Natural Hormone Replacement and the Pursuit of Optimal Health
Health is a holistic goal, and hormonal health put simply is a large significant factor of that big picture. To control your hormonal health you need to work with an understanding doctor who believes in the value of hormonal testing to use as a tool in the treatment of your health.
Combining your symptoms with your hormonal profile, looking at you individually and considering your medical history and that of your families, a picture can be brought into focus. Once obtained, this picture of your individuality can be used to give you a predictable and active future so that age is not a barrier to wellness.
When hormone supplementation is warranted, there are four major points to consider. These stem from the belief that if we are going to relieve or reverse the ageing process, it should be done in such a way as to mimic the body’s system as it was created. In that endeavour, only hormones that are the exact molecules made by the human endocrine system should be used. The human race would not have survived this long if these hormones were dangerous and subjected us to fatal diseases.
Secondly, those hormones used should be introduced into the blood stream in a way that emulates the glands as closely as possible, that is avoiding the digestive tract and liver and minimizing first-pass effects.
Thirdly a broader spectrum of hormones needs to be offered, at lower doses, which offers a complete, physiological balance.
Finally the dose must be individualised to the patient’s needs and goals, which in the end will result in fewer side effects, if any, along with reducing or eliminating other medical problems.
Natural (bio-identical) hormone replacement products are compounded by a compounding pharmacist, which offers you and your physician a choice for individualised hormone replacement.
‘Natural” refers to the structure of the hormone (i.e. they are Bio-Identical in structure and function to the hormones naturally produced in the body). The hormones start from wild yam and soybeans which are rich in precursor molecules. These are easily converted by biochemists into other molecules identical in all aspects to our own naturally occurring hormones.
It should be emphasized that although these precursor molecules can be synthesized into natural hormones in a test tube, our bodies are incapable of doing so. Therefore although wild yam creams are good moisturizers they do nothing to increase our hormonal levels.
Insulin used by diabetics was obtained in the past from pigs. This insulin saved a lot of lives, yet also caused some serious side effects and problems. Pig insulin is no longer used on diabetic patients as a ‘natural’ identical human insulin has been established. In this same light, there is now NO cause for women to be using estrogens and progesterone produced from the urine of pregnant mares, as we now have ‘natural’ identical human hormones available.
Decline in key hormones is the primary cause of ageing. They begin to decline in both sexes in the mid-twenties until age 50, when our body produces only a fraction of the amount it did in its prime. Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy is an exciting treatment process through which hormones can be returned to youthful or optimal levels. A physician must determine the amount of replacement hormones needed to bring body function and metabolism back to a more youthful level. The goal is to return levels to that of approximately 30 years of age as this is the age when our immune system is at its strongest, our metabolism is efficient and we build muscle instead of fat. We aren’t suffering from hot sweats, disrupted sleep, low libido and are not at a high risk of heart disease or osteoporosis.
Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy is administered generally in the form of a troche (lozenge) or as a transdermal cream. Both of which are absorbed directly into the bloodstream without having to go through the digestive tract, therefore bypassing the liver. We find troches are the most suited form for Natural Hormone Replacement mainly because of the ease in which the ingredients can be altered. This is one of the major benefits of Natural Hormone Replacement, as each patients dose is individualized and can be changed according to needs and symptoms. Compare this with commercially available HRT where you have to fit in with what’s available.
The hormones used in the treatment of menopause are combinations of Natural (bio-identical) Progesterone, Estrogen, Testosterone, and DHEA. Other hormones available include Pregnenolone, Androstendione and Melatonin.
The interplay and interdependency of the elements of the endocrine system are vast. Many hormones affect the same systems and functions and often more than one hormone benefits certain conditions. As hormones perform so many vital functions, one cannot be at one’s peak with inadequate hormone levels.
In the quest for optimal health a combination of diet, exercise, nutritional supplements and hormone replacement therapy go hand in hand. Although each one is important, together they are the key to peak performance.
Diet is the most potent medical therapy available, both for prevention and health maintenance, as well as for the treatment of serious disease.
Furthermore, certain dietary components actually affect hormone levels. Soybeans for example contain phytoestrogens that help maintain hormone levels in menopause. Other foods with similar though less potent hormone activity include celery, parsley, fennel, nuts and seeds.
A simple dietary recommendation is to incorporate low fat foods, stay away from harmful processed fats, add high complex carbohydrates -vegetable and grains supplemented with fruits – and stay away from simple carbohydrates or processed sugars. Avoid animal products whenever possible.
Regular exercise will help you lose weight, build muscle, sleep better, give you more energy and endurance, strengthen bones, regulate your bowels, improve your mental attitude, increase your self-confidence, regulate your blood sugar, lower your cholesterol and even slow down ageing.
Internally exercise affects certain hormone growth, and increases the flow. Estrogen production is lowered during exercise – reducing risks of breast cancer.
Considering the life styles we lead, our dietary habits, our stress levels, and our illnesses, we may need nutritional supplements.
The value of antioxidants (Vit A, C, E, Betacarotene, Selenium etc) gives protection against free radical damage that is implicated in virtually every degenerative disease, as well as the ageing process itself.
The B Vitamins are essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system and the brain as well as numerous minerals such as calcium, magnesium, otassium and trace elements.
A core supplement should include the following:-
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Other nutrients lacking from our diet are the essential fatty acids- these are the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils and flaccid oils, and the Omega-6 fatty acids found in grains and vegetables. The essential fatty acids are an integral part of all cell membranes and are the precursors to prostaglandin – short lived, hormone-like chemicals that regulate cellular activity.
It is interesting to note that inadequate fatty acid levels read like inadequate hormone prevention. Thus, once these levels are regulated often the hormone deficiency is cleared up.