Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is one, but not the only method for correcting your body’s hormonal imbalance. It is important for you to have your hormones in balance because having hormone imbalances are an indication of poor health.
Hormone imbalance is not an inevitable and natural consequence of old age, but really results from an organ or gland(s) inability to produce optimal amounts of a hormone due to the presence of unhealthy conditions in the body. Research shows that we are capable of producing normal amounts of hormones well into our later years of life. In order to do so, it is crucial to correct the underlying unhealthy conditions causing the imbalance, because hormone imbalance can occur at any age.
Hormones are chemical messengers that bind to our cells which create changes in our metabolism that affect our mood, memory, libido, fat metabolism, energy levels, temperature regulation, appetite, and much more. Because hormones affect so much of our quality of life, including weight gain issues and a feeling of sluggishness and our mental and emotional outlook in life, having the proper amount and types of hormones is important if we are going to enjoy life.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
With HRT, a deficient hormone, or hormones, is introduced into our body. A problem with HRT is that the gland or glands involved then “go to sleep.” This reduces the amount of hormone that the body is able to then naturally produce, because your body will sense higher amounts of a hormone and adjust production accordingly.
Disruption of Bio-rhythms
Another problem with HRT is that our body no longer undergoes the natural hormonal bio-rhythms that normally occur throughout the day. Because HRT doses are largely static, it does not allow our hormones to fluctuate naturally throughout the day as we are designed, even when the dose is adjusted and monitored closely by a health professional. Most significantly, this previously considered “safe” process, paradoxically carries many significant health risks such as increased rate of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. This study, the largest of it’s kind, was conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI, 2004), initiated by the National Institute of Health (NIH), concluded that many of the risks outweighed the benefits of hormone replacement therapy.
Bioidentical hormones – are they really safer?
According to The Harvard Newsletter on Hormone Replacement, the fact that hormones are bioidentical does not guarantee that they are safer than regular hormone replacement. Bioidentical hormones carry the same “black box” warning (the strongest warning in prescription labeling) that non-bioidentical hormones carry.
Although bioidentical hormones can contain naturally occurring hormones in their composition, they also carry unnatural modifications required to qualify as a drug: prescription drugs must be modified chemically because naturally occurring substance cannot be patented.
Celebrity Suzanne Somers, who popularized the use of biodentical hormones, stated that despite daily applications of bio-identical progesterone cream, she required a hysterectomy due to endometrial hyperplasia (a precancerous transformation).
Common physical complaints related to hormonal imbalance
Feeling too hot and sweaty?
Thermoregulation, or the healthy maintenance of body temperature, is a common complaint that we see in our practice. This includes looking at two main areas, the Thyroid Gland and Estrogen levels. Estrogen is considered to be the “thermogenic”, or heat producing hormone in the body. An overactive Thyroid Gland can also cause a person to feel “overheated.” An often overlooked factor is that if your blood sugar, which plays an important role in estrogen fluctuations, can be the primary cause of your discomfort. This is due to an enzyme called Aromatase, which is responsible for a key step in the biosynthesis of estrogens. In this case, looking at your blood sugar must be a focal point.
Low Libido, in both men and women?
For women, the common complaint is vaginal dryness, which is related to insufficient estrogen levels. Libido relates largely to testosterone levels for both men and women, but other sex hormones much also be in balance. In these cases, we address nutritional and other issues that help the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, adrenal gland and ovary (testes in men) to work properly again, and “in concert” with each other.
Drugs Affect Hormone Levels
Very often people take medications without knowing that a common side effect is that the medication suppresses your body’s hormone production. When there are multiple medications involved, the problem is further exacerbated. The ability of your organs and glands to produce and regulate hormone levels becomes impaired as multiple medications interfere with your body’s natural process to regulate hormone production. Not only does the presence of multiple medications interfere with hormone production, but they also interfere with hormonal transport and utilization. Other artificial chemicals such as artificial food additives and preservatives can contribute to hormone imbalance much like medications.
The HPA Axis
The Hypothalamic- Pituitary- Adrenal Axis, or HPA axis, involves a master regulatory area of your brain, your hypothalamus, which serves as a type of “command center” that communicates with a very important part of your brain, the Pituitary Gland. The Pituitary gland, is known as the “regulator of regulators” and is considered a master gland that directs all the glands in your body.
Your Pituitary gland tells your Thyroid Gland to make Thyroxine, also called thyroid hormone. It tells your testes (or ovaries for females) to secrete reproductive hormones, and so on. Another very important communication channel your Pituitary gland has is with your adrenal glands, which produce cortisol, known as the stress hormone. Your adrenal glands produce other hormones, besides cortisol.
If you have a weak adrenal function, there will be cortisol fluctuations. When cortisol levels are high, it throws other hormones out of balance. Overproduction of cortisol suppresses overall hormone production. It is difficult for most everyone to have normal cortisol levels due to the stressors of daily living such as poor diet, improper exercise, chemical exposure, pollution, radiation, harmful drug side effects and electro-magnetic pollution.
The role of your liver, kidney and colon
The body’s major detoxifying organs are the liver, kidney and colon. New research shows how these organs play a role in hormone clearance in the body. Because these organs play a role in hormone clearance in the body, they cannot easily process and eliminate hormonal excess when toxins build up in the body. Interestingly, dietary fiber has been shown to assist with the clearance of excess hormones in the blood.
A build up of toxins can have the opposite effect as well. Toxic excess can stress an organ to the point where it can suppress gland activity, resulting in lower than normal amounts of a hormone. Toxins in your body can contribute both to unnaturally high and low amounts of hormones.
What is Hormone Rejuvenation Therapy?
Hormone Rejuvenation Therapy involves the use of appropriate foundational ingredients to stimulate the glands so that it makes healthy amounts of a hormone on its own. Hormone rejuvenation therapy can also work for people who have an organ or gland missing due to surgical or radiation treatment as verified from our clinical results using lab tests. Even when a gland is considered to be “entirely removed”, there are still levels (low) of hormones being produced. Hormones are made in many areas of your body; for example, people who have their thyroid gland missing from a thyroidectomy they will still produce levels of thyroid hormone. Women who have had a hysterectomy still produce levels progesterone and estrogen. This is largely possible because of the compensatory effects of the adrenal glands, and other areas of the body, which are capable of producing many of our hormones as a backup. With Hormone Rejuvenation Therapy, these other areas of your body are stimulated to help produce healthy amounts of deficient hormones.
Salivary Testing versus Blood Testing
At Fundamental Health Solutions, we use a home testing hormone salivary kit by Diagnos-Techs, which provides for a more accurate depiction of hormone levels in the body than can be provided by blood testing. Salivary hormone testing measures the “free fraction” of hormones floating around our body. Many of our hormones also circulate in a protein bound form, which is not usable by the body. Salivary testing measures the amounts of hormones that are an unbound form that the body can readily use. It is important to know what hormones your body can use, as these levels change most quickly in response to illness or a proper schedule of care.
Women’s Health Initiative Data: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/whi/whi_faq.htm
The study, which spanned over 15 years, included over 160,000 women ages 59-70, had to be prematurely terminated by the WHI Data Safety and Monitoring Board due to the marked increase in cardiovascular disease and breast cancer incidences.
Bioidentical hormones: Help or hype?