T Nation

Hormones and Health


#1

Hormones and health.

If you are otherwise healthy, your hormones can affect your quality of life.

Energy and metabolic rate:

In all of your cells, there are sub-bodies called mitochondria. These have their own DNA, arranged in ring structures, which is also found in bacterial. Mitochondria seem to be bacterial that were co-opted into more complex cellular life. Mitochondria produce ATP, the universal currency of cellular energy.

Mitochondria consume lipids [fats] and sugars from your blood stream. The level of activity of the mitochondria [metabolic rate] determines your energy levels and body temperature. When mitochondria slow down, energy levels and body temperatures drop.

When more complex cells and mitochondria entered into their synergistic/symbiotic arrangement, the cells stopped producing their own ATP and mitochondria stopped making their own CoQ10 of whatever fulfilled that roll. Mitochondria cannot work without CoQ10.

CoQ10 is produced in the liver by enzyme pathways that also product cholesterol. Cholesterol is not bad, you cannot live without it. When cholesterol levels are too high and you take a statin drug to reduced cholesterol, you also reduce CoQ10 to some extent. For some individuals, CoQ10 can be reduce too much; then mitochondrial slow down and muscle weakness/pain can result. This can affect muscles that are used a lot --> the heart. Weakness in the hearts left ventricle can reduce blood pumped to the body and blood pools in the lungs with high blood pressure there. Then fluid leaks into the lungs and one gets a persistent cough. That is the same mechanistic description of outcomes of congestive heart failure. In this situation, the problem can be resolved by taking CoQ10 supplements. The Ubiquinol form of CoQ10 should be used as it is much more absorbable. Unfortunately, Ubiquinol is a bit expensive.

Your body temperature is regulated by the T3 thyroid hormone, specifically fT3 [free T3], not bound to thyroid binding globulin [a protein structure in your blood]. If fT3 levels are low, or fT3 cannot activate thyroid receptors, body temperature drops and mitochondria do not feed on sugars and fats at the same rate. The whole body and brain slows down and one can become fat and/or not able to loose fat.

Effective fT3 levels can drop from reduced thyroid gland output or a deviation of T3 that is shaped differently, rT3 [reverse T3] can block fT3 from activation of thyroid receptors.

The thyroid gland produces T3 and T4 hormones that incorporate 3 and 4 iodine atoms respectively. Thyroid Stimulation Hormone [TSH] is released by the pituitary gland to regulate the level of activity in the thyroid gland. This is how body temperatures are normally regulated. If there is not enough iodine in your diet, TSH levels climb to compensate. If one is iodine deficient, TSH levels will increase. High levels of TSH can damage the thyroid over time.

fT3 regulates mitochondrial metabolic rate affecting body temperature and overall energy levels. This does not work properly if CoQ10 is not sufficient.

Production of thyroid hormones in the thyroid gland produces free radicals that can damage the thyroid at a cellular level. The resulting inflammation can signal the immune system to attack the thyroid and you have an autoimmune disease. Enzyme processes normally clean up the free radicals and there is no problem. However, that process depends on adequate dietary selenium. Selenium is mission critical for healthy thyroid function.

So you need iodine, selenium and sufficient CoQ10 to support thyroid and mitochondrial activities.

If you do not use iodized salt or inject whatever other foods that are iodine fortified in your country, you are iodine deficient, TSH levels become elevated and fT3 levels and body temperatures drop.

When thyroid hormone levels are really bad, your levels are outside of lab normal ranges and your doctor diagnoses you with hyperthyroidism. However, many suffer with thyroid hormones that are in lab normal ranges. There are two problems here. One is that the lab ranges are insane and the other problem is doctors who are ignorant about these issues.

In my work with many who have thyroid/iodine problems, I have NEVER seen where a doctor has asked about someone's iodine intake, use of iodized salt etc.

I term these "subclinical" problems - "low thyroid function".

You can check your overall thyroid function by checking oral body temperature:
- when you first wake up, should be 97.7-97.8, higher is OK, 97.3 is a problem
- also check to see if you hit 98.6 mid-afternoon

If body temperatures are low, this can be from not using iodized salt or some other source of iodine. Some countries add iodine to bread and others to dairy. If you have used iodized salt long term and temperatures are low, your rT3 might be elevated.

fT3 can be elevated from:
- high life/work stress
- major stress events
- chronic infection or inflammation
- starvation diets
- acute illnesses
- surgeries
- accidents

Dealing with rT3 and "Adrenal Fatigue" issues is beyond the scope of this document.

You may need to get thyroid labs work done:
- TSH, the lab ranges are 10:1 --> 15:1, clearly the range is insane. You are better off near 1.0
- fT3 and fT3 should be mid-range or a bit higher
- please do not test T3, T4; but these should also be mid-range or a bit higher

If fT3 is good and body temperatures are low, this suggests elevated rT3 which can then be tested.

Symptoms of low thyroid function and hypothyroidism:
- For men, many symptoms are the same as low testosterone
- Brain fog
- Low libido
- Depression, apathy
- General hair thinning
- Sparse outer eyebrows
- Lower body temperatures
- Feeling cold easily
- Dry skin
- Enlarged, asymmetrical or lumpy thyroid gland
- Sore thyroid/throat
- Getting fat
- Inability to loose fat
- Deviations from thyroid hormone levels suggested above

Some younger people can have low thyroid function and still work out at the gym and get things done by sheer will power. I suspect that this is hard on the adrenals and might be a stressor contributing to adrenal fatigue and elevated rT3

The above addresses issues that directly affect metabolic rate and perceived energy levels.

Steroid hormones:

Steroid hormones are all derived from cholesterol:
- Testosterone [T]
- EstraDIol [E2]
- EstrONE [E2]
- EsTRIol [E3]
- Pregnenolone
- Progesterone
- DHEA
- Vit-D
- Cortisol and other corticosteroids

You may be wondering about vitamin D. Vitamin D3 is make and stored during sun exposure and converted through several step to product Vit-D25 which is a true hormone and I categorize it as another steroid hormone, even though its production pathways are totally different from the other classic steroid hormones. The RDA for vitamin-D is sufficient to prevent rickets in children; the amount needed for optimal health is much higher. Many need 5,000iu per day; some more. Find other references for more info. Nothing in your body runs well without adequate vitamin D.

The steroid production pathways are roughly these two:
Sex steroids:
Cholesterol --> pregnenolone --> DHEA --> testosterone --> E2 and other estrogens

Corticosteroids:
Cholesterol --> pregnenolone --> progesterone --> cortisol and other corticosteroids

So what performs [cholesterol --> pregnenolone]?
Notice that cholesterol is been consumed. This is done inside the mitochondria that consume fats, sugars and cholesterol in the blood stream.

If serum cholesterol levels are too low, pregnenolone production and downstream hormone production can suffer. If mitochondrial are compromised by fT3, fT3 blocked by rT3 or low CoQ10 levels, cholesterol levels can rise, one can get fat and develop insulin resistance to go along with low testosterone levels.

In males, the adrenals produce DHEA, progesterone, cortisol and other corticosteroids.
DHEA is converted to testosterone in the testes.
Pregnenolone is produced generally in mitochondria, but a large amount of this occurs in the testes.

The male symptoms of low testosterone or estrogen dominance are:
- loss of muscle mass, inability to gain muscle
- fat gain, inability to loose fat
- low libido
- good looking girls women start to look pretty instead of objects of lust
- brain fog
- erectile dysfunction [ED]
- mood problems and depression, irritability, noise sensitivity, apathy, short tempered
- dry skin [sometimes]
- loss of hair below the knees, shiny skin
- loss of collagen and thinning, sagging skin
- pinched skin on back of hand does not recover fast �¢?? tenting
- in some cases, testes may become smaller and scrotum may pull up tight
- increased cholesterol levels, some of which is reduced by TRT
- decreased insulin sensitivity, pre-diabetic state or diabetes
- endothelial dysfunction
- reduced life expectancy and quality of life
- prostate enlargement, from estrogen dominance
- increased blood pressure related to arterial muscle tone

When things are working right, testosterone production is regulated by LH produced by the pituitary under control of the hypothalamus. This negative feedback loop used these hormones as feedback signals
- E2 and other estrogens
- Testosterone
- Prolactin
- Progesterone

The primary Hypothalamic Pituitary Testicular Axis [HPTA] is most sensitive to E2 and other estrogens as the male HPTA is modeled from similar functions of the female HPOA.

Further details are available in articles specific to Testosterone Replacement Therapy [TRT].

At this point you can see the interplay of:
- Iodine
- Thyroid hormones
- Adrenals
- CoQ10
- Cholesterol
- Mitochondria
- HPTA

Hypothyroidism can lead to low LH/FSH and hypogonadism [low-T].
Low-T often presents with low thyroid function.
Very often, I see guys on or needing TRT who have low thyroid function; many of them had not had long term use of iodized salt or vitamins that list iodine+selenium. I now spend more time dealing with thyroid and iodine issues than core TRT issues.


I Do Believe I'm Being Given Bad Advice
#2

The above is a fist draft.
I can’t say exactly what I was expecting to accomplish.
Please suggest changes or request/suggest clarifications.
This is not attempting to displace existing stickies, but trying to tie things together into a large picture.
I can always edit the opening post.


#3

The post is deeper than most but it seems to put the big picture together in a better manner.

Thanks for everything you and the others do to help the growing community.


#4

I see the interconnections. Not sure if I was able to paint the picture. It would take some effort to read the post to get the message.


#5

thanks for the thread, great read. My only thought right now is on CoQ10… I think it can be a great supplement for those that have had a heart attack, but is unnecessary for otherwise healthy people. In fact, I feel like it could even be a detriment to one’s stack because it acts as a significant antioxidant, which can hamper one’s physiological adaptations to exercise. Study below for reference. FYI I had been using Ubiquinol+shilajit from LEF for about a year and noticed nothing. Decided to cut it out because it is too expensive.

Coenzyme Q(10) supplementation ameliorates inflammatory signaling and oxidative stress associated with strenuous exercise.


#6

My intent was not to guide people with healthy CoQ10 levels towards CoQ10 supplements. But to illustrate the multiple factors that influence mitochondrial health. Anyone on statins is at risk. Low fT3, fT3 blocked by rT3 and/or low CoQ10 lead down the same pathway.

Real life example and tangent: Women has very high cholesterol and put on high dose Lipitor. Muscle pain from low CoQ10, doctors try everything then Rx corticosteroids which are very catabolic and she looses collagen in her skin and on her feet she is now skin against bone with no tissue padding. Other example: friend on high dose Lipitor has cough, I supply 100mg LEF Ubiquinol, cough stops the Lipitor induced congestive heart failure symptoms/mechanics, friend also has restore vitality.


#7

[quote]KSman wrote:
My intent was not to guide people with healthy CoQ10 levels towards CoQ10 supplements. But to illustrate the multiple factors that influence mitochondrial health. Anyone on statins is at risk. Low fT3, fT3 blocked by rT3 and/or low CoQ10 lead down the same pathway.

Real life example and tangent: Women has very high cholesterol and put on high dose Lipitor. Muscle pain from low CoQ10, doctors try everything then Rx corticosteroids which are very catabolic and she looses collagen in her skin and on her feet she is now skin against bone with no tissue padding. Other example: friend on high dose Lipitor has cough, I supply 100mg LEF Ubiquinol, cough stops the Lipitor induced congestive heart failure symptoms/mechanics, friend also has restore vitality.

[/quote]
for sure. I did not know about the relationship between CoQ10/mitochondrial efficiency and thyroid health, so thanks for that.


#8

Do you have any thoughts on AMPK activators and the subsequent lowering of ATP? For example, caffeine is an AMPK activator but if it lowers ATP, wouldn’t that be a negative?

“Once activated, AMPK switches on catabolic pathways that generate ATP (eg, the uptake and oxidation of glucose and fatty acids and mitochondrial biogenesis) while switching off ATP-consuming, anabolic pathways (eg, the synthesis of lipids, glucose, glycogen, and proteins).”

Sensing of energy and nutrients by AMP-activated protein kinase.


#9

"If body temperatures are low, this can be from not using iodized salt or some other source of iodine. Some countries add iodine to bread and others to dairy. If you have used iodized salt long term and temperatures are low, your fT3 might be elevated.

fT3 can be elevated from:"

I believe you meant rT3 in both instances above and not fT3?


#10

[quote]Davinci.v2 wrote:
"If body temperatures are low, this can be from not using iodized salt or some other source of iodine. Some countries add iodine to bread and others to dairy. If you have used iodized salt long term and temperatures are low, your fT3 might be elevated.

fT3 can be elevated from:"

I believe you meant rT3 in both instances above and not fT3?[/quote]

You are right, fixed in opening post now. -thanks


#11

[quote]PB Andy wrote:
Do you have any thoughts on AMPK activators and the subsequent lowering of ATP? For example, caffeine is an AMPK activator but if it lowers ATP, wouldn’t that be a negative?

“Once activated, AMPK switches on catabolic pathways that generate ATP (eg, the uptake and oxidation of glucose and fatty acids and mitochondrial biogenesis) while switching off ATP-consuming, anabolic pathways (eg, the synthesis of lipids, glucose, glycogen, and proteins).”

Sensing of energy and nutrients by AMP-activated protein kinase.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21325438[/quote]

That is definitely over my head. Maybe if I get another cup of coffee I will know what to think of it. I see the implications of starvation and permanent changes to DNA transcription [epigenetic changes]. I warn about that often. I suspect that the subject has implications for the effects of low T3 receptor activation as well. Hard to know how work informed by comparisons to lower life forms can guide what we do.


#12

@KSman

OK so i get that you need idodine , selenium and CcQ10

how much of each… you stated in a different thread that you used 50mg per day.

how and where would one find these?


#13

I have not seen your age posted.

Low CoQ10 is typically a concern with statin drug use where with some people statins cause a CoQ10 deficiency.

50mg Iodine or Ubiquinol?

Thyroid. Look for Optimox 12.5mg iodine, Amazon lists that.


#14

I am 26, im also going to put more detail and update my own personal post accordingly.

in the Thyroid basics sticky you said 50mg iodine per day for IR?

I understand that i dont need CoQ10 now.

How much per day of Iodine?

How much per day of selenium. I found 200mg caps. would 600 mcg suffice?

I have a few other questions ill ask in my post.

Thank You!!


#15

600 mcg/day of selenium is too much. Care needs to be taken with toxicity and certain trace minerals. Just because you can ‘safely’ load iodine doesn’t mean you can with other micronutrients. 200 mcg/day of selenium is plenty.

I also would not suggest 50mg of iodine per day. Iodine is an effective antimicrobial and can effect gut flora. The microbiome in the gut has only been studied for the last ~20 years and we are just beginning to learn the massive effects that gut health has on quality of life. Although they are much smaller, we have a 1:1 ratio of bacteria to human cells in the human body. This is also why heavy use of antibiotics are dangerous. Antibiotics are not selective in the bacteria they kill; they just kill everything.

It will take slightly longer to load but I would suggest a lower dose of iodine at ~5-15 mg/day. This intake is standard in many eastern cultures that consume a lot of seafood.


#16

@KSman this should be made an overview sticky to read before reading the stickies with a link to the other stickies at the bottom.

Maybe add a little bit mentioning the most common deficiencies - vitamin D, magnesium, B vitamins, and ferritin - and their role in human physiology.