How to age rapidly or not

effects of low testosterone health levels

Prevent yourself from the rapid onset of aging!

In this article, we will look at a huge contributing factor to the aging process. What can it inform us about the aging process and can it give us any hints on how to slow the ravage that time has on our health? The factor that we will learn more about today is cortisol, which is a hormone in control of a large number of the vital ongoing functions of our body. When levels of cortisol are too low or too high, the process of aging begins to accelerate.

The Adrenal Gland

The adrenal glands are responsible for cortisol secretion, and the adrenal glands are located above the kidneys. These glands are known for receiving the highest rates of blood flow among all of the other tissues of the body. Also, the adrenal glands contain the highest levels of Vitamin C: more than any other bodily tissues!

Both adrenals are made up of two different functional parts. The outside part, which is known as the cortex, releases hormone types of adenal steroids such as aldosterone, DHEA (precursor to sex hormones), and cortisol. The inner part, known as the medulla, releases adrenalin and norepinephrine. These last two hormones, also referred to as catecholamines, are well known as the ¤½flight/fight¤ hormones.

The Significance of the Adrenal Circadian Rhythm

The adrenal glands do not release their steroidal hormones at a balanced rate throughout the day. Steroidal hormones are secreted in a cyclical manner. The highest rate of secretion is early in the day and the lowest level of secretion occurs at night. This daily cycle is referred to as the circadian rhythm. An abnormal circadian rhythm that causes adrenal hormones to be released in a suboptimal fashion can lead to negative effects upon numerous vital functions of the body, among which are immune system health and the production of sufficient levels of energy.

Production of Energy

Adrenal function which is abnormal can negatively affect the ability of your cells to make energy to perform the normal tasks of life. People who have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, have slumps of energy as they go through their day, or are simply just always exhausted often have undiagnosed abnormal rhythms of adrenal hormone.

Joint/Muscle Function

Insufficient levels of adrenal hormone and abnormal rhythms have a negative effect upon the normal healing of tissue. This impairment of the ability to repair muscle contributes to a higher incidence of tissue breakdown which eventually leads to joint and muscle injury or to chronic pain. It has been realized for a long time that taking too many steroids can lead to weakened hip muscles and shoulder girdle muscles. What is not quite so obvious is that the opposite idea is also true: bad posture (like sitting too much), also lead to weak shoulder and hip muscles. This promotes an excessive secretion of cortisol and catecholamines. But why? The Neanderthal-like position, where the hips and shoulders of flexed, is similar to the Fight/Flight response that a person assumes when fighting or running. This flexion position causes the body to secrete cortisol and catecholamines. Notice that there is a key focus in martial arts of keeping the spine straight, warding off the artificial energy boost that the catecholamines create.

Another aside in this discussion about rapid aging: the jutted chin position also leads to quicker aging, of the cognitive faculties in particular. When one’s chin is positioned forward, or when the head is positioned in a downward tilt, spinal cord signals start to terminate midbrain; this form of short-circuiting that does not reach the cortex creates a mental state more conducive to reflexive responses that aid the fight/flight mechanism.

However, when the head is upright, impulses travel along the spinal cord and send messages to the brain to formulate proteins in the gray matter cells. If the signal is blocked from the cortex, then this stimulative effect does not occur and proteins in the brain start to dissipate. As they do, the negative charges held by the protein dissipate as well. As these negative charges fade, the brain cells become less negative, and as they reach action potential they may begin to fire off randomly. These uncontrolled neuron firings can cause seizures, pain, spasms, and tics.

…also, the jutted chin position tends to bring about quicker aging, of the cognitive faculties in particular.

As the cells of the brain slowly lose proteins, they begin to atrophy and shrink. This atrophy happens every day that the cells do not receive spinal cord stimulus. Essentially, this means that if you do not use your brain, you start to lose your brain. Martial arts regimens which involve total body contortion and movement also are beneficial to the brain for this reason. If one fails to move a particular muscle or joint, the corresponding cellular protein will begin to atrophy and become less functional. This also lends evidence to the efficacy of the chiropractic and osteopathic art of vertebrae mobilization, which will allow the vertebrae to move with more freedom.

Bone Health

Adrenal rhythm also determines an individual’s ability to build up their bones. If nighttime cortisol levels remain high and morning levels do not come back to normal, bones do not heal very well, and the process of osteoporosis can occur even when one takes calcium supplements. In fact, higher levels of cortisol lead to the leaching of calcium from the bone which eventually causes bone demineralization. Consuming supplements of calcium during abnormal cortisol rhythms often produces no results and can sometimes even have harmful effects if leached bone calcium is deposited in an improper location.

Immune health and Cortisol Levels

High levels of cortisol inhibit the immune system. It also suppresses the immune reactions of the mucous membranes located across the body. High levels of cortisol lead to fewer surface antibodies on the mucous membranes, which are known as secretory IgAa. These SigAa assist the immune system by filtering viruses, bacteria, toxins, and plasmids. Then high levels of cortisol lead to a weakening of the defense mechanisms of the serosal and mucosal membranes, people are more likely to suffer from issues like earaches, pink eye, bronchitis, chronic coughing, sore throat, coughing, ulcers of the stomach, inflammation of the gallbladder, duodenal ulcers, vaginal infections, acid reflux, and bladder and kidney infections.

Study:

A girl we will name “Cynthia” went to see six doctors in the last month. She had received prescription for antibacterial eye drops from an ophthalmologist, cream to resolve her vaginal itching and burning from her gynecologist, cough medicine from her general practitioner, and H-2 blocker to medicate stomach acid build-up from a gastroenterologist. She had also been prescribed an antibiotic to alleviate her sinus infection from an ear, nose, and throat doctor, and finally she had gone to a rapid care clinic to acquire another antibiotic to sooth her experience of burning urination and alleviate the pressure upon her bladder. When she came to us, we told her that every one of her symtoms could be categorized as an irritation of the mucous membrane. After four weeks of corrective measures to resolve her incorrect cortisol levels and rhythm using herbs and diet, Cynthia had no more issues with any of her mucous membranes. She used herbs and diet successfully as natural alternatives to hormone replacement therapy.

Low Cortisol and Its Effect Upon the Immune System

Low cortisol has the opposite effect upon the immune system. Low levels of cortisol lead to over-response of the immune system. The immune system becomes way too aggressive and begins to attack not only antagonistic orgasms, but it also begins to develop reactions to benign agents of the environment. It can also begin to attack endogenous systems as well, hindering our body’s ability to function properly. Autoimmune disorders like Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjorgrens syndrome (mucosal and physiological lack of fluids), and lupus can appear when one has low levels of cortisol.

Quality of Sleep

Quality cycles of REM sleep require low levels of cortisol during the nigh. High levels create a disruption of REM sleep which causes sleep to be less refreshing and restorative. It leaves a person feeling fatigued and groggy as they awaken in the morning. Fatigue upon waking is often misinterpreted by both doctor and patient as biological depression. It this depression does not react to medications that are directed toward norepinephrine and serotonin metabolism, it may be time to consider evaluating levels of nighttime

cortisol.

Study 2:

A dramatic case of how a disrupted circadian rhythm can affect an individual is vividly illustrated by the case of Melissa. She was a child who confused parents and teachers because of the unpredictable extremes of her behavior and the vast variations in her grades which ranged from passing to failing even in the same subject. They thought perhaps she was merely unmotivated, but psych testing showed that she was an extraordinarily motivated girl. Everyone attempted to make sense of her pattern of passing and failing grades, attempting to attribute it to the personality or style of the teacher, the gener of the teacher, or even a potential rebellious streak. Things only became worse when she entered high school. Her parents told us that it was incredibly difficult to rouse Melissa from bed in the morning. When she did finally get up, she appeared lethargic and incredibly irritable. The report card for her first semester of math class showed that she was often late for class, always forgot supplies, did not talk in class, and rarely turned in her homework. Strangely though, a couple of weeks after the next semester began, the instructor told her parents Melissa was among the smartest mathematics students that the instructor had ever had the opportunity to teach. Also, she seemed to love helping others that had trouble with math. Did Melissa change classes? She did not. She was working from the same textbook and taking instruction from the same teacher. The difference was that her first semester class was the first class of the day. She went to math class after lunch. In the second semester, Melissa now took gym first thing in the morning. The same issues began to appear. She was not participating; she kept forgetting her uniform. A cortisol test revealed that her morning levels of cortisol were only of the amount the she required to be functional at that time of the morning. A lot of adults that have those low levels of cortisol are able to apply for disability because of their inability to be functional when working. In Melissa’s case, being woken up and asked to get dressed was like awakening a normal person at two in the morning and expecting them to be completely functional. At noon, Melissa’s level of cortisol was in a normal range. Correction of her cortisol rhythm so that it peaked in the morning and was at its lowest around midnight caused incredible changes to develop in her performance, energy, and personality. By the beginning of her sophomore year, she was going to meetings of the student council before school officially even began.

For exactly how long did Melissa suffer from a reversed cortisol rhythm? Her mom and dad told us that she was an amazing baby. She would not become irritable at night and did not want to go to bed at 8 like other babies. She also would never be terribly unhappy in the morning either, unlike her younger sister. It should be noted that Melissa’s mom worked third shift at a very high-stress job when she was pregnant with her daughter. It is incredibly possible that Melissa was born with her circadian cortisol rhythm out of sync.

Regeneration of the Skin

The skin undergoes regeneration mostly at night. High levels of cortisol lead to skin the does not regenerate as effectively. A standard cortisol rhythm is a requirement to maintain healthy skin. It is especially important in preventing such conditions as acne in adulthood.

People that have skin conditions often have high levels of copper and low levels of zinc. Excess levels of copper cause norepinephrine and adrenalin to be synthesized from dopamine. Dopamine is the reward chemical of the brain and is linked to good feelings and is active during positive stimulus and is deprived through negative stimulus. This elevated level of adrenaline normally leads to an increased level of cortisol. Lower levels of dopamine increase risk of early Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well.

Skin conditions like eczema are often correlated with intolerance to gliaden, which is a compound found in gluten grains. This issue is also made worse by the presence of high levels of copper.

Cortisol and Thyroid Function

Cellular levels of cortisol control the activation of the thyroid hormone. Adrenal hormonal imbalance often leads to symptoms associated with hypothyroidism like problems losing weight, decreased body temperature, and fatigue. If Thyroid hormonal treatment only results in temporary yet significant relief of hypothyroidism symptoms, check your cortisol rhythm and levels.

Stress and Gluten Intolerance.

In many patients, the digestive develops inflammation within a half hour of eating grains that contain gluten, such as rye, spelt, barley, and oats. This intestinal response has been compared to have a sore throat that was thirty feet long. We call this condition colic when it occurs in infants. It is assumed that children eventually stop being allergic to gluten. In reality, the body just learns to react to this inflammation with a secretion of cortisol. In a lot of patients, a biological substance that is similar to morphine is also emitted in an effort to alleviate the inflammation and hide the pain.

This substance is then absorbed into the blood where it is transported up to the brain. Here, it stimulates receptors for morphine and a person can develop a physiological addiction to dairy and grain products that produce the inflammatory response. If one watches the patterns of behavior and symptoms of people who eat dairy and grain products, he or she can take note of the wildly apparent up and down phases of drug use and drug withdrawal. These similarities become even more apparent when the individual attempts to stop eating gluten or dairy.

High Levels of Cortisol and Low Levels of Libido

When we use up a lot of cortisol, we hinder our ability to produce other hormones. To produce extra cortisol in the body to respond to inflammation and pain, your body converts energy normally reserved for the manufacture of sex hormones into the development of more cortisol. Progesterone in particular is singled out for cannibalization so that more cortisol can be manufactured.

This lower level of progesterone causes us to have less progesterone than the male hormone testosterone or the feminine hormone estrogen, and this leads to issues of testosterone dominance and estrogen dominance. Both of these issues are connected with a higher level of aggression, violence, and irritability. Dominance of feminine hormones can also lead to uterine fibroids(benign uterine tumors), PMS, and higher risks for breast and uterine cancers, in addition to clots and heavy flow. Deficiency of progesterone causes one to be at greater risk for miscarriage.

The hormone progesterone is also vitally essential to maintain testosterone so that it does not transform into DHT (which is an essential male hormone which can cause major issues when it is present in the body in excess). Low levels of progesterone will eventually lead to low levels of testosterone, balding, high levels DHT, prostate enlargement and decreased libido.

Decreased levels of testosterone and cortisol also can make migraines occur more frequently.

What Causes Imbalance of Cortisol?

Among the factors and activities that increase levels of cortisol are:

1. Not eating breakfast.

2. Missing meals

3. Consuming a greater value of carbs than proteins over the course of five hours.

4. Being positioned in a flexed or slouched posture in which the chin is pushed forward.

5. Going to sleep after 10 pm

6. Undergoing emotional stress

7. Experiencing pain

Increased levels of cortisol and an enhanced flight/fight response are useful adaptations when one experiences infrequent stress or brief bouts of stress. The problem arises when one begins to experience chronic stress and cortisol levels rise often and stay at elevated levels for too long. When this occurs, precursor hormones begin to be used up. After a long period of elevated cortisol, the body may lose its ability to generate cortisol effectively. The experience of a low level of cortisol is how our body makes us slow down. Beneficially, low levels of cortisol can also have an effect on the aging process, slowing down aging processes associated with high cortisol levels. The problem is that low cortisol levels present a separate list of processes which enhance the aging process, such as making one more susceptible to diseases of the autoimmune system.

Means by Which to Slow Down the Process of Aging:

Have protein for breakfast by 8am and again every 5 waking hours.

Levels of cortisol begin to climb after a person does not eat after five hours. As we fast in our sleep, levels of cortisol rise until we are stirred to rise from bed with energy. If an individual eats a meal after 8pm, then the level of peak cortisol may occur later than would be desirable, and easy rousing may become more difficult. They will be more likely to feel tired when they wake up and may find that they lack a proper functional level of energy before much later in the day.

On the other hand, if a person does not eat by 8am or so, the morning level of cortisol continues to elevate and may leave the normal range. When this occurs at any point in the day it becomes difficult to bring cortisol back into a low range suitable for rapid eye movement sleep. For this reason, fatigue tends to be self-perpetuation.

Some people who have a tendency to miss breakfast do it thoughtlessly as a means to induce a brief bout of starvation so that cortisol is secreted. Doing this elevates low levels of cortisol to normal. The problem with this method is that starvation has the effect of adrenalin stimulation, which also contributes to physical deterioration.

Remember that there will be interruptions to sleep is we do not have an adequate store of glycogen to fuel the brain the whole night. Stores of glycogen are restored after every incidence in which we consume protein or eat a meal with a low glycemic index. Eating protein in five hour intervals is crucial. Each time that we neglect to eat a meal, stores of glycogen within the liver become more depleted. This also occurs when we miss a meal or over-consume carbohydrates during any period of five hours Habitual meal skipping and the consumption of excess sugar and starch can lead to sleep disruption. Among people who have totally eradicated their glycogen supply in this manner, it may be necessary to consume a small snack around time for bed for a number of days, or perhaps weeks, until stores of glycogen in the liver are restored so that the brain has enough nutrition to make it through the night.

There is a lot of confusion over which foods boost stores of glycogen. This confusion originated in the 70s when coaches commonly encouraged athletes to load up on carbohydrates before they participated in athletic events. In fact, one of the most common diet fads during this era was to only consumer fruit before lunchtime. The practice of consuming inadequate amounts of protein actually had the opposite effect, leading to depletion of glycogen and contributing to negative alterations of the cortisol rhythm. Hypotheses during this era that foods that were highly glycemic would lead to increased stores of glycogen were incorrect, and a whole generation of dieters and athletes were plagued with exhaustion and fatigue in consequence. There is still a belief in carbo-loading with effects athletes and patients today.

Quickly Control Pain

The occurrence of pain is the single most significant thing that can happen that spikes levels of cortisol in the body. One migraine can lead secreted levels of cortisol to become elevated to multiple times the normal baseline. It should be obvious that those who suffer from chronic pain will quickly start to show symptoms and signs that represent an excess of cortisol. Mental and physical fatigue occur, patients gain weight around their middles, and reports of muscle weakness abound (more weakness than is to be expected from merely a lack of physical activity, alone). Quick bruising, digestive complications, restless sleep, bloating, and a higher instance of infections of the mucous membranes (bronchitis, sinusitis, bladder infection, etc.) also occur. Chronic pain sufferers can not find alleviation from these symptoms until their pain is taken care of.

Fall Asleep by Ten at Night

Ben Franklin truly understood the importance of following the natural rhythm of the body when he suggested that those who go to sleep early and wake up early find themselves more wise, healthy, and wealthy. An individual is more likely to feel refreshed after five hours rest between ten pm and three a.m. than with five hours or more of sleep that does not begin until three am.

Also, remember that some beneficial functions of the immune system do not begin until a person has rested for seven or more hours without disruption. The immune system suffers when sleep deprivation takes its toll.

Fix Your Circadian Rhythm

After it has been established that one’s circadian rhythm has been disrupted, there are multiple approaches to therapy that a patient may choose. The goal of therapy regimens is to correct inopportune elevations and depressions of cortisol during different periods of the day. Herbal supplements can be of assistance, but they must be used precisely and carefully. Deglycerinized licorice has the effect of lowering cortisol, but whole root of licorice boosts cortisol. The compound phosphorylated serine has the effect of elevating depressed levels of IgA (which controls mucosal immunity) back to baseline. It does this presumably through the lowering of cortisol which leads to the suppression of SigA.

Taking phosphorylated serine at 6 pm in an effort to lower elevated nighttime cortisol can be the secret recipe to a perfect night of sleep.

Elevated Cortisol Today Leads to a Lack of Cortisol Later

There is an unfortunate pattern that eventually leads to an imbalance of cortisol later in life. Lifestyle patterns and choices today can lead to prolonged or periodic high levels of cortisol. After a period of time, the overspending of cortisol leads to a theft of pregnenolone. This hormone is the progenitor hormone from which cortisol and other sex hormones are created. When too much cortisol is summoned, the body subverts pregnenolone from its standard function creating testosterone, estrogen, and DHEA to manufacture additional cortisol.

In every single moment in our lives, we make decisions based on our posture, bedtime, control of pain, and response to stress whether our bodies will manufacture unhealthy stress hormones or vital sexual hormones. If we choose stress, we choose to age more rapidly. If we choose sexual hormones, we will feel younger and healthier.

When too much cortisol is emitted, the speed of catabolism increases. Catabolism is a function of the body which proceeds to break down tissues in every area of the body. This effect dramatically increases the speed of aging. Processes of catabolism weaken bone, blood vessels, muscles, and ligaments. One of the cyclical effects of catabolism is that it encourages bleeding, bone diseases, and poor posture, which further stimulates cortisol production. Excess levels of cortisol also contribute to glaucoma and cataracts and can lead to dangerously high blood sugar, intraocular pressure, and blood pressure. Secreting an excess level of cortisol also weakens the skin which leads to thin skin, easily bruised skin, and skin prone to stretch marks. High levels of cortisol at night disrupt normal REM sleep and cause us to remain fatigued and groggy long after we awaken.

Low levels of cortisol has a negative effect too. Low levels of cortisol when we awaken make it difficult to pop out of bed as we were meant to do. Any time that cortisol lowers below baseline in any period of the day it leads to a slump of energy.

It is not uncommon for people to often unconsciously and sometimes consciously seek an energy boost to produce an increase in the level of active cortisol. Among activities that raise levels of cortisol are consuming a starch or sugar carbohydrate snack, skipping a meal, or undergoing an activity which elevates levels of cortisol, included behaviors which are quite risky. We feel that inappropriate behavior is often an adaptive measure which serves to elevate levels of cortisol and adrenalin to a baseline or greater state in order to make up for having cortisol levels that are too low.

The problem is that many of these tactics which lead to an elevated level of cortisol cause us to produce too much cortisol and propagate an imbalance.

Efforts to correct abnormal cortisol levels and rhythms are quite effective.

People should be happy to find that belly fat, lethargy, and stretch marks can all be alleviated when cortisol rhythms are corrected. Irritation and/or infection of the mucous membranes can often be resolved just by going by through these lifestyle changes:

1. Fall asleep by ten pm.

2. Eat protein by 7 am

3. Eat less starch and sugar

4. Consume meals that feature low glycemic index once every five hours. For example, eat meals in which quick-digesting starches and sugars do not exceed the mass of meats that are digested slowly such as eggs, poultry, and fish. For better effects, entirely skip starches and sugars (especially gluten grains) and choose vegetables that are uncooked or lightly cooked.

5. If you have a gluten intolerance avoid all grains. Give children grains of sprouts to delay or avoid gluten intolerance.

6. Sustain proper posture and do not sit or enter the flexion position for prolonged periods of time.

7. Manage pain.

8. Keep your stress in check. (by following the initial seven rules it should be much easier to accomplish guideline eight.)

Maintaining a standard circadian rhythm will help you preserve precursors of adrenalin and cortisol, leading to a marked delay of the process of aging. Restoring a disrupted circadian rhythm to normal and restoring reserves of adrenal hormones can encourage a reversal of many issues that a patient may feel they will be plagued with for the rest of their lives.

Article comes from the NOHA NEWS, Volume 27, Number One

Winter issue pages three to six.

Winter 2002, pages 3-6.

More:
How to age rapidly or not


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