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The Pros and Cons of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy and Glandular Extracts

June 27, 2019 11 min read

"Replacement" or "Nourishment" - Which Approach Gives Your Body the Power to Restore Optimal Hormone Levels?

Hormones are a set of chemicals made by the endocrine glands. They are messengers, that communicate with other parts of the body to assist or instruct them in critical performance areas.

Hormones are involved in almost every task in the body. These include physical development, tissue repair, reproduction, brain function, the digestion or assimilation of food, moods, immune responses, and numerous other functions. When hormone producing glands fail to produce the precise amounts needed by the body in a given moment, health problems begin. 

Chemical hormones, bioidentical hormones, and glandulars are the common ways hormone deficiencies are treated. Surgery and chemical suppressants or blockers are common ways in which hormone excesses are treated. 

Yet a more effective approach to all of the above is proposed here as an alternative. Rebuild the poorly functioning glands with sound, whole earthen nutrition, and restore the body's natural hormone production levels organically.

Topics covered in this article include:

Replacement vs. Nourishment

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)

Glandulars

Benefits of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) and Glandular Extracts

Disadvantages of BHRT and Glandular Extracts

What are the Natural Alternatives?

The Short List Program for Hormone Balancing

An Expanded Program List of Options

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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 the body's own hormone production levels return to normal.

An herb or seaweed will work to nourish the body back to health. An isolated hormone derived from an herb or glandular concentrate replaces the function the body would normally perform on its own, thus 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 address the original causes of most hormone deficiencies (mineral & nutrient deficiencies, chemical hormone disruptors, sugar, toxic liver, adrenal fatigue, heavy metals, processed food, etc.), then 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 in time.

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. Barring extreme injury or surgical removal, your body is perfectly capable of generating all the hormones you need - providing you follow basic food combining practices along with an ongoing, gradual detoxification and rebuilding protocol outlined further below.

Now for the comparison.

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)

Bioidentical hormones originally come from plant sources before being altered to be chemically similar to human hormones. They are sometimes referred to as “natural” hormones—even though they are made in a laboratory where plant extracts are further altered to be chemically similar to human hormones.

Not all hormones made from plant sources can be referred to as bioidentical. Only those manipulated chemically are referenced this way. However, "chemically identical" does not mean they hold the multidimensional properties found in all things made by Nature herself.

Multidimensional properties that occur naturally in resources built by Nature are hardly even on the horizon of most medical and naturopathic disciplines today. Herbs, sea vegetables, clay, and various foods intrinsically hold these powerful properties which naturally support the restoration of human health through the detoxification and rebuilding of organ, gland, and body systems. 

Let's compare the advantages and disadvantages of bioidentical and glandular hormone replacement approaches, along with the benefits of the whole earthen natural alternatives.

The most common forms of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy are estriol, estrone, estradiol, testosterone, progesterone, and occasionally dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). They are designed to supplement (replace) the same hormones normally manufactured by the body's own endocrine system. Bioidentical hormones are commonly made by concentrating and manipulating certain extracts from plants like soybean and wild yam.

Glandulars

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.

Benefits of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) and Glandular Extracts

  1. Provides an emergency dose of hormones when nothing better is working. (Yet the program suggested at the end of this article will provide a safer and faster way of restoring your natural endocrine powers.)

  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 by the body for the moment in your life.)

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 typically drawn from cows and pigs, and are therefore 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 and lessen dependence, but since whole earthen resource performance is superior to both BHRT and glandulars over the long term, neither one of them will ultimately be required if a properly designed, comprehensive endocrine building program is followed (similar to the one outlined below).

  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. They also place an undue burden on the liver that must process or absorb the chemicals and excesses caused by the HRT program.

  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 precursor concentrates from plants disrupt the natural functions of other organs and glands in the body - all of which depend on delicately balanced hormone, mineral, phytonutrient, and enzyme levels to perform optimally.

  9. Hormone excesses stress the liver & kidneys, which are responsible for breaking down and recycling, or disposing of, hormone/chemical excesses.

What are the Natural Alternatives?

  1. Hormones are manufactured in the body from three basic nutrient sources: lipids (cholesterol/fat), amino acids, and peptides (which are chains of amino acids).

  2. Our job is to supply the body with a sufficient amount of lipids and amino acids from live foods, adaptogenic herbs, and sea vegetables to provide the body with the building blocks needed to manufacture hormones within, (as opposed to relying on external hormonal support via Hormone Replacement methods).

  3. The body naturally creates pregnenolone from cholesterol (a lipid (fat)-based molecule). The body then continues to naturally differentiate pregnenolone into other steroidal hormones including progesterone, cortisol, neurosteroids (for the brain), and androstenedione (that converts to the estrogens (estrone and estradiol) and testosterone), among many other hormone derivatives. Sufficient cholesterol for abundant steroid production can be found in whole grains, avocado, olives, seeds (chia, flax, sesame, etc.), sea vegetables, and most all fruits and vegetables since they each contain lipids, along with their other nutrients. 

  4. The amino acid-derived hormones are relatively small molecules derived from the amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan (both of which are found in whole grains, beans, and seeds). Epinephrine and norepinephrine are examples of amino acid derived hormones which are manufactured by the medulla of the adrenal glands, and thyroxine, which is produced by the thyroid gland. The pineal gland in the brain makes and secretes melatonin derived from amino acids, which regulates sleep cycles.

  5. Peptide derived hormones (composed of amino acid chains) include antidiuretic hormone and oxytocin produced in the brain and released into the blood from the posterior pituitary gland. This class also includes Human Growth Hormone produced by the pituitary, and large glycoproteins, such as follicle-stimulating hormone produced by the pituitary. Bioactive peptides are also found in whole grains, beans, and seeds.

  6. Nourish the body with an abundance of whole foods, herbs, and whole earthen mineral resources (the natural building blocks for the construction of hormones in the body) to support the process of endogenous (internal, self-made) hormone construction. These resources include whole earthen clays, seaweeds, algae, herbs, seeds, and pollens.

  7. Adaptogenic herbs provide herbal nutrients that support the entire endocrine system (hormone producing glands like the pineal, pituitary, hypothalamus, parathyroid, pancreas, thyroid, adrenals, overies/testes). 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 hormonal benefit from all that Nature built into these herbs.

  8. Nitric oxide is an important signaling molecule that supports almost every biological system in the body, especially the production of Human Growth Hormone and other hormones. Non-GMO organic beets provide the precursor molecule nitrate necessary for the production of nitric oxide production. Just be very careful about your source of beets. The health risks of GMO foods cannot be overstated.

  9. Avoid soy products unless you are sure it is non-GMO and fermented like miso, natto, tempeh, and unpasteurized shoyu and tamari (high quality soy sauces). Long term usage of common soy milk and soy derivative products can result in severe menopausal-type withdrawal symptoms and a long list of health complaints from GMO soy (now included in almost all processed foods and fast foods). Due to genetic modification of the soybean and widespread contamination of regular soybean crops, there is little chance today of obtaining a safe soybean product, even when grown organically, so be sure that your source is non-GMO, otherwise simply avoid it completely. 

  10. Eliminate the use of typical vitamin and mineral formulations constructed of just a few mineral combinations (like Cal-Mag, Vitamins A, B, C, D, 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 disrupt or deplete the mineral & nutrient balance in your body, leading to long-term hormonal and enzymatic imbalances, and further dis-ease.

  11. Improve the diet by reducing or eliminating the concentrated sweeteners, caffeinated beverages, fruit & starch excesses, alcohol, 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. Remain moderate in all things dietary. Both excesses and deficiencies place undue strains on the spleen, liver, and hormonal system that must compensate for the imbalances.

  12. Supplement your garden vegetables consumed with sea vegetables and other superfoods (providing hundreds of times the nutritional benefits). Sea vegetables have natural hormone balancing influences as a result of their rich nutritional profiles.

  13. 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. Eliminate foods treated with chemical herbicides (like RoundUp), pesticides, and any fish or farm animal raised with hormone/antibiotic treatments. These are known hormone disruptors.

  14. 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).

  15. Concentrate on the repair of adrenal exhaustion. Using whole earthen resources (clays, adaptogenic herbs, seaweeds, alfalfa, nettle leaf & seed, etc.), build strength and normal functioning power back into the adrenal glands (producer of 50+ hormones). The adrenal hormones play a role in regulating or supporting other hormone producing glands. The adrenal glands produce their own version of estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, and cortisone, and regulate major biological functions affecting energy, sleep, sugar levels, heart function, lung function, blood pressure, bone density, allergic response, etc.

  16. Face the sun (with eyes closed when necessary) 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 significant way.

  17. Learn the true causes of pathogen overgrowth and how to manage it. Viruses, bacteria, yeast, and parasites perform the beneficial function in the body of consuming excesses of sugar & fat, toxins, and undigested food. When pathogens are fed with excesses they get out of hand in numbers and place a strain on the body's immune system. In the process, they also interfere with normal hormone production and integration.

  18. Medical tests for candida and other pathogens are rarely accurate. If you have ever had one single dose of antibiotics (even as a child), consumed tap water, ate the Standard American Diet, ate a raw or vegetarian diet for a length of time consuming the typical combination of fruits, sweeteners, oils and nuts together, had silver/amalgam tooth fillings (even if they are now out), received immunization shots, taken pharmaceutical drugs laced with aluminum or mercury, have been exposed to pesticides, herbicides, or other toxic chemicals, etc., then you are likely to have a tendency to pathogen overgrowth, which can then become a more serious problem with a single binge on sweets, chips, or poor food combining practice.

  19. Nature's greatest answer to balanced hormone levels throughout the body – Be wise about your diet, your lifestyle, your environment. Pursue your passions. Live through your heart! 

 

The Short List Program for Hormone Balancing

Hormone Support Smoothie

( * indicates the essential components of this blend)

* 1/4 cup (60 ml) Frozen Wyman's of Maine Wild Blueberries from your local health food store

* 1/8 cup (30 ml) of non-GMO organic beet kvass or 1/4 cup (60 ml) of chopped raw non-GMO organic beet for nitric oxide benefits. Liquid beet kvass is available in bottles at your health food store, or make your own

   1/4 cup Harmless Harvest unpasteurized Coconut Water from your local health food store             (optional)

* 1/4-1/2 an apple (red or green, as desired)

   Add 1/4 tsp of cinnamon or Smoothy Spice Blend as desired

   Add the following herbal formulas to the smoothie (or take them separately):

* 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Vital Cleanse & Nutrify 

* 1/2 to 1 tablespoon (7.5-15 ml) Herbal C

* 1/2-1 tablespoon (7.5-15 ml) Revitalize for Women / Men, or if taken separately (6-12 caps).

Add other herbal formulas from the Expanded Program List below as desired.

Consume this 2 times per day, one or more hours before a meal with fats/oils. Can be used as a snack, or meal replacement, or a no-fat meal supplement (avoid combining these fruits with oils or fats).
 

 

An Expanded Program List of Options

Products to consider on the road to complete hormone restoration (An * indicates the 1st choice recommendations):

 

Green Superfood formulas (select one or more):

* Vital Cleanse & Nutrify

* Sea Vegetable Blend

   Earth & Sea Greens

   Alfalfa-Nettle Combo

 

Earthen Mineral Sources:

* Mineral Manna

Or to make your own Mineral Manna without salt combine:

Sacred Clay (1/2 tablespoon or 15 ml), Ancient Mineral Blend (1/2 tablespoon or 15 ml), and 1 scoop (1/32 tsp or 0.15 ml) Ormalite

 

Adaptogenic (hormone balancing) Formulas (select one or more):

* Revitalize for Women / Men

* Adaptogen & Mushroom Blend

   Kidney & Adrenal Builder

   Thyroid Balance

   Energy & Brain Power

 

Immune System Enhancement Formulas (in order of importance)

* Herbal C

* Immune Power

* Spleen Builder

   Black Seed Combo

   10 Day Immune Boost

 

Digestive Support Probiotic Formulas (top 3 are important to further digestive health, though Herbal C in quantity will suffice as an all around digestive support mechanism)

* Friendly Flora

* Digestive Bitters

* Herbal C

   Pro-EM-1 (Teraganix.com)

 

Natural Sweeteners

Smoothie Spice Blend
 
Licorice Root Powder
 
Stevia Green Leaf Powder
 
Lucuma
 

Yacon

Raw Honey (in moderation and not with fats/oils)

 

Download the Cleanse & Revitalize Program Guide PDF:
Year Round Cleanse & Revitalize Program Guide

Related Articles:

Seven Ways to Improve Thyroid Function (without HRT)

Health Foods that Lower Thyroid Function

Michael King

Michael King is a Life Enrichment Consultant, a natural intuitive, a researcher of Nature's most powerful healing resources the world over, the author of "Detoxify, Nourish & Build - Three Essentials for Vibrant Health" and the Vital Health News Updates - a periodic newsletter documenting the most life-building natural resources on the planet. Michael is also an advocate of sustainable gardening, environmental responsibility, and an architect of ways to increase global food production.



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