Menopausal symptoms are related to a decline in the production of certain hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA, and this hormone reduction varies from individual to individual. Hormonal imbalance results in the menopausal miseries experienced by so many women as they age past 45.
Restoration of the proper balance of hormones can relieve the menopausal symptoms, enabling a woman to feel like her youthful self again. Restoring a youthful hormone balance also helps protect against osteoporosis, mental depression, thinning skin, immune dysfunction, and a host of other age-related diseases and discomforts.
Concern about the potentially life-threatening side effects of synthetic hormone drugs has caused many women to deprive themselves of the benefits of safer, natural hormone replacement therapy.
For those women, we offer the following drug- and hormone-free approach.
NATURAL ESTROGEN FORMULA
- Natural Estrogen Formula
- Bone Assure Formula
- Royal Maca
- Mega EPA/DHA Essential Fatty Acids
In an attempt to provide aging women with the multiple health effects of estrogen without side effects, scientists have discovered plant extracts with estrogenic activity (phytoestrogens).
Natural Estrogen is one answer to concerns about the risks of synthetic estrogen replacement. A review of the published literature reveals some interesting findings about how plant-derived estrogens can provide safe and effective female sex hormone replacement therapy, and help provide support for such menopausal symptoms as hot flashes.
The recommended initial dose is one capsule of Natural Estrogen twice a day. While postmenopausal women may start at any time, premenopausal women should begin on the fifth day of their menstrual cycle. It is recommended that women already taking estrogen drugs such as Premarin should wean themselves off the synthetic hormones gradually over several months as follows, using equivalent amounts of Natural Estrogen.
Natural Estrogen contains Phytoestrogens (isoflavones from Mega Soy extract), Black cohosh, Dong quai, Licorice, and Vitex extracts.Soy Isoflavones
Unlike estrogen drugs, phytoestrogens have a balancing effect on the body. When estrogen levels are too low, their very mild estrogenic effect raises total estrogenic activity. When estrogen levels are too high, they compete with estrogen at cell membrane receptor sites, thus lowering total estrogenic activity.
The widespread use of insecticides, fungicides, chemicals used in manufacturing, and chlorine-based substances that mimic and mutate estrogen might be a major cause of the breast cancer epidemic. These fat-soluble substances called "hormone modulating pollutants" accumulate in the body over time and are being recognized as a contributing factor in the development of hormone-related cancers.
Women with breast cancer have high levels of estrogen-altering pesticide residues in their breast fat cells, compared to women who do not have breast cancer. Soy contains "friendly estrogens" that block estrogen-receptor sites on cells that are vulnerable to attack by carcinogenic "mutated" estrogens.
Natural estrogen includes a soy extract that contains enough phytoestrogens from soy to provide the amount of genistein, daidzein, and glycitein found in the typical Japanese diet. This soy extract is so concentrated that only a small amount is needed to obtain enough phytoestrogens to potentially provide effective estrogen replacement for many women.Black Cohosh
Black cohosh extract has shown estrogenic effects within the body in several studies, but it does not elevate estrogen levels in the blood. Black cohosh extract appears to bind to estrogen receptors in order to mimic the hormonal effects of the weak estrogen, estriol. Estriol is a weak estrogen that has been shown to protect against the types of cancers that more potent forms of estrogen (estradiol and estrone) appear to cause. Black cohosh extract has been referred to as being "estriol-like" because of the rejuvenating effect it exerts on the vaginal, rather than the uterine, lining.
A fascinating early study involved 60 women who were given standardized black cohosh extract, Valium, or Premarin gsynthetic estrogen) for menopausal symptoms. The women in the black cohosh group were relieved of their depression and anxiety more effectively than the women in the Valium or Premarin groups.
The most impressive early study on black cohosh was carried out by 131 physicians in 629 menopausal women. This study demonstrated that black cohosh extract produced clear improvement in over 80% of patients within 6-8 weeks. Both physical and psychological symptoms improved.Dong Quai
Dong Quai extract is a female tonic in traditional Chinese medicine. It has been used successfully to alleviate PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and menopausal symptoms. Dong Quai extract has been shown to have a muscle relaxant effect and has been used as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent. Scientists believe that one mechanism of action of Dong Quai is to promote natural progesterone synthesis. Progesterone is another hormone whose production declines at menopause.
Progesterone may be more important than estrogen for preventing and treating osteoporosis because progesterone is directly involved in the production of bone-forming cells called osteoblasts. Many menopausal women use a topical natural progesterone cream to provide for direct absorption of progesterone into the bloodstream. Beware of commercial Dong Quai root supplements that contain too much active ingredient (i.e., 250-535 mg of Dong Quai per capsule). This dose is too high and not necessary when taking other hormone-modulating plant extracts such as black cohosh, soy phytoestrogens, glycyrrhetic acid, etc. because it can be toxic. A balanced herbal formula should not contain more than 50 mg of Dong Quai in the recommended daily dose.Licorice Root Extract
An extract from the licorice root called glycyrrhetic acid (GA) stimulates the natural conversion of testosterone to estrogen in the body. Licorice root extracts have many disease-fighting applications, but for menopausal women, the most important factor is that glycyrrhetic acid extracted from licorice is a safe source of natural estrogen. Numerous studies indicate that GA is an effective estrogen replacement therapy in humans, and the Chinese have successfully used licorice extracts for more than 3000 years to treat menopausal disorders.Vitex Extract
Another hormone imbalance that women encounter as they grow older is excessive prolactin secretion from the pituitary gland. Prolactin interferes with the beneficial effect of estrogen and may promote the development of estrogen-induced cancers. The clinical symptom of excessive prolactin secretion is a modest amount of breast milk production in a non-pregnant woman, noted by a milky discharge from the nipples of the breast (galactorrhea). The diagnosis is confirmed by a serum blood test for prolactin which may be followed by a brain scan in search of a prolactin secreting adenoma (tumor) of the pituitary gland.
Prolactin secretion may be suppressed by a natural extract called vitex agnus castus (Chaste tree berry). In one study, vitex extract was shown to suppress excessive prolactin secretion and promote natural progesterone synthesis over a 3-month period. As with the other plant hormone-modulating extracts, no side effects were observed. Vitex acts on the pituitary gland to decrease prolactin secretion which then increases progesterone production because excess prolactin suppresses progesterone. This herb is primarily used to control the symptoms of PMS rather than the symptoms of menopause; however, vitex can be used together with other natural agents during the menopausal period.
Note: Prolactin is so dangerous in patients with hormone-dependent cancers that the Life Extension Foundation advocates prolactin suppression drug therapy (Dostinex, 0.5 mg twice a week) for breast and prostate cancer patients who have excess prolactin in their blood.PREGNENOLONE
Pregnenolone has been shown to greatly reduce hot flashes, increase resistance to stress (converts cortisol), increase sexual desire in those women who are low in estrogen due to peri-menopause, and improve mood and energy. Pregnenolone is a powerful memory enhancer and immune stimulant and is anti-inflammatory. Pregnenolone can make one feel like one's "own self" again.
Pregnenolone converts to DHEA (it does what DHEA does, but is safer), PROGESTERONE in women and TESTOSTERONE in men without inhibiting one's own production of the hormone. It should be taken in the morning and early afternoon, before meals.
Pregnenolone is the "mother hormone," made directly from cholesterol within the mitochondria. In addition to memory enhancement, a partial list of pregnenolone's diverse benefits include:
- Complete hormone balance. Does everything DHEA does and more. Unlike DHEA, pregnenolone readily converts into progesterone.
- Enzyme repair. The cytochrome P-450 enzyme system is stimulated by the addition of pregnenolone. This enzyme system is important in neutralizing cellular toxins.
- Protection from cortisol/cortisone. Cortisol levels increase with normal aging causing immune impairment, atherosclerosis, and neuronal injury. Pregnenolone protects against adrenal atrophy when withdrawing cortisone therapy. Pregnenolone helps protect against the effects of elevated cortisol including atrophy of the skin, osteoporosis, hot flashes in women and possibly adult-onset diabetes.
PRECAUTIONS: Since pregnenolone can naturally convert into DHEA in some people, the precautions we advise for DHEA may apply to pregnenolone - Especially women with breast cancer. For some people, pregnenolone may elevate DHEA serum levels, thus possibly reducing the need for DHEA supplementation.MACA
Native Peruvians have used Maca for several thousand years, as a food item, and medicinally to enhance fertility in people and animals, for libido, energy and other medicinal uses. Maca is rich in essential minerals, especially selenium, calcium, magnesium, and iron, and includes fatty acids including linolenic, palmitic and oleic acids, and polysaccharides.
Maca is an adaptogen, which means it helps the body adapt to stress, and helps to return a dysfunctioning system back to normal balance. Maca can help the endocrine system, including the ovaries, testes, adrenals, pancreas and thyroid. Because endocrine gland balance and immune system function are so interrelated, it often notably enhances immune system functioning.
Traditionally, native medicine practitioners and herbalists have recommended Maca to reduce or eliminate menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and hormone-related depression, as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy [HRT].MEGA EPA/DHA Essential Fatty Acids
Diets high in saturated fats lead to heart disease, cancers, and an imbalance in the eicosanoid hormones (an important factor in fibroid cysts). In contrast, diets high in essential fatty acids help to balance eicosanoids. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are unsaturated fats from cold water fish (e.g., salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring). Other links to eicosanoid imbalance include uterine cramps, pelvic pain, and breast pain.
In his latest book, The Perricone Prescription, Dr. Nicholas Perricone dedicates a section to olive oil and refers specifically to hydroxytyrosol as its rare and most potent protective antioxidant. Dr. Perricone states that hydroxytyrosol slows the aging process in the skin by stabilizing the cell plasma membrane. He recommends daily olive oil ingestion for soft, shiny hair and strong nails.
The premium fish oil in Mega EPA/DHA has been tested for pollutants including dioxins, furans, PCBs and heavy metals. The oil is sourced from the purest wild sardine, anchovy, and mackerel fished in cold, pristine, deep waters off South America, where there are significantly less environmental impurities.BONE ASSURE
Studies on postmenopausal Japanese women have shown that soy may not be sufficient on its own to improve bone density of skeletal structures such as the hip. Additionally, the long-term effect of soy on bone density has not been established. Women who are at high risk for osteoporosis should not rely only on soy phytoestrogens to maintain their bone density.
To maintain bone health, women should supplement their diet with at least 1000-1500 mg of elemental calcium in the form of calcium citrate or calcium bisglycinate to ensure the best absorption, 400 mg of elemental magnesium, and 400 IU of vitamin D3 daily, provided in Bone Assure.
Commercial calcium supplements provide only limited protection against the demineralization of bone that occurs with aging. The scientific literature, on the other hand, documents a wide range of minerals that are vital to maintaining strong, healthy bones.
For those who have already lost bone density, the proper combination of nutrients can help restore bone mass by rebuilding the organic matrix that holds minerals such as calcium in place.
Bone Assure protects bone mineral mass by providing potent amounts of elemental magnesium and a highly absorbable form of calcium (bis-glycinate) that has been shown to assimilate 1.8 times better than calcium citrate. It also maintains the organic bone matrix with the minerals zinc, manganese, silica and copper that are required for the formation of collagen and other living connective tissues.
Vitamin D3 facilitates the absorption of calcium into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream vitamin D3 then acts as a hormone to direct calcium into the bone matrix.A Complex Topic
For more comprehensive coverage of the topic, please refer to the Female Hormone, DHEA Replacement,