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Hormones, what they do

Hormones are the bodies messengers, they coordinate all vital repair, recovery and regeneration, without them we cease to live a productive life, we simply degenerate. If our hormones are kept at youthful levels we age slowly and gracefully. These substances made by special organs in our bodies  provide communications between cells and  organs to do specific tasks are continually communicating between each other through feedback loops.

The balance and quantity of hormones directly and almost solely affects how our bodies function. Good balance and quantities translates into energy, weight control, sexual vigor, youthful appearance, recovery from daily stress and physical activity and overall sense of well- being.

Imbalance and lack leads to fatigue, sleep disturbance, sexual dysfunction, depression, impaired immune function, chronic illnesses, disease, "lack of thriving", degenerative state of decline, debility and earl death.

Hormones are intimately involved in every body function and even more than that, every cell has a receptor site for a hormone to communicate with the cell to turn it on, off, vary its rate, repair and coordinate the complex dance of this performance . The amount of hormones secreted into our systems are controlled by two glands in the brain- the hypothalamus and the pituitary. They were named the "master glands", this may not be a good definition now that we know communication happens at many other levels than this small area in the frontal brain.

Hormones are also produced by the sex organs: ovaries and the testies, adrenal glands located above the kidneys, the pineal gland in the center of the brain, the thyroid, infront of the voice box and it is now known that even the bodies tissues can make certain hormones . There are three sex hormones we are familiar with: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Both mena and women have fat cells that can make estrogen, the more fat the more estrogen.

Their actions are interconnected, interdependent and essential to our existence. Their actions are both positive and negative. The balance and interaction between the sex hormones determines the presence or absence of symptoms, the recovery or lack and a degenerative state.

Estrogen and progesterone are the dominant hormones in women. Estrogen a  broad name for a class of female hormones; Estradiol, Estrone and Estriol. Estradiol has the strongest physiologic force and the one to carefully monitor if one is supplementing. Estriol the weakest of the female hormone estrogens.

A significant shortcoming in our understanding of hormones is the belief that estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can act independently of one another at any time during our lives. This simply cannot happen and to look at it this way is mechanistic and lacks the full understanding of how the body is designed to seek equilibrium by a mechanism that we label homeostasis. 

Unless we totally incorporate into our understanding the inseparability of the three sex hormones and the others we cannot solve the problems caused by their imbalances.

Estrogen

In women estrogen is made in the ovaries, the follicle around the ovum, the adrenal glands, and the fat cells. With the progression of the aging process, the ovaries stop producing estrogen on a regular basis, and the main source for the production of estrogen becomes the adrenal glands located above the kidneys. Unused testosterone is also transformed into needed estrogen, and even estrogen stored in fat cells is called to action as the ovarian production of estrogen diminishes. Estrogen and progesterone are designed to balance each other, to keep each other in check. It is almost impossible to separate their actions, but for the sake of simplicity; Estrogen makes everything grow, it causes cells to proliferate while progesterone checks this growth, holding cell growth to a limit.

The positive effects of its action are that it:

  • Makes the lining of the uterus grow to prepare for pregnancy.
  • Helps the breast tissues grow in preparation for making milk
  • Causes the ovum to mature inside the ovary to prepare for ovulation
  • Creates the follicle where the egg matures
  • Promotes the growth of the fetus
  • Keeps the vagina, the vulva and the cervix well developed and moisturized
  • Promotes growth of underarm and pubic hair, and pigmentation of the nipples
  • Stimulates body fat accumulation to help the fetus grow
  • Prevents bone destruction by bone-destroying cells (osteoclasts)
  • Protects from hypertension by relaxing the lining of blood vessels
  • Stimulates the production of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme which breaks down fat. The result is low cholesterol levels and good balance between good (HDL) cholesterol and bad (LDL) cholesterol
  • Lowers insulin levels
  • Induces relaxation of blood vessels in the circulation in general and heart in particular

The negative effects of the growth induced by estrogen unopposed (acting alone), without the balancing effects of progesterone are:

  • Increased accumulation of body fat, this is why livestock growers use this hormone
  • Increased water and salt retention
  • Interference with normal insulin release and blood sugar control
  • Increased risk of overgrowth of endometrium (lining of the uterus)
  • Increased risk of overgrowth of breast tissue, and could be a reason for breast cancer
  • Increased risk of depression
  • Increased risk of headaches
  • Increased risk of gallbladder disease
  • Increased incidence of blood clot formation

Progesterone

Progesterone is the parent or precursor of estrogen in the ovaries and the parent to cortisol and aldosterone in the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands manufacture progesteorne from its precursor cholesterol. Progesterone is the precursor of testosterone, all androgens, and other adrenal hormones, making it extremely important for reasons far beyond its role as sex hormone, without it we could not cope with stess and our body fluid and kidney control would cease to function. Progesterones functions:

  • Protect the endometrium
  • Insure the optimal function of uterus
  • Prevent water retention
  • Help use fat for energy at the cellular level
  • Serve as a natural anti-depressant
  • Create a calming effect on the body
  • Help eliminate sleep disorders
  • Help keep insulin release in check and maintain even blood sugar levels
  • Prevent unmediated overgrowth of the endometrium/cancer 
  • Prevent unmediated breast tissue overgrowth/cancer
  • Maintain sex drive
  • Maintain normal blood clotting parameters
  • Protect against fibrocystic breasts

Progesterones negatives are few and easily balanced by estrogen:
  • A sedating effect, if used in excess
  • Increased spotting and changes in bleeding patterns
  • Bloating if used in excess
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Acne, if used in excess
  • Hyperpigmentation of facial skin when exposed to sunlight

Testosterone

The most important role of testosterone is to provide male characteristics. Although this may appear straight forward, testosterone functions are of significance to women as well.

Testosterone helps to:
  • Promote muscle strength and exercise endurance
  • Improve libido
  • Increase energy levels
  • Improve sense of well-being
  • Increase body hair production
  • Produce enlargement of the clitoris
  • Improve sexual desire and fantasy
  • Improve bone density


The negative effects of testosterone are due to overproduction or intake through either testosterone supplementation in pharmaceutical formulations or unsupervised androgen consumption. The side-effects are similar to those of estrogen dominance, since testosterone transforms into estrogen when it is overabundant. The side-effects include:

  • Male pattern baldness
  • Increased facial hair
  • More aggressive behavior
  • Higher cholesterol levels
  • Too much clitoral enlargement


We are only now starting to appreciate the importance of testosterone in men and women.
While the balance of estrogen and progesterone is highly dependent on a cycle.

Conclusion

Although hormones are critical to our well being, they do not protect us from all harm.

When our hormones are in balance, our bodies function like well-oiled engines, when the balance is off, we become squeaky wheels.

Minute changes in hormone levels “ almost imperceptible to even the most sensitive of lab tests - create significant symptoms. It is the suddenness of change in the levels of hormones that gives us symptoms at all stages and ages in life.

Laboratory tests cannot measure these infinitesimal fluctuations. They offer little help as we desperately try to right our lives while on the roller-coaster ride created by our fluctuating hormone levels.

Many symptoms of hormonal imbalance are found only in modern society. Stress, processed foods, and other factors unique to todays society are the reasons many women do not get enough essential nutrients to create hormonal balance. It is almost always progesterone, NOT estrogen, that is deficient. Virtually all the commonly known symptoms are those of estrogen dominance. When balance is restored by increasing natural progesterone levels, these symptoms typically disappear.(see Estrogen Dominance Article)

Natural progesterone is created by the ovaries at the time of ovulation. It is critical to understand that a woman can have her period and still not be ovulating. If she does not ovulate, she will not create the progesterone necessary to remove the fiber and lining that has been stored. The repeated storing without the essential cleaning can eventually result in fibrocystic breast disease, endometriosis, uterine cysts, bloating, weight gain and depression.

Natural Progesterone is being prescribed by health care professionals who used to recommend estrogen, It was found that estrogen did not help the negative symptoms caused by estrogen dominance.

Lack of sex drive, mood swings, endometriosis, pain and irritability during PMS, recurrences of acne, and even osteoporosis, are a result of estrogen dominance or hormonal imbalance in women. Hormonal balance is the relationship between the bodys progesterone and estrogen levels. If progesterone and estrogen are not at their normal levels an imbalance occurs and ultimately causes one of many undesirable conditions. It is unfortunate that these conditions often effect not only the woman with the imbalance but those around her as well. If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the conditions mentioned above, the following information may be very important.

After menopause the ovaries no longer produce at previous levels. Although estrogen is typically only produced at 40% of previous produced amounts it is still adequate for most women. It is not a lack of ESTROGEN that creates the problems. It is the lack of PROGESTERONE. If a woman’s body is given back the progesterone it can no longer produce, menopausal symptoms disappear! Balance is critical.

Natural Progesterone Cream vs. Pharmaceutical Drugs

Pharmaceutical “hormones”are only chemical imitations of the bodys natural secretions. They are NOT the same. Estrogen replacement drugs have been associated with increased cancer of both the uterus and breast. The most commonly prescribed drug has more than 30 negative side effects listed in the Physicians Desk Reference. Such as progestins are far LESS effective than natural progesterone. Natural progesterone has no side effects. Nearly every culture in the world uses natural plant medicines to support womens health and hormones. Plants such as soybeans, wild yams, dong quai & chaste tree.

Recommended herbs:

Natural Progesterone
Natural Progesterone Plus
Soy Isoflavones
Menopause Formula Premenstrual Formula
 
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