Naturopathic Doctor Angela Agrios (Pacific Palisades, CA) explains how Naturopathic Medicine is able to facilitate weight loss. Produced by Larry Cook. Distributed by Tubemogul.
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So when people come to see and they're struggling with weight issues, there are some common underlying factors: number one, I commonly see imbalance of hormonal states, so in peri-menopause and menopause, we'll see things like estrogen dominance, which make it difficult to lose weight. Men over forty -- we call this "hormonal shift andropause," and it's actually when we see testosterone and progesterone levels declining, and estrogen is again building up in the system. Hypothyroidism is a situation where individuals will have difficulty losing weight. High stress, believe it or not, can actually lead to weight gain, and this is because we'll have elevated cortisol levels, and this will preferentially pack on weight around the abdomen. Poor dietary choices is another big one, and we'll typically see elevations in insulin, which will also help to put on weight around the waist, and of course the poor dietary choices will really aggravate all of the other things I just mentioned. So when patients come in and they're struggling with weight problems, it's really important that I understand why they're struggling with that weight problem, where that's coming from. During that initial intake, what I'm primarily doing is differentiating in my mind: I am listening to the symptoms that they're telling me to correlate which syndromes they might be correlated with. Diet is really important information, so I pay close attention to that piece during the initial intake. And then I'm primarily going to rely on some lab testing to help me differentiate. So I'm going to run some blood work, and in the blood work, I'm going to look at thyroid hormones. So I'm going to look at a TSH level, a free T3 and a free T4 to really look at full thyroid function. I'm also going to assess sex hormone balance, so I'm going to look at progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen. I'll also look sometimes at things like DHEA, sometimes pregnenolone. In addition, I will then do some saliva testing, and the saliva testing I'm going to use to rule out any type of hypercortisol issue, so looking at the adrenals, and I'm also going to look at sex hormones again in the saliva. And those tests, combined with a history and physical exam, will really give me a complete picture so I understand what's going on with this person and where their problem with weight is originating. So my treatment plans always have dietary recommendations, and I start out by asking patients of mine to remove any synthetic foods, so any additives or preservatives, or artificial sweeteners leave the diet. The second thing that's also very important is that people remove all processed foods and refined carbohydrates, so that looks like everything from breakfast cereal, toast, bagels, muffin, any kind of bread, crackers, pasta, chips, all of that is removed from the diet. And then, we're essentially going to focus on a whole-foods-based diet that's very rich in good, clean proteins; organic, fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds; good oils to take in are things like coconut oil and avocado, and olive oil and fish oil are great additions as well. Clean water, so purified water is very important. Hydration is extremely important in managing weight, and so at least half of your body weight in ounces. And there's a few reasons -- in parts, this is to actually help you stay satiated. When you're hydrated, you actually are not as hungry. But in addition, flushing out toxins will actually help you lose weight. In terms of the times for people to eat that I advise my patients, earlier is better. When a person skips breakfast, they actually lower their metabolism for the entire day, so I make all of my patients eat breakfast even if they tell me they're not breakfast-eaters. They need to start eating breakfast. Traditionally, what happens is people actually consume fewer calories over the duration of the day when they eat breakfast, so this is good and their metabolism stays elevated all day long. So t
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