THE BLOG

31
Oct

Story at-a-glance

Between 2001 and 2011, estrogen replacement therapy in women aged 50-59 dropped 79 percent. New research suggests that estrogen avoidance may have led to the premature death of about 50,000 women in medical menopause
The study found that estrogen therapy for women in medical menopause was associated with “a decisive reduction in all-cause mortality,” primarily by reducing deadly heart attacks and deaths from breast cancer
Your risk-to-benefit ratio is likely related to a combination of factors: surgically-induced menopause vs. natural menopause vs. using HRT for preventive purposes; your age; using bioidentical vs. synthetic hormones; delivery method
If you’re in medical menopause, avoiding HRT due to fears about side effects could be a mistake. I recommend discussing your individual situation with a physician well-versed in bioidentical hormone replacement

HRT still makes sense for a lot of women.

“If you look at the science carefully enough, the two-to-five-year period that most women need HRT to get through this transition is relatively safe,” says Michelle Warren, MD, medical director of the Center for Menopause, Hormonal Disorders and Women’s Health at Columbia University. In the research, breast cancer risk didn’t rise until after five years of use. In other research, if women began taking HRT within ten years of entering menopause, their risk of heart disease was unaffected. Making a decision about therapy has gotten considerably easier.

If hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, or other symptoms are making you miserable, HRT is a good choice
HRT

Women with milder symptoms may want to try other options before HRT. relief through working out regularly; avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods; using water-based vaginal lubricants; and regularly doing Kegel exercises. Low-dose antidepressants such as Prozac or Celexa can moderately reduce hot flashes and improve mood.

HRT remains the most effective treatment for severe menopause symptoms, says Warren: “It’s a shame to think women are out there suffering because they aren’t getting the help they need.”

From the issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

27
Oct
24
Oct
22
Oct
20
Oct

WHY YOU SHOULD START LOSING EXTRA WEIGHT TODAY

Last week’s blog tackled weight loss tips that work. Now this article focuses on the why aspect, as in why you should be concerned about your weight and why you should take steps to lose those excess pounds. This also aims to shed a light on society’s growing obsession with losing weight.

Obsessed with weight

For both men and women, being overweight or obese is not just a health issue, but also an aesthetic problem! Studies reveal that for many people, health is not the main motivation for losing weight. It is actually the desire to belong, to fit in, or to look normal, if not attractive. People want to avoid becoming a victim of weight-based discrimination.

Heavy, obese people are often subjected to ridicule. There are also negative perceptions surrounding obesity. Obese people are often viewed as lazy, ugly, weak and unclean.

It is therefore not surprising that weight loss programs inundate the health and fitness industry year after year to respond this persistent concern. Just try searching for weight loss tips online and you will find an overwhelming number of resources outlining diet or exercise programs, promoting diet drugs or surgical procedures for weight loss. An ABC News report revealed in 2012 that the weight loss industry in the U.S. alone was already worth $20 billion.

The numbers

Despite society’s obsession with weight loss and being thin in general, overweight and obesity figures have not improved in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 69 percent of adults 20 years of age or older were either overweight or obese as of 2012. Worldwide, over 1.4 billion adults (35 percent of adults in the world) were overweight as of 2008 according to World Health Organization. Ten percent of the adult population in the world were obese.

The more alarming statistics are the deaths linked to obesity each year. WHO estimates that 3.4 million adults lose their lives each year due to excess weight or obesity problems.

The consequences of being overweight and obese

Being overweight and obese has been tied to serious health issues including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, reproductive problems, gallstones and osteoarthritis. Heart disease and stroke have been identified by WHO as the leading causes of death in 2012.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a person’s risk for coronary heart disease increase concomitantly with rising BMI. This is a condition where plaque builds up inside the arteries, blocking them and partially or completely preventing oxygen-rich blood from flowing to the heart. This can cause a heart attack. Stroke risk also increases when there’s a build-up of plaque in the arteries.

It’s important to note that atherosclerosis or the hardening of the arteries is a slow disease that begins from childhood and carries on until the person gets older. This is why is it important to have healthy eating habits and promote an active lifestyle early on.

Find the right weight loss solution

While there is no single weight loss solution that works for everyone, the process of losing weight starts with knowing yourself, your habits and motivations. Interpret those figures on your weighing scale. Your weight, together with your height, is used to compute your body mass index (BMI). The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website has a BMI calculator that accurately computes a person’s BMI for free. WHO says a body mass index (BMI) that is over or equal to 25 is considered overweight. Having a BMI of 30 or over indicates obesity.

Know your body, your lifestyle and diet habits. Do you indulge in food to cope with stress? Do you aim to lose weight to be more attractive? Do you have underlying medical conditions that cause weight gain? Knowing these things will reveal possible factors that lead you to gain excess weight.

Here’s our advice before you try any weight loss program: don’t let promises of instant results fool you and don’t make weight loss a goal. Instead, begin making sound choices when it comes to health. Exercise more and eat healthy. Have a doctor evaluate you for hormonal imbalance and other medical conditions that can lead to weight gain. Craft a weight loss solution that addresses the problem by eliminating the cause.

22
Jul

WEIGHT LOSS TIPS

Overeating and unhealthy diet are not the only causes of weight gain. Many people find that no matter how hard they exercise or control what they eat, they are still not shedding off excess pounds. The truth is, other major factors play a role in controlling a person’s weight such as genetics, metabolism, some medications and certain diseases. While genetics can’t be controlled, the rest of the identified weight gain causes can be managed.

Here are seven weight loss tips that work:

1. Follow a healthy balanced diet plan, not diet fads.

The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion released dietary guidelines for Americans which take into account a person’s age, gender, and level of physical activity. Diet fads don’t work because they are difficult to sustain and they often lack important food groups that the body needs for optimal health. Also, it’s not just about calories, but nutrients too! Don’t stop at counting the calories. Take into consideration the nutrients that go into your body through the food you eat.

2. Balance your hormones.

Hormones influence important body functions, including its ability to process and burn fat. Consider taking hormone replacement therapy to complement your weight loss efforts and get your body working for you.

3. Eat foods that boost metabolism.

Metabolism, the process that converts food to energy, slows down with age. It typically starts slowing down once a woman reaches her 30s. Some foods that have been found to boost metabolism are chilli peppers, low-fat yogurt, lean proteins such as fish and chicken, green tea, citrus fruits, berries and high-fiber cereals among others.

4. Stay hydrated, limit sugar and salt, and relish your meals.

Drink 10 glasses of water each day. Dehydration causes bloating which can lead to weight gain. Water also helps make you feel fuller longer, which helps supress appetite.

Another cause for bloating is foods that are high in sodium, which like sugar, can also intensify cravings. Watch out for foods that are high in sugar and salt.

Chewing more, whether while you’re finishing your meal or having a sugar-free gum, can also help decrease appetite. This works by lessening the secretion of hormone ghrelin, which is also known as a “hunger hormone.” Also, don’t wait to feel hunger before you eat. Eating when you are hungry increases the likelihood of going for unhealthy food and eating more than you should.

5. Have the right mindset about food.

Why do you eat? Do find yourself reaching out for a bag of chips when you’re bored or a bar of chocolate when you’re sad? Do you eat mindlessly when you’re with friends? Know your eating habits. While you can combine eating with pleasure, it is not a healthy habit to constantly turn to find comfort, ease anxiety or kill boredom. Eat to stay healthy and fit. It’s not about what you shouldn’t consume, but more of what you should eat to maintain your health.

6. Exercise regularly.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity and 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity weekly. Ideally, a person should exercise at least 30 minutes per day.

Don’t know where to start? If you are obese or over 65, it would be best to consult a healthcare provider and get medical screening before starting your exercise regimen. Healthy adults should begin by building their exercise programs gradually. For example, if you are planning on starting a running program, you can begin with brisk walking for 10 minutes each day for the first week. The key here is challenging yourself a bit each day without overexertion to avoid injuries and exhaustion, which can both lead to quit exercising altogether. Also, if you are bored with a single routine, diversify it so it will be easier to sustain your active lifestyle.

7. Get enough sleep.

Lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain. It increases your appetite and slows down your metabolism as it disrupts your hormones. It’s a surefire way to add inches to your waistline. Get seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

16
Jul

HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY AND WEIGHT LOSS CONNECTION EXPLAINED

The US weight loss market is a multi-billion dollar industry. The U.S. weight loss market is worth $60.5 billion as of 2013. This whopping figure is not surprising as it matches the obesity statistics in U.S. It’s been found that one in three Americans over the age of 20 is obese. As a result, diet regimens flood the market today and anyone keen on losing weight can find more than a handful they can try. But the real challenge here is finding a weight loss solution that really works.

HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY FOR WEIGHT LOSS

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of the many weight loss programs available for both men and women. While there is a common misconception that HRT causes weight gain, this has been debunked by health specialists who have explained that the increase in weight of women who are on HRT can be attributed to the body’s age-related metabolic decline and environmental factors. In fact, one study confirms that HRT does not only prevent weight gain, but also helps a person lose weight after three months of therapy.

HRT as a means to lose weight has gained enough traction to warrant the media’s attention. In one of Oprah show episodes, the queen of talk says “This is about your hormones being out of whack, and you don’t even know—we haven’t had the language to talk about it yet.” To put it simply, as people age, the hormones that keep the body functioning properly start to drop.

Hormones are chemical messengers that go about making sure that our bodies function properly—they are the instructions that give a clear outline how our bodies should work. When their numbers drop, the body fails or stops working properly. And one of the processes affected by hormones is the body’s ability to metabolize fat or process food intake. Dr. Natasha Turner, naturapathic doctor, says on Dr. Oz Show that hormones influence all the factors that affect weight including metabolism, appetite, cravings, and where the body stores fat. This means that diet and exercise may not be as effective when hormones are not balanced.

WHAT HORMONE THERAPY CAN DO FOR YOUR WEIGHT

It should be noted that HRT is not a wonder drug that will just cause you to shed off fat by just taking it. WebMD says that while studies have shown HRT to contribute to weight loss, experts in general don’t recommend exclusively taking HRT to achieve a healthy weight. This means that anyone who offers you an HRT product that offers weight loss benefits without work on your part is not being completely honest.

What makes hormone replacement therapy work much better than other weight loss regimens is that it works with your body—with the “materials” that’s already in you to begin with. HRT complements what is already there.

The great thing about the body is that it works on a simple cause-and-effect logic. For example, love handles can be an indicator of having high estrogen, low testosterone, low DHEA, high insulin, and high cortisol. So, when you think about it, weight loss is all about managing your hormones accompanied by a healthy diet and lifestyle to get the body working for you.

Hormone replacement therapy does exactly that. At its core, HRT is about proper body management and control. With HRT, you can balance and control the hormones that control how your body breaks down and processes fat. What makes this a safe weight loss solution—if taken properly—is that it only works with what is already in the body.

The key to getting the weight loss benefits of HRT is by having a proper evaluation done by a healthcare specialist. Get diagnosed for specific hormone deficiencies because HRT is not a one-size-fits-all solution; it should be customized based on the person’s needs.

Along with HRT, the person must also stick to a healthy diet and exercise regularly to attain and maintain a healthy weight. Certain vitamins and supplements may also be taken to help boost the body’s ability to burn fat.

08
Jul

BIO-IDENTICAL HORMONES

Hormonal replacement treatment is an important part of helping women take control of their bodies. As men and women age their hormones may become imbalanced in one way or another. This imbalance can contribute to a number of illness. A significant number of illness can be traced to the reduction of certain hormones. Today there are bio-identical replacement therapies that can help ease or even correct the issues experienced by those with imbalances. The choice of which method to use can be difficult with the number of hormonal treatments available both over the counter and through prescription. Most studies that have been conducted on hormone replacement therapy have used synthetic hormones which has led to some confusion on the benefits and risks of HRT.

WOMEN AND THEIR RISKS

Hormone replacement therapies and women have an interesting love-hate relationship. Women love the way that replacing the lost hormones feel, yet hate the potential of certain health risks. Long term use of hormone replacement therapies have been linked with higher incidence of breast cancer, stroke, and heart attacks.

Some research has been presented which may indicate hormonal imbalances are the culprit in the risks. Before menopause women do not experience the risks associated with estrogen. During women’s 30s they are protected by high levels of hormones, estrogen and progesterone, but these hormones are in balance. The risk for the health issues above increase once menopause occurs and the hormones become imbalanced.

WHAT HRT IS USEFUL?

While the long term studies on bio-identical hormones haven’t been conducted with enough frequency, there have been some interesting conclusions from those that have been completed. Hormones that have been started within a ten year period of menopause onset are beneficial to the protection of the heart and the brain. Delivery of certain bio-identical estrogens have a protective result compared to oral. The oral delivery forces medication through the liver before the hormone is made available to the body which causes clotting issues. Delivery through the skin has become popular in creams, patches, sprays, and gels.

COMPOUNDS VS PHARMACEUTICAL

There are methods of delivery preferred by patients and doctors. However, depending on one mode of delivery can cause a strain on the body and limit choices. At times a patient may need more or less of the bio-identical hormone. These differing amounts may be available in a compounded form whereas the pharmaceutical version is limited on the amount available.

Many doctors are now choosing to combine their prescribing methods of hormone replacement treatments. The lowered cost of compounded versions helps patients on a limited income or with insurance difficulties. Most creams can be found in one version or another at local drug stores.

Utilizing bio-identical HRT can be a protective agent in health, if used correctly. Transdermal delivery has been determined to increase the protective activity of the estrogens. Creams and other compounds combined with a transdermal delivery pharmaceutical may help balance the hormones in women who have passed menopause and need to avoid the bone weakening effects of lowered estrogen.

01
Jul

LOW TESTOSTERONE IN MEN

Men produce their own hormone in their testicles – testosterone. This hormone is manufactured in a similar fashion to women’s estrogen (which is made in the ovaries). Women also make testosterone in the ovaries, but not at the high amounts that men create it. In fact, testosterone is considered the ‘male’ hormone. Men get their bulk, body hair growth, bone strength, and more ‘manly’ emotions from testosterone. Women are very sensitive to the effects of their testosterone production, even though they only create small amounts.

REDUCTION IN HORMONES

Men fall prey to the reduction of hormone levels much like women. While most people associate hormone replacement treatment with women and menopause, men often need hormonal treatment. Lowered testosterone production begins in the 30s and continues to decline throughout life. There is evidence that the reduction in testosterone is associated with an enzyme that converts the hormone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone). When testosterone is reduced then men find themselves at risk for lowered bone density, enlarged prostate, and cancer. The enzyme is known as 5-alpha reductase.

Not only do men need to worry about natural reduction in testosterone as they age, chemical exposure is responsible for further reduction. Drugs used to lower cholesterol levels (statins) and active ingredients in RoundUp plant killer were found to cause problems with testosterone production.

EDCS AND MEN

Endocrine disrupting chemicals, EDCs, have caused trouble with testosterone and are everywhere men turn. The chemicals disrupts the systems of both animals and humans. These chemicals are found in products used everyday – cleaners, contraceptives, and even in food or drink.

Exposure to these chemicals are causing boys to reach puberty earlier than previously. This early puberty is detrimental to the health of boys and the men they grow into as they face a higher risk of hormonally related cancers. Emotional health is also affected by this early onset puberty, resulting in lowered self esteem in some boys, depression, possible earlier loss of virginity and multiple sexual partners, along with increased risk of STDs.

A few of the EDCs that can cause a change in men’s testosterone production, effectively giving male infants, young boys, and adult men a more feminine system:

Bisphenol-A (BPA) – Ingredient in some plastics. Water bottles, food can, dental sealants, and baby bottles. Many companies have banned BPA though it is still present in many products.

Perflurooctanoic acid (PFOA) – Potentially carcinogenic. Used in water and grease resistant food coating.

Nonylphenol ethoxlates (NPEs) – EDCs that can affect the glandular system and interfere with gene expression. Culprit in sex changes of marine animals.

There are many more EDCs, it is nearly impossible to list every chemical that is detrimental to the male system. Avoiding EDCs by eating fresh food instead of canned, not using Teflon coated cookware, and eating organic foods can help immensely in avoiding these chemicals.

COMBATTING LOWERED TESTOSTERONE LEVELS

In an effort to combat lowered testosterone, men can seek hormone replacement treatment. This can be through a prescription, use of organic dairy products to naturally raise testosterone levels, or exercise. It has also been found that intermittent fasting can help boost testosterone. This fasting works by improving the body’s expression of satiety hormones – insuling, leptin, adiponectin, and other helpful chemicals.

One of the best ways to combat lowered testerone is to lower stress. Chronic stress causes the body to produce cortisol which competes with DHEA in the body. DHEA and cortisol are made in the same areas of the body, when cortisol wins, DHEA is lessened which interferes with testosterone creation.

20
Jun

THE BEER BELLY: WHY DOES IT EXIST? AND HOW TO GET RID OF IT?

Belly fat is one of the most common body complaints by men. The fact is, most of your fat is going to end up in your belly region, whether it is an extended beer belly, or a belly that droops down. If you want to get rid of it, here are some important tips to follow.

The Dangers of Belly Fat

Not only are you likely wanting to lose your belly fat to feel more physically confident, but it is good for your health as well. There have been several medical studies that show a link to extra belly fat and medical conditions or risks. A bloated belly is often linked to problems with your organs, including your heart and liver. This includes having fatty acids from your extended belly reaching your liver and leading to diabetes, a higher concentration of cortisone, which can increase your risk for heart disease, and blood clotting issues that lead to stroke or heart attack.

Signs of Too Much Belly Fat

If you aren’t sure if your belly is too big for your body, it is as simple as measuring it. The best way to measure it is standing up if it extends out and is firm like a beer belly, or laying down if it droops. Wrap a measuring tape around your stomach when it is bare, leaving the measuring tape above your hip area. It should fit snugly, but not so tight it pushes into your skin. Once it is level and in the right place, write down the measurement. A man’s belly that is over 40 inches is likely too big and can be a sign of health problems.

Changing Your Diet

The balance of diet and exercise is important to reducing belly fat, but it starts with diet. Follow a healthy diet that helps you get all of the necessary nutrients. This includes lean protein and low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Skip the margarine and butter and go for good fats that are found in olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Keep an eye on your portion sizes as well, as this makes a big difference. Your main course should be about 1/3 of your plate, while the other 2/3 of the plate are fruits, vegetables, ad whole grains. Some good sources of fat include salmon, nuts, olive oil, and avocados.

Avoiding Extra Beer Calories

If your belly fat is indeed from drinking beer, you don’t have to quit drinking, but cut back. The most important thing to remember is not replacing your food calories throughout the day with beer calories. Skipping a meal doesn’t mean you can have 500 calories of beer and it will be the same. The difference in what you eat matters just as much as how much you eat when you’re trying to get rid of belly fat. With eating and drinking, moderation is key.

Training the Right Muscle Groups

When it comes to your workouts, you want to include strength training, particularly by training the bigger muscle groups. You can have abs, but they won’t show beneath your fat. To rid your body of belly fat, train the larger muscle groups, like your arms and legs. The more muscles you use and workout during training sessions, the more calories you are going to burn, which helps you reduce your belly fat.

Adding in Cardio Workouts

Cardio is also important for getting rid of your belly fat, as it burns more calories. Think about anaerobic cardio, as opposed to running 10 miles a day. Anaerobic cardio exercises burn more calories in a shorter period of time and give you an excellent burst of energy. This includes activities like running shorter sprints and doing high-intensity workouts in short bursts.