By Doreen DeStefano
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) began over 20 years ago. It is a safe and effective way to fight the aging process. When administered properly, BHRT helps improve a whole host of symptoms and prevent osteoporosis, mental decline, heart disease, loss of energy and vitality, and even breast cancer is some cases. BHRT use is aimed at restoration of natural hormone levels in men and women.
Difference Between Bioidentical and Synthetic Hormones
Bioidentical hormones are plant-derived, and chemically and biologically identical to the hormones produced naturally in the body. They are produced by compounding pharmacies, according to specific patient needs. Commercial preparations simply cannot do this.
While bioidentical hormones are most commonly associated with the treatment of menopause and andropause (low testosterone), they have many other uses as well. Men and women can derive benefit from increased or balanced levels of estrogens, testosterone, progesterone, melatonin, pregnenalone, DHEA, cortisol, thyroid hormones, and growth hormone.
Conversely, synthetic hormones are typically chemically derived and not identical to those produced in the body. Some synthetic hormones come from animal sources, like synthetic estrogen that comes from the urine of pregnant horses.
Synthetic estrogens are very potent and can break down into dangerous metabolites while bio-identical hormones are metabolized, stored, and converted into metabolites as nature intended. There are fewer side effects with bioidentical hormone use.
If you are considering hormone replacement therapy, be sure to request only bioidentical hormones.
Safety of Biodentical Hormones
Bioidentical hormones have excellent safety records. Topical creams are preferred to oral medications for estrogen replacement because oral compounds can result in toxic metabolites that may lead to estrogen related cancer, deplete IGF-1, increased risk of gallbladder disease, increased inflammatory markers related to heart disease, and increased risk of thrombosis.
There are three forms of natural estrogen: Estrone, Estradiol and Estriol. Estrone is the strongest, and has the most potential for adverse effects. This form of estrogen is typically not used in BHRT creams. The most common BHRT cream is Bi-Est. It contains estriol and estradiol, the two weaker estrogens. The amount of each varies according to each patient. It is usually not recommended to use unopposed estrogen. So Bi-Est is often combined with progesterone and other hormones the patient may require. The practitioner may include: topical progesterone and testosterone, as well as oral DHEA, pregnenalone, and thyroid hormones. These all have excellent safety records as well, when administered properly.
Watch out for environmental estrogens called Xenoestrogens. They are potent estrogen-like chemicals that have the potential to cause major health problems. Even small daily doses, like what you pick up from regularly drinking out of soft plastic water bottles can cause hormone imbalance symptoms. These common chemicals can be found in products and food that we use every day such as: skincare, plastics, some foods, pesticides, and building supplies. Avoid contact with xenoestrogens as much as possible to prevent any harmful effects.
Phytoestrogens are healthy, estrogen like compounds that we get from plants. They may enhance heart health, reduce or prevent certain types of cancer, improve health during menopause, help with weight loss and boost libido. Too much can cause hormonal imbalance and stimulate some types of breast cancer. Balance is key. Soy not a phytoestrogen. It is typically genetically modified and contains hormone disrupting pesticides. Unfortunately, most women do not realize the negative impact that soy can have on the body. If soy is used, be sure that it is fermented to prevent any adverse effects.
Broad Spectrum Balance
Balance is the key to hormone health. When your hormones are out of balance, both men and women may experience:
. Weight gain
. Hot flashes (hot flushes)
. Night sweats
. Mood swings
. Lower sex drive
. Vaginal dryness
. Loss of bone density
. Joint Pain
. Low stamina
. Memory loss
. Inability to focus
. Low levels of immunity
. Lack of skin elasticity
. Low libido
. Chronic fatigue
. Male and female pattern baldness
. Weight gain
. Lack of mental clarity
. Trouble focusing
. Loss of lean muscle
The two most common types of intravenous vitamin therapy are the Myers’ Cocktail and high dose vitamin C. Intravenous therapy, more commonly referred to as IV therapy, is a medical treatment designed to infuse various fluids, vitamins, nutrients or other healthy substances directly in to the bloodstream through an IV drip
The Myers’ Cocktail is an intravenous (IV therapy) injection used to treat a variety of health conditions. The cocktail was named for the Baltimore, Maryland doctor who invented it – Dr. John Myers.
The Myer’s Cocktail injection that has used in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions, some of which include:
. Chronic fatigue syndrome
. High blood pressure
. Heart disease
What’s In Myers’ Cocktail?
The vitamins that make up Myers’ Cocktail typically include:
. Vitamin C
. B Vitamins
Why Is Myers’ Cocktail Effective?
Many vitamins and supplements, when taken as a pill or liquid by mouth, are destroyed by the acid of the digestive tract. In other cases, patients may have a poor ability to absorb the nutrients. Injecting the vitamins directly into the blood stream allows the nutrients to be easily absorbed by the body.
Vitamins are a key component to functional medicine because the approach believes that many conditions can be reversed or prevented by correcting the root cause of illness in the body. This means addressing nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins and other biologic factors.
Side Effects of Myers’ Cocktail Injections
For the most part, side-effects are mild and temporary and not everyone will have any or all of these. Some of the most common side effects include:
A gentle warming sensation in the body that starts in the chest.
Visual acuity or colors look brighter—as if “someone turned the lights on”
High Dose Vitamin C Therapy
High dose vitamin C infusions are a common variety of IV therapy. Vitamin C therapy has been used to treat a variety of health conditions.
What is Vitamin C Therapy?
Vitamin C therapy is a special variety of IV therapy. Most people have received some form of IV therapy in their lifetime, typically receiving fluids during a hospital stay. Vitamin C infusions are delivered nearly identically to all other forms if intravenous therapy.
Vitamin C therapy may be used by some providers in the treatment of:
. Common colds
. Heart disease
. Chronic pain
. Joint pain
. Acute viral infections
Some providers also utilize high dose vitamin C therapy to help aid the body’s natural recovery process. Like all forms of IV therapy, the amount of vitamin C that will be prescribed varies depending on the nature of your ailments. Vitamin C therapy is commonly considered a form of micronutrient infusion.
How Does Vitamin C Therapy Work?
As the name implies, vitamin C therapy is delivered intravenously. This means that a small IV drip is inserted to the arm and delivers steady amounts of a vitamin C for a short period of time. Some vitamin C treatment plans consist of multiple sessions.
Vitamin C therapy is most often performed in a medical office setting and is administered by a medical professional. The amount of time taken during a session will vary depending on the condition being treated and the amount of vitamin C being delivered.
Vitamin C infusions feature few side-effects and are generally a painless procedure. Before beginning any vitamin C therapy, it’s important to make note of any medications of supplements you are currently taking.
The body works best when all hormones are in balance. Women need DHEA and testosterone too! Don’t forget your thyroid and adrenals. When using natural estrogens, remember that the body needs to maintain a balance. That is why estrogen alone is not recommended. It can cause symptoms of estrogen dominance, like development of breast cancer, fibrocystic breast disease, weight gain, headaches, bad temper, chronic fatigue and loss of interest in sex, among other symptoms. Using all the hormones together, as needed for each individual, will result in symptom resolution, increased feelings of wellbeing, and an overall improved state of health.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy combined with lifestyle modifications, changes in diet, and increased levels of exercise will have a positive impact on your health, improve your quality of life, and help you look better and feel younger. A comprehensive approach is needed to optimize your health, renew your energy levels, and restore your body. Hormone replacement therapy requires a holistic approach in an attempt to slow down the aging process, stay healthy, and have more productive years.
When you start hormone replacement therapy, it is important to take it slow and start with low doses. It is easy to take more than your body needs to function optimally. Work with your health care provider to determine your individual dose and optimal route. The key is to be patient and titrate up slowly to ensure you stay within normal, physiologic doses
Don’t wait to start taking bio-identical hormones. Estrogen therapy in younger postmenopausal women is associated with a decisive reduction in all-cause mortality”(Sarrel et al, 2013). You can’t prevent something after it happens. Remember not all bioidentical hormones are equal. To gain maximum benefits from BHRT they must be administered properly. Call 239-425-2900 today to learn more about hormone replacement therapy.
Philip M. Sarrel, Valentine Y. Njike, Valentina Vinante, and David L. Katz. The Mortality Toll of Estrogen Avoidance: An Analysis of Excess Deaths Among Hysterectomized Women Aged 50 to 59 Years. American Journal of Public Health: September 2013, Vol. 103, No. 9, pp. 1583-1588.
Root Cause Holistic Health & Medicine