Hormones are the most powerful molecules in our bodies, controlling the function, growth reproduction, metabolism, and repair of every cell. Our bodies require optimal hormone levels, just as they require optimal levels of essential vitanutrients: vitamins, fats, amino acids, and minerals. Our hormone levels generally are optimal in our youthful years--our early twenties--but begin to fall soon afterwards and continue to decline with increasing age. Hormone levels decline because our glands and the parts of our brain that control our glands deteriorate with age. This age-related hormone loss is pre-programmed and unavoidable. It is natural, but it is not good for us. It is one of mechanisms of aging--our euphemism for the destructive process by which Nature causes our deterioration and death in order to remove individuals from the gene pool so that the species can adapt.
Insufficient hormone levels have been shown to contribute to many disorders and diseases--diabetes, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, fatigue, loss of muscle strength, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, cognitive decline, increased cholesterol levels, blood clots, increased belly fat, loss of libido, anxiety, depression, and some cancers. In addition to age-related losses, many persons have hormone insufficiencies or imbalances due to hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction, endocrine gland failure, hormone resistance and metabolic disorders. Women are especially affected by hormonal disorders because their complex hormonal system is adapted to produce and feed babies; not to optimize their vitality as in men. Women have a much higher incidence of cortisol deficiency than men (fatigue, aches, insomnia, anxiety, depression, hypoglycemia, low blood pressure, PMDD, allergies, and autoimmune diseases). They also have more hypothyroidism (fatigue, aches, cold hands and feet, dry skin, weight gain, constipation). Women then suffer ovarian failure at menopause, losing almost all of their estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone. Women are being poorly served by the prevailing ignorance concerning hormones.
Conventional medicine today grossly underestimates the importance of optimal hormone levels. It remains disease-oriented, stuck in the mid-20th century. Endocrinologists are taught only to recognize and treat severe hormonal deficiencies caused by some identifiable disease, and to provide only enough hormone replacement to "normalize" certain tests. They claim to practice clinical endocrinology, but are actually taught to ignore the patient's signs and symptoms and all the complexities of the endocrine system. They practice "Reference Range Endocrinology"; accepting any hormone level anywhere within the laboratory's reference range as "normal", meaning "no disease". They fail to understand that persons have various degrees of hormone resistance. They fail to understand the interactions among hormones. They fail to understand that the laboratory ranges include 95% of a group of "apparently healthy" adults who were not screened for symptoms. The reference range includes almost everyone! Worse, they ignore a person's actual thyroid levels and symptoms and rely almost entirely on the TSH test to determine their thyroid hormone status. This illogical TSH-T4 thyroidology makes them incapable or diagnosing or properly treating most hypothyroidism. Physicians function under the delusion that a "normal' TSH means "euthyroidism". They treat a high TSH with just enough levothyroxine to "normalize" the TSH, a practice that has been repeatedly shown to fail to restore physiological euthyroidism. TSH-normalization with T4 can leave many persons markedly hypothyroid. Doctors then blame their patients' persisting hypothyroid symptoms on depression, "chronic fatigue", "fibromyalgia", hypochondria or bad habits. Because of the inappropriate belief in the Immaculate TSH, even the laboratory ranges for free T4 and free T3 are wrong. Labs include test results from TSH-normal hospital and clinic patients. So the FT4 and FT3 ranges are actually ill-patient ranges! In fact, most hormone deficiencies not due to failure of the gland--except for menopause. Most deficiencies partial central hormone deficiencies--caused by hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction--and partial resistance syndromes caused by genetic mutations of enzymes, receptors and other proteins needed for hormone action in the tissues. Most hypothyroidism is due to inadequate TSH production and genetic mutations, not thyroid gland disease. Worse, endocrinologists are practically incapable of diagnosing or treating cortisol deficiency. Read Dr. Lindner's submission to the Scottish Parliament for a brief summary of the failures of conventional endocrinology, the causes of these failures, and the legal reforms that are necessary to assure that the population has access to effective endocrine care.
One of the causes of this hormone ignorance is the influence of pharmaceutical corporations in medicine. Big Pharma downplays the importance of hormones and encourages doctors to prescribe drugs for every symptom. For "hormone therapy", it promotes patented hormone-like drugs ("steroids", estrogens, progestins, etc.) instead of the correct, non-patentable bioidentical (human) molecules. Big Pharma attacks compounding pharmacies because they are the competition and they inform women of the necessity of using the correct molecules. When pharmaceutical hormone substitutes cause serious diseases and disorders, physicians believe that human hormones are dangerous. However, the evidence indicates that restoring human hormones by the correct route, and in correct balance with other hormones, provides all the natural benefits of the hormones without the risks that occur with pharmaceutical hormone substitutes and approaches. For instance, transdermal estradiol does not increase the risks of blood clots and strokes like oral estrogen tablets do. Progesterone has a protective effect against breast cancer, whereas many progesterone-substitutes (progestins) promote breast cancer. Cortisol restoration at physiological doses, and accompanied by DHEA, does not have the long term negative effects of "steroids" like prednisone and Medrol. Human hormones have no "side effects" by definition! For certain, even bioidentical-human hormone replacement can cause problems when given in the wrong way, in excessive doses, or without proper balance with other hormones. However, the fact that something can be done wrong does not mean that it can't be done right.
As a result of false assumptions and pharmaceutical contamination, endocrinology is an ineffective, moribund specialty; dominated by hormone myths. Imagine it--because of decades of inappropriate hormone substitution therapy for women (e.g. Prempro), endocrinologists believe that a woman's own hormones--which have maintained her health and well-being all her life--somehow become dangerous at age 50. They believe that ovarian failure should not be treated. Menopause is natural, but it is also an endocrine catastrophy--seriously eroding a woman's quality of life and health. Every physician is ethically-obligated to treat a woman's ovarian failure, should she so request. She must demand transdermal estradiol, oral, sublingual, transdermal or vaginal progesterone, and transdermal, vaginal or subcutaneous testosterone. Estradiol and progesterone are available in FDA-approved forms, whereas transdermal testosterone must be pharmacy-compounded. Women can use testosterone products that are FDA-approved for men--but at much smaller doses. Menopausal women can read, and refer their physicians to pages 59 to 68 of Sex-Steroid Restoration for Women for guidance concerning products and doses.
To be an effective physician one must become adept at recognizing partial, functional, and age-related hormone deficiencies and at optimizing hormone levels and effects for every patient--this is a foundation of good medical practice. It's really just common sense:
Optimal hormone levels are vital to our health and vitality.
The disorders and diseases caused by partial hormone deficiencies are well-known and serious.
Balanced hormone optimization prevents and treats these disorders and improves quality of life.
The scientific evidence indicates that balanced hormone restoration improves health and quality of life and does not cause harm.
Medical practice, which is now essentially a pharmaceutical disease-drug scheme, should be based upon an entirely different conceptual foundation--that of detecting the biomolecular causes of symptoms and disorders, and fixing the problem by optimizing the amounts and balance of the important molecules that are innate to the body--among them hormones and vitanutrients. We need a new paradigm in endocrinology--"Restorative Endocrinology":
Restoring optimal hormone levels is essential preventative medicine.
Restoring optimal hormone levels is essential to the treatment of all diseases.
Restoring optimal hormone levels is essential to our Quality of Life!
Hormone Restoration for Health and Quality of Life
Web Site established: Feb 1, 2007
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