The Hormone Questions: How Do Hormones Affect Health, Ageing and Menopause?

HB TreatmentsAre you confused about hormones and HRT?
Are only women affected?
What is BHRT? What is Hormone Balancing?
What about natural versus synthetic? What are Bio-identical Hormones?
What happens to our bodies when production of hormones decline, as we get older?
When we talk about hormones, many people automatically think of sex hormones, PMS, or menopause and the controversy over the benefits and risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). But there is so much more to the subject of hormones, and many more hormones to consider than just eostrogen. We hope to answer some of your questions.

Hormones are powerful chemical messengers that play a principle part in the body’s process of homeostasis, and mediate a prodigious array of physiological functions. Hormones are vital for repairing and regulating your bodily functions, and when ageing causes a drop in hormone production, it causes a decline in your body’s ability to repair and regulate itself as well.
Moreover, hormone production is highly interactive: the drop in production of any one hormone is likely to have a feedback effect on the whole mechanism, signaling other organs to release lower levels of other hormones, which will cause other body parts to release lower levels of yet other hormones. This occurs in both men and women.

The new medical specialty of Anti-Ageing Medicine considers Natural Bio-identical Hormone Balancing to be a safe and effective treatment for restoration of youth and wellness, appropriate for both men and women. Sometimes this process is referred to as BHRT—Bio-identical Hormone Replacement. However, we feel that “Balancing” is a more appropriate term than “Replacement”. After complete physical examination and bloodwork analysis, hormones that are shown to be deficient are replaced and balanced, thus ensuring they all remain within normal youthful ranges. This enables the body to feel and function younger. Hormone balancing is an integral and essential element of anti-ageing treatment when used in conjunction with proper nutrition, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

Now to address the dilemma that women over 40 have been facing. Do the benefits of HRT for protection against osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and relief from menopausal symptoms outweigh the increased risk of breast cancer or vice versa? Oestrogen therapy has come under controversy in light of recent studies on its possible link to various cancers, most notably breast cancer. Some doctors feel that the benefits of HRT will outweigh the risks for most women. On the other hand, Dr. Isaac Schiff, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital, comments, “Basically you’re presenting women with the possibility of increasing the risk of getting breast cancer at 60 in order to prevent a heart attack at 70 and hip fracture at age 80. How can you make that decision for a patient?”
The issue became more confusing when the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) halted the Women’s Health Initiative (a large multicenter trial of oestrogen plus progestin in healthy menopausal women) in 2002 because the increased risk of invasive breast cancer outweighed the benefits from the hormone replacement therapy.

However they did not disclose the fact that their researchers used SYNTHETIC, NOT BIO-IDENTICAL HORMONES in the treatment protocol.

What are bio-identical hormones and why use synthetic hormones?
Bio-identical reflects that the chemical structure of the replacement hormone is identical to that of the hormone naturally found in the human body. In order for a replacement hormone to fully replicate the function of hormones that were originally naturally produced and present in the human body, the chemical structure must exactly match the original. Thus, bio-identical replacement therapy, (BHRT) is a method by which replaced hormones follow normal metabolic pathways so that the essential active metabolites are formed in response to the treatment.

So then why use synthetic hormones? Because pharmaceutical companies cannot patent hormones that exactly replicate what the body makes naturally, they have come up with alternative representations, and therefore have no reason to fund studies regarding natural, human-identical hormones, or educate health practitioners in this safer, and healthier form of hormone replacement therapy.