hormonal imbalance

  1. Feeling depressed doubles stroke risk

    Depressed women face bigger stroke risk

    I've never understood it myself, but many people still feel shame and embarrassment when it comes to depression. They won't talk about feeling depressed, and they certainly won't seek help.

    Well, I'm here to tell you that you've got nothing to be embarrassed about -- and there's certainly no shame in seeking help.

    The real shame is in what could happen to you if you just let it go, because depression can lead to other serious health risks, especially in women. And ladies, if you're feeling depressed right now, you could face double the risk of a stroke, according to one new study out of Australia.

    We've seen this link made before. But in other studies, it's generally been found in older women. One study a couple years back found that depression increases the risk of stroke in senior women by nearly a third.

    In the new study, however, the higher stroke risk was found even in younger women who were feeling depressed -- including women in their 40s and 50s.

    Now, to be clear about this, not all cases of stroke linked depression are caused by the condition. In some cases, it could be caused by treatment -- because depression meds, especially common SSRIs, are also known to raise the risk of stroke in women.

    But whether it's the drugs or the condition, it's pretty clear to me that there are two actions everyone -- men and women alike -- needs to take when facing serious mood problems.

    First, never let depression go untreated. Along with increasing your risk of stroke, unchecked depression can also lead to serious heart problems.  People who are feeling depressed are also more likely to engage in unhealthy behavior, including excessive drinking, smoking, and poor diet.

    And second, avoid medications if you can (especially those SSRI drugs I just mentioned) and turn to natural therapies instead. While drugs do little to correct the underlying causes of depression, supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins can actually give the brain exactly what it's been lacking -- easing the depression and improving your overall health at the same time.

    For more tips on easing depression naturally read my free special report here.

    Some people may need additional treatment, but even in those cases drugs may not be necessary. What you really need is a skilled doctor who can diagnose other potential causes of depression, such as nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances.

    I recommend a holistic physician who specializes in natural hormone therapies. And if you're in the Southern California area, I can help. Contact my clinic at 855-DOC-MARK for more information or to make an appointment.

  2. Iron deficiency may not be why you're tired

    Iron isn't always the answer for fatigue

    I recently treated a woman in her 40s who had been experiencing fatigue for two years -- and the entire time, her other doctors kept telling her that her lab tests were "normal."

    But fatigue is never normal, so I ran a few more tests -- including a test for iron stores known as ferritin.

    As it turned out, her levels were quite low due to very heavy periods. Within two weeks of increasing her iron levels, her fatigue began to fade.

    For some women, iron can be a safe, inexpensive and completely natural way to slash fatigue levels -- but file this one under "don't try this at home."

    Too much iron can be as dangerous as too little, so you shouldn't take iron pills unless you've been diagnosed with a deficiency -- even if the latest research sounds great on paper.

    In this one, women who took 80mg of iron a day cut their fatigue levels by 50 percent, compared to 28 percent among those given a placebo.

    But it's a lot more complicated than "pop a pill, and feel better."

    The 198 women in this study had tests for circulating iron, and while they were not deficient, they were all in the lower end of the "normal" range.

    It's a wide range, and some women do better in the middle and upper end of it, but the real problem is that these tests alone simply don't tell you enough. Most doctors never run a ferritin test -- and without that, it's simply impossible to have a clear picture of the patient's true iron levels.

    So, it could have been low iron. But it could have been something else, too.

    Remember, there are many common causes of fatigue, including viral infections, fungal growth, parasites, and drug side effects. But the one that comes up most often is a hormonal imbalance -- usually the so-called "adrenal burnout" that is among the most under-diagnosed hormonal problems in the country.

    Because there are so many possible causes for fatigue, it's important that you don't try to self-diagnose and self-treat. And whatever you do, don't add iron supplements to your regimen on your own -- but do make sure your doctor tests both your circulating iron and ferritin levels.

    I recommend a holistic doctor who can perform advanced testing, including comprehensive iron testing, to find the true cause of your fatigue.

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