The Truth About Hormones

There’s a lot of information out there about hormones. Like any complex subject, it can be tough to figure out what’s correct, and what isn’t. After reading this short article, you’ll be better informed about the history of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), when and why things got confusing, and what to look for when choosing the program that’s right for you.

The Source of the conflicting opinions about Hormone Replacement came from a landmark NIH study that involved thousands of participants called the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). The study was focused on determining the risks and benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Sadly, the study was flawed from the onset, and the conclusions therefore can’t be trusted as valid.

 

The study was flawed because it used Equine Estrogen, made from pregnant mare urine (Premarin). New research shows that Equine Estrogen doesn’t work in the human body. It breaks down into metabolites that get oxidized (think “free radicals”) and impair the body’s antioxidant response, which has been found to lead to problems such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Estrogen that is bioidentical to human estrogen doesn’t pose this risk, especially if it’s paired with Progesterone in a proper ratio. The WHI study also used Progestin, which is not natural “bioidentical” human Progesterone. Progestins have also been found to increase your risk of cancer. Alternatively, bioidentical Progesterone mitigates the potentially harmful effects of Estrogen, thus reducing the risk associated with Estrogen from internal (endogenous), and external (exogenous) sources. The WHI study was halted because women started developing cancer, stroke, and heart attack episodes while participating in the study. A sweeping statement was made that all HRT poses health risks and should be avoided. Fear of hormones swept across the nation, and doctors stopped offering HRT to women. Subsequently, women’s health has declined because the lack of hormone balance in later years has now been found to be a major cause of diseases of aging, such as loss of bone density, muscle wasting, cognitive decline, and even heart disease. You might be asking yourself why I’d be promoting the use of HRT if it poses increased health risks. The answer is, that I don’t agree with the use of non-bioidentical hormones. I do agree with the use and safety of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).

Why is BHRT safe and how does it benefit the health of both women and men?

When administered in physiologic doses (the amount your body made in your prime years), it provides the health benefits that you enjoyed in your prime years. These benefits include healthy energy levels, libido, and sexual function, as well as healthy bones, muscles, brain, and heart.

In full transparency, hormones taken in improper doses can pose health risks. You must work with a doctor who has studied the subject and knows how to use BHRT safely. That doctor should be doing regular blood tests to monitor the hormones and the hidden side effects that can occur. This way, dosing can be corrected and tailored to your specific needs, and the intervention can be made in good timing.

I like to tell a personal story so that you’re aware that I walk my talk and have experience with direct use of these methods. My first experience with BHRT came from trying to correct my menstrual cramps, which were sometimes debilitating. I was 32 and in Naturopathic Medical School at the time, and I decided to apply some of the knowledge I’d recently acquired. I began by using a progesterone promoting herb called Chaste Tree Berry (Vitex), and my cramps became much more tolerable. After a couple of years with that, my cramps were getting bad again, so I started using Bioidentical Progesterone cream. Things got better again.

As I’ve aged, I’ve increased my Progesterone dose throughout the years to match my needs. Being in my upper 40s now, some new hormone changes developed, and I’ve added Testosterone and Estrogen, both in bioidentical forms that are easy to adjust dosing. I feel healthier than I did in my 20s because I have balanced hormones and much better lifestyle habits now.

The takeaway message is that hormones are not to be feared, but just like anything, it’s important to understand how they work and use them under wise counsel and guidance. It’s also important to do your research to feel comfortable with your treatment plan. Knowledge is power, as long as it comes from accurate sources. Don’t believe every headline you read on “Dr. Google.” Dig deeper, ask questions, and explore your options, and you’ll find that keeping your hormones healthy as you age will help you maintain good health throughout your Golden Years.

Here are some resources that will get you started down the road of more knowledge and understanding of BHRT and how it can benefit your health.
-Video about the safety of BHRT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zzDkYfPfHw
-Article about the safety of testosterone in pre and post-menopausal patients: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8025725/
-Article about BHRT health benefits: https://womensinternational.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/1.-Bioidentical-Hormone-Review.pdf

In service to your health,
Dr. Eve Harmony, ND

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Liz started doing personal blood draws after her son, Dashiell, was born with Zellwegers disease. His diagnosis required numerous blood draws and drug levels throughout his life. After sitting through long wait times at the labs followed by watching many different phlebotomists, many new to the job, struggle to find his veins, often poking him multiple times, as a seasoned phlebotomist, Liz decided to draw his blood at home and hand deliver it to the lab myself. Soon after she began doing personal touch blood draws so she can now offer that same personalized service to you.

Liz graduated from Pepperdine University with a degree in Biology in 1994. She moved to Santa Barbara and earned her phlebotomy certificate in 1995. Liz began working at St. Francis Medical Center in the Physical Therapy Department and quickly transferred to the Laboratory. Perfecting her venipuncture techniques on all floors of the hospital, including post-operative patients, pregnant women going into labor, sick or premature babies, and emergency room patrons, she then improved her patient care skills working for internal medicine doctors, one of whom was the Medical Director of Hospice and won Doctor of the Year. In 1999, Liz started working with a group of local retinal surgeons. Her primary job consisted of injecting dye into arm veins and photographing its flow through the patients retinal vessels. When patients are worried about their diagnosis or apprehensive about the procedure because of difficult veins, her quick, almost pain free needle stick and kind but professional bed side manner would put them at ease.

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MEET MICHAEL BROOKINS; BS, CNMT, ABAAHP

Mike brings more than just a medical perspective to his clients; at the age of 14, he began an athletic career as a pole-vaulter that would end up taking him on an incredible journey over the next 13 years of his life. Throughout his athletic journey Mike was constantly working to find the ideal balance of fitness and proper nutrition in order to maximize his performances. Combined with his medical knowledge the years of athletic experience provide a unique and successful combination that serve to benefit his staff and clients.

“After I shifted the focus of my practice from Sports Medicine into Nuclear Medicine specifically Interventional Endocrinology. I found myself questioning our western medical paradigm…Here I was performing thyroid cancer and Hyperthyroidism treatments with harmful radical thyroid radioactive ablations which really made me take a hard look in the mirror and become more of a researcher to find safer and more effective options to better treat my clients. During my research I realized that there were very few, if any, medically directed programs focused towards achieving a “Healthier Lifestyle” rather than typical “Diet” fads.” A few years later after training and working with some of the worlds foremost Bio-identical Hormone Replacement specialists I became Board Certified in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. Sort of just found my passion and the answers I had been looking for with this new specialty finally after years of treating people with the Band-Aid “fix it when its broken” mentality instead of at the root cause.”

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