions are compromised, it can get backed up and toxins can end up circulating back into the bloodstream and causing dysfunction in the rest of the body. All of these toxins must all pass through the liver before they can be neutralized and excreted from the body.
THE BRAIN AND LIMBIC SYSTEM
Everything you have ever felt or experienced in life has been made possible by the various functions of your brain and limbic system. The ability to perceive, to feel emotion, and to sense your internal and external environments, is the result of the firing rate and health of your brain. It is impossible for a person to be mentally and physiologically healthy without a healthy brain and limbic system.
The limbic system is responsible for cognitive functions such as learning, memory, emotions, planning, problem solving, and decision making, as well as the integration and coordination of these functions. It is also responsible for regulating our sleep/wake cycles and arousal. If the limbic system is impaired or damaged as a result of acute or chronic stress, it can have a profound effect on the way a person experiences life.
As human beings we don’t just see and experience the world, we have emotions and memory attached to what we see and experience. We are bombarded every day in social interactions, traffic, television, radio, and the Internet with stimuli that can have a range of effects on our limbic systems. It has become increasing clear that how we interpret and experience the world emotionally has a profound effect our physical and mental health. It turns out that our emotional responses to life circumstances are even more important than the circumstances themselves. Current research has shown that 90% of most people’s thoughts are negative in nature. Chronic activation of this system is actually damaging to the body and the brain.
Those suffering from depression can experience changes in the way they feel and engage with the world around them. People can lose their joy, excitement, curiosity, and ability to function socially.
Our brains and neurons are also constantly being threatened by inflammatory reactions, immune stimulation, blood sugar imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, and over stimulation from our environment. It is now fact that in today’s society neural degeneration has created real consequences that we are beginning to see. Like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The limbic system and brain are incredibly plastic and with proper nutrition and lifestyle it is possible to bring this system into balance.
In our modern world, the term athletic seems to be reserved for the few among us who are gifted at some sort of sport or physical activity, but the truth is that the lack of exercise leads to muscle imbalances, faulty recruitment patterns, compensation, and pain. With weak core and stabilizer muscles, the body cannot hold itself in optimal alignment, which often results in joint pain. The body also uses movement as a way to pump fluids in and out of tissues, which helps with delivery of nutrients and the removal of wastes from the body. Everybody brushes their teeth, but not everyone exercises, and then out of the few that are exercising, many are not doing it correctly.
It's important for optimal health and normal function that everyone squat, lunge, bend, push, pull, and twist to their capacity. The human genome expects these things, just as it expects organic food, clean air, and sunlight. Prior to civilization, a lack of ability to perform these "primal movement patterns" would have led to an early death. It is important to establish an appropriate exercise program based on strength training, stretching and cardiovascular exercise.
Exercise itself can be a stressor, which is why it is extremely important to consider the big picture before attempting to beat yourself up in a gym. The body summates stress, so if your workouts are taxing to the body which is already stressed out, you’ll be adding insult to injury, causing further imbalance and disrepair to your hormonal system.
The body’s reaction to exercise at any given time is entirely dependent upon the amount of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual stress they are under at the time. The fact is that the more symptomatic a person is, the less working out they can handle, because working out is another form of stress. To the degree that your body is under stress, you need to work-in instead of work-out.
Many clients have musculoskeletal complaints that are being caused directly by their workout programs. People are aften not aware of how their exercise program is affecting their body, and in many cases it’s the exercise or stretching program that is leading to pain, poor posture, and an unnecessary taxing of the body's resources.