Low Progesterone and Depression

Written by BIH of Decatur on . Posted in functional medicine, Men, Menopausal Research, obesity, overweight, Women

woman depressedFluctuations in the key female hormones–estrogen and progesterone–can cause a number of symptoms including irregular menstrual cycles, an increase in bad cholesterol in the blood, sleep problems and hot flashes. Hormonal changes that occur during perimenopause–the transition period before menopause–may bring on symptoms such as irritability and mood swings for some women. You should not ignore symptoms of low progesterone as hormonal imbalances can also lead to intense anxiety and depression.

Female Reproductive Cycle

Hormone fluctuations that occur in connection with the female reproductive cycle can influence mood and lead to symptoms of depression in some women. Women who are pregnant, those who are experiencing postpartum baby blues or who suffer the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome or premenstrual dysphoric disorder undergo hormonal changes that can affect mood and emotional well-being. Perimenopause and menopause are other times in a woman’s life when hormones fluctuate, putting her at increased risk of depression.

Role of Progesterone

Progesterone is a sex hormone that plays a major role in fertility and pregnancy. Your body needs progesterone to keep your menstrual cycles normal. Levels of the hormone progesterone rise and fall throughout a woman’s monthly cycle. When progesterone levels drop, progesterone deficiency leads to estrogen dominance. This imbalance of too much estrogen can cause the body to retain copper and lose zinc in the blood and brain. There may be a link between zinc levels and depression. Symptoms of depression have also been associated with copper toxicity.

Symptoms of Low Progesterone

Symptoms of low progesterone levels may include weight gain, bloating, changes in appetite, muscle and joint pain, sleeplessness, irritability and difficulty concentrating. Diminishing hormone levels can also lead to symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety and in some cases, feelings of depression. Progesterone has a calming effect on mood similar to that of serotonin–a hormone that helps to enhance mood. When levels of progesterone and estrogen begin to drop, especially as a woman gets closer to menopause, anxiety sometimes becomes more of a problem, according to Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN nurse practitioner.

Effects on the Body

The hormone progesterone is the precursor of estrogen, testosterone and other corticosteroid hormones. Progesterone is produced in both the ovaries and adrenal glands. Along with the role it plays in reproduction, this steroid hormone helps women cope with stress. However, the body produces little progesterone following menopause. Migraine, irregular periods, infertility, miscarriage, premenstrual syndrome and polycystic ovarian syndrome are just some of the medical conditions related to low progesterone levels. Dr. Peter Bongiorno, an adjunct faculty member at New York University and author of “Healing Depression: Integrated Naturopathic and Conventional Treatments,” recommends screening for and treating any menstrual cycle and estrogen/progesterone abnormalities when evaluating a depressed female patient.

If this is you don’t hesitate to call our office today or take our online test to see if you are a candidate for our bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.


What is Testosterone? Do I NEED it?

Written by BIH of Decatur on . Posted in functional medicine, Men, Menopausal Research, obesity, overweight, Women

testosteroneTestosterone is the principle hormone in a group of hormones called androgens. Testosterone is notorious for its role in sexual function, in addition to helping build muscle mass, maintain bone density and regulate hair growth. It is derived from cholesterol (like all the sex hormones) and its immediate precursor is DHEA. Although it thought of as “the male hormone”, testosterone also plays a very important role in women.

In men, testosterone is produced by the testes, whereas in women, testosterone is primarily secreted by the ovaries.

Symptoms of low testosterone include:

  • Low sex drive
  • Inability to build and maintain muscle mass
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Breast enlargement (in men)
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Mood Swings
  • Hot flashes and night sweats

What does Testosterone do?

On the flip-side, optimal levels of testosterone can help you:

  • Improve bone density
  • Build lean muscle mass
  • Lose weight
  • Jumpstart your sex drive
  • Reduce hot flashes and night sweats
  • Improve memory and cognitive function

If you think that your testosterone levels might be low, hormone testing is available to help determine where you stand.

Our highly trained doctors at Complete Hormone Solutions have helped several women and men balance testosterone levels, using a Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy, and  pharmaceutical-grade supplementation and personalized nutrition and fitness regimens. Based on the results of state-of-the-art diagnostic blood work, Complete Hormone Solutions physicians individually tailor a wellness program, specifically designed to meet your particular needs. Take our online test to see if you would be a candidate for BHRT!  OR call us today to schedule your appointment! 256-350-9880


Written by BIH of Decatur on . Posted in functional medicine, Menopausal Research, obesity, overweight, Women

Sportswoman with arms up celebrating success


1. Menstrual irregularities – long cycles, irregular cycles, short luteal phase (if the time from ovulation to your period is less than 10 days), a diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome, menstrual cramping, spotting mid cycle or before your full period flow begins.

2. Infertility – progesterone is one of the primary hormones involved in achieving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. It prepares the lining of the uterus for an embryo to implant. If you are having difficulty conceiving or have suffered from a miscarriage, it is worth having your progesterone levels checked as they may be low. Since fertility concerns can cause so much heartache, save yourself some trouble and just get checked.

3. Acne, brittle nails, dry cracked skin – If you are suffering from adult onset acne, if your nails are cracking, splitting, peeling, or the skin of your heels and hands are cracking, you might be low in progesterone.

4. Depression, anxiety, mood swings – as we age, many women attribute a shift in estrogen for their mood symptoms. But actually after age 30, most of us experience a drop in progesterone and one of the first signs of this lowered level is a shift in mood. Progesterone is responsible for stabilizing our mood so if you are experiencing uncomfortable shift in mood lately, please check your levels.

5. Low libido, fatigue, foggy thinking –  most often women come in to our clinic complaining of these symptoms post-partum but many women in their 30s and 40s, regardless of their child-bearing status, will start to experience an energy, sex drive, and mental shift with a drop in progesterone. Less than keen on sex? Feel like having an afternoon nap? Can’t remember names or words as well as you once did? Please ask your doctor to test your progesterone in your next check-up.

6. Slow metabolism, weight gain around the midsection, sugar cravings – with the rise in diabetes all over North America, most people blame sugar and insulin for their metabolic dysfunctions. But as we age and progesterone drops, it sure can slow down our ability to burn fat.

7. Migraines, headaches, also joint pain and allergy symptoms – pain and allergy syndromes seem least likely to be caused by hormones but time and time again, I see hormones at the root of these frustrating conditions. I recommend considering food allergies, overall inflammation, and checking in on your female hormone balance if you suffer from any of these conditions.

I want to hear from you – are you dealing with any of the above symptoms? Have you had your progesterone levels checked.

There is so much relief that can come from seeing your ND for proper diagnosis and treatment of hormone imbalances and we can always learn from each other. Please share your experience in the reply area below.


You don’t have to suffer any longer! Call our office today and we can get you on the right track to maintaining a healthy level in your progesterone!

Call us today 256-350-9880 or take our online test for a great discount!! online test

Lower Blood Pressure: Surprising New Study

Written by BIH of Decatur on . Posted in functional medicine, Men, Menopausal Research, obesity, overweight, Uncategorized, Women

There is now a new natural weapon to combat against the growing population of high blood pressure sufferers.

 Now this new weapon is as close as your backyard.

What I am talking about is good old sunlight.

Blood pressure levels are commonly higher during winter months.

The question you may ask is what is the mechanism that allows sunlight to lower blood pressure?

British researchers have figured out why.

The answer is nitric oxide (NO).

Nitric oxide is known to reduce blood pressure by evoking vasodilation either directly by causing relaxation of vascular smooth muscle or indirectly by acting in the rostral brainstem to reduce central sympathetic outflow, which decreases the release of norepinephrine from sympathetic nerve terminals.

Basically, nitric oxide increases the elasticity of the artery walls and helps to normalize high blood pressure.

An increasingly large body of literature suggests that alterations in the NO system may play an important role in the development or maintenance of clinical hypertension.

What they found is that nitric oxide stored in the top layers of the skin reacts to sunlight and causes blood vessels to widen as the oxide moves into the bloodstream. That, in turn, lowers blood pressure.

According to researcher Martin Feelisch, a professor of experimental medicine and integrative biology at the University of Southampton, exposure to ultraviolet light might help reduce the risk for heart disease.

“This new study finds that UV light exposure to the skin induced nitric oxide release and modestly lowered blood pressure, suggesting that this may play a role in modulating blood pressure,” said Fonarow, a spokesman for the American Heart Association.

In 2009, a team led by the University of Edinburgh’s Richard Weller showed that human skin and the dermal vasculature contain significant stores of NO—much more than can be found circulating in the blood—and that these stores could be mobilized by UVA (long-wave UV) irradiation.

“This study provides suggestive evidence that skin-derived NO metabolites may have a role in modulation of blood pressure upon UV exposure,” Thomas Michel, a professor of medicine and biochemistry at Harvard Medical School.



Has Your Doctor Missed Something? Causes of Debilitating Anxiety

Written by BIH of Decatur on . Posted in functional medicine, Men, Menopausal Research, obesity, overweight, Uncategorized, Women

by Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., M.S.


anxious woman


Real Life Example of Anxiety

It’s normal to feel anxious or worried at times. Everyone experiences a certain amount of nervousness and apprehension when faced with a stressful situation. However, when anxiety becomes excessive or prolonged and begins to interfere with your ability to perform your daily activities, that’s when you can say one has crossed the road from simple worry to a full force illness.

Imagine you are walking down a dimly lit road and out between two parked cars a man with a gun confronts you and demands that you give him all your money or he will kill you. As you can imagine, your heart quickly begins to thump, your legs feel like rubber, you want to run but you are paralyzed with fear. By shear luck, out of the corner of your right eye, you see a police car and without a moment hesitation, you scream and gain the attention of your hero. You are saved!

As the criminal is whisked away in handcuffs, you begin to gain a sense of calm. Still nervous but all in all an inner contentment that you just for the first time in your life you looked death right in the eye.

Now what would you say if I told you that a full blown anxiety or a major panic attack have all the same characteristics as the above scenario.

Yes, you will get that same pounding heart, you will be paralyzed with an intense terrifying fear, you will get nauseous, get lightheaded and a bunch more symptoms soon to be explained.

Unfortunately, unlike the victim who was lucky to be saved by the police officer, anxiety suffers continue to experience these terrible symptoms day in and day out. The anxiety victim soon becomes a prisoner within their own body not knowing if they will ever see the sunshine or the birds sing again.

Anxiety Overview

You see, there are more than 19 million Americans suffering from all anxiety disorders combined. It’s normal to feel anxious or worried at times. Everyone experiences a certain amount of nervousness and apprehension when faced with a stressful situation. However, when anxiety becomes excessive or prolonged and begins to interfere with your ability to perform your daily activities, that’s when you can say one has crossed the road from simple worry to a full force illness.

Most people are convinced they are minutes from dying and experience something commonly called “impending doom”. They are frequent visitors of the local emergency room. Test after test continues to show that nothing life threatening is wrong.

Unfortunately, the anxiety sufferer is still not satisfied. Something has obviously been overlooked. So more tests are run only to once again find nothing wrong. Soon their family and friends begin to label you a hypochondriac. It must be all in your mind they say.

Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of anxiety can vary in combination or severity. They may include:

  • Restlessness
  • Feeling of being keyed up or on edge
  • Feeling a lump in your throat
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Impatient
  • Being easily distracted
  • Muscle tension
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomachache
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
    If you have anxiety you may feel on edge about many or all aspects of your life. For example, you may feel intense worry about your safety or that of your loved ones, or you may feel that something bad is about to happen, even when there’s no immediate danger. When you feel anxious, your body releases hormones that prepare you to react to a threat. This is called the fight-or-flight response. When anxiety gets out of control, this response can occur almost continuously, even at times when you seem calm.
    Clinical Lab Assessments
    Some of the following laboratory testing can provide information necessary for diagnosis and treatment. In addition, the tests listed may also give insight to functional metabolism and functional nutrient status in the body.
  • Adrenal Stress/Cortisol Testing/Neurotransmitter Testing: Adrenal insufficiency can lead to a host of problems, including a weakened immune response, anxiety and panic attacks. Imbalance in the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis (HPA) is involved in anxiety related disorders. In this complex, adrenal functional abnormalities are relatively simple to identify and address. Plasma or salivary cortisol measurements can be used as a marker in the evaluation of stress syndromes that may relate to anxiety disorders. Some study has suggested that altered cortisol response to stress in panic disorders may complicate successful lifestyle intervention.
  • Thyroid Profile
    Elevation of thyroid antibodies has commonly been found in individuals with anxiety disorder. Correlations have been observed between thyroid laboratory values and anxiety. Assessment of thyroid hormone production, peripheral hormone conversion, cellular sensitivity response, thyroid hormone antibody activity can provide critical information for intervention with a goal of optimal function.
  • Allergy and Food Sensitivity Response Assessment
    Allergic responses to foods, inhalants and environmental chemicals, and other substances can cause a variety of responses that induce or aggravate anxiety. Screening can enable an individual to eliminate or minimize exposure to unfriendly allergens.
  • Organic Acids
    Organic acids analysis is a useful method for measurement of biochemical intermediates in urine. These intermediates can offer information about key enzyme functions and nutrient competence (amino acids, nutrient cofactors, minerals, and fatty acids). Elevation of vanilmandelate reflects elevations in epinephrine and homovanillate indicates norepinephrine elevation. High levels of these neurotransmitters are associated with physiologic inability to manage stress.
  • Melatonin Level
  • Rule out Progesterone deficiency or Estrogen Dominance
  • Rule out Lyme Disease
  • Rule out Mycotoxins (Mold)
  • Rule out Pyroluria
    Pyroluria is a known biochemical marker for life long anxiety symptoms. According to one alcoholism treatment center, one-third to one-half of alcoholics treated have this marker. High levels of pyrrolles systematically bind to B6 and zinc, preventing the use of these nutrients in the body and brain. The result is a myriad of symptoms, including severe inner tension, ongoing anxiety, poor stress control, fearfulness, and sometimes episodic anger.
  • Obtain Magnesium Levels via RBC erthrocyte assessement
  • Rule out Mercury Toxicity
  • Amino Acids
    Deficiencies or imbalances in amino acids can indicate fundamental reasons for numerous disorders. Amino acid malabsorption syndrome or imbalanced amino patterns reflect abnormal organ and glandular processes that have critical bearing on optimal function. Phenylalanine and tyrosine are precursors to the catecholamines and affect the capability to manage stress in anxiety disorders.
    Treatment Options
    Conventional Medical Approach
    Prescription drug treatment includes anti-anxiety agents such as lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), and buspirone (Buspar). Antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and venlafaxine (Effexor), are often prescribed to treat generalized anxiety and panic attacks.

    Nutritional Medicine
    Magnesium may provide benefit for people with anxiety. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, muscle fatigue, and tachycardia. Clinical studies have supported the theory that anxiety is one of the symptoms that can occur in individuals with magnesium depletion.

    Vitamin B6
    In a study of individuals suffering from frequent anxiety attacks, patients were given vitamin B6 (125mg, 3 times daily) and tryptophan (2 grams daily). This regime enabled in 70 percent of patients (9 of 13) to become free of anxiety attacks within three weeks. Vitamin B6 is required for the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin. Therefore, a deficiency of vitamin B6 may result in symptoms of anxiety and depression due to inhibition of serotonin synthesis. In a study of individuals suffering from frequent anxiety attacks, patients were given vitamin B6 (125mg, 3 times daily) and tryptophan (2 grams daily). This regime enabled in 70 percent of patients (9 of 13) to become free of anxiety attacks within three weeks.

    Clinical studies have found that inositol may be a valuable natural aid for patients suffering with Panic Attacks and may provide benefit for anxiety suffers. Biochemically, inositol is precursor for the phosphatidyl-inositol system and as such should be considered for its impact on elevated cortisol levels.

    A double-blind, controlled study comparing the effect of inositol against fluvoxamine in panic disorder. Twenty patients completed 1 month of inositol up to 18 g/day and 1 month of fluvoxamine (Luvox) up to 150 mg/day. Improvements on Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety scores were similar for both treatments. In the first month, inositol reduced the number of panic attacks per week by 4.0 compared with a reduction of 2.4 (2) with fluvoxamine.

    5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
    Studies that induce low levels of tryptophan result in low serotonin levels, which can cause anxiety. Tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) are the precursors for serotonin. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the body cannot manufacturer. Tryptophan is converted into 5-HTP, which in turn is converted into serotonin. There is ample evidence that tryptophan depletion causes reduced synthesis of serotonin, which can result in anxiety and other mood disorders.

    Patients taking anti-anxiety drugs or other antidepressants should not take tryptophan or 5-HTP without the supervision of a health care professional because it can increase the effects of other antidepressants.

    Tyrosine is the precursor to the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, which all influence and regulate mental and emotional states. In a clinical study reduced brain tyrosine levels caused a reduction in catecholamine synthesis. This caused decreased calmness, increased tension and anger. The authors of this study state that brain catecholaminergic dysregulation is involved in pathological anxiety states.

    Phosphorylated Serine: should be considered with elevated cortisol levels

    Herbal Medicine
    Several plants, known as nervines (nerve tonics), are used in traditional herbal medicine for people with anxiety, with few reports of toxicity. Most nervines have not been rigorously investigated by scientific means to confirm their efficacy. However, one study found that a combination of the nervines valerian and passion flower reduced symptoms in people suffering from anxiety. In a double-blind study, 45 drops per day of an extract of passion flower taken for four weeks was as effective as 30 mg per day of oxazepam (Serax), a medication used for anxiety.

    Passionflower has been reported to have sedative, hypnotic, antispasmodic properties. In humans, passionflower has been reported effective when used in combination with other sedative and anti-anxiety herbs such as valerian.

    Valerian has long been used as an agent to soothe the nervous system in response to stress. It has been reported that valerian helps improve sleep quality.


  • Diet & Lifestyle
  • All sources of caffeine should be avoided, including coffee, tea, chocolate, caffeinated sodas, and caffeine-containing medications.
  • Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates.Stress Reduction
    Stress reduction can take form in a variety of ways. Some of the more structured forms of anxiety relief include; counseling, tai chi, yoga, meditation, deep breathing. These tips may help reduce your anxiety:
  • Take action. Determine what’s making you anxious and address it. For example, if finances are your concern, draw up a budget.
  • Let it go. Don’t dwell on past concerns. Change what you can and let the rest take its course.
  • Break the cycle. When you feel anxious, take a brisk walk or delve into a hobby to refocus.
  • Take care of yourself. Get enough rest, eat a balanced diet, exercise, and take time to relax.
  • Talk to someone. Share your problems with a friend or professional counselor who can help you gain perspective. Clinical Notes
    A variety of conditions could contribute to feelings of anxiousness. Consider evaluating the individual for heavy metal toxicity, dysbiosis, as well as DHEA and cortisol as initial steps. The key nutrient to consider is magnesium.

Call us today! 256-350-9880 or take our ONLINE TEST to see if you are a candidate for our bio-identical hormone replacement therapy!

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