Menopause Fatigue has Workable Solutions

By: Dr. Gregory Ellis


The main parts of the body's stress response system include:
* the hypothalamus in the brain
* the pituitary gland (the master gland)
* the adrenal gland which lies on top of the kidneys
These three parts make up what is known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis). Each part plays a role in coordinating the body's responses to stressful situations.
These three units release a particular chemical that signals and carries a message that guides the response of the next piece in the system. The end player in the system is the adrenal gland whose chemical messenger activates many parts of the body. As we age, the adrenal chemical, DHEA and its sulfate form DHEAS, are manufactured more slowly, leading to a condition called "adrenopause."
Many health problems associated with aging arise because of the decreased output of hormones produced by the axis components. These steroidal hormones help the body to balance its functions:
* cardiovascular health
* musculoskeletal stabilization
* cardiovascular system maintenance
The body's sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone, are manufactured from DHEA. Since DHEA output declines with age, companies have been manufacturing DHEA supplements for years. They claim benefits of fatigue relief and anti-aging for people who use this supplement form. In addition, the following conditions represent some that are supposedly helped by supplementation:
* type II diabetes
* cancer of the breast
* diabetes type II
* AIDS
* HIV
* reduced function of the adrenal gland
* kidney disease
* breast cancer and illness
Medications and drugs can act as stressors to the body. With increased use of medications during the aging process, one's ability to deal with stressful exposures lessens. Medications decrease DHEA output and functional capacity is reduced. One outcome is that the stress of menopause demands too much of the body and increased fatigue is the result.
The government regulated DHEA in 1984 and made it a prescription product, but in 1994 the Dietary Supplement Act allowed DHEA to come back on the market as a nutritional supplement. The effectiveness of DHEA as a supplement is not universally accepted.
The body makes DHEA naturally. Supplements, however, can only be made in a laboratory setting. This process uses diosgenin, a chemical substance from soybeans. It also can also be obtained from the herb, wild yam. This must be used to make DHEA in the lab because the body cannot convert the wild yam's diosgenin chemical to DHEA.
A breakdown in DHEA production represents a reduction in the optimal function of normal body functions. I see this as a part of the whole. With normal aging there is a reduction in normal functioning in many part of the body. So, the shotgun approach of supplying one or two supplements when maybe hundreds are needed is limited in scope.
Finding and targeting some of the causes of the decline in normal function is a good approach. This step must occur, however, outside of mainstream medicine. Eliminating stressors and strengthening the stress system is a good approach. Understanding the negative impact of environmental pollutants is also important. The overuse of supplements will not eliminate underlying causes of decreased function.
Rather than supplements to supply under-manufactured products by the body, a more effective approach would be to help the body get rid of compounds that actually poison its functions. A detoxification program is a good idea as environmental pollutants represent a serious health hazard. They poison systems that make substances such as DHEA. There are effective detox methods and many, such as foot baths and colonics, that are ineffective.
Homeopathic drainage remedies are a proven modality and there are many manufacturers of these products. You will, most likely, have to get them from a licensed health care provider. Some herbs are very effective in doing detox.
Cleansing and rebuilding the body would help support healthy menopause and help reduce the fatigue that so often accompanies this life transition.

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Dr. Gregory Ellis has an extensive background in many health-providing modalities. He received his PhD degree from the Temple University School of Medicine. Dr. Ellis has long been interested in alternative medicine. He now assists people suffering from fatigue. You can read about fatigue here and sign-up for his FREE ECourses on fatigue, weight control, and diabetes.

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