Carolyn Dean, MD, ND is a health pioneer with over 25 years of experience with women’s health issues. She’s authored 22 books including “Future Health Now Encyclopedia”, “The Complete Natural Guide to Women’s Health, “Hormone Balance”, “Menopause Naturally”, “The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health”, “IBS for Dummies” and “The Magnesium Miracle”. She is the medical director for the Nutritional Magnesium Association. For more info you can access a Free 32-page guide to the benefits of magnesium written by Dr. Dean at the non-profit www.nutritionalmagnesium.org.
Hormones have an important role to play in every woman’s health and well-being. When hormone levels fluctuate, this can cause weight gain and affect your ability to lose weight as well as affect mood, sexual desire, fertility and ovulation.
The female hormones estrogen and progesterone are produced by the female body in specific ratios every month. An imbalance of either can cause menopause and all the symptoms associated with it. These hormones are influenced by certain factors such as nutrition, diet, lifestyle, exercise, stress, emotions, age and ovulation. When estrogen and progesterone dance to the tune of stress and chemical disruption, they can fluctuate wildly and then gradually decline as we age.
Aging brings its own “blessings”—wisdom and memories—but also the possibility of weight gain and declining organ function—thyroid and adrenals, especially.
Cholesterol is responsible for making our hormones. Natural estrogen hormones are created using cholesterol stored in our fat cells. Those extra pounds that appear as we get older—the ones that stick to you no matter how much you diet—may, in fact, be the body’s way of getting more hormones that are in less supply as we age. It’s a survival mechanism that is locked in our genes—and, yes, it often makes our jeans bulge!
Unfortunately, our genes haven’t caught up to the fact that we are already 60 percent overweight as a nation (though our jeans have probably figured this out by now). We really don’t need help in gaining weight; we need help in losing it.
Additionally, stress diverts the adrenal glands toward the production of adrenaline and cortisol and away from their function of supporting estrogen production. The higher the cortisol goes the less estrogen is produced. The connection between stress and weight gain cannot be overlooked. The stress chemical cortisol signals a metabolic shutdown that makes losing weight almost impossible. The mineral Magnesium can neutralize the effects of stress and is known as the anti-stress mineral and yet most women are not getting their RDA and are deficient. Magnesium helps the body digest, absorb, and utilize proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and helps prevent obesity genes from expressing themselves.
Although there are natural ways to balance hormone fluctuations many women tend to reach for a hormone replacement pill not knowing that artificial or synthetic hormones are poisonous to the body whereas bioidentical hormones which are the same as our own body’s natural ones are far safer.
Premarin, a common hormone replacement drug, is made from pregnant mare’s urine. Premarin is fit for horses, not women; it contains many other hormones that have never been tested on women. When the high incidence of cancer due to Premarin was first acknowledged in the mid-1980s, the answer from the pharmaceutical companies was to add another drug, synthetic progesterone, to the hormone replacement protocol. This never made any sense because if one drug causes serious problems, why add another drug to cover it up? Also, if estrogen is considered so dangerous that a woman is immediately taken off it when diagnosed with cancer, how is a doctor going to know if there is a submicroscopic cancer lurking that would be boosted by taking hormones?
As I describe in my book Hormone Balance, recent studies have proven that the combined hormone replacement drugs do cause serious side effects including blood clots, heart disease, and cancer.
I recently received a note from my friend, Dr. Roby Mitchell, a bio-identical hormone expert who said “I was surprised when I first started prescribing bioidentical hormones at how ignorant the ObGyn community was concerning hormones. The addition of a methyl group to natural progesterone changes the molecule in such a way as to make it a poison to humans-methylprogesterone (Provera). This drug has been responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of women. Natural progesterone, on the other hand, is so safe that levels escalate during pregnancy. Natural progesterone and bioidentical progesterone prevents breast and uterine cancer.”
As for bioidentical estrogen, it mimics natural estrogen and doctors who prescribe bioidentical estrogen mostly use the safest estrogen (Estriol) and minimize the least safe estrogen (Estradiol). The estrogen combination most commonly prescribed is Biest which is 80% Estriol and 20% Estradiol. However, the allopathic medical community instead of opting for safety in the form of Estriol chooses to prescribe the unsafe Estradiol in an unsafe synthetic form fueling the breast cancer epidemic we see today.
However, Hormone Replacement Therapy for balancing hormones is not the only answer. Estrogen can cause weight gain and fluid retention in the natural as well as the synthetic forms.
Women can manage their hormone imbalance symptoms naturally with detoxification – a natural detoxifier is magnesium citrate powder taken with hot or cold water. They can also change their diet by eating high phytoestrogen foods such as miso and tempeh; ground flax seeds (use a small coffee grinder and put on cereal or in juice and eat immediately); sprouted mung beans and sprouted clover seeds and pumpkin seeds, raw or lightly roasted. By focusing on one or two of these foods every day you can eradicate mild hot flashes. Additionally, supplement with Vitamin E, Magnesium, Ginseng, Vit B complex; herbs like Vitex and Dong Quoi which will also help alleviate hot flashes.
I recommend that you read up on bioidentical hormones yourself so you can work with your doctor to receive the right prescription. My book, called Hormone Balance is not specifically about bioidentical hormones. It takes you through diet, detox and supplements to naturally balance your hormones. If after that program you still require hormones, read Dr. Michael Platt’s book called The Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones.
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