Swinging Moods

I love to swing. Yes, I love to swing from those big old fashioned seats that hang precariously from ropes of hemp or metal chain linked together. The romantic swings that are sometimes hung from giant oak trees are the best but it is much more likely you will find swings in a city park. I adore the feeling of flying up in the air with my body fully reclined, air rushing through my hair, higher and higher until the swing shudders slightly with the abuse and then I just let it glide, pulled by gravity to a stop. I find it soothing and all my cares seem to dwindle in to nothingness.

However swings of another sort can be really disconcerting and alarming and those are the swings of the human psyche. One friend recently described her daughter’s mood swings as “scary” which prompted me to do a little research and put my thoughts together. If you were asked by someone “What can I do for my child and her “scary” mood swings would you automatically have the answer? Well to be honest,  I didn’t and my answer went on for days as I picked through the cobweb covered information in my “files”.

Hormonal mood swings are accepted as a rite of passage for women and just never discussed when it comes to men. Chemical imbalance is referred to as “mental illness” and discussed in hushed tones only and with some ridiculous sense of shame. However, I think it is unacceptable to assume we need to suffer from the ups and downs of hormonal imbalance and/or mental illness. Not just unacceptable but dangerous if the imbalance leads to thoughts of suicide or to illness like endometriosis. There are methods to help us cope with mood swings be they chemical or hormonal imbalances. If you seek medical advice you will most likely be the recipient of a piece of paper that instructs the pharmacist to fill a prescription for birth control chemicals or for a “wonder” drug like Prozac or its myriad of clones. I think this borders on criminal, as you already know by my previous posts.  There are far less harmful treatments that in many cases have even better results than the aforementioned.

First and foremost is Vitamin D3, not really a vitamin at all it is actually “a secosteroid hormone that targets over 2000 genes (about 10% of the human genome) in the human body”. I have recommended Vitamin D3 to several friends and family and all have had positive experiences with mood elevation and energy renewal. The best source of Vitamin D3 is the midday sun on your entire body for 20 minutes.

However, sunshine on your skin is not instantly transformed to Vitamin D3 in your body, so once you have exposed your skin you need to leave it as is for at least 30 minutes and you should not soap exposed areas for 24 hours. This characteristic of Vitamin D was discovered when they puzzled over surfers in Hawaii who showed signs of Vitamin D insufficiency. How could people exposed to the sun so unrelentingly have low levels of the sunshine vitamin?

Eventually they realized a common link, surfers are in and out of the water constantly and from there it was proven that you need to leave the exposed skin untouched for a period of time to allow for complete assimilation otherwise you are just washing it off your skin and there is no time for absorption. Personally I try to expose my skin to sunlight or my Sunsplash Renew right after a shower when my skin is clean and free of lotions. I then don’t need a shower or bath for 24 hours and I don’t use soap on places like my belly or back ever, it only dries out my skin.

If being in the sun for 20 minutes is too frightening for you (first of all read the latest reports on sun exposure) then supplementing with D3 is acceptable. However, before you supplement you should test your D levels. The unfortunate thing about taking a supplement is you could really upset the swing if your levels are already high for some reason. If your levels are terribly low you may need large doses of Vitamin D2 until your D levels are within range (40-65 ng/ml) and it will take awhile because D2 is not easily assimilated by the body and changed from D2 to D3.

There are other solutions to elevating your mood that are simple and can be kept in your refrigerator. A high quality fish oil like the fish oil Vital Choice sells can do wonders for your mood. In an article on Mercola,com it stated “there have been a number of studies that have examined national and international fish consumption data and compared them to rates of depression. Dr. Joseph Hibbeln of the National Institutes of Health is a pioneer in this area. He, and his group, have shown that higher national consumption of fish for a nation equals lower rates of depression versus countries consuming the least amount of fish. He has also shown that higher fish consumption is correlated with lower risk of postpartum depression and seasonal affective disorder.

A larger study published in Archives of General Psychiatry replicated these findings (from a previous study published by The American Journal of Psychiatry) however, this time various doses of EPA were examined. Those on ineffective antidepressants were given 1g, 2g or 4g of pure EPA or a placebo in addition to the medication. Interestingly, the 1g daily dose of EPA led to the most significant improvements over the three-month study; it appeared that less was more. There were significant improvements in depressive symptoms, sleep, anxiety, lassitude, libido and thoughts of suicide.”  Dr. Mercola recommends trying a high quality fish oil and also EFT, emotional freedom technique, as it heals from within by helping you deal with hidden angst and fears.

If diet, exercise, EFT and sunshine exposure have failed you it might be time for blood tests. Hypothyroidism often causes depression and it is not good enough to settle for your doctor reporting that your TSH is “fine” or ‘okay”. You need to step up to the plate and require your doctor to do a complete thyroid panel including tests for autoimmune thyroiditis. If your health care provider won’t do a complete thyroid panel you can get your own done for a reasonable cost. Your TSH could be within normal limits and you could still be suffering from all the symptoms of hypothyroidism. If your health care provider just takes the time to run a full thyroid panel they may find that you do have a thyroid problem and need natural dessicated thyroid to properly treat the situation and rid you of the mood swings caused by an undertreated thyroid.

Much of depression or a mood swing comes down to hormones because not only is your thyroid run by hormones but your sex hormones can be a very likely cause of mood swings if they are out of balance. I found what Dr. Uzzi Reiss is quoted as saying in Suzanne Somer’s book The Sexy Years really fascinating and somewhat revealing. Dr. Reiss stated that estrogen is extremely important to a woman’s peace of mind. Estrogen dominant women are happier women. They sleep better and are less stressed. He then went on to talk about body types and specifically mentioned fashion models describing them as “tall, thin and usually sort of subtly depressed” The tall, thin, small breasted woman often has low estrogen and testosterone but good human growth hormone (because she is tall). And then he talks about the woman who is five feet one, D-size breasts, has no hair over her body, is not very athletic, and does not have strong muscles; this woman has extremely high estrogen, and low testosterone. The last group of women are the athletic type. Most athletes have small breasts, not because they have low estrogen but because they have high testosterone.

Who of the above group will be happiest? The small round woman with high estrogen. “Women of this type are happier and less complex, and it seems that their approach to sexuality is much simpler. The thin model type when asked about the times they were pregnant will respond that “when I was pregnant it was the happiest time of my life”. Why? Their hormone levels were different and the extra estrogen made them happy and more progesterone made them calmer. Hormones have a language of their own and if your hormones are out of whack there is a barrier to communication from one part of the body to the other that results in mood swings.

If you have tried everything else ask your primary care provider to test your hormone levels by running a blood test. You should always ask to see a copy of your blood tests and when you see the levels of your hormones if things seem out of whack bio-identical hormones are a possible answer. A word of caution do not settle for chemically copied Big Pharma versions like Premarin or Progestin as they have been known to contribute to an increase in cancers and heart disease. They are not bio-identical and it is possible that your body will not find its equilibrium with the chemical version.

While I haven’t specifically mentioned men’s body types and their hormones (Dr. Reiss didn’t specifically mention men and their shape), men are affected by out of balance hormones too. Everyone talks about women and their pesky hormones but men are victims of this problem as well and need to request sex hormone blood tests just as women do. Andropause is the term used for men’s hormone upheaval; it is the male counterpart of menopause, when the production of testosterone decreases and there are accompanying mental symptoms. If you are male and suspect you may be in andropause talk to your health care provider or go to Canary Club and request the tests you need. No one needs to suffer from unnecessary mood swings or depression caused by hormones waxing and waning and bio-identical hormones can help males as well as females.

I wish the answer was more simplistic, like hopping in a swing and letting it all hang out, but as we are all so different dealing with mood swings is multi-layered and complex. If you feel desperate and the day is looking bleaker by the moment you should always seek help now, not tomorrow. There should never be any shame in acknowledging a need for counseling. If today seems bright but tomorrow is a bit darker, if you do indeed swing with your highs and lows then what I have offered is a possible solution and worthy of your attention.

I’ll be swinging to good health until next week.

Kris

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