I’m always going on about banning sugar & its products out of your life, I’ve even written a 7 step blog on how to quit sugar, since I know too well how addictive it is, ‘studies done on lab rats have shown how it was easier to wean them off cocaine than off sugar’.
So what is it about sugar that is harmful to our health and disruptive to our hormones?? since I decided to specialise in hormonal imbalance, I’ve come across a lot of research which clearly states the harmful effects of sugar not only on hormones but the immune system too.
Sugar and its food products can interfere with the way the white blood cells of your immune system clear up the debris. Compromising your immune system. having a direct harmful impact on your immune system, and since Naturopathic medicine focuses mainly on Immune system efficiency, sugar is the worst enemy here. Why?
It reduces the amount of beneficial bacteria that lives in the gut. This bacteria is needed for us to absorb nutrients from our food, a diet high in sugar can quickly lead to poor nutrition and gut complaints. It hinders the absorption of calcium, chromium and magnesium which we need for an efficient hormonal system and energy production. Chromium and magnesium are also fundamental for balancing the amount of glucose in our system, without these nutrients in full supply we can suffer from a condition called hypoglycaemia which can then lead to diabetes. Sugar also blocks your production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, actively encouraging the inflammatory nature of endometriosis, fibroids & or PCOS.
In addition, sugar increases fat, which increases oestrogen production. Sugar, like alcohol, is also an anti-nutrient, depleting the body of valuable vitamins and minerals. Eating foods with sugar causes your pancreas to produce insulin and can encourage an increase in fat cells and, hence, weight gain, fatty liver & metabolic syndrome. Fat cells produce something called aromatase enzyme and produces small amounts of oestrogen. Therefore the more fat cells you have the more oestrogen you produce. A diet of excess sugar is also linked to breast cancer. Too much glucose in the bloodstream encourages the production of prostaglandin 2 (PGE2), the chemical released by our immune system to cause inflammation.
Our immune system is not just responsible for fighting off colds and flu, it is also essential in the healing process. It does this by releasing chemicals named ‘prostaglandins’ that either increase or decrease inflammation. This inflammatory status is a natural protective mechanism to protect delicate tissue and organs against a threat – something seen as physiologically abnormal and wrong. This process uses a vast amount of nutrients. It then uses these nutrients to heal the damage and regulate the inflammation.
Women with endometriosis do not have strong immune systems. The natural ‘killer’ cells of the immune system do not work as effectively as they should; endometrial patches that should be regarded as ‘invaders’ and destroyed by chemicals released by the immune system, are not. Instead they are left intact to roam and migrate to other parts of the body, further evoking inflammation. The immune system of a lady with endometriosis is suggested to be weaker than the norm, therefore it is vitally important to support this system in order to control the inflammatory process.
Both hormone and the immune systems require many of the same nutrients, such as the B Vitamin family (especially B6) vitamin C, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, vitamins A and E. If any of these are in short supply then both your immune & reproductive systems will be compromised.