A Functional Medicine Success Story
Renee Marold, a patient at J. Gruber Health Solutions, is living her best life. At the age of 58, Renee, a dancer, choreographer, competitive bodybuilder and lover of travel she has the boundless energy she needs to keep pace with her 18 and 20-year-old sons. But it hasn’t always been that way.
Before Renee engaged with functional medicine, she struggled with low energy levels, disrupted sleep and high cholesterol. Renee found it difficult to accomplish the things she wanted to, particularly after the birth of her second son and when she began training as a competitive bodybuilder.
After visiting Dr. Gruber for the first time, Renee noticed an almost immediate improvement in her sleep quality. She stopped waking up in the middle of the night. A few months later, she noticed increasing energy levels, which allowed her to start lifting weights and train for bodybuilding competitions. After 9 months of functional medicine, Renee had successfully lowered her cholesterol without statins and had a healthier and glowing skin complexion. Functional medicine helped Renee meet her biggest health goal: to lose fat and gain muscle with more ease. Building athletic muscle supported Renee as she trained, and carried her rhythmically through the movements of her favorite ballet dances.
With newfound energy, and an exercise and lifestyle regime supported by functional medicine, Renee participated in seven bodybuilding competitions sponsored by the National Physique Committee (NPC), the premier amateur physique organization in the world. She placed second in a national competition, an extraordinary accomplishment. But Renee refuses to take all the credit for her hard work and achievement, stating, “There is absolutely no way I could have done it without Dr. Gruber and his functional medicine practice.”
Renee appreciates how much time Dr. Gruber spent with her, discussing her history, goals and lifestyle. She credits the comprehensive and tailored approach of functional medicine to her ongoing success, health and happiness. That, and Dr. Gruber’s accessibility to his patients. “He gets it right,” she says.
Today, Renee reports that she has felt so good for so long, she can hardly remember how impactful her medical symptoms used to be on her quality of life. Which is good, because it gives her time to focus on the things that really matter, like riding bikes, keeping up with her sons, and dancing to her heart’s delight.
“Dr. Gruber is one of the smartest and most thorough doctors I have ever had. He gets it right, and is always available if I have a question or need to talk through something. He is so knowledgeable and communicates scientific information in a clear way. Our appointments are never rushed, and he really focuses on finding the root cause of the issue rather than masking symptoms. Because of him and J. Gruber Health Solutions, I can hardly even remember the last time I didn’t feel good.”
— Renee Marold
Hormones are messengers between body systems that help regulate physiology and behavior, including digestion, metabolism, respiration, tissue function, sleep, stress, growth, movement, reproduction, and mood and play an integral role in overall health. Millions of women suffer from hormonal imbalances that interfere with their health and quality of life. A healthy and well-balanced body manufactures all of the hormones it needs to function. However, when you have a hormone imbalance, you have too much or too little of a certain hormone and it can have a serious effect throughout the whole body. Think of hormones like a cake recipe. Too much or too little of any one ingredient affects the final product.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
Signs of hormonal imbalance in women include breast tenderness, weight gain in the abdomen, hips, and thighs, decreased libido, irregular cycles, thyroid dysfunction, constipation, muscle weakness, muscle and joint stiffness, increased hunger, thinning hair, and night sweats.
Causes of Hormone Imbalances
Hormone fluctuations occur naturally as we age. However, hormonal imbalances can also be caused by our lifestyle. Hormone balance is tied to the food we eat, the exercise we get, the toxins we absorb, and the stress we carry. Your lifestyle should work with your hormones, not against them.
The wrong food can actually harm your body. An unhealthy diet consisting of refined carbohydrates, sugar, fat, soy, and processed foods can lead to inflammation and weight gain that can easily contribute to hormonal imbalances. Certain foods, like gluten and dairy, can actually burden the liver so that the liver is unable to properly detoxify leading to an excess of hormones. Exercise also has a direct impact on hormones, including insulin, estrogen, and testosterone. It also helps increase serotonin and dopamine levels which can help with mood and relieve stress. Stress relief is important because when the body is stressed, more cortisol, a hormone, is released at the expense of other hormones. Risk factors that may contribute to hormonal imbalance include smoking, hormonal birth control, and polycystic ovaries and/or breasts.
How a Functional Medicine Doctor can Help Restore Your Hormones
Unfortunately, a majority of women are living life with some level of hormone imbalance as they have come to accept the symptoms as normal signs of aging. Furthermore, traditional medicine does not offer much in the way of solutions. Conventional treatments for hormone imbalances usually leave people dependent on prescription drugs that mask the symptoms rather than addressing and treating the root cause. A functional medicine doctor will ask why the body is failing to produce and regulate proper hormone levels. Often times, the answer lies in a related system, such as the thyroid, showing just how important functional medicine is becoming in today’s healthcare system.
While there is no single test for doctors to diagnose a hormone imbalance, a functional medicine doctor may conduct both blood and saliva tests to determine different hormone levels, including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, and cortisol. A detailed health history will also be conducted to determine whether there are any conditions that may be contributing to a hormonal imbalance, such as adrenal fatigue, a common cause of hormonal imbalance.
Treatment is dependent on the type of hormonal imbalance, but can include bioidentical hormone replacement therapy in the form of a cream or injected pellets, including estrogen and/or testosterone, and thyroid therapy. In addition, a good diet and exercise regimen, as well as certain supplements can help to naturally restore and balance hormones.
CONTACT A DENVER HORMONE DOCTOR
J. Gruber Health Solutions in Denver, Colorado is a functional medicine practice focusing specifically on hormone health. Hormone health is about living better and Dr. Gruber can help you achieve that goal. Contact us today at 303-746-1964 to set up your consultation today!
Low Libido Treatment Serving Denver, Colorado/Greenwood Village, CO
A decrease in sex drive is a condition that is unique in the fact that there is no definitive way to monitor it. Doctors have no gauge for what a “normal” sex drive should be, so it is defined differently with each and every patient whether they’re a man or a woman.
Only you can define what your natural desire for sexual relations should be, and as a result, only you can decide when it’s time to seek the help of a qualified professional.
If you’ve noticed a decrease in your libido, it could be due to a number of factors. The solution may be simple, as in the case where the culprit is a side effect from a medication you were prescribed. It could be the result of the physical and mental anguish that comes with dealing with an unrelated chronic pain, or it may be hormonal. We’ll explore some of the causes for a low libido in further detail below.
Low Libido in Women
It may be difficult for a woman to determine what is causing her loss of libido, because it is difficult to monitor when a loss actually occurs. Simply not wanting sex as often as your partner doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sex drive is lacking, although if you’re desire is less than you think it should be, it may be time to contact someone for help.
Whether the cause is physical, psychological, or hormonal, our team can develop a treatment plan that restores your vigor to a level that meets your expectations.
Some physical and psychological causes for a diminished libido include:
- Pain during sex
- A preexisting condition such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure
- Side effects from medication
- Issues with your self-esteem
A diminished sex drive can also be caused by a drop in hormone levels. This can be due to natural phases of life such as menopause or breast feeding, or an unexpected hormonal imbalance. In the case of an imbalance, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) may be considered as a treatment option.
Low Libido in Men
Some people think that men should have no problem with their sex drive, and because of this, many men suffering from a diminished libido may keep the problem to themselves. The reality is that many men are suffering from the condition but may be too embarrassed to ask for help. The first step in treatment is to admit there is a problem. While there is no standard measurement for a healthy male sex drive, you have the power to determine when it isn’t what you think it should be.
There are a number of treatable factors that can lower your sex drive. Some of these include:
- Side effects from medications such as antidepressants or drugs for high blood pressure
- Poor sleep habits
- Erectile dysfunction
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Low testosterone
If you feel that you may be suffering from a loss of sex drive, we recommend that you keep a log of your experiences as well as any questions you may have. This information is vital in helping us determine a unique path to helping you improve your condition.
Our treatment plans may be a combination of lifestyle coaching, medical examinations and hormone therapy (BHRT).
Andropause / Male Menopause Treatment Serving Denver, Colorado / Greenwood Village, CO
Tired? Depressed? Decreased Libido?
Sometimes referred to as male menopause, andropause is a dramatic reduction in testosterone production that may occur in middle aged men.
The term male menopause is a bit misleading. While the onset of menopause in women can be quite sudden, men can start losing their testosterone as early as the age of 35. This gradual reduction means that the resulting symptoms of andropause can slowly build with time.
Doctors began studying the causes and effects of andropause as early as the 1940’s, but it has only begun to gain acceptance as a recognized condition by the medical community within the past few years.
Currently, about 25 million males between the ages of 40 and 55 may be suffering from an excessive loss of testosterone production otherwise known as andropause.
Andropause Symptoms and Causes
Some of the most common symptoms associated with Andropause include:
- Decreased libido
- Night sweats
- Limited ability to concentrate or stay focused
- Erectile dysfunction
It is still uncertain if these conditions are directly caused by low testosterone or if decreased production is simply a result of preexisting conditions. Doctors do believe that the factors are linked. For example, erectile dysfunction is usually the result of restricted arteries, but the condition is almost always accompanied by decreased levels of testosterone.
In a recent study of 2,100 men over the age of 45, the likeliness of low testosterone was:
- 2.4 times higher in obese men
- 2.1 times higher in men suffering from diabetes
- 1.8 times higher in men with high blood pressure
The most obvious therapy for treating the loss of testosterone levels is to increase them again through Testosterone Replacement Therapy or Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). This increase can be received through a variety of methods. Some of them include:
- Injection directly into the blood stream
- Patches worn on the upper arm or inside the mouth
- Creams or gels that are absorbed into the skin
In addition to hormone therapy, patients may explore the use of herbal supplements and vitamins. Here are just a few options:
- Vitamins C and E
- Muira puama (a natural aphrodisiac)
- L-arginine (used to help maintain blood vessel tone)
- A diet rich in the following may also help:
- Low fat foods
- Tomato products (these are also know to reduce the risk of prostate cancer)
Decreasing alcohol consumption is also recommended, because excesses of alcohol lead to a build-up of the aromatase enzyme which converts testosterone into estrogen. Fat cells can also lead to aromatase enzymes, so treatment plans always include some form of an exercise regimen to counter these effects.