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Diet, Energy, and Hormone Regulation

by E. Jeannette Santino, PhD

e-Book PDF
Institution: Clayton College of Natural Health Birmingham
Advisor(s): Janice Martin, Ed.D, L.P.C.
Degree: Ph.D. in Holistic Nutrition
Year: 2006
Volume: 78 pages
ISBN-10: 1581123620
ISBN-13: 9781581123623


Past studies have been done on the effects specific foods have on the adrenal glands and other hormones. This study is concerned with the combined effect that a well-rounded, healthy, nutrient-dense food program while eliminating the use of selected substances known to alter hormones, such as alcohol, caffeine, soy, hormone-laced meat, common allergy foods, would have on the adrenal glands and specific hormones.

The investigator studied six individuals that had never been on hormone replacement therapy and were on a less than optimal diet. One post-menopausal woman, four menstruating women, and one male volunteered to be test subjects. A salivary assay baseline was taken of the hormones: cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S), testosterone, progesterone, and estradiol before they began the eight-week dietary change. Participants were given a list of approved foods and a list of foods during the eight-week program. They kept a detailed list of foods they consumed on a daily basis during the eight-week program as well as the week prior to the study when they consumed their usual foods. They reported in a detailed journal any changes in their energy, drive, bowel habits, and mood changes. At the end of eight weeks, the same salivary assay was taken of the five hormones and the pre and post lab reports were evaluated.

There was an increase in testosterone for five of the subjects and a slight decrease in the one test subject that was not 100% compliant. The male test subject was the only one that noted a substantial increase in drive in his journal. Even though four of the women test participants also had a rise in testosterone levels, they did not note an increase in their libido. Fifty percent showed a healthy increase in 8:00 a.m. cortisol. Four test participants began with erratic circadian cortisol rhythms. Of those four, three showed a return to normal circadian rhythms on the post-test. With respect to weight and body mass index (BMI), 100% lost weight and had a drop in BMI. There was no significant shift in DHEA-S, progesterone and estradiol in all six of the test participants.

Although the study period was short and there were only six participants, there was an improvement in adrenal function, an increase in testosterone, and a positive shift in weight and body mass index. A healthy well-rounded nutrient-dense food program can have a positive effect on the adrenal glands and the hormones they produce. Further investigation needs to be done in this area to see the effects a nutrient-dense diet would have on adrenal function and hormone production over a longer period of time and with a larger participant base.

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