Lisa Borg Dip DCNH, Nutritional Therapist – Lisa is a qualified Nutritional Therapist. She has been practicing nutrition for 8 years across a broad spectrum of health conditions. She has a special interest in Rosacea, and her research, together with hands-on experience, led to the writing of her thesis entitled “The Nutritional Management of Rosacea”.)
Hormonal Imbalance in Those With Rosacea
This week I will be covering a prevalent Hormonal Imbalance in those with Rosacea, and offering some tips on how to adjust your diet and lifestyle to help bring the hormonal system back into a balanced harmony.
A study of 1,066 Rosacea sufferers was conducted from the patient histories of a Dr. Jonathan Wilkin to identify triggers for flushing episodes. This is an important point in your own Rosacea, because avoiding / preventing flushing triggers is the very first step in getting Rosacea under control and is the biggest preventative measure in reducing the progressively worsening nature of the condition.
Top of the list of triggers was sun exposure, closely followed by emotional stress (81% and 79% respectively). In my own experience of clients suffering Rosacea, these two items also appear consistently as the main culprits for flushing. I can expand on that point by telling you that over 35% of my clients have confided that their Rosacea began with an immensely stressful event.
While the heat of sunlight is an obvious trigger for flushing (as are any hot conditions), it can be successfully controlled by use of SPF creams, wearing a hat, staying in the shade and wearing loose-fitting cotton clothing.
Addressing emotional stress can also be controlled, but it requires a concerted effort on your part, in both dietary manipulation and lifestyle factors, which I will be covering here today.
Your own thought-response, when confronted with a stressful situation, or when things ‘get on top of you’ signal your hormonal system to react correspondingly. One thought produces one hormonal response and a different thought-response stimulates a different hormonal response. So the very first thing you want to become aware of is how your thoughts respond to stress. This requires some self-observation initially, but once you recognise what these responses are, you can then retrain yourself to respond differently, and in a way that will be beneficial rather than detrimental to your health.
When we feel threatened chemical responses are produced in the Adrenal Glands. Each of your pair of adrenal glands is no bigger than a walnut, weighs less than a grape, and each one sits like a tiny pyramid on top of each kidney. From this central location they significantly effect functioning of every tissue, organ and all other hormone producing glands in the body. The forces mobilised by the adrenals largely determine the energy of your responses to changes in your internal and external environment. Whether they signal attack, retreat or surrender, every cell responds accordingly, and you feel the results.
The Adrenal Glands respond to episodes of injury, disease, problems with relationships and threatening situations. Genetically speaking, the adrenals enabled us to stand and fight or run from sabre-toothed tigers; they instigate this fight/flight response to all forms of stress. They significantly affect the regulation of blood sugar, and they protect us with anti-inflammatory effects (the latter being is why adrenal health is so important in Rosacea). Your resilience, energy, endurance and your very life all depend on their proper functioning.
Cortisol is one of the stress response hormones that also plays a role in regulating inflammation and the immune responses throughout the body. Chronic stress reduces these effects of cortisol which results in increased inflammation, reduced immunity, and disruptions in the sleep cycle. Cortisol is produced in a circadian rhythm with the highest levels at around 8 am ( it helps us wake up), and the lowest levels at midnight that helps us sleep. When out of balance cortisol is produced at the wrong times of day causing sleep disturbances.
Tips to support Adrenal Health:
· Stress both increases the need for magnesium, and may cause excess excretion of it, so include extra food sources of Magnesium: green leafy vegetables (it is a component of chlorophyll), wholegrains, nuts, seeds and meats.
· Eat foods as close to nature as possible (whole foods that look as they did before they were harvested)
· Choose foods that are less likely to contain hidden toxins (Organic fruits & vegetables, and naturally raised meats, use unrefined sea salt and discard Table salt
· Ensure your diet supplies healthy fats from avocados, nuts, seeds & oily fish
· Discover activities that help you to relax and make them a regular part of your healthy lifestyle
· Start to practice the art of not taking life too seriously (if it is not going to kill you it should be handled calmly).
· Implement strategies to ensure good quality sleep (get to bed early enough for 8 hours sleep, ensure the room is dark and electrical devices are not near your head, get sufficient daylight exposure to help your circadian rhythm fall into it’s natural pattern)
This Week’s Quote:
“Remember that stress doesn’t come from what’s going on in your life. It comes from your thoughts about what’s going on in your life.” – Andrew Bernstein