The Search for Natural Hormones
Getting the right hormonal balance
A hormonal imbalance occurs when there is too much or too little of a hormone in one’s body. Hormones can be best described as the chemical messengers that travel through the bloodstream to the organs and tissues. The endocrine glands, which are a special group of cells, make hormones.1
Hormones have a profound effect on the body processes, and when they are out of sync, it can negatively impact on your entire system.
Women, in particular, are very adversely affected if their sexual hormones, estrogen, and progesterone are out of balance, especially in pre-menopause and post-menopause phases. Treatment is usually administered by hormone replacement therapy (HRT) of either estrogen or progesterone or a combination of both.2
These are mainly the chemically manufactured versions of the hormones, which are known to have potentially harmful side effects. Thus, more and more women are wanting to move away from the synthetic products, and go for a more natural approach to HRT.
Some unfortunate misconceptions
Unfortunately, many people who are committed to leading a healthy lifestyle, have been led to believe that wild yam (of which only the root is edible) and unfermented and processed soy products like soymilk, soy cheese, soy burgers, and soy ice cream, are real health foods which may promote estrogen and progesterone in the body.3
Sadly, a great number of people who subscribe to the misconception that soy is a health food may be in danger of several health risks associated with unfermented soy products.
Research has shown that the health risks enormously outweigh any possible benefits.4
Most modern soy foods are not fermented to counteract the toxins in soybeans, which increases the levels of carcinogens. There is only a small number of fermented soy foods which come recommended by natural health experts. These include:
- Tempeh, a fermented soybean cake with a firm texture and a mushroomy flavor.
- Miso, a fermented soybean paste.
- Natto, fermented soybeans.
- Soy sauce, which is made from fermented soybeans.
Tofu, a favorite soy food, is not recommended as it is totally unfermented.5
Health risks of unfermented soy
- Soy foods result in the body needing extra vitamin B12, which is necessary for normal heart and nervous system function.
- The extremely high levels of phytoestrogen (plant estrogen) in soy have the potential to cause infertility and promote estrogen-sensitive breast cancer in adult women.
- Research has shown that soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents which may have a negative impact on thyroid function.
- Unfermented soy foods are known to contain levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and kidneys.
Over the past few years, since the advent of soy formula for infants who are allergic to milk, studies have indicated that the large doses of phytoestrogens in the formula, may be involved in the trend of premature sexual development in girls, some as young as nine or ten years old. Conversely, the high levels of phytoestrogens may be the cause of delayed, or retarded sexual development in boys.6
Either way, there would appear to be health risks involved.
Another not-so-super health food
Wild yams have played a role in the diets of many different countries for hundreds of years. The roots, or tubers, are often used in stir-fries, and vegetable dishes. Yams have also been touted as a source of natural progesterone. This, however, is very misleading, as yams in the natural state do not contain any progesterone that your body can use.7
Yams contain a chemical known as diosgenin which can be converted to progesterone in a laboratory and exists only after the chemical conversion process has been completed. Eating food made from yams will not add any progesterone to your body, as the body is unable to convert any chemical compounds into sex hormones like estrogen or progesterone.8
Wild yam is a plant and is known an herbal root which does offer some health benefits, such as having a calming effect on the nervous system and may relieve stress in pre-menstrual women.
It is also high in the active ingredient diosgenin, which is converted only in a laboratory, into a natural progesterone.
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT)
Thanks to the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) whose findings documented the failure, and the potentially harmful side effects, of synthetic hormone replacement therapy, many women have shifted their focus to BHRT – hormones which are plant derived.9
Research has revealed that bio-identical hormones have the same molecular structure as those made in the body. And because they are not perceived by the body as an alien invasion, are less likely to have any serious side effects.10 In fact, if administered in the correct dosage, may have no side effects worth mentioning.
Synthetic hormones, on the other hand, are known to have potentially harmful side effects including hypertension, heart disease, blood clots, and increased risk of breast cancer.
Many women today want relief from the sometimes distressing symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats, to name but a few!
If you are health conscious, and aware of the possible harmful side effects of synthetic hormone replacement therapy, then BHRT is the ideal solution for you.
Balancing your hormones
Following a healthy diet is an essential part of maintaining good health, but you will not be able to properly boost your estrogen levels by eating soy foods, no matter what you have been led to believe.11 The same goes for wild yam, which in any case is very difficult to obtain in the US.
The best solution would be to consider the BHRT option, which is completely natural.
It is interesting to note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers bio-identical hormones to be natural, and for that reason, they cannot be patented by pharmaceutical companies.
With the growing swing towards BHRT, this cannot be good news for the pharmaceutical companies whose profits come from patents that assure them of profits for at least seven years!
To correctly balance your hormones, and get relief from the disturbing symptoms of menopause, and for more information about BHRT, contact us at www.renewmetoday.com to the take the hormone health test – and find out the location of your nearest Renew office.