Search Term: " Libido "
Tribulus Terrestris Supplement Benefits for Libido, Blood Sugar &More
October 13, 2018 11:14 AM
There are many benefits that come from taking certain supplements. Some people like taking these things while others do not like the stigma that comes with it. Just the thought of taking a pill that can enhance them makes some people feel as if it is not worth it. There are others who simply do not believe that these things work for them or anyone. Now, this new supplement is supposed to help those with high blood sugar levels.
"Often dismissed as nothing more than an invasive and pesky weed popping up in yards across the country, you may want to think twice before pulling out the weed killer on this powerful medicinal plant."
Read more: https://draxe.com/tribulus-terrestris-supplement-benefits-for-libido-blood-sugar-more/
FDA Steps Up Warnings for Testosterone
November 02, 2016 03:49 PM
Testosterone and other steroid drugs can cause heart attacks, personality changes and infertility. The FDA also warned that people abusing high doses of testosterone have reported withdrawal symptoms such as depression, irritability, decreased Libido, insomnia and others. Testosterone is not approved for treating the effects of aging. Anabolic steroids are synthetic variations of testosterone. These are prescribed to treat conditions such as delayed puberty and diseases that cause muscle loss like cancer or AIDS.
"They are legally prescribed to treat conditions such as delayed puberty and diseases that cause muscle loss, such as cancer or AIDS."
Benefits of Maca root
December 15, 2013 07:29 PM
Benefit of Maca root.
Maca root has always been used as a source of food in Peru for many years because of its medicinal functions. This root is normally packed with other nutritionally rich components thus making it a good instrument for balanced diet contribution daily.
Maca powder strongest health advantages are based on how the root will work in relation to the endocrine system. Endocrine system which is in charge of transition is a system of glands which releases human hormones in the blood system. This powder will energize the body so that it can make hormones. Due to this stimulation of the maca root, very good hormones will be released in your blood stream which will subsequently assist in regulating issues within those hormones.
Maca root is also used for vitality tonic in addition to being used as sport nutrition in Libido improvement. This root has exclusive sense of balance of antioxidants, minerals, proteins, vitamins, plant sterols, and carbs which interacts to maintain the whole body at optimum level. Maca root offers energy thus balancing the endocrine system such as pancreatic, adrenals, thyroid and pituitary gland. It usually helps people to retrieve their endurance in addition to assisting in mental balance.
Health Benefits of Maca to Women
In women, the health benefits of this powder will include enhancing the levels of energy, improving sexual Libido, increasing capacity of holding up against stress as well as decreasing sweating at night and menopausal flashes. Maca root is an adaptogen which revitalizes the body as whole.
Benefits of Maca to Men
Maca powder has also its benefits on men in that it enhances testosterone or androgenic hormone levels in addition to improving sperm fertility. Some men also experience erection cells reactions increase, a leading known as an organic and natural substitution of Viagra. Finally, this increase in human body hormones can also result in virility which helps in fighting from getting older.
The Facts About Herb Dopa Mucuna
December 15, 2013 05:17 PM
What is Herb Dopa Mucuna?
Dopa Mucuna has become used as an aphrodisiac. Which is still used to raise and help Libido in both women and men. However it's an alternative treatment peculiarity now is extremely popular used as it provides potential and valuable results in managing Parkinson along with conditions. Pots include seeds called velvet beans or mucuna beans, these are glowing brown or black. Dopa Mucuna is generally be able to recover soil fertility and decrease weed infestation. In society medicine seeds can be used healing different conditions and disease. Mucuna beans have been used as a coffee alternate (ground and roasted) in Brazil, Central America, and other countries.
The primary acts of the plant are following :
You've surely would not heard about L-Dopa, except if you are associated with somebody who carries body builder or Parkinson's disease, you might not be familiar with about it. L-Dopa is a precursor to dopamine. The seeds of Mucuna bean is rich in lipids, protein, ash, dietary fiber, minerals, and carbohydrates. Moreover they are very high in sterols, alkaloids, and saponins. Mucuna seeds (along with the seeds of every Mucuna varieties) include high level of L-dopa is an immediate precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
How does it works?
Low dopamine ranges are related to psychosis, addiction, schizophrenia, depression, and Attention Deficit Disorder. Because dopamine itself is unable to move the blood-brain barrier, it is transferred in a precursor condition is an outline that causes the brain to generate dopamine. L-Dopa is simply like a precursor. L-Dopa is located to work in improving concentrate, relieving depressive disorders, and managing Parkinson's Disease.
Why is Maca Called the Peruvian Ginseng and What Does this Herb Do
April 28, 2011 03:17 PM
Maca: Stress, Energy, Libido, and More.
Maca is a root vegetable traditionally grown at high altitudes in Peru. It is related to radish and turnip, both of which it resembles in appearance, size, and proportion. Its historical uses denote its adaptogenic properties, the reason why it is often called the Peruvian ginseng today. It is the subject of numerous studies underway, and preliminary results point to its effects on the endocrine system.
Lepidium meyenii is a plant species that belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which comprises over three thousand species of edible plants called cruciferous vegetables. Hence, maca is related to many green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, among others. Like these vegetables, maca contains an assortment of organic compounds that display bioactive properties.
Lepidium peruvianum refers to the same species. Modern herbalists argue that it is a more accurate scientific name for maca, though Lepidium meyenii remains in use in the scientific community. Until only recently, maca was exclusively cultivated in the Andes of Peru. Due to an increased interest in alternative forms of medicine in North America and Europe, it has enjoyed a sudden surge in popularity in the past few years.
Enhances Stress Resistance
Maca is marketed as an adaptogen, a natural remedy for stress. It has been compared to ginseng a number of times, earning itself the moniker Peruvian ginseng. Maca and ginseng do not interact with hormones in the body but rather contain phytochemicals that directly act on endocrine glands, including the hypothalamus, adrenals, and thyroid glands. These organs are pivotal to better management of stress. Several herbalists argue that maca is even more potent than ginseng in that it is believed to affect almost all endocrine glands and create a homeostatic effect on the chemical compounds that they secrete.
Modulates Energy Metabolism
The nutritional profile of maca has been described to be a combination of the nutrients found in whole grains and green leafy vegetables. It contains significant amounts of amino acids and dietary fiber. Its carbohydrate content accounts for 60 per cent of its dry weight, with emphasis on its low glycemic index. Its active constituents enable its carbohydrates to break down at a slow pace and release glucose into the bloodstream without raising blood sugar levels. By so doing, it provides the energy needed to fuel physical activities and athletic performance for extended periods of time.
Improves Sexual Performance
Maca is a popular aphrodisiac. In the old days, Inca warriors consumed large quantities of maca roots for the sole purpose of achieving desired virility. In addition to its energy-boosting and stress-relieving effects, regular intake of maca impacts sexual health as it contains organic compounds that stimulate gonadal tissues, especially in men. Randomized clinical trials have observed that maca affects semen quality, increases sperm count, and improves sexual performance, making it an ideal choice of supplement for men.
Maca root is an excellent herb for men and women. You can gain energy as well as a boost in energy with Maca root. Try maca root and feel the difference it can make on your life!
Natural Anxiety Remedies
November 11, 2010 05:44 PM
Anxiety disorder is a much more common problem than what was once thought. It often affects people in their teenage years through middle age and later. Anxiety disorder appears to affect twice as many women as men. However, there may not be that wide of a disparity between the sexes. Psychologists simply believe that men are far less prone to report or even acknowledge that they have a problem of this nature. Anxiety disorders can either be acute or chronic. Acute anxiety disorder manifests itself in episodes that are commonly known as panic attacks. A panic attack occurs when the body’s natural “fight or flight” reaction occurs at the wrong time. This is a complex response in which the body prepares itself to deal with an emergency situation. Stress can often cause the body to produce more adrenal hormones, especially adrenaline. The increased production of adrenaline causes the body to step up its metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to quickly produce energy for the body to use. Additionally, the muscles tense up and the heartbeat and breathing become more rapid.
When faced with an assault, accident, or a natural disaster, this type of reaction is perfectly normal. However, the symptoms that are caused by the surge in adrenaline can be distressing and frightening when they occur at the wrong time. A person having a panic attack is often overwhelmed by a sense of impending disaster or death, which makes it impossible to think clearly. Other feelings that can accompany a panic attack include shortness of breath, a smothering, claustrophobic sensation, heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, hot flashes or chills, trembling, numbness or tingling sensations in the extremities, sweating, nausea, a feeling of unreality, and a distorted perception of the passage of time. This disorder can eventually have other cumulative effects such as generalized aches and pains, muscular twitching and stiffness, depression, insomnia, nightmares and early waking, decreased Libido, and abnormal feelings of tension with an accompanying inability to relax.
Panic attacks are usually abrupt and intense, occurring at any time of the day or night, and lasting from several seconds up to half an hour. To the panic sufferer, it often feels as though they are much longer. A person having a panic attack sometimes believes that he or she is experiencing a heart attack or stroke. The attacks themselves are very unpredictable, with some people experiencing one every few weeks, and others having several each day. Panic attacks are often triggered by stress or certain emotions, but they can also be a response to certain foods, drugs, or illness.
Many people with acute anxiety disorder become afraid of being alone and visiting public places because they fear having a panic attack. This only adds to the level of anxiety and leads to abnormally restricted lives. Psychologists often believe that at least in some cases, panic attacks are self-induced, meaning that the fear of the panic attack is the very thing that brings it on. The following nutrients are recommended for dealing with anxiety disorders: calcium, magnesium, B1, B12, multivitamin and mineral complex, SAMe, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, chromium picolinate, DLPA, L-glutamine, coenzyme A, essential fatty acids, GABA, melatonin, bilberry, ginkgo biloba, milk thistle, catnip, chamomile, cramp bark, kava kava, hops, linden flower, motherwort, passionflower, skullcap, fennel, lemon balm, willow bark, feverfew, St. John’s wort, skullcap, valerian root, and mandarin oil.
Natural vitamins and herbs can be found at VitaNet ®, LLC Vitamin Store.
September 18, 2008 11:14 AM
They say that you can never bee too rich, too thin or too hot. The search for potions, foods, herbs, and supplements to increase sagging Libido is never ending. Not only does erectile dysfunction (ED) affect approximately 30 million American men and one-third of those American males between the ages of 40 and 70, but about 43 percent of women have reported having some kind of sexual dissatisfaction, with about one-third of them specifically reporting low sexual desire.
In the 1970s and 80s a famous erotic entertainer named the brain as being the most erogenous zone in the body. A lack in Libido can have a lot more to do with the brain than with genital areas. Stress, lack of energy, fatigue, depression, anger, and worry all kill sexual appetite, and few foods have been found to make much of dent in your mind or other places. On the other hand, slow Libido for men or women occasionally has a physical base, being the combination of both desire and the ability to do something about it.
If we assume that the “spirit is willing” we still have to make sure that the body is able, with the first order of business being circulation. The best way to improve overall circulation is exercise, of which almost any kind will do as long as your heart is pumping, blood is flowing, and oxygen is reaching the brain. Exercise also raises the feel-good chemicals in the brain referred to as catecholamines, which makes it more likely that you’ll be more in the mood. Many yoga postures that are done prior to sex have been shown to be fantastic enhances, especially the butterfly pose for women.
There is also a list of sexy foods including, almonds, avocados, celery, chili peppers, chocolate, oysters, figs, and nutmeg. Almonds contain important fatty acids which help the brain to work better while avocados are not only a sensual delight, but also contain important fatty acids that help the brain and heart. Celery actually contains a small amount of androsterone, which is a male hormone that is released in sweat, known to turn women on. Chili peppers contain capsaicin, which stimulates circulation.
Chocolate contains pheylethylalmine (PEA), which is a chemical raised in the brain when you’re in love. Oysters, which are high in zinc, help men with sexual functioning. Figs are high in amino acids and are also believed to increase sexual stamina and nutmeg is used in Indian medicine for enhancing desire, with studies showing that it has the same effect as Viagra. Dishes that are high in carbohydrates, such as pasta, are much more likely to lead to sleep rather than romance. So be sure to eat energy producing protein and vegetables, leaving the table just a bit hungry.
There are some foods that can trigger thoughts of love, such as a peach or even an avocado. Those foods that have luscious textures and tastes are also shown to enhance mood. In order to turn on the brain naturally, think of smells. Almond and coconut make great scented candles and are good bets to improve Libido. Lavender has been shown to be one of the most universal turn-on’s and can be used through out the day with relaxing and mood boosting properties. However you decide to boost Libido, adding the above mentioned foods might help improve quality of life.
July 03, 2008 08:58 AM
Serotonin has not only been shown to regulate sleep, but it also is responsible for controlling mood, including feelings of optimism, relaxation, general sense of well-being, and the ability to focus and concentrate. When serotonin levels drop, it can lead to a lowered mood, which is what people experience with seasonal affective disorder, premenstrual syndrome, and general stress. People who experience these conditions also have been shown to experience decreased levels of tryptophan, which is responsible for the decrease in production of serotonin. Tryptophan depletion has been associated with a lowering in mood of normal healthy men. In one study, women who had recovered from major depression and ended drug treatment experienced temporary but clinically significant depressive symptoms after tryptophan depletion. In many studies that were performed in the 1970s, indications of trytophan’s ability to relieve lowered mood were found.
When shorter days begin in the fall and winter, negative effects on a significant percent of the U.S. population result. Some experience sadness, sleepiness, increased appetite, weight gain, and a loss of Libido, which is what is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A key contributor to this is the increased synthesis of melatonin that occurs during the winter months. Daylight normally inhibits the conversion of serotonin into melatonin. Since the period of nighttime is longer in the winter versus the summer, there is a longer period of melatonin secretion. Increased synthesis of melatonin depletes serotonin levels, which, in turn, increase the symptoms of SAD. Those patients who experience SAD tend to crave starchy foods and sweets more, which happens when brain serotonin levels are low.
Tryptophan treatment may offer a substantial amount of help for people who are suffering from seasonal affective disorder. SAD patients who were treated with either light therapy or with tryptophan proved that patients with light therapy relapsed more quickly after the discontinued use, as apposed to those who were treated with tryptophan. Studies have also shown that SAD patients often feel better after being treated with tryptophan.
Serotonin also plays an important role in behavioral inhibition. Many studies have found that there is a decrease in aggressive behavior when serotonin is increased, while decreasing serotonin leads to impulsive aggressive behavior. Another study proves that healthy men who are depleted of tryptophan show more aggressiveness. When tryptophan supplementation was studied, participants who received the tryptophan significantly decreased their quarrelsome behavior and increased in sociable and agreeable behavior. Additionally, those patients’ perceptions of other participants’ agreeableness also increased.
Symptoms that are related to premenstrual syndrome include depression, cravings for foods that a rich in carbohydrates, insomnia, irritability, and hostility. More so, women with premenstrual syndrome dysphoria, which is a more severe premenstrual syndrome, have shown decreased levels of brain serotonin. This suggests that tryptophan may be involved, as premenstrual women who had tryptophan depletion have shown increased aggressive behavior. When tryptophan supplementation was studied on women who experienced premenstrual dysphoric disorder, mood swings, tension, and irritability, results showed that there were significantly greater improvements with l-tryptophan supplementation than with a placebo.
June 02, 2008 12:03 PM
Stress is part of life and is as natural as breathing and blinking. Everyone experiences stress to some degree at different times in their lives; some more than others. Chronic stress, if left unchecked, can cause significant health problems.
Causes of Stress
Life changes are big stressors. Whether it's a new job, getting a divorce, having a baby or retiring, changes can cause stress. Stress becomes a factor in our health, especially as we grow older. The body doesn't function as well as it once did. Suddenly, you have trouble sleeping, your sex drive diminishes and aches and pains set it.
Stress occurs in many forms. Stress on an emotional level is caused by personal problems, thoughts and relationships. Illness causes stress too. Working long hours or having a lot of demands placed on your time can leave you feeling drained and sick. Hormones play a role in stress, as well. Whether you are experiencing temporary or life changes, it takes a toll on your body in the form of stress.
Learn How to Fight Back Against Stress
If stressful life changes get you down, fight back with ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is a tomato-like shrub grown in India. It is also referred to as the Indian ginseng and the winter cherry. The herbs from these trees have been used for 2,500 years as a natural medicine.
Benefits of Using Ashwagandha Herbs
Ashwagandha herbs not only help to reduce stress from your busy life, they also have a natural healing effect on the body. This flowering shrub is used as an herbal medicine to aid the body in many ways:
* Boosts immunity
The benefits that ashwagandha provides promote overall health and well-being. The herb helps to reduce stress on the body, both physically and mentally. Ashwagandha is especially helpful for people with insomnia, low Libido, depression, arthritis and anxiety.
The Sexual Healing Power of Ashwagandha
The ashwagandha herb acts as an aphrodisiac. It works on low Libido and can help men regain their stamina and confidence in the bedroom. Since it helps in so many other areas of your health, like reducing stress and anxiety, it gives men a newfound sense of sexuality.
You also can consider ashwagandha as a natural Viagra. As with any prescription drug, Viagra has side effects that accompany its intended use. Vision problems, sneezing, flushing and headaches are fairly common for men who take Viagra to enhance their sex drive. Less common side effects include stroke, heart palpitations and heart attacks. You can receive the benefits of the little blue pill without the side effects by taking ashwagandha.
Take Advantage of the Healing Power of Ashwagandha
Tackle the stress of life changes by adding ashwagandha to your diet. Allow this natural herb to give you a sense of calm. Let it work on your nervous system to reduce the feelings of stress. Everyone feels stress at times, but the effects of stress can be better managed with ashwagandha.
Tongkat Ali: The Natural Viagra?
October 22, 2007 10:02 AM
Tongkat Ali is also known as Longjack, and is a well known aphrodisiac in South East Asia, the root of which has been found effective both as an aphrodisiac and in treating certain sexual problems including failure to achieve an erection. What Viagra does in the west, Longjack does in the east, only cheaper.
The tree is also called Pasak Bumi, and had originally been used for many years as a treatment for malaria, the side effects being accepted but not understood as originating from the malaria medication. Some though that the malaria itself perhaps caused them, and was a long time before the effect of tongkat ali on the testosterone levels in the body was understood.
The name literally means Ali’s walking stick, and is named after the long roots from which it is extracted. The tree itself is about ten metres high, and grows beneath the canopy of the Indonesian rainforests. However, due to a heavy demand for the product, the older trees are increasingly more difficult to find, and most of the herbal preparation is extracted from younger trees. The tree itself is not easy to cultivate outside its natural environment, and is very slow growing.
Unlike many herbal remedies used in Asia, the effects of Tongkat Ali on the Libido have been supported by scientific medical evidence, and it has been demonstrated to support the availability of unbound testosterone and to support hormonal balance in general. It had been used for many years to promote sexual desire and sexual ability before the medical evidence was obtained to provide scientific support to what was already known by the indigenous population: that it was effective in improving sexual ability, stamina, and endurance and to reduce mental fatigue in general.
Although it was originally used as a treatment for malaria, Longjack increases the natural production of testosterone in the body and hence improving the male sex drive and also that of women. It is a little known fact that women, too, need testosterone for their sexual impulses. However, it is probably more important from a physiological point of view that testosterone is essential to women in that it increases the metabolic rate and accelerates the burning and elimination of fats, and the production of red blood cells and the development of muscle tissue.
As the production of testosterone drops off with age, generally starting after about thirty years, bodybuilders find it increasingly more difficult to maintain a good body shape and muscle shape. They are interested in anything that could feasible maintain or even increase the production of testosterone by the body, and Tongkat Ali does this. To them, the increase in their Libido, or sex drive, is a bonus that they will not refuse to take advantage of!
Eurycoma longifolia, the scientific name for the tree, increases the amount of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body. ATP, along with its cousin adenosine diphosphate (ADP), is responsible for the availability of energy for use by the body. It is normally created from ADP and glucose, and an increased availability in the blood can reduce the fatigue caused by its consumption through vigorous exercise. However, if too much ATP is available, the subject can suffer from insomnia and restlessness since there is too much ATP in the body.
The function of the ATP is to provide available energy that can be used by the muscles in exercise. When energy is used up the ATP is converted to ADP, which needs more glucose to reform the ATP. If there is excess ATP, it is like a charged battery within the body, and we become restless until the energy available is used up.
Another benefit of this amazing substance is that it helps the body to increase its own production of sex hormones, rather than simply provide them for it. People who suffer from sexual dysfunction conditions tend to be provided with HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) from their physicians or doctors which involve the introduction of testosterone intravenously. The result of this is that your body recognizes that it has a sufficient supply of testosterone and so stops making it for itself. Eventually your body just stops testosterone production, and relies on the artificial supply it has got used to receiving. Longjack treatment, however, does not provide a supply of testosterone, but stimulates your body to produce its own, which is better for it in the long run.
You should, however, be made aware of the possible side effects or testosterone administration which are insomnia, anxiety and a possible reduction in your immune functions. There are also other possible side effects if you suffer from diabetes, or heart liver or kidney disease, and you should always refer to your doctor before commencing its use. If you start off your treatment with small doses and check out the side effects at each stage, then you will be able to safely find out if these side effects relate to you. If not, then you are all set as long as you obey the advice of your physician.
Another natural product that is recommended as an aphrodisiac is Horny Goat Weed, but when used in combination with Tongkat Ali it appears to have a synergistic effect. Horny Goat Weed is also called Fairy Wings and a number of other alternatives names, and is not one but about 60 different flowering plants found in southern China. It works by increasing the nitric oxide concentration in the body that helps to relax the smooth muscles.
By itself Horny Goat Weed is an effective aphrodisiac, but the combination of its effect in relaxing the penile muscles and the increased testosterone levels promoted by Longjack is extremely powerful, and much more effective in resolve sexual problems in men that either of them alone.
For this reason tongkat ali is frequently sold in combination with horny goat weed. Although not unusual, it is not common to find natural herbs that have such a profound effect on the Libido and whose effect is backed up by scientific evidence. Tongkat ali is one of those, and although it is still currently mainly used in Asia, demand for it in the west is rising.
SYMPTOMS OF AN ESTROGEN DOMINANCE
July 25, 2005 09:47 PM
SYMPTOMS OF AN ESTROGEN DOMINANCE
Aside from having your blood or saliva tested, it is relatively easy to assess whether or not you may be suffering from an estrogen dominance. The following symptoms are typical of excess estrogen and progesterone depletion: breast enlargement and tenderness, water retention, heavy menstrual flow or irregular periods, carbohydrate cravings, weight gain (fat on hips and thighs), fibrocystic breasts, uterine fibroids, loss of Libido, PMS, mood swings/depression, and certain types of acne.
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
June 13, 2005 03:44 PM
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
by Mary Ann Mayo & Joseph L. Mayo, MD Energy Times, September 4, 1999
It's front-page news. It's politically correct and socially acceptable. Talking about menopause is in. Suddenly it's cool to have hot flashes. Millions of women turning 50 in the next few years have catapulted the subject of menopause into high-definition prominence.
It's about time. Rarely discussed openly by women (what did your mother ever advise you?), meno-pause until recently was dismissed as "a shutting down experience characterized by hot flashes and the end of periods." Disparaging and depressing words like shrivel, atrophy, mood swings and melancholia peppered the scant scientific menopausal literature.
What a difference a few years and a very vocal, informed and assertive group of Baby Boomers make. Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of newly confrontational women who will not accept a scribbled prescription and a pat on the head as adequate treatment, health practitioners and researchers have been challenged to unravel, explain and deal with the challenges of menopause.
Not An Overnight Sensation
Menopause, researchers have discovered, is no simple, clear cut event in a woman's life. The "change of life" does not occur overnight. A woman's body may begin the transition toward menopause in her early 40s, even though her last period typically occurs around age 51. This evolutionary time before the final egg is released is called the perimenopause. Erratic monthly hormone levels produce unexpected and sometimes annoying sensations.
Even as their bodies adjust to lower levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, some women don't experience typical signs of menopause until after the final period. A fortunate one-third have few or no discomforts.
According to What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause (Warner Books) by John R. Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginia Hopkins, "The steroid hormones are intimately related to each other, each one being made from another or turned back into another depending on the needs of the body...But the hormones themselves are just part of the picture. It takes very specific combinations of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to cause the transformation of one hormone into another and then help the cell carry out the hormone's message. If you are deficient in one of the important hormone-transforming substances such as vitamin B6 or magnesium, for example, that too can throw your hormones out of balance. Thyroid and insulin problems, toxins, bad food and environmental factors, medication and liver function affect nutrient and hormone balance."
The most important reproductive hormones include:
Estrogen: the female hormone produced by the ovaries from puberty through menopause to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Manufacture drops significantly during menopause. Estradiol is a chemically active and efficient form of estrogen that binds to many tissues including the uterus, breasts, ovaries, brain and heart through specific estrogen receptors that allow it to enter those cells, stimulating many chemical reactions. Estriol and estrone are additional forms of estrogen.
Progesterone: also produced by the ovaries, it causes tissues to grow and thicken, particularly during pregnancy, when it protects and nurtures the fetus. Secretion ceases during menopause.
Testosterone: Women produce about one-twentieth of what men do, but require it to support sex drive. About half of all women quit secreting testosterone during menopause.
Estrogen's Wide Reach
Since estrogen alone influences more than 400 actions on the body, chiefly stimulating cell growth, the effects of its fluctuations can be far-reaching and extremely varied: hot (and cold) flashes, erratic periods, dry skin (including the vaginal area), unpredictable moods, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, fatigue, low Libido, insomnia and joint and muscle pain.
Young women may experience premature menopause, which can occur gradually, as a matter of course, or abruptly with hysterectomy (even when the ovaries remain) or as a result of chemotherapy. Under such conditions symptoms can be severe.
In the 1940s doctors reasoned that if most discomforts were caused by diminishing estrogen (its interactive role with progesterone and testosterone were underestimated), replacing it would provide relief. When unchecked estrogen use resulted in high rates of uterine cancer, physicians quickly began adding progesterone to their estrogen regimens and the problem appeared solved.
For the average woman, however, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) became suspect and controversial, especially when a link appeared between extended use of HRT (from five to 10 years) and an increase in breast and endometrial cancers (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 37, 1997). The result: Women have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and their doctors.
Resolving The Impasse
Since hormone replacement reduces the risk of major maladies like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, colon cancer and diabetes that would otherwise significantly rise as reproductive hormone levels decrease, most doctors recommend hormone replacement shortly before or as soon as periods stop. Hormone replacement also alleviates the discomforts of menopause.
But only half of all women fill their HRT prescriptions and, of those who do, half quit within a year. Some are simply indifferent to their heightened medical risks. Some are indeed aware but remain unconvinced of the safety of HRT. Others complain of side effects such as bloating, headaches or drowsiness.
Women's resistance to wholesale HRT has challenged researchers to provide more secure protection from the diseases to which they become vulnerable during menopause, as well as its discomforts. If the conventional medical practitioners do not hear exactly what modern women want, the complementary medicine community does. Turning to centuries-old botanicals, they have validated and compounded them with new technology. Their effectiveness depends on various factors including the synergistic interaction of several herbs, specific preparation, the correct plant part and dosage, harvesting and manufacturing techniques.
Research demonstrates that plant hormones (phytoestrogens) protect against stronger potentially carcinogenic forms of estrogen while safely providing a hormone effect. Other herbs act more like tonics, zipping up the body's overall function.
Help From Herbs
Clinical trials and scientific processing techniques have resulted in plant-based supplements like soy and other botanicals that replicate the form and function of a woman's own estrogen.
The complementary community also can take credit for pushing the conventional medical community to look beyond estrogen to progesterone in postmenopausal health.
Natural soy or Mexican yam derived progesterone is formulated by pharmacologists in creams or gels that prevent estrogen-induced overgrowth of the uterine lining (a factor in uterine cancer), protect against heart disease and osteoporosis and reduce hot flashes (Fertility and Sterility 69, 1998: 96-101).
A quarter of the women who take the popularly prescribed synthetic progesterone report increased tension, fatigue and anxiety; natural versions have fewer side effects.
These "quasi-medicines," as Tori Hudson, a leading naturopathic doctor and professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, calls them, are considered "stronger than a botanical but weaker than a medicine." (Hudson is author of Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine: A Treatment Manual.)
According to Hudson, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in these supplements is much less than medical hormone replacement but equally efficacious in relieving menopausal problems and protecting the heart and bones.
According to a study led by Harry K. Genant, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, "low-dose" plant estrogen derived from soy and yam, supplemented with calcium, prevents bone loss without such side effects as increased vaginal bleeding and endometrial hypoplasia, abnormal uterine cell growth that could be a precursor to endometrial cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine 157, 1997: 2609-2615).
These herbal products, including natural progesterone and estrogen in the form of the weaker estriol or estrone, may block the effect of the stronger and potentially DNA-damaging estradiol.
Soy in its myriad dietary and supplemental forms provides a rich source of isoflavones and phytosterols, both known to supply a mild estrogenic effect that can stimulate repair of the vaginal walls (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-46).
To enhance vaginal moisture, try the herb cimicifuga racemosa, the extract of black cohosh that, in capsule form, builds up vaginal mucosa (Therapeuticum 1, 1987: 23-31). Traditional Chinese herbal formulas containing roots of rehmannia and dong quai have long been reputed to promote vaginal moisture.
Clinical research in Germany also confirms the usefulness of black cohosh in preventing hot flashes and sweating, as well as relieving nervousness, achiness and depressed moods caused by suppressed hormone levels. It works on the hypothalamus (the body's thermostat, appetite and blood pressure monitor), pituitary gland and estrogen receptors. Green tea is steeped with polyphenols, mainly flavonoids, that exert a massive antioxidant influence against allergens, viruses and carcinogens. The risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer are particularly lowered by these flavonoids, as these substances head directly to the breast's estrogen receptors. About three cups a day exert an impressive anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antiviral and anticarcinogenic effect.
Other phytoestrogen-rich botanicals, according to Susun Weed's Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way (Ash Tree Publishing), include motherwort and lactobacillus acidophilus to combat vaginal dryness; hops and nettles for sleep disturbances; witch hazel and shepherd's purse for heavy bleeding; motherwort and chasteberry for mood swings; dandelion and red clover for hot flashes.
Our Need For Supplements
Adding micronutrients at midlife to correct and counter a lifetime of poor diet and other habits is a step toward preventing the further development of the degenerative diseases to which we become vulnerable. At the very minimum, you should take:
a multivitamin/mineral supplement vitamin E calcium
Your multivitamin/mineral should contain vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Look for a wide variety of antioxidants that safeguard you from free radical damage, believed to promote heart disease and cancer, as well as contribute to the aging process.
Also on the list: mixed carotenoids such as lycopene, alpha carotene and vitamin C; and folic acid to help regulate cell division and support the health of gums, red blood cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.
Studies indicate a deficiency of folic acid (folate) in 30% of coronary heart disease, blood vessel disease and strokes; lack of folate is thought to be a serious risk factor for heart disease (OB.GYN News, July 15, 1997, page 28).
Extra vitamin E is believed to protect against breast cancer and bolster immune strength in people 65 and older (Journal of the American Medical Association 277, 1997: 1380-86). It helps relieve vaginal dryness, breast cysts and thyroid problems and, more recently, hit the headlines as an aid in reducing the effects of Alzheimer's and heart disease. It is suspected to reduce the thickening of the carotid arterial walls and may prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of plaque in arteries.
Selenium also has been identified as an assistant in halting cancer (JAMA 276, 1996: 1957-63).
The Omegas To The Rescue
Essential fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxseed, primrose and borage oils and many nuts and seeds are essential for the body's production of prostaglandin, biochemicals which regulate hormone synthesis, and numerous physiological responses including muscle contraction, vascular dilation and the shedding of the uterine lining. They influence hormonal balance, reduce dryness and relieve hot flashes.
In addition, the lignans in whole flaxseed behave like estrogen and act aggressively against breast cancer, according to rat and human studies at the University of Toronto (Nutr Cancer 26, 1996: 159-65).
Research has demonstrated that these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reverse the cancer-causing effects of radiation and other carcinogens (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 74, 1985: 1145-50). Deficiencies may cause swelling, increased blood clotting, breast pain, hot flashes, uterine and menstrual cramps and constipation. Fatigue, lack of endurance dry skin and hair and frequent colds may signal EFA shortage. Plus, fatty fish oils, along with vitamin D and lactose, help absorption of calcium, so vital for maintaining bone mass.
In addition, studies show that the natural substance Coenzyme A may help menopausal women reduce cholesterol and increase fat utilization (Med Hyp 1995; 44, 403, 405). Some researchers belive Coenzyme A plays a major role in helping women deal with stress while strengthening immunity.
Can't shake those menopausal woes? Menopause imposters may be imposing on you: The risk of thyroid disease, unrelenting stress, PMS, adrenal burnout, poor gastrointestinal health and hypoglycemia all increase at midlife. Menopause is a handy hook on which to hang every misery, ache and pain but it may only mimic the distress of other ailments. For this reason every midlife woman should have a good medical exam with appropriate tests to determine her baseline state of health. Only with proper analysis can you and your health practitioner hit on an accurate diagnosis and satisfying course of therapy.
And if menopause is truly the issue, you have plenty of company. No woman escapes it. No woman dies from it. It is not a disease but a reminder that one-third of life remains to be lived. Menopausal Baby Boomers can anticipate tapping into creative energy apart from procreation. If not new careers, new interests await. An altered internal balance empowers a menopausal woman to direct, perhaps for the first time, her experience of life. She has come of age-yet again. Gone is the confusion, uncertainty, or dictates of a hormone driven life: This time wisdom and experience direct her. There is no need to yearn for youth or cower at the conventional covenant of old age. Menopause is the clarion call to reframe, reevaluate and reclaim.
Mary Ann Mayo and Joseph L. Mayo, MD, are authors of The Menopause Manager (Revell) and executive editors of Health Opportunities for Women (HOW). Telephone number 877-547-5499 for more information.