There are several key differences between integrative physicians and the traditional medical world.  Traditional medical physicians think our hormones decrease because we get old, which is normal, unavoidable and OK.  In contrast, enlightened integrative physicians believe that we get old because our hormones have decreased, and that such process is NOT OK and is definitely avoidable.

A second major difference is that traditional physicians think that if a value is “normal,” it is good.  NOT SO FAST!  “Normal” values are defined as the mean plus or minus 2 standard deviations.  By definition, that includes 95% of the population.  Now I don’t know about you, but when I came home from school, telling my Mom that my report card was better than the worst 5%, she just didn’t get it!  Don’t we want our goal to be the best instead of just better than dead?  Top 10-15% sounds about right to me, and that’s what I want for my patients! 

Now that we’ve got the basic approach down, let’s talk about what a “hormone” is and why they are so important.  A hormone is a substance produced by a body that circulates in bodily fluids to affect cellular activity, often in a stimulatory way.   There are lots of hormones that coordinate all cellular activity in the human body.  Sex hormones, thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones, pituitary hormones, sleep hormones, adrenal hormones, growth hormones, neuroprotective hormones, hormones that make your skin tan, etc., and they all work together in a complex symphony to ensure that the organism (that would be YOU) functions in an optimal way.

If your hormones aren’t at their optimal levels, because of age, toxins, infection, or stress, you aren’t functioning optimally.  So do we just say: “Too bad, it sucks to get old?”  Not me.  I say let’s get those hormones back where they should be!  So how do we do that? 

Bio-identical hormones are, by definition, hormones that are identical molecule-for-molecule with the hormones your body makes (or used to make).  If you take them in the right amount and by the right route, they do not cause harm, but help you function optimally.

Hormone replacement therapy got a bad name starting with the Women’s Health Initiative that started in the 1960’s and now most doctors think that HRT causes breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes.  The problem was the hormones used were not Bioidentical.  They were hormones made from horse urine!  And they were given by mouth.  Anything taken by mouth goes through the liver for detoxification, and horse hormones get metabolized into cancer causing, pro-inflammatory agents that are NOT good for you.  Bioidentical hormones decrease the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, dementia, osteoporosis, weight gain, and skin wrinkling… basically, keeping you from getting old as the years go by. 

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