(310) 979-3434
Dr. Rashel, Integrative Medicine

Hormones

Hormones are chemical messengers secreted by our endocrine glands directed by the hypothalamus and pituitary in the brain and are regulated through positive and negative feedback loops.  Hormones essentially run our bodies and hormone imbalance can tremendously impact our well-being and vitality.

The hormones in our bodies include the following:


Thyroid
Thyroid hormone is essential for life.  Proper thyroid levels are necessary for optimal functioning of the body and mind.  Conventional medicine replaces Thyroid only when it’s found to be low by indirect lab measurements.  This unfortunately results in missing the majority of cases of hypothyroidism.  At AHI Dr. Rashel performs more elaborate testing which includes measuring the levels of the active thyroid hormone available to cells in the body, free thyroid hormone. 
The following are some of the functions of Thyroid hormone:

  • Controls cell growth and metabolism
  • Helps with the maintenance of weight
  • Improves heart and vascular health
  • Renews energy
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Improves concentration

If you have been told your Thyroid is normal but still suffer from any of the following symptoms you could have low thyroid hormone.  In order to properly assess thyroid function elaborate thyroid testing is needed with measuring levels of active hormones. 

The following are some of the symptoms of low thyroid production:

  • Fatigue                           
  • Diffuse hair loss
  • Depression                     
  • Elbow keratosis
  • Weight Gain                    
  • Morning stiffness
  • Constipation                   
  • Anxiety/panic attacks
  • Muscle and joint pain      
  • Inability to concentrate  
  • Menstrual irregularities   
  • Poor memory
  • Cold intolerance              
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Cold hands and feet       
  • Swollen legs, feet, hands, abdomen
  • Fluid retention                 
  • Decreased sexual interest      
  • Low body temperature    
  • Low blood pressure
  • Reduced heart rate         
  • Brittle nails
  • Hoarse, husky voice        
  • Muscle cramps
  •  

The body produces T4 and T3.  T4 is made in the thyroid gland and T3 is made in other tissues (liver and kidney) from T4.  T3 is the active form of thyroid.  T3 is 5 times more active than T4.  T4 can also be converted to Reverse T3 which is an inactive form.  The body also makes T2 which increases the metabolic rate of your fat and muscle tissue.  TSH is made in the pituitary gland and regulated thyroid function.  It is an indirect way to measure thyroid function and you can have low thyroid function even if you have a normal TSH.  This is one important reason why measuring TSH is not an accurate measure of thyroid function.   Certain micronutrients are needed for the conversion of T4 to T3 and medications, diet, and toxins are some things that block this conversion. Nutrition is a very important part of how well the thyroid functions and should be assessed.  When low thyroid function is properly diagnosed it is important to replace the active hormone.  Conventional synthetic thyroid medications such as Synthroid replace only T4.  When taking thyroid replacement you need T3 as well as T4. 

To learn more about thyroid treatment or for comprehensive thyroid function tests contact. (310) 979-3434 or fill out our New Patient Form.
 

Testosterone
Testosterone is the predominant male hormone but has very important functions in women as well. Testosterone levels decline with age in men and women.  Both men and women need testosterone for optimal health.  Testosterone is necessary for muscle strength, lean body mass, libido and sense of emotional well being. Testosterone converts in Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase and estradiol by the enzyme aromatase. 
Women’s levels markedly decline at menopause which results in increase in body fat, depression, and loss of libido.  It is therefore important to check for deficiencies at that time and supplement deficiencies. 
Men’s Testosterone level begins to decline after around age 18.  Low levels of testosterone in men leads to coronary artery disease and heart attacks, depression, obesity, and prostate cancer.  These symptoms can arise before loss of libido or impotence.

The following are some of the functions of testosterone in the body:

  • Increases muscle mass and strength
  • Decreases body fat
  • Increases sexual interest
  • Increases sense of emotional well-being
  • Increases self confidence and motivation
  • Decreases bone breakdown and helps maintain bone strength
  • Helps with memory


For more information on Testosterone replacement therapy contact (310)979-3434 or fill out our         New Patient Form.

DHEA
DHEA is produced by the adrenal glands with small amounts produced in the brain and skin.  Its production declines with age starting in the late twenties and continues until death. DHEA is a precursor hormone to other sex hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. DHEA has been shown to have a protective role against Cancer, Diabetes, Heart disease, Increased Cholesterol and Autoimmune Diseases.   DHEA levels have been used by some as a biomarker for aging.

  • DHEA replacement can do the following:
  • Activate immune function
  • Increase muscle strength and lean body mass
  • Increase insulin sensitivity     
  • Improve Sleep
  • Increase quality of life   
  • Decrease triglycerides      
  • Decrease the effects of stress


Women are more sensitive to the effects of DHEA than men and need less otherwise can develop symptoms of overdose such as irritability, acne, anger, facial hair, mood changes.  It is important to monitor levels of DHEA before and during treatment.

Cortisol
Cortisol is another hormone that is made by the adrenal glands.  It is the only hormone in the body that increases with age.  Cortisol has important functions with regards to stress reaction, immune response, sleep, weight control, blood sugar balance, bone turnover, and influencing hormone ratios.

Stress, depression and synthetic progestins (used in birth control pills and Provera) increase Cortisol.  The long-term effects of elevated cortisol seriously negatively impact the body in numerous ways.  Consequences of long-term elevated cortisol include increased blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and insulin.  Increased cortisol also weakens the immune system and increases osteoporosis risk.

Fatigue, irritability, sugar cravings, sleep disturbances and shakiness between meals are signs of long-term elevation of cortisol that cause people to reach for coffee, soft drinks, and sugar for help.  Unfortunately this makes the situation even worse.  Eventually this can weaken the adrenal glands causing them to not produce cortisol and DHEA.   This state is known as adrenal fatigue. Fatigue, hypoglycemia, insomnia, light sensitivity, low blood pressure, and digestive complaints are among the symptoms of adrenal fatigue or burn out.

Other important consequences of elevated cortisol include decreased progesterone and thyroid activity.
Women can enter menopause because of progesterone deficiency caused by adrenal fatigue.   It is very important to properly assess and treat cortisol levels.

For more information about adrenal fatigue contact (310) 979-3434 or fill out our New Patient Form.

ESTROGEN
Estrogen is an essential sex hormone that declines abruptly in women during menopause.  Estrogen has about 400 crucial functions in the body.  Women who do not begin natural estrogen replacement therapy in a timely fashion at the time of menopause undergo accelerated aging with heart disease, osteoporosis, senility, depression, loss of skin elasticity and thickness, and atrophy of the female genitalia, stress incontinence, and increase in insulin resistance.  Natural estrogen replacement therapy can significantly delay or prevent this accelerated aging seen in women following menopause.               

Dr.  Rashel uses only natural estrogen when needed for replacement therapy and does not advocate use of Premarin (non-human estrogen obtained from the urine of pregnant horses) at any time. 

Some of the effects of estrogen in the body are the following:

  • Helps maintain elasticity of arteries
  • Maintains bone density                          
  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • Improves mood
  • Prevents Alzheimer’s disease                       
  • Enhances Energy
  • Decreases LDL & increases HDL             
  • Maintains the amount of collagen in skin
  • Decreases Blood Pressure                                        
  • Reduces risk of cataract & macular degeneration

 

PROGESTERONE  
Progesterone is another main female sex hormone and balances the effects of estrogen. Progesterone is necessary in the female hormone replacement program regardless of whether the female has a uterus or not since there are Progesterone receptors throughout the body such as in the brain and breasts not just in the uterus. This can be clearly seen when one looks at the functions of Progesterone in the body.  Some health care professionals do not understand this concept and this has lead to an increase in uterine and breast cancer and puts women greatly at risk.  Estrogen should never be used without the protective effects of progesterone.

The following are some of the effects of progesterone in the body:

  • Helps balance estrogen                              
  • May protect against breast cancer      
  • Builds bone
  • Protects against endometrial cancer       
  • Natural calming effect                           
  • Helps you sleep
  • Helps balance cell fluids                             
  • Functions as natural diuretic                
  • Increases scalp hair
  • Lowers cholesterol                                      
  • Normalizes libido                                    
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • helps body use fat not store it                  
  • Natural antidepressant                         
  • Boosts thyroid action
  • The following are symptoms of low progesterone:
  • Excessive menstruation
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Pain and inflammation
  • Decreased HDL
  • Osteoporosis

Synthetic progesterone is called progestin.  It does not have the same chemical structure as natural progesterone and consequently not only does it not have the same effects in the body as natural progesterone, it has many of the opposite effects.  Synthetic Progestins are used in all Birth Control pills, Provera, and prempro as examples.  Synthetic progestins have side effects not seen with natural progesterone.  Studies show that use of synthetic progestin increases risk of breast cancer by very significant amounts. 

Some of the side effects of progestins not seen with natural progesterone are:
Fluid retention, acne, hair loss, bloating, depression, interferes with body’s own production of progesterone, attaches to other receptor sites other than progesterone receptors the long-term effects of which are still unknown, does not help balance estrogen, can cause coronary or heart artery spasm, decreases HDL and increases LDL.

Problems such as dysfunctional uterine bleeding, Heavy menstrual cycles and associated anemia, painful periods, anxiety, weight gain, uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, insomnia are among problems that could potentially be markedly improved and treated with natural progesterone.  Often conventional medicine offers sleeping pills, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medication, and hysterectomy to alleviate symptoms of the above problems.  It is therefore crucial that proper hormonal assessments be done and hormonal and nutritional imbalances and deficiencies be corrected whenever possible to avoid unnecessary surgery and medication side effects.

For more information about our treatments for menopause, irregular, painful, or heavy periods contact (310) 979-3434 or fill out our New Patient Form.


PREGNENOLONE
Pregnenolone is produced from cholesterol through one metabolic reaction and is the precursor hormone of all steroid hormones in the body such as DHEA, Testosterone, Estrogen, Cortisol, and Aldosterone.  Pregnelonone supplementation can help normalize hormone deficiencies.

Pregnenolone also functions as a neurotransmitter with important functions in the brain responsible for memory.  Studies have shown that Pregnenolone improves memory and mood. Pregnenolone has also been used in spinal cord injury patients and stroke patient and helps repair traumatic nerve lesions. 

Pregnelonone also has anti- rheumatic effects and can help relieve arthritic pain. Pregnelonone levels decrease with age as do the levels of most steroid hormones and Pregnelonone deficiency can be an important cause of the general decline of all steroid hormones.  It is therefore important to identify and replace deficiencies.

Melatonin
Melatonin is another hormone made by the body and it helps set the body’s Circadian Rhythm or 24 hour cycles such as sleep wake, temperature, and hormone cycles.  Melatonin also induces sleep by shortening the time it takes to fall asleep.  It also causes relaxation of nerves and muscles that can help improve quality of sleep. Melatonin is also a very potent antioxidant and protects against free radicals.


Other important effects of Melatonin include stimulating the production of Growth Hormone and decreasing excess cortisol activity. Levels decline with age and low levels are correlated with an increase risk of age related diseases.  Too much Melatonin can suppress estrogen and testosterone in the body.  Its therefore important to test levels and monitor levels.


Human Growth Hormone
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) has been authorized for use in adults by the FDA since 1994. For the first time, adults are now able to have their age-related deficiency of this critical hormone replaced safely with bio-identical HGH. The results of HGH replacement are astounding and  some call this as big a discovery in medicine as antibiotics or the X-ray machine.

Aging can now be delayed and even reversed. Studies have shown that Biomarkers of Aging (strength, reaction time, skin elasticity, vital capacity, concentration, memory, bone density, visual accommodation, hearing, tactile sense, and others) can be reversed 10-20 years.  Many patients experience 1% gain in lean muscle mass per month and 2% loss of body fat per month.  Skin wrinkles and age spots disappear. "It's like plastic surgery from the inside-out". Sexual vitality returns.  Anticipated life expectancy can be expected to increase if used alongside healthy lifestyle, exercise, and nutritional supplementation.

 Some of the beneficial effects of HGH are:

  • Rejuvenates every cell in the body
  • Aids fat loss and muscle gain
  • Helps the body heal faster
  • Strengthens bones
  • Boosts energy to youthful levels
  • Improves quantity and quality of life

Effect of HGH deficiency:                            Effect of HGH replacement:
   
Increased Cardiovascular Deaths                   Increased Cardiac Function
Abnormal Body Fat & Distribution                   Increased Lean Body Mass & Decreased Abdominal Fat Without Exercise
Dehydration                                                     Improved Fluid Balance
Reduced Bone Density                                   Reversal of Osteoporosis
Impaired Physical Performance                       Improved Exercise Capacity
Chronic fatigue, Depression                            Sense of Well Being
Social Isolation & Withdrawal                          Social Interaction & Engagement
Insomnia & Poor Quality Sleep                        Restorative Sleep
Skin Thinning & Reduced Healing                   Skin Rejuvenation/Rapid Wound Heal
Wrinkles & Drooping Face                               Plastic Surgery from the Inside-Out
Chronic Lung Disorders                                   Improved Lung Function
Neurocognitive Decline & Senility                    Improved Memory, Alertness, and Concentration Span
Decreased Immunity &
Increased Susceptibility to Infections               Improved Immunity with More Natural Killer T-4 Cells
Vital Organ Shrinkage & Declining                   Organ Regrowth/improved cell function

For more information on Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency or to learn if you qualify, contact (310)979-3434 or fill out our New Patient Form.