at Omniya Clinic in London
Other tests that can help us to assess health and ageing are:
Telomeres are the caps on the end of our chromosomes that protect them, a bit like the plastic tip on a shoelace. Our DNA is located on our chromosomes which means that telomeres protect our genetic material. Telomere length is a good predictor of longevity. For example, in 2007, a study showed that in elderly twins, the twin with shorter telomeres is three times more likely to die first. Having your telomeres tested will give you a measure of your biological age. Based on this, Dr Roked can then see what lifestyle changes and supplements are needed, as well as what other testing may be needed.
A lot of people follow a good diet and lead a healthy lifestyle but still do not feel optimum. It can be of benefit to have your individual vitamin, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and other nutritional markers looked at in-depth to guide what supplements your body needs and make improvements in nutrition.
Making sure our gut health is optimum is important as it can affect our immune system, mood, weight, energy and digestive health.
If your gut isn’t working well, you won’t be able to metabolise what you eat and it will also affect your ability to process hormones. Some symptoms of gut dysfunction are: bloating, abdominal pains, loose stools, constipation, feeling sluggish, low mood, low energy and increased weight.
Dr Sohere Roked’s Protocol in managing gut health issues involves eliminating offending agents such as pathogens or foods causing irritability, testing for parasites, treating and repairing increased gut permeability, adding in supplements if needed such as probiotics and enzymes and looking at other imbalances that can affect your gut
A simple cheek swab test can hold the key to your health. This enables analysis of over 100 of the best researched genetic markers that can be impacted by diet and lifestyle. Your genes are not your destiny, but understanding them can be the first step to preventative health.
Key areas addressed are:
For more information about these tests and if they could benefit you, ask Dr Sohere Roked.
Problems like mood swings, unexplained weight gain, and even difficulty getting to sleep can be caused by an oestrogen imbalance.
Your ovaries start releasing oestrogen at puberty as part of your menstrual cycle and levels increase and decrease depending on what time of the month it is. Oestrogen plays a huge role in our bodies, especially in our brains where it controls and regulates our emotions. Oestrogen increases levels of serotonin and even changes the effects of endorphins. So, you can see when levels are disturbed and why it affects our emotions so much.
Oestrogen is also key in providing protection to our hearts and bones and is also involved in keeping our reproductive organs healthy. As we age our bodies naturally experience a drop in our testosterone and progesterone levels, which can leave us with excessive oestrogen levels. You can also experience low libido, hot flashes, heart palpitations, night sweats, dry skin, urinary symptoms such as increased frequency or cystitis or incontinence, vaginal dryness, joint aches and pains.
Low levels of oestrogen are common in the lead up to menopause, a time when hormone fluctuations are commonplace, and for some, this can go on for years before you are considered to have passed through menopause. The typical approach to address oestrogen imbalance is to balance the other hormones or if menopause-related then HRT – hormone replacement therapy. The Dr Roked approach is to use a combination of bio-identical hormones but also lifestyle changes such as nutrition, supplements and movement.
To support balancing out your oestrogen, give your digestion a helping hand with good bacteria (from probiotics and a varied range of fruit and vegetables) and lots of fibre from fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Also include cruciferous vegetables (for example broccoli, kale and cabbage), which help the liver process oestrogen.
In men, some oestrogen is a good thing as it protects the heart. Testosterone can convert to oestrogen in the body. Too much oestrogen in a man can cause weight gain and mood swings. Dr Roked can help with medications to reduce this.
Signs of oestrogen dominance include premenstrual syndrome, fat around the hips and struggling to lose weight. It also affects our thyroid, blood sugar levels and is even linked to some hormone-related cancers.
Low oestrogen can result in disturbed sleep, poor concentration, and a general feeling of not being yourself.
Progesterone, sometimes known as the pregnancy hormone, helps the endometrium prepare for pregnancy as it helps thicken the lining of the womb for a fertilised egg. It also helps prepare the breasts for milk production.
There can be various reasons to use progesterone supplementation, for example before pregnancy, progesterone prepares the uterus for pregnancy and during pregnancy helps nurture the foetus.
Women who have low levels of progesterone can have abnormal menstrual cycles and may well struggle to conceive because the progesterone does not activate the right environment for a fertilised egg to grow.
Women who have low progesterone and are successful in getting pregnant are at a much higher risk of miscarriage or premature delivery because progesterone helps maintain the pregnancy. Low levels of progesterone can also cause problems like irregular, heavy or missed periods, spotting, bloating, acne, hair loss, fluid retention, and abdominal pain during pregnancy and recurrent miscarriages.
In addition, low progesterone levels can cause excessive levels of oestrogen, which can decrease libido and increase weight gain. Bio-identical progesterone helps with more than just fertility and regulating menstrual cycles. Taking progesterone also helps with sleep, mood, fluid retention, hair and skin.
Testosterone is often mistakenly referred to as the ‘male hormone’. Whilst typically associated with men and masculine behaviour, it does a far more specific job in both male and female bodies.
In women, testosterone is produced in the ovaries, in the testes in men, and in the adrenal glands in both genders. It is an androgen hormone, which means it primarily influences the growth of the male reproductive system. While men have higher amounts than women, both genders need testosterone at varied levels to function correctly. For both men and women, it signals to the body to produce new blood cells, so our muscles and bones stay strong during and after puberty. It also enhances libido for both genders. Testosterone controls the secretion of LH (luteinising hormone in women helps regulate menstruation and in men helps produce testosterone) and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone in women helps egg production and in men helps sperm production).
Women need good levels of testosterone for energy, concentration, memory, mood, motivation, muscle strength, to prevent osteoporosis and to boost libido. Low levels of testosterone in adult males can cause loss of body hair and wrinkling and ageing of the skin. It can also cause increased body fat, poor sexual performance, lower focus, lower sex drive, mood swings and increased irritability.
Men hardly have many physical struggles if they have too much testosterone. After the age of 40, the levels can gradually decline, which is also known as andropause. However high testosterone in women can cause acne, body and facial hair, increased muscle gain, and balding or hair loss. It can also indicate PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), when a woman’s hormones are out of balance which can affect fertility.
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is produced by the adrenal glands and it functions as a precursor to male and female sex hormones. In this context, DHEA being a precursor means the body converts it into hormones, namely testosterone and oestrogen.
DHEA levels peak in our mid to late 20’s then gradually starts to decline, and as it is converted to testosterone and oestrogen, it can be used in a supplementary manner to help the body produce these hormones. It can be taken for a variety of reasons by both men and women, such as boosting the immune system and giving the body energy. It is also thought to contribute to mood improvement, bone and muscle strength and even helps with memory and coping with stress.
Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone” because of its association to stress, however, its function is much more than just a hormone released during stress.
Most cells in our body have cortisol receptors so it affects many of our bodies functions. Cortisol can help in controlling blood sugar levels, regulate our metabolism, help reduce inflammation and even help control blood pressure. In women, cortisol aids the developing foetus during pregnancy. These functions make cortisol a crucial hormone to help protect our overall health and general wellbeing in both men and women.
In addition, high cortisol levels can cause changes to occur in the menstrual cycle and affect our libido, energy, mood and cause weight gain. Anxiety and depression have also been linked to having high cortisol levels. Cortisol levels can be measured to see if yours are irregular.
We can have subtle imbalances in levels of cortisol which can be regulated through certain supplements and lifestyle changes and stress management. There are diseases that involve cortisol and the adrenal glands, such as Cushing’s Disease or Addison’s Disease. If your doctor is suspicious of this, you would be referred to an appropriate specialist.
Insulin regulates many metabolic processes that provide our cells with the energy they need to function. Behind our stomach is an organ called the pancreas, this produces insulin. The production of insulin is regulated dependent on blood sugar levels and other hormones in the body. In a healthy person, insulin production and its subsequent release into our bodies is a highly-regulated process. Specifically, insulin lets the cells in our muscles, fat and liver to absorb glucose from our blood. The glucose, in turn, makes energy, or can also be converted into fat when required.
The most common health issue associated with insulin is diabetes. Diabetes occurs when the body either doesn’t secrete enough insulin or it can happen when the body no longer uses the insulin it has created effectively.
Diabetes has two categories:
Type 1 diabetes happens when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin needed. Some symptoms of type 1 diabetes include tiredness, increased urination and thirst, and problems with vision. This often happens at a young age.
Type 2 diabetes is generally more associated with adults and lifestyle choices. Someone with type 2 diabetes will produce insulin, but it’s often not enough for their body’s requirements. They might also struggle to use the insulin they produce successfully.
Insulin resistance or pre-diabetes happens when our blood sugar is normal, but we need to produce a lot of insulin to keep the sugar stable. Insulin is an inflammatory hormone and can make many conditions in the body worse. If this isn’t treated it will lead to diabetes in the future. Diet, supplement, exercise, lifestyle habits and certain medications can help to reverse this.
When the body does not produce enough insulin or use the insulin it has produced properly, the blood sugar levels build up. Our cells do not get the energy they need from our glucose, so you might experience fatigue. When the body turns it to other tissue, like fat or muscle for energy, weight loss can occur.
The thyroid gland is an important part of our endocrine system, secreting several hormones, one of those hormones being thyroxine, also known as T4, and T3 which is the more active thyroid hormone. Thyroxine is created in the thyroid gland, and the gland then secretes it into our bloodstream. A lot of thyroxine is converted by enzymes in the body to T3.
Thyroxine and T3 also play a vital role in our heart and digestive functions, brain development, bone health and metabolism. It affects almost all the body’s systems, which means correct thyroxine levels are crucial for health. If your body releases too many thyroid hormones, this causes a condition called thyrotoxicosis.
The main cause of thyrotoxicosis is hyperthyroidism, which is an overactivity of the thyroid gland, causing it to produce excessive levels of thyroid hormones. This can also cause swelling in the thyroid gland. Thyrotoxicosis can also cause menstrual abnormalities, affect fertility, increase bowel movements, weight loss, inability to regulate your temperature, fatigue and irritability.
When the body does not make enough thyroxine and T3, this is known as hypothyroidism. In adults, a thyroxine deficiency will reduce the metabolic functions, causing weight gain, memory problems, infertility, fatigue and muscle stiffness. This can be treated with various medications, nutrition and supplements that boost the thyroid function. Other hormonal imbalances can also reduce thyroid function so it is important to look at the thyroid in conjunction with other hormones.
Melatonin is created by the pineal gland in our brain. In a healthy individual, melatonin is released in a rhythmic cycle, with more melatonin produced at night when the light entering the eyes is significantly lower.
It travels through our bloodstream where receptors pick it up to signal the need for sleep. Melatonin is essential to signalling our relaxation and lower body temperature that help with a restful night’s sleep. Levels of melatonin are higher at night, signalling the body that it is time to rest.
Melatonin is often called the “sleep hormone” due to its association to sleeping, however, it is not necessary for sleep, as people can sleep with insufficient levels of melatonin in the body.
That said, the secretion of melatonin does contribute to a better night’s sleep and allows the body to rest and carry out important repair processes. We make most of our melatonin between 10pm and 2am.
Good levels of melatonin are needed for deep sleep and recovery. New research into melatonin is linking it to the treatment of certain neurological conditions and dementia. Melatonin can be taken as a supplement, but there are changes you can make in your lifestyle to improve your levels.