As people get older, things change. The skin becomes less elastic, wrinkles form, skin sagging occurs. The hair becomes less full and changes color. Fat starts accumulating and it’s a lot harder to get rid of. Aches and pains develop in the joints, osteoporosis occurs, coronary artery disease becomes a concern, muscle mass starts to atrophy, the immune system deteriorates allowing cancer to start winning the war, sexual interest (Libido) becomes non-existent and sexual ability dwindles.
This is only a partial list of what occurs. Until recently, all these changes were considered the inevitable events that occur on the journey to the senior years. Most of these changes start in the forties, become readily apparent in our fifties, and become a fact of life in our sixties and seventies, and beyond.
A safe and natural solution to this problem is to use bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to help slow down the aging process and prevent many degenerative disease processes.
What are Natural, Bioidentical Hormones?
In the iCloud of information from the media and among doctors, the debate rages about the risks of hormone replacement therapy. When understanding this debate it’s important to separate out the different kinds of hormones based on the chemical structure of these hormones. Bioidentical hormones are identical in chemical structure to human hormones which are safe and even protective. In contrast, the more dangerous, non bio-identical hormones are not the same as human hormones, they are drugs that have hormone effects.
Bio-identical hormones are natural hormones that promote all the benefits of hormones; whereas, non bio-identical hormones commonly called synthetic hormones, are not the same chemical structures as what is natural to the body.
Bio-identical hormones are natural hormones that promote all the benefits of hormones; whereas, non bio-identical hormones commonly called synthetic hormones, are not the same chemical structures as what is natural to the body. As a result, instead of preventing disease they have been shown to cause diseases like cancer and heart disease. They are more like drugs with hormone like effects but have long-term dangerous effects. In contrast, bio-identical hormones have long-term protective and preventative effects against most chronic diseases.
Sex hormones refer to the following hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. They are called sex hormones because they are involved with sexual reproduction and differentiation. Estrogen and progesterone are primarily female hormones and testosterone is primarily a male hormone.
Sex hormones are important for healthy sexual function. But they also serve many other critical roles such as preservation of the bones, muscles, skin, hair, and joints; prevention of heart disease, cancer, strokes, dementia; optimal mental and emotional function. The benefits to replacing deficient hormones are obvious.
Other hormones include thyroid and cortisol, the adrenal gland hormone.
Desiccated Thyroid hormone options like Armour or Nature-Throid are a blend of thyroid hormone and other co-factors for thyroid health offering a more comprehensive benefit as opposed to synthetic thyroid medication. The thyroid gland is typically under-functioning due to stress, environmental toxins, and for women too much estrogen. A low thyroid function typically causes fatigue, weight gain, hair loss and mood changes.
The adrenal hormone cortisol is prescribed for Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, a common cause of fatigue because the adrenal gland is worn out with chronic stress since it is the stress buffering gland. As the cortisol production drops, adrenaline (epinephrine) increases leading to a tired and wired state. Hydrocortisone (HC) is the adrenal hormone. HC in high dosages is used as a drug to reduce inflammation in certain disease states like Lupus, Crohns, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc. This higher dose has many side-effects associated with it but at much lower dosages it is used to support the under functioning adrenal glands. It is important to understand the differences in the dose and not the name, this is a problem that even pharmacists don’t seem to understand. HC can help you recovery your energy and vitality when used at the appropriate dose for adrenal gland health.
Hormone replacement therapy has its place within a comprehensive plan to support a persons energy, vitality, and prevention of chronic disease; including how a person eats, moves, sleeps, etc.
Are Natural, Bioidentical Hormones Safe?
Yes and the argument should be is it safe not to replace hormonal deficiencies. Studies on estrogen replacement therapy in women have shown that women who receive estrogen replacement therapy live longer, have lower incidence of disease, and have a higher quality of life then women who do not receive estrogen. This is also true for progesterone and testosterone.
Studies on testosterone replacement in men have shown similar beneficial effects including the prevention and treatment of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, fatigue, endurance, and impotence.
Studies on testosterone replacement in men have shown similar beneficial effects including the prevention and treatment of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, fatigue, endurance, and impotence. There is a recent study that claims testosterone causes heart disease but it must be understood that it depends on the levels of testosterone; too high or too low does promote heart disease. So, this study shows the importance for optimal levels of testosterone in aging men.
There has never been one study that has indicated replacing a deficient hormone with a bioidentical hormone is dangerous. Although, it is important to understand that many breast and prostate cancers are hormone responsive. This means although hormones do not cause cancer, they will grow faster in the presence of hormone replacement therapy. For this reason, during the first year of therapy, men should have regular evaluations for prostate cancer and women should be evaluated for breast cancer.
What is Natural Hormone Replacement?
As we age into our 4th and 5th decade of life, our bodies begin to decrease the production of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, and adrenal hormones like DHEA, cortisol. These hormones are important for many functions in the body, essential for prevention of many chronic diseases and to promote optimal health and vitality. Natural hormone replacement refers to the medical treatment to replace these hormones, typically with creams, pellets, patches, oral pills, or shots.
The question is not if we are going to become hormone deficient, but rather when we will become deficient and how significant the deficiencies will be. The rate at which these deficiencies develop determines to a large extent how fast we will age and the level of risk for developing chronic diseases.