Low testosterone, the liver, and sex hormone binding globulin

This is the fourth video in the video series on low testosterone.

When you are working with a functional medicine clinician or an alternative medicine clinician, one area that may be check is the liver and detoxification. Many people know that the liver affects how they detoxify metals and other chemicals. However, many people do not know the intimate relationship between the liver and their hormone levels. One way that testosterone can be influenced by the liver is through the action of sex hormone binding globulin. If this is too high because the liver is inappropriately producing too much, then a person will have less functional testosterone in their body.

Low Testosterone and Cortisol.

This is the third video on the functional medicine approaches to low testosterone.

When we are trying to discover the cause of low testosterone, one place to look is the level of cortisol. Cortisol is a person’s stress hormone. It goes up whenever they are engaged in a stressful situation. If you are stressed for a long period of time, then your body will start building cortisol out of the building blocks for testosterone. This robs your body of what it needs to create a normal, healthy level of testosterone.

Low Testosterone Video Series, Part 2: The Pituitary Gland

Hey everyone. This is the second video in this series on low testosterone.

The cause of low testosterone that we are covering today is low functioning of the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is under command of the hypothalamus. It’s role is to send hormones out to signal the release of hormones from different glands including the thyroid, the adrenals, and the gonads.

In a functional medicine clinic, we should be trying to find the cause of the patient’s low testosterone. If you are suffering with low testosterone, be sure to work with a practitioner who understands that pituitary function is an important place to look when trying to find the cause.

Low Testosterone Video Series: Introduction

This is the first video in Dr. Ball’s video blog on functional medicine. In functional medicine, alternative medicine, and chiropractic, the practitioner strives to find the cause of a person’s problem instead of just using a ‘band-aid’ approach. The hope is that the person will stop needing the therapy and live their life without having to continuously take something.

Low testosterone can lead to many problems including reduced sex drive, loss of muscle, muscle weakness, sexual dysfunction, depression, irritability, mood swings, pot belly, and weight gain. We know that its bad. So what should we do? The common response is to immediately give you synthetic hormone replacement or bio-identical hormone replacement.

This series is to educate the public on the fact that for most people, hormone replacement therapy is a band-aid approach. Many times people are given testosterone in a transdermal or injected form before their clinician has dug for the root cause of the problem. If you are suffering from low testosterone or know someone who is, then be sure to work with a practitioner who is willing to dig for the root cause.

Gluten Can Still Harm in Absence of Celiac Disease

Autoimmune Disease

Can Gluten Hurt Someone Without Celiac?
This will be a very simple blog post but a very important one. Honestly, some of you might roll your eyes and think, “Obviously NCGS (non-celiac gluten sensitivity) is a real thing.” So if you just want the punch-line its this: Gluten can still harm people who do not have celiac disease.

Before I get started, I am NOT saying that EVERYONE has a gluten problem. That is not true. However, some people who do not have celiac disease can still be affected by gluten.

I have heard quite a few people tell me in the past couple of years that, “Gluten can only affect someone with celiac disease. Research shows this.” They often site some research article that they can’t find later or was on a blog post (This is different from research).

Well, I knew in these conversations that the research did NOT show this. Research shows that people that do not have celiac disease can still get symptoms from a diet that contains gluten. So I just wanted to do this blog post to set the record straight.

What is celiac disease? Celiac disease is a problem with gluten that leads to tissue damage within the intestines. Celiac disease is confirmed by blood antibody testing and an endoscopic exam. That means that they view internally your small intestine to see if the little fingers that suck up the nutrients are being destroyed. If you don’t have these two things then you do not have celiac disease. Most doctors use blood antibody test to tell if there is a probable issue and then they confirm with a endoscopic exam. At least they should be…..

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is when someone without celiac disease can have their symptoms decreased and eradicated by a gluten free diet. Then when they add gluten again their symptoms return. This is a working diagnosis although it is difficult to confirm because of the length of the trial.

The purpose of this post is just to say, NCGS is a recognized condition in the literature since 2011 and at this point there is no research that would undo the dozens of randomized double-blind placebo controlled trials that have already been done. This is a reality now. I attached five articles, but if you searched NCGS in PubMed you would find 195 peer-reviewed, research papers on NCGS. If you search “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” then 166 peer-reviewed research papers come up.

I’m sorry that I had to make a post just to say, “Hey, this is a real thing.” Once again, I know some of you are saying, “Obviously.”

But if you were confused or you really, really wanted to believe that wheat was 100%, definitely okay for you then think again. Passing a celiac test does not give you free reign to indulge. Gluten may not have caused tissue damage yet, but it can eventually.

If you are worried about gluten causing your problem just stop consuming gluten for a month. Then add it back in every day and see what happens. If your problem comes back then that meets the definition for non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Gluten sensitivity can contribute to systemic inflammation and most people with gluten sensitivity will statistically have neurological, psychiatric, or endocrine symptoms instead of digestive symptoms. This is in contrast to what most people believe about celiac disease/ncgs and this belief is a barrier to people getting screened for this ailment.

1. Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Crossover Trial for the Diagnosis of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity in Children.

2. Nonceliac gluten sensitivity: an approach to diagnosis and management.

3. Double-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial: Gluten versus Placebo Rechallenge in Patients with Lymphocytic Enteritis and Suspected Celiac Disease.

4. Evidence for the Presence of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity in Patients with Functional Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Results from a Multicenter Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Gluten Challenge.

5. Small Amounts of Gluten in Subjects With Suspected Nonceliac Gluten Sensitivity: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over Trial.

Statins can paradoxically cause more heart disease


The above link is a very interesting paper from the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology. This is a very prestigious journal that has courageously published a research article talking about why statins weirdly can cause worsening of the disease that they are supposed to correct.

When statin drugs were first invented that intuitively seemed like a good idea. Plaques in the arteries are made up of fat for the most part and statins reduce the amount of fats in circulation. Seems great, right?

Well, there are actually different types of cholesterol. HDL is typically considered the good cholesterol and LDL is considered the bad cholesterol. VLDL is yet another type of cholesterol that is considered even worse yet.

These different types are further confounded by the differences in functionality that can happen. For example, LDL only implants on the arterial lining and becomes a plaque when it gets oxidized by free radicals. This is why many health ‘experts’ have linked anti-oxidants to heart health. If the oxidation of LDL is prevented then it won’t become plaque. Functional HDL actually helps to cleans up the oxidized LDL. On the other hand, HDL can be non-functional. According to Dr. Mark Houston, internationally known cardiologist, a large percentage of women with HDL over 80 have non-functional HDL. One study showed that HDL-C did not have the same cardioprotective effects that HDL-P has.

http://clinchem.aaccjnls.org/content/60/11/e1. It is important to realize this because many doctors don’t know about this. They see a 93 on the HDL and say, “Wow, that’s amazing. Great job.” When it is not necessarily a good thing and the patient is actually dyslipidemic. This is especially frustrating when I see blood work from a person who normally has terrible cholesterol. They suddenly have a 90 in HDL and their doctor is happy but they didn’t change anything. Guess what? That isn’t actually good. If you didn’t do anything to make that HDL get that high then it isn’t really that high.

I have heard, “Well, the patient started reacting to the statin very well.” Really? The patient started benefiting from the statin in a way they hadn’t in years of taking it? Also, statins suddenly started raising total HDL?

Statin drugs don’t care about any of this. They see good cholesterol and bad cholesterol and destroy both of them. So functional HDL is reduced in statin use preventing them from doing their good work. This is one of the negative aspects of statins that I could always see.

Like the article says, CoQ10 is a fat based anti-oxidant that is prevented from being made by statin drugs. This is bad for two reasons.

1. Like we said, LDL is only bad when it gets oxidized. Obviously, high levels of LDL are bad because it only takes a little oxidative stress to turn all that into plaques. But if CoQ10 levels are too low, then you can’t prevent the oxidation if it is going to happen. More oxidation happens with less CoQ10.

2. CoQ10 supports the liver function which is where cholesterol is produced. CoQ10 supports HDL functionality through this mechanism. More CoQ10 equals the liver making better HDL.

So you can see, HDL and LDL both benefit from adequate levels of CoQ10.

The article goes on to describe how Vitamin K production is also disrupted. This is definitely bad for the production of plaque (Vitamin K prevents plaque buildup.) It also prevents glutathione peroxidase. Also bad, because glutathione is the master anti-oxidant in the body which once again will contribute to the amount of oxidized LDL.

So what to do?

Well if you love statins and absolutely want to stay on yours then I won’t argue. I’m not your dad and you should do what you want to do. Just know that you should be supplementing the CoQ10, selenium, and glutathione that are getting lost. I won’t suggest taking Vitamin K without being tested. It seems that K2-MK7 is the most cardioprotective of the vitamin K’s but I wouldn’t recommend taking it without the guidance of a healthcare practitioner.

If you are taken aback by this published research, then you probably want to know how to lower your cholesterol naturally.

Even if statins were perfect and didn’t do anything wrong, but you knew you could cure it for good without having to take a drug every day, wouldn’t you? Instead of having to take a medication every single day.

Well, the causes of heart disease can be reduced to inflammation, oxidative stress, and/or immune system dysregulation in regards to the arteries, veins, and heart. But the causes of these are wide and varied. They can be different for everyone. And there is no rule that there can’t be multiple causes.

Whatever you do, I recommend not doing the same thing every single day forever, whether it is pharmaceutical or natural. I have seen natural health care practitioners give someone a particular herb that lowers cholesterol and have it work. But if the person has to take it forever then it isn’t fixing anything.

Just for fun, if you think that this is an isolated article, I have included just a few more for your perusal. And there are dozens and dozens more if you want to dig into the literature.