Our hormones control all of our bodies processes. They affect our metabolism, cell growth, immune system, mood, energy levels, sexual function, sleep, and basically everything else. Many of us have hormone imbalances due to our diets, stress, lack of exercise, and lack of sunlight. Hormone imbalances can lead to early aging and chronic medical conditions, which we often treat with medications. When we understand and correct imbalances, it can lead to better health. You will likely also gain boosts in metabolism, mood, energy, and sleep, with reduced inflammation. Our goal is to carefully balance hormones to improve overall health, rather than focusing on symptoms. Focusing on root cause is a Functional Medicine approach. While the Balance method is similar to Functional Medicine, we also focus on restoring balance itself. By restoring the body’s balance, health is restored. The tools we use to restore balance include a questionnaire, labs, diet, supplements, all of which may affect your hormone levels. Finally we address hormone replacement directly, when indicated. Balanced hormones are critical to balance of the human body, and are often overlooked.
The thyroid gland helps control your metabolism and energy levels. It relies on feedback from the thyroid to the brain. When thyroid function is low, typically TSH is elevated. TSH stands for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. Think of it as the “wake up” hormone that our brain sends to our thyroid gland. For those with suboptimal (low) thyroid function, the TSH might be 4 times higher than someone with optimal thyroid function while still being in what’s considered the “normal” range! The person with lower thyroid function might suffer from more weight gain, fatigue, acid reflux, intermittent constipation, and/or depression. Correcting the imbalance helps with weight loss and the other signs and symptoms. This helps to explain why you may have been told your thyroid function is in “normal” range, but feel like you have a slow metabolism. Maybe you’re right after all. It turns out, thyroid labs are actually a reference range, not a “normal range.” At Balance Wellness Center, often we optimize a person’s thyroid level, which triggers increased metabolism and weight loss. After being optimized, the thyroid function still remains in reference range, just more optimal. Of course, like all hormones, balance must be achieved, so overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) has its own set of considerations.
Testosterone plays many roles in the human body. While it is known as the main sex hormone in men, it is vital for women as well. Testosterone is important for your metabolism, cellular energy, the immune system, and sexual function. Testosterone gives mental clarity and focus while boosting your mood and confidence and helping to regulate other hormone levels. Testosterone helps tilt the balance between your fat and muscle to favor muscle. In that way, it helps with fat loss. For example, if a healthy 25 year old eats a meal, most of the energy goes toward muscle, but for a typical 50 year old, more of it may go toward building fat. The primary difference is testosterone. It also plays a regenerative role similar to estrogen while stabilizing mood in ways similar to progesterone. Our clients say testosterone replacement helps boost their confidence. Like any hormone, testosterone must be kept in balance. Deficiencies of testosterone are linked to numerous health conditions, from heart health to fibromyalgia (and many conditions in between). Diet and exercise can sometimes help raise a low testosterone level, and often hormone replacement is indicated. Either way, at Balance Wellness Center, we can help guide you.
Natural progesterone is a natural mood stabilizer that helps to regulate inflammation and control cell growth. Progesterone helps us balance the growth effects of estrogen. Men have progesterone as well, but it’s role is more obvious in women. In the menstrual cycle, it helps reduce uterine enlargement, while regulating the menstrual period. Progesterone helps improve sleep and anxiety. Natural progesterone should be distinguished from progestins, which are synthetic chemicals designed to mimic some of the effects of natural progesterone. It’s important that hormone therapy is “bio-identical.” Bio-identical means the same chemical structure of your natural human hormone. Whether the hormone is directly from soy or sweet potato, or derived from it in a lab, being the same is important for the body’s ability to counter-regulate the hormone. Our clients often report dramatic improvements in sleep and feeling less anxious with nightly progesterone supplementation. This is not to mention the anti-inflammatory effects.
While both men and women have estrogen, it is of primary importance to the balance of a woman’s hormones. Estrogen is a primary regenerative hormone for women. It is essential to normal growth and development, as well as cellular regeneration. Estrogen fluctuates throughout the menstrual cycle, but declines with age after menopause. Most people think of estrogen for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, or maybe “brain fog.” But estrogen does much more than that. When you lose estrogen, you lose protection for your heart, skin, bone, brain, and bladder, to name a few. Our bodies make different forms of estrogen, depending on age, pregnancy, and other factors. Estradiol is the main estrogen for non-pregnant women of reproductive age. Balancing your estrogen with progesterone helps reduce inflammation. Bio-identical plant-based estrogen replacement can play a role not only in the symptoms of menopause, but help prevent you from having the negative effects of estrogen loss that occurs with age. At Balance wellness center, we believe its important to use bio-identical plant-based estrogen replacement instead of animal-based synthetic hormone replacement.
Dr. Bryant is an expert in optimizing health, which may at times include hormone replacement. We perform a complete assessment, including your hormone levels. We also take into consideration any medical conditions you may have. Typically, we’ll shorten your medication list by treating the root cause of the condition. In this way, the Balance approach is similar to functional medicine. At Balance Wellness Center we only provide bio-identical hormone replacement when indicated. Natural supplements are used whenever possible. Sometimes dietary changes and nutritional supplements help restore balance and hormone replacement is not necessary. Feel free to call us at (713) 338-1231 for an appointment or with questions.