Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Why Bio-Identical Hormones?
As we age many hormone levels naturally start to decline. And there appears to be tremendous health benefits of hormone replacement as we age. With this new outlook we hope to optimize hormone levels and, hopefully, prevent some of the consequences of aging.
We now know that much of the deterioration of aging is preventable with bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). Research has discovered improvement in both physical function and psychological well-being in treated individuals. These findings include:
- improved cardiovascular function
- improved cholesterol levels
- decreased body fat
- increased lean muscle mass
- improved energy
- increased muscle strength and endurance
- decrease in depression and fatigue
- improved sense of well-being
These are only a few of the valuable benefits of hormone replacement therapy during aging.
Bio-Identical Hormones are natural, plant-based hormones that are chemically similar to the hormones we ourselves produce daily. Each person has their unique and ideal hormone blueprint. Hormone levels can be measured and adjusted to match each blueprint. Bio-Identical hormones are formulated by specialized, compounding pharmacies into more effective forms than the standard drug store brands. The ability to individualize a dose is clearly superior to the traditional “one size fits all” synthetic hormone therapy. There are more health benefits and fewer side effects with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) options.
While no one claims to have discovered a fountain of youth, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy holds great promise for promoting healthier longevity and wellness. Contact us for a personalized assessment and hormone profile. Start Aging Properly!
Common Bio-identical Hormones
The following is a brief description of many the hormones that decrease as we age. Bio-Identical replacements for these hormones are available. Some or all of these hormones may be supplemented during hormone replacement therapy.
DHEA is a hormone secreted by adrenal glands located above the kidneys. This hormone is precursor to the sex hormones: testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone.
DHEA promotes an anabolic (protein building) state. It reduces cardiovascular risk by increasing fat metabolism. DHEA stimulates the immune system, restores sexual vitality, improves mood, lowers cholesterol and reduces body fat. Recent studies point to DHEA as an anti-stress hormone, reversing the effects of stress on the immune system.
Pregnenolone is a parent compound to many other hormones, mainly estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, DHEA, and cortisol. Pregnenolone also functions as a memory enhancer and is a factor in cell repair, particularly in the brain and nerve tissue. Pregnenolone protects brain function and protects against brain cell injury.
Testosterone is an important hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, testes, and ovaries. It contributes to energy, muscle mass, strength, endurance, decreased fat, increased exercise tolerance, enhancement of well-being, and psychological status. Testosterone protects against cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity and arthritis. It leads to improved lean muscle mass, increased libido, and sexual performance. It prolongs the quality of life by decreasing the diseases of aging. Testosterone levels dramatically decline after the age or forty in both men and women. The most common symptom of declining testosterone, andropause (male menopause) is fatigue and is often experienced by men in their mid-forties. Testosterone is extremely important in the female as well as the male, making supplementation absolutely recommended for both.
Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland located at the base of the brain. It is a circadian rhythm hormone-fluctuating according to the amount of daylight. Melatonin levels affect sleep patterns. Research has shown that cells rejuvenate and repair during the deeper stages of sleep. It is during these sleep stages that the body produces natural killer cells or CD4 cells. Melatonin increases the deep stage of sleep and stageIV sleep, thereby increasing and enhancing immunity. Improved sleep patterns serve to energize the body and improve mood. Melatonin has powerful antioxidant effects that contribute to a disease and cancer prevention. Melatonin deficiency results in poor sleep, jet lag, irritability and premature aging.
Thyroid hormone is metabolic hormone secreted by the thyroid gland that regulates blood circulation, body temperature, metabolism and cerebral function. It contributes to energy levels, temperature regulation, and body warmth. It increases fat breakdown, resulting in weight loss as well as lowering cholesterol. It protects against cardiovascular disease and improves cerebral metabolism. It helps to prevent cognitive impairment. Thyroid hormone is probably the safest and most beneficial cholesterol lowering agent, yet it is infrequently used for this. Thyroid function is best evaluated by laboratory levels of THS, free T-4, and free T-3 along with clinical correlation of symptoms. Abnormal TSH levels indicate primary hypothyroidism, while abnormal free T-3 and free T-4 cause secondary and tertiary hypothyroidism.
Estrogens are secreted by the ovaries. Men also make a small amount of estrogen form conversion of testosterone. In women, estrogen protects against heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and memory disorders. It protects against vaginal atrophy (skin thinning), unitary leakage (incontinence), and prevents symptoms of menopause including hot flashes and temperature dysregulation. Estrogen improves balance by improving the visual somatosensory system in the central nervous system. Estrogen deficiency results in the urogential (urinary and genital) atrophy, incontinence, saggy breast skin, increased face wrinkles, decreased energy, depression, mood swings, decreased libido and insomnia. The use of estrogen replacement during menopause is a classic example of optimizing hormone levels to younger levels to avoid some of the diseases of aging (osteoporosis, heart attack, and stroke).
Progesterone is secreted by the ovaries during the second half of the menstrual cycle. It is only produced from an ovulating ovary. During reproductive years, it prepares the uterine lining for the embryo implantation. After menopause, progesterone supplementation protects against uterine and breast cancers, osteoporosis, fibrocystic breast disease and ovarian cysts. Most U.S. physicians prescribe synthetic progestins that cause side effects such as bloating, headaches, fatigue, and weight gain. Natural progesterones are as effective and generally do not cause these side effects.
Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands. It is the hormone responsible for the body’s ability to handle stress. Stress can be emotional or physical, yet both have the same cortisol response. Prolonged stress can markedly deplete cortisol levels. This leads to adrenal fatigue and eventual ?burn out?. Low cortisol levels contribute to fatigue, poor immune defenses and depression. Low cortisol levels inhibit the effectiveness of antidepressant medication often making depression more difficult to treat.
Insulin is secreted from the pancreas gland and is critical for the glucose (sugar) transport to every cell for energy. If insulin levels are too low or too high, the functions of the cells are greatly impaired. Hyperinsulinemia (too high of insulin) contributes to a metabolic syndrome called Insulin Resistance Syndrome (IRS). Seventy- five percent of American adults have this hormone condition. IRS worsens with age. Insulin Resistance Syndrome often results in high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and/or triglycerides, obesity, gout, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Polycystic Ovarian (PCOS) is now known to be caused by insulin resistance.