Female Hormones

Hormone Replacement Therapy… Let’s Trump Mother Nature Shall We?

I was reading recently in Aging Matters Magazine (Issue 2, 2013), and came across an article by a Dr. Richard Lippman. I want to thank the good Doctor for his opinions on the topic of anti-aging. They exemplify exactly what we as the humble patient need to be cautious of while seeking medical help.  

What I see all the time in the mainstream medical practice is a “God-like” attitude and an absolute black and white view of health and the human body.  Indeed it appears that if the information did not come directly from the Pharmaceutical companies themselves it does not exist in the mainstream clinic.  

Bio-identical hormone therapy is no different, it is just the newest thing.  So what we are told as patients is that without these powerful treatments we are lost.  Without things like Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) we humans are doomed to suffer the terrible consequences of physical and sexual atrophy, cancer, depression, etc.  Without them we will most certainly suffer, and who would be so silly as to allow that to happen?

Now with due credit to Dr. Lippman, he does indeed recommend healthy diet and lifestyle, though these recommendations only amounted to two sentences of the entire article.  Salads, sushi, avoiding fast food, tennis and swimming are examples of healthy choices Dr. Lippman recommends.  In this we are in agreement, but if I may point out a few of his other more telling statements… 

“Bio-identical hormones are the only practical way to avoid stroke, blood clots, and cancer and to enhance one’s sex life.”  

“Nature is out to destroy our bodies by limiting our hormones and nutrients.  Correcting our hormones will trump Mother Nature’s rampage that often starts in middle age.” 

Now this is the type of statement that should automatically concern the average person.  It reeks of fanaticism and closed-mindedness to the mountains of other well cited and peer reviewed research articles on the subject.  This is downright dangerous when put into practice with such inherent authority.  Remember, the status of the MD has risen to that of a noble lord.  To question the authority is tantamount to blasphemy and to do so means that you are adrift on your own with no chance of salvation. At least that is the feeling we get right? 

So if I may just contribute a few thoughts:

  • First I want to highly recommend the book The Menopause Industry, by Sandra Coney.  This book was previously “banned” in America due to pressure on the publisher from the Pharmaceutical Industry.  You gotta love banned books!  It is a must read for every woman and anyone practicing hormone based medicine. This book provides a very accurate description of the female hormone system and how the American brand of medicine has crafted very specific scare tactics regarding hormone health (such as seen above).  

  • Regarding HRT being the only practical way to avoid stroke, blood clots and cancer…  Let’s not forget that there have been hormone replacement studies that have had to be stopped due to increased deaths associated with certain hormone protocols.  No not every hormone strategy mind you, but please people, these things are very powerful medicines!  And yes they can kill you.  There was one particular study I read about many years ago that touted the vascular benefits of HRT in women.  It clearly stated that the proposed mechanism of benefit was that it appeared to elevate blood levels of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids found in fish oils which are known to have anti-inflammatory effects and benefit vascular health. Therefore they concluded that HRT was valuable for heart disease. I had to chuckle at this one.  Why not just take the fish oils if that was the proposed value? 

  • Regarding the cancer specifically…  The real concern for people here is the rampant inflammatory scenario that we are all wallowing in these days.  How about we focus on the terrible corporate provided diets that permeate our daily life?  How about we talk about the Xenoestrogens and Bisphenol A that we consume every day while we suckle from our plastic topped corner store coffee cup or our bottled waters?  How about we discuss the raging food sensitivities which are shown to drive cancers of all kinds and increase all causes of mortality?  Is the medical system really looking out for our greater good?  Or do they just want to sell more medicine?

  • Regarding the concept of “anti-aging” itself.  Why is it that these anti-aging doctors focus so squarely on the Endocrine system?  Hormones aren’t everything that’s for sure.  They are potent and they can produce immediate benefits.  But I can speak from experience that there is a price to pay eventually.  If you really think about it, aging is not really a matter of hormonal decline.  Everything that we are, including the hormone system, is a function of brain health.  Neurological decline is everything and it takes more than hormone replacement therapy to keep a brain healthy.  I would hope that these “anti-aging specialists” will soon clue into that concept.  It will do their patient populations wonders and may even require less replacement therapy in the process.  Now isn’t that the goal anyway?  One school of thought drives dependence and the other drives empowerment.  Hmmm…  Just try getting off of your HRT sometime if you are already on it.  It is generally not a comfortable thing to go through.

  • And finally, if you think that you can “trump mother nature” you are sadly mistaken.  It certainly has not stopped us from trying to manipulate the weather, or genetically modify the food chain, or eventually terra-form Mars!  I guess this is no different.   But I suppose that is the largest difference between the mainstream and “alternative” practitioners.  We alternative folks aren’t trying to pull one over on nature or the body.  Shame on those who would propose this way of life!  If you are in constant opposition to nature and your own body how can you be a part of them in a healthy way?  A much better goal in my opinion would be to work with nature and the body.  You would be surprised what nature has to offer.  And just because the doctor does not understand natural medicine does not mean that it is not a perfectly valid and effective way to reduce cancer, heart disease, stroke, depression, or sexual decline.  Give me 6 months and a compliant patient and I would challenge any medical protocol in not only lowering these risk values but in improving overall quality of life. 

So I hope that this little article offers at least a little food for thought.  I admit that I can get a little steamed from topics like this because I see it as a gross abuse of power and influence over an often desperate and under informed patient population.  I can tell you one thing though…   If your doctor or any other medical practitioner comes off like our good Dr. Lippman, touting outlandish tales like these, I recommend that you look for another doctor.  

My Recent Interview on Sexual Energy

I was honored recently to be interviewed by my friend and colleague Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, Ph.D. for her weekly video podcast called "In the Den with Dr. Jenn." I was asked to speak on the topic of sexual energy which in my opinion is a much neglected part of our health. It is extremely important to consider our sexual health as not only a mirror into our overall wellness, ie. poor health leads to poor sexual energy, but also as a tool to strengthen our bodies and our spirits.

I will keep this blurb short and let the video speak for itself. Please enjoy the interview and of course if this discussion brings up anything for you please feel free and safe to contact me directly. I am here to help in many different aspects of your health... Sexual health certainly included.

For more videos and information about Dr. Jenn, who offers "a place for open and honest communication around sex, intimacy, sexuality, eroticism, sexual health, and relationships," check out her website.  She has over 127 podcasts on many topics.  You're sure to find something educational and her fun style is super entertaining.  It's the best way to learn!

Hair loss in women: Stress or something more masculine?

It is quite astonishing really the number of women I hear of complaining of hair loss these days. It may not be massive hair loss mind you, but this is something that we tend to pay attention to. It is something that a great many men end up looking forward to if they like it or not, but for women, it is a whole other thing completely. Hair loss in a woman when it is bad can be a significant source of anxiety and poor self image. So what is going on? Why do I hear about it so often these days? Well, like many other medical conditions, hair loss has a lot to do with our lifestyle. It may just be possible that you are contributing directly to your hair loss every day without knowing it.

There are several common reasons for hair loss in women. Stress can certainly do it. I have known women who when stressed actually get bald spots which will eventually re-grow. Low thyroid conditions can certainly lead to hair loss and are particularly common in women. But the big one that I want to talk about today is hair loss due to elevated blood sugar, Insulin and Testosterone.

Yep, when a woman ends up with elevated Testosterone she will lose her hair. But why you ask does a woman get elevated Testosterone in the first place? I suppose that there could be some tumor somewhere producing it, but that is extremely uncommon. The most common reason is elevated blood sugar and/or Insulin. The way it goes is that when we eat sugar, or a lot of simple carbohydrates, our body responds by producing Insulin in an attempt to get that high blood sugar back down. The more sugar the more Insulin. It just so happens that Insulin, besides helping to lower our blood sugar, ends up turning on an enzyme in women called 17, 20 lyase which is found in the Thecal cells of the ovaries. This enzyme produces Testosterone. So the more sugar that is consumed, the more Insulin is produced and therefore the more Testosterone a woman will make. This will lead to not only hair loss, but can also lead to irregular periods, infertility, Polycystic Ovaries, unexplained weight gain, and unwanted hair growth on the face and chest for example. Add to that all of the health concerns with elevated blood sugar by itself as being the leading cause of heart disease and stroke and the fact that this can often times lead to full blown diabetes it becomes really important to pay attention to this hair loss. All cosmetic concerns aside for a moment, this is a sign of some serious stuff here!

At the very beginning of this article I said how astonishing it was to see so many of these complaints. But then when you think of it, how many people (not just women) do you know who head straight for Starbucks or similar establishment for their liquid dessert, first thing in the morning? If you really stop and add up all the sugar that we consume every day either by choice or consequence, it is easy to see how there could be so much hair loss going on. If this is a concern of yours, please, come in and get worked-up and see which one of these mechanisms are at play. You may not only be able to fix your hair, but you could be protecting yourself from much worse things than hair loss.