BHRT: Fear vs. Reality

If the media has you confused about hormone replacement therapy, you’re not alone. The hormone replacement story confuses you because the results of studies on synthetic hormones are not favorable. These studies are on HRT (hormone replacement therapy) not on BHRT (Biologically Identical Hormone Therapy). This is like putting vegetables and bread into the same food category. The study that gained the American Public’s attention, the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) in 2002 were invaluable as they proved that synthetic hormones did, without question, increase risks of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots. Both before and after this study, numerous studies have been performed and published, that show just the opposite when hormones that are identical to what the body produced in its prime are given to an aging body.

One thing that we do know is that the body ages because of hormonal decline. The cause of menopause is ovarian failure. Andropause is caused by testicular failure. Normal aging and failure are used in the same sentence. Do you want to age normally or optimally? Besides feeling better, what else does the literature show? The studies show that heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, fatigue, depression etc… can all be prevented.

When we are in our prime, say 25 years old, our skin is tight and glowing, we are not seeking cardiologists and oncologists, at nearly the same rate as when we get to midlife, say at 50 years old. A very measurable and specific difference between a 20-year-old and a 50-year-old is the hormonal level of the body.

With aging comes another factor. We are full of more toxins simply from living a long time. The air, soil and water qualities are all declining at the same time that contaminants and preservatives from foods accumulate in our tissues. Our liver works hard to keep our bodies “unpolluted”. The liver has a high nutritional demand to do its job. When our liver does its job well, it squeezes out waste like a clean sponge with clear water running through it.

One more aspect of aging, our enzyme systems weaken. Enzymes are essential to effectively break down our food into energy. Enzymes are also essential to break down waste that builds up in our tissues. As we experience a decline in enzymes, we experience a decline in absorption of energy as well as a breakdown of energy. Nutritional deficiencies coupled with toxicities are a set up for decline. Arthritis, fatigue, and cancer– whatever the label happens to be, shows up as we age “normally”. Life looks very different when we age vitally (optimally).

The good news is that we can do something about all aspects of “normal aging”. By addressing these key areas, we can age as gracefully as possible. Here are the golden keys to strengthening your cells as you age.

  1. Replace hormones that are identical to what the body made abundantly in our prime (balance through blood testing)
  2. Make sure that your liver is cleansing well (vegetables, fruits, hydration, exercise)
  3. Use enzymes to enhance absorption and break down waste

Clinically I find bioidentical hormones to not only improve the quality of life for many people, but when used most appropriately, decreases aging risks. As I just pointed out, aging is a risk! The only controversial issue around replacing lost hormones is why it isn’t first line medicine for the aging population.

I’m not the only one who feels this way.

It is important to begin hormone therapy early to prevent the #1 killer of women, heart disease.
– JAMA. 2009; 302:298-305

Estrogen and Testosterone decrease Alzheimer’s by 85% if started within 10 years of menopause. (Cache County Study)
– Journal Am Pharm Assoc 41(2); 221-228; 2001

Lowering testosterone levels that occur with normal aging result in decreased muscle mass and strength, increased fat mass, decreased hematocrit, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, infertility, osteoporosis, and depressed mood.
– Arch Fam Med. 1999; 8; 257-263

Optimizing testosterone levels prevent age-matched enlargement of prostate (benign and malignant) witnessed with lower androgen levels.
– J Nan Cancer Inst.1996; 88: 1116-1126

Testosterone replacement therapy in hvpogonadal and elderly men and may have a beneficial effect on lipid metabolism through decreasing total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
– Atherosclerosis; 1996 Mar; 121(1): 35-43

Serum testosterone concentrations are inversely associated with carotid atherosclerosis.
– Diabetes Care 26:1869-1873, 2003

Progesterone inducing high physiological concentrations comparable to those seen in the third trimester of pregnancy exhibited a strong antiproliferative effect on breast cancer cells.
– Mol Cell Biochem. 1999 Dec; 202(1-2): 53-61

The risk was significantly greater with HRT containing synthetic progestins than with HRT containing micronized progesterone. There was no or little increase in risk with estrogens used alone or combined with micronized progesterone.
– Int J Cancer. 2005 Apr 10; 114(3): 448-54

Dr. Ramsey Recommends: Men and women, young and wise, get your baseline labs drawn and see a specialist in BHRT. Your vitality, relationships and finances depend upon it.


dr_ramsey_4_15-13_cropDr. Theresa Ramsey is a practicing physician, speaker, lifestyle expert, author of the best selling book, Healing 101: A Guide to Creating the Foundation for Complete Wellness, and a weekly guest expert on Arizona’s top morning show, Your Life A to Z. Dr. Ramsey has been nominated Phoenix Magazine’s Top Doc for two years in a row and recently selected as an eHow.com health expert, as well as the 2012 Natural Choice Award winning Naturopathic Physician. As a nationally recognized speaker, she elegantly bridges the gap between Allopathic and Naturopathic medicine educating patients & physicians on the language of wellness and root causes to illness & dis-ease.

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4 Responses to BHRT: Fear vs. Reality

  1. Darla Peacock October 31, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    I have had breast cancer, will hormone replacement have a negative effect?

    My medicare won’t cover this. Approx what can I expect to pay to be healthy?

    • Dr. Ramsey November 6, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

      Legally doctors cannot prescribe BHRT until a female is 5 years post breast cancer. Receptor positivity/negativity plays a large role in your decision-making with your doctor. Most insurance companies do not cover BHRT.
      ~ Dr. Ramsey

  2. Allison December 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    I have just recently received hormone blood test results confirming that I am menopausal. I have a family history of breast cancer (mother – age 39). Is it safe for me to consider BHRT?
    My doctor has put me on progesterone cream and Vivelle-dot patch. Is this Vivelle-dot patch really “bioidentical” as it states?

    • Dr. Ramsey January 13, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

      Absolutely it is safe. Vivelle is bioidentical and I like it very much. The thing I would do in addition to progesterone cream is an oral capsule or lozenge. Creams aren’t enough to balance any estradiol – especially for breast health. If you can get your labs drawn, progesterone should never drop below 20 for breast protection. Creams never give those levels on their own.
      ~ Dr. Ramsey

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