Kayla Edwards

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Due to today’s longer life spans, women can expect to spend a third of their life — or more — in their postmenopausal years. While the women of yesteryear were forced to “grin and bear it” when it came to hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, and mood swings, the arrival of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in the 1960s liberated millions of women from “l’enfer des femmes” (a woman’s hell).  The Early Promise of Estrogen In 1966, Robert A. Wilson, M.D.’s book, Feminine Forever, informed women that “menopause is completely preventable” and advised them to take estrogen. The promise of remaining “feminine forever” was met with enthusiasm, and synthetic estrogen became the standard therapy for women undergoing “the change.” When it later became obvious that estrogen encourages the growth of the uterine lining, which could increase the risk of cancer, the medical community suggested progesterone to protect the uterus. But rather than combine natural, bioidentical progesterone (which is...

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Your body is composed of a variety of different hormones, including growth and sex hormones, which carry messages between your organs and cells. Hormones are secreted by glands in the endocrine system to help the body stay balanced and function optimally. The main sex hormones include estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, pregnenolone, and DHEA.1Aging is associated with a loss of sex hormones in both men and women. Replacing those lost hormones can restore feelings of well-being, sex drive and sexual pleasure, energy levels, plus reverse muscle and bone loss along with other functions that are associated with aging. By doing this, we can age more slowly and have a better quality of life into old age.2-4 Estrogen Estrogen is found in greater amounts among women. As a pro-growth hormone, its main function in the body is growth and development. This hormone stimulates fat cells to grow and is a key component in reproduction. There...

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Americans spend over $34 billion on alternative medicine each year.1 The bulk of this expense goes toward nutritional supplements. As the supplement market continues to expand, questions about vitamin use persist: “Do you really need 12 different supplements a day? If you eat relatively healthy, including fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, shouldn’t that be enough?” Here are four main reasons to consider taking supplements: 1. Nutrient-Deficient Diet Many Americans neglect eating the most nutrient-rich foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, which are needed for the body to stay healthy. Instead, most individuals eat processed, easy-to-grab foods that are high in calories and low in nutrition. It is understandable that most Americans are nutritionally deficient, when the two main vegetables in their diet are tomatoes and potatoes in the form of ketchup and French fries.2 According to a National Health and Nutritional Survey, the majority of Americans fall short on nutrition. This survey reported...

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Hormone imbalances can occur in men and women of almost any age.1 A variety of factors can be related to these imbalances, including high insulin levels from diets high in refined foods and sugar, exposure to environmental toxins (xenoestrogens), high consumption of hydrogenated fats, and lack of physical activity leading to weight gain.2-5   Age is also a factor in reduced levels of hormones, creating feelings of imbalance in everyday pursuits. For example, testosterone levels in women begin going down after age 20. By age 40 a woman’s testosterone level will be half of what it was when she was 20 years old. This is why getting hormone levels checked even while in your 20′s may be necessary if you aren’t feeling yourself. For women between the ages of 40–60, testosterone levels can remain pretty constant. After menopause testosterone declines once again.1 How can you help hormones maintain balance? Diet The food you...

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Do you feel like the weight of gravity is setting in? You keep telling yourself, that you’re too young to feel old, but your aching muscles, sore joints, and decreased energy tell you otherwise. What are some key factors to feeling old? Oxidative stress from diets high in sugar and processed foods Inflammation from diets high in hydrogenated oils Raised cortisol levels from poorly managed stress Overuse of prescription drugs Dehydration and large amounts of soda consumption Sleep deprivation Low thyroid function Hormone imbalances While life expectancy for humans has increased, for many individuals the quality of life has decreased. According to the World Health Organization, the United States ranks 37th in the world when it comes to overall health.1 More Americans are experiencing obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Surprisingly, women in other countries do not suffer from symptoms of hormonal imbalance to the extent that American women experience PMS, endometriosis,...
Hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) has been around for many years as a way to help women relieve menopausal symptoms. Yet, HRT has been a confusing topic for medical professionals and patients. The debate over the safety of HRT has been questioned since the Women’s Health Initiative study in 2002, which showed the therapy could have greater health risks than benefits.1,2 To clarify this study, researchers found that women taking Prempro (a combination of Premarin and Progestin) significantly increased breast cancer, heart attack, and stroke risks. Due to the chemical makeup of these synthetic treatments, they can have negative effects on the body. Fortunately, there are alternatives to conventional BHRT. Bioidentical hormones are another method for treating menopause and hormonal imbalances. This form of HRT comes from natural compounds and contains a molecular structure that is identical to hormones found in the body. The body uses BHRT the same way it uses...

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The Alzheimer’s Association has estimated that the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in the United States will more than double in the next 40 years. Currently 5.2 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s, but 13.8 million Americans are expected to by 2050. As a result, medical costs will increase to more than $1.2 trillion per year by 2050.1 And the cumulative costs for Alzheimer’s care from 2010 to 2050 is estimated to exceed $20 trillion.2 What can be done to prevent cognitive decline? Reduce Abdominal Fat Your belly affects your brain? It may seem like an odd connection, but a recent study conducted on more than 700 middle-aged subjects found that obesity lowered total brain volume in healthy middle-aged individuals. Lower total brain volume has been linked to the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life. The findings, published in the Annals of Neurology, suggested that insulin resistance and BMI did not correlate to dementia, but visceral abdominal fat was significantly related.3...

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Live long and prosper. What can you do to have a longer, happier life? In addition to a eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, life expectancy is related to your attitude, behavior, and beliefs. Be Positive Is the glass half full or half empty? Your attitude and perspective on the world contribute largely to your health.1Individuals who have a positive outlook when they are young tend to live longer.2 In a study where participants over the age 50 were followed for 30 to 40 years, researchers found that the individuals who had a positive attitude about aging lived about seven years longer than those who did not.3 Those who tend to hold on to negative emotions are more likely to experience harmful health outcomes, including heart ailments.4-6 If you find yourself feeling more hostile, bitter, and depressed, try to become an extrovert. Get involved in a community group, enroll in a community class, reach out to new people or...
How old do people think you are? Are you 60 going on 25? Then you are well on your way to a life of longevity. Perceived age is a term often used by physicians to recognize a patient’s level of health, in which an individual may look younger or older than his or her chronological age. Is there really an internal fountain of youth that radiates through your appearance? Researchers from the University of Denmark decided to put this idea to the test. The study recruited 1,826 Danish twins (70 years and older) to take physical and cognitive tests. The twins also had their faces photographed. Next, volunteers looked at the photos and determined the subjects’ age based on their appearance. After a seven-year follow up, researchers found that longevity was significantly related to perceived age, as it was more likely that the older-looking twin died first. Additionally, younger-looking individuals had greater physical and mental capacities....

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Description The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is located in the front of your neck and wraps partially around the windpipe. The gland is responsible for making thyroid hormones that control the metabolism of all cells in your body. If the thyroid overproduces hormones, you can have a condition called hyperthyroidism. This condition commonly causes symptoms such as a forceful and rapid heart beat, insomnia, sudden weight loss, breathlessness, nervousness, irritability, sweating, and frequent bowel movements.1 Many people can also suffer from different degrees of low or underactive thyroid function, called hypothyroidism. Symptoms of a thyroid gland producing too little thyroid hormone can include a slow metabolism, listlessness, lowered body temperature, weight gain, constipation, muscle soreness, feeling cold, fatigue, depression, high cholesterol and homocysteine, painful joints, dry skin, and hair loss.1-4 There are two types of thyroid hormones: Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). T4 is inactive and kept in reserve; T3 is the active hormone. Thyroid hormones control the...

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Description Testosterone, important to both men and women,1 is a hormone secreted by the ovaries, adrenal glands, and testes.2 Women require less testosterone than men, but the hormone is needed to sustain a woman’s libido and enhance the functions of estrogen.3 In both males and females, it strengthens bones to help prevent bone loss.2 Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone, responsible for male sexual development and critical in maintaining erectile function, libido, energy levels, mood, and a wide range of other physical functions throughout the body.2 As with other hormones, testosterone declines with age. Testosterone levels begin declining when a man is in his thirties. Although the total testosterone does not drop dramatically, the free testosterone, which is the biologically active testosterone, declines dramatically with age.4 Because the drop in testosterone is gradual, andropause symptoms appear over a longer period of time as compared to female menopause.5 Symptoms appear as a gradual decrease in energy, thinning bones and muscles, increased...

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Description Progesterone is a hormone produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands, and it functions to balance the effects of estrogen. Natural progesterone enhances the action of estrogen, as these hormones work together to maintain a normal hormone balance. A lack of progesterone causes disease processes similar to those caused by a deficiency of estrogen. They include osteoporosis, heart disease, decrease in libido, and a significantly diminished quality of life. The combination of natural progesterone and estrogen can prevent this downward spiral by keeping women vital, strong, and healthy. The ovaries begin producing progesterone around puberty, and the monthly ebb and flow of this hormone, in harmony with estrogen and other hormones, continues until menopause. Progesterone’s primary role during this moment is to help make the uterus ready for implantation of a new embryo, the first major event – after fertilization of the egg – in the nine months of human gestation. If the...

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Description Estrogen is a foundational hormone that regulates the brain and body bioenergetics in the female body.1 There are three types of estrogen found in a female body: estrone, estradiol, and estriol. The levels of all of these hormones fall dramatically at the onset of menopause. Estrogen is produced in a woman’s ovaries and adrenal glands. An extremely small amount of estrogen is produced in men through the conversion of testosterone. Symptoms characteristic of female menopause are hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, bladder problems, difficulty concentrating and anxiety.2,3 Unfortunately, health risks, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease, increase in the absence of estrogen.4-6 Rapid bone loss after menopause has been attributed to the decline in estrogen production, which is essential for bone growth. In addition, the loss of estrogen can result in the development of heart disease.7 Estrogen may lower total blood cholesterol and raise HDL (good cholesterol).8 And while estrogen protects the...

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Description Melatonin is produced naturally in the body by the pineal gland.1.2 It is a primary hormone involved in regulating the body’s circadian rhythms and female menstrual cycle.1,3,4 It also plays important roles in blood pressure regulation, seasonal reproduction, immune system health, and bone and tooth health.1,5.6 Melatonin levels are higher at night, suppressed by bright light, and decline as we age. Low levels of melatonin can cause sleep disturbances, as it is a primary component in the sleep-wake cycle.1,7 Melatonin is derived from tryptophan, an essential amino acid. When tryptophan is consumed through the foods we eat, it is converted into serotonin (a neurotransmitter) and then broken down further into melatonin at night.1 Benefits Has powerful antioxidant effects.1,8-11 Promotes brain health even under challenging conditions.1,12-17 Potentially beneficial in preventing abnormal cellular development.1,17-24 Has immune-enhancing properties.1,25-32 Beneficial when used peri-operatively (surrounding surgeries).1,33-41 Promotes better sleep.1,42-46 Helps avoid jet lag.1,47-50 Aids in the biologic regulation of circadian rhythms.1,3,51...

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Description Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal glands, gonads (testes and ovaries), and brain.1 DHEA is often referred to as the “mother of all hormones” because it is the building block from which both male and female hormones are produced. It is synthesized in the adrenal glands, brain, and gonads, and it is locally metabolized into other steroid hormones including androstenedione, testosterone, and 17-B-estradiol (E2).1 DHEA is absorbed from the small intestine and transported to the liver to be metabolized and distributed to the various tissues where metabolites are synthesized. DHEA production declines in your mid-thirties to forties, leading to a deficiency that can make you feel mentally and physically exhausted. Exhaustion and stress are related to an increase in cortisol levels2 and DHEA’s role in countering cortisol levels is often overlooked.3,4 Cortisol is necessary for many important functions and is related to a normal stress response. When cortisol stays too high...

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Description Pregnenolone, a steroid hormone synthesized from cholesterol, is found in the brain, gonads and adrenal cortex. Research shows that correcting low steroid hormones can actually help to normalize cholesterol levels. Having a higher-than-ideal cholesterol level might be the body’s way of creating a precursor for the steroid hormones it needs.1,2 Pregnenolone is a precursor to DHEA, progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. It is also imperative to cognitive function. Pregnenolone levels are highest in the brain and studies have shown that it enhances many of our mental capacities.3 Pregnenolone also benefits mood, sleep, memory, cholesterol, and cellular repair in the brain and nerve tissues.4-10 Pregnenolone enhances the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is important to memory function.11 Individuals with memory ailments often have low pregnenolone levels. Pregnenolone can stimulate neuron function to aid memory. Studies have shown levels of pregnenolone to be lower in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.12 Benefits Promotes nerve regeneration Enhances memory9,13 Improves sense of well-being14,15...
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