This blog post was submitted by Dr. Lisa Sachdev
The information below came from BioTE, it was not written by Dr. Sachdev. It is being posted for the benefit of our patients and the general public.
Testosterone & Immune Function
Testosterone plays a well-documented role in regulating the immune response. Just like estrogen enhances the immune response, testosterone is essential in keeping this response in check. Without sufficient testosterone, many men are susceptible to overactive immune responses aimed at trying to fight infection. This response, termed a “Cytokine Storm,” can have disastrous effects on an already sick patient and may be fatal in some cases. A recent study conducted on 45 patients in Hamburg, Germany, discovered a link between low testosterone and patient susceptibility to COVID-19.
Testosterone is further important to the body’s ability to fight infection through its role in managing stress and promoting sleep. Imbalances in estrogen and testosterone may affect a patient’s emotional state, which can have a negative impact on the immune system. Moments of high stress can increase anxiousness and can make it difficult for patients to fall and stay asleep. Insufficient sleep can drastically weaken the immune system and undermine patient health. On the other hand, sufficient sleep can increase infection-fighting antibodies and other health-promoting cells.
As we age, andropause in men and menopause in women can cause hormone imbalance and make sleeping soundly a challenge. In men, balancing testosterone levels using Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) may help promote restfulness. During sleep, the body releases pro-inflammatory cytokine proteins, which are essential for fighting infection. Studies have shown that sleep plays a role in how these proteins promote the interaction between antigen-presenting cells and T helper cells and may play a role in the formation of immunological memory.
Estrogen, Progesterone, & Immune Function
Women have been shown to have a heightened immune system as compared with their male counterparts. This difference in immune response may be tied to estrogen levels. Estrogen interacts with immune cells, mostly through estrogen receptors. These receptors affect multiple aspects of immune cell function, including T cell activation and multiplication. T cells are especially important because they help the body fight infection. Estrogen is also responsible for helping to regulate and boost other cells in the immune system, including neutrophils and natural killer cells. Estrogens can also alter the function of macrophages, the white blood cells that help remove foreign particles, bacteria, and viruses from the bloodstream.
While vitamin D has long been known to be essential to immune response, there may also be a relationship between progesterone, vitamin D, and the immune system. Within the immune system, vitamin D helps regulate protective T cells. Progesterone may increase T cell reception of vitamin D. This increased sensitivity to vitamin D may boost the production of these protective cells, thus creating a more robust immune system overall.
IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WHAT YOUR LEVELS ARE SCHEDULE A BLOOD DRAW TO HAVE IT CHECKED.
written by Dr. Lisa Sachdev
You survived the great pandemic. You were responsible and stayed home for 10 weeks to "flatten the curve", but what affect did this have on your own curves? Did you stay up late binge-watching Netflix? Did you also binge on take-out dining and comfort food? Did you have the time, discipline and creativity to exercise in your living room or was most of your time spent glued to a computer screen or television? Now that you're venturing out again will your friends still recognize you? Getting your hair done requires a simple visit to your stylist but getting back into your normal clothes may prove to be a difficult task.
If you've put on pounds this spring do you have a plan to get back down to your normal weight? Exercise is a good idea, but simply increasing your activity isn't likely to result in significant weight loss. There is truth to the cliche, "You can't outrun your diet." If you need to lose weight you'll need to create a caloric deficit and optimize your hormone levels, unbalanced hormones can hinder weight loss efforts.
In the world of weight-loss diets, low-carbohydrate, high-protein eating plans have become very popular. The Paleo, South Beach, and Atkins diets all fit into that category. Low carbohydrate diets are sometimes referred to as ketogenic or “keto” diets. Ketogenic diets force your body to switch from burning sugar (glucose) derived from carbohydrates to burning ketone bodies, a type of fuel produced by the liver from stored body fat. Burning fat seems like an ideal way to lose weight and improve overall body composition but adhering to a ketogenic diet can be tricky. It requires you to deprive yourself of carbohydrates, fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day. Dietary protein intake must also be specific, consume too much protein and your body converts it into glucose, consume too little and you may sacrifice muscle mass.
It typically takes a few days to reach a state of ketosis, and even longer for your body to adapt to utilizing ketones for fuel, a process known as “keto adaptation”. During the first few weeks you may experience symptoms known as the “keto flu”. Symptoms of keto flu may include mood swings, brain fog, fatigue, hunger, dehydration, muscle cramps, and constipation. Persons who have underlying health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes or who take prescription medications can experience rapid changes in blood pressure, hydration and blood sugar levels. Medications may need adjustment as the body adapts to the rapid change in metabolism.
In addition to being challenging to adhere to, when done incorrectly or for extended periods of time ketogenic diets can cause nutritional deficiencies, kidney stones, gallbladder disease, thyroid abnormalities and liver problems. Ketogenic diets may not be successful for dieters who lack the proper education in nutrition, physiology and biochemistry. Some prescription medications may also be contraindicated on a ketogenic protocol, medical supervision is recommended for safety and success.
Done correctly ketogenic diets can be a powerful tool for rapid and effective weight loss and improve metabolic conditions such as insulin resistance. For those interested in trying a ketogenic program but who need assistance our clinic offers the Ideal Protein protocol that is physician supervised and simple to follow. Weekly coaching sessions include education, support, and biometric analysis to monitor progress. For more information on this program register one of our free seminars.