hormones - both friend & foe...

As we age there is a natural decline in hormones produced by the body. These typically are:

Age 30
Hormone Decline = HGH (human growth hormone)
Resulting Condition = Somatopause

Age 40
Hormone Decline = Oestrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone
Resulting Condition = Menopause / Andropause

Age 50
Hormone Decline = DHEA, Thyroid
Resulting Condition = Thyropause

Age 60
Hormone Decline = Insulin, Parathyroid Hormone
Resulting Condition = Parathyropause, Diabetes

Age 70
Hormone Decline = Calcitonin, Erythropoietin 
Resulting Condition = Osteoporosis, Memory Problems

Our bodies are bombarded by disruptive pressure from countless sources. There are pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and chemical additives in our food and water, we endure chronic exposure to electromagnetic radiation, medication that is supposed to heal leads to further imbalance, and we face stress and toxic emotions every day. Heavy metals such as mercury and lead, food additives such as MSG and aspartame, and xeno-estrogens from plastics are all powerful disruptors of our natural state of balance. These noxious influences affect our health in a number of ways, one of the most important of which is by causing hormonal imbalances.

The Endocrine System
Our endocrine system is a vastly complex system of glands that secrete chemical messengers called hormones, each of which has its own specific function or functions. The main glands of the endocrine system are the hypothalamus, pineal, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands, pancreas, ovaries and testes. Other organs that secrete hormones include the liver, kidneys, stomach, striated muscle, heart, skin, adipose tissue, ovaries and uterus. Hormones play a vital role in the regulation of metabolism, growth, development, puberty, tissue function and mood, to name just a few. 

Our hormones are our friends when they are in balance with each other and our foes when they are out of balance. Fortunately it is possible to treat most hormone imbalances through correct supplementation with bio-identical (same as produced by the body) hormone replacement therapy, herbs and neutraceuticals. 

Menopause is probably the best-known example of age-related decline in hormone levels. There is a marked decrease in the production of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone as women get older. This decline is considered normal, but often leads to uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flushes, mood changes, insomnia, fatigue and memory problems. Falling hormone levels also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis and heart disease after menopause.

Oestrogen – Dominance & Deficiency
An interesting fact – in both men and women it is oestrogen that helps our brain to think! 

Oestrogen dominance occurs when the body is producing too much oestrogen in relation to progesterone.  Progesterone is only produced by the ovulating woman, and a woman does not ovulate when she is using the oral contraceptive pill or later as she ages.  Levels of progesterone in these cases are far too low compared with oestrogen levels (oestrogen is also produced by fat cells, the adrenal glands and the brain).

The opposite situation can also occur, where there is insufficient oestrogen compared with progesterone.  There are many natural oestrogen supplements, including bio-identical transdermal creams that are much safer to use than their conventional oral counterparts. The synthetic oral oestrogen replacement medications are associated with an increased risk of certain cancers in susceptible individuals. The natural alternatives have a much lower risk (care should still be taken by women who have a history or family history of breast, ovarian or endometrial cancer).

Oestrogen deficiency can also be corrected by using certain herbs that can increase oestrogen levels. Known as the phyto-oestrogens they include black cohosh, red clover, dong quai and soya extracts. Another option that has proved to be very effective is the use of bio-identical oestrogen in the form of creams that are absorbed through the skin. Progesterone cream is also effective, as it regulates the production of oestrogen and enhances the effectiveness of oestrogen in the body.

Symptoms of Oestrogen Dominance & Deficiency

Dominance…
» Breast tenderness                            
» Fibrocystic breasts                          
» Endometriosis                                 
» Uterine fibroids                               
» Increased risk of breast & uterine cancers  
» Mood swings and depression                     
» Irritability, nervousness and anxiety           
» Poor concentration                          
» Migraines                                        
» Weight gain around the hips                       
» Water retention                               
» Fatigue                                                        
» Sugar cravings                                 
» Severe premenstrual syndrome                   
» Heavy, irregular periods

Deficiency…
» Hot flushes
» Low libido
» Night sweats
» Heart palpitations
» Poor memory, forgetfulness, foggy thinking
» Urinary incontinence
» Bone loss
» Tearfulness and/or depression
» Dry skin
» Mood swings/anxiety
» Headaches
» Vaginal dryness      
» Sleep disturbances
» Painful intercourse

DHEA
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a sex hormone precursor for both men and women, which converts into testosterone and oestrogen. As well as reducing naturally with age, DHEA is affected by stress and an increase in the cortisol level. As both oestrogen and testosterone are produced from DHEA it is very important to keep your stress levels down, or you will face the problems associated with decreased production of sex hormones. A decrease in DHEA will also result in impaired immune function (that is why when you are stressed your libido goes down and you get sick).

Testosterone
Testosterone & Women: It is not so well known that women also produce testosterone, though in much smaller quantities than men. However even in small quantities it has important functions. Testosterone helps us cope in the world, helps us to confront, and keeps the libido lively. Testosterone deficiency can be corrected by using bio-identical testosterone cream, applied to the skin and some specific herbs.

Testosterone & Men: Andropause is the male equivalent of menopause. As men age their production levels of testosterone declines and the rate of conversion of testosterone to other male-ageing hormones increases. Lowering this decline is considered normal, but it can produce troublesome symptoms.

The symptoms can be relieved by supplementation with DHEA and/or transdermal testosterone cream. Men can also use progesterone cream to help oppose high oestrogen levels.  xcess oestrogen in men causes serious hormone disruption, enlarge the prostate gland, and increase the risk of prostate cancer. Chrysin an aromatase inhibitor prevents conversion of testosterone into oestrogen, making more testosterone available. Nettle root and the herb Tribulus terrestris are the most well known herbs used to help the body make more testosterone.  Interestingly it is now thought that prostate cancer is a low-testosterone problem, so supplementation with testosterone may be very beneficial in preventing prostate problems.

Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency

Women...                                               
» Decreased motivation                                           
» Anxiety and depression                              
» Persistent fatigue                                         
» Inability to focus and cope                                    
» A decreased sense of well-being                  
» Decreased libido                                                    
» Decreased muscle size and strength            
» Aches and pains                                           
» Bone loss                                                   
» Allergies                                                     

Men...
» Loss of libido
» Nervousness, anxiety and depression
» Impaired memory and difficulty in concentrating
» Fatigue
» Insomnia
» Hot flushes (yes men can get them too)
» Increased sweating
» Osteoporosis
» Enlarged prostate & increased risk of prostate cancer
» Accumulated of fat around the abdomen

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