4 strategies to effectively cope with stress

Stress: a completely normal bodily reaction that affects everyone at some point. Stress isn’t something to shy away from in small doses. In fact, stress can help keep us motivated and to perform well under pressure. Tired businessman massaging nose bridge, feeling eyes strain

Stress is also in reaction to a dangerous situation, allowing us to “flight or fight,” and effectively solve the challenge we are being faced with.

However, ongoing stress that feels more unmanageable can be debilitating. Luckily, there are many strategies for coping with stress in an effective way. Here are just some of them.

1. Exercise on a regular basis.
Besides the physical benefits that come with exercise, it has also proven to work in battling emotional and mental stress. Whether you participate in yoga, running or dance, those endorphins will surge through your body every time. Plus, exercise helps to release any excess stress hormone.

2. Incorporate relaxation techniques.
This could be meditation, repeating a mantra, or even talking to a friend. Whatever relaxation means to you, go ahead and do it. Remember that true relaxation may not come so easy at first, but just keep at it and it’ll become a learned technique in no time.

3. Be okay with not saying “yes” to everything.
This is an important one. For a number of individuals, stress is brought upon because of an overwhelming to-do list. We seem to get busier every year, despite new technologies that are supposed to make our work more efficient. Step back and be okay with saying “no” to additional requests that are unimportant. When possible, try not to overcommit.

4. Change your diet.
A diet that is well-balanced and rich in healthy fats, vegetables and fruits has shown to make a difference. Also, avoid caffeine, as caffeine is a stimulant that actually increases your level of stress.

Remember that stress is completely normal. There is no use being stressed about the fact that you are stressed. Step back and take a moment to get that stress hormone down so you can breathe easy.

What are bioidentical hormones made from?

Laboratory determination of blood type. Blood testYou probably know the saying, “Everything gets better with age.” While that may be true for fine wines, grandchildren, and more, it directly contradicts what you experience in your body. Middle age is the time when most people begin to notice gradual deterioration of their bodily functions. As you age, hormone production gets impaired. Hormones control almost all tasks in the body – including sex, growth, brain function, and the breakdown of food. Hormone imbalance invariably leads to a series of undesirable symptoms.

To ease these symptoms, many people opt for hormone replacement therapies (HRT). While there are several HRTs, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BRHT) has garnered impressive attention in the past few decades. This post explores what bioidentical hormones are, how they are made, and their overall safety.

What are Bioidentical Hormones?

Bioidentical hormones are hormones that are chemically identical to those produced in the body. Bioidentical hormones are derived from naturally-occurring sources, such as soy or yams. Although they are produced in the laboratory, bioidentical hormones mimic the hormones naturally produced in the body. This way, the body wouldn’t be able to differentiate between the hormones it produces and bioidentical ones.

Common examples of biomedical hormones include:

  • 17 beta estradiols, found in drugs like Estrace, Estradiol, and Estring
  • Estradiol hemihydrate, such as Vagifem
  • Estradiol acetate, such as Femring
  • Micronized progesterone USP, including Prometrium and Prochieve

Some big pharmaceutical companies manufacture bioidentical hormones, which is strictly regulated by the FDA. However, a class referred to as ‘compounded bioidentical hormones’ are not regulated by the FDA.

Differences between bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones.

The main distinguishing factor is that bioidentical hormones are made from the exact chemical and molecular structure of compounds found in the human body. On the other hand, synthetic hormones contain substances that do not naturally occur in the human body. For instance, Premarin is made from the urine of pregnant horses, and it is used as a replacement estrogen.

What are Bioidentical Hormones Used For?

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is primarily used to ease symptoms of perimenopause and menopause in women. As the ovaries start to produce less estrogen in the moments leading up to menopause, the hormone imbalance is responsible for several symptoms. Bioidentical hormone therapy can help to:

  • Improve sex drive
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Minimize hot flashes
  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce bloating
  • Prevent hair thinning
  • Improve memory.

Asides from menopause-related symptoms, hormone replacement therapy may also reduce your risk for tooth loss, diabetes, and cataracts. Some research indicates it may also help improve hydration, enhance skin condition, and even reduce wrinkles.

When is Using Bioidentical Hormones Appropriate?

Different bodies react to bioidentical hormones differently. And so, the safety of bioidentical hormones is still debated in the medical community. That’s why many women prefer to seek other treatment options when perimenopause symptoms start.

However, traditional treatment options may not work for you. If that happens, you may want to consider biomedical hormones. To improve the efficacy of biomedical hormones, here are some lifestyle changes you should consider before undergoing replacement therapy.

  • Taking vitamin supplements
  • Exercising more frequently
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Reducing stress and anxiety

How are Bioidentical Hormones Used?

Bioidentical hormones can be used in different forms, depending on the specific symptoms that are being targeted. Some of the common forms include:

  • Creams
  • Gels
  • Tablets
  • Injections
  • Lotions

Before bioidentical hormones are administered, the doctor will carefully test for your hormone levels through your saliva or blood sample. This will help determine the specific ingredients and quantity needed. As treatment proceeds, hormone levels are periodically monitored to ensure no complications arise.

Compounded Bioidentical Hormones

These are bioidentical hormones made by a compounding pharmacist in the exact strength and dosage as prescribed by a practitioner. These hormones are blended in a specific combination that is suited for each woman.

Their main benefit is they can be made without certain allergens. However, compounded bioidentical hormones are not regulated by the FDA. Moreover, little research exists to support their efficacy. That’s why major medical bodies such as the North American Menopause Society and the Endocrine Society have warned against the use of custom-compounded hormones.

Side Effects and Risk of Bioidentical Hormones

It’s important to note that while the FDA has approved some preparations of bioidentical estradiol and progesterone, it hasn’t approved any compounded bioidentical hormones.

Bioidentical hormone therapy is commonly touted as being better than traditional hormone replacement. However, no conclusive study exists to support this claim.

Some of the reported side effects associated with hormone therapy include:

  • Blood clot
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Weight gain
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • More facial hair in women.

Wrap Up

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may help people with symptoms associated with low or unbalanced levels of hormones. Due to the numerous side effect associated with biomedical hormones, medical advice must be sought before proceeding with treatment.

In general, women should avoid bioidentical hormones if possible because there is not enough conclusive evidence to suggest that they are effective or safe. Even if you must go the BHRT route, you should use the smallest dose that proves effective in the shortest possible time.

As more research into bioidentical hormones continues, they may eventually conclusively prove to the safe and effective in the future. We’re here to help. Contact us today for more information.

Not all supplements are created equal

59942312_MFor many of us, supplements are part of our daily routine. Many of us are regular takers of vitamin, mineral, and other types of supplements. But rather than go all-in on a supplement, it is important to do the proper research to determine if the supplement is even good for you.

There are literally thousands of supplements available on the market, from multivitamins to omega fats, minerals, and nutrient supplements of a nearly countless variety. So what should you look for when deciding on a supplement?


Your biochemistry plays a critical role in whether a supplement is necessary. Supplements are designed to provide something that might be lacking, or even to double down on a standard amount you already take. Take B vitamins, for example. If your body has a problem with methylation, there might be a need to take activated B vitamins.

Functional medicine practitioners can help with genetic tests to determine if your body has any problems processing specific nutrients.


The old ethos of quality over quantity holds true in supplements. You can swallow a handful of supplements every day, but if you are taking poorly made, unproven supplements, not designed to work with your biochemistry, you’re running in place.

With so many supplements on the market, it can be confusing trying to figure out what is right for you. Rely on our expert guidance to assist you.

We proudly advise our patients on the good and bad regarding supplements. Stay healthy the right way, without taking wild guesses about which supplements are right for you. We’re waiting for your call.

Hypothyroidism 101

30511389 - human thyroid glandAbout one in ten Americans suffer from thyroid dysfunction arising mainly from hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition that occurs when your thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormones. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits low in front of the neck, lying below your Adam’s apple, along the front of the windpipe.

Causes of Hypothyroidism

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This is an autoimmune condition where the body produces antibodies that attack your thyroid tissue, resulting in the inability to produce sufficient thyroid hormone. Thyroiditis may also be caused by a viral condition.

Other causes of hypothyroidism include:

  • Radiation therapy to the neck area.
  • Radioiodine treatment used to treat hyperthyroidism may destroy the thyroid gland, leading to hypothyroidism.
  • Certain medications used to treat heart problems, psychiatric conditions, and cancer.
  • Too little iodine in your diet.
  • Damage or disorder of pituitary gland.
  • Disorder of the hypothalamus.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary from person to person. Often, the severity of the hormone deficiency determines the types of symptoms you’re likely to experience, which are sometimes difficult to identify.

At the onset of hypothyroidism, many people experience subtle weight gain or fatigue, which they often, but wrongly, attribute to aging. As time progresses, the condition causes a continual slowing down of metabolism, and more obvious symptoms may arise.

Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with hypothyroidism:

  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling cold
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased sweating
  • Dry, thinning hair
  • Elevated blood cholesterol
  • Impaired memory
  • Hoarseness
  • Puffy, sensitive face
  • Muscle weakness.

Hypothyroidism Risk factors

Women, particularly older women, are more likely to develop this condition than men. Also, it’s tied to genetics, so you are more likely to develop hypothyroidism if you have a close family member with an autoimmune disease.

Other risk factors include:

  • Old age
  • Race (White and Asian)
  • Premature graying hair
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Turner syndrome
  • Down syndrome
  • Autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetics, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, pernicious anemia, or vitiligo.

Proper Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism

Thyroid disorders are usually diagnosed with a combination of lab tests and subjective measures/symptoms. Because of the variability of symptoms in people with hypothyroidism, it is not uncommon for traditional doctors to analyze the test results of a patient as normal, yet the patient is freezing all the time, hairs are falling out, and the nails are brittle.

Conventional methods of diagnosis only examine Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine (T4). When the T4 level is lower-than-normal, hypothyroidism is usually the first suspect. The drawback of this approach is that it’s a poor indicator in some cases.

To understand why this is the case, let’s briefly examine how the thyroid works. The thyroid gland produces T4, which is the inactive form of thyroid hormone. Inside your cells, T4 is then converted into T3 (triiodothyronine), which then regulates your metabolism, temperature, fat, and energy levels. Unfortunately, several things can impair this conversion process. Common examples include stress, diabetes, insulin resistance, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia. By looking at T4 without comparing it to T3, many cases of hypothyroidism can easily be missed.

Furthermore, T3 Reverse is another component that is majorly overlooked. However, it plays a crucial role in diagnosing hypothyroidism. For instance, if the T3 Reverse is elevated, it down-regulates T3 Free, which is the more beneficial form of T3. T3 Reverse is produced during the conversion of T4 to T3, but for people with hypothyroidism, elevated levels of T3 Reverse are produced from the conversion process.

Therefore, the best approach for diagnosis is to take a more holistic approach by examining T3 Free, T3 Reverse, T4 Free, TSH, and thyroid peroxidase antibodies. In conjunction with subjective symptoms, the complete picture can be formed and the best thyroid treatment solution can be developed on an individual basis.

Proper Treatment for Hypothyroidism

The conventional care for hypothyroidism is the prescription of synthetic thyroid hormone T4, like Levothyroxine and Synthroid. However, many patients do not respond to treatment because the main issue is sometimes not the production of T4 but its conversion into T3. Consequently, they may need a different approach that includes direct T3 replacement. Other therapeutic options include bio-identical thyroid hormone replacement using T3 or T3/T4 combination.

Tips to Relieve Hypothyroidism Symptoms

The best way to combat hypothyroidism is to seek adequate medical treatment. But on top of your medication, here are some tips that can help you relieve common symptoms:

  • Combat fatigue by taking power naps, which should be no longer than 30 minutes to avoid falling into a deep sleep.
  • Remember to guard against cold sensitivity through the choice of your clothing.
  • Use alcohol-free moisturizers to prevent dry skin.
  • Getting enough fiber in your diet can help to relieve constipation.
  • Manage your weight. Limit processed food and those high in fat and sugar.
  • Practice mindfulness to fight depression.
  • Ensure that you take your medication properly.

Contact us today for more information.