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Ask the Pharmacist: How to balance your hormones

Suzy Cohen
Columnist
The main female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are produced by a woman’s ovaries, but they also produce male hormones including testosterone.

At a certain age, we all lose those youthful hormones, and start to think about replenishment. That’s a great idea but determining what hormones you need to replenish based upon your test results is very tricky and there may be trial and error involved. 

There’s a lot of confusion about hormones, testing and natural supplements to help shift patterns.

The route of administration matters in terms of testing yourself. So, for example, if you take oral estrogen, then a blood test is fine. If you do use transdermal hormones, a patch, pellet or injection form, then I highly recommend you do urine metabolite testing as in the “DUTCH Complete” test. This is a home test kit that required you to urinate on a little strip. It’s available at my website because I’m one of their licensed providers. 

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Here’s guidance about each hormone. My goal right now is to help you break it down properly, which in turn improves health and reduces risk for cancer-causing metabolites.

Estrogen

Men and women have all three types of estrogen in their body, and each of these exhibit varying degrees of activity and target different tissues.

Dramatic reductions in estradiol may lead to a decrease in mental sharpness and muscle mass. In excess, estradiol is associated with heavy periods, fibroids and endometriosis.

DIM and glutathione supplements help break this down well, depending on the specific metabolite you make. The DUTCH test will tell you your ratios of estrogen and the way you break them down. 

Progesterone

Benefits of progesterone impact mood and sleep. Stroke victims are sometimes given progesterone to help recover because it plays a role in neurogenesis.

Progesterone keeps women looking more youthful by improving elasticity and stimulating collagen production. Excessive amounts cause mood swings, fatigue, dizziness, yeast infections, bloating, fluid retention, acne and drowsiness.

Testosterone

Adequate amounts help both men and women, although this hormone is predominately male. It is required for sperm production therefore playing a role in fertility. It gives people a competitive spirit. Benefits include energy, libido, strong bones and fat-burning capabilities.

During andropause when levels plummet and men suddenly notice problems in the bedroom, or with prostate function. Excessive amounts of testosterone in women cause cystic acne, deepening of the voice, PCOS, facial hair and menstrual irregularities. 

Some people have an androgenic preference in the way they break down testosterone and this can be corrected with natural remedies such as saw palmetto and stinging nettle. Some people have poor Phase I metabolism and therefore create cancer-associated estrogen by-products which are like trash in your body.

You must take the trash out. By that I mean, you need to open that pathway using natural remedies such as DIM and others. If you don’t methylate well, you could benefit from some methyl donors like TMG, methylcobalamin (vitamin B12) or natural folate. It’s about detoxifying the hormones you have, not total estrogen or testosterone levels.

There is more about this in my free hormone ebook available to you right now at suzycohen.com.

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Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.