"Replacement" or "Nourishment" - Which Approach Gives Your Body the Power to Restore Optimal Hormone Levels?
by Michael King
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The most common forms of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) are estriol, estrone, estradiol, testosterone, progesterone, and occasionally dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and are designed to supplement (replace) the same hormones normally manufactured by the body's own endocrine system. Bioidentical hormones are commonly made from concentrating and manipulating certain extracts from plants like soybean and wild yam.
Glandulars include animal tissues (usually cow or pig) of the thyroid, adrenal, thymus, testis, and ovary. Less frequently used glandulars are from the pituitary, kidney, liver, pancreas, spleen, lung, heart, brain, uterus and prostate.
Replacement vs. Nourishment
Fundamentally, the concept of "replacement hormones" compared to "nourishing the hormone producing glands back to health" explains why glandulars and Hormone Replacement Therapy (both bioidentical and chemical versions alike) fall short of providing optimal results. Replacing is like providing a crutch. Nourishing, on the other hand, builds internal system strength until everything goes back to normal.
An herb or seaweed nourishes the body back to health. An isolated hormone derived from an herb or a glandular concentrate, replaces the function the body would normally perform on its own, promoting laziness on the part of your hormone producing glands.
When using cow or pig glands or glandular extracts, you are ingesting quantities and molecular compounds that are ideal for cows or pigs, but not for humans. By failing to provide the body proper nourishment, adding a replacement instead, you are weakening your own body's ability to regain the function of producing optimal hormone levels unique to you at any given moment.
When using bioidentical hormones derived from plants in their isolated compound forms (progesterone, testosterone, etc.), portions of the plant are left behind, resulting in the absence of the other plant compounds that Nature knew were important to the balanced functioning of the human endocrine system. Concentrating individual phyto-compounds found within a plant (i.e. diosgenin extracted from the soybean or yam plant then put through a number of chemical transformations to form progesterone), is not Nature in her raw form.
"Nutrition" rather than "replacement" is the most effective approach to correcting hormone irregularities. The body is perfectly capable of generating all the hormones you need - providing you follow the nourishing fundamentals of the Three Essentials for Vital Health: Detoxify, Nourish & Build.
Benefits of BHRT and Glandular Extracts
1. Provides an emergency dose of hormones when nothing better is working. (Proper education and prevention, however, will resolve this.)
2. Bioidentical hormones and glandulars are an improvement over the chemical versions of the same. (Although, hormones created by your own body, for your own body, are far superior in quality, and are perfectly measured for the moment.)
Disadvantages of BHRT and Glandular Extracts
1. Bioidentical is not truly identical - being a strongly isolated component of a plant and subsequently altered in a number of ways in a laboratory, they are still missing the multidimensional qualities of the hormones naturally produced by the human body. With large portions of the source herb stripped away, many supportive functions naturally provided by the whole herb are now missing.
2. Glandular hormones are neither identical nor natural to the human body - they are drawn from cows and pigs, and are designed by Nature for cows and pigs, not humans. The hormones they provide are likely to be too much, not enough, or chemically different (too big), from the most suitable types of hormones required by your body.
3. BHRT and glandulars alone fail to nourish the body with sufficient quantities of the most basic structural building blocks of hormones (whole earthen minerals, monatomic elements, whole herbs and seaweeds, etc.), which would allow the body to make its own hormones in balanced quantities.
4. Adding whole earthen resources to any BHRT or glandular program will help reduce the side effects of these unnatural substances, but since the whole earthen resources performance is superior to both BHRT and glandulars, neither one of them are actually needed to be successful.
5. Like putting a cast on a broken bone causing the atrophy of the muscles, HRT ultimately weakens the glands they are supposed to support, resulting in a diminished ability to resume the task of manufacturing the normal hormone levels that are unique to your body - a requirement which fluctuates from one minute to the next.
6. Long term usage of these replacements can result in severe endocrine gland disturbances and ultimately exhaustion of the glands themselves.
7. Steady dosages of the same amount of hormone replacement every day will interfere with the body's own natural rhythms in which the ebb and flow of hormones change constantly to meet the demands of the moment.
8. Abnormal hormone levels (from cows and pigs), dissimilar hormonal compounds, and hormone concentrates from plants disrupt the natural functions of other organs and glands in the body - all of which depend on delicately balanced hormone and enzyme levels to perform optimally.
9. They also stress the liver in trying to break down and recycle these excessive amounts of foreign substances.
What is the Natural Alternative?
1. The body naturally creates progesterone from cholesterol (a hydrocarbon molecule). The body then continues to naturally differentiate progesterone into other steroid hormones including estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol, among others.
2. Nourish the body with an abundance of whole earthen mineral resources (the natural building blocks for the construction of hormones and enzymes in the body). These resources include whole earthen clays, seaweeds, algae, herbs, seeds and pollens.
3. Consume the whole forms of hormone balancing herbs like wild yam, licorice, suma, siberian ginseng, rhodiola, chaga, and other adaptogenic herbs, to gain the maximum benefit from all that Nature built into these herbs.
4. Avoid all byproducts of the soybean, including the fermented versions. (Easily over-estrogenates the body and competes for hormone receptor sites.)
5. Eliminate the use of typical vitamin and mineral formulations constructed of just a few mineral combinations (like Cal-Mag, Vitamins A, B, C, E, K, Zinc, Copper, Chromium, Vanadium, Selenium, Fatty Acids, etc.). Since they are missing the multidimensional qualities Nature builds into whole earthen clays, seaweeds, algae, herbs, seeds and pollens, these isolates will merely imbalance the mineral profiles in your body, leading to long-term hormonal and enzymatic imbalances, and further dis-ease.
6. Improve the diet by eliminating the concentrated sweets, coffee and refined foods that stress the hormone producing glands, use up your stockpile of mineral building blocks, and reduce their ability to manufacture normal hormone levels.
7. Reduce the quantity of garden vegetables consumed and replace them with sea vegetables and other superfoods (providing thousands of times the nutritional benefits). Seaweeds have natural hormone balancing influences.
8. Detoxify chemicals and heavy metals (like mercury) which interfere with normal hormone production and compete with your own body's hormones for the hormone receptor sites throughout the body.
9. Detoxify the liver - the place where several hormonal excesses are broken down and recycled, including insulin, estrogen and testosterone - (toxic levels of the hormones estrogen and testosterone, if allowed to circulate in the blood, increases the risk of hormonally related imbalances if they are not transformed by the liver).
10. Concentrate on the repair of adrenal exhaustion. Using whole earthen resources (clays, adaptogenic herbs, seaweeds, etc.), build strength and normal functioning power in the adrenal glands (producer of 50+ hormones), which play a role in regulating the thyroid and other hormone producing glands, produces it own version of estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, and cortisone, and regulates major biological functions affecting energy, sleep, sugar levels, heart function, lung function, blood pressure, bone density, allergic response, etc.).
11. Gaze at the sun as much as possible (especially on cloudy days which is the safest way to gaze at the sun). If the sun comes out behind the clouds, just close the eyes and drink in its powerful nourishing influence! Helps to restore endocrine function in a major way.
12. Learn the causes of candida overgrowth and how to manage it. Candida interferes with normal hormone production and integration. (Tests for candida are rarely accurate. If you have ever had one single dose of antibiotics (even as a child), drank tap water, ate the Standard American Diet, still eat bread (even Ezekial), ate a raw or vegetarian diet for a length of time consuming fruits, sweeteners, oils and nuts together, had silver/amalgam fillings (even if they are now out), received immunization shots, taken pharmaceutical drugs laced with mercury, been exposed to pesticides, herbicides or other toxic chemicals, etc., then candida overgrowth can become a problem with a single binge on sweets or poor food combining practices.
13. Be wise about your diet, your lifestyle, your environment. Pursue your passions. Live through your heart - Nature's greatest answer to balanced hormone levels throughout the body.
Enjoy the simple gifts from Nature!