Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hormone Factor

chap. 16 of Optimum Nutrition for the Mind by Patrick Holford
Hormones and neurotransmitters are chemicals that tell the body and brain cells how to behave.
If hormones are out of balance, our moods get out of balance too…just like when the neurotransmitters aren’t working well.

Apparently, it is becoming a common trend in medicine to treat PMS with anti-depressants.

Holford says, “I have never seen a PMS sufferer who didn’t improve dramatically with the right diet and supplements.”

Here’s the bottom line. “If you are deficient in vitamins, lacking in essential fats and have poor blood sugar control, you are likely to suffer with mood swings when your hormones go up and down.”
So – the first steps are to go back to Patrick Holford’s first recommendations linked here.

Four most important nutrients for banishing PMS related symptoms are as follows: (and please remember that nutrients should always be taken in conjunction with each other – so take a good broad spectrum too) 1. 300 mg Magnesium daily : French researchers gave 6 g of magnesium daily for the week before and the first 2 days of the period - nervous tension relieved in 89%, weight gain 95%, breast tenderness 96% and even headaches in 43%

2. 100 mg vitamin B6 - up to 88% improvement from B6 supplementing

3. 20 mg zinc – not only helps vit. B6 work but also keeps copper lowered and high levels of copper with low levels of zinc have been associated with depression

4. EPO – Evening Primrose Oil –4 x 500 mg supplements daily will give you 200 GLA which is what you want. Several double blind studies have shown that EPO is highly effective in treating depression, irritability, breast tenderness and pain and fluid retention usually associated with PMS. And guess what? Magnesium, B6 and zinc are known to increase utilization and effectiveness of EPO

Menopause? Same thing as above will be of help. Also – serotonin deficiency is also very common among menopauseal women so they would benefit from 5-HTP

Men and Hormones? About 1/3 of men in the 40-69 age group complain of a range of symptoms that commonly include (in order of importance) loss of libido, depression and worsening memory and concentration. Holford calls these classic symptoms of ‘andropause’.

This needs to be taken very seriously. Men are hard to diagnose with depression because they become more angry than sad.

Also – they are more likely to commit suicide.

Andropause can be helped by supplementing testosterone and levels can be tested easily and accurately with a saliva test in Canada – for a provider. The provider can also assist in carefully bringing your hormones back into balance.

Also lots of protein and complex carbs, as well as antioxidants and zinc are crucial.

Okay folks - next we are on to stress strategies, sleeping better and then manic depression so stay posted! Thanks for helping me stay motivated!


  1. Again, very interesting! I need to take a look at my magnesium intake. I thought I was taking a lot, but I still get migraines once a month.

    I have a question. (You can email me or answer here.) Do any of these vitamins or minerals you've listed across posts interact with each other. In other words, do you need to take more or less of one thing if you take another?

    On another note, when I was in crisis counseling, I learned that more women attempt suicide than men. More men commit suicide because they're better at it.

  2. Hi Tereasa - sorry I didn't respond earlier...not sure what happened but something to do with Easter! :)

    Vitamins and minerals absolutely work together and I think the amounts they are suggesting assume that you are using a good broad spectrum multi, so the amounts I think should stay as they are, even if you are taking more other synergistic nutrients. It's all about optimum here, so, within reason of course, the 'more' the better.

    That is very interesting about the suicide rates. I did read just in the last week that the rate of suicide among women is going up, so I should add that too.