Hormones are something we never really think about until we realize that something is not quite right and we come to a conclusion that we may be losing some of them. We then understand how they have been a very vital part of making us feel good, keeping our energy levels high, our sex drive strong and our mental faculties intact.
According to Neal Rouzier, M.D., hormones are molecules that are synthesized and secreted by specialized cells often localized in endocrine glands. They are released into the blood stream and exert biochemical effects on target cells.
In his book, Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, Dr. Rouzier tells us that all aspects of aging are influenced by hormones. As we age, cellular receptor sites become less sensitive to stimulation by hormones thus requiring an increased amount of hormone to affect a cellular change even though a person’s levels might be within the normal range. In turn, this is why we need optimal levels of various hormones to replace declining levels to improve health and feel better. (This is particularly true with the thyroid.) .
I most certainly took hormones for granted. But at the ripe young age of 50, I discovered just how symptoms of declining hormone health can make you feel. I had no energy, low libido, and at times felt like I was losing my mind. “My family felt sure I was losing my mind.” Most physicians, although highly educated, know little about how to treat hormonal symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy is unique to each individual and one size does not fit all. Each person, male or female has his or her “unique” level of hormone balance and symptoms, and these levels decline at different times throughout the life span for different reasons.
Being a fitness professional for 37 years, taking care of my body, (as well as the bodies of my clients), with a natural and holistic approach, has always been my goal. I wanted to find the root of the problem, “not just take a pill to treat symptoms.” I wanted a more natural solution.
In my search to find the right provider, the first step was to find someone who understood the problem and was willing to develop a personalized plan for me. After almost 5 years of trying everything and going to every kind of doctor, I finally found that person in Tracey Livingston, ANP-BC. She has been a registered nurse for 26 years and a nurse practitioner for 6 years. She is an adult healthcare provider with a specialty in Bio Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). She has had extensive training in mastering hormone protocols for women and men under world renowned hormone expert Dr. Neil Rouzier.
As explained by Rouzier, “There are hormones that are more natural to the body. The molecule of the natural hormone is identical in structure to the hormone naturally found in the body. Pharmaceutical companies cannot patent natural or bioidentical compounds. So, where do these natural hormones come from? The pure biologically identical (human identical) hormone is either extracted from plants or synthetically manufactured. What is most important is that the end product is a molecule identical to the hormone found naturally in the body. This applies to all hormones- thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA.”
I realized that I had to do my own research because I knew my body and I did understand that things were happening. As I began to read and study, I found that I was not alone. Almost all of my clients age 35 and older had many of the same symptoms. But we all were told, “You are just getting older, it is natural, just accept it.” One very well-known physician told me, “Mrs. Wells, you are just not happy because you are aging and you must come to terms with this.” Needless to say, well, never mind. It is pointless now. Let me just say that I NEVER saw that doctor again.
One might ask, so what makes Bio Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy effective for treatment of hormone symptoms and suboptimal hormone levels? Well, first it is important to understand the difference between Bio Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy and synthetic hormone therapy. Rouzier writes, “BHRT has a chemical structure that is identical to the hormones naturally produced in the body. We refer to them as natural because they are natural to the human body. Synthetic hormones act differently and produce different effects. A multitude of studies have shown synthetic hormones to have harmful effects. Whereas the medical literature supports no harmful effects of natural hormones, only beneficial effects.”
As with many things in life, hormone therapy is largely about finding the right balance. As Rouzier explains, “Thyroid, estrogen, and progesterone have been prescribed for years, but optimal hormone replacement is new.” It has become logical therapy to replace and balance all of the hormones at the same time to a more optimal physiologic level instead of maintaining lower to mid-levels. This is the difference between optimal hormone replacements in comparison with standard medical therapy. You do not wait for levels to be at low end of normal range or below normal range. More and more medical practitioners are becoming aware of the science behind this new preventive medicine. Replenishment of these hormones to physiological levels (optimal but within normal limits and not excessive) has been shown to alleviate these age related changes. Much of what goes wrong in old age is the effect of our hormones no longer maintaining the balance they once did. By maintaining proper balances, it can help prevent many of the diseases associated with the aging process. It alleviates many symptoms that patients who are typical middle-aged, healthy people who experienced gradual increased symptoms such as decreased energy levels, decreased sense of well-being, laziness and lack of desire for daily activities.”
Unfortunately, Livingston has seen that many patients that are taking “natural hormones” from other providers are on an inadequate regimen. They are symptomatic and do not feel well. Most providers are not trained to target optimal levels.
This might be the reason so many mid-life men and women say, “They just do not feel well. “I know because I was one of them. According to Livingston, many patients can be helped if treated early, thus preventing long term sequela associated with imbalanced hormones.
I am now on my road to recovery, but I have learned that it is a process of sorts and an art to replacing hormone levels at a level that is optimal for me. Perfect balance may take a while to attain and you must be patient. I believe through Tracey Livingston and her caring staff, along with her desire to help patients she can help anyone reach their best health ever, no matter what age. I know through her and may own research, I can have an increased quality of life well into my 60’s, 70’s and beyond and prevent disease processes that can occur with the aging process.
Tracey Livingston ANP-BC owner of Valdosta Health and Wellness Valdosta, Georgia.
Neal Rouzier, M.D., Author of Bioidentical Horrmone Replacement Therapy For Men and Women
Submitted by : Maria Lane Wells- Fitness Professional, host of FITTALK Radio, contributing columnist for HEALTH -life Magazine