In this issue:
- A Note From Lorna
- Milk Thistle, Prolactin and Breast Pain
- Nutrients Improve Mood and Boost Brainpower in Women
- Magnesium and Malic Acid for Fibromyalgia
- New Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to More Fractures
- Alpha Lipoic Acid Treats PCOS
- More Babies Need Iron
I have been travelling across the country lecturing about how to balance your hormones so that you are not suffering with period problems, PMS, infertility, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, menopausal symptoms, breast cancer, acne and more. Many women attend my lectures with their test results and hormones in hand. In Canada, bioidentical hormones are medications prescribed by medical doctors. In the U.S., many bioidentical hormones including estriol and progesterone can be purchased over-the-counter in health food stores and natural pharmacies. What I have found is that many women are using bioidentical hormones without proper testing. Hormones are also not being prescribed properly. For example, some women use prescriptions of a combination of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone all together in a cream applied every day when these hormones should be applied separately. Testosterone, for instance, should be applied just above the clitoris where hair grows and this is because testosterone creams can cause hair growth if applied repeatedly to the same location. Testosterone is generally applied every day for seven days, then once or twice a week thereafter.
The protocol for testosterone is very different than what we would recommend for estrogen or progesterone. Estrogen is rarely given orally as the liver can change estrogens into cancer-causing estrogens (16-hydroxyestrone). And when using estrogen, the safest estrogen is estriol, which is inserted vaginally. Unlike other forms of estrogen such as estrone and estradiol, estriol will not cause breast cell changes, nor will it thicken the uterine lining. I prefer women to use estriol as it is so safe that it is even used in wrinkle creams in Europe. The dose and the number of days used per month depends on the severity of symptoms. Estrogen deficiency symptoms include urinary incontinence, recurring vaginal infections, recurring urinary infections, urinary urgency, vaginal dryness, thinning of the vaginal walls and painful intercourse. The dose is rarely given every day over the long term as estriol works so fast that many women use it daily for a few weeks, then once or twice a week thereafter. Read more about estriol and menopause in my online book, An A-Z Woman's Guide to Vibrant Health.
There are different recommended doses for progesterone cream depending on if you are still menstruating or if you are in menopause. Menopausal women use it 25 days on and 5 days off (yes, even if you no longer have periods). This is to ensure that your cells do not become desensitized by the daily application of the hormones. If you are a menstruating woman, we usually prescribe it from day 15 until the period starts. Progesterone cream should be applied in different locations in a rotation i.e., to the inside of the upper arms, inside of the inner thighs, palms of the hands, and the neck. Hormone creams should never be applied to the breasts. If you are taking bioidentical progesterone orally, this is taken at bedtime as it makes you sleepy. Many women I have spoken with were taking their oral progesterone (Prometrium is bioidentical progesterone) during the day and could not figure out why they had no energy: Progesterone orally is soporific, meaning it makes you sleep.
Every woman who is taking any hormones, whether it be bioidentical hormones or the birth control pill, should be taking ESTROsmart™ to ensure their hormones stay in healthy forms and do not convert into more harmful varieties. ESTROsmart™ also protects your breasts against breast cancer.
Please check my schedule at www.hormonehelp.com to see if I am coming to your community. If you want me to come and lecture in your city, ask your local health food store to sponsor an event. Keep checking my schedule as we are adding events daily. Soon we will have regular webinars as well so that you can just sit in front of your computer and ask me questions.
I also want to invite you to join my Facebook network and to follow me on twitter . To the thousands of you who have completed my online training program, keep up the good work. Now we can help even more women and continue our "Women Helping Women" campaign.
Thank you for all your support over the last year and as I launch my fabulous new line of nutritional supplements. Keep asking your natural products store for Lorna Vanderhaeghe products that bear my name and face as your persistence is working and more and more stores are coming on board.
Kind regards, Lorna
When I launched my products earlier this year under the new Lorna Vanderhaeghe SMART brand and chose to remove milk thistle, many women emailed me wondering why. To read my full response, it is now posted on my website at www.hormonehelp.com . In addition, a new animal study has also looked at the effect of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) on prolactin levels. Prolactin is the hormone of lactation and is secreted by the pituitary gland. Women who are pregnant and breastfeeding have elevated levels of prolactin as the body prepares to produce milk to feed the baby. Prolactin levels also increase at menopause and with the use of certain medications including tricyclic antidepressants and blood pressure drugs. Excess prolactin can trigger menstrual abnormalities such as erratic periods of longer duration, male facial hair growth and acne. Most importantly, excess prolactin can also cause breast swelling, pain, tenderness and possibly abnormal cell growth.
Prolactin levels also fluctuate during the menstrual cycle and are highest in the two weeks prior to menstruation; during this time, breast swelling and tenderness are not unusual. This latest study , published last September in the journal Phytomedicine, evaluated milk thistle's effect on the prolactin levels in rats over 14 days. Milk thistle was shown to increase the circulating levels of prolactin. Sixty-six days after stopping milk thistle, prolactin levels were still significantly higher. Although this is an animal study, the herb's stimulatory effect on hormones, particularly prolactin, is enough to suggest why some women experience tender, swollen breasts in response to taking milk thistle on a daily basis. It is therefore not surprising that milk thistle has long been suggested as a stimulant for milk production in breastfeeding women. However, there is still a lot we do not know about milk thistle's effect on hormonal activity, especially when it is taken every day. As well, women with symptoms of high prolactin should avoid milk thistle and have their prolactin and other hormones tested. Women with breast cancer or those at risk of breast cancer should also avoid milk thistle.
My new ESTROsmart™ and ESTROsmart Plus™ formulas do not contain milk thistle. My new formulas still contain many liver-supporting nutrients such as calcium D-glucarate, curcumin, rosemary, DIM, sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, so excellent liver support is still provided. This month is breast cancer awareness month and every woman should be taking ESTROsmart™ daily to protect her breasts and reduce her risk of breast cancer.
Boost Brainpower in Women
Multi-tasking is a wonderful skill-but at some point, we often take on too much and feel overwhelmed and exhausted. If this sounds familiar, you should add a multivitamin with minerals to your day. The results of a recent study involving 216 healthy women between 25 and 50 years of age found that simply adding a multivitamin with minerals to a daily routine had dramatic benefits. Before the study started, and again after nine weeks of supplementing, the women took a four-part multi-tasking test and were assessed for cognitive function, mood and fatigue. The researchers found that the women in the multivitamin-mineral group experienced significant improvement in fatigue and a reduction of bad moods. The speed and accuracy of their multi-tasking tests also improved.
A high-quality multivitamin with minerals like MULTIsmart™, which I formulated for myself and my two daughters, should be your nutritional foundation for health. You cannot get all of your needed nutrients from food. Modern agriculture and production methods generate food depleted of vital nutrients, and our lifestyle and poor diet rob us of yet more. MULTIsmart™ is available in delicious, fruit-flavored powder packets and they contain all of your necessary daily bone nutrients, too. For people who are tired of popping capsule after capsule, this great-tasting multivitamin with minerals is perfect. Here is one of my favorite breakfast shake recipes. To a blender, add:
- 8oz (250mL) water
- 1 packet of MULTIsmart™
- A few frozen mango cubes, raspberries or any seasonal fruit
- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder and/or 4oz (125mL) of organic yogurt
When the weather begins to cool around this time of year, all of those aches, pains and joint issues tend to flare up courtesy of the cold. But for those who suffer from fibromyalgia (FM), a condition characterized by chronic pain, stiffness and aching, this awful discomfort can last all year long. The combination of magnesium and malic acid has been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of FM pain and tenderness. Magnesium is an abundant mineral in the body that is necessary for many organs and tissues to function properly. Its deficiency has been implicated in cardiovascular disease, behavioral problems, diabetes, chronic fatigue, migraines, muscular complaints and more. It has been noted that many FM patients and patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have low magnesium. Malic acid requires magnesium for absorption; both nutrients are involved in energy production. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 24 patients with FM were randomized to receive either 1200 mg of malic acid and 300 mg of magnesium or a placebo daily for four weeks. For the six months following, as part of an open-label portion of the trial, the patients received an escalating dose up to 2400 mg of malic acid and 600 mg of magnesium daily. By the end of six months, there were significant reductions noted in the severity of pain and tenderness. With this in mind, two scoops of MAGsmart™ contains the recommended dosage of malic acid and magnesium glycinate, the most absorbable form of magnesium. Magnesium glycinate does not cause diarrhea and it is utilized by muscle cells quickly. MAGsmart™ also contains other vitamins, minerals and amino acids known to improve blood pressure, support muscle function and relieve muscle-related complaints such as pain, cramping, restless legs and twitching. The new improved lemon-lime flavor is a definite improvement over my original formula. Try it for yourself and tell me what you think.
to More Fractures
It is a cruel irony that a new report by an expert panel has confirmed the link between widely prescribed osteoporosis drugs (e.g. Aclasta, Actonel, Aredia, Bondronat, Boniva, Didronel, Fosamax, Fosavance, Reclast, Skelid, Zometa) and a higher risk of unusual thigh bone fractures. Since 1995, millions of people, particularly women, have been prescribed these drugs, called bisphosphonates, to reduce common bone fractures. However this latest report, published last month in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, indicates a serious downside previously pointed to in an earlier 2008 study in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma. In the most comprehensive scientific report to date on the topic, the task force reviewed 310 cases of unusual femur (thigh bone) fractures and found that 94 percent (291) of patients had taken bisphosphonates and most for more than five years. The task force wants the drugs to be better labelled and the patients who use them better tracked for future research purposes. The report also noted that more than half of patients who had femur fractures reported groin or thigh pain for weeks or months before the fractures occurred. Over a quarter of the patients who suffered the unusual femur fracture in one leg also had a fracture in the other leg.
If you have been taking bisphosphonates and have experienced groin or thigh pain, consult your doctor. I have never recommended this class of drugs. I firmly believe that women need to get proactive and lift weights, walk, skip and take a great multivitamin with minerals like MULTIsmart™ that contains all the bone nutrients in the right dosage that women need every day to prevent and treat osteoporosis. For more information about nutrition and bone health, please also read "Increased Heart Attack Risk with Calcium" in my last eletter as well.
Acne, oily hair, infertility, pelvic pain, male facial hair growth in women, belly fat, weight gain, period problems, anxiety or depression, skin tags-these are not isolated symptoms or inevitable signs of aging. They are all associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition that affects one in 20 women of childbearing age. Perhaps because symptoms vary from woman to woman, PCOS often goes undiagnosed. It has also traditionally been very difficult to treat. We now know, however, that PCOS is linked to underlying hormone and blood sugar imbalances. I have written a lot recently about Chirositol™, found in GLUCOsmart™, which has over 30 published studies supporting its beneficial effects for the symptoms above and for PCOS. Another recent study released in March 2010 suggests alpha-lipoid acid also has positive effects on PCOS-afflicted women. Six lean, non-diabetic PCOS patients supplemented with 600 mg of lipoic acid twice daily for 16 weeks. They had an average 14 percent improvement in insulin sensitivity. Their blood fats were also reduced, and their cholesterol readings improved. The two participants not on oral contraceptives had an increased number of menstrual cycles. Although small, this study proves the promising effect of another great nutrient for PCOS.
to More Fractures
As we know, infant nutrition is extremely important and it sets the stage for strong adulthood health. Due to the high nutritional requirements during the first year of life, infants with low birth weights are at risk of developing nutritional deficiencies, including iron deficiency. Iron is necessary as part of energy manufacture for the production of hemoglobin in the blood. Iron is also vital to brain development; a deficiency in this mineral is associated with poor neurological development. In a study published last month in the journal Pediatrics, Swedish researchers studied the effects of iron supplementation on children with marginally low birth weights and found it to dramatically reduce the children's risk of developing iron deficiency and anemia.
In this study, 285 children between the ages of six weeks and six months old were divided into three groups and given different amounts of iron drops (0, 1 or 2 mg of elemental iron per kg daily). In the children given only placebo drops, 46 percent developed either low iron or a deficiency by six months of age. In contrast, only four percent of babies who received 2 mg of elemental iron per kg developed low iron or a deficiency. At greatest risk (18 percent) of developing iron deficiency were those children who were fully breastfed at the age of six weeks. In other words, almost one in five breastfed babies developed iron deficiency anemia by six months of age if they did not receive iron drops. No negative effects from the iron drops were found on the children's growth, infections or disease development.
The researchers concluded that iron supplementation at 2 mg/kg per day from six weeks to six months reduces the risk of iron deficiency and iron deficient anemia effectively, with no short-term adverse effects. In other words, a 10 kg child would require 20 mg of elemental iron. A 5 kg baby would need 10 mg of elemental iron. Clearly, getting enough iron is important while breastfeeding and to prevent the development low iron during these developmental years. For more information, my new informational booklet on iron is available for reading and printing off my website. I have a new liquid, caramel-flavored iron called IRONsmart™ that is so tasty that you won't believe it is iron-except that it also raises your iron levels fast, providing 10 mg of elemental iron per serving. If you need to supplement, IRONsmart™ is a delicious solution.