Women who are pre and post-menopausal often share comments like “I think that I’m losing my mind”, or ”I feel like my body is divorcing itself”, or I am always losing my keys” and “I may be getting Alzheimer’s disease”. Estrogen is memory in women and is needed for proper function of the brain. Estrogen increases blood flow to the brain. It brings glucose and oxygen- two needed fuel sources- to the neurons. Estrogen protects the neurons and increases the concentrations of neurotransmitters, and most importantly, it decreases neuronal generation of Alzheimer’s beta amyloid peptides. These are the “plaques” seen in the brains of patients with diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease. Estrogen is a natural antioxidant. It increases manual speed and dexterity and decreases distractibility.
Estrogen replacement therapy should be BIOIDENTICAL. Synthetic estrogens have many side effects and are not metabolized well. They send mixed signals to the cells resulting in erroneous messages. Bioidentical Estrogen is identical to the structure of estrogen found in your body. It is metabolized well and results in few if any side effects. Estrogen should always be given transdermally as a cream. If Estrogen is given by mouth, many side effects including high blood pressure, increased levels of triglycerides, gallstones, elevated liver enzymes and increased Estrone or E1( remember this can cause cancers) can occur. Oral estrogen can also lower growth hormone levels, increase blood clot formation and increase carbohydrate cravings.
Estrogen’s first cousin is PROGESTERONE. Women need the right balance of estrogen to Progesterone to maintain metabolic health and avoid debilitating symptoms. Progesterone loss, as it occurs before or during menopause produces anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings, insomnia, pain and inflammation, osteoporosis, excessive menstruation, nervousness, migraines, weight gain and decreased libido. That is quite a list. The causes of low progesterone include impaired production, stress, antidepressants,sugar, saturated fat, deficiencies of Vitamins A, B6, C and zinc and decreased thyroid hormone.
Now we must make the distinction between SYNTHETIC progesterone, called PROGESTINS and bioidentical Progesterone. Progestins do not reproduce the same actions of NATURAL PROGESTERONE. Progestins have many side effects including increase in appetite, weight gain, fluid retention, irritability, depression, headache, decreased energy, bloating, breast tenderness, decreased sexual interest, acne, hair loss, nausea, insomnia, interferes with the body’s own production of progesterone, stops the protective effects of estrogen on the heart and may make the symptoms of progesterone loss worse. NATURAL PROGESTERONE helps balance estrogen, leaves the body quickly, improves sleep, has a calming effect, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, may protect against breast cancer, increases scalp hair, is a natural antidepressant and is anti-inflammatory. Natural Progesterone also stimulates the production of new bone, enhances the action of thyroid harmonies, improves libido and is neuroprotective.
There is a controversy regarding the use of synthetic vs. bioidentical hormones in replacement therapy. As you can see from the data I have given you, BIOIDENTICAL hormone replacement is far superior, has less side effects, does not affect the heart or the bone negatively and are not carcinogenic. The smart choice is BIOIDENTICAL.
Tomorrow, we look at the estrogen:progesterone ratio and the balancing act that is crucial to a symptom free post-menopausal lifestyle!