Bio-Indentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)
Hormone deficiencies currently affect over 55 million women and men in the U.S. With the average American age on the rise, more research is being done on the effects of aging, hormone decline, and Bio-Identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). Commonly referred to as Menopause and Andropause (the “Male Menopause”), the decline in hormone production that results in a hormone deficiency often brings with it unpleasant side-effects. HRT can address these symptoms and restore hormone levels.
Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) consists of using natural hormones derived from plants and herbs. Natural hormones the body recognizes.
Some Hormone Deficiency Symptoms (Women & Men):
Fatigue, low libido, slow cognitive function, insomnia, depression, weight gain, muscle loss, migraines, and osteoporosis.
Women may also suffer from:
Hot flashes, night sweats, feminine discomfort, and decreased interest in intimate relations.
An individualized approach to HRT, using bio-identical hormones (BHRT), pinpoints a person’s exact hormone levels, and what hormones are needed to balance their hormone deficiency. Studies show that BHRT in physiological doses (equivalent to what your body used to make) produce significantly fewer negative side effects than synthetic hormones.
The differences between synthetic and bio-identical hormones are in their chemical structures and functionality. Synthetic hormones are often produced from animals, are not identical to those made by the human body, and do not act in the body as human hormones do. Bio-identical hormones (derived from plants such as soy or yam), are both chemically and functionally identical to those produced by human reproductive organs and adrenal glands.
As with any prescription medication, the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy must be discussed with a knowledgeable healthcare provider. For additional information on hormones, to take a hormone self-assessment.
Biest: Most commonly an 80:20 ratio of estriol and estradiol. This combination allows for all of the protection of estriol while providing the cardiovascular and osteoporosis benefits and vasomotor symptom relief of estradiol.
Cholesterol: Cholesterol molecules are transformed into pregnenolone precursors. Cholesterol is the starting point for the hormone process.
Cortisol: The major natural glucocorticoid made by the adrenal cortex. High levels are often associated with puffiness, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
DHEA: A steroid hormone produced by the adrenals, DHEA has been shown to protect against cancer and heart disease and to lower blood cholesterol. DHEA has also been shown to improve memory, strengthen the immune system, prevent bone loss, reduce body fat and enhance libido.
Estrone (E1): Most commonly found in increased amounts in postmenopausal women, the body derives estrone from the hormones that are stored in body fat. It is considered the most cancer causing of the three estrogens.
Estradiol (E2): Produced by the ovaries, estradiol is the principal estrogen found in a woman’s body during the reproductive years. Estradiol is very effective for the symptomatic relief of hot flashes, genitourinary symptoms, osteoporosis, psychological well-being and reduction of coronary artery disease. When estradiol is replaced using a sublingual tablet, pellet implant or percutaneous gel, it is not subject to first-pass metabolism by the liver, and therefore does not produce high levels of estrone. Using these routes of administration, a woman can mimic the physiologic release of estradiol from the ovaries.
Estriol (E3): Although considered the weakest of the three estrogens, estriol has potential protective properties against the production of cancerous cells. No American drugs contain estriol and, because it cannot be patented, it does not hold much interest for the pharmaceutical industry. Its availability through compounding has caused its use to grow rapidly throughout the country.
Melatonin: Probably best known for regulating sleep, melatonin is also an excellent anti-oxidant and, most importantly, a regulator of zinc.
Pregnenolone: Often referred to as the “parent hormone,” pregnenolone is synthesized from cholesterol. It is a super-hormone that is the key to keeping the brain functioning at peak capacity. Believed to be the most potent memory enhancer, it has also been shown to be beneficial in improving concentration, fighting mental fatigue and relieving severe joint pain and fatigue in arthritis.
Progesterone: The ovaries and the adrenal glands in women and, in smaller amounts, in the testes and the adrenal glands in men, produce progesterone. Levels of progesterone are especially high after ovulation and remain high through mid-cycle. If pregnancy does not occur, it signals the uterus to shed this lining. Progesterone plays an important role in brain function and is often called the ”feel-good hormone” because of its mood-enhancing and anti-depressant effects. Progesterone is especially beneficial because it keeps the other hormones in balance.
Testosterone: Testosterone works differently in the bodies of men and women, but plays an important role in the overall health and well-being of both sexes. Often called the “hormone of desire” because of its powerful effect on libido, testosterone is also important in building strong muscles, bones, ligaments, as well as increasing energy and easing depression.
Thyroid: Thyroid stimulates hormones. Increased scores on a TSH test usually are viewed as an indication that something is wrong. In reality, TSH is not a reliable test.
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