Q: Dr. Mitchell, I always thought I was in pretty good health, but over the past year or so, I’ve just realized, I feel really old, tired and depressed. Am I just getting older?
A: If you’re feeling “sick all over,” as Dr. Crook used to say, you need a roadmap to help you understand why your health went awry and then find a game-plan that will help put you back into biochemical balance. That is the goal of orthomolecular medicine.
Your body is like a big saltwater aquarium that has six trillion fish swimming around in it. In the long run, it doesn’t do you any good if you see one sick fish to throw that fish out of the water. That’s the paradigm of conventional medicine, to treat the “sick fish” with drugs and surgery. What we need to do is make the water better so the fish survives. With a fish tank, if you keep the pH balanced, feed your fish correctly, and keep the tank oxygenated, they’ll thrive. It’s very similar for human.
The current medical literature reflects that the root cause of most diseases of civilization is underwritten by an activated immune system. An activated immune system produces chemicals designed to kill disease causing invaders such as cancer cells, bacteria, viruses and yeast. We find that so called “diseases” are actually symptoms of infection in different areas of the body. The infecting agent appears to be an organism that normally resides harmlessly in us, Candida yeast.
Since each area that gets infected gives us different signals, I'd check blood pressure, waist size, pH, cholesterol, glucose/insulin ratios and other indicators of inflammation. This would give us an idea of where your particular area of infection is. For example, if your cholesterol and triglycerides are high, it would be a sign you have inflammation in your liver, which is where these lipids are made. If your insulin levels are high or low, that indicates possible pancreatic inflammation that can lead to diabetes.
The first step is almost always to clean up your diet to help clean up the ”dirty water” in the aquarium of your body. Get things in balance. Get rid of the sugar and grain foods that quickly turn into sugar. Too much sugar overloads a particular biochemical pathway that is like overloading an electrical circuit with too much electricity—it blows a fuse. Sugar will literally blow a fuse in your body and this leads to more oxidation and inflammation. Adding antioxidants can help neutralize the damage from oxidation, but research confirms that they are not the long-term solution. We have to stop the assault itself.
Sometimes this requires prescription drugs in the short term. If you have astronomically high blood pressure, I may put you on blood pressure medication until we can stop the inflammation that is contributing to your problem. We’ll make sure there are no nutritional holes and that you have the nutrients you need – particularly water, trace minerals, vitamin D, magnesium, B-vitamins, essential fats, high quality protein and produce – for building healthy cells.
The next crucial step is to bring all your hormones into balance so your body can begin rebuilding healthy young cells.
Q: What do hormones have to do with fatigue and depression?
A: Everything! Disease is imbalance and the reason we grow old and more prone to the diseases of aging is because of the slow decline of hormone levels that begins around the age of 27. As each hormone level decreases, the jobs they are programmed to do just don’t get done as well—including the manipulation of DNA for healthy new cells.
When your testosterone begins to fall (and women need it, too!), you lose muscle mass and build more body fat. You lose analytical power on the left side of the brain and sexual function. You also lose your ability to convert relatively inactive thyroid hormone molecules (T4) into active ones (T3).
You want your hormones to be optimal—not just OK for your age. Comprehensive bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is what you must demand from your healthcare provider. You can get a good idea of what hormonal imbalances you are experiencing by filling out some of the questionnaires under “Health Evaluations” on my website: www.drfitt.com. This will not only help you figure out what may be going on, but it will help your doctor arrive at an accurate diagnosis. I ask all my patients to fill out these questionnaires prior to coming to see me.
Q: How can replacing hormones help my symptoms if yeast is at least a part of my problem?
A: As hormone levels go down, particularly thyroid, progesterone and testosterone, your immune system performance is compromised. This opens door for opportunistic infections and Candida yeast is one of most opportunistic infections.
As thyroid levels decline immune system cells are unable to produce a critical chemical weapon, nitric oxide. The DNA program that keeps benign yeast from morphing into a pathogenic form is dependent on nitrogen from nitric oxide. As a result of the DNA nitrogen deficiency, those once innocuous yeast organisms that are a part of everyone’s digestive tract can travel out of the colon and infiltrate other organs and tissues including the kidneys, adrenals, brain, joints, thyroid, skin, liver, fat , pancreas and any other tissues.
Your immune system tries to fight off these now-toxic invaders, causing inflammation. Chronic inflammation/oxidation causes tissue destruction and eventually “disease” if left unchecked.
As women age, estrogen effects are elevated in the presence of declining progesterone, testosterone and thyroid hormones. The effect is similar to the appearance of fall colors in foliage. The pigments causing those colors had been there since spring, however, they were overshadowed by the presence of green pigmented chlorophyll. Since estrogen promotes sugar uptake, it also promotes yeast overgrowth. Yeast will eat up the available blood sugar causing your brain cells to think you are chronically starving. This causes you to over-consume insulin stimulating sugars and carbs. Insulin causes you to produce more estrogen producing fat cells. Insulin and estrogen also dampen your thyroid function. So, you get a downward spiraling cycle as you approach menopause.
That’s why I recommend a sugar-free, grain-free diet plus a comprehensive bioidentical hormone replacement programto get all your hormones on track.
My three-part plan: diet, nutritional supplementation as needed and comprehensive hormone replacement should have you feeling energized and happy in a few short weeks.
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