Written by Dr. Greg Brannon | 6 min read
Hormone Health for a Revitalized Body
Our bodies are unique and wonderfully designed. They have been created to function in perfect hormonal balance. When our bodies experience that divine equilibrium, the result is health and fitness. But when our hormones are out of whack, the results can be disastrous.
Hormones are chemical messengers created by the body to transfer information from one set of cells to another. As hormones are released into the bloodstream, they coordinate and control the various functions of the body to maintain health and stability.
The endocrine system in your body is made up of glands that produce and secrete hormones to regulate the activity of cells or organs. Hormones regulate the body’s growth, metabolism, sexual development, and function. When our hormone levels drop, becoming unbalanced, our health is affected.
Testosterone is the chemical that enables every single cell in your body make to protein. This DNA cell replication is called transcription. What makes up your body? Cells and cellular structures. When your cells are weak, your organs and systems are vulnerable, and you become weak.
Hormones are designed to strengthen our bodies at the cellular level. Therefore, we must get to the root causes of hormonal disruption to find out what goes wrong when hormone levels drop.
Let’s talk a little science for a moment.
Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than an alteration of the genetic code itself. Gene expression (also known as DNA expression) is the process by which information from a gene is used in the body’s functions.
In the last ten years, we’ve discovered that how we live, what we eat, how much stress we deal with, and various other factors influence our DNA expression throughout our lifetimes. In other words, your DNA is not something static you inherit from your parents, and then you’re stuck with it. It is continuously changing—either for the better or worse—according to how you live. Your very DNA structure is affected by environmental factors, diet, viruses, and even vaccines. You can, to a considerable extent, control the expression of your genes. You are not necessarily doomed to get cancer, Parkinson’s, or any other hereditary illness that may run in your family. If you take care of yourself, you can literally change your own biological destiny.
In 2007, a study was published in The Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, which concluded that American men are experiencing a substantial population-wide decrease in testosterone serum levels, due to compromised health and environmental factors. The findings prove that male testosterone levels have decreased every decade for the last sixty years. Why is this? The number one cause is Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), also known as estrogen mimickers. The endocrine system is made up of glands that produce and secrete hormones, chemical substances produced in the body that regulate the activity of cells or organs. These hormones regulate the body’s growth, metabolism (the physical and chemical processes of the body), and sexual development and function in our bodies. Please note: The purpose of sex hormones in your body is by no means limited to sexual activity. Sex hormones control most bodily functions—everything from your appetite, your energy level, your emotions, and your ability to heal—as the result of a properly functioning endocrine system. Hormonal balance creates a solid foundation for your health, in the same manner that a brick house is solid because it’s made of bricks. A backbone of the twenty-seven-carbon structure in your body is cholesterol. From that cholesterol, your cortisol, your testosterone, your estrogen, your progesterone, and all the precursors to those hormones are formed.
Unfortunately, endocrine-disrupting chemicals are found everywhere—in plastics, pesticides, heavy metals, food additives, cleaning products, cash register receipts, and personal care products, to name a few. When these EDCs enter our bloodstreams, either orally or transdermally (absorbed through the skin), our very structures are compromised. Why? These estrogen mimickers hide in various places in our bodies. They affect your overall physiology—the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, the testes, the ovaries, and the adrenal glands. EDCs are associated with altered reproductive function in both genders, abnormal growth phenomena, and neurocognitive problems in children, breast cancer, and compromised immune systems.
What does this mean?
Let’s go back to our brick house analogy. The smallest structure in your body is a cell. Cells group together to make up your internal organs. Those organs group together to make up systems in your body. A brick house is made of bricks, but you need something to hold the blocks together. If you stack the bricks together to form a wall, it will be a very unstable wall. Bricks need mortar to hold them together. The bricks are strong, only to the extent that they can stay together. What mortar does for bricks, hormones do for the cells. It strengthens them and helps them function efficiently and effectively as a group.
Human Physiology 101
It is necessary to understand some basic facts about human physiology and how hormones work to comprehend the implications of low hormone levels.
Your DNA is the blueprint that makes cellular structures. Proteins are created from DNA. Before a double-stranded DNA helix is turned into a protein, it first goes through a process called translation, and then one called transcription.
Testosterone bypasses the cellular membrane and goes into the nucleus membrane, spreads throughout the membrane, and bonds to the DNA to turn on the DNA groups that form proteins. In short, testosterone is the gasoline that fuels your body’s engine. Testosterone converts into both estradiol (an estrogen anabolic steroid hormone that makes things grow and the major female sex hormone) and into DHT (Di-Hydro Testosterone, an androgen sex steroid and hormone which is ten times more potent than testosterone). All three of these hormones enter the blood system and are distributed throughout our bodies.
The critical point to understand is that hormones affect every cell in our bodies.
Many people think of progesterone as the pregnancy hormone and believe it only exists in females. But did you know that men produce progesterone, too? Progesterone is a precursor to testosterone, and it helps keep estrogen levels in check in the male body.
In the female body, progesterone is equally important, if not more so. Research shows that progesterone is vital for breast health, cardiovascular health, nervous system health, and proper brain function. In women, this hormone is highest post-ovulation. Women tend to feel their best during the second half of their monthly cycle because that’s when their progesterone level is at its highest. My goal as a physician is always to make sure that my patients have neither too much nor too little of this hormone. Progesterone levels can vary between 0-30 ng/ml (this measurement is an abbreviation for nanograms per deciliter; a deciliter measures fluid volume that is 1/10 of a liter). I want to find the optimal levels for each woman.
Both men and women produce a chemical called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), in the pituitary gland. In women, this hormone stimulates the growth of ovarian follicles in the ovaries and increases estradiol production. In men, FSH stimulates sperm production in the testes. For menopausal women, it’s vital to monitor FSH levels and to replace estrogen. What I look for specifically with my patients is making sure FSH levels do not go above 20 mIU/ml. The higher that number goes, the more women will experience menopausal symptoms, like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and sudden perspiration. So, as I monitor the blood labs, I can watch for those symptoms.
BHRT Replaces, Repairs, Restores, and Revitalizes!
Hormone Replacement Therapy begins with Replacing deficient levels of hormones and bringing you back to normalcy. When your testosterone levels are replenished, you restore vitality to each cell. It continues with Repairing. Once those hormones are in your system and operating correctly, they will bring health on the cellular level, then to the organs of your body, and then to the various systems of your body. A replenished testosterone level can defend against harmful elements, viruses, and toxins. Then, the much-needed hormones Restore health and vitality to your entire body. When hormone levels are restored to optimal levels, health spreads. Finally, after only a few months on BHRT, you will feel Revitalized!