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What you need to know about Testosterone Esters

   You’ve come to our clinic after hearing about the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), and you’d like to learn more before trying the therapy. Great – Knowledge is power. Here is a short primer on testosterone esters that will cut through the confusion, and allow you to make an informed, educated decision.

What is an “ester”?

   The term ester is often used in the language of testosterone replacement therapy. As with all new words, it may sound confusing, but relax…it’s not nearly as complex as it sounds. Most testosterone replacement regimes are injections that include a few different types of testosterone: Testosterone Cypionate, Testosterone Proprionate or Testosterone Enanthate, or, more commonly, a blend of these and possibly a few other substances.

   These components are all testosterone, and contain identical molecules. The only difference between them is the “ester”, which is defined as “a chain composed of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen atoms attached to the testosterone molecule which must be broken down creating a ‘timed release’ in the body once injected”. The important thing to remember? In spite of the testosterone molecule remaining the same regardless of the ester, each ester can yield somewhat different results.

   Another definition of an ester is this: an ester is merely a name for a chemical compound that forms as a result of a reaction between a carboxylic acid and an alcohol.

   Perhaps the easiest way to define an ester is this simple explanation: esters are alterations made to the testosterone molecule to increase the time the liver metabolizes it. This prevents you from being burdened by frequent injections, since the harder it is for the liver to break it down, the longer the injected testosterone stays active in your bloodstream.

   There are several different testosterone esters. The most well-known ones are testosterone enanthate and testosterone cypionate, since these are commonly prescribed. Lesser used esters are acetate, propionate, phenylpropionate, isocaproate, decanoate, and undercanoate. As mentioned earlier, esters are a chain of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules. The chief difference between the esters is the number of carbon and hydrogen atoms that make up the chain.

   For example, the cypionate ester consists of 8 carbon, 14 hydrogen and 2 oxygen atoms, while the propionate ester is made up of 3 carbon, 6 hydrogen and 2 oxygen atoms.

The important role testosterone esters provide

   Esters improve the solubility of testosterone in oil. This is important, because it slows the release of testosterone once it is injected into the body. This is needed, due to testosterone’s weak solubility in both water and oil. As a result of the addition of an ester, the release into the bloodstream is initialy slowed. This enables the injected testosterone to stay active longer in the body.

   Without modification, testosterone must be injected repeatedly and frequently, sometimes even daily. This is required in order to keep a high level of testosterone in the blood where it is most effective, and delivers the maximum benefit. Frequent injections are inconvenient, and here is where esters come to the rescue.

   When esters are added to testosterone, it becomes less soluble in water, and more soluble in oil. Also, if an ester is loaded with carbon atoms, the more soluble it becomes in oil. The higher the level of carbon groups in the ester, the more soluble in oil it is, and less soluble in water. This is named “the partition coefficient”, which means the higher the solubility in oil, the higher the partition coefficient.

   Why is this important? To keep things simple, the partial coefficient determines how long testosterone stays in the bloodstream. If the testosterone moves too rapidly from the oil into the blood, it quickly spikes, then rapidly drops as the dose evaporates. If testosterone is injected directly into the muscle from a water suspension brand, the bloodstream puts it to work immediately, due to its low partition coefficient. This results in an immediate blast of testosterone, but it is used up very quickly…too quickly, since it takes time to deliver the full benefits.

   For this reason, testosterone cypionate and testosterone ennathate are popular choices of TRT, since they both have a high partition coefficient. Once injected, testosterone stays in its esterified form in the muscle tissue. Then, it will be delivered in small amounts by the blood, and circulate throughout the entire body at a rate that will guarantee maximum efficiency.

   Keep this in mind: The difference between “fast-acting” and “slow-acting” testosterone esters is referring to the partition coefficient solubility in oil. As mentioned earlier, the more carbon atoms in an ester, the more it is soluble in oil. These are called “slow-acting” esters, and this is what we strive for; they will remain active in your system longer. “Fast-acting” kinds of testosterone contain esters that are less soluble in oil. This means they enter the blood quickly, and are used up quickly, therefore not delivering the full benefits of the treatment.

The Common Types of Esters

   There are several different esters used in testosterone replacement therapy. Here is a brief description of the common ones:

  • Testosterone Enanthate. This is one of the two main types of testosterone used for TRT in the U.S. The main reason is that enthanate is slow-acting, with a slow release time of between 8 to 10 days. The advantage of enanthate is that it is only required to be injected either weekly, or as infrequently as once every three weeks. Its pharmaceutical name is Delatestryl, and it is also available through compounding pharmacies. Delatestryl is suspended in sesame oil, while the compound version of enanthate can be blended with sesame, cotton seed or several other suitable oils

  • Testosterone cypionate. This is the second of the two main types of testosterone prescribed in America for testosterone replacement therapy. It is also a slow-acting ester, with a release time and injection time-frame virtually identical to enanthate. The pharmaceutical name of cypionate is Depo-Testosterone. The difference between cypionate and enanthate is that cypionate is suspended in cottonseed oil instead of sesame. Cypionate is also obtainable through compounding pharmacies, with a mix similar to enanthate

  • Testosterone propionate. Propionate is not commonly prescribed, for a few reasons. First, it is a fast-acting ester, with a release time of merely three to four days. Therefore, it needs to be injected more frequently. Second, some users have stated that the injection can be painful, and there have been reports of puffiness and discomfort at the injection site. Testosterone propionate is sold under the names “Testovis” and “Virormone”

  • Sustanon. This brand consists of two different types of injectable testosterone that consist of a mix of testosterone esters. The first formula is called “Sustanon 100” and consists of three testosterone esters: testosterone propionate, testosterone phenylpropionate and testosterone isocaproate. “Sustanon 250” contains these three and one more: testosterone decanoate. These formulas are highly versatile, since they contain both fast-acting and slow-acting esters. Also, their injection schedule can be weekly or monthly. This brand is not prescribed in the United States

  • Testosterone undecanoate. This is an oral form of testosterone. As a rule, oral TRT places more stress on the liver. However, testosterone undecanoate is not a c-17 alpha alkylated hormone. This allows it to be absorbed through the small intestine directly into the lymphatic system, which places far less stress on the liver. But there is a disadvantage of testosterone undecanoate: it has a very short shelf life, perhaps only 3 to 4 hours in the body. The result is the need for frequent dosing – between 3-6 capsules daily. When compared to injectables, this is more expensive. It is sold under the brand names of Andriol, Androxon, Understor, Restandol and Restinsol. Testosterone undecanoate is not currently available in the U.S.

  • Testosterone Phenypropionate. With a release time of one to three weeks, this is definitely considered a slow-acting ester. It is sold under the name brand of Testolent

  • Omnadren. This is a mixture of four different testosterone esters: testosterone propionate, phenylpropionate, decanoate and isocaproate. Omnadren is very similar to Sustanon, since it contains both fast-acting and slow-acting esters. It’s injection frequency can range from weekly to monthly. It is quite popular in Europe

  • Aqueous testosterone suspension. This is a very short-lived form of injectable testosterone, as it usually exits the body within a few hours. This explains why it is not the first choice for TRT. It’s brand name is “Aquaviron”. This is why most people undergoing testosterone replacement therapy prefer cypionate or enanthate; longer-lasting means fewer injections

  • Testosterone Undecanoate Injection. This is an injectable version of undecanoate. Internationally it is sold under the name Nebido, and in the United States is called Aveed. This is a long-lasting ester that stays in the system for extended periods. The injection is usually administered every 10-14 weeks, and for use in the U.S., the manufacturer claims that only five injections are needed all year! The catch? There are many concerns of adverse side effects

  • Testosterone Suspension. Testosterone suspension acts fast…very fast. This is an ester-free, water-based form of testosterone. For this reason, it is not the preferred testosterone for TRT. Rather, it is hugely popular in the performance-enhancing circles of athletes, especially power-lifters, since it delivers a rapid effect, and skyrockets explosiveness. One concern is the painful injections. There have been reports of the injected limb becoming numb for a period of time, with moving the limb becoming very difficult. All-in-all, the risks outweigh the benefits when it comes to testosterone suspension

Testosterone Cypionate vs Testosterone Enanthate: Which one should you choose?

   As mentioned earlier, these are the two most common types of testosterone esters available in the United States. Here are a few differences that will hopefully enable you to make an informed choice:

  • Enanthate is manufactured world-wide, and is therefore more common throughout the world. Cypionate is usually more common in America

  • Cypionate is suspended in cottonseed oil; enanthate is suspended in sesame oil

  • Enanate consists of a 7-carbon ester chain. Cypionate has an 8-carbon ester chain. The rule here is that the greater number of carbons the ester contains, the more soluble in oil and less soluble in water it becomes. Therefore, cypionate has a somewhat slower release, and stays in the system a bit longer

  • Enanthate has a slightly larger amount of testosterone per milligram than cypionate, since it is one atom lighter. However, the practical difference is minimal

  • Cost. Enanthate is slightly cheaper than cypionate

   As you have probably figured out, the differences between the two are relatively insignificant. When it comes to effectiveness, many users that have tried both can’t tell the difference in how they feel, and the results delivered.

   So there you have it. Now you know just how important esters are. They have one main job to accomplish: slowing the release of testosterone from the injection site into the bloodstream. The ester lowers the water solubility of the testosterone, which causes it to accumulate in the muscle tissue. Then, it is picked up by the circulating blood and slowly enters the system.

   Remember this simple rule: The longer the ester chain, the lower the water solubility. Thus, it takes longer for the full dose to fully circulate throughout the bloodstream.

   Testosterone is testosterone, regardless of the label. It is the ester that makes the difference, since the key factor is the amount of time it takes for the testosterone to get to work.

   Our trained, experienced and professional staff will guide you through this maze, every step of the way. From price, frequency of injection, close monitoring with extensive blood-work, and answering any questions you may have and addressing all of your concerns, we do it all.

   Contact us, for the most cutting-edge, up-to-date testosterone replacement therapy. We guarantee our results, and they will be delivered in a safe, efficient and convenient manner.

Finally Explained: The Mysterious Pineal Gland

   The third eye. The mysterious chakra center residing directly between the eyebrows. The famous French mathematician and philosopher Rene Descartes described it as “the principal seat of the soul, and the place in which all our thoughts are formed.” Scientists consider it the producer of the hormone melatonin. Of all the endocrine glands, it’s role was the last to be understood.

   Regardless of what it brings to mind, all agree on its name: the Pineal Gland.

   The tiny gland is small (rice-sized), and is shaped like a pinecone, hence the name. It is a mere 1/3rd inch long, with a reddish-gray hue, and is located deep withn the brain’s center.

  Regardless of what it brings to mind, the pineal gland plays an important role in our overall health. Recent scientific research has proven beyond a shadow of doubt that sleep is a key component for maintaining a healthy body. Without sufficient sleep, the stress hormone cortisol rages out-of-control, increasing our already high stress levels. Also, lack of sleep is associated with another modern-day health-robber: obesity.

   As mentioned earlier, the pineal gland produces melatonin, which plays a huge role in both the quality and length of our sleep. Melatonin also regulates our sleep-wake cycles, which are known as circadian rhythms. It has been effective for some in combating jet lag, which is defined as alterations to the body’s circadian rhythms resulting from rapid long-distance trans-meridian (east–west or west–east) travel on high-speed aircraft.

   According to many researchers, melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant (a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules, and is thought to be a powerful weapon in slowing down the aging process).

   For all of these reasons, you can see why the pineal gland is important, and needs to be given the same care and attention as any other part of your body and mind. Here are a few suggestions to do just that:

  • Meditate. Meditation boosts bio-electric energy, and this has a direct effect on the pineal gland. The gland is highly sensitive to signals of light and dark, and a regular meditation practice will allow you to guide this energy directly into the gland

  • Sunshine. There is no better source of light than natural sunlight. When exposed to light, the pineal gland gets active, and kicks out serotonin, which ramps up your energy levels and elevates your mood. Sunlight also makes the body produce vitamin D, which plays a critical role in the pineal gland’s function. Without sufficient vitamin D levels, calcium doesn’t become bio-available, and will calcify tissue….including the pineal gland. To prevent this nightmare, make sure your vitamin D levels are adequate by getting out in the sun for 10-15 minutes and supplementing with vitamin D

  • A totally dark sleeping environment. All too many people just can’t seem to switch off their electronic toys at bedtime…and pay a price for it. The glare of television, reading tablets, computer screens and cell phones result in serotonin production at exactly the wrong time. As mentioned above, serotonin gets you going, but that’s not what is needed at bedtime. In total darkness, the pineal gland secretes melatonin, which, as mentioned earlier, controls your sleep-wake cycles. Don’t confuse it by allowing light in your sleep environment

  • Raise your iodine level. The fluoride in our drinking water and toothpaste can result in calcification, which is defined as “the accumulation of calcium salts in a body tissue. It normally occurs in the formation of bone, but calcium can be deposited abnormally in soft tissue, causing it to harden”. This is a problem for many organs and functions of the body, especially the pineal gland. The pineal gland accumulates fluoride in greater amounts than any other organ. Eventually, this leads to the development of phosphate crystals. When these crystals invade the joints, a wide array of health problems can occur: joint pain, rheumatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, kidney stones, and a hardened pineal gland. The result? Less melatonin is produced, which wreaks havoc on your sleep-wake cycle. Due to many folks reducing their salt and seafood intake, lower iodine levels are becoming more and more common. Restoring your iodine level is an important way to battle calcification. A great way to accomplish this is by eating foods rich in iodine: sea vegetables; raw, organic cheese; organic strawberries; organic potatoes; cranberries; organic yogurt and organic navy beans. Raw cacao powder has also helped many stimulate and detox their pineal gland You may also consider adding an iodine supplement. Make sure you have a good water filter. Don’t risk your health by drinking unfiltered water straight from the tap. Finally, brush with fluoride-free toothpaste

  • Avoid mercury. Here’s a simple way to think about this: mercury = poison to the pineal gland. If possible, find a dentist who can remove your toxic mercury fillings. Be careful about consuming large amounts of certain fish (tuna and dolphin; the bigger the fish, the more mercury), as well as bottom feeders like shrimp and prawns. Also, Eco light bulbs may be more energy efficient. But each bulb contains five milligrams of mercury. DO NOT LET THESE BULBS BREAK IN YOUR HOME! Always handle with extreme care

  • Don’t smoke. Tobacco doesn’t make anything in the body better or healthier…and that includes the pineal gland. Enough said

  • Add chlorella and spirulina to your supplement list. These powerful, natural phytonutrients have been shown to detoxify heavy metals like lead and mercury from the body

  • Other toxins. Fortunately, the rules for keeping your pineal gland healthy are similar to what you do to maintain your general health. Keep processed foods to a minimum, as they are loaded with additives like artificial sweeteners, refined sugar, and a number of man-made, unnatural chemicals that are impossible to pronounce without a chemistry dictionary. Same with other common household chemicals found in air fresheners, deodorants, cleaning liquids and mouthwash. When possible, look for safer, more natural substances

   The pineal gland’s total purpose is still not completely understood, and is a research work-in-progress. In the realm of metaphysics, the gland is held in lofty status as being a center of psychic ability (almost universally dismissed by the scientific community). Scientists agree that the gland is the manufacturer of melatonin.

   However, there is universal agreement on the importance of the pineal gland. You will be well-served to maintain it’s functioning at the highest level possible.

The Importance of Luteinizing Hormone

The key role this hormone plays in regulating the reproductive system

   Lutetinizing Hormone (LH) is produced by the pituitary gland and plays a vital role in controlling the reproductive system. Luteinizing Hormone is a gonadotropic hormone (the hormone responsible for stimulating the gonads and controlling reproductive activity) that is manufactured and secreted by cells in the anterior pituitary gland. It plays a vitally important role in regulating the function of the testes in men and ovaries in women.

   In men, LH leydig cells in the testicles promotes both testosterone and sperm production. Testosterone is also required for the development of masculine features such as strength, muscle size and strength, and the growth of facial hair.

   Lutetinizing Hormone performs different functions for women. LH plays different roles in the two parts of a woman’s menstrual cycle. For the first two weeks of the cycle, LH is necessary for stimulation of the ovarian follicles in the ovary that are responsible for the production of the female sex hormone oestradiol.

   At the second part of the cycle, beginning around day 14, Lutetinizing Hormone surges, which results in the ovarian follicle tearing and releasing a mature oocyte (egg) from the ovary. This procedure is called ovulation, which is defined as the process where the egg travels down the fallopian tube where it can meet up with a sperm, with the possible result being fertility (the ability to conceive children).

   For the rest of the second cycle (weeks three and four), what is left of the ovarian follicle forms a corpus luteum, which is defined as a hormone-secreting structure that develops in an ovary after an ovum has been released but degrades after a few days unless pregnancy has begun.

   If fertilization has come about, LH stimulates the corpus luteum to manufacture progesterone, a steroid hormone that preps the uterus for pregnancy.

   In addition to the two cycles mentioned, there are also three phrases to the menstrual cycle:

  • The Follicular phrase. This is the first phase of the cycle, and starts on day one, when bleeding begins and the uterus lining begins to shed. When fertilization didn’t occur in the last menstrual cycle, the uterus must shed the lining to prepare for the next cycle. This cycle’s duration is usually three to five days, during which hormones must prepare the body for ovulation before the next phase begins

  • The Ovulation phase. In this second phase, estrogen levels multiply, flooding the uterus lining with blood and nutrients. These increased estrogen levels produce changes in cervical mucus, causing it to become slippery and thin. This makes a far easier path for sperm to find a waiting egg. This usually happens between seven and eleven days into the cycle. The pituitary gland also releases a flood of lutenizing hormone which bursts the follicle, pushing the ripened egg into the Fallopian tube. This signals the ripened egg to grow, mature and smash through the follicle. The release of the egg = ovulation. The now free egg sails down the fallopian tube toward the womb. If fertilization does not occur now, it’s survival time shrinks to around 24 hours. Sperm has a slightly longer lifespan, and may arrive 24 hours later. Therefore, the time of maximum fertility is the day before and the day of ovulation. This is the ideal time for conception. The final step in the ovulation phrase is progesterone release. Progesterone preps a fertilized egg by boosting the womb’s lining with an increase in blood vessels

  • The Luteal phase. This starts with the formation of the corpus luteum and ends in either pregnancy or luteolysis (the structural and functional degradation of the corpus luteum (CL), which occurs at the end of the luteal phase of both the estrous and menstrual cycles in the absence of pregnancy). If the egg is fertilized, the body produces Human Chorionic Gonandotropin (hCG), a hormone produced by the embryo after implantation. This hormone keeps the follicle from shrinking and allows it to keep manufacturing estrogen and progesterone. This increased production keeps the uterus intact, and keeps the fertilized egg (the pregnancy) going. If the egg is not fertilized within 24 hours, the corpus luteum dies and the levels of progesterone drop. The result of this is the uterine lining loses its extra blood supply, after about eleven to fourteen days, and your period (menstrual cycle) begins again

   The secretion of LH is initiated and controlled by the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, a system that acts as a team. The hypothalamus releases Gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which attaches to receptors in the anterior pituitary gland which stimulates both the production and releasing of lutenizing hormone.

   This released LH is then carried into the bloodstream where it binds to receptors in the testes and ovaries to regulate their hormone secretions and their production of sperm or eggs. The secretion of hormones from the gonads can inhibit the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone, and lutenizing hormone from the pituitary gland.

   This results in a condition called negative feedback, defined as the levels of hormone released from the gonads falling and gonadotropin-releasing homone and LH rising. The importance of this occurring is that for men, testosterone controls this negative feedback. For women, estrogen and progesterone exercise the same effect except at the middle of the menstrual cycle. When this happens, the high estrogen secretions from the ovary stimulate a flood of LH from the pituitary gland, resulting in ovulation.

Why the level of Lutenizing Hormone is so important

   This balance of lutenizing hormone is the key to causing and maintaining fertility. As a result of this balance, substances that imitate the actions of gonadotropin-releasing hormone, lutenizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone affect gonadal function in aided conception methods like in virto fertilization (IVF).

   Measuring the levels of LH in urine can predict the timing of the lutenizing hormone surge in women, and time ovulation. This ability to predict ovulation is vital for couples wishing to conceive.

   Too high a level of LH can be an indicator of infertility. Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition commonly associated with high levels of lutenizing hormone and lowered fertility. When this unfortunate condition is present, an imbalance between LH and follicle stimulating hormone can cause improper production of testosterone.

   Genetic conditions such as Klinefelter’s syndrome (A male only disorder and genetic condition in which a male is born with an extra copy of the X chromosome, resulting in small testicles and reduced sperm production) and Turner syndrome (A female chromosomal disorder in which a female is born with only one X chromosome, which inhibits ovarian function) can also cause high LH levels.

   As mentioned earlier, LH levels are a fine balance. Low levels also cause fertility problems. In men, low levels of Lutenizing hormone result in a condition called Kallman’s syndrome (a genetic condition which delays puberty and causes infertility). In women, ovulation does not occur when there are low levels of LH.

The Luteinizing Hormone Blood Test

   The Lutenizing Hormone (LH) Blood Test is a measurement of the amount of LH in your bloodstream. There are several reasons for your healthcare provider to request a LH blood test. Here are a few of them…

  • Difficulty getting pregnant. LH levels of both women and men can affect fertility

  • Problems with menstrual periods. The amount of LH in your blood may help to determine the cause and best course of treatment

  • Delayed puberty. Again, LH levels may be the key to unravel this mystery

  • Trouble with the pituitary gland

  • In a man, low testosterone levels

  • Determine if a woman has entered menopause

   There are many possible causes of the problems listed above. Hopefully, the LH blood test will guide your physician in the right direct of both the cause of the symptoms and the correct treatment method.

Why Weight-Loss Plateau’s happen…and what you can do about it

Ever Wonder Why You Can’t Lose Weight…

Even When You Do Everything Right?

Maybe You’re Trying Too Hard!

Finally, Here Are The Facts You Need To Melt The Fat…Once And For All!

   It’s frustrating…maddeningly frustrating. You’ve sworn that this time it’s going to be different. You’re meticulously counting your calories. You’re following your exercise routine strictly. You’re not cheating with binges.

Yet the mirror and scale aren’t lying

   The numbers on the scale aren’t budging. And the image you see in the mirror is so far from being “beach ready” that it’s almost funny…if it weren’t so depressing.

   In spite of heroic, almost super-human effort, you’re stuck in neutral. The pounds stubbornly cling, as does the fat…especially around your mid-section, the area where you least want it.

   In desperation, you may be tempted to do what all-too-many people do: double and even triple your efforts. Crank up the exercise intensity, slash calories even further to the bone, and make sure your already bland menu is even more spartan and miserable.

But more sacrifice IS NOT the answer

   It may seem quite counter-intuitive that re-doubling your efforts may backfire. But that’s what most people discover the hard way. When hard work, tons of sweat and iron-like self-discipline are not showing the results that were promised, the reaction is usually a combination of depression, frustration, anger…and a decision to try even harder.

   But before you go from running a few miles every other day to training for a marathon, and following some radical diets (The Elimination Diet, Vegan, Adkins, Paleo, Gluten-free, Pritkin, Master Cleanse, The Raw Diet, Fruitarian and Elizabeth diets, etc.), save yourself the effort by remembering two simple words…


   Think about this. How in the world could you practically starve yourself and exercise until you drop – and still not lose weight and fat? Why, why, why?

   To answer that, consider how your body reacts to a restricted calorie regime. Normally, after beginning a serious dietary effort, the pounds come off for the first few weeks. Some of this is fat, but the mirror doesn’t reflect that, due to the increased water retention that occurs when dieting. Then, seemingly without warning, the weight drops in spurts, at times overnight.

   The explanation of this paradox is really rather simple. When calorie restriction begins, the body retains water. As we lose more fat, we hold more water. When there is an increase in calorie intake, often due to a “cheat day” in which the dieter resumes a normal eating pattern, the pounds finally drop.

   This is due to the adrenal gland releasing cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone” as a response to the stress of a dramatic drop in calorie intake. Also, many people trying to lose weight exercise far longer than normal, which kicks in an even greater amount of cortisol release. In other words, too much stress, too quick. This sets the stage for the body to retain water in excess amounts.

   Now, when the “re-feeding day” occurs, cortisol levels plummet…and the pounds finally drop. This is the logical, scientific explanation for this strange phenomena. And it also tells us in simple terms exactly why starvation diets and hours and hours of exercise don’t immediately reward you with rapid weight-loss.

   But there is one more piece to ad to the puzzle: the role of sodium. To further elaborate, let’s turn to professional athletes, for whom cutting weight is a tool of the trade.

An example from the sporting world

   Many athletes in the fitness world have become adept at manipulating the fluid balance in their bodies. In particular, competitive bodybuilders and combat athletes (wrestlers, boxers and mixed-martial artists) know how to take weight off quickly, and add it back even quicker.

   Bodybuilders need this ability to stand on the stage “ripped”, which is defined as having very low body-fat, in order to look larger and more muscular. Combat athletes need this knowledge to weigh-in at the limit of the weight division they complete in.

   Some ways of doing this are dangerous. But by relying on fluid, carbohydrate and sodium intake for short periods of time, weight can be lost and/or gained safely. Here is a simple formula that many athletes use:

  • Eight days away from the competition: double water intake, which leads to an increase in urinary fluid loss and water conservation in the body. Stay with this for two days

  • Six days away from the competition: double water intake again. At this point, you are imbibing more than four times the normal intake of water. This stimulates more water loss. Also, carbohydrates are restricted to 50-100 grams daily, and sodium intake is increased by adding a small amount of salt to drinking water. This routine continues for four days

  • Two days away from the competition: water intake is slashed four-fold. For example, you were consuming two gallons of water daily, drop it to one-half gallon. At this point, your body is used to excreting large amounts of fluid, and it takes awhile to adjust. The result? The sudden drop produces a negative water balance. Essentially, you’re dehydrating your body by forcing it to lose water in greater amounts than you’re taking in. Also, increase carbohydrate to 200-400 grams per day, which will flood the muscles with stored glycogen and draw water into the intracellular spaces. This gives a muscular and leaner look at the same time. Finally, avoid all sodium. Cut all salt out of your diet and avoid all foods high in sodium. Similar to the water manipulation described above, your body had become accustomed to excreting large amounts of sodium and will keep doing it, which results in more sodium leaving the body than coming in

  • One day from competition: cut water intake in half once again, maintain increased carbohydrate intake and keep sodium as low as possible

  • Competition day: avoid water until after the weigh-in, then refuel with water, sodium and carbohydrates

What this means to the average person

   Most people will never be faced with the need to dramatically lose weight quickly, then gain it back. But hopefully, this explanation of the process will deepen your knowledge of the science of weight loss. To summarize, remember these four simple rules for reducing water retention:

  1. Never attempt a starvation diet. If you dramatically slash your calorie intake, the result will be most unpleasant: water retention, which, as you now know, will sabotage your weight-loss plans. Keep your calorie restriction to approximately 20-25% of normal when you are trying to lose weight

  2. You don’t need to put in hours and hours of excise every day. At first glance, this seems contradictory. More exertion = more weight loss, right? WRONG! Too much exercise will pump huge amounts of cortisol into your system, which will increase water retention, thus creating another obstacle to weight-loss. Stay active, but don’t overdo it, and don’t feel guilty about taking a day off to rest and recover

  3. Have a “cheat day” or “re-feeding day”, when you eat just about anything you want. This is not a green light to go berserk and attack every doughnut shop in town. Let common sense prevail, and don’t go overboard. But as mentioned earlier, raising your calorie intake will relieve stress, lower cortisol and result in a few pounds coming off. This seems implausible, but the science is there. Just try it…it works

  4. Monitor your sodium and potassium intake. Never forget that sodium is a mineral that loads up the cells with water. Therefore, it is obvious that excess sodium intake will result in water retention. Want proof? After being super-strict with your diet, hit a restaurant for a huge, salt-loaded meal and get on the scales the next day. Potassium works exactly opposite, as it lowers the fluid level of your cells. Sodium pumps it in, potassium pumps it out. Be constantly aware of your sodium/potassium ratio, since most folks consume far more sodium than potassium…and most people are overweight. Don’t follow the crowd!

   Losing wait is never easy. But the way all-too-many people attempt it makes a difficult task nearly impossible. However, now that you are armed with the knowledge of the science behind weight-loss, you will be able to avoid the landmines that snag so many, take the pounds and inches off…and keep them off!

The Thyroid Gland: An Unsung Hero

   Football is a team sport, and all of the players must perform at their peaks for the team to succeed, regardless of their positions. But there are two indisputable facts about the importance of those roles.

   First, the highly skilled players on the offense (quarterbacks, running backs and pass receivers) get the most publicity, and are considered the “glory players”, since they put points on the board.

   But many experienced football coaches and fans know that the game is decided “in the trenches”, by the performance of both the offensive and defensive linemen. Without the blocking and tackling that goes on, mostly unnoticed, every single time the ball is snapped, there could be no exciting, spectacular plays. This leads to two other conclusions:

  • When the linemen block efficiently, opening up huge holes for the running backs, and protecting the quarterback, their team usually wins. Yet the linemen remain anonymous

  • When the linemen are mentioned on the news, all-too-often it is a result of a penalty they committed at a crucial time. In other words, they aren’t appreciated when they do their job. When they don’t, they catch hell, since so many things go wrong

This also applies to the Thyroid Gland

   Think about it. How many of us even know how important the thyroid gland is, or how much work it does? Perhaps it’s time to take a detailed look at this remarkable gland to appreciate all of the vitally important functions it performs, every minute of our existence.

   The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly, and resides in the throat, slightly below the Adam’s Apple. The thyroid is classified as an endocrine hormone, which means it produces hormones. In this case, the thyroid pumps out the hormones that regulate our metabolism.

   Metabolism is defined as “The chemical and physical processes that occur within the body to maintain life.” The thyroid regulates this by controlling the efficiency and speed at which our cells operate.

   The thyroid is, without a doubt, one of our most important glands…some would argue that it is THE MOST important, since thyroid hormones regulate many of the other hormonal glands. If the thyroid hormones are not secreted in precise amounts, our cells slow down in performing their life-preserving roles of synthesizing the proteins needed for cellular growth and removing waste.

   The thyroid gland is responsible for:

  • Insuring that our cells remain healthy, and use energy efficiently

  • Regulating our metabolism by controlling our body-fat levels and our bone makeup

  • Assisting our nervous system

  • Helping our cognitive ability by enhancing brain functions

  • When we’re young, it assists the production and release of growth hormone and allows us to grow

  • Regulating our body temperature

   When the thyroid is malfunctioning, a condition called hypothyroidism results, with several adverse, potentially serious side effects. Here are a few of them:

  • Fatigue

  • Dry Skin

  • Premature aging

  • Infertility

  • Constipation

  • Depression

  • Osteoporosis

  • Muscle weakness

  • Weight-gain

  • Decreased appetite

  • Diabetes

  • Cancer

  • Cognitive impairment

  • Hair loss

  • Intolerance to heat and cold

  • And more…many, many more. This parade of horrors just keeps on coming

   One of the hormones produced by the thyroid gland is called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), also referred to as thyrotropin. It’s purpose is to manufacture the thyroid gland’s production of thyroxine (T4), which is crucial to regulating our energy metabolism. T4 is the main hormone produced by the thyroid gland. It’s function is to navigate through the blood to certain targeted cells, then convert to triiodothyronine (T3).

   T4 is not as active as T3. A good analogy is this: T4 delivers the instructions from the thyroid, then T3 gets to work to carry out the mission.

   In its free form, “free T3” is the more active form of the thyroid hormones. If your levels of T3 are scraping bottom, that’s exactly how you’ll feel. Many feel that free T3 should be the “gold-standard) of thyroid function, since it plays the end role in boosting your metabolism.

   When testing for thyroid functioning, physicians start with TSH. If the TSH number is high, it is an indication that the thyroid gland is working harder than normal, in an effort to maintain the correct level of thyroid hormone. In the worst case scenario, this could be a precursor to a heart attack, or other types of coronary artery problems called sub-clinical hypothyroidism (SCH).

   Thyroid hormones work in a circular, feedback method. The hypothalamus gland manufactures thyroid-releasing hormone (TRH), and the pituitary gland produces TSH. When the “engine’ is humming along and fine-tuned, your levels of the hormone rise to what is needed, then the production stops. T3 and T4 are in perfect balance.

   T3 and T4 are the two vital hormones that regulate all of the cells in the body. But their precise, fragile balance can be upset. Here are a few things that can cause imbalance between these hormones:

  • Nutrition. As with so many health problems, much of the trouble begins with what you eat. Luckily, in spite of the mountains of conflicting ill-advised nutritional guidelines endlessly touted by Internet “foodies” and government agencies, common sense rules. Bad fats, bad carbs, junk food, fast food, processed food, artificial sweeteners and anything loaded with preservatives and chemicals must be kept to a minimum – or better still, avoid them completely. Eat smart, and be tough about the junk. Soy and gluten can also cause problems for some people. Finally, make sure to get a sufficient amount of iodine in your diet. Without it, your thyroid will not have enough of the raw materials necessary to produce the thyroid hormones you need

  • Stress. A certain amount of stress is inevitable, and can actually be beneficial. But excess, chronic stress is devastating to your body in many ways…including your thyroid. Exercise, meditation, sports and hobbies are common stress-busters. But whatever works for you is great. Don’t ignore stress. Be aware of when it is getting out-of-control, and deal with it

  • Too much exercise. Working out and staying active is a great stress-buster, as was mentioned above. But over-training can present its own problems. Over-training can cause hormone depletion, over-stress and damage your bones, weaken your immune system, flood your body with cortisol (“the stress hormone”), slow your healing processes down to a crawl, and leave you feeling “burnt out”. If you are new to exercise, start slow and listen to your body. Don’t be afraid to get sufficient rest, and at times take a break if your body is sending signals that scream “slow down”

  • Toxins in the environment. This is especially problematic, since many of these chemicals that are capable of wreaking havoc on your thyroid are disguised in everyday items found in your kitchen and bathroom. Chlorine, fluoride and bromine are antagonistic to your iodine receptors, and are found just about anywhere and everywhere: flours, bakery items, plastic, hot tub treatments, the water that flows from your kitchen faucet, and many more seemingly harmless objects. The key is to educate yourself on the ingredients in what you have in your house, and when possible replace them with products that contain safer components

   To better understand the importance of the thyroid, consider the lint trap in your dryer. Without a lint trap, huge amounts of lint would accumulate in the dryer vent hose, with several bad consequences: lowering the dryer’s efficiency, which shortens it’s life span, and bumps up the risk of fire.

   The thyroid gland also mimics the air filter in your furnace. When it’s clogged, the flow of warm air is impeded. As a result, the furnace will be forced to work longer and harder to keep keep the temperature where you want it. This can increase your gas bill, as well as eventually wear out your furnace.

   Earlier, the term sub-clinical hypothyroidism was mentioned. This refers to the gray area where the TSH is elevated and the thyroid is operating lower than it should, yet not so low as to cause the patient to be diagnosed with hypothyroidism. There may be a few symptoms of the condition, but they are very subtle. To make matters worse, many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are the same symptoms that result from natural aging. This is why they are often overlooked.

   The definition of SCH is “a condition where TSH levels are elevated, but thyroxine levels fall within the normal range.” This condition has been linked to coronary artery disease (CAD), which dramatically increases the risk of heart attack, blockage of the arteries and chest pain (angina).

   There are two common treatment approaches. Many people have benefited from beginning their treatment with a natural thyroid product like Armour Desiccated Thyroid. There is also a newer pharmaceutical prescription known as Synthroid. Do not hesitate to study the advantages and side effects of both approaches, and discuss this with your endocrinologist.

   Treatment is tricky, since a fine line must be drawn. Over-treatment can cause more harm than benefits with many possible side effects: bone weakness that could lead to the dreaded osteoporosis, muscle weakness, abnormal heartbeat, nausea, and this – “other unusual medical events”. This last quote was copied off the synthroid web page.

   One the other hand, under-treatment could allow several problems that are under-the-surface to grow into serious issues, since you will not have enough medication to deal with your hypothyroidism.

What you can do to keep your thyroid functioning at its best

   To sum up, after reading the above information, hopefully you’re convinced that the thyroid deserves the best treatment you can give it. Here are some ideas to keep in mind. Some of them have already been mentioned, but a good review will tie things together:

  • Eat smart. Hi-octane nutrition (fresh vegetables and fruits, lean protein healthy fats, “good” carbs and adequate hydration) is a great place to start

  • Get off the couch with the right physical fitness routine. Not too little, and not too much. Strive for a balance between strength, cardiovascular endurance training, flexibility and balance. All are important

  • Control stress. There are many ways of doing this. What’s the best way for you? The way that you enjoy, and will continue to follow. Please don’t neglect this

  • Avoid environmental toxins. Read labels, and research. This also includes medications as well

  • Get medical help. If you have any of the symptoms of hypothyroidism mentioned above, contact your physician and get your thyroid tested. If needed, consider medication, and discuss this in detail with your health-care provider

When you begin a hormone replacement therapy regime at our clinic, we will maintain constant surveillance of all of your important glands, including the thyroid.

Remember, the thyroid gland is your “offensive line” for your path to good health. Set the right environment for it to do its job.

What you need to know about the Hypothalamus Gland

The small gland that does such a huge job

   When considering Human Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy, the first gland that comes to mind is the pituitary gland. This is due to the fact that the pituitary is the gland responsible for producing and secreting growth hormone.

   But all of the other glands in the body play vital roles as well. In fact, most glands work as a team, in the correct balance. Growth hormone replacement therapy can help to maintain that all-important balance. Here’s a look at the vitally important hypothalamus gland.

   The hypothalamus acts as an internal regulator of many bodily functions, such as the electrode and fluid ratio, body weight and blood pressure. It receives feedback from the body, and makes the necessary adjustments to keep these functions in the correct balance.

   A good way to look at the hypothalamus is to envision it as a “command message center”, acting as a link between the brain and the pituitary, adrenals and other organs by delivering the brain’s signals. For a more precise, scientific explanation, the hypothalamus is a link between the central nervous system and the endocrine system. The body temperature, energy levels and circadian rhythm are all in balance as a direct result of the hypothalamus.

   For example, imagine that the brain receives a danger signal, or stimulus. Immediately, the signal is sent to the hypothalamus, which then sends out corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH). This hormone’s main function is to act as the hypothalamus glands’ message service to the pituitary gland. This results in the pituitary firing up adrenocrticotropic hormone (ACTH), which causes the adrenal glands to make cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone”. Through a series of complex chemical interactions, cortisol kicks in the body’s “fight-or-flight” mode, and prepares us to deal with the danger.

   This is done due to the many functions of cortisol. This hormone is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and prevents bleeding by drawing in the blood from the surface and delivering it to the muscles.

   At some point, the cortisol reaches the needed level, and the signal goes back to the hypothalamus to “switch off”. This is merely one of the life-saving roles that this tiny yet powerful hypothalamus gland plays. Here are several others: the hypothalamus gland:

  • Signals thirst and hunger

  • Helps to stabilize mood

  • Regulates libido

  • Assists with metabolism and growth

  • Regulates fluid and electrolyte balance, body weight, body temperature and blood pressure

  • Makes constant adjustments if any of these delicate balances are out-of-whack

  • Influences sleep cycles

The gland is located above the pituitary gland and the brain stem (medulla oblongata) and below the thalamus gland.

A small but mighty engine

   If all of the above functions weren’t enough, the hypothalamus has still more roles. In addition to the corticotropin-releasing hormone mentioned earlier, there are several more hormones secreted by the hypothlamus gland:

  • Oxytocin. Also known as “the love hormone” and “the cuddle hormone”, oxytocin is the hormone most responsible for cooperation and bonding, as well as processing social information. One fascinating fact: oxytocin is antagonistic to the powerful male hormone testosterone. But the two different hormones need each other. Testosterone is great for aggression as needed (in serious competition), and oxytocin, which is great for when the day is done, the (“hunt”) is over and it’s time to calm down, switch off the aggression and return to the family. Men will quite often have higher levels of testosterone than oxytocin. But a healthy hypothalamus will strive to keep oxytocin levels adequate

  • Vasopressin, also known as Anti-diuretic hormone(ADH). This hormone’s task is to retain sufficient levels of water in the body. Vasopressin swings into action when the body is suffering from dehydration. It this by slowing down the kidneys to reduce the flow of urine. In large amounts, vasopressin can also increase blood pressure by causing moderate vasoconstriction (the narrowing of blood vessels as a result of tightening their walls), thus conserving more bodily fluid. Also, some users of vasopressin analogues (compounds of related molecular constructions) report brain-boosting benefits, and consider vasopressin a nootropic (smart drugs and cognitive enhancers). Many have claimed rapid, temporary improvements in writing, speaking, memory and over-all mental clarity when faced with a need for peak mental performance, such as giving a speech or taking an exam

  • Prolactin-releasing hormone (PRH). As the name of this hormone implies, it releases Prolactin (PRL). Prolactin stimulates production and secretion of milk, and also plays a vital role in motherhood by raising levels of oxytocin, which develops a heightened degree of sensitivity and allows deep bonding between mother and baby

  • Thytropin-releasing hormone (TRH). This hormone stimulates the release of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). This hormone is produced in the hypothalamus and released, then moves through the median eminence to the pituitary gland, where it begins to secrete Thyroid Stimulating Hormone to balance the levels of Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). These two hormones are key internal regulators of the body, and perform a wide array of functions

  • Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GH-RH). This important hormone stimulates the release of growth hormone, which is the building-block of the human body. Growth hormone is responsible for building muscle tissue, rejuvenating cells, maintaining optimal mental function, easing joint aches and pains, and sending energy shooting through the body

  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). This hormone is released by the hypothalamus into small blood vessels to the pituitary gland, where it produces two other hormones: Follicle-stimulating hormone and Luteinizing hormone. These hormones flow into general circulation and act directly on the testes and ovaries to initiate and maintain their reproductive functions. As with other hormones, the level of both these substances is a delicate balance: too low levels will prevent a child from developing through puberty. Too high levels will result in a condition called pituitary adenomas (tumors). Fortunately, this rarely occurs

Problems with the hypothalamus

   A severe injury to the head can result in Hypothalamic Disease. Also, several other causes such as radiation, infection, malnutrition, surgery and brain tumors all can result in a damaged hypothalamus. Due to the proximity of the hypothalamus to several other glands, injury to the gland can have a large number of adverse effects. Worse, it can be challenging for physicians to determine if the cause of the problems originate in the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland.

   Women undergoing long-term hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may experience their estrogen receptors breaking down in the hypothalamus, leaving them more vulnerable to cancer. Exercise seems to offer the best prevention against this problem.

   Fortunately, hormone blood tests are effective, and point the doctors in the right direction. When undergoing hormone replacement therapy at our clinic, we will constantly monitor this all-important gland.

   As you can see, the hypothalamus is indeed “a small but mighty engine”. This gland plays a role in so many of the body’s internal functions that it is tempting to ask: “what happens in the body that this gland does not have a hand in?” The answer: “Not much”!





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Last updated on 2016-05-28