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More and more people are using bio-identical hormone therapy. Though this therapy conveys a wide range of benefits, it can also pose the risk of undesirable side effects. But you can make this therapy safer and more effective with an individualized approach: Understand how your body metabolizes hormones and boost their benefits with the right diet, lifestyle and supplements.
As you age, your hormonal profile changes. For instance, menopause depletes the essential female hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Research in Europe has demonstrated a good safety record for using bio-identical hormones in these circumstances, especially if you apply them transdermally (on your skin) instead of taking them as pills.
The use of bio-identical hormone therapy is becoming more popular with the increasing awareness of its potential benefits for a range of age and hormone related conditions. At the same time, people have been searching for ways to make this therapy as safe as possible. A promising approach is to look closely at how hormones are metabolized in each person, using advanced urine analysis. Once we obtain an accurate view of an individual’s hormone metabolism, we can help to optimize hormone therapies with appropriate food choices as well as lifestyle habits and supplementation.
Test Your Body’s Hormone Metabolism
We can increase the safety of hormone use by supporting healthy hormone breakdown. A relatively new 24-hour urine hormone test being offered by several laboratories has made it possible to look at how hormones are being processed by the body. This is an important strategic tool for evaluating hormone usage in both men and women, and provides insight into possible risk factors for breast, prostate and other hormone related cancers.
This information has value for anyone who wants to be proactive in healthy aging and cancer prevention, those who are taking hormones or those who have hormone-dependent cancers. The information can help guide treatment strategies and determine individual supplement and dietary guidelines. Some of the intermediate compounds produced as the body breaks down hormones can promote the growth of cancer and cause damage to DNA. But each person’s metabolism differs. By using this test, we can tell if an individual is having problems with hormone breakdown and provide more support for these important processes. This can greatly improve the safety of taking hormone preparations for both men and women.
Recommendations For Healthy Hormone Breakdown
A number of nutrients, foods and lifestyle interventions can support healthy hormone metabolism and breakdown. Beneficial supplements include:
- Activated forms of B vitamins such as methylcobalamin (B12), 5 methyltetrahydrofolate (folic acid), pyridoxyl-5-phosphate (B6),
- Trimethylglycine (TMG)
- Sulfur donors (SAM-E, whey protein, MSM)
- Flax lignans
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Medicinal mushrooms
- Compounds such as quercetin and curcumin
- Integrative formulas for women that include herbs, flavonoids, reishi, and astragalus
- Integrative formulas for men that include minerals and medicinal mushrooms
Diet and Lifestyle Factors for Hormone Health
Healthy lifestyle habits can also have a positive impact in helping to balance and breakdown hormones. Minimizing alcohol intake, eating an organic unprocessed diet, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, increasing regular exercise and improving the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio in the body with balanced omega or essential fatty acid supplements also help to promote normal hormone balance.
By taking a deeper and broader approach to using bio-identical hormones, we can improve the safety of this popular and valuable therapy. If you are taking hormones or are considering this area of treatment, ask your doctor about urine hormone testing to help evaluate and guide your hormone treatment plan.