Autonomic Dysfunction Series: Cancer
Autonomic Dysfunction and Standing up to Cancer
For the last 10 years, MD Wellness has been treating patients for conditions related to autonomic dysfunction. Dysautonomia is a term used to describe a condition where your autonomic nervous system is dysfunctioning. Dysautonomia literally means dysfunctional autonomic nervous system. Every human being on Earth, at some point in time, will suffer from varying degrees of dysautonomia, yet this disorder is virtually unknown and unrecognized. We have an unseen or hidden epidemic of autonomic dysfunction and one way to combat this common, health-sapping condition is to bring awareness to this ubiquitous problem. For this reason, MD Wellness will be releasing a series of blogs related to various manifestations of dysautonomia in hopes that patients suffering from these disorders will be armed with more information and follow a healthy path to get to the root cause of their chronic symptoms.
Your Autonomic Nervous System and Cancer
Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is responsible for maintaining your body’s overall metabolic balance. Think of the ANS as the command center in your body that attempts to keep you within your optimal range of physiologic functioning by a series of actions. Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is made up of two parts, your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Your SNS, also referred to as your “fight or flight” response, is active in times of stress and during an emergency. Conversely, your PNS is responsible for initiating your rest, repair, and digestive response. These two corresponding divisions of your autonomic nervous system are neither both active, nor both disabled at the same time. In fact, one side of the system is on when the other is off and visa versa. In other words, when your PNS is activated, your SNS is deactivated and when your SNS turns on, your PNS turns off. Any imbalance in your body will eventually lead to symptoms and disease states. This fundamental “law of nature” is certainly applicable to your autonomic nervous system (ANS). An ANS imbalance characterized by excess parasympathetic nervous system activity can contribute to conditions in which cancer likes to grow.
The delicate balance of hormones in our body
High levels of Insulin, cortisol, and estrogen, are all prevalent substances in your body, which can increase your risk of cancer. All of these hormones are associated with your parasympathetic nervous system. On the other hand, low levels of thyroid hormone, progesterone, and testosterone will also contribute to cancer. It just so happens that these three hormones are associated with your sympathetic nervous system. The common denominator is that those processes and hormones that reduce oxidative metabolism (like estrogen, insulin and cortisol) increase your risk for cancer, while those processes that increase oxidative metabolism (like progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid) reduce your risk for cancer. Therefore we can see that the hormones associated with sympathetic nervous system activity such as thyroid, testosterone, and progesterone reduce cancer risk, while those hormones associated with parasympathetic nervous system activity specifically, insulin, cortisol and estrogen all contribute to the growth of cancer.
So how can a cancer patient minimize autonomic nervous system imbalances? Alternatively, what should you do to avoid developing cancer in the first place?
Clearly, you want to reduce those factors in your internal and external environment that will tend to increase your estrogen, insulin and cortisol levels, while simultaneously enhance the production of those factors that will increase your testosterone, thyroid and progesterone.
Cancer Patients MUST reduce sugar intake
One of the most important ways for you to modulate your hormone balance is by paying attention your intake of sugar. Sugar will increase your insulin levels, and then this high insulin will contribute to the biotransformation of your testosterone into estrogen. Additionally, your liver metabolizes sugar into triglycerides and in the process raises your insulin, cortisol and estrogen levels. To make matters even worse high levels of insulin, estrogen and cortisol can also impair your liver from converting your T4 (your inactive, precursor thyroid hormone) into T3 (your active thyroid hormone) and hence contribute to the development of a functional hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism, in turn, will further raise your blood sugars, your cortisol levels and tend to raise your insulin. And around and around you go. So, the simple act of consuming sugar will seriously impair your body chemistry, increase your risk for developing cancer, and feed the growth of any cancer that may already be present.
Proper Exercise can reduce your risk of cancer!
Exercise when done with high-intensity and low-volume will stimulate your sympathetic nervous system increasing your levels of testosterone and therefore reducing your risk of cancer. However tedious, plodding exercises like jogging will actually increase your risk of cancer and your parasympathetic tone by increasing your cortisol, increasing your estrogen, reducing your testosterone and reducing your thyroid hormone.
How can Dr. Rothman Help?
If you wish to avoid cancer, you must eat the proper foods and engage in the proper activities to avoid the shift towards excessive parasympathetic tone in your autonomic nervous system. It is vital that you measure your levels of testosterone, progesterone, estrogen, cortisol, insulin and thyroid. If these hormones are at unhealthy, unbalanced levels, you will need to institute a program to bring you back to health and balance.
If you wish to avoid cancer, (or have already been diagnosed with cancer) you must undoubtedly remove sugar and sweets from your diet. Also keeping your weight at a healthy level is paramount to your well-being and your ability to avoid cancer. There is a well-known association between obesity and the development of cancer. This relationship is clearly causal; it is no coincidence that being overweight will increase your estrogen, your insulin, and your cortisol, while at the same time, reducing your testosterone, your thyroid hormone and your progesterone.
Targeting any imbalance in your body within your hormone system coupled with minimizing your stressors can bring balance to your autonomic nervous system. By working with Dr. Rothman, you can discover a healthy, natural way to reduce or fight against cancer and maintain a lifestyle centered on wellness.
Have you been diagnosed with cancer? Are you worried about developing cancer? Come in for a consultation with Dr. Rothman by calling, 732-268-7663 and learn how you can reduce your chances of suffering from this disease.