Estrogen Deficiency: The Real Chemical Imbalance
You know that "chemical imbalance" your doctor talks about when you go in for symptoms of depression and they mention the lack of neuron connectivity and synaptic dysfunction?
That chemical imbalance could really be estrogen deficiency.
It is not uncommon for a woman to go to the doctor and complain about feeling depressed and a lack of desire to participate in life. It appears to be more the norm instead of the exception. Thousands of women have come to me over the years and have told me how depression is controlling their lives. The most common complaints I hear in the hormone clinic are,
- "I have no desire to participate in my own life."
- "I can't get out of bed."
- "I'm so depressed that I don't care about my children or my husband."
- "I have ruminating thoughts of killing myself though I don't think I really want to."
- "I spend most of my days detached from the things going on around me."
- "I'm finding it harder and harder to hide how depressed I really am."
- "I feel like there is something wrong with me but I know I am not mentally ill."
- "I just want to be left alone."
- "I don't know who I am anymore."
What happens when these women go to the doctor is similar to what has happened to me multiple times; they are told they have a "chemical imbalance" and that is what is causing their depression. Many doctors go into detail about the lack of neuron connectivity and synaptic dysfunction. I've had doctors draw me pictures to show how it works then go on to talk about the psychotropic drugs they want to prescribe to manage it.
The sales pitch for psychotropic drug use for depression is very convincing especially when a woman is in a deep dark place. Women agree to take the drugs because it is the only hope they feel they have because that is what they are told. But the problem with psychotropic drugs is they further cause more depression and other mental health side effects, not to mention, does not address the cause of the problem. There is a reason women are susceptible to a lack of neuron connectivity and synaptic dysfunction and it is not a psychotropic drug deficiency.
It has taken me years of research, education, and experience as a clinical hormone coach to understand the true reason the majority of women ages 12+ suffer from mental illness. And had I not experienced it or seen it for myself in the hormone clinic, I may not have believed it.
It turns out that it is estrogen that is responsible for neuron connectivity and synaptic function in women. To quote one of my colleagues,
"Depressed women do not have a Prozac deficiency, they have estrogen deficiency."
"Scientists are now trying to sort out precisely how estrogen works on neurons. Reporting in the February 1994 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, Dr. Toran-Allerand and her colleagues have found that the hormone could exert its influence by making neurons more sensitive to the stimulus of nerve growth factor, a protein thought to play a role in the growth and sustenance of dendrites and axons. These filamentous processes, which extend from the body of a nerve cell-like arms extending from an octopus, convey signals from the nerve cell to its neighbors; they are the wiring that allows neurons to communicate.
Studying adult rat brains, the scientists discovered that an application of estrogen strongly influenced neurons located in the cerebral cortex, the hippocampus, and the basal forebrain, all areas known to be affected in Alzheimer's disease. Upon exposure to estrogen, the neurons began filling up with the chemical messages needed to manufacture so-called receptors for nerve growth factor, the proteins studding the surface of neurons that allow the cells to embrace and respond to the growth factor.
By keeping neurons amenable to the factor's stimulating influence, Dr. Toran-Allerand proposes, estrogen could assure that dendrites and axons remain fully extended and in touch with one another. Beyond assuring an intellectual status quo, the hormone also appears to encourage the birth of new synapses between one neuron and another, connections that are necessary for the mastery of new facts and tasks.
In support of this hypothesis, biologists have previously demonstrated that removal of a female rodent's ovaries directly affects the brain, causing dendrites and axons to retract and the synaptic interconnections to simplify, as though an overzealous gardener had got into the orchard and pruned away a few too many branches."
Estrogen impacts the brains of women so significantly that their susceptibility to depression, anxiety, 80% of mental illness diagnoses, including Alzheimer's disease increases the longer estrogen remains suboptimal. The best way to protect your mind and prevent depression is to establish and maintain estrogen at optimal levels.
If you suspect your depression is not the mental illness you were told, you may want to consider seeing an estrogen specialist and get your estrogen properly restored. There is no reason women have to live with mental illness the way that it has been sold.
Getting hormones balanced to the Hormone Sweet Spot™ is life-changing for most women. If you are tired of treating your depression and anxiety with drugs and other mind-numbing approaches, address the root cause and optimize your estrogen.
I can help you get your estrogen and other hormones balanced and keep them balanced with my Balance Your Hormones Program. It will be the best gift you give yourself and those who love you.
Fink G, Sumner BE, Rosie R, Grace O, Quinn JP. Estrogen control of central neurotransmission: effect on mood, mental state, and memory. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 1996 Jun;16(3):325-44.
Lasiuk, G. C., and K. M. Hegadoren. “The Effects of Estradiol on Central Serotonergic Systems and Its Relationship to Mood in Women.” Biological Research For Nursing, vol. 9, no. 2, Oct. 2007, pp. 147–60.
Nicholson K, MacLusky NJ, Leranth C. Synaptic effects of estrogen. Vitam Horm. 2020;114:167-210.
Toran-Allerand CD. Estrogen and the brain: beyond ER-alpha and ER-beta. Exp Gerontol. 2004 Nov-Dec;39(11-12):1579-86.
Watson, Cheryl. “Estrogens of Multiple Classes and Their Role in Mental Health Disease Mechanisms.” International Journal of Women’s Health, June 2010, p. 153.