Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)
Hormone imbalance, which is excesses or deficient levels of hormones, not only present issues in women and men through menopausal symptoms or andropausal symptoms respectively, but also increases long-term health risks and diseases associated with aging such as bone loss, heart disease and cognitive decline.
Hormones are messengers that control healing, tissue regeneration, immune function, sexual function, memory and mood, strength, body composition, skin thickness, energy, digestion, and virtually every other aspect of human function. Proper individualized hormone replacement programs using bio-identical hormones will make you feel and function years younger, while at the same time protecting you against the diseases and aging maladies.
The underlying cause of the symptoms of menopause is a decline in natural hormones, hence, the best menopause treatment is BHRT. Treatment can replenish a woman’s body with bio-identical hormones that can help restore good health. Conventional medicine offers synthetic hormones as well as drugs for symptom relief such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety and sleep medications, none of which resolve underlying causes of symptoms and even have adverse long-term side effects.
To know more about menopause, click this.
To maintain good health in men, testosterone is important. It has a well-documented effect in cardiovascular health and bone density. Research shows that testosterone has been associated with lowering the risk of a heart attack and high blood pressure. Optimal testosterone levels positively affect muscle tone, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, the immune system, weight, moods, bone health, skin, libido, sperm production, sleep, as well as heart, liver and brain health.
The solution to restoring optimal testosterone levels is to supplement with bio-identical testosterone hormones.
To know more about andropause, click this.
Long before bioidentical hormones became a hot topic, there were already doctors using the therapy with great success. It took Suzanne Somers, a celebrity actress and health promoter, however, to bring the topic of bioidentical hormones to the mainstream. I am fortunate to have learned about this form of therapy (from some of the pioneers in alternative medicine) almost 20 years ago now. One thing I learned from these forward-thinking doctors is that everybody is different. Such is the concept of biochemical individuality. What does this have to do with bioidentical hormones? What this means is that everyone is unique and as such, a program that works superbly for one person may or may not work for another.
What are bioidentical hormones? These are hormones that have the exact molecular structure that our bodies produce. Any structure that deviates from the original endogenous molecule is synthetic and as such is not bioidentical. Therefore, a person who gets a synthetic hormone is not having his or her hormones replaced. What they’re getting is hormonal substitution.
A medical doctor recently appeared on the Oprah show, who said that bioidentical is just a marketing term. Dr. Christine Northrup, M.D. one of the main proponents of the use of natural bioidentical hormones, gently corrected and educated her about BHRT. I’m still amazed at how people in the mainstream don’t think for themselves but just follow the “party line.” It’s like having an “earth is flat” mentality.
I believe that our hormones are like a symphony orchestra. If one hormone is off, the rest of the hormones are affected. Even so-called “minor” hormones have a significant role to play in our body. That’s why it’s important to balance everything. In Chinese medicine, we call it the yin-yang concept of balance. In more scientific terms, we call it the concept of “homeostasis”. In my practice, I’ve encountered people who are just taking one hormone thinking that that would resolve their issue.
For instance, when I treat the thyroid, I look into it’s sister organ, the adrenals. Their functions are closely linked together. Thus, it’s important to support both organs.
When I see a new client, I am always humbled because of all the new things I learn. I look into a person’s signs and symptoms as well as their lab work. One is as important as the other. As the saying goes, “if it talks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it must be a duck.” The problem with conventional, allopathic medicine is that if a person falls within a “normal” range, even though they may be symptomatic, they may be denied proper treatment. What we do as healthy aging practitioners (also known as anti-aging), is that we look at optimal ranges rather than normal ranges.
For individuals who may not be candidates for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), there are alternatives available. Besides the use of herbal medicine, I’ve used medical aromatherapy with essential oils and spagyric/homeopathic remedies.
For anyone seeking answers to their health issues, my advice is to listen closely to your body and to always keep an open mind.
As men age, hormones get out of balance, just like in women. Testosterone levels (and growth hormone levels for that matter) tend to decline while hormones such as estrogen and DHT tend to increase. When testosterone declines, signs and symptoms such as the following could occur namely; wrinkling of the skin, osteoporosis, mood changes (depression), hair loss, changes in body composition (increase in body fat and decrease in muscle mass) and cardiovascular disease, among others. With an increase in estrogen (due to increased body fat in some men as well as exposure to xenoestrogens in general), men could experience gynecomastia, emotional lability (mood swings) and prostate issues. With an increase in DHT, hair loss, acne and prostate problems could occur.
We normally see this decline in men in their 50’s or older but we’re seeing this decline in much younger men nowadays. Possible reasons for this include nutritional deficiencies, pharmaceuticals such as statins (which lower cholesterol, a precursor to testosterone), and environmental toxicity (organophosphates used in the agricultural industry for instance, mimic estrogen in our bodies).
Among the people you know, how many of them actually manifest signs and symptoms of andropause? Unfortunately, most men who fall within the “normal” range may not be treated even if they’re symptomatic. The range of “normal” is so wide that those who are in the low normal range (and symptomatic as well) are not being treated properly. Fortunately, a brilliant doctor from Harvard named Abraham Morgentaler wrote a book called “Testosterone For Life” which seeks to educate more people about this issue. Anyway, the recommended treatment for low testosterone is testosterone itself. It comes in different forms such as sublingual tablets, transdermals gels or creams, injectables and pellets. Since everybody is different, the dose and route of administration is individualized to each person.
It’s always good to do a baseline PSA (prostate specific antigen) and DRE (digital rectal exam) before starting anyone on testosterone. Since testosterone could metabolize into estrogen (esp. in men with excess body fat) or DHT, it’ll be wise to block those pathways with aromatase inhibitors and 5-alpha reductase (or DHT blockers) inhibitors, respectively. This could be done through natural supplements or prescription medications. Frequent testing is key to make sure people that people get great results and that they don’t get side-effects whatsoever. For men who are hesitant on using any type of hormone for improving their testosterone levels, options could include the use of amino acids (such as L-carnitine, which increases cell receptor sensitivity to endogenous tesotosterone) or herbal supplements (such as tribulus).
While on a hormone replacement program, it’s important to include dietary and lifestyle changes as well to get optimal results. I highly recommend the modified Paleolithic diet and the PACE program by Dr. Al Sears for my clients.