A year ago I finally found a Functional Medicine Provider who would listen to my issues. I did a GIMAP test which revealed a whole lot of dysbiosis, and a couple nasty pathogens that needed to be taken care of. We have spent the last year, yes you read that right ONE YEAR working on getting rid of those unwanted visitors. Thinking it is time to move to the next stage, I just had another GIMAP test to see exactly how we move forward with my healing.
Considering that I am "of that age"(ahem... menopause) we decided to do salivary hormone and cortisol tests as well so we have the whole picture. I continue to struggle with fatigue, sleep issues and some extra padding around the middle so hormone testing seemed to be the next logical step. I love graphs and charts and plotting results, so having some tangible data to work with is right up my alley.
Good news.... 2 of the big bad and ugly pathogens that were running amok last year are GONE!
Meh news..... I still have quite a bit of dysbiosis(imbalance of bacteria)- however my doc said that is to be expected since we spent literally a year killing off the bad guys, now we need to support the good guys.
Bad news.... I now have a high level of inflammation for some reason
5 R Gut Healing Framework: Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, Repair, Rebalance.
We are moving out of the Remove stage and into Replace/Repair/Reinoculate stages. These stages involve more targeted supplementation with things to feed the good bacteria(probiotics and lots of fiber) and to repair the gut lining(L-Glutamine).
Still with me? Bored yet? Let's move on...
Let's start with the cortisol test. Cortisol is your body's main stress hormone which is produced in the adrenal glands. Cortisol has many functions including:
Manages how your body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
Keeps inflammation down
Regulates your blood pressure
Increases your blood sugar (glucose)
Controls your sleep/wake cycle
Boosts energy so you can handle stress and restores balance afterward
If your cortisol is too high OR too low, it can throw your whole hormone balance off and it will impact your overall health.
Cortisol should be highest in the morning upon waking- it is what helps you get up and get going. Then cortisol drops throughout the day, and should be lowest at night so you can get to sleep.
My morning cortisol is quite low then rises a bit at night. The pattern I am experiencing is referred to as a "flattened cortisol curve" which can explain my fatigue and inability to get to sleep at times.
Here is the REALLY bad news..... coffee and cortisol are not friends. If you know me, you know how I LOVE my coffee, it's more than a beverage it's an experience. I know, kind of dramatic, but coffee lovers can relate... I hope..;)
My female hormone panel was a bit off too. Testosterone is REALLY high(you would think I would be building muscle like a champ), and that can be linked to the low cortisol. Another area that could cause increase in hormone levels is beauty products, so I am going through my products very carefully to see what else I need to replace. Scary that makeup, lotion, hair products, sunscreen, skincare products, etc can impact your hormones- think twice before slathering on that beauty cream that has 57 ingredients in it(55 of which you can't pronounce).
SO.... in summary:
More supplementation/support for GI
Supplementation for Adrenals
Workouts in the morning vs. evening(to rise cortisol in am and lower in pm)
Replace any remaining beauty products with safer versions
Last but not least......Cut out coffee.... insert sad music here.... (at the time of this post I have decided to include 1 cup of coffee/week to keep me sane)
This is going to be tough. I am going to blog about my progress since I am going to need you all to keep me accountable!
Yes, even a coach needs some help sometimes;)
BTW... Test, dont' guess. Just because you might have the same symptoms I have doesn't mean that you are dealing with the same exact issues and that the same treatment will help you. I highly recommend Dr. Suzanne Fox if you want to get to the root of your health issues.