Many people are under the impression that high protein diets are evil and cause all types of diseases, however a recent study says that notion is nonsense.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism found that in resistance-trained men that consumed a high protein diet (~2.51–3.32 g/kg/d) for one year, there were no harmful effects on measures of blood lipids as well as liver and kidney function. In addition, despite the total increase in energy intake during the high protein phase, subjects did not experience an increase in fat mass.
By Graeme Bradshaw
Did you ever want to know about how to look after your liver?
This is part of a detailed series of articles explaining liver metabolism related to detoxification. You will learn how and what to do to maintain optimal liver health.
Where is the liver?
The Liver’s location is on the right side, at base of the ribs, shown in lilac color. The Gall Bladder sits under the liver.
Expanded view of the gall bladder ducts - the gall bladder is under the liver
The next diagram gives a better idea of the actual appearance of the liver, as well as how the blood flows into it from the intestines. It is the first place blood that having picked nutrients, like fats, amino acids, phyto-chemicals, vitamins and minerals and any wastes from the intestines and bowels. One of the liver's primary functions is filtering the blood. Almost 4 liters of blood pass through the liver every minute for detoxification. The blood then passes out to the heart.
Bile from the liver is both a waste product, and it helps digesting and absorbing the fats and oils form food. Bile is especially released by fatty meals. Bile is necessary for bowel peristalsis, that is constipation may be caused by lack of bile.
Green colors above indicate the “biliary tree”, which are the bile ducts draining the liver into the gall bladder. These may be blocked with fatty cholesterol-laden plaque, bilirubin and bile salts, as depicted on the picture on the right side. The gall bladder may become congested with this plaque if it is not released as well and is prone to crystallize into gall stones by mid-life if the diet is incorrect. Read on for how to prevent this.
What are the functions of the liver?
- It is responsible for the production of bile that is stored in the gallbladder and released when required for the digestion of fats
- The liver stores glucose in the form of glycogen that is converted back to glucose again when needed for energy
- It also plays an important role in the metabolism of protein and fats.
- It stores the vitamins A, D, K, B12 and folate and synthesizes blood clotting factors.
- Another important role is as a detoxifier, breaking down or transforming substances like ammonia, metabolic waste, drugs, alcohol and chemicals, so that they can be excreted. These may also be referred to as "xenobiotic" chemicals.
Filtering the Blood
The liver plays a key role in most metabolic processes, especially detoxification. The liver is a filter designed to remove toxic matter such as dead cells, microorganisms, chemicals, drugs and particulate debris from the bloodstream. The liver filter is called the sinusoidal system, and contains specialized cells known as Kupffer cells that are part of the white blood cell immune function. They make up 10% of liver weight, and function to ingest and break down toxic matter.
Filtration of toxins is absolutely critical as the blood from the intestines contains high levels of bacterial waste, (endotoxins from the bowels), antigen-antibody complexes, and various toxic pollutants. When working properly, the liver clears 99% of the bacterial toxins during the first pass. However, when the liver is damaged, such as in alcoholics, the passage of toxins increases by over a factor of 10. This is similar if your intestines are too permeable, a condition known as “leaky gut”. Allergies (especially to gluten) and parasites may cause this.
The liver neutralizes a wide range of toxic chemicals, both those produced internally and those coming from the environment. The normal metabolic processes produce a wide range of chemicals and hormones for which the liver has evolved efficient neutralizing mechanisms. However, the level and type of internally produced toxins increases greatly when metabolic processes go awry, typically as a result of nutritional deficiencies, pesticide laden foods, low fiber diets and high red meat or alcohol intake.
Many of the toxic chemicals the liver must detoxify come from the environment: the content of the bowels and the food, water, and air. The polycyclic hydrocarbons (DDT, dioxin, 2,4,5-T, 2,3-D, PCB, and PCP), which are components of various herbicides and pesticides, are on example of chemicals that are now found in virtually all fatty tissues of the body, including the brain. Even those eating unprocessed organic foods need an effective detoxification system because all foods contain naturally occurring toxic constituents, and bacterial or fungal activity in the bowel may produce more.
So far we’ve learned that liver plays several roles in detoxification: it filters the blood to remove large toxins, synthesizes and secretes bile full of cholesterol and other fat-soluble toxins, and now we move on to how it enzymatically disassembles unwanted chemicals. This enzymatic process usually occurs in two steps referred to as phase I and phase II. Phase I either directly neutralizes a toxin, or modifies the toxic chemical to form activated intermediates that are then neutralized by one of more of the several phase II enzyme systems.
Proper functioning of the liver's detoxification systems is especially important for the prevention of cancer, since phase II detoxification deactivates carcinogens. Around 70% of all cancers are thought to be due to the effects of environmental carcinogens, such as those in pesticides, trans and burned fats in food, plastics and other sources of environmental estrogens, as well as air pollutants, cigarette smoke, etcetera. Our own hormones that are poorly detoxified may be cancer inducing, notably some forms of estrogens, and we are especially at risk if there is insufficient liver detoxification and bowel elimination. When combined with deficiencies of the nutrients the body needs for proper functioning of the detoxification and immune systems this issue gets worse. The level of exposure to environmental carcinogens varies widely, as does the efficiency of the detoxification enzymes, particularly phase II. High levels of exposure to carcinogens coupled with slow phase II detoxification enzymes significantly increases susceptibility to cancer.
The liver's second detoxification process involves the synthesis and secretion of bile. Each day the liver manufactures approximately 2 liters of bile, which serves as a carrier in which many toxic substances are dumped into the intestines. In the intestines, the bile and its toxic load are absorbed by fiber (if there is any in the diet) and then excreted. However, a diet low in fiber results in inadequate binding and reabsorption of the toxins back from the intestines into the liver. This low fiber diet (especially soluble fiber like oats and flax seed lignans) is a major cause of gall stones. This problem is magnified when bacteria in the intestine modify these toxins to more damaging forms.
The Gall Bladder : What does it do?
The gallbladder's main purpose is to concentrate and store your bile. Bile is a fluid made in the liver that helps you to digest fats in your small intestine. It is made from cholesterol, water, bilirubin and bile salts.
Bilirubin is what gives bile its greenish colour – the color turns darker brown the longer it is in the intestines. Bilirubin comes from the breakdown of used red blood cells.
When you eat fatty foods, the fats are broken down (digested) in your stomach and intestines. To get the bile to the food in your gut, your body either:
- Releases it from the liver and down the bile ducts, straight into your small intestine
- Stores it first in your gallbladder, which releases bile into your common bile duct as you need it
- Fats and oils in the diet stimulate the release of bile following a meal
- Fiber, especially soluble fibre such as from oats causes more bile to be released from the bowel, reducing gall stone formation. A low fiber diet increases gall stone risks, especially if no breakfast is eaten.
Factors causing most gallstone formation:
- A low fiber diet. Low fiber from too few vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods and whole grains such as oats or flax seeds. Do you eat 5 serves of fruit and vegetables a day or have a high fiber cereal breakfast? If not add oats and flax seeds which have high lignan content that is a soluble fiber.
- Too much red meat, cheese, and other dairy, bacon, sausages and gravies which are all high in saturated fat, that increase triglycerides (TG’s) and cholesterol, affecting the liver and gall (makes more concentrated bile).
- Omega 3 oil deficiency makes the TG’s and cholesterol go higher as well. Omega-3 oil, found in fish or flax seed oil, blocks cholesterol formation in bile.
- Sugar (and lack of exercise) increases triglyceride (TG’s) levels in the blood – high TG’s create less soluble bile. High sugar intake increases insulin levels that increase cholesterol saturation in bile (a bad effect).
- Irregular meals, skipping breakfast (“coffee breakfast”) and crash dieting contribute.
- Estrogens (the pill and oral contraceptives, and pregnancy increase frequency of gall stones – hence women more common sufferers). Women with a family history of gallstones are best to avoid oral contraceptive pills.
- Some gastrointestinal diseases – including Crohns disease.
- Some cholesterol lowering drugs (fibric acid derivatives e.g. Cliofibrate).
- Incidence of liver fluke is able to precipitate a particular type of pigmented gallstone and is relatively common in Asia (common especially if raw fish is regularly eaten).
- Food allergies are another trigger factor for gall related symptoms – if the gall is partly blocked consumption of food allergens trigger symptoms. The most common offenders are: egg, pork, onions/garlic, chicken, chocolate, dairy products chili, coffee, oranges, wheat, corn, beans and nuts in descending order. The high fat dairy products and pork are not recommended whether you have allergy/intolerance to them or not because of their saturated fat content.
- Coffee contracts the gall bladder – even if de-caffeinated – so if you have gallstones coffee may cause pain.
- Finally an odd one - sun-burning increases risk of gallstones.
Helpful Supplements and Nutritional Measures:
- Drink two large glasses of water on rising, and midmorning and mid afternoon to maintain the water content of the bile. Sliced un-peeled lemon in hot water is a bile stimulant too, and a healthy way to start the day. Add honey and some turmeric powder for anti-inflammatory benefits
- Take 2 fruits and 3 - 4 vegetable serves daily, especially including the cabbage family. This is for the fiber and important anti-oxidant content. (Carrots, beets, prunes, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kiwi, papaya, apples are all very useful).
Lose excess weight (low animal fats and/or low sugar/sweets diet)
- Take extra mg vitamin C and 200 of vitamin E daily - improves bile solubility (Innate Response Antioxidant is our best antioxidant supplement)
- Fish oil ideally as 3 or 4 Krill Oil capsules daily (providing 750 - 1000mg of EPA and contains fat mobilizing phosphatidyl choline). We recommend this also for Fatty Liver. Oily fish include salmon, sardine, halibut herring, trout – twice or more weekly.
- Initially you need herbal bile stimulating herbs: Artichoke Extract is best and simplest for this, slightly lowering cholesterol and helping bowel movement along.
- Milk thistle can be used alternatively, having more benefits on detoxification and liver protection. A product giving Milk Thistle, Globe Artichoke and further nutrients as well (choline, methionine) called Liver Support – is often given for optimal liver-gall function.
- Exercising three times per week reduces gall stone formation.
- Take a probiotic - Lactobacilus bowel flora. These stimulate excretion of bile from the intestine, as well as binding these as well as other intestinal toxins and removing them.
The human body absorbs approximately 400kg zinc over the average 70-year lifespan and at any one time there should be 2-4 gm zinc in the body. It is the second most abundant mineral ion ( Magnesium is the first) in the body and is the only metal that appears in all enzyme classes The body absorbs 20-40% of zinc in food, zinc from animal foods being more readily absorbed (twice as much ) than zinc from plant foods. Zinc is also more readily absorbed with a protein meal and although the body cannot store zinc and it is needed every day in small amounts (50mg or less), it may be held in metallothionine reserves and transferred in metal transporter proteins. Metallothionines in the intestinal cells are capable of adjusting the absorption of zinc by 15-40%. Thus control of cellular zinc homeostasis is maintained by zinc proteins and zinc binding metallothioneines. Zinc is needed for over 300 enzymes in the body and makes up part of 3000 different proteins in the body. Muscles (60%) and bones (30%) contain 90% of the body’s zinc. High concentrations of zinc are found in the prostate gland and semen and the choroid of the eye.
If bone is reabsorbed or muscle is broken down then some zinc can be reutilised and in cases of zinc depletion changes in immune status alter before any decrease in levels of plasma zinc. There is a small exchangeable pool of zinc (100-200mg ) that depends on recently absorbed zinc and the intestinal excretion of zinc. As with Magnesium, the efficiency of absorption of zinc is inversely related to the amount of zinc present in the body. The greater the level of body zinc, the less absorption occurs. Zinc, Magnesium Calcium and Iron all compete for transporters in the intestine for uptake above a threshold of approximately 800mg so consuming these minerals together below this level should not interfere with uptake Zinc is found in all cells in the body and the daily requirement is dependent on age and activity.
Zinc deficiency is due to
Some drugs deplete zinc.
Vegetarian and vegan diets may be deficient.
High cereal based diets, containing high phytate foods which can bind with zinc and impair absorption.
Cooking with water can result in leaching of up to 50% of zinc levels of the food.
Refined processing of wheat and baked goods can result in up to 75% zinc loss
Tetracycline and quinolone antibiotics react with zinc in the intestines inhibiting the absorption of both the antibiotic and zinc. The antibiotic should be taken 2 hours or more before or at least 4-6 hours after the zinc supplement to avoid this.
In short over 300 enzymes are zinc dependent, including enzymes involved in the synthesis of certain proteins such as collagen and wound healing. Also needed for thymic hormone activation and maintaining a normal immune system, testosterone and oestrogen, fertility and reproduction including cell division. It is involved in gene regulation, maintaining acid/base balance in the body and normal carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. It is needed for normal bones, skin, hair and nails and normal brain function including maintenance of normal vision. It can also act as an antioxidant, protecting DNA, lipids and proteins in the body.
Zinc Contributes to
Normal DNA synthesis. Although the exact role of zinc in DNA synthesis is not fully understood but it does play a structural role in zinc fingers, which are finger shaped proteins. Due to their shape, these proteins can bind to DNA and RNA allowing them to function in Gene expression. These proteins are the most common transcription factors in living organisms, transcription factors are proteins that bind to DNA and control the transfer of genetic information to RNA Put simply Zinc is needed for reading genetic instructions and lack of zinc may mean that instructions get misread or not read at all.
Normal acid/base metabolism. Acid/Base balance is the balance between acid and alkaline to keep body fluids as close to a neutral pH (pH7) as possible. Carbon dioxide and water are rapidly converted to bicarbonate and water (and back again) to maintain acid base balance in the blood and other tissues. The enzyme responsible for this is the zinc dependent enzyme Carbonic Anhydrase. Studies have shown that dietary deficiency of zinc reduces red blood cell carbonic anhydrase activity
Normal carbohydrate metabolism. Deficiency of zinc results in a drop of metabolic rate. Zinc dependent messenger RNA is needed to synthesise the enzymes required for carbohydrate metabolism so zinc deficiency may result in lack of these enzymes. Zinc may also interact with insulin by controlling the uptake of glucose by adipocytes (fat cells). Zinc deficiency results in impaired carbohydrate metabolism.
Normal cognitive function Zinc is highly concentrated in the cerebral cortex, pineal gland and hippocampus and zinc deficiency is associated with impaired memory formation and mood disorders. In the hippocampus zinc can reach concentrations of 8% of the total brain zinc. Zinc ions are also NDMA (N-methyl-D –aspartate) antagonists (NDMAs control memory function and excessive NDMA activation results in cell death due to excess calcium influx into neuronal cells ) so zinc becomes important for normal neuronal function and memory and delaying brain cell death . Normal fertility and reproduction. Steroid hormones such as testosterone and oestrogen are derived from cholesterol and zinc plays an important role in cholesterol metabolism. Low dietary zinc is associated with low concentrations of several hormones including testosterone.
Testosterone. Circulating testosterone and free testosterone appears to increase with oral zinc intake. In one study supplementing with 250 mg zinc sulphate for 6 weeks increased testosterone by 85% in people on hemodialysis.
Free Testosterone is converted to DHT (dehydrotestosterone) by the enzyme 5alpha-reductase ) primarily in the prostate gland, testes , adrenal glands and hair follicles. DHT is increased in infertile men and as it has an affinity for the hair follicles can result in male pattern baldness. Zinc has been shown to inhibit ( up to 98%)the enzyme 5 alpha reductase.
Semen: Semen is very rich in zinc. Sperm count, motility and physical characteristics of sperm increase and improve with some groups of infertile men.
Zinc deficiency has also been associated with increased expression of oestrogen receptors. The enzyme aromatase converts testosterone to oestrogen and zinc decreases aromatase activity so preventing excessive conversion of testosterone to oestrogen. Zinc deficiency can cause testicular cell death, increase protein oxidation in the testes, dysregulating other enzymes and proteins resulting in degeneration of testicular structures and impaired testosterone secretion.
Why should I Take A Zinc Supplement?
Normal macronutrient metabolism. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Zinc is needed for the enzymes that metabolise carbohydrates, fats and proteins
Normal metabolism of fatty acids- zinc is needed for the conversion of linoleic acid to Gamma Linolenic acid (GLA) and for the synthesis of prostaglandins series 1 ( Anti inflammatory prostaglandins) Zinc also plays an essential role in maintaining a balance between to different forms of prostaglandins.
Maintenance of normal serum testosterone concentrations, so involved in fertility and reproduction. Zinc plays a role in cell signalling, influencing hormone release and nerve function.
Normal metabolism of vitamin A. Zinc is necessary to maintain normal concentrations of vitamin A in the plasma, being essential for normal mobilization of Vitamin A from the liver. Zinc deficiency decreases the synthesis of Retinol Binding protein (RBP) in the liver leading to lower levels of RBP in the plasma.It influences the absorption, transport and utilisation of Vitamin A. . Zinc is also required for the enzyme Alcohol dehydrogenase , responsible for converting retinol to retinal, essential for eye function.
Normal protein synthesis. One of the important zinc dependent proteins is Gustin which is involved in taste and smell. Poor or absent gustin levels results in impaired taste and smell. Other important zinc containing enzymes are carboxopeptidase which helps break down protein. Zinc deficiency also impairs the synthesis of the protein Opsin, the precursor of Rhodopsin, which if decreased, results in abnormal dark adaptation of the eye. Zinc is also required for the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase , responsible for converting retinol to retinal, essential for eye function. Haemoglobin is a protein and zinc s important in haemoglobin synthesis.
Maintenance of normal bones. Zinc regulates the secretion of calcitonin from the thyroid gland and therefore influences bone turnover. Zinc appears to regulate the bone matrix calcification in osteoblasts. Zinc deficiency decreases the activity of matrix proteins, type 1 collagen and alkaline phosphatase decreasing Calcium and Phosphorus accumulation. Therefore zinc deficiency may become a risk factor for poor extra cellular matrix calcification.
Maintenance of normal hair and nails Zinc is needed for building keratin and formation of collagen and for facilitating cell division that makes hair growth possible.
Maintainance of normal skin. Collagen in skin is produced by zinc dependent enzymes , the collagenases. Type 1 collagen is produced in the skin and is a structural long lived protein produced by fibroblasts. Collagen constitutes 70% skin mass and give the skin its structure and resistance to traction and strains. Total collagen decreases 1% a year resulting in decreased elasticity and aging skin. Zinc is essential not only for the enzymes producing collagen but also the cross linking that give collagen its stability. Human studies have shown that decreased zinc resulted in decreased total collagen.
Maintenance of normal vision Zinc supplementation alone significantly reduced the risks of developing AMD in subjects at higher risk. Zinc deficiency also impairs the synthesis of the protein Opsin, the precursor of Rhodopsin, which if decreased, results in abnormal dark adaptation of the eye. Zinc is also required for the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase , responsible for converting retinol to retinal, essential for eye function.
Contributes to normal function of the immune system. Plays a central role in the immune system affecting cellular and humoral immunity. It is essential for thymic dependent T cells . Zinc deficiency results in decreased levels of all types of white blood cells. It is also required for the production of Thymulin (thymic hormone) Zinc ions also exhibit direct anti microbial activity.
Contributes to protecting the cells from oxidative damage, protecting the DNA, lipids and proteins . Loss of zinc from biological membranes increases their susceptibility to oxidative damage. Zinc is also necessary for the antioxidant enzyme Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD)and low levels of zinc supplementation resulted in increased levels of glutathione peroxidase , SOD and decreased lipid peroxidation.
The process of cell division. Zinc contributes to normal DNA synthesis and cell division. Zinc appears to be essential for Insulin like growth factor (IGF) which induces cell proliferation. Reduced zinc availability appears to affect membrane signalling and secondary messengers that coordinate cell proliferation. Ref : The Role of Zinc in Growth and Cell Proliferation by Ruth MacDonald published In The American Society for Nutritional Sciences Reference
What Are The Symptoms Of A Mild Zinc Deficiency?
Loss of appetite.
Diminished taste or smell.
Poor wound healing.
Skin problems, acne, psoriasis atopic dermatitis.
Poor vision, night blindness.
White spots on finger nails.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Severe Zinc Deficiency?
Delayed sexual and bone maturation
Loss of appetite
Increased susceptibility to infections
The passage of zinc into the body
Studies involving direct comparison of bioavailability of different forms of zinc in humans are few. The important fact is that the form of zinc needs to become dissociated into zinc ions which then bind to ligands ( proteins ) that transport the zinc into the cells of the small intestine. There are specific transport proteins that carry zinc across the cell membrane into the portal circulation where it is transported directly to the liver before being released into the circulation for delivery to all tissues. Approximately 70% of zinc is bound to serum albumin ( a plasma protein ) and factors altering serum albumin in turn affect serum zinc levels. Serum zinc has a rapid turnover to meet tissue demands.
Zinc is lost through the skin and kidneys (combined loss of 0.5-0.8mg/day) , more zinc being lost when the body sweats more, as in hot climates and during strenuous exercise. Approximately half of all zinc eliminated from the body is lost through the shedding of epithelial cells in the gastro intestinal tract (0.5- 3mg/day) and although a considerable amount is secreted through both biliary and intestinal secretions, most of the secretions are reabsorbed regulating the zinc balance. Starvation and muscle breakdown also increase zinc loss through the urine.
As already mentioned, protein enhances the absorption of zinc and a phytate rich diet (from cereals, grains, corn and rice) inhibit the absorption of zinc.
There is a very fine balance between zinc and copper. Zinc reduces the amount of copper your body absorbs because copper competes with zinc to bind with metallothionein, the binding protein that brings zinc into the intestinal cells. The ratio of zinc : copper is arguably more important than the concentration of either copper or zinc, a common problem being excessive copper in water from copper pipes or copper cookware.
Zinc also competes with iron to bind with blood transferring, illustrating the importance of a balance of these minerals. The ECRDA for zinc is 10 mg less is required for babies, children and teenagers and more for pregnant and breastfeeding ladies.
Recommended Daily Allowance For Zinc Supplements
Bioavailability Of Different Forms Of Zinc Supplements
There are many forms of zinc compounds.
Zinc Picolinate 20%
Zinc Ascorbate 15%
Zinc Chloride 48%
Zinc Sulphate 22%
Zinc Carbonate 52%
Zinc Citrate 31%
Zinc Bisglycinate 25%
There is not much substantial evidence of greater effectivity of one form of zinc over another as absorption of zinc in the body is subject to so many variables.
However, a small research study (15 healthy young adults in a randomised, double blind three way cross over study, receiving 10mg of elemental zinc as a supplement without food just published (20 November 2013) found that the bioavailability of zinc citrate was 61.3% , of zinc gluconate was 60.9% and of zinc oxide was 49.9 % Previous zinc intake may affect zinc bioavailability studies. Variables include;
Existing zinc status of the individual. The lower the zinc status of the individual, the greater the absorption of zinc.
People that sweat a lot are subject to more zinc loss, for example athletes, those in hot climate, menopausal ladies experiencing night sweats.
Dosage of zinc- as zinc intake in dosages is increased , percentage absorption decreases probably due to the saturation of the transport mechanisms.
Zinc absorption appears to be decreased in the elderly.
Zinc absorption is increased with dietary protein intake.
The type of protein in a meal affects zinc bioavailability. Animal protein enhances absorption.
Phytates in cereals and soy inhibit absorption of zinc by binding with it ( except zinc bisglycinate found in Metabolics zinc formula).
Caesin in milk and calcium inhibit absorption by binding with zinc ions.
Iron inhibits absorption of zinc.
Copper ( in high amounts ) inhibits Zinc absorption. In studies using 15mg zinc combined with 2mg copper no inhibition of absorption was found.
Cadmium- toxic levels of cadmium can inhibit zinc absorption
Types of zinc supplements may remain a personal preference, although generally zinc should not be taken on an empty stomach (as it can result in nausea) should be taken with an animal protein meal , away from cereals and taken in conservative doses to increase absorption. Long term zinc intake is recommended with copper (see zinc formula) as this is zinc bisglycinate, the only form not affected by phytates and balanced with a small amount of copper.
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Underlying Causes of Adrenal/Hormone Problems
Unhealthy lifestyle habits (poor diet, inadequate exercise, insufficient sleep, lack of relaxation, and internalizing emotional stress) are sources of chronic stress that may be underlying causes of adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalance. Other common sources of chronic stress include: food sensitivities, heavy metals, environmental toxins, radiation exposure, and regular use of prescription drugs. Chronic stress slowly erodes health and compromises longevity.
Under chronic stress, the adrenal glands increase their output of cortisol—often referred to as the “stress hormone.” The principal hormones produced by the adrenal glands—cortisol, DHEA, aldosterone, testosterone, estrogens, and progesterone—share a common precursor, the master hormone pregnenolone. When under stress, the adrenal glands are hyperstimulated and pregnenolone is diverted (stolen) from other pathways to produce cortisol.
This increase in the production of cortisol (and the resulting diversion ofpregnenolone) causes fatigue and the general aches and pains associated with chronic stress. However, with time, pregnenolone steal has a much broader damaging effect on health. It exacerbates any developing or existing health problems because pregnenolone is not being adequately converted to other essential hormones. Refer to the following chart to see the dynamic of pregnenolone steal:
What stresses have become chronic, causing the body to divert pregnenolone to provide for the production of cortisol? The sooner you identify and deal with the offenders, the sooner you restore your patients’ health. Consider the following sources as a logical starting point:
- Lifestyle: Diet, Sleep, Exercise, Mental
- Environmental: Pathogen infections, chemicals, heavy metals, food sensitivities, mold, radiation.