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INTERACTION OF GROWTH HORMONE
WITH OTHER HORMONES

"Aging is not for sissies."             
- Katherine Hepburn         

CHAPTER 7

As our knowledge of various anti-aging hormones has expanded, we have continued to gain an understanding of the variety of ways that these substances work. The clinical experience of experts in the field of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) concur with our own data that when a wider array of hormones is administered, lower doses of each individual hormone can be used. This is particularly desirable in the case of high activity estrogens and testosterone, which carry risks along with their benefits when used at super-physiologic doses. The goal in the replacement of any hormone is to approach and maintain physiologic levels - otherwise we are second-guessing nature. As we have learned more about the GH stimulating effects of DHEA, testosterone, and estrogen the pressing question on the minds of many researchers is, "Are some of the observable anti-aging effects of these hormones occurring as a result of secondary GH stimulation?"

It is important here to distinguish between the use of natural and synthetic hormones. Most physicians in the U.S. are familiar with the use of synthetic patented drugs like Premarin as an estrogen replacement, Provera as a "progesterone" replacement, and methyl-testosterone as a testosterone replacement. These synthetic drugs are not the same as their counterparts that are manufactured by the body, hence they are not recognized or metabolized as such. Non-patented (therefore less profitable and less promoted) versions of these natural hormones are readily available and generally less expensive. Some clinicians argue against using natural hormones because of absorption problems, but this is a disputable point since all of these hormones are available in pharmaceutical delivery systems, which transcend the limiting use of capsules. In addition, there are a variety of botanical substances that support and the action of a variety of hormones. Let's look at the effects of some of the hormones that diminish with age, and the options that are available in replacing them.

 

Estrogen

The term "estrogen" represents an entire family of substances with similar chemical structures that bind to estrogen receptors in the body. There are three types of estrogen produced by the body, estrone, estradiol, and estriol.

Although men produce estrogen in limited amounts, it is associated with the development of secondary sexual characteristics in women and is used primarily as a hormone replacement in females. Estrogen is necessary for the proper maintenance of bone tissue through inhibition of osteoclasts.  It has been shown to reduce the risk of heart
disease and control LDL cholesterol. Maintaining stable estrogen levels is important in controlling hot flashes, mood swings, and other symptoms associated with menopause. Estrogen has a stimulatory effect on GH and vise versa. Estrogen is available in synthetic form and is commonly prescribed as Premarin or Estrace, which contain high-activity estradiol and estrone. These products are contraindicated in women with a history of sex cell related cancers.

Their side effects include weight gain, possible increased risk of breast cancer, mood swings, depression, headaches, lowered thyroid function, and increased risk of stroke.  In Europe, the most widely prescribed form of estrogen is estriol.
It does not have the contraindications and side effects that the other forms of estrogen have. It is even used in women who have breast cancer because it is thought to have a protective effect against this devastating disease.

Physiologically, the presence of estriol has a rate limiting effect on the production of the high activity estrogens that may otherwise cause symptoms of PMS and other signs of estrogen dominance. Many herbalists and naturally oriented physicians, recommend phyto-estrogens from plant sources like dong quai, licorice, and soy. Concentrated forms of these plant estrogens appear to be effective in the treatment and prevention of sex cell cancers-the NIH continues to conduct research in this area.

Estrasterone is a natural estrogen supplement. By combining the only known plant source of estriol with other
phyto-estrogens and herbal progesterone support, the product offers the same estrogen activity of .625 mg. (the most commonly prescribed dose) of Premarin without the long list of side effects. Studies on the effects of one tablet per day of Estrasterone indicate a 92% reduction in hot flashes as well 88% - 90% improvement in other symptoms of menopause, such as headaches, depressive moods, and sleep disturbances-all within three weeks.

 

Progesterone

Progesterone refers to one specific molecule as it is produced by the body, however the term is often misused to describe compounds that are actually progestins, like the prescription drug Provera. Progesterone, used primarily in women, promotes the growth of bone tissue, and in many ways counterbalances the unwanted effects of estrogen dominance like bloating, cramping, mood swings, depression, and headaches. Progesterone also facilitates thyroid function and has a protective effect against many sex cell cancers. While natural progesterone is known to be virtually free of side effects (it is produced in very large amounts by the placenta during pregnancy) and not directly related to the development of secondary sexual characteristics, this is not the case with synthetic progestins. Progestins do not stimulate bone tissue growth, nor do they, with the exception of endometrial cancer protection, provide the many benefits of natural progesterone. In addition, progestins have many side effects including compounding the increased risk of breast cancer associated with synthetic estrogens, inhibiting thyroid function, causing weight gain, depression, and headaches. Why do most doctors continue to prescribe synthetic progestins? Because natural progesterone is not patented, and it is not well-promoted. Progesterone is a precursor for most other adrenal hormones as well as a growth hormone stimulant. Clinical experience shows that lower amounts of progesterone are required with the use of GH therapy. As both GH and progesterone are effective stimulators of bone growth, it makes sense to use them in concert with natural estrogen in the treatment of osteoporosis.

Natural progesterone has absorption problems when taken orally that are overcome with the use of topical delivery. Dermasterone is used in several natural progesterone products that employ transdermal (across the skin) sustained release delivery systems to more closely mimic the manner in which progesterone is released throughout the day.

 

Testosterone

Testosterone has been traditionally recognized as a male sex hormone, as it is involved in male secondary sexual characteristics. It is important for both men and women in stabilizing mood, promoting sex drive, maintaining bone density, burning fat, and building muscle. The effects of lowered levels of testosterone, which occur in aging men, are collectively referred to as andropause. Symptoms of andropause include weight gain, reduced sex drive; difficulty in maintaining erection, osteoporosis (uncommon), and depression. In women, low testosterone levels may cause vaginal dryness, depression, and lack of sex drive. Testosterone is thought to be the most potent GH stimulant of all sex hormones.

Testosterone is commonly prescribed as a patch or gel and is known to have absorption problems when administered orally, but with the proper delivery, these problems may be overcome. There are botanical products that contain testosterone support as well as plant steroids that mimic its effects. Testrasterone incorporates a proprietary delivery system with active glandulars, and botanical testosterone support.

 

DHEA

This mildly androgenic hormone is produced by the adrenal glands of men and women. DHEA is a precursor to other adrenal hormones and diminishes with age in both sexes. Animal studies conducted with DHEA indicate that it is a promoter of longevity. Not only is DHEA a growth hormone stimulant but the mechanisms that control its production, particularly insulin regulation, are related to those that control the secretion of GH. DHEA is available in two molecular forms, free DHEA and DHEA sulfate. Oral absorption of free DHEA is superior to the sulfate form, but can vary depending on particle size. The use of micronized DHEA insures optimal absorption and produces a predictable outcome in terms of blood levels.

As is the case with other hormones, more DHEA is not better. Super-physiologic levels of DHEA can overwhelm the adrenal glands and cause excess production of estrogen, testosterone, and other hormones while creating down-regulation and a dependence on DHEA. Clinically, we have found that the use of a uniformly released DHEA that is dispersed in microgram amounts over a twelve-hour period (zero-order release) prevents the excess production of secondary hormones. Additionally, the use of supportive botanicals and adrenal glandulars often allows the required
dose of DHEA to become diminished over time.

 

Thyroid Hormone

Thyroid function diminishes with age not only because of declining thyroid hormone production, but because of the inhibited response of cells to thyroid hormone. Hence, many people who have thyroid deficiencies are not able to detect them strictly with the use of a blood test. The thyroid regulates metabolism and body temperature and affects every cell in the body. Symptoms of thyroid deficiency include low body temperature, fatigue, mood swings, depression, unexplained weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, dry skin and hair, and brittle nails. Raising GH has a profound effect on normalizing thyroid function, as does the use of progesterone and natural estriol. Many patients require lower doses of thyroid medication, or eventually none at all, when a variety of natural hormone therapies is introduced. T4 (Synthroid) is the most commonly prescribed form of thyroid medication, but many people are not able to respond symptomatically due to other hormone imbalances' nutritional deficiencies, or autoimmune influences: As these influences are difficult to fully evaluate, Armour's glandular-based thyroid is often a better choice.

 

Melatonin

All the rage of best-selling books and media talk show hosts, melatonin has maintained its status as one of the hottest anti-aging hormones on the market. Researchers have indicated that some benefits of melatonin may be due to its stimulatory effect on GH release. And some caution against using it on a daily basis, especially for those who may not be deficient. It has become abundantly clear that growth hormone therapy induces deeper and more efficient sleep. Patients consistently experience more vivid dreams with the use of Symbiotropin, and others who have had chronic sleep disorders have reported overcoming them shortly after the onset of Symbiotropin therapy. Melatonin probably has its role as a replacement hormone when used intermittently. Further testing would help us to understand if Symbiotropin has a measurable effect on melatonin that is correlative to symptomatic improvement.

_______________________________

My blood pressure has gone down and stayed down since being on Symbiotropin.

-S.B. (Female, Age 45)

_______________________________

 

 

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