Sex….it’s highly overrated, that is if you have hormone issues that affect your libido and a lot of other things in your body, including your heart. Since I’m dealing with the diagnosis of congestive heart failure, which I’m working on reversing, this topic is of interest to me.
In my research I uncovered a lot of information about hormones and how they affect your heart rate variability and the “fight or flight” response. But it wasn’t until I tested for a low progesterone level month after month of working with my biochemist that he recommended another approach that included DHEA. Since I ALWAYS research anything that goes into my body and understand the advantages and disadvantages before I take it, I started down another rabbit hole. I’ve invited you along for the ride….whoosh….
I started compiling some of my research about hormones and as I sifted through articles, studies and videos, I became increasingly aware of the effect of hormones on the heart. This is where my concentration on today’s post will focus, but before I narrow things down I’ve included a great introduction to hormones in this video interview, Forever Health, with Suzanne Somers and Dr. Lyn Berutti, D.O. Suzanne Somers has done a lot of research on the subject of hormones, especially bioidentical hormones to be exact.
“Hans Selye had discovered that a large dose of estrogen created a shock-like state. Shock and stress cause estrogen to increase, and decrease progesterone and testosterone.” ¹
The ovaries are the primary site for the body’s manufacturing of progesterone, in my case (without my ovaries) my adrenal glands are trying to make up for the loss. However, if your body’s adrenal glands have been overtaxed and are fatigued, the demand is greater than the gland’s capacity to produce. Then the dominoes begin to fall…and this is what I am attempting to avoid.
“Heart failure is described as “diastolic failure” when the muscle isn’t able to fully relax. In an early stage, this is just a waterlogged (Iseri, et al., 1952), fatigued condition, but when continued, the metabolic changes lead to fibrosis and even to calcification of the heart muscle.” ¹
However, this was the part of the article that made my head spin. You see my heart condition involves a longer than normal QT rhythm, and the last thing I want to do is to prolong this rhythm any longer. It could set off my pacemaker if my heart ended up trying to compensate in a ventricular arrhythmia known as Torsades de Pointes. I knew I was on to the right tract when this newly published study came to my attention, the Normalization of QT interval duration in a long QT syndrome patient during pregnancy and the postpartum period due to sex hormone effects on cardiac repolarization.
One of estrogen’s effects is to chronically increase the circulation of free fatty acids, and to favor the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA. These fatty acids, which slow the heart rate (Kang and Leaf, 1994), extend the excited state (action potential: Li, et al., 2011), and are negatively inotropic (Dhein, et al., 2005; Macleod, et al., 1998; Negretti, et al., 2000), are being proposed as heart protective drugs. (EPA and alpha-linoleic acid also prolong the QT interval: Dhein, et al., 2005).
Many publications still promote estrogen as a cardioprotective drug, but there is now increased recognition of its role in heart failure and sudden cardiac death. A prolonged excited state (action potential) and delayed relaxation (QT interval) are known to increase the risk of arrhythmia and sudden death, and estrogen, which causes those changes in humans, causes sudden cardiac death in susceptible rabbits, with an adrenergic stimulant increasing the arrhythmias, and progesterone and androgen preventing them (Odening et al., 2012). Progesterone’s protective effect seems to be the result of accelerating recovery of the resting state (Cheng, et al., 2012).¹
I was excited that the article ended with hope. So don’t give up yet!
The simplicity of things such as supplementing thyroid, progesterone, and sugar, avoiding an excess of phosphate in relation to calcium, and avoiding polyunsaturated fats, makes it possible for people to take action themselves, without having to depend on the medical system.¹
Proof that adopting the Simple Carbohydrate Diet on new year’s day this year, was the best thing that I could have done on my road trip to health. However, I can’t get complacent here and stop my research to pat myself on the back…there’s more….
The next step in the progression of my research was to focus a little more closely on progesterone. Since I had been using a progesterone cream for the past four months and wasn’t getting the results that I, nor my biochemist, had hoped for. This is what I learned about progesterone and it’s worth sharing with you before I move on.
In experiments, progesterone was found to be the basic hormone of adaptation and of resistance to stress. The adrenal glands use it to produce their anti-stress hormones, and when there is enough progesterone, they don’t have to produce the potentially harmful cortisone. In a progesterone deficiency, we produce too much cortisone, and excessive cortisone causes osteoporosis, aging of the skin, damage to brain cells, and the accumulation of fat, especially on the back and abdomen.
Experiments have shown that progesterone relieves anxiety, improves memory, protects brain cells, and even prevents epileptic seizures. It promotes respiration, and has been used to correct emphysema. In the circulatory system, it prevents bulging veins by increasing the tone of blood vessels, and improves the efficiency of the heart. It reverses many of the signs of aging in the skin, and promotes healthy bone growth. It can relieve many types of arthritis, and helps a variety of immunological problems.²
Last month the biochemist had suggested switching me to from the progesterone cream to another hormone combination of pregnenolone with DHEA, I took note. This month when I mentioned how thin my skin seemed to be, the decision was made to adjust my hormone regime. Read the info below and it will all make sense.
In a healthy young person or animal, taking even a large dose of pregnenolone has no hormone-like or drug-like action at all. It is unique in this way. But if the animal or person is under stress, and producing more cortisone than usual, taking pregnenolone causes the cortisone to come down to the normal level. After the age of 40 or 45, it seems that everyone lives in a state of continuous “stress,” just as a normal part of aging. This coincides with the body’s decreased ability to produce an abundance of pregnenolone.²
For example, starvation, aging, and stress cause the skin to become thin and fragile. An excess of cortisone–whether it is from medical treatment, or from stress, aging, or malnutrition–does the same thing. Material from the skin is dissolved to provide nutrition for the more essential organs. Other organs, such as the muscles and bones, dissolve more slowly, but just as destructively, under the continued influence of cortisone. DHEA blocks these destructive effects of cortisone, and actively restores the normal growth and repair processes to those organs, strengthening the skin and bones and other organs. ²
Before you run to your doctor or pharmacy looking for this combination treatment, be forewarned that hormones by prescription typically contain estrogen or estradiol, which is NOT what you need if you are estrogen dominant already. These hormones by prescription are typically synthetic, which is another issue that is beyond the scope of this post. I checked with my regular health care professional and my pharmacist and learned it isn’t so easy to get well in the maze of medicine we live in these days.
Speaking of living in today’s world, the use of technology by society is becoming addictive. My aversion to excessive EMF keeps me from being a regular cell phone user. My phone is an old flip phone for emergency purposes. I don’t like keeping it on, now I know why. Today, just as I was getting ready to write my post, I came across a 60 Minute report that really hit home on this subject. The topic of cell phone usage and how it raises cortisol levels in the body is interesting and alarming.
Brain Hacking – a 60 Minute Report
The information THEY don’t want you to know
¹ Heart and Hormones
² Progesterone Pregnenolone & DHEA – Three Youth-Associated Hormones
Cardiac repolarization and hormones effects
Brain Hacking – 60 Minutes Interview (effects on cortisol)
Effects of Vitamin D on Cardiac Function for Patients with Chronic HF (Heart Failure) (Vitamin D, the precursor to cholesterol, they key in hormone production)