Introduction To Hormonal Balance
Seems everything that happens as we age is harmful. We can’t see, can’t pee, can’t move, get decreased muscle mass, decreased immune system, decreased sex drive and gain belly fat. Although the wisdom that comes with age is nice, the wrinkles, ailing joints and general frailty are not. That’s why it is no surprise that ‘anti-aging’ is such a hot topic. Luckily, the key to anti-aging is within your reach with The Firm U. When it comes to relaying messages, inducing reactions, protecting tissue and looking good – it’s all about your hormones. Your hormones are chemical messengers that are keeping your body functioning. From regulating metabolism and growth to controlling immune function and reproduction, hormones are major players in all that you do and all that you are – physically at least.
Most people associate human growth hormone and DHEA with aging, but progesterone, testosterone, estrogen, cortisol and insulin play a role in aging as well. If the delicate balance of any one of these hormones is destroyed, it can take a serious toll on your body, mind and spirit – and be mistaken as classic signs of aging.
Typically, we have found that hormonal imbalance was the greatest hurdle and “missing link” for our clients over 40, wanting to lose fat weight, gain or maintain muscle, have more energy, feel better, and improve overall health.
People with unbalanced hormones such as free testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, free T3 and insulin ( just to name a few that we blood test for), are not customarily checked by their doctor, mostly because it’s not in the standard blood panel protocol or insurance won’t cover it.
The majority of physicians will either medicate or operate if something’s wrong with you or give you useless advice like “you need to exercise more and watch what you eat”, we believe most people already know that. Very little is normally done by your doctor for the prevention of diseases before they happen, that’s where The Firm U steps in. We make every effort to prevent, reduce or eliminate the need for RX medications.
We believe the only medications you should be taking are for conditions you can’t prevent. Medications such as Bioidenticals Hormonal Replacement Therapy (BHRT) replaces what “mother nature” has taken away. We can replace declining hormones and help these problems.
See the “Service Menu with Prices” button for details on pricing. Click on KPRC Channel 2 Houston Feature Story with The FirmU
Health and Hormones Facts
Insulin is a hormone. It makes our body’s cells absorb glucose from the blood. While insulin is storing glucose in the liver and muscle as glycogen it stops the body from using fat as a source of energy. When there is very little insulin in the blood, or none at all, glucose is not taken up by most body cells. When this happens our body uses fat as a source of energy. Insulin is also a control signal to other body systems, such as amino acid uptake by body cells. Insulin tells the body to make and store fat.
That being said, one of the most important hormones for fat loss or muscle gain is insulin. Insulin will affect how you look more than any other hormone. We at The Firm U check your fasting insulin levels. When you have insulin in your blood (normally from overeating carbs) it is physiologically impossible to burn fat no matter how much exercise you do. Depending on what your insulin levels are you could be insulin resistant and on your way to become diabetic and not know it!
Insulin resistance (IR) is a condition in which the body’s cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. This happens in stages. Liver first, muscles next then fat cells. Your Firm U Trainer can explain what this means for YOU. With insulin resistance, the normal response to a given amount of insulin is reduced. As a result, higher levels of insulin are needed in order for insulin to have its proper effects. So, the pancreas compensates by trying to produce more insulin. Insulin is highly inflammatory to the linings of blood vessels. High insulin is a cause of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity along with other unpleasant things.
So you’re wondering why your doctor doesn’t check fasting insulin levels? For one thing, the doctor’s office probably doesn’t know how to bill code the testing because most insurance companies won’t cover it unless you are already neck deep in disease… and oh yeah, it’s not in your doctors standard blood panel protocol to make sure you’re healthy, they’d rather tell you to exercise more and eat less, WRONG! What kind of advice is that?
Testosterone is the principle hormone in the group of hormones known as androgens. Although classically associated with men, testosterone serves functions in both men and women.In men, in regards to aging, testosterone contributes to energy, memory, moods, muscle mass and strength, decreases fasting blood sugar, improves insulin sensitivity, lowers hemoglobin A1C, decreases visceral fat, decreases heart disease, decreases fibrinogen reducing risk of dangerous blood clots and improves sexual stamina and performance.Women must keep testosterone levels in fine balance, as it plays an integral role in mood, energy, weight and sex drive. Without enough testosterone, gaining and sustaining lean body mass can be difficult. As testosterone declines with age, it impacts weight management and sex drive.Testosterone improves anything structural. This means joints, bones, tendons, ligaments, skin (increased collagen production prevents sagging skin)Testosterone also decreases C-Reactive Protein (CRP) a marker for inflammation that we test for in our clients at The Firm U. Healthy levels of testosterone have been shown to significantly decrease dangerous blood clotting, decrease inflammation and decrease heart disease..so WHAT do most doctors use? Statins and fish oil!! Really?
The term estrogen collectively refers to the hormones, estradiol, estrone and estriol. Each has a different chemical structure and function. Like testosterone, estrogen plays a role in the physiology of both men and women. However, estrogen plays a greater role in the recognizable aging process for women than in men.The primary role of estrogen in the female body is to stimulate growth and development of sexual characteristics and reproduction, induce the changes of the breasts during adolescence and pregnancy and aid the growth of the uterine lining during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. Estrogen is responsible for hundreds of functions in the male and female body including protecting from heart disease and colon cancer. It also regulates several metabolic processes, including cholesterol levels and bone growth. Estrogen also helps to protect the bones and the brain. Research shows that women who take estradiol within the first 10 years of menopause are practically sure of not getting Alzheimer’s. Estrogen has demonstrated that it increases HDL cholesterol, lowers LDL, and protects against heart disease. Literature reports that the longer you are without estrogen the more plaque you will deposit at any age, even postmenopausal women, ask your doc about that one! Many doctors don’t realize that men need estradiol as much as women do at levels that improve cardiovascular health, sustain bone mass and for memory. Men obtain estradiol through its conversion from testosterone
Progesterone serves multiple functions in the body of both men and women. It is vital for regulating the sleep cycle, as well as boosting immunity and brain function. In women, progesterone is an essential hormone of the reproductive process. Many women will experience fluctuations of progesterone throughout their life cycles. An imbalance of this hormone can lead to symptoms classically associated with aging, such as poor sleep, mood swings and foggy thinking. Progesterone also serves as a precursor hormone, converting to estrogen, testosterone or cortisol on the steroid hormone pathway. Low levels of progesterone can lead to increased levels of cortisol and low levels of the sex hormones, which will trigger impaired immune function and a host of other issues associated with hormone imbalance. Progesterone is the opposing hormone to estrogen in women. It is important for women to have adequate progesterone to lower risk of breast and uterine cancers.
DHEA is a precursor hormone produced from cholesterol by the adrenal glands inside the body. This hormone plays a crucial role in the formation of the sex hormones – estrogen and testosterone – as well as fuels the transformation that occurs as the body grows and matures.
Around your mid to late twenties, DHEA begins a gradual decline, which contributes to the aging process. By the age of 70, you generally have less than 10 percent of the DHEA you had in your twenties. Therapy with DHEA can be helpful in treating auto-immune disorders, obesity, dementia, osteoporosis and chronic fatigue. DHEA has been shown to decrease formation of plaque in the arteries
The hormone HGH (human growth hormone) is secreted by the pituitary gland and is crucial for normal development and maintenance of organs and tissues – especially in children. HGH enhances tissue growth, increases muscle mass and strengthens bone density throughout the life cycle.
Hormone therapy with HGH is most commonly used in the medical industry to treat children with stunted growth or young people suffering from hormone deficiencies. In a few cases, HGH may be necessary for treatment of hormone imbalance in adults. There is overwhelming evidence that HGH decreases visceral fat and decreases cardiovascular disease with no side effects so why aren’t we using it Mr. politician and Mr. Big Pharma?
When FDA-approved HGH is prescribed, it is in the form of a powder with a diluting solution for use as an injection. This is the only formulation that has been approved by the FDA. Of the HGH sprays and pills that are available without a prescription, few have been proven to be effective.
Human chorionic gonadotropin is a protein composed of 237 amino acids. It’s structure is identical to luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and β (beta) subunit that is unique to HCG. Because of its similarity to LH, HCG is used clinically for fertility to induce ovulation in the ovaries as well as testosterone production in the testes.
When exogenous testosterone is put into the male body, natural negative-feedback loops cause the body to shut down its own production of testosterone via shutdown of the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis. This causes testicular atrophy and reduced sperm count. HCG is commonly used to maintain and restore testicular size as well as normal testosterone production.
In the world of performance-enhancing drugs, HCG is increasingly used in combination with various anabolic androgenic steroids. As a result, HCG is included in some sports’ illegal drug lists. Professional athletes who have tested positive for HCG have been temporarily banned from their sport, including a 50-game ban from MLB for Manny Ramirez in 2009 and a 4-game ban from the NFL for Brian Cushing for a positive urine test for HCG.
British endocrinologist Albert T. W. Simeons proposed HCG as an adjunct to an ultra-low-calorie weight-loss diet (less than 500 calories). Simeons, while studying pregnant women in India on a calorie-deficient diet, and “fat boys” with pituitary problems (Frölich’s syndrome) treated with low-dose HCG, claimed that both lost fat rather than lean (muscle) tissue. In 1957 Simeons recommended low-dose daily HCG injections (125 IU) in combination with a customized ultra-low-calorie (500 cal/day, high-protein, low-carbohydrate/fat) diet, which was supposed to result in a loss of adipose tissue without loss of lean tissue.
Simeons’ results were not reproduced by other researchers and in 1976 in response to complaints, the FDA required Simeons and others to include the following disclaimer on all advertisements:
These weight reduction treatments include the injection of HCG, a drug which has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective in the treatment of obesity or weight control. There is no substantial evidence that HCG increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or “normal” distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restrictive diets.
— 1976 FDA-mandated disclaimer for HCG diet advertisements
Review studies refuting the HCG diet have been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, both concluding that HCG is neither safe nor effective as a weight-loss aid.
The scientific consensus is that any weight loss reported by individuals on an “HCG diet” may be attributed entirely to the fact that such diets prescribe calorie intake of between 500 and 1,000 calories per day, substantially below recommended levels for an adult, to the point that this may risk health effects associated with malnutrition.
Homeopathic HCG for weight control
Controversy about, and shortages of, injected HCG for weight loss have led to substantial Internet promotion of “homeopathic HCG” for weight control. The ingredients in these products are often obscure, but if prepared from true HCG via homeopathic dilution, they contain either no HCG at all or only trace amounts.
The United States Food and Drug Administration has stated that over-the-counter products containing HCG are fraudulent and ineffective for weight loss. They are also not protected as homeopathic drugs and have been deemed illegal substances. HCG itself is classified as a prescription drug in the United States and it has not been approved for over-the-counter sales by the FDA as a weight loss product or for any other purposes, and therefore neither HCG in its pure form nor any preparations containing HCG may be sold legally in the country except by prescription. In December 2011, FDA and FTC started to take actions to pull unapproved HCG products from the market. In the aftermath, some suppliers started to switch to “hormone-free” versions of their weight loss products, where the hormone is replaced with an unproven mixture of free amino acids.
I know what the government and medical “studies” say now, but ARE people losing weight with prescription HCG?
Young women and men do. (this is consistent with Simeons observation with young pregnant women and fat boys described earlier) The Firm U’s real world experience has shown us that most women over 40 fail on the HCG diet. HCG contains FSH. Older women usually already have high FSH levels which is the reason it doesn’t work so well for them. They lose some weight from the 500 calorie diet but eventually they eat again and they get fat again. The low calorie diet ends up putting them into diet induced hypothyroidism and then they come to The Firm U saying “they’ve tried everything and nothing works!” People who lose “40 lbs in 40 days” don’t learn anything and when the diet ends, they return to their old ways. If you don’t believe in get rich quick schemes, why would you believe in quick weight loss? At the Firm U, we teach clients HOW to lose 40 lbs for 40 years!
Why do some doctors require dieters to see them every two weeks on the HCG diet? First, to make sure that they are in good health to do the diet. Some patients with debilitating diseases such as uncontrolled diabetes or advanced heart disease should probably not do the HCG program. Blood tests need to be evaluated for potential problems and a heart exam is done including an EKG. High protein diets have been associated with electrolyte disturbances; therefore regular blood tests should be performed to catch these problems early. Very low calorie diets have been associated with vitamin deficiencies, therefore a shot of vitamin is recommended to maintain this nutrition.
Can men use HCG for weight loss?
Yes. In fact, men usually achieve a better result than women and it is equally safe in healthy men as in women and usually no significant side effects are seen. It does not give them man-boobs or estrogen effects as it is not a sex hormone like estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone. Some doctors say it acts more like the hormones adrenalin or Thyroxine.
Does The Firm U include HCG in its hormone replacement therapy?
Yes. Not for weight loss though, because we have a more preferred method for fat loss.
DO HORMONES CAUSE CANCER AND HEART DISEASE?
In 2002, a Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study suggested that hormone therapy increased a woman’s risk for breast cancer and heart disease, a faulty assertion that led to fear, confusion and a dramatic reduction in hormone prescriptions in the United States and around the world. The study used and concluded that synthetic hormones caused cancer and heart disease. Peer-reviewed bio-identical hormone research shows exactly the opposite!
Today, studies are validating the benefits of bio-identical hormone therapy – and describing the tragic death toll that reaction to the WHI study has taken on women’s health.
Not all estrogens cause cancer in women!! Doctors need to read the medical literature or they will develop faulty reasoning and false assumptions. This would be like thinking: The Ford Pinto is a bad car. All cars are bad. A study in the July 2013 American Journal of Public Health estimates that, over the last 10 years, “a minimum of 18,601 and as many as 91,610 postmenopausal women died prematurely because of the avoidance of estrogen therapy.” The study concludes that “Estrogen therapy in younger postmenopausal women is associated with a decisive reduction in all-cause mortality.”
A 2013 article in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism concludes that even data from the 2002 WHI study revealed positive results from hormone therapy, including:
1. A very beneficial (overall) risk-to-benefit ratio when using hormone therapy.
2. A protective effect for heart disease, strokes along with a reduction in mortality.
3. Decreased breast cancer rates with estrogen and bio-identical progesterone use.
4. Reduced risk of fractures.
These findings are not a surprise to us at The Firm U. We have been endorsing the use protective levels of bio-identical hormones to live a long, healthy, and strong life all along!
So, where would you like YOUR levels to be??
Some men are concerned that testosterone will cause prostate cancer because that’s what they “heard”. The bulk of the existing data discounts that notion. New Engl. J. Med 2004; 350, 487-92 reports that the rate of cancer in treated men is identical to the rate of cancer in untreated men. None of 12 longitudinal population based studies such as the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging or The Physicians Health Study found any increased risk of prostate cancer in men with high testosterone levels compared to men with lower levels.
The Firm U Lab Panel Procedure
The Firm U orders comprehensive hormone/weight loss blood panel test for clients from our Integrative medicine doctors. Clients have blood drawn by any LabCorp Lab. The cost for this test is a total of $1200 (includes doctor visit, see below). If you were to purchase this test on your own it would cost about $2100 (just the blood panel alone!), we’ve priced it out.
The $1200 includes initial doctor visit and coordination between doctor and pharmacist to custom prescribe effective hormone formulations, dose and route of administration. Includes a full comprehensive blood panel (from us through Lab Corp.).
The recommendation is for hormone levels to be in the optimal end of the range for a 25 year old to take advantage of the benefits and vigor of youthful hormones. The benefits in optimal hormonal level for men and women results in the following improvements; fat loss, insulin sensitivity levels (great for diabetics), sexual performance, muscle mass and strength, cognitive alertness, cardiovascular health, reduced cancer risk and bone mineralization. Optimal hormonal balance has been shown to improve cholesterol and decrease atherosclerosis.
Lab results are emailed directly to The Firm U. Based on lab results and medical history, suggestions are made and hormone formulations are carefully selected for effectiveness and quality by anyone of our licensed professionals Pharmacist Christine Boss, Dr. Tamyra Comeaux, Dr. John Slaughter, Dr. Rio De Leon or Dr. Lynn Marquardt. All recommendations are backed by valid scientific and medical literature to ensure you get the quality treatment you need to achieve your fitness goals and live better and longer. See the “Service Menu with Prices“ button for details on pricing.
Any statements made are for educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice, do not substitute for proper medical evaluation from a qualified medical provider nor create a doctor/patient relationship. If you would like medical advice please ask your doctor.