This is the second part of a three-part series on healthy hormone function and weight loss. Did you miss part one? Read it here >
I’ve found that most people who experience hormonal issues and weight gain run the course of the medical system before they finally end up in our holistic health practice. Many have even done what I like to call the entire circuit. It goes something like this:
- They weren’t feeling good for a long time (low energy, low immunity, low libido, bad mood, weight gain, etc.) and went to their family practice doctor who did a standard physical and blood work and told them that everything was fine.
- Deep down inside they know it’s not fine; they are not a hypochondriac and the extra weight is not a normal part of aging. They try to make changes in diet, get counseling, exercise, reduce calories and fat consumption. This helps a little, at best, and some of it actually makes the situation worse.
- Out of frustration they go to another doctor and are told again that nothing is wrong. They’re referred to a psychologist or counselor.
- The psychologist tells them that they “may” have a chemical imbalance in their brain and prescribes them either anti-anxiety medication like Xanax, or an antipsychotic like Ambilify, or an antidepressant SSRI drug like Prozac.
- The drug further lowers libido, they gain another 20 pounds and have even less energy.
- Finally they make an appointment with an endocrinologist. The fully booked endocrinologist schedules them four months out, does further testing of the hormonal system and finds an imbalance. They’re told that they have low thyroid or low sex hormones. A synthetic drug is prescribed to “balance” the hormone dysfunction.
- They take the prescribed synthesized hormone, feel better for a short time and lose a little weight.
- They quickly realize the benefits are short lived, perhaps even detrimental. They try to take themselves off the medication, and now feel much worse.
- Exhaustion, weight gain and frustration reach a tipping point and they break down in tears. Finally they make an appointment at Whole Body Health.
A Better Way to Heal Your Hormones and Lose Weight
Think of your body’s hormone system as an orchestral choir singing in perfect harmony. These guys are professionals. They’ve practiced for years, their vocals beautifully harmonized, their performance perfect.
Now think of a synthetic hormone as a musician that shows up at the concert drunk. It stumbles up on the stage completely unaware and uncaring, hardly even remembering the song, rips the microphone away from the quartet and starts blathering loudly and out of tune.
This is essentially what you get when you take a synthetic hormone.
A synthetic hormone throws off the mojo of the hormonal symphony because it’s not the real thing. It’s a man-made version to resemble something in nature and not only does it not really help – in the long run it’s destructive.
The History of Hormone Use in America
The hormone prescription thing didn’t kick into high gear until the 1950s. At this point, America was 30 years into the industrialized refinement of food. After WWII, people just wanted security and comfort. Industrialized food crept into nearly every suburban American household because it was packaged and advertised to be cheap, easy, and convenient. And big business found the perfect vehicle to advertise their product: Television!
Through insipid advertising, big business managed to divert a whole nation’s attention away from the ill effects of their product and highlighted its convenience. Industrialized, processed, refined, and enriched foods became conventional, and thus huge business in America. Advertising served to mask that refining foods, increasing sugar intake, and consuming fake fats like margarine resulted in serious health problems. The creeping decline of America’s health and an unprecedented rise of hormonal issues became apparent.
Some people did begin to take notice, however. In 1966 these issues were published in the book Feminine Forever. Written by Ben Harper, he postulated and hypothesized that a drop in a hormone called estrogen was a key component in the recent increase in female hormone dysfunction.
The book inadvertently provided drug companies with a profitable revenue stream.
The book’s popularity created a demand for estrogen – many women now realized they were deficient in it. But the thinking was faulty, because an estrogen shortage in the body indicates a whole other cascade of hormonal deficiencies; nonetheless, there was a surge of people demanding it.
Pharmaceuticals were salivating at the potential profits. However, no “naturally occurring substance” on earth can be patented. For example, Vitamin C is a natural substance and cannot be patented, which is why no pharmaceutical companies push it. Therefore, drug companies change chemical structures of natural substances just enough in order to make it “patentable.” Biotech and drug companies do this same process with GMOs, seeds, and all chemicals.
Estrogen is clearly a naturally occurring substance, so it posed a problem. How could it be converted from its natural form to a patentable form? A morbid scheme, inspired by mad villainy, was designed to modify estrogen into a patentable chemical that could be owned.
First, urine was taken from a pregnant mare. It was then taken to a laboratory that synthesizes it into an estrogen-like substance. Then, the marketing department came up with a clever name, Premarin (short for pregnant mare urine). Next, a couple of poorly designed, highly biased research experiments were conducted producing bogus results that somehow still passed muster, and “convinced” the FDA of its safety. By the late 1960s they were off to the races with their horse urine cocktail.
By 1970 this self-proclaimed miracle drug was advertised to doctors and patients alike in medical journals and magazines. In 1973, an especially provocative ad appeared in Harper’s Bazaar that wrote, “There doesn’t seem to be a single thing that Premarin can’t and won’t do to keep you flirtatiously feminine for the rest of your days – a real package deal that spruces up your vagina.”1
Certainly, this ad must have been written by a horny man. Regardless, Premarin sales skyrocketed. After all, who doesn’t want a spruced up vagina?
Thirty million prescriptions were written a year and 50% of all menopausal women imbibed this spiked horse urine.
Another animal holocaust was forged and subsidized. The treatment of these pregnant mares was unholy. Horses, unable to move, were isolated in small stalls, force-fed water for frequent urination, and were artificially inseminated. When the colts were born they were straightaway killed and processed into pet food and hot dogs. Immediately upon giving birth, the mares would be inseminated again, repeating this horrific process – a process that unbelievably continues to this day.2
A Drug Approval Process Gone Mad
Part of the financial success that drug companies rely upon is the luxury of making claims based on flimsy research, giving them years to reap the benefits of profitable sales, brainwashing the public with false advertising, while the real science to disprove their claims is forced to take time to conduct painstakingly detailed research before it can be released. By the time the accurate research is published, the damage is done. In Premarin’s case, the damage was endometrial and breast cancer.
In 1975 the New England Journal of Medicine published a study that endometrial cancer was 14 times more likely in people prescribed Premarin.3 On the heels of this study followed another doozy, revealing the direct link between Premarin and breast cancer.4 It was clearly evident that Premarin outright destroys women’s health. Also, the public was made aware of the animal’s conditions. This was 40 years ago.
Production hasn’t stopped.
In fact, the pharmaceutical company doubled down with their denial and production.
They went on the offensive. Like the snake oil pitchmen of old, they said, “Well, yes there might be a tiny chance of breast cancer, but guess what?! It lowers heart disease!” They made this claim with literally no research and no science, just the B.S. their marketing department made up.
Then the honorable arm of the scientific community is forced to take their time with proper research to again disprove the lies, and in 1985 a Framingham Heart Study of 1,234 women showed that women taking synthetic hormones had more cardiovascular events than women who don’t take synthetic hormones.5
“OK, OK,” the drug companies retracted a bit, “maybe it’s kind of bad for the heart too, but, if we spike this same synthesized horse piss that causes cancer and heart disease with a new chemical called Progestin (fake progesterone), then all is good, and we can carry on.”
Again the scientific community was forced to take their time to disprove another lie. Drum beat please . . . a 1980 Swedish study of 23,244 women published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that women who used Premarin mixed with Progestin doubled their risk of breast cancer.6
“Nothing to see here, move along folks,” doctors told their now wary patients, echoing the sentiments of the drug companies who told their doctors, “Just keep on prescribing. We’ll buy you dinner, take you on vacation, and sponsor your kid’s baseball league.”
From 1990-1995, Premarin continued to be the most highly prescribed drug in the U.S.7
Finally, an investigation started in 1993 by The Woman’s Health Initiative combined a massive study of 161,809 women with the side effects of various combinations of synthetic hormones. They had to end the study early in July 2002 to rush publication, because the evidence undoubtedly showed large increases in both heart attacks and cancer. Specifically it showed a 26% increase in breast cancer.8
Furthermore, in March 2004, the estrogen-only study was stopped. This was primarily due to a 29% increase in heart attacks and a 41% increase in strokes.
The Onus of Research
Pharmaceutical and medical procedures leave the onus on research to disprove the negative effects of a drug or procedure before it’s stopped.
In all actuality, the positive effects of a procedure or pharmaceutical should be proven for a minimum of seven years before it’s universally adopted. But because they are the “scientific community,” while we are but the lowly masses and alternative doctors suffering under their tutelage, we must take time to disprove their claims. The costs of having to disprove new drugs and procedures has cost an untold amount in human lives, the environment and real dollars.
At this point, drug companies were unable to suppress the obvious truth. Many doctors, due to pressure from the general public, press, and malpractice fears immediately took their patients off all synthetic estrogen and progesterone. This was a nightmare for many people because, even though they knew that eventually they were likely to die of breast cancer or heart disease, it’s tough on the body to quit cold turkey – from any addictive substance.
In the years since the reductions of synthetic hormone treatment the cancer rate has steadily declined as reported by the statisticians at the New England Journal of Medicine. They have shown that there have been 16,000 fewer cases of breast cancer each year since they stopped injecting horse urine.9
Unbelievably, to this day – 40 years after the devastating side effects of synthetic hormones were clearly visible and proven – I still see many patients prescribed them.
And this is just one example of the severely detrimental effects of synthetic hormones. It’s the same with all synthetic hormones. Birth Control, thyroid medication, testosterone replacement, etc. are all synthetic hormones, and they all inherently carry the risk that accompanies synthetic hormonal drugs.
The Misuse of Bioidentical Hormones
Bioidentical hormones are, well, biologically identical to hormones in the body in every way. They are natural and have none of the side effects of synthetic hormones.
The sad thing is, bioidentical hormones have been available since the manufacturing of synthetic hormones in the 1950s. For over four decades, millions of women have been drinking chemically altered horse urine and synthetic chemicals, resulting in breast cancer and heart disease, while a natural and more effective alternative has been available the entire time. For over fifty years, pharmaceutical companies have kept tens of millions of mares in conditions tantamount to the Holocaust.
The prescription of bioidentical hormones, however, is still rife with problems. First, let us start with the M.D.’s themselves. While it’s admirable they are taking a holistic approach, they’re succumbing to the “heroic” antics of the profession. They use a substance or a procedure to temporarily make a patient feel better, but then they stop there. They still don’t find the reason or reasons hormones failed in the first place.
To put this is perspective, imagine your car leaks gasoline. The M.D. mechanic tells you he found the solution and installs an additional tank on the roof of the car that constantly pumps gas into the tank.
On the other hand, the holistic mechanic aims to fix the underlying cause of the leak, restoring the original condition of the car, instead of adding to the problem by implementing a complicated solution.
There is a reason your hormone systems failed. Without first finding the reason it began to falter in the first place and correcting that issue first, a bioidentical hormone is nothing more than a biochemical crutch (often times a much needed crutch, but a crutch nonetheless). This crutch has bio-feedback issues. When you give the body an external source of hormones or steroids, it is essentially telling the body that it doesn’t have to produce the hormone anymore. The brain and its samurai generals remain weak and lazy, and don’t bother to command the samurai and employ their arsenal of weapons since they see there is mercenary army fighting their battles for them.
Do you really want to depend on a prescription of bioidentical hormones for the rest of your life? If insurance stopped paying for it, would you want that expense until the day you die?
The truth is that benefits of using external hormones last about 6 to 12 months. Then their effectiveness wanes, and patients end up worse than before they started.
In the next article you’ll learn how to test your hormone levels accurately and balance them quickly without the use of hormones.
3 Ziel HK, Finkle WD. Increased risk of endometrial carcinoma among users of conjugated estrogens. New England Journal of Medicine 1975;293:1167–70.
4 Hoover R, Gray LA Sr, Cole P, MacMahon B. Menopausal estrogens and breast cancer. New England Journal of Medicine 1976;295:401–5.
7 Connelly MT, Richardson M, Platt R. Prevalence and Duration of Postmenopausal Hormone Replacement Therapy Use in a Managed Care Organization, 1990–1995. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2000;15(8):542-550. doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.2000.03499.x.