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Does optimizing hormones help address depression?

There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that optimizing hormones plays a tremendous role in alleviating depression. In some cases, it can even eradicate it completely. For example, former special forces soldier Andrew Marr of the Warrior Angeles used to have serious depression and became a raging alcoholic with intense anger issues. He was on a fast track to ending his life but fortunately, he connected with leading hormone optimization expert, Dr. Mark Gordon. 

Dr. Gordon determined that Andrew essentially had zero testosterone production as well as depleted growth hormone levels from a traumatic brain injury that occurred when he was deployed overseas. Both of these hormones are crucial for men and women to feel powerful and confident ready to live life fully. After just one shot of testosterone, Andrew felt remarkably better and it only improved from there. Dr. Gordon also gave Andrew’s GH therapy initially which worked very well but determined over time that his natural growth hormone secretagogue Dynatropin was also effective to get Andrew to the ideal range. Dr. Gordon didn’t just address Andrew’s abysmal testosterone and growth hormone levels, he also improved his levels of Pregnenolone and DHEA. Pregnenolone is very important for brain health, memory, and mood and DHEA is the ultimate stress management hormone. Plus, according to Dr. Gordon when you replace testosterone, it can downregulate levels of pregnenolone and DHEA. Many who have used TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) feel great for a few months after starting treatment but then feel off again due to the downregulation of upstream hormones. Thus, if you decide to get on TRT, you should also look into getting on pregnenolone and DHEA so the entire sex hormone cascade is nourished. 

Now Andrew is a passionate advocate for helping other veterans get the treatment they need to be able to enjoy life and live fully. These brave men and women put their lives on the line for us and all of us should feel obligated to help them so make sure to check out the Warrior Angels website The Warrior Angeles website as well as the amazing documentary Quiet Explosions Together with Dr. Gordon this passionate team works tirelessly to help as many veterans as possible. Make sure to check out Andrew’s TED Talk. Andrew is a fantastic speaker and his passion comes through abundantly. Optimizing hormones has been transformative for Andrew on many levels. Mentally he is as sharp as a razor and went back to school to get a master’s degree. Physically he is in the best shape of his life and went from having no energy and being overweight to being a high-energy strong and fit machine. More importantly, his family life has never been better and his passion to improve the lives of others is infectious. Imagine what would have happened if Andrew never met Dr. Gordon and learned about the importance of optimizing hormones. He probably would not be alive right now. Think about how many great people we have lost to depression that could have been helped if they only knew where to turn. 

When you have a brain injury that many people have had and are not even aware of, it can have a deleterious effect on hormone balance as the brain is the command center for hormone production. It doesn’t have to be a serious brain injury to impact hormone secretion negatively. It could be whiplash from a minor car accident. Hitting your head on the ice from a fall while snowboarding, or from a collision during a high school football game. Regardless of the cause, the effects can be disastrous and they need to be addressed.  Moreover, it is not just physical brain injuries that can have a negative impact on hormone production, trauma of any kind such as being abused as a child or sexually assaulted as an adult can impact hormone production dramatically and cause perennial depression. 

Why are hormones so important for mental health? Hormones are biochemical messengers that have a tremendous impact on mood. Hormones affect how we think and feel far more than how we think and feel affects hormones. Just trying to think like you have confidence and intensity is not going to improve your testosterone levels. Keep engaging in faking it and you will never make it. However, if you improve your testosterone levels your confidence and intensity will naturally surge. This is why many methods of addressing depression such as talk therapy are ineffectual. If your hormones are programming you to be depressed, then you are going to be depressed no matter how much therapy you receive. Seemingly, well-meaning friends and family who tell you to get over it are clueless and should just shut up. If you have never suffered from depression then don’t ever tell someone with depression to get over it like it is nothing and just some flawed way of thinking. It is infuriating to hear people who have never dealt with depression have the audacity to give advice on how to deal with it. Many are just distracting themselves with work, entertainment, insipid nonsense on social media, and asinine political debates followed by inaction and are in no position to offer any useful advice on mental health. Other shady folks offer pseudo boot camp-type experiences to take advantage of insecure people who are desperate to take charge of their lives. It is reprehensible and a distraction from what is actually beneficial. 

Ok back to hormone imbalances and terrible advice. Imagine telling a woman with serious PMS symptoms that it is all in her head and she just needs to think positively. First, of all you don’t know how she feels so just on that point alone you should desist from giving such asinine advice. Second, she is being programmed to feel terrible due to the hormone imbalances, and just trying to think positively is not going to help at all. If she is able to actually take measures to address the hormone imbalances, the improvement in mood will follow automatically. Another example would be a man with depleted testosterone levels. When a man has depleted testosterone levels he is in a constant state of anxiety, lacks confidence, is short-tempered, and likely has zero sex drive and function. The only thing that is going to make this individual feel better is improving testosterone levels. When he does it will be like night and day. Ideal estrogen levels are also important for not just women but men to feel at their best. If you have depleted estrogen levels you won’t be able to get an erection if your life depended on it and your mood will be atrocious. Hormone optimization is about creating a balance not taking one hormone as high as possible and lowering another tremendously. No matter the hormone, whether it is cortisol, thyroid hormones, testosterone, growth hormone, or estrogen it is about getting you to the ideal levels of each hormone so you feel at your best. 

One more point about depression. Many confuse depression with sadness. Sadness is not the same thing as depression. Sadness is related to an event such as the death of a loved one. The cause of the sadness is very evident. Depression is far more insidious. You could have everything you think you need to be joyful, and still be depressed because you’re programmed to be so. This is why I am so passionate about hormone optimization. Where other methods fail to address depression, addressing hormone imbalances can prevail. 

Now as effective as addressing hormone imbalances is for mood and zeal for life, it would be an oversimplification to say it is the only factor for why someone is depressed. Nevertheless, in my opinion, it is a tremendous factor, and improving hormone levels will at the very least help you develop the strength and power to battle depression effectively. This doesn’t mean that you will necessarily be availed of depression like magic but you will definitely become more resilient to handle it. 

For many of us suffering from depression, depression is an unwelcome passenger who is always with you. He will never go away and you will have to learn to live with this unwanted guest for your entire life. Yet, it doesn’t have to stop you from living an enjoyable and full life. Anything that is seemingly negative can be flipped and harnessed for positive ends especially if you have an optimal hormone profile. Having an optimal hormone profile will help empower you to take all of that pain, frustration, and despair and flip it to not only improve your own life but the lives of others. 

So where do you go from here? Hormone optimization is complex and not something you’re not likely to figure out all on your own. Even if you can, it may take years and if you’re dealing with depression, low sex drive, high stress, and anxiety you need help now and don’t have years to figure it out. You need a guide and working with a knowledgeable professional is a must. My two favorite hormone optimization doctors are my friends Dr. Mark Gordon and Dr. Julio Garcia. These two embody exactly what everyone desires in a physician. Compassionate people that embody health and have the necessary knowledge to help patients. No sugar coat solutions such as taking SSRIs for depression, statins for cholesterol, or medications for high blood pressure. Many doctors only treat the symptoms of illness rather than utilize comprehensive solutions to promote actual health and vitality.

You know for sure your doctor is clueless and needs to be fired if he or she diminishes the importance of hormone optimization and gives you pushback when you have the audacity to ask for a blood test to see where your hormones are at. Such doctors are shills for Big Pharma and should be ashamed of themselves. I won’t go to any doctor that has me sit around for an hour in a waiting room, then takes two seconds to review my blood work, offer some superficial advice in a few minutes then sends me on my way. I could care less what insurance covers. When it comes to my health I am happy to pay for the best advice without hesitation. Nothing is more important than your health. If you can’t take care of yourself you won’t be able to help anyone else. The most compassionate thing you can do is to take charge of your health. 

I offer tons of free content on hormone optimization as well so make sure to check out all the free info at my hormone optimization library Both Dr. Gordon and Dr. Garcia have been on my YouTube show as well as the LLA podcast many times. All episodes are archived at podcast episodes

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