Hormones Used with Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
Reno Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Doctor, William Clearfield, D.O. at Clearfield Medical Group has helped numerous men and women in the Reno, Nevada and Washoe County areas to regain hormonal balance. Offering customized programs that address individual needs, many patients have been able to overcome the signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance, which are often synonymous with the symptoms of aging. Taking a patient-centered approach to wellness, Doctor Clearfield factors in patients’ individual challenges, lifestyles, medical history, and treatment preferences into his Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy plans. As a result of his dedicated care and attention, wide numbers of men and women have been able to obtain peak levels of health.
Types of Bioidentical Hormones
Your Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy specialist, William Clearfield, D.O. may choose to use one or several types of Bioidentical Hormones based on your symptoms and your initial response to the therapy. The most common types of Bioidentical Hormones used in Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy include:
Estrogen, in nature, occurs as three distinct molecules. Estrone is the main estrogen the body produces after menopause. Estradiol is the principal active estrogenic compound, and it acts as an antioxidant, increasing “good” cholesterol (HDL), reducing triglycerides, LD, and total cholesterol. It aids in memory preservation by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, aids in maintaining bone structure, aids in the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Estriol, generated in the placenta, is significantly elevated during pregnancy, and it acts to protect against breast cancer, maintain pregnancy, control the symptoms of menopause, decease LDL, and increase HDL. Topical Estriol is used for relief of postmenopausal atrophy, vaginal dryness, and urinary incontinence. It does not have the brain, bone, or heart protection of estradiol.
Progesterone is secreted only in the ovary; menopausal levels are zero. Natural progesterone, balances estrogen, has a natural calming effect, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, is anti-inflammatory, thickens scalp hair, protects against breast cancer, coronary artery disease, and osteoporosis, promotes immunity, enhances thyroid function, and improves libido. Progesterone deficiency manifests as anxiety, depression, irritability, insomnia, osteoporosis, hypersensitivity, nervousness, migraine headaches, weight gain, decreased libido, and decreased HDL (good cholesterol). Other causes of low progesterone include excesses of stress, sugar intake, high fat diet, hypothyroidism, vitamins A, B6, C, and zinc deficits, and certain antidepressants.
Testosterone, the male hormone, is also an important component of the female hormone symphony. Testosterone maintains bone strength, improves muscle development, and maintains skin turgor, sexual desire, and emotional wellbeing. Testosterone deficiency comes from menopause, adrenal fatigue, depression, chemotherapy, birth control pills, and statins. Lack of testosterone often results in fatigue, weight gain, low self-esteem, muscle wasting, thinning hair and lips, anxiety, and lower good cholesterol. Testosterone replacement is usually in the form of transdermal gels or pellet insertion. Of course, just like estrogen and progesterone, excess testosterone carries its own issues. Acne across the shoulders is usually the first sign of overload along with facial hair, weight gain, insulin resistance, hair loss or unusual hair growth, anxiety, salt and sugar cravings, agitation, and anger. Natural remedies for improving testosterone include exercising, adequate sleep, normal body weight, manageable stress, a high protein, anti-inflammatory diet, adding zinc, and the increasing the amino acids arginine, leucine, glutamine, usually through supplementation.
Cholesterol begets Pregnenolone, which, in turn, begets DHEA, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and cortisol. Pregnenolone blocks the effects of cortisol, increasing resistance to stress and reducing pain and inflammation. It enhances energy and improves nerve transmission and memory. Pregnenolone helps to repair nerve damage, improves mood, sleep, learning, memory, and alertness. A lack of pregnenolone results in arthritis, insomnia, poor focus, memory, fatigue, depression and an inability to handle stress. Pregnenolone is depleted with aging. By age 75, pregnenolone, on average, is 65% lower than at age 35. Excess saturated or trans-fats, hypothyroidism, certain tumors, and too low cholesterol all contribute to pregnenolone depletion.
DHEA is produced in the adrenal glands, brain, and skin. Like other hormones, DHEA declines with age. By age 70, one only makes 10-20% the amount present at age 20. DHEA, known as the mother of the body’s steroids, produces estrogen and testosterone in both women and men. DHEA increases ones’ sense of wellbeing, improves immune function, aids in repair of tissue, alleviates allergic reactions, increases brain function and lean body mass, lowers triglycerides, and helps prevent blood clots. It plays a role in improving insulin sensitivity and preventing adult onset diabetes. A DHEA deficiency is due to menopause, stress, aging, and tobacco use. DHEA excess can result in fatigue, anger, insomnia, weight gain, mood changes, facial hair, acne, irritability, poor sleep, and sugar cravings.
Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands, and it is the only hormone that increases with age. It is produced as a response to stress. When stressed, the adrenals pump out large amounts cortisol. If the body is able to handle the stress, it metabolizes the cortisol decreasing the level back to normal. When one is overstressed, cortisol remains high in the circulation resulting in irritability, sugar cravings, immune deficiency, chronic fatigue, weakness between meals, night sweats, high blood pressure, elevated lipid levels, elevated blood sugar, infections, thin skin, easy bruising, abdominal fat, insomnia, and impaired thyroid function. Cortisol balances blood sugar and controls weight, bone turnover, the immune response, sleep, protein synthesis, thoughts, and mood. Abnormal cortisol levels are seen with menopause, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, impotence, diabetes, heart disease, infertility, insomnia, and rheumatoid arthritis. When cortisol increases, it decreases the progesterone production. When cortisol is elevated, thyroid hormone is more bound and less active.
Insulin converts blood sugar into triglycerides, keeps blood sugar from elevating, increases muscle development, and counters the effects of adrenaline and cortisol in the body. Estrogen lowers blood sugar in women, while testosterone lowers blood sugar in males. Progesterone raises blood sugar if not balanced with estrogen. Insulin deficiency results in bone loss, depression, fatigue, and insomnia. Too much insulin causes acne, asthma, breast and colon cancer, mood swings, heart disease, diminished estrogen levels, heart disease, GERD, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insomnia. An insulin deficiency results from a no to low carbohydrate diet, malnutrition, and over exercising.
Insulin levels rise after a meal to reduce blood sugar and then level out after several hours. If the system is constantly bombarded with substances attended by insulin, the insulin levels will not level off, leading to production of inflammatory chemicals and cortisol. Serum insulin will rise years before fasting glucose abnormalities are detected in the blood. Insulin excess results from a high carbohydrate diet, sugared drinks, low fat diets, excess caffeine or saturated fat intake, hyperthyroidism, low estrogen levels, high testosterone levels, lack of exercise, smoking, beta blockers, birth control pills, steroids, diuretics, and antidepressants. Nutritional factors that can improve insulin levels include an anti-inflammatory diet, adding soluble fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, chromium, alpha lipoic acid, vanadium, an antioxidant multivitamin that includes vitamins A,C, E, and activated selenium at a minimum, coenzyme q 10, cinnamon, green coffee extracts, green tea, and maitake mushrooms.
Melatonin is generated mainly in the pineal gland and secondarily in the retina, GI tract, and white blood cells, and it plays a major role in the body’s daily circadian rhythm. It helps regulate sleep patterns and is useful for insomniacs and jet lag. Melatonin is made from tryptophan. It needs B vitamins to be converted into a useful form. Melatonin acts as an antioxidant, decreases cortisol, supports immune function, and blocks estrogen from binding to receptor sites.
Melatonin has been touted as an estrogen –free form of birth control, and experiments suggest it has life lengthening properties. Melatonin improves mood, sleep quality, stimulates production of growth hormone, and balances the stress response. Melatonin deficiencies are noted with alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco excesses, certain medications and close proximity to electromagnetic fields. Melatonin excess can occur with intake of bananas, cherries, ginger, oats, rice, corn, tomatoes walnuts, certain medications, St. John’s Wort, and over exercise.
Reno Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Doctor, William Clearfield, D.O. at Clearfield Medical Group is happy to provide patients with detailed information, answer all questions, and discuss any concerns. He will listen carefully to the patients’ description of their symptoms, and he will then perform testing on hormone levels to determine imbalances. Upon finding imbalances, Doctor Clearfield will provide patients with a personalized Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy program that is designed to meet individual needs. Countless patients in Doctor Clearfield’s care have been able to use Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy to regain their health and improve their levels of wellness.