Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment meant to restore hormonal balance in the body. As we age, hormonal imbalances are a common occurrence and can lead to a variety of symptoms that impact our overall well-being. Hormone replacement therapy offers a potential solution by supplementing or replacing important hormones that may be deficient or out of balance.
Hormone replacement therapy for optimal levels has a variety of benefits:
DHEA is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. This hormone is a precursor to other sex hormones. In addition to having its own hormone effect, it results in a shift to an anabolic or protein-building state.
It reduces cardiovascular risk by increasing lipolysis or the breakdown of fat. It also: stimulates the immune system, restores sexual vitality, improves mood, decreases cholesterol, and decreases body fat.
Recent studies point to DHEA as an anti-stress hormone, reversing the effects of stress on the immune system.
Estrogen is secreted by the ovaries, which cease production at menopause. It protects against heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, and memory disorders. It also protects against vaginal atrophy and urinary incontinence, and prevents symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes.
Estrogen deficiency can result in urogenital atrophy, incontinence, sagging skin in the breasts, increased skin wrinkles of the face, increased fatigue, depression, mood swings, and decreased libido.
It is extremely important that the Estrogen prescribed be natural Estrogen and not synthetic. Synthetic Estrogen has been shown to be harmful. For optimal protection, natural Estrogen supplementation should be balanced by natural progesterone supplementation. You need Estrogen! But it must be the right type of Estrogen, maintained at optimal levels for maximum protection.
In adult and adolescent men with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, HCG acts like LH and stimulates testosterone production in the Leydig cells and spermatogenesis in the seminiferous tubules.
Stimulation of androgen production by HCG causes the development of secondary sex characteristics in males (e.g., deepening of the voice, facial hair, etc.). Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) also stimulates the Leydig cells to produce estrogens; increased estrogen levels may produce gynecomastia in some males.
Once HCG is initiated, it takes at least 70—80 days for germ cells to reach the spermatozoal stage. Response to treatment is also noted by the development of masculine features and the normalization of serum testosterone levels.
Growth hormone is a major hormone with predominant roles. It is a major anabolic hormone that powerfully builds the body and is responsible for significant growth that takes place during childhood and puberty. In adults, growth hormone helps to maintain the adequate volume and tone of the skin, muscles, and bones.
A decline in growth hormone production results in accelerated aging: our skin, muscles, and tissues being to atrophy (shrink), and sag, wrinkles, and fat begin to replace our once smooth skin and muscles.
Growth hormone also increases the function, repair, and health of muscles, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, joints, nerves, and the brain. Growth hormone stimulates the parasympathetic nerves which contain many mood-calming neurons- this has a great mental and emotional impact.
Because of this effect, many patients on growth hormone treatment report feeling calmer, experiencing feelings of inner peace, and experiencing a clear increase in their overall quality of life and ability to cope with stress. Growth hormone helps to relieve depression, anxiety, and nervousness.
Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland. It is a circadian rhythm hormone – thereby affecting the patterns of sleep. Research has shown that the cells of the body rejuvenate and repair during the deeper stages of sleep. It is during the deeper stages of sleep that the body produces natural killer cells or CD4 cells.
Melatonin increases the deep stage of sleep and stage IV sleep, increasing and enhancing immunity. Improved sleep patterns energize the body and improve mood. Melatonin has powerful antioxidant effects that account for disease prevention. A deficiency in melatonin results in poor sleep, jet lag, irritability, hypersensitivity, and premature aging.
Oxytocin is a nonapeptide (nine amino acids) hormone secreted by the posterior pituitary and produces action both peripherally and in the brain. It is released by males and females during orgasms and is considered by many to be the hormone of desire, social recognition, and bonding.
Oxytocin is primarily administered by injection or nasal spray because Chymotrypsin, present in the gastrointestinal tract, destroys Oxytocin. This renders oral administration ineffective. Oxytocin has an action on uterine contraction, milk letdown, orgasm, sexual arousal, bonding, and maternal behavior.
Oxytocin has recently received significant interest in the Autism community. Researchers have found that autistic children have lower plasma levels of oxytocin than those of other children. Oxytocin plays a role in social behavior, including but not limited to repetitive behaviors, the desire to form social bonds, social recognition, processing social cues, regulated feeding, excessive grooming, stress response, and being aloof.
Recent studies show that Oxytocin is involved in multiple signaling pathways in the central and peripheral nerve system, and mainly regulates the physiology and activity of reproduction, including male reproduction and sexual behavior.
The roles of Oxytocin in penile erection are bio-phasic with a pro-erectile effect in the central nerve system, while peripherally inhibiting erection. Oxytocin also mediates ejaculation, post-ejaculatory detumescence, and the post-orgasm refractory period.
Oxytocin has also become the subject of studies in female sexual dysfunction — specifically in difficulty with achieving orgasm. It increases sexual receptivity and counteracts impotence. Oxytocin can be used to help treat Female Orgasmic Disorder, Female Arousal Disorder, or for those women who just desire more powerful or multiple orgasms.
Recent research has shown that Oxytocin may have many other far-reaching effects, particularly when it comes to relationships and emotional involvement. Oxytocin is the reason why we form all sorts of deep connections. Not only with our children but with our partners, friends, and even our pets. It is often referred to as the “bonding hormone.” Oxytocin also plays a huge role in the non-procreative aspects of sex.
Research has shown that for women, not only is Oxytocin released during orgasm, it appears to be responsible for causing orgasms in the first place. Research indicates that Oxytocin causes the nerves in the genitals to fire spontaneously, and this leads to powerful orgasms. In women, during orgasm, Oxytocin levels increase significantly. During peak sexual arousal, if a woman’s brain is flooded with Oxytocin, she may indeed be capable of multiple orgasms.
This hormone begins to decline after age 30. Pregnenolone aids in the cellular repair of the central nervous system and is the most potent memory enhancer of all the hormones.
Progesterone is secreted by the ovaries but ceases production at menopause. It protects against uterine and breast cancers, osteoporosis, fibrocystic disease, and ovarian cysts. It dramatically decreases pre & post-menopausal symptoms. Most U.S. physicians prescribe synthetic progestins, which can cause such side effects as bloating, headaches, fatigue, and weight gain. Most recently, synthetic progestins have been associated with increasing the risk of cancer.
Natural progesterone must be prescribed in place of synthetic progestin to avoid potential side effects and cancer. We emphasize the use of natural hormones and not synthetic hormones, which have been consistently proven to cause significant side effects. Progesterone is very beneficial in treating premenstrual symptoms (PMS) such as mood swings and migraine headaches.
Testosterone is normally associated with men but is also found in women. It is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, testes, and ovaries. It contributes to muscle mass, strength, and endurance, decreased fat, increased exercise tolerance, enhancement of well-being, and psychological status.
Testosterone protects against cardiovascular disease, hypertension, body fat, and arthritis. It also leads to improved lean muscle mass, a decrease in cholesterol, improved skin tone, and increased libido and sexual performance.
Testosterone is the best hormone to increase collagen and elastin in the skin. It prolongs the quality of life by decreasing the diseases of aging, as does Estrogen in the female. Testosterone is also present and extremely important in the female, making supplementation absolutely recommended for both men and women. It is also the second most important hormone for energy and well-being.
The thyroid gland produces a hormone called T4. The number 4 indicates it has 4 iodine molecules. The body produces an enzyme that removes an iodine molecule and converts the T4 hormone into T3, which is the active form of the thyroid hormone. What is free and circulating in the system, available for the body to use, is the Free T3. It is the Free T3 that has an effect on energy, metabolism, and all thyroid functions.
The most common thyroid measurement is the TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, which stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone. This is a gauge that is the opposite of your thyroid production. If the body senses there is enough thyroid present, the TSH will be low.
Conversely, if the body senses there isn’t enough thyroid, the TSH goes up, trying to stimulate the thyroid gland to make more thyroid. Here is part of the confusion. If your doctor says your thyroid is low, do they mean the TSH is low, which indicates that your actual thyroid is high? Or do they mean that your actual thyroid is low, in which case the TSH would be high?
Most traditional physicians do not measure Free T3; they only measure TSH. However, as seen above, it is not a full picture of your thyroid function. Most traditional physicians are taught to treat this TSH number and not necessarily listen to how the patient feels (most patients feel better when Free T3 is optimal). With new advanced tests, such as the non-invasive Thyroflex test, hormone replacement therapy practitioners are able to get a 98% accuracy rate on FT3, brain function, reflex speed, and resting metabolic rate.
Thyroid hormone is a metabolic hormone secreted by the thyroid gland that regulates temperature, metabolism, and cerebral function. It contributes to energy levels and temperature regulation and body warmth. It increases fat breakdown, resulting in weight loss as well as lower cholesterol. More than any other hormone, the thyroid hormone is most responsible for improvement in energy and reducing fatigue.
Remember, every individual’s experience with hormone replacement therapy is unique, and finding the right approach tailored to your specific needs is key. At Forum Health, our experts don’t just want to balance your hormones; they want to optimize them for a life of balance, vitality, and renewed radiance.
If you are interested in hormone replacement therapy, contact your Forum Health provider today to get started!