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 our life. Reduced hormone functioning is an indicator of poor health, and is not necessarily a requirement of the aging process.
Hormone Rejuvenation Therapy is an alternative to HRT or Hormone Replacement Therapy. With Hormone Rejuvenation Therapy, your body works with receiving the foundational ingredients that help stimulate your glands so they can make normal amounts of your body’s hormones, without drug interference. Hormone rejuvenation therapy also removes the obstacles that prohibit your body from clearing hormonal excess.
Hormone Rejuvenation Therapy can also work even if you have a gland or organ missing as a result of previous surgery or radiation treatment, according to clinical results using lab tests. The common misconception is that the full gland must be intact to produce hormones. Even when a gland is considered to be “entirely removed”, there are still low levels 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, will still produce levels of thyroid hormone. Women who have had a hysterectomy still produce levels progesterone and estrogen. This is possible largely 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. In our approach, we stimulate these other areas of your body to help produce healthy amounts of deficient hormones.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is the commonly used, conventional method of addressing hormonal imbalance. It is important for you to have your hormones in balance because having hormone imbalances are an indication of poor health. However, hormone imbalance is not an inevitable and natural consequence of old age, but relates to the inability of an organ or gland to produce optimal amounts of a hormone. 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.
With Hormone Replacement Therapy, a deficient hormone, or hormones, is introduced into our body. A problem with Hormone Replacement Therapy is that the gland or glands involved then “go to sleep.” This reduces the amount of hormone that the body is able to naturally produce, because your body will sense higher amounts of a hormone and adjust production accordingly. 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.
Once considered to be a safe process, Hormone Replacement Therapy has now been linked with many significant health risks including increased rate of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. The National Institute of Health in conjunction with the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI, 2004), concluded that many of the risks outweighed the benefits even when compounded and bio-identical hormones are used.
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 hot and sweaty?
When the body’s thermoregulation, or the healthy maintenance of body temperature, is “off” then generally the issue is in either of two 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 an enzyme has a large effect on 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, a common complaint is vaginal dryness, and for men, we typically see low libido. 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.
Problems that can occur with improper levels of hormones
When your hormone producing glands and regulating glands are not functioning properly, you will not have the proper levels of hormones. This can affect your levels of thyroid hormone as well as reproductive hormones. Often people suffer with adrenal issues when the adrenal glands over (and under) produce cortisol. High cortisol levels throw other hormones out of balance and can suppress overall hormone production. Many abnormal cortisol levels are due to poor diet, improper exercise, chemical exposure, pollution, radiation, harmful drug side effects and electro-magnetic pollution.
The major detoxifying organs in the body, the liver, kidneys and colon, play a key role in hormone clearance in the body. When there is a build up of toxins in the body, our glands cannot easily process and eliminate hormonal excess. Also, 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 the body can contribute to both unnaturally high and low amounts of hormones. Scientific research has already shown a relationship between low estrogen levels and weak, brittle bones, so we need to consider the many roles hormones have in our body.
Assessing hormone problems
Hormone testing is easily done from the comfort of your home and provides a more accurate depiction of the hormone levels in your body than blood testing. We use a salivary hormone home testing kit by Diagnos-Techs. Salivary hormone testing measures the “free fraction” of hormones floating around our body. Many of our hormones also circulate in a protein bound form, typically measured in the blood, which is not usable by the body therefore not as sensitive a test as salivary testing. Salivary testing measures the amounts of hormones that are in a form that the body can readily use, or an unbound form, which makes it a better test in determining hormones that our body can use. Another important consideration is that hormone samples measured in the blood are taken at once, versus salivary samples, which are taken on multiple days, and then an average is determined by the lab.
- 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.
- PUBMED http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12117397
- Harvard Newsletter- Bioidentical hormones: Help or hype? http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Womens_Health_Watch/2011/September/bioidentical-hormones-help-or-hype