Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy
Why are so many enlightened women and men making the move back to nature’s own when it comes to Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)? Why is supplementing and balancing
the hormones of women and men, using the exact molecules produced by the human body, attracting so much attention? Perhaps because researched and published benefits can include: energy, sense of well being, strength, stamina, quality sleep, healthy bone and muscle mass, cardiovascular health, and healthier fat to muscle ratios (see references below).
Artificial hormones have side effects associated with them such as mood swings, irritability, migraine headaches, depression, bloating, weight gain, loss of libido, hair loss, increased appetite, increased fibrocystic breast disease, nausea, gallbladder and liver disease, and increased risk of cancer. These problems have been shown in studies to be eliminated or greatly reduced with natural, transdermal HRT. Today’s men and women are seeking the best of both worlds.
Working with your doctor, this method of restoration of the delicate balance of hormones is based on information contained in a detailed personal and family history, and often times blood tests. It enjoys a successful reputation due, in part, to customization and the closeness with which normal physiology is mimicked.
The natural hormones most commonly used for this are testosterone, progesterone, estriol, estradiol, estrone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), but can also include pregnenolone. Not only are the direct effects of these hormones so necessary for optimal health, but so are the compounds the body converts them into. For example, the adrenal glands use progesterone, DHEA, and the pregnenolones to make the corticosteroids so vital for managing physical, mental, and emotional stress as well as for the activity of a healthy immune system.
Conditions that frequently respond well to hormone therapy include:
- male climacteric symptoms
- menopause and peri-menopause syndrome
- osteoporosis (men and women develop this)
- hormonally modulated and cyclic migraine headaches
- premenstrual syndrome
- pre-term delivery (premature baby)
- auto-immune diseases (such a Systemic lupus erythematosus, Scleroderma, Asthma, Dermatomyocitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Polymyocitis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease)
- postpartum depression
- premature ovarian failure
More people today are faced with hormonal imbalances because of the many interventions of man with nature. These include tubal ligations, vasectomies, oral contraceptives, hysterectomies, etc.
There is also the effect on our bodies of Xenoestrogens (potent synthetic estrogen-like chemicals) from sources such as every organic chlorinated pesticide used in our food supplies, plastic wrap (a 3 inch by 3 inch piece has been shown to deliver 23mg of this estrogen into frozen meat and several times that when microwaved to thaw it), and beverage bottles we use. They are embodied in our dairy products and animal proteins that are implanted with and fed various hormones.
Xenoestrogens are metabolized by the body to some of the most toxic estrogens known to man. They are known to play a larger role in the incidence of prostate and breast and ovarian cancer, infertility, endometriosis, and fibroids than today’s methods of hormonal replacement, natural or conventional. Industrialized countries that have banned the use of these pesticides have enjoyed a significant decline in their incidence of breast and prostate cancers.
Of course there are more people not only living past the age of 45 than ever before, but expecting to operate at full capacity for decades beyond that. While this creates more need for hormonal replacement, it brings to mind the necessity to have HRT that is as safe and effective and side-effect free as possible.
It should, furthermore, meet the specific requirements of the person. It is unreasonable to assume that everyone can respond well to one of a very few choices available in conventional therapy. Some people do better on no hormones, using herbs and nutritional supplements instead. For these reasons, and more in later issues, compounding pharmacists are helping health practitioners customize hormonal replacement therapy for individuals with individual needs.