Recently, I was asked the following question:
I am using bio-identical hormones for my hot flashes and night sweats. How long do I have to keep using them?
Hormone balance in addition to proper nutrition and exercise is essential to optimum health. Most disease states exhibit themselves after many years of asymptomatic progression. Often people feeling well and seemingly in good health are told much to their surprise that they have a serious illness as revealed by some test.
In my view the necessity of using bio-identical hormones is not only for symptom relief but also for good health. Just like taking calcium and vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis, proper hormone balance is essential to perpetuate the many biochemical tasks of good health that are prevalent at a younger age.
To illustrate this point, I recently came across an article written by Sergey A. Dzugan, Ph.D. and R. Arnold Smith, M.D. with regards to cholesterol. Cholesterol is the precursor to steroidal hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, dhea, testosterone, etc.
Dzugan and Smith conducted a clinical study for 6 years between 1997 and 2003 on 41 patients with high cholesterol. Their hypothesis was that a deficiency of hormones is the underlying cause of many disorders associated with normal aging including hypercholesterolemia. They treated these patients with hormone restorative therapy using human identical hormones such as oral pregnenolone and dhea capsules as well as topical triestrogen, progesterone and testosterone gels. All patients responded positively with mean serum total cholesterol dropping by 25.6%.
Their reasoning for these results is that many of the body’s biochemical mechanisms work by means of a biofeedback mechanism. Human aging lowers hormone levels. This in turn will trigger the body to make more cholesterol. The cholesterol acts as a feedback mechanism to provide more substrate with which to make more of these below-optimal-level-hormones.
Therefore providing bio-identical hormones to make up for the deficiency offers a feedback mechanism to lower the high cholesterol levels correcting the possible reason for the rise in the first place.
This is only one of many reasons why hormone balance is important for optimum health regardless of hormone deficiency symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.
I therefore think it incumbent to keep balancing your hormones as long as you want to optimize your health. This means that you may want to supplement with bio-identical hormones for the rest of your life, but it also means that you should adjust your dosage from time to time to properly balance your levels
Marvin Malamed,B.Sc.Phm.,C.C.N., has owned Haber’s Compounding Pharmacy for over 17 years. He is an award winning pharmacist and a certified clinical nutritionist. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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