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.  

I Have Low Andro What Now?

Quite often I get male patients that come in complaining of things like low libido, or trouble in bed, etc. and they are desperately trying to find out solutions for their problem. More times than not they have already gone to their primary doctor only to be told that all their hormones look normal and it gets easily brushed off as, “Well it is probably just stress.” So they might be offered a combination of Viagra and/or some anti-depressants or anti-anxiety drugs as a remedy. There is only one problem… The sexual dysfunction still does not come back. So what is going wrong for these men that is apparently getting missed?

Well it just so happens that when it comes to hormones like Testosterone there are actually several different forms in a class of hormones called Adnrogens. Testosterone is right in the middle as far as potency and what we think of in cases like this, DHT is the strongest of the three, and then there is a little known hormone called Androstenedione which is the weakest of the bunch. A very common thing to occur in men, particularly in men who have blood sugar imbalances, or high levels of inflammation, is that the Androstenedione levels begin to rise. They rise so high in fact that they begin to outcompete Testosterone and DHT for the binding sites on the cells. Androstenedione being a weak cousin to Testosterone will then only offer a very weak Testosterone like experience vs. what a man is used to with the other more potent forms of the hormones. So for all intensive purposes this man will present with “low testosterone” symptoms. But if you recall, his testosterone was normal. So how then do you figure out his problem?

Well the answer is simple… You test for all of the sex hormones! An easy solution that unfortunately is not being done in the typical doctor’s office. If you run a complete hormone panel and find that the Androstenedione is high then you have to fix the Androstenedione. If you find that Testosterone is low then you find out why and fix that. If you find that Estrogen is high then you go after the Estrogen. All of these scenarios will make for a “low Testosterone” experience. And all may be given replacement hormones or erection producing pills without ever really understanding the mechanisms at hand. Is that good care? Let me just warn you now that if you take replacement Testosterone when your have otherwise normal levels of Testosterone then you are harming yourself! And coming off of the hormone will be really uncomfortable to say the least.

So this is what I do. I help people figure out the exact mechanism of what is going on in their bodies. I then offer step by step plans to get back on track without the use of heavy medications. Give me a call today, and don’t let where you live stop you. I do this kind of work all over the country by phone and email consultations. But until then, be happy, and be healthy. And don’t settle for less than you deserve.