The endocrine system doesn’t get a lot of attention or applause, but this collection of organ glands serves a vital role in nearly every bodily function. These glands which are located in multiple parts of the body are responsible for producing key hormones that signal for specific actions and behaviors to take place. The endocrine system is constantly monitoring hormone levels within the bloodstream, so if levels rise or drop from normal ranges the pituitary gland messages the corresponding gland(s) to increase or slow down hormone production.
While this may sound like a subtle responsibility considering all the other functions taking place within the body, it is arguably the most important. The endocrine system works to achieve homeostasis therefore the body can operate at an optimal level. Through the production and regulation of hormones, body functions can be significantly impacted.
Such affected processes can include:
- Growth & development
- Emotions & mood
- Fertility & sexual function
- Blood pressure
When the body fails to produce or regulate the right amount of hormones of its own, health concerns can begin to take place. These effects can dramatically challenge the quality of life and day-to-day capabilities of an individual. Due to this, many medical professionals recommend bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to their patients to help restore proper levels and bodily function.
The Endocrine System & Hormone Function
With hormones being an instrumental component to overall well being, it is critical that healthcare providers and individuals pay attention to hormone levels and symptoms relating to overactivity or deficiencies. The endocrine system is comprised of a few major glands including:
- Ovaries or testes
These glands and a few supporting others are responsible for producing over 50 different hormones. However, some play bigger roles than others including:
- T3 & T4 – T3 & T4 are the two primary hormones produced by the thyroid gland which regulates metabolism, helps the digestion process, stimulates hungar, body temperature, heart rate, and impacts overall energy levels.
- Melatonin – Is a hormone that is most often produced at night by the pineal gland to help stimulate and regulate sleep and wake cycles.
- Progesterone & testosterone – Sometimes referred to as the female and male hormones, as progesterone is primarily produced in the ovaries and testosterone in the testes. These hormones are largely responsible for the physical and sexual differences between men and women.
- Cortisol – Produced in the adrenal glands, cortisol is a common hormone released alongside adrenaline during a fight-or-flight situation. This hormone is critical to handling stressful events, however, long-term cortisol levels are negatively impactful to overall health.
- Adrenaline – The sister-hormone to cortisol, adrenaline is important to the fight-or-flight response. Also produced in the adrenal glands, adrenaline is critical to regulating blood pressure, glycogenolysis, lipolysis, etc.
- Insulin – The insulin hormone, which is produced in the pancreas, is a necessary component for cells to properly use glucose in the bloodstream. When little to no insulin is produced, or the body is insulin resistant, conditions like diabetes develop.
- Estrogen – A category of sex hormone primarily produced by females, estrogen is essential to the development and regulation of the female reproductive system and the formation of female characteristics.
- Testosterone – The brother-hormone to estrogen is made by males and by a lesser degree in females, and plays a critical role in the development and regulation of the male reproductive system and formation of male characteristics. However, it is very important for women as well.
While numerous other hormones are essential to optimal processing of the body, these are some of the main culprits that lead to health concerns for individuals. As a result, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy often is specifically targeted to address these hormones and the functions they help activate and carry out within the body.
What Affects Hormone Production?
Before an individual gets to the point of needing bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, there needs to be clear evidence that there is an improper functioning of hormone production occurring somewhere in the endocrine system. So what leads to an individual experiencing a negative breakdown in hormone production?
In general, it is natural that hormone production slows down as individuals age older. While this is the case, lowered hormone levels do yield negative effects on the body and overall health. However, other factors that can impact hormone production include:
- Environmental exposures
- Diet & exercise
- Medications (i.e. opioids, steroids)
- Specific illness
How Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Helps
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has caught significant attention in recent years as a “close to natural” and effective method to offset improper hormone levels. While many supplemental hormone replacement therapies exist, bioidentical is the closest solution to the real chemical messengers created by the human endocrine system.
These man-made hormones are produced in a lab to where their physical makeup is as exact a near match as natural hormone sequencing. The most commonly replicated hormones include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone — yet other specific hormone types are also possible.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy offers the ability for medical practitioners to deliver a customized treatment plan to each patient through a variety of options including compounded or mixed bioidentical hormones. Additionally, this course of treatment can be delivered via pills, patches, creams, gels, and injections.
In recent times, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has become favored over traditional hormone replacement therapy for its effectiveness and versatility. While bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is most often used for women in premenopause or menopause, the therapy can work for both women and men.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help with:
- Weight gain
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Night sweats
- Low energy
- Difficulty sleeping
- Memory loss
- Low libido
Who Should Consider Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
When hormone levels become unbalanced or influx, an individual can begin to experience a wide range of negative health effects. As integral pieces to cellular communication and job proficiency, having adequate hormone levels translates to a healthier quality of life. Therefore, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can be a potential solution for anyone subject to low or unbalanced hormone production.
This up and coming form of hormone replacement therapy is one that should be kept on the radar for anyone experiencing symptoms of imbalanced hormone levels. As a major factor in cellular communication and organ function, the quantity and quality of hormones is paramount to the overall health of an individual — regardless of age or sex.
If you have questions about the science, safety, or effectiveness behind bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, talk with your medical professional to discuss your options. Here at The Epigenetics Healing Center we are also happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this potential therapy and how it will interact with your health. Contact us today to get started with your achievement towards better living.
Are you ready to restore your life?
Dr. Jay Goodbinder ND DC DABCI is a doctor in Kansas City, MO who serves patients in the surrounding Kansas City areas, cities across the United States, and in several countries around the world.