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Supplementing for Optimal Health: When ‘Getting By’ Isn’t Enough

I remember when I took my first baby steps into the world of dietary supplements. I was overwhelmed! My knowledge level was at ground zero (or less) ― and to say I had a lot to learn is at best an understatement.

Thankfully, I worked closely with a wonderful restorative doctor, Dr. Sergey Dzugan, who had the patience to explain things and answer my many questions. He is still my mentor today.

Among all that I learned about supplements, the following three lessons stand out as really important for anyone interested in exploring how vitamins and minerals can exponentially improve their health and quality of life.

How Much Is Enough?

My supplement education began with understanding that I had to let go of some erroneous preconceptions.

I had always thought that if my vitamin and mineral levels measured at the Reference Intake (RI) (or, in the U.S., the Recommended Daily Allowance, or RDA) levels, then all was well. I must be healthy!

What I learned is that those numbers are averages. They don’t apply to everyone.

But more importantly, while those levels might technically prevent a deficiency, they aren’t sufficient. It is well known in the ‘world of restorative medicine’ that they are not enough to optimize cellular function and inadequate levels mean you’re always operating at less than your best.

Moreover, sub-optimal vitamin and mineral levels that persist over a long period of time can lead to diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, depression and premature death. All those diseases we so dread. Diseases associated with old age.

These are diseases that, with optimal levels of vitamins and minerals, we can avoid.

Did you know, for example, that if you go for 30 to 40 years without enough folate for optimal function, your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease will double? It’s a great incentive for folic acid (folate) supplementation.

You can blame a lot of long-term degeneration on nutrient-poor diets ― diets high in carbs, sugar, and processed foods. But even the supposed ‘good’ food we get is all too often inadequate to meet our nutrient needs. Grocery stores are filled with GMO (genetically modified organism) foods . . . foods grown in nutrient-depleted soil . . . foods produced by plants sprayed with poisonous pesticides and other toxic chemicals.

Some foods fail to give us needed nutrients, while daily exposure to environmental toxins, as well as certain drugs, deplete our bodies of what essential nutrients we already have.

It’s up to us to restore nutrients up to our level of need.

LESSON 1: Most people today, despite test results saying they’re within ‘normal’ range, don’t get all the nutrients they need from food. Research tells us they’re likely to be deficient in one or more vitamins. Consequently, almost everyone needs to supplement in order to build a strong foundation for lifelong health.

Which Supplement to Buy?

Another important thing I learned is that you can’t assume just any supplement will provide your body with the raw materials it needs to thrive. But which ones to buy?

Confronted with a massive wall of shelved vitamins, minerals and herbs, how can you tell which ones may truly be judged excellent? How can you avoid wasting your money on supplements that don’t help you? Or worse, cause harm?

It feels like walking through a minefield! The choices are seemingly endless, and there’s almost no government regulation to ensure product quality, safety and efficacy.

In the UK, most supplements are regulated not as drugs but as foods by the Food Standards Agency and the Department of Health (FSADH). They’re regulated as a medicine only if the manufacturer makes a medical claim ― in other words, after it has caused harm. The same is true in the US.

Before a supplement company brings a product to market, it is not required to:

  • Do clinical studies to verify that it does what it’s claimed to do
  • Test the product to verify that it’s safe
  • Meet standards of purity for ingredients
  • Ensure that labels accurately reflect the product’s actual contents

When supplements randomly taken from the shelves of stores have been tested for quality and purity, many labels have proved shockingly deceptive.

In one US study, the New York State attorney general’s office tested dietary supplements from four major retailers. Around 80% of the samples tested didn’t contain so much as a trace of the herbs listed on the label. Many consisted mostly of cheap fillers ― powdered rice, vegetables and houseplants ― that weren’t even listed on the label, and one contained powdered wheat, to which many people are allergic, even though its label said the product was wheat- and gluten-free.

Charges filed included mislabeling, contamination and false advertising.

The sad thing is, this wasn’t just a one-off. Because quality and safety regulations are lax to non-existent, this kind of deception is common in both the US and the UK. In fact, studies in the UK indicate that many supplements are contaminated with banned and often dangerous substances. Unfortunately, low price often equates to low quality.

LESSON 2: Buyer beware.

How Do You Know You’re Really Getting the Goods?

This is your first step towards securing your health . . .helping yourself to perform at your peak and prevent disease.

The best advice I can share is to buy from a reputable source ― a source that has a thorough knowledge of supplements, knows the importance of adequate active ingredients and understands their role in proactively achieving optimal health.

In the meantime, bear in mind that most women need to take:

  • A high-quality multivitamin
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D3
  • Omega3 fatty acids
  • Probiotics

The market is overrun with poor-quality products, so please be aware that it is important to know what you are looking for. Look for supplements supported by:

  • Basic science and clinical trials
  • Credible 3rd-party analysis and testing
  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
  • Commitment to content integrity (freedom from contaminants, preservatives and chemical agents commonly found in low-quality products)

LESSON 3: Working with an experienced restorative medicine doctor, buy supplements from companies that are backed by science and adhere to good manufacturing processes.

At Menopause Woman, we carry only products that meet the most exacting standards of purity. All our supplements observe GMP guidelines, which is your guarantee that they are consistently controlled and produced according to quality standards. They also comply with the EU Supplement Directive, adopted in 2002.

All our supplements have a long record of safety and efficacy. You can be assured that our products are made with ingredients sourced to meet the most stringent qualifications for quality, satisfy your highest expectations and deliver reliable, scientifically proven support for your health.

SOURCES:

  • Dr. Mark Hyman Takes the Guesswork Out of Vitamin Supplements. The Daniel Plan.
  • How to Choose a Quality Vitamin Supplement. Black Bear Naturopathic clinic, PC.
  • O’Connor, A. New York Attorney General Targets Supplements at Major Retailers. New York Times. February 3, 2015
  • Safety of contaminated vitamins and nutritional supplements can’t be left to consumers. The Conversation. May 5, 2015.
  • 10 surprising dangers of vitamins and supplements. Consumer Reports magazine. Sept. 2012.
  • Warner, B. To Trust or Not to Trust? What’s in Your Supplements? HealthyBalanceMD.com.

Are You Menopausal? 4 Reasons You Should Get a Menopause Test

Your periods have become erratic. Tears come from nowhere. Sleep is elusive, and you’re plagued with sudden, unaccustomed bouts of irritability and unexplained fatigue. On top of it all, you sometimes feel as though you’ve inadvertently walked into a furnace going at full blast!

Could this mayhem be . . . MENOPAUSE? All this mayhem could mean it’s time to schedule a menopause test.

The onset of perimenopause to full-on menopause can take as long as ten years. Sometimes women go for lengthy spans of time without periods, only to have them resume. So how do you know for sure when menopause has truly arrived?

If you’ve missed a period or have begun experiencing some or all of the symptoms above (or others associated with menopause such as vaginal dryness, low libido and painful intercourse), then you should consider having a menopause test.

Why? Here are four good reasons.

A menopause test, which tests your blood, can:

  1. Eliminate (or confirm) the possibility of pregnancy
  2. Help confirm that you’ve actually embarked on your menopausal journey
  3. Enable you to restore your hormones to optimal, youthful levels and banish those life-disrupting symptoms
  4. Help guard against development of chronic disease

You Need to Know What Your Blood Can Tell You

Out-of-control menopausal symptoms can make you feel helpless. But knowing what your blood can tell you gives you control over your erratic hormones, which in turn quiets your body and mind.

As you enter perimenopause ― the beginning of menopause ― your oestrogens and progesterone levels begin to fall, disrupting your hormonal balance.

A lot of people mistakenly think menopause is all about oestrogens. But your hormones don’t work in isolation. They’re like a symphony, and all need to play the right notes relative to the others.

In other words, your sex hormones (oestrogens, progesterone and testosterone) all need to be in balance ― that is, in the right ratio, one to another, and at their respective optimal levels. When one hormone level (such as oestradiol, a type of oestrogen) drops, it affects the others.

A menopause test does two important things. It:

  1. Measures the levels of hormones in your blood
  2. Enables a doctor specialised in restorative medicine and extensively trained in bioidentical hormones to accurately prescribe bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT) to restore your optimal hormone ratios.

Rebalancing your hormones to the proper levels enables you to rid your body and mind of disturbing menopausal symptoms and restore equilibrium to your life. Bioidentical hormones exactly match the molecular makeup of your natural hormones, so they’re easily absorbed and have no harmful side effects.

Blood Tests Also Give You Long-Term Benefits

The benefit of doing a menopause test doesn’t end with expelling menopausal symptoms. Throughout menopause, you’ll need periodic retesting. Why? Hormones continually fluctuate. Retesting allows your doctor to adjust your BHRT prescriptions as needed to maintain your optimal hormone ratios. BHRT has to be customised to each woman’s individual needs.

But you should also continue your blood tests and BHRT throughout your postmenopausal years. That’s the joy of BHRT over HRT! We can take BHRT for life!

Science has gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about physiological markers that allow us to detect disease risk and foresee impending illnesses and disease. The knowledge you gain from your blood tests enables you to become aware of future risks to your health and prevent those risks from becoming reality.

With hormonal disruption, you’re more susceptible to chronic disease. With regular blood tests and ongoing fine-tuning of your hormones, you can forestall degenerative effects of ageing such as diabetes, cancer, obesity and other diseases.

In short, blood tests are an indispensable tool for keeping your health (and possibly your sanity!) on an even keel through menopause, but they also enable you to recapture the vitality and health of a younger you as you age.

Menopause Woman’s Healthy Woman 40+ Hormone Blood Test includes testing for total oestrogen (oestrone, oestradiol, oestriol), progesterone, total testosterone and DHEA-S.

Why not get started today on a symptom-free, healthier life?

SOURCE:

Braman, N. Blood Test to Determine Menopause. eHow.

Hair Growth Supplements – What Are They?

Must-haves for your Hair Loss Arsenal

With age, and especially with the disruptions to your hormones that come with menopause, your hair can take a real hit. It can grow dull and lifeless. Even worse, you can begin losing more than the typical 50-100 hairs a day.

A LOT more!

How much money have you spent on products that promise to put a halt to your shedding hair and regrow your long-lamented, disappearing locks? And how many of them have failed to stop still more hair from being whooshed down the drain?

The answer just might lie in treating the problem from the inside. Certain hair growth supplements have specific properties that can tackle the causes of hair loss at the site of the problem. In addition, hair care products made with natural ingredients rather than harsh chemicals can give your hair the nurturing it needs and deserves.

Vitamin C: Not Only to Keep Colds at Bay

It’s wisdom that’s been passed down through generations: Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, can help prevent colds. Today, however. vitamin C is gaining in reputation as an amazing anti-ageing ingredient in advanced skincare formulations.

 

But in supplement form, it’s equally potent as a defender against hair loss ― and for one of the same reasons: collagen.

Collagen: Vitamin C is one of the most effective ways to boost your production of collagen, an antioxidant and protein that is equally important to a full, healthy head of hair it as it is to smooth, firm skin.

In the 1700s, it was discovered that citrus fruits could help prevent scurvy. It wasn’t known why at the time, but the magic ingredient was eventually identified as vitamin C. Scurvy is actually caused by a vitamin C deficiency that disrupts the body’s ability to manufacture collagen and connective tissues in the skin.

Hair loss is a proven sign of vitamin C deficiency. Supplementing with vitamin C supports the production of collagen, which is a hair-building protein.

Tyrosine: Vitamin C is needed for the production of tyrosine, an amino acid essential to coping with stress as well as maintaining the structural integrity of your hair follicles and the hair strands they produce. Tyrosine is a precursor of epinephrine (adrenaline), a stress hormone that helps prevent three types of stress-induced hair loss: alopecia areata (hair falls out in round patches), telogen effluvium (excessive, diffuse thinning of hair) and trichotillomania (compulsive hair-pulling).

Antioxidant properties: Free radicals ― unstable molecules that attack and mutate healthy cells, causing destructive inflammation ― are created in the process of producing energy from food. Vitamin C combats free radicals and helps prevent them from damaging your hair.

DHT Inhibition: DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which is produced from the male hormone testosterone, is the chief cause of androgenic alopecia (diffuse thinning), a common cause of hair loss. DHT produces a specific protein that blocks the reception and activation of papilla cells, which transport nutrients to cells in hair follicles. Blocking papilla cells effectively ‘starves’ hair follicles and prevents hair growth.

Studies have shown that vitamin C not only inhibits this destructive protein ― it also increases a growth factor in papilla cells that can lead to a reversal of hair loss.

Vitamin E: Antioxidant Heavyweight

Vitamin E’s greatest claim to fame is as an antioxidant, cleaning up the damage caused by free radicals’ attacks on other molecules and preventing propagation of more free radicals. This protects the hair, along with other tissues and organs, from further mayhem.

Because free radical damage is ongoing, vitamin E (e.g., Vitamin E – Hi Gamma Formula or Vitamin E Complex) is an ongoing need.

Specifically, supplementing with vitamin E helps to stabilize the structure of hair follicles and lower the rate of hair loss. It also increases capillary growth, aids in transporting nutrients to hair follicle cells, and promotes accelerated hair growth and repair of damaged hair shafts.

Two More Ways to Get Your Collagen

Colladivine by Natural Energy is a high-powered collagen hair growth supplement, providing three types of bioactive collagen, plus zinc citrate, another important hair nutrient.

 

Collagen is an important catalyst for the repair and growth of hair, as well tissue throughout your body. It strengthens not only your hair but your skin, helping to prevent skin aging, minimizing fine lines and improving skin texture.

Original Silica by Eurohealth is a component of collagen that’s everywhere in your body ― in your skin, your nails, your muscles, your bones and, yes, in every hair on your head.

 

One major way that silica helps with hair loss is its ability to help re-balance your sex hormones. An imbalance in the hormones, such as occurs with menopause, is a major cause of hair loss and thinning hair.

Another factor is silica’s alkalizing properties, which help ensure mineral nourishment of hair follicles, which your hair needs to grow and thrive. It improves hair texture and helps prevent breakage.

TLC for Your Thinning Hair

The importance of feeding your hair with restorative nutrients that strengthen it and promote growth can’t be overstated. But tender loving care is important, too. Most shampoos and conditioners ― including many marketed as hair-healthy ― are loaded with ingredients ranging from those that actually harm your hair to those that endanger your health.

Just because a product is labeled ‘organic’ or ‘natural,’ don’t automatically believe it. Read the fine print!

There are too many culprits to name here, but for starters, don’t buy anything made with:

  • Sulphates (sodium lauryl sulphate or sodium laureth sulphate), which are linked to cancer
  • Parabens, a hormone disruptor linked to breast cancer and premature puberty in girls
  • Phthalates/Fragrance, also a hormone disruptor, linked to early onset puberty, asthma and possibly cancer.

These and other chemicals can strip away natural oils from the scalp and damage hair follicles. They can make the scalp dry and itchy, and even cause or exacerbate hair loss.

Look for ingredients that come from sources found in nature ― for example, those used in chemical-free shampoos and conditioners such as Tabitha James Kraan’s Amber Rose and Golden Citrus Organic Hair Cleansers.

 

These use no chemical detergents, are anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal and they don’t strip away your natural oils. They moisturize, restore and protect your hair, leaving it with beautiful body and shine.

There’s no question ― saving your hair from unbalanced hormones, rampant DHT, out-of-control stress, or just plain age can be a real battle. But attacking it with the right hair growth supplements and natural hair care products can put you on the winning side, restoring your hair to its former fullness and vitality.

SOURCES:

Daya, S. The Best Kept Secret For Healthy Hair, Radiant Skin and Strong Nails. Victoria Health.
Harriman, D. L-Tyrosine and Hair Loss. LIVESTRONG.com
Hourglass, PJ. Who Discovered How to Prevent Scurvy? The Pharmaceutical Journal. Mar. 30, 2011.
Shampoo: What to Look For, What to Avoid. Ecology Center. June 6, 2012.
Vitamin C for Hair Loss ― How It Helps. Progressive Health.

Hair loss, Hormones and How To Regain Beautiful Hair

In preparation for the Big Change she knew was coming, my friend Isabella did a lot of reading. She learned that all in all, despite its reputation, menopause can be an exciting time of life ― a time of growth and self-exploration (not to mention freedom from inconvenient and sometimes painful periods).

Having always been a ’think-positive’ person, Isabella took it all to heart and bravely faced the onset of menopause with the attitude of setting forth on an exciting new venture.

Until she realised she was losing her hair.

Isabella’s hair had always been her glory, but after every wash and blow-dry, more of it ended up on the bathroom floor. Week after week, her hair became thinner and thinner. Finally, her nearly-bare scalp was on plain view for all the world to see, and as her ponytail became ever smaller and wispier, the always-optimistic Isabella grew increasingly depressed.

Isabella wasn’t the first woman to experience dramatic hair loss as she embarked on this life transition. It also happens at other times of hormonal upheaval. For example, after pregnancy.

When a woman is pregnant, her oestrogen levels soar, and her hair may become dramatically longer, thicker, fuller and shinier. However, after giving birth, her oestrogen levels plunge. The shedding and resting periods of her hair’s growth cycle lengthen, and she experiences hair loss, which, thankfully, is usually temporary.

Although it often catches women by surprise, menopause, too, brings hormonal changes that disrupt the hair growth cycle. Nearly half of all women experience menopausal hair thinning.

What Do Your Ovaries Have to Do With Your Hair?

Your ovaries produce oestrogen and progesterone. When you’re premenopausal, their levels, as a general rule, are at their peak and (oestrogen more directly than progesterone) help keep testosterone at its correct level and within safe ratios. But with the onset of menopause, your ovaries begin to shut down, and your oestrogen and progesterone levels drop, setting in motion a process that can lead to thinning hair.

You don’t normally have a large amount of testosterone. But as oestrogen and progesterone diminish at a greater and faster rate relative to testosterone, your testosterone gains in comparative strength. When that happens, more testosterone is converted into a potent androgenic hormone, DHT, via an enzyme known as 5-alpha reductase.

We now have an increase of DHT. The increased DHT production wants to kill your hair, literally.

DHT attaches to receptor cells in scalp follicles and causes them to shrink. That’s a near-death sentence for healthy hair. Hair will thin, although in women it rarely results in completely bald patches.

Stressed Tresses Are Unhappy Tresses

High levels of stress, along with anxiety and depression, are a common manifestation of the mood swings frequently experienced by women during menopause. It’s also among the most common symptoms associated with menopausal hair thinning.

The growth cycle of hair has four phases:

  • Anagen: Growth phase, lasting 2–6 years
  • Catagen: Short phase (approximately 2–3 weeks) when the follicle shrinks a bit
  • Telogen: Inactive phase
  • Exogen: Hair falls out

The average woman has 90,000 to 150,000 hairs on her head at any one time, in all different phases, and she loses around 50–100 a day. Dermatologist Kurt Stenn, author of Hair: A Human History, believes that very high stress levels disrupt the growth cycle, prematurely halting the growth (anagen) phase. The hairs all go into the resting (telogen) phase and then, after a three-month delay, fall out (the exogen phase) at around 10 times the usual rate.

This hair-loss pattern has been shown with mice after being stressed by loud noises. It has also been demonstrated with rhesus macaque monkeys who were found to have cortisol (the stress hormone) dominance.

Interestingly, declining hormone levels are one of the primary causes of continuous physiological stress. This in itself puts both the body and the brain under an incredible and continuous stress load. If you’re highly stressed and menopausal, it’s a very bad mix. Your overall stress will then be exacerbated, both physically and mentally.

Stress mutes hormones, which will sequentially affect your female hormones, testosterone production, and DHT production. The amount of DHT production in the body from day to day depends on the amount and balance of testosterone.

Unfortunately, losing your hair is upsetting and kicks many women’s stress level into overdrive, which compounds the problem.

How To Restore Hormones For Beautiful Healthy Hair?

Because menopausal hair loss is so linked to hormonal disruption ― hormone imbalances associated with the end of fertility ― it’s a signal that you need to see a restorative medicine doctor who is fully trained in bioidentical hormones restorative therapy (BHRT).

Your restorative medical doctor will test your hormones to assess their status and prescribe naturally derived hormones that have exactly the same molecular structure as the hormones made in your own body.

You can read all about Hormonal Health in Jill’s book, ‘The Menopause Cure‘.

The right hormones in the right doses will retune your hormones ― bring them into the optimal ratios needed to restore their hormonal balance… as well as a full head of beautiful, healthy hair!

SOURCES

Beck, J. Why Stress Makes Your Hair Fall Out. The Atlantic. Mar. 2, 2016.
Causes of Hair Loss. American Hair Loss Association.
Gottfried, S. Hair Loss, Hormones and How to Regain Your Luscious Locks. Dr. Sara Gottfried MD.
Hormonal Changes ― Female Hair Loss. Medic8.
Menopause ― Female Hair Loss Guide. Medic8.

Oestrogen – Should you take Pills or a Gel?

When the oestrogen/progestin (synthetic progesterone) arm of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study abruptly shut down back in July 2002, women were shocked . . . stunned. It wasn’t only the study’s participants. It was equally devastating to the millions of other women around the world taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT), thinking they were doing something good for themselves.

The sudden knowledge that they might be risking coronary heart disease, breast cancer, stroke or pulmonary embolism so terrified women that many immediately quit their hormones, cold turkey.

Then in February 2004 came the aftershock: the oestrogen-alone (oestrogen replacement therapy, or ERT) arm of the study shut down when it became apparent that it not only failed to prevent heart disease ― it increased the risk of stroke.

Besides shock, fear and disappointment, the WHI failure sparked enormous confusion over the use of hormones to ease the transition into and through menopause.

Today, we understand a great deal more about hormones, and we have the option of bioidentical hormones (BHRT), but we still have confusion, especially about what kind of oestrogens to take. Sublingual drops? Patches? Pills? Injections? Pellets? Vaginal ring? Transdermal gels and creams (which are preferable and safer)?

It’s enough to make you dizzy! But to try and clear up some of the confusion, and to make things a bit simpler, I’m going to focus on only one question: Of the two most popular oestrogen-delivery systems, which is best ― oral (pills) or transdermal (applied to the skin)?

Oral oestrogens are used in ERT and HRT, and transdermal oestrogens are used in bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT), along with other natural hormones, such as progesterone.

But first, let’s clear up what makes ERT/HRT oestrogens different from BHRT oestrogens.

ERT/HRT vs. BHRT Oestrogens: What’s the Difference?

The most common form of ERT is Premarin®, a conjugated oestrogen obtained from the urine of pregnant mares. HRT, most often marketed as Prempro®, is a combination of, once again, horse oestrogens, and progestin, a synthetic substitute for progesterone.

Both come in a fixed-dose pill form. And they’re synthetic. That means these oestrogens are not of natural origin. They don’t replicate your own oestrogens ― they’re chemicals that merely imitate the natural hormone. They can’t function in your body the same way as the oestrogens created by your body.

To work properly, hormones have to bind with specific target receptor cells in your body, like a key in a lock. The synthetic form of hormones can’t completely bond with receptors because the key does not totally fit. Because of this, they can’t work as they should, they confuse the body, and therefore, can predispose you to cancer and other diseases.

On the other hand, BHRT oestrogens, like all bioidentical hormones, are derived from wild yam and soy plants. They have exactly the same molecular architecture as the oestrogens produced in your own body. That means they are fully equipped to do everything that your own ‘homemade’ oestrogens do ― including binding to receptors.

And as we will see, ERT/HRT and BHRT oestrogens are metabolized in completely different ways, which makes a world of difference in their safety and effectiveness.

What’s the Scoop on Oral Estrogens?

Unfortunately, what we’ve learned about oestrogens post-WHI has not attracted publicity anywhere near that surrounding the study’s sensational, premature end. As a result, many women are unaware of these advances. Nonetheless, we’ve gained a great deal of useful knowledge since then.

For one, we’ve learned about what happens when you swallow oestrogens in pill form ― specifically about what occurs in your body physiologically and how it affects the metabolism of the oestrogens you ingest.

Once you swallow an ERT/HRT pill, it makes a beeline for your liver. It passes through the gut, where it undergoes preprocessing. From there, it goes into the large portal vein and then on into the liver. There, it’s metabolised before it circulates throughout your system.

This route means that oral oestrogens enter the liver much more directly and in a much more concentrated form than the natural oestrogens created in your ovaries. With oral oestrogens, your liver is hit with a dose of around 1,000–2,000 micrograms of oestrogen instead of 100–200 micrograms.

It’s no exaggeration to say this is an overload that can stress the liver.

The effects of oral oestrogens can be erratic and unpredictable, varying with the dose and the individual. Oral oestrogens may:

  • Increase or decrease the synthesis of various proteins in the liver, either raising or lowering levels of blood-clotting factors, testosterone, oestrogens and thyroid hormones, potentially resulting in blood clots, strokes, blocked hormone function, elevated blood pressure and triglyceride levels, and suppressed thyroid function
  • Produce unwanted products of metabolism (metabolites) that increase risk of oestrogen-sensitive cancers

Initially, oestrogen-only fixed doses were set at high levels in order to relieve vasomotor menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats. However, these doses have been shown to be excessive, causing adverse effects such as weight gain, water retention, fibrocystic breasts and the much more serious risks of breast and uterine cancers.

Later, when progestin (synthetic progesterone) was added to the horse oestrogens (as in Prempro), the uterine cancer risk lessened, but breast cancer risk increased, along with risk of blood clots, stroke and gallbladder disease.

What Makes BHRT Transdermal Estrogens Different?

Bioidentical transdermal oestrogen therapy comes in the form of a compounded (individually mixed) gel or cream that is applied topically. The dose is tailored to your test results, which show what is needed to restore your oestrogens to their optimal and proper levels.

Instead of being first metabolised by the liver, transdermal oestrogen acts exactly as the oestrogens produced by your ovaries. That is, it is transported through the bloodstream, reaches its target tissues, attaches to oestrogen receptors and is then metabolised in the liver. The liver is the end point, not the starting point. We are following nature here.

That completely alters how transdermal oestrogens works. Compared with oral oestrogens, BHRT transdermal oestrogens don’t:

  • negatively impact liver protein synthesis
  • produce unwanted metabolites that raise cancer risk
  • increase your risk for blood clots, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, etc.
  • have unpredictable effects or
  • stress your liver

It is also worth noting that oestradiol produced in your ovaries is easily eliminated in urine within one day, whereas synthetic oestrogens can remain in your body for up to 13 weeks before elimination. Your body is designed to metabolise your own oestrogens and, in this case, bioidentical hormones which are an exact copy of your own, NOT horse hormones.

And the Winner Is…

In the United Kingdom and the United States, HRT oral formulations of oestrogens are more frequently prescribed than BHRT transdermal formulations. Why this is so is unclear, but it’s high time to clear up the confusion.

Hands down, transdermal oestrogens are far safer and more effective!

True, ERT and oestrogens found in HRT have been studied much more extensively than BHRT oestrogens but much of that research leads to the conclusion that these synthetic hormones are not something you want to put in your body.

The clinical evidence on BHRT oestrogens is persuasive and mounting: Transdermal oestrogens have a far stronger safety and efficiency profile than oral ERT/HRT oestrogens. It’s not even close.

In the end, it comes down to one thing. To avoid risk of chronic disease and other health problems, the molecular structure has to be the same as that of your natural oestrogens. The same holds true for progesterone, which should always be taken with oestrogen to ensure maintenance of the correct ratio.

To make sure you’re prescribed BHRT transdermal oestrogens (together with progesterone), make sure to work with a doctor specially trained in restorative medicine and bioidentical hormones who understands why this form of oestrogen is preferable.

SOURCES:

Estrogen Pill vs. Estrogen Patch ― Which Works Best? Virginia Hopkins Test Kits.
Gillson, G.R. and Zava, D.T. A Perspective on HRT for Women: Picking Up the Pieces After the Women’s Health Initiative Trial ― Part 1. International Journal of Pharmacological Compounding. Vol.7 No. 4, July/August 2003.
Liu, B. Is transdermal menopausal hormone therapy a safer option than oral therapy? Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). 2013 Apr. 16; 185(7): 549–550.
Which Type of Estrogen Hormone Therapy Is Right for You?

Why does BHRT Work for Everyone but Me?

We hear wonderful things about bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT), and those glowing reports foster high hopes ― but, sadly, sometimes the experience doesn’t live up to our expectations.

I’ve heard the above question many times, along with others:

  • How come I feel no improvement since taking the prescribed hormones?
  • How come I get more headaches?
  • How come my hair hasn’t returned to its full, healthy, shiny look, as promised?
  • How come my nails are still brittle and cracking?
  • How come I still suffer from mood swings, hot flushes and brain fog?
  • How come my breasts are tender? (A sure sign of oestrogen dominance)
  • How come this natural therapy doesn’t work for me? It’s just not fair!

How come, how come, how come . . . .?

Maybe the answer doesn’t lie in the fundamentals of BHRT. Maybe you just got the wrong doctor ― one who isn’t qualified in this specialty. The person you go to see may be a doctor, but if you experience no improvements or things get worse, then that doctor most certainly is not an expert in restorative medicine or bioidentical hormones.

It’s important to understand that bioidentical hormone therapy is a complex specialisation, and doctors need extensive training to practice it correctly. So the first thing you need to do is find a doctor with the needed knowledge, credentials and experience.

I can assure you that, when you are treated by a doctor trained and experienced in BHRT, it will definitely work for you, not against you. What is more, you will feel its enormous benefits almost immediately. Hot flushes will be calmed, foggy memory cleared, vitality and energy restored and enhanced, and positive thinking renewed.

In short, you will discover the old, familiar YOU, and most likely an even better version ― a better version because this is the time in life when we are at our best. We have everything. We’re experienced, mature, knowledgeable and at our peak intellectually. At this stage, only one thing can hold us back: our declining hormone levels!

Throughout life, we mature for the better through lessons learned and experiences gained. Who wants to lose their love of life, their vitality and/or their cognitive power at forty or fifty? It would be more than sad to let go of that experienced, sophisticated, intellectually mature woman you’ve become.

You don’t have to. You have an option: You can restore your hormones and get your life back. Life will be fun again.

What Happens Next?

Once you find your bioidentical hormone specialist, he or she will request specific blood testing to be done. Test results allow your doctor to understand the exact status of your hormones in order to prescribe the hormones you need in the specific amounts required to match your own personal physiological requirements.

Hormones have to adhere to specific hormone levels and ratios. If they don’t, harmony and balance within your body will remain elusive. The art of BHRT is finding that balance ― a balance that has meaning, the balance necessary to optimise your health status.

It isn’t something that can be done by just any doctor ― certainly not by a doctor who simply got up out of bed one morning and decided to become a ‘specialist’ in dishing out bioidentical hormones. Again, a true BHRT doctor must have extensive training and knowledge.

How Can You Be Sure BHRT Won’t Work Against You?

When prescribed correctly, your body is setup to accept these natural bioidentical hormones. On the other hand, HRT hormone molecules are synthetic and therefore cannot be effective.

Let me explain.

The major issue with synthetic hormones is that they are not like our own hormones. Because they are different in molecular structure, the body cannot understand, metabolise or excrete them easily. As a result, they cause a toxic build-up that increases cancer risk.

In contrast, bioidentical hormones are exact copies of the hormones we have in our bodies. Their molecular structure is the same.

Exact, not similar…

Exact. For this reason, the human infrastructure is ready and willing to accept these hormones. In fact, the body needs these hormones. The body knows what they are and recognizes them as their own.

If we think about it logically, of course bioidentical hormones will work when prescribed at the correct levels and ratios by a bioidentical hormone expert. Why wouldn’t they? They have the exact molecular structure as those naturally produced in our bodies ― only now, unfortunately, at lower levels because of our transition into perimenopause.

The truth is, to avoid the very uncomfortable, and in some cases debilitating symptoms we suffer in menopause, our hormone levels only need to be topped up and brought back into balance.

Symptoms such as depression, mood swings, headaches, hot flushes, weight gain, low libido, loss of confidence, hair loss, foggy memory, fatigue and more are, quite simply, withdrawal symptoms. In perimenopause, your hormone levels suddenly and quite drastically decline, leaving the brain and body very confused. Your body goes into a state of shock because it is missing those hormones it needs to get back on an even keel.

Symptoms are your body’s way of talking to you. Telling you something is wrong. We need to learn to listen to our bodies and restore those very precious missing molecules. Only when they are prescribed incorrectly will bioidentical hormones not work and potentially cause problems.

The key to successful BHRT is to find the right doctor ― one who is highly trained and experienced. When you find that doctor, it will work. Bioidentical hormones are safe and highly efficient when properly prescribed.

I can tell you from my own experience that restoring your hormones to their proper balance can give you back your happy, healthy self, free of debilitating symptoms. Best of all, you’ll learn that ‘the change’ in your life can be a truly positive change ― one that ushers in an exciting time of health, personal growth and productivity.

You can also understand far more by reading Jill’s book.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine – Protecting your Heart and your Head

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) is known for its strong benefits for brain health ― improved neuron health, plus mental energy, alertness and function ― but did you know that the L-carnitine part of this compound also provides potent heart protection?

ALCAR gives you a true two-for-one benefit!

Unlike L-carnitine, ALCAR contains acetyl, which enables it to cross the blood/brain barrier. The acetate molecule in ALCAR is especially important in producing a neurotransmitter that facilitates many of your brain’s cognitive functions. It is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and is a potent antioxidant that protects the brain’s neurons from corrosive free-radical damage. Plus, it offers better bioavailability than L-carnitine.

But thanks to its L-carnitine component, ALCAR, an amino acid, it also plays an especially important role in heart function, helping to transport this vital organ’s preferred long-chain fatty acids to its cells’ mitochondria, where they’re used to produce energy.

In April of 2013, we learned a great deal about how carnitine can help your heart beat longer and stronger. The Mayo Clinic released a massive analytic research review that documented huge benefits to heart health for those who supplement with L-carnitine.

This study, which examined 13 controlled trials with a total of 3,629 participants, put to rest any doubt that L-carnitine is a friend to your heart.

L-Carnitine Improves Angina and More…

Myocardial infarction is when cells in an area of the heart die due to oxygen deprivation caused by obstruction to the blood supply. In other words, a heart attack. When this happens, the supply of carnitine in diseased heart tissue can plummet to a very low level.

The Mayo Clinic review found that L-carnitine supplementation of heart attack patients resulted in 65% less ventricular arrhythmias (abnormal, irregular heartbeats), while patients with angina (chest pain) who had had a previous heart attack had a 40% reduction in symptoms.

These results were attributed to improvement of several mechanisms:

  1. Improved mitochondrial energy metabolism: Carnitine helps convert fat into energy within the mitochondria portion of cells.
  2. Decreased myocardial ischemia: Carnitine improves blood flow to the heart.
  3. Improved left ventricle function: Carnitine enables the chamber on the lower left side of the heart to more efficiently pump blood out to the rest of the body

Authors of the Mayo Clinic study concluded that carnitine is an inexpensive therapy that has an “excellent safety profile.” Evidence suggests it can be regarded as a promising therapy for heart attack, prevention and treatment of secondary heart attacks, and support for heart attack victims at risk for angina.

Carnitine Lessens After-Effects of Cardiovascular Events

In the wake of a heart attack, many people experience angina. One controlled study of 200 people with angina found that the vast majority of those who took L-carnitine not only had less chest pain but also saw improvement on several measures of heart function and shrinkage of damaged heart tissue.
The status of the heart muscle is critical for heart patients. Damage to the heart muscle from heart attacks and heart failure can impair the heart’s ability to metabolise energy from fats. Energy from fat accounts for around 60% of the energy your heart must have to function.

Carnitine levels are particularly low in patients with damaged heart muscle caused by heart attacks and heart failure. The good news is that carnitine supplementation can strengthen the heart and even reverse the ill effects of carnitine deficiency.

One study found that heart attack survivors given 4 grams of L-carnitine for 12 months had significant drops in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as improved blood lipids, compared with those on placebo. They also had a much better death rate ― only 1.2% for the year, compared with 12.5% for those not on L-carnitine. Most of the deaths were due to recurrence of heart attack.

Carnitine supplementation also prevents progressive damage to heart muscle in those who have congestive heart failure. For those at risk for angina with physical exertion, it can improve exercise tolerance.

The Takeaway?

You need energy production in your heart, but that’s not all. You need to generate energy in your mitochondria body-wide. Consequently, L-carnitine deficiency is a serious matter. Just think what your life would be without energy!

Red meat is the primary source of carnitine, but, depending on your diet, you may not get enough. What is more, you can develop carnitine deficiency for a number of reasons. Plus, carnitine production naturally declines with age.

Here’s the thing: A carnitine deficiency leads to widespread destruction of mitochondria, which is likely to hasten death.

Heart attacks don’t announce their arrival, so you will be wise to plan ahead. If you’re low on carnitine when a heart attack hits, you’ll be even less prepared to recover. Supplementing with L-carnitine is a little like buying insurance: It gives you a bit of added protection ― a leg up, so to speak, on recovery.

Since L-carnitine is included in acetyl-L-carnitine, which also provides superior brain protection, it’s a great way to build your store of heart-protective L-carnitine.

SOURCES:

Bronwell, L. Carnitine Restores Cellular Function. Life Extension Magazine. Mar. 2013.

Faloon, W., Joyal, S.V., et.al. REPORT: Rebuttal to Attack Against Carnitine. Life Extension Magazine. Aug. 2013.

Scaglia, F. Carnitine Deficiency. Medscape. Mar. 20, 2017.

Seher, C. L-Carnitine Linked to Cardiac Health ― Research Suggests This Amino Acid Could Help Cardiac Patients. Today’s Dietitian. Vol. 15, No. 9., p. 76., Sept. 2013.

Shan. Does L-Carnitine and Acetyl-L-Carnitine Help Improve Heart Health? HealthResource4U.

Three Key Supplements To Fight Hot Flushes With

Vitamin E, Folic Acid and Krill Oil: Good for Hot Flushes – and a Lot More

Vitamin E, folic acid and krill oil are three supplements that have all been shown to help ease the miseries of hot flushes ― but when you take them for menopausal symptoms, surprise! You get lots of wonderful health benefits as a bonus.

Here are a few. . .

Vitamin E: A Power Antioxidant

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s a key player in organ, enzyme and brain function. It helps with vaginal dryness as well as hot flushes. But it also:

Fights free radicals:

Take, for example, cholesterol. You’ve probably been told, and wrongly so, that cholesterol is bad for you. Unfortunately we are not being given the full picture here.

Read my book The Cholesterol Puzzle and get the truth and a full understanding of cholesterol and its benefits.

Cholesterol has many, many important functions in the body and is a necessary building block of just about every system in the body. In other words, it is a major part of what keeps the human infrastructure up and running correctly. It is essential to keeping your hormones, cells and nerves healthy and functioning properly.

It’s only when free radicals (rogue molecules) oxidize cholesterol that it can become harmful. Once oxidized it can more easily slip through the endothelium (innermost layer of the arteries). Oxidation is the damage ― something like rust ― caused by free radicals. We call that oxidative stress.

As a powerhouse antioxidant, vitamin E combats oxidative stress, not only to cholesterol but to cells throughout your body. Less free radical damage means less risk of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

  • it improves your resistance to disease:

Vitamin E’s ability to prevent cellular damage and inflammation helps prevent cancer (lung, esophageal, colorectal, etc.) as well as heart disease, and it naturally helps slow the ageing process.

Researchers have also found vitamin E’s ability to reduce oxidative stress promotes better blood glucose control. The result is improved blood sugar balance, which, if not controlled, can lead to type 2 diabetes, a key player in cardiovascular disease.

What is more, vitamin E keeps your immune system strong and disease-resistant by combating viruses and harmful bacteria.

Further, clinical research shows that while vitamin E may not prevent Alzheimer’s disease, it slows functional decline better than a commonly prescribed Alzheimer’s drug. This effect may be due to its role in synthesizing acetylcholine, a primary neurotransmitter for memory and cognition that has been shown to be at low levels in Alzheimer’s patients.

Folic Acid: The Multi-Purpose Vitamin

A 2010 article in Gynecological Endocrinology reported that folic acid (vitamin B9) reduces the number and intensity of women’s menopausal hot flushes. It also lowers risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Great news for women, but folic acid does much more.

Activated folic acid assists with DNA synthesis, prevention of birth defects, immune and nervous system function, and mucous membrane tissue health (digestive tract, cervix and vagina). In addition,

  • it reduces homocysteine:

Homocysteine, an amino acid, is an inflammatory marker linked with hardening and thickening of blood vessels. If your levels are high, it doubles or triples your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Folic acid improves heart health by lowering homocysteine levels, thereby lessening atherosclerosis and reducing arterial wall thickening. Research shows that patients who are most successful in decreasing homocysteine levels have the greatest reduction in cardiovascular risk.

Homocysteine is also associated with Alzheimer’s disease, brain atrophy, hearing loss, osteoporosis, cervical cancer, migraines and even macular degeneration.

Krill Oil: The Super Omega-3

Canadian studies show that krill oil can reduce your number of hot flushes, the effects of stress and menopause-related depression. It also improves inflammation, joint function, energy metabolism and blood glucose levels. As if that weren’t enough,

  • it protects your heart:

In multiple studies, krill oil has proved to be more effective than fish oil at lowering high triglycerides ― a primary risk factor for heart disease.

Krill EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) also quell inflammation in your blood vessels.

In addition, krill oil lowers blood pressure. Its anticoagulant effect helps to prevent atherosclerosis and blood clots, which can cause heart attacks and strokes (although people on blood thinners should use krill oil only under a doctor’s supervision).

  • it nourishes your brain:

Sixty percent of your brain is fat, so the EPA and DHA long-chain fatty acids of omega-3s are critical to brain health, especially the DHA of krill oil. DHA alone makes up about 15–20 percent of your brain’s cerebral cortex.

The DHA in krill oil differs from that in ordinary fish oil in that it binds to phospholipids ― a particular form of fat that allows increased uptake of DHA into the brain. This is important because low DHA may result in memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, schizophrenia and bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder.

In recent years, researchers discovered that supplementation with krill oil in elderly people resulted in significant improvement in memory, verbal fluency and rate of learning.

In short, these three remarkable supplements ― vitamin E, folic acid and krill oil ― provide research-tested relief from menopausal symptoms, but their wide-ranging benefits give you plenty of reasons to take them at any time of life.

SOURCES:

Manning PJ, Sutherland WH, Walker RJ, Williams SM, De Jong SA, Ryalls AR, Berry EA.Effect of high-dose vitamin E on insulin resistance and associated parameters in overweight subjects. Diabetes Care. 2004 Sep;27(9):2166-71.

Barrington, R. Vitamin E and Insulin Resistance. RdBNutrition. Nov. 26, 2015.

Estrogen Metabolism Diet. YourHormones.com.

Hormone Balance ― How to restore it or maintain it. Amazing Wellness Magazine. Nov. 1, 2012.

Hot flashes reduced by folic acid. Life Extension Update. Life Extension Magazine. Dec. 17, 2010.

Jenkins, J. Information on Supplements That Help Neurotransmitter in Brain. LIVESTRONG.com. Nov. 17, 2015.

Mercola, J. A Daily 900 mg Dose of Omega-3 Fats Helped Reverse Memory Loss. Mercola.com. Feb. 6, 2012.

Mercola, J. Vitamin E May Offer Benefits for Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. Mercola.com. Jan. 23, 2014.

Phillip, J. Folic Acid for Heart Health. Nutrition Digest. Vol. 38, No. 2.

Torda, C. and Wolff, H.G. Effect of vitamins on Acetylcholine Synthesis. The Apparently Specific Action of Vitamin E. Experimental Biology and Medicine. Vol. 58, Issue 2, 1945.

Vitamin E. MedlinePlus.gov.

Wright, Y.L. and Swartz, J.M. Secrets About Bioidentical Hormones!

Bioidentical Oestrogen – Smooth Your Path Through Menopause

Smooth Your Path Through Menopause

When perimenopause arrives, it can turn your world upside down! It’s the first announcement that menopause is on its way, and even if you’re still having your periods, hormonal changes are going on. They can’t be seen, but they certainly can be felt.

In a worst-case scenario, hot flushes and night sweats arrive to disrupt your days and make sleep elusive. Fatigue becomes a constant companion and your brain feels wrapped in wet cotton wool. You may become more moody, more volatile . . . even slip into depression. And to make matters worse, the pounds seem to pile on, uninvited, and refuse to leave.

Who wouldn’t be depressed?

Up until that point, you probably hadn’t thought a lot about your hormones. Ever since puberty, they’ve gone along, unobserved and for the most part quietly doing their job in perfect harmony. But now their job is changing ― along with your life.

Let’s take a look at some of the culprits.

Meet the Oestrogen Trio

Many women think of oestrogen as a single hormone, but oestrogen is actually a general term that encompasses three distinct primary hormones: oestrone (E1), oestradiol (E2) and oestriol (E3).

During your reproductive years, oestradiol, which is secreted by the ovaries, is the most active of the oestrogens. It’s the predominant sex hormone and responsible for the characteristics that make you “feminine” ― sex organs, breast development and curvy fat deposits around the hips and thighs. It also plays a major role in your menstrual cycle and bone health.

At this stage, oestradiol is 12 times more potent than oestrone and 80 times more potent than oestriol.

Oestradiol keeps your uterine lining healthy and ― just in case ― prepared for pregnancy. If you become pregnant, oestriol, a weak oestrogen, steps in as the primary oestrogen and thickens the uterine lining, which provides blood to the placenta. Large quantities of oestriol are released for the baby’s well-being.

With menopause, oestrone takes over as the dominant oestrogen. Oestrone is a “danger” hormone because it carries the potential for increased risk of breast and endometrial cancer. For that reason, it needs to be monitored to ensure it remains in balance.

Menopause Disrupts the Harmony

Beginning with perimenopause (the onset of menopause), oestradiol begins a dramatic decline that often heralds the arrival of physical and emotional menopausal symptoms.

For many women, these symptoms include erratic moods, stress, inability to cope, frustration, sadness and, in the worst instances, severe depression and feelings of hopelessness. If a woman has hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness, low libido and other physical symptoms, these feelings are magnified.

It’s estimated that between 8% and 15% of women going through menopause experience some degree of depression, which is most common during the perimenopausal transition to menopause.

Dr Dzugan is one of the few doctors who recognises the true source of this kind of depression, which is hormone-induced. Unfortunately, many doctors often treat their patients with antidepressants, which are inappropriate and drive the situation from bad to worse.

Antidepressants just don’t work, and typically the dosage is then increased with, again, no improvement. As Dr Dzugan has told me more than once, “In these cases, quite often, a second or third antidepressant is prescribed, along with mood-stabilising and anti-epileptic drugs.”

If you think there has to be a better way, you’re right.

Oestrogens to the Rescue

When you arrive at menopause, oestrone replaces oestradiol as the primary oestrogen. However, oestrone is a weaker oestrogen and can’t combat menopausal symptoms, whether emotional or physical.

There is, however, a solution.

Bioidentical oestradiol, in the proper ratio with oestriol, can restore your hormonal equilibrium. It has been proven to reliably banish hot flushes and other physical symptoms associated with menopause nearly instantaneously.

Bioidentical oestrogen therapy also boosts your serotonin level. Although actually a neurotransmitter, serotonin is known as the “feel-good hormone.” It fights depression, elevates mood and promotes sleep. What is more, it increases your production of GABA, a neurotransmitter with calming effects. It also raises endorphins, which act to control pain, ease stress, relieve frustration and even slow the ageing process.

What Else Do You Need?

Your endocrine system ― that is, your hormones ― act interdependently, and for them to function properly, you need each one in the proper quantity. In other words, they have to be balanced.

That means you will also need progesterone and testosterone.

Progesterone:

Although your oestradiol levels decline rapidly as you transition into menopause, progesterone levels may fall even faster, and by the time you reach full menopause, your progesterone may be as low as it normally is in men.

As a result, your oestrogen level may top that of progesterone, resulting in a condition called oestrogen dominance. That simply means you have too much oestrogen relative to progesterone.

Oestrogen dominance may also result from exposure to hormone-disrupting toxic chemicals that mimic estrogens. Because these chemicals create false oestrogens, they can also throw your oestrogen/progesterone ratio off balance.

Symptoms of oestrogen dominance include severe headaches, depression, anxiety, fuzzy thinking, water retention, weight gain and digestive problems.

Even more concerning, oestrogen dominance increases your risk of breast and uterine cancers, so it’s extremely important to restore your oestrogen and progesterone to the proper balance.

Testosterone:

Many women are unaware that testosterone is as important for women as it is for men. If you have low-T during menopause, you’ll have trouble with concentration and energy. Your muscles will become flabby and your bones brittle. Your sex drive and fantasy will be in “sleep mode,” and you’ll lack confidence and determination.

Women’s testosterone levels can begin to diminish as much as 10 years before full menopause.

Oestrogen and testosterone levels are closely related, and adding testosterone to your bioidentical hormone therapy may be needed to bring these two hormones back into sync.

How Do You Get What You Need?

It’s important to remember that bioidentical hormone restorative therapy is a complex specialism, and doctors need extensive training to do it properly. So the first thing you need to do is find a doctor with the needed knowledge, credentials and experience.

When you find your bioidentical hormone specialist, you’ll need to do testing. Testing is what allows your doctor to understand the exact status of your hormones so he or she can prescribe the hormones you need in the specific amounts you require.

I can tell you from my own experience that restoring your hormones to their proper balance can give you back your happy, healthy self, free of debilitating symptoms. Best of all, you’ll learn that “the change” in your life can be a truly positive change ― one that ushers in an exciting time of health, personal growth and productivity.

SOURCES:

Estrogens: E1. E2, E3. Rx Compound Centre.

Hormones and Depression in Women. BodyLogicMD.com

Studd. J. When is depression in women a matter of hormones? TotalHealth.co.uk. Aug. 17, 2012.

Mandal, A. Estrogen Types. News, Medical Life Sciences.

Menopause. Progesterone Therapy.

Peterson, D. Three Stages of a Woman’s Life Require Three Different Estrogens. Wellness Alternatives.

Pick. M. Estrogen Dominance ― Is It Real? Women to Women.

Testosterone Deficiency May Exacerbate Menopause. Testosterone and Menopause. July 14, 2014.

Discover the Value of Valerian Root

Sound Sleep and a Serene Mind

It’s estimated that above 70% of Americans and 50% of Britons suffer from insomnia, and it’s certainly a common complaint among women going through the stages of menopause. In the UK, the percentage for women goes up to 75%.

The Guardian also reports that, according to the Office for National Statistics, anxiety or depression affects nearly one in five adults.

Are you one of those people? If you’re desperate for a little peace of mind and respite from wakeful nights, valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) ― often called “nature’s valium” ― just might be your answer.

It’s been used for centuries to reduce anxiety, promote serenity and lull people off to a deep, restful sleep.

Sound good?

Valerian’s name, which comes from the Latin word valere, means to be strong or healthy, which we firmly believe includes getting a great night’s sleep . . . every night.

How does Valerian work to combat stress?

Valerian root, which contains valerentic acid, isovaleric acid and a number of antioxidants, works to affect GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) levels in your brain. GABA inhibits your brain’s nerve transmissions and calms anxiety.

This supplement works much like Valium (diazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam), without, of course, the side effects of those drugs. It suppresses the breakdown of GABA, which increases your brain’s GABA level. Increased GABA causes a sedative effect and increases your feelings of tranquility and well-being,

The antioxidants linarin and hesperidin, also found in valerian root, have calming and sleep-improving properties.

In addition, valerian’s ingredients may also help quiet an overactive amygdala. That’s the part of your brain where feelings of fear and anxiety are processed. Treating mice with valerian showed that it raised their levels of serotonin, which improved their responses to physical and psychological stress.

Does Valerian really improve sleep?

Studies have verified that valerian helps you get to sleep faster and sleep more soundly. Your overall quality of sleep improves, enabling you to get more high-quality, restorative sleep.
Out of 27 young and middle-age adults who took 400 mg of valerian root, 24 said they slept better and 12 judged their sleep to be “perfect.”

An important part of restful sleep is slow-wave sleep, which is necessary to repair and recharge your body so you wake up feeling energetic. In one study, a single dose of valerian allowed subjects to get to deep sleep faster and stay in it longer. (This is the experience of most people, although around one in ten will have the opposite effect, causing people to feel energized rather than sleepy. This suggests that you should start with the minimum dose.)

A 2011 study focused on postmenopausal women. After taking 530 mg of valerian twice daily for four weeks, sleep quality improved for 30 percent of study participants.

Are there any side effects?

It’s important to note that clinical studies have found no serious adverse side effects from use of valerian. It has not been found to negatively affect mental or physical performance.

In comparison, sleeping pills have been shown to affect following-day alertness, reaction time and concentration.

At the same time, you should take certain precautions when taking valerian. For example, you shouldn’t take it with any kind of drug or herbal supplement with sedative effects, antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, narcotics, antihistamines or alcohol.

Also, don’t drive or use machinery for several hours after taking valerian, take it if you’re pregnant or have liver disease, or give it to children younger than three.

What else can Valerian do?

There isn’t a great deal of scientific research on Valerian root beyond its ability to relieve anxiety and promote sleep. It has, however, been shown to:

  • lower blood pressure, which aids in reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke
  • relieve menstrual cramps by suppressing muscle spasms and acting as a natural muscle relaxer
  • significantly reduce severity and modestly reduce frequency of hot flushes in menopausal women
  • improve symptoms of restless legs syndrome
  • increase antioxidant levels and decrease inflammation in Parkinson’s patients

Supplementing with Valerian root provides you with a simple, safe means of simultaneously decreasing stress and anxiety levels, and getting the sound, restorative sleep you need ― along with several potential bonus benefits.

SOURCES:

Anxiety or depression affects nearly one in five UK adults. The Guardian. June 19, 2013.
Insomnia: Britons’ health ‘at risk’ as 50% fail to get enough sleep. The Guardian. Nov. 12, 2011.
Mercola, J. Can Valerian Root Help You Sleep Better? Mercola.com. May 4, 2017.
Spritzler, F. How Valerian Root Helps You Relax and Sleep Better. Authority Nutrition.