If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles here are written by a Functional Medicine Holistic Nutritionist. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Hormones affect your Lupus disease. Without proper regulation, it triggers Lupus symptoms and triggers flare-ups.
When you figure out what creates an imbalance and treat the underlying problem – that’s when you find the real solution!
If you’re a woman, especially when it’s that time of the month, symptoms can get so much worse.
Our joints swell, they hurt, we’re exhausted, and those cramps! OWE! PMS doesn’t have to be so “PMS-ey”-> Get it?
Now, what about the girls with irregular periods? I used to struggle with this, it was a love/hate relationship.
Don’t think this blog only pertains to women either.
Men with the disease Lupus have fluctuating hormones as well, it just happens a little different.
I’m going to tell you so many easy and affordable ways to add the right type of nutrients to your daily routine.
You thought that was all you’d get out of this?
Even more… You’ll know how crucial it is to understand how your disease with Lupus is affected by your hormones.
Your hormones are influenced, blocked, or encouraged to flood your body even more due to nutrient deficiencies or nutrients that dominate the hormone’s receptor. It signals that feedback loop to do more harm than good. Making you feel all those terrible symptoms!
I’ve got some great advice below.
But first, here’s where it all started, my epiphany.
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I remember when I was sitting in my rheumatologist’s office ( who was so nice and helpful) waiting to see how he could help me and hoping that my symptoms would improve to the point where Lupus was just a diagnosis, not a way of life.
Shortly after that visit, I realized the best he could do was what pharmaceutical companies told him to sell because their research on their product showed to have better results when compared to not using other treatments.
Our immunosuppressants, anti-malarial drugs, and corticosteroids are not the best choice. All of them have side effects that hurt our bodies and they don’t help us live a quality of life.
They are meant to contain symptoms only and they don’t even do a good enough job at that, but they are necessary if you aren’t ready to heal your body through functional medicine.
What works best is a combination of treatments. Combining diet change, supplementation, and medication is key to treating your Lupus disease.
Lupus and Hormones: The Facts
We think our diet is healthy most of the time and we’re getting enough nutrients, but the majority of Americans, especially with Lupus have various deficiencies by following the typical diet; SAD or Sad American Diet.
On top of that, suffering from chronic inflammation causes our cells to misfire messages. Then, those messages are poorly regulated and our bodies suffer.
So, we can kill two birds with one stone (of course, for pretend) by supplementing with key nutrients for Lupus symptoms.
Using the proper nutrients whether it’s from food or supplementation, you will protect your skin, prevent rashes, acne, chronic inflammation, and psoriasis ( just to name very few benefits).
There are some interesting facts showing hormones play a major role.
4 IMPORTANT FACTS:
- Using exogenous hormones which are hormones that are produced from outside the tissue or cell has been associated with lupus onset and ﬂares. This shows how much hormones play a role in the development of the disease.
- The female-to-male ratio varies from 4.3 to 13.6:1 during the childbearing years, but the pre-puberty and post-menopause sex ratios are almost identical between females and males (2.3:1 and 2.2:1). This means there is a correlation between maximal female sex hormone production with the onset of SLE.
- SLE seems to be common in men with Klinefelter syndrome (genotype XXY). That suggests there is a strong hormonal inﬂuence too.
- Diet plays a major role in hormones. If you currently eat foods that have processed ingredients, pesticides, antibiotics, and artificial flavors and sweeteners, then you are feeding your disease. Nothing you do will get rid of your Lupus disease unless you change your diet. If you’re not ready for that life yet, these suggestions will help drastically decrease symptoms.
What Are Hormones?
Hormones are molecules that send messages to all the different organs within your body. It controls and regulates how your organs function. Your digestion, tissue function, metabolism, bone health, sleep, stress, growth and development, and mood are controlled by the feedback loops of each hormone. I thought that was a mouthful too.
There are 3 categories of hormones:
Adrenal Hormones: This is the critical foundation for developing and maintaining your health. Chronic stress induces higher cortisol levels which can lead to hypertension, hyperglycemia, memory impairment, altered thyroid function and changes in your sex hormones.
Thyroid Hormones: TSH is produced in the hypothalamus and stimulates the production of T4 which needs to convert to T3 ( the active thyroid hormone). The proper amount of conversion only occurs if there are no deficiencies in key nutrients. This causes thyroid dysfunction symptoms. For example, fatigue, swelling, brain fog, and weight gain.
Key nutrients: Iodine, omega-3 fatty acids are required. Selenium is needed for the T4 to convert to T3. The binding of T3 needs vitamin A and D, and zinc.
For therapeutic doses, food isn’t enough, so supplementation from companies that are on Lupus Health Shop will be best.
That’s because they are heavily researched before provided and it’s from a chronic Lupie warrior who understands how the body reacts to small variances of ingredients and how to avoid lupus triggers.
Lupus Health Shop has a detailed checklist that companies should pass: Where do they source their ingredients from, how is each nutrient is processed, do they have transparency and do they use preservatives or artificial additives that can hurt your body?!
Sex Hormones: Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are common imbalances around menopause and those with Lupus. Learning what the “optimal” blood ranges and not “normal” will dictate how much and how often supplementation is needed.
Diet plays a major role in your gut health, which controls your hormones. Estrobalome is a subset of microbiome that is a major player in your estrogen levels. These bacteria determine whether estrogen keeps getting re-circulated in your body over and over again instead of getting pooped and peed out.
“Estrogen is meant to be used and then disposed of. It’s not supposed to re-circulate. If it re-circulates, it’s like karma.”
Hormones are created in your endocrine glands. The main hormone-producing glands are your:
- Hypothalamus: Regulates body temperature, hunger, sex drive, moods and release of hormones from other glands.
- Parathyroid: Controls the amount of calcium in the body
- Thymus: Plays a role in the function of the adaptive immune system and products T-cells. If your t-cells aren’t as active when they need to be, you’re more susceptible to illness.
- Pancreas: Produces insulin that helps control blood sugar
- Thyroid: Products hormones associated with heart rate and calorie burning
- Adrenal: Products hormones that control sex drive and cortisol(the stress hormone)
- Pineal: aka Thalamus. It produces the serotonin derivatives of melatonin which affects sleep and mood.
- Pituitary: THE MASTER. No really. It’s the gland that controls other glands and makes the growth hormones.
How Do Hormones Work?
In response to signals from the brain, hormones are produced by our cells and can travel in our blood to reach organs and tissues no matter where they are located in the body. There are receptors that are shaped to only accept how the hormone is shaped. So, when the perfect match finds each other, they connect like a key and lock and then get to work! Once they “snap” in place, a response within the cell occurs.
How Do Nutrients Affect Hormones?
Well, there are a few things to know first.
Endocrine disruptors: These are like antagonists. These are chemicals that interfere with the function of hormones. These can be floating in your blood waiting for the hormone they want. They’ll bind to the hormone’s receptor before the right receptor is able to. This sends a false signal or it can block the action of the natural hormone so that there is no effect. This can be good or bad depending on the need.
I think you want the good parts of this, right?!
Here are a few pointers…
The nutrients from our diet are critical to the proper production and/or functions of some hormones. Here ’s a look at some of the top nutrients needed to stop Lupus flare-ups.
Vitamin D3: This vitamin is particularly unique because vitamin D itself is a steroid-class hormone. Vitamin D keeps circulatory calcium and phosphorus levels optimal by regulating the synthesis of another hormone produced by the parathyroid glands called PTH (parathyroid hormone).
D3 is the natural version, while D2 is synthetic. D3 isn’t as commonly found in your typical multi-vitamins or in the drugstore supplement aisle. So, take that extra step and read the ingredients before purchasing! Your body will thank you in so many ways!
D3 is better absorbed and used the correct way as compared to D2.
Your bloodwork for vitamin D ” 25-hydroxyvitamin D” should be between 70-90 ng/mL. If it’s not in this range, then your organs are suffering, making you suffer.
Omega-3: Included with EPA and DHA, they are critical precursors of a number of hormones important for maintaining healthy and balanced immune function. Those who say to just take fish oil do not know enough about the powerful effects of taking a mix of Omega-3 and 6, plus added DHA.
Boron: Plays a supporting role in the hormonal functions of vitamin D, estrogen, thyroid hormone, insulin, and progesterone. Minerals are key to your vitamin success!
Vitamin K: Vitamin K activates a little-known hormone called osteocalcin that helps put and keep calcium in bones. This is why I stress so much on social media posts and blogs to take vitamin K as MK7 with vitamin D3. Otherwise, you’re wasting your money and you lose your faith in vitamins and supplementations.
Selenium: Is so important in regulating your thyroid function. Your thyroid contains more selenium by weight than any other organ. The enzymes that remove iodine molecules from T4 converting into T3 need selenium otherwise the thyroid hormone won’t be activated.
Research has found patients who suffer from different types of thyroid disease have lower than normal selenium.
Folate: NOT FOLIC ACID! Folate is the natural version that is produced in your body. Folic acid is synthetic so the shape of this lab-created hormone is the same, BUT it’s flipped upside down. So, your body doesn’t take folic acid as well and doesn’t use it as well.
Folic acid is in almost every supplement and is adding to the problems of your health. Doctor’s prescribe it too, but they don’t think about the impact. So, next time ask for folate or get your own from a trusted company.
Iodine: An essential mineral critical for thyroid hormone production. In adults, the most significant effect of thyroid hormones is the overall regulation of levels of activity in many organs and tissue.
How To Get More Nutrients On A Budget
If you’d like more detailed ways, check out #6 on my other blog.
KEY ways to save money AND have tasty, nutritious food!
- Shop weekly for veggies and fruits. Don’t give me that excuse that you are sick and can’t go shopping.
- Walmart has FREE grocery pick-up. Now, you won’t even need this once you change your diet for some amount of time. You’ll be going by yourself, pain-free!
- Shop with a friend/family and bring them in on your new lifestyle changes. Support makes you more successful.
- Aldi’s. Need I say more? I spend 50% less total when I shop there as compared to any other grocery store. Plus, if you have a list ready of what you NEED, not want, it’ll take less than 15 minutes.
- Pay attention to packaged sell-by dates. If the spinach only lasts 2 days, you can freeze it until you’re ready to use it!
- Plan your meals using Pinterest. Create boards that fit your mood and lifestyle.
- Eat leftovers! Chicken doesn’t taste great the next day. BUT, if you cook it on a 50% lower power in the microwave, it improves the taste. Don’t forget organic, free-range chicken tastes WAY better too. You only need 4-6oz of meat per meal. So, portion control is key to saving money too.
- Eat less meat, eat more veggies!
- Meat is good, actually, it’s delicious. But, substitute with veggies. For example, eggplant parm using 1/2cup of pork rinds(high in fat, low in carbs), and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. This is BOMB for a substitution. You want more healthy fats in your diet and fewer carbs.
- Carbs turn to glucose which feeds disease and cancer. Try the Keto diet or low carb diet and supplement with proper, nutritious foods.
- Less than 100grams works for me a day. Figure out what range of macronutrients works for you. Macronutrients are fats, carbs, and proteins. Through this method, you can say goodbye to calorie counting, fatigue, cravings, and symptoms!
- Your body functions better and has sustained energy if it burns fat, not glucose. No brain fog, no fatigue, and no cravings. Plus, no more joint pain/inflammation!
- Veggies may hurt your stomach, so try out the low fodmap diet to see which is causing health issues. You’ll be shocked when you eliminate stuff you thought was healthy to realize it was causing more harm than good! FODMAPs are found in everyday foods including specific dairy products, wheat and other grains, and fruits and vegetables.
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Sharing our blogs will help others more easily understand the huge impact hormones have and how the sourcing of ingredients for supplements will affect our body’s ability to prevent Lupus symptoms.