I have been using Progessence plus since late March and have seen some really great improvements in my day to day life. To begin with I was using this oil for Migraines and I have only had a few and they were usually when I had not been taking the afore mentioned oil blend; that however is not the only difference I have noticed in the last two months. I had not been paying much attention to my sleep patterns but since I recently ran out of the pro plus oil, about a week ago, I have not been sleeping nearly as well. So when I get my next order I will know if it improves my sleep again. I will have to do some research on just how exactly it could be affecting my sleep patters.
In other news I looked up what oils are helpful to support memory and clarity of mind. I have always had a bad memory and since having Phinn I think it has worsened. In looking up these oils I have found that primarily Rosemary is very helping so I made up a blend of Rosemary, Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint and have been using it a couple of times a day. I will update my blog with any improvements.
To begin I am going to go over a few brief terms and definitions that will be helpful to understand.
Neurotransmission is the way by which a brain cell (neuron) transmits chemical impulses i.e thoughts, behaviors and emotions. Neurotransmitters are certain chemicals in the brain such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These chemicals carry messages from one nerve to another by traveling from one end of a neuron to the beginning of another then is picked up by a receptor protein. A receptor protein is like a lock on a neuron cell surface and the neurotransmitter is the key by which they bind together. Sex hormones are a group of three primary hormones, testosterone, progesterone and estrogen. Hormones are made from fat, specifically cholesterol, so it is important to make sure you have enough of these essential fats in your body. The sex hormone estrogen assists greatly in neurotransmission by increasing neurotransmitters, increasing density of neurotransmitter receptors, and increasing blood flow to the brain. It is mainly the hormone estradiol, which is one type of estrogen, that has this affect on neurotransmission. Estrogen is a group of three hormones: estradiol, estriol and estrone. Another important groups of hormones are metabolic hormones (thyroid hormones, insulin and growth hormone), regulatory hormones (aldosterone, melatonin and parathyroid hormone) and stress hormones (cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine). The endocrine system is responsible for the secretion of many of these hormones. The endocrine system is made up of a group of glands consisting of the pineal gland, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, adrenal glands, pancreas and testes or ovaries. Another term I would like to briefly introduce is aromatherapy. This form of therapy can be very affective for many ailments, including hormonal imbalance, by way of entering the nasal passages where the smell receptors will send messages straight to the brain. This is possible because the particles of many essential oils are quite small and able to go through the blood brain barrier.
Now that we have those confusing terms out of the way we can begin to delve into the relationship of hormones (primarily estrogen) and how they affect the brain and therefore the entire body. As mentioned before testosterone is one of the primary sex hormones. It affects many aspects of the body but primarily it affects libido, stamina, mood and self-esteem; it is a primary androgen. unlike estrogen and progesterone, testosterone steadily decreases every year after you pass your twentieth birthday. This can increase the chances of getting hot flashes, osteoporosis and lower lobido.
Progesterone is known as the pregnancy hormone but it affects the body all throughout your premenopausal life. Progesterone is however produced mainly during the menstrual cycle to prepare the uterine lining for implantation of an embryo. If the embryo implants in the lining of the uterus then the placenta will take over the production of progesterone in order for the uterus and other parts of the body to be able to relax, which can result in feelings of fatigue. If your progesterone levels happen to be very low, during pregnancy, there is growing research that it could result in miscarriage. Estrogen (primarily estradiol) has many benefits if it is in balance with other hormones. If however the estrogen levels in your body are not In balance it can effect your cognitive skills (memory, clarity and thought processing), you may experience headaches and even migraines, weight gain or inability to lose weight, difficulty sleeping and depending on your age it can cause hot flashes.
So what can one do in order to balance their hormones? A good place to start is by eating right. By right I mean avoiding meat with added hormones and processed foods. Overeating and eating the wrong foods can lead to hormonal imbalances and even obesity. Fat does in fact produce hormones of its own which is not a risk factor if your weight is in a healthy range. The more fat there is the more hormones it produces which causes a snowball effect. However with the many different body types it is important to know your body and discern what is healthy for you.
Exercise is also an aid in balancing hormones by lowering the stress hormones and releasing happy neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin and endorphins). This release of these feel good chemicals results in a sense of well-being and acts as an antidepressant thereby lowering stress. Exercise helps to slow down the natural decline of testosterone and estrogen as we age by promoting the release of testosterone in the ovaries, as a result it can lessen the chances of muscles and bones breaking down. Exercise also promotes better brain function by multiplying the connections among brain neurons. This improves memory and the amount of oxygen rich blood being pumped to your brain.
Cutting byomutagens and xenoestrogens (DDT, PCB, dioxins, phthalates and parabens) will make a world of difference with the balance of hormones in your body. Byomutagens and xenoestrogens are chemicals and toxins found in cleaners, cosmetics, fragrances, plastic bottles, food, water and even air; they basically disrupt hormones. Xenoestrogens can clog hormone receptor sites causing the brain to react as if it has too much estrogen and therefore slows down the bodies production of actual estrogen. Progesterone can help cleanse the body of xenoestrogens by working to pull estrogen out of the hormone receptor sites so they can be taken away and flushed out of the body. The best form of progesterone for this purpose is a bioIdentical hormone such as wild yam extract. BioIdentical hormones contain the same chemical structure as your own hormones which means they can bind to the enzymes that normally convert one of your hormones to another. Basically it would be very difficult to overdose because your body can convert one bioIdentical hormone to the hormone you are in need of.
Aromatherapy is another possibility to balance your hormones. As mentioned before the molecules of essential oils are small and able to travel to the brain. Once the molecules are processed by the nerves of the olfactory membranes in the nasal lining they stimulate the lining and cause electrical impulses that are sent to the olfactory bulb in the brain. Impulses are then sent to the amygdala where emotions and memories are stored (hence the ability for smells to bring up passed memories and emotions). The hippocampus and amygdala are part of the limbic system and they can directly activate the hypothalamus (master gland). The hypothalamus is in charge of the production of growth hormone, sex hormones, thyroid hormones and neurotransmitters. So as you can probably guess this has huge implications as far as the effectiveness of aromatherapy and hormonal balance. As women it is important to support our hormones through the many stages. In a women’s lifelong cycle there are basically three stages the first being pre-menstrual and in this stage the hormones are largely controlled by the adrenal glands therefore it is important to support these specifically. Then there is the menstrual stage where your ovaries take charge of the hormones. Lastly you have menopause and the hormones during this stage are again governed by the adrenal glands.
There are a group of oils from Young Living that are specifically made for supporting the glands (adrenal or thyroid for example) and ovaries which are largely responsible for the production and mediating of hormones. Progessence Plus for example is an oil blend made with the wild yam extract that contains a bioIdentical hormone which can be used to regulate you menstrual cycle, cleanse the body of high estrogen levels and support progesterone levels after pregnancy.
I hope to write more on this subject and I wish I could include so much more information but this will have to do for now. Please feel free to contact me for any more informations or if you are interested in buying essential oils to help balance your hormones whether that be for menstruation, pregnancy (fertility) or menopause.
Some books I found helpful and informing are “Hormones and the Mind”, “The Thyroid Sourcebook”, “Perfect Balance” and “Taming the Dragon Within”.