Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy

  • By Healthy Living Liberty Lake
  • 09 Aug, 2016

Dr. Susan Ashley, the medical director of Healthy Living Liberty Lake, specializes in anti-aging medicine. She combines specialized anti-aging therapies, such as bio-identical hormone replacement therapy with traditional and alternative medicine practices to provide a way for patients to reduce or eliminate the many signs of aging.


One of the most common culprits for the symptoms of aging is hormone imbalance, and because hormones control thousands of functions in the human body, they must be balanced for a person to achieve and maintain optimal levels of health. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy can help men and women to recover from imbalanced hormones.


Bio-identical hormones are identical in chemical structure to the body’s natural hormones. They are produced in a lab from plant matter that has an abundance of “phyto-hormones” which can be easily converted into bio-identical hormones. These hormones include estrogens (estrone, estradiol, estriol), progesterone, testosterone, melatonin, pregnenolone, and adrenal hormones such as DHEA and cortisol. Bio-identical thyroid hormones are also available.


Bio-identical hormones have an identical chemical and molecular structure to the natural hormones produced by the human body. They are custom formulated for each patient to generate normal, physiological responses when taken in the required doses. The human body has receptors for specific hormones, and bio-identical hormones attach easily to these receptors for a “perfect fit”. Synthetic hormones are different in molecular structure to human hormones and do not provide an exact fit, which can result in numerous side effects.

Restoring Deficient Hormones

Weight gain is one of the most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Many women gain weight during menopause. How much weight gain and where it is distributed depends on which hormones are declining and out of balance. Weight gain is in the middle of the body when estrogen decreases out of proportion. Cortisol facilitates increased fat storage and weight gain around the waist. If progesterone is too low and estrogen is too high, weight gain is around the hips. Low levels of thyroid can cause obesity. The balance of all hormones in the body is important to maintain the correct weight and body composition.


Bio-identical hormones reestablish hormonal balance in the body in a natural way. Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) can ease the symptoms of menopause, peri-menopause, and andropause. BHRT is also effective in alleviating symptoms of uterine fibroids and PMS, and regulating menstrual cycles. BHRT has been shown to reduce the risk of dementia and heart disease, reduce osteoporosis risks, slow down the aging process, and improve muscle tone, skin and sleep quality, as well as enhance energy.


Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy is beneficial whenever a hormone imbalance is diagnosed. Hormone imbalances can manifest as peri-menopause, menopause, andropause, PMS, uterine fibroids, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. The goals of BHRT are not only to ease unpleasant symptoms but to also restore hormonal balance naturally and provide the body with the same protective health benefits that the body’s own hormones would provide.


BHRT has many positive health benefits and no dangerous side effects when administered and monitored by a doctor who specializes in bio-identical hormones and BHRT. While bio-identical hormones can be taken for a prolonged time, the length of BHRT depends on the individual hormonal imbalance and health conditions.

Getting Started With Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy

Consulting with a medical doctor who specializes in BHRT is the first step. Baseline hormonal testing will ensure the safe and precise application of BHRT. Hormone levels should be tested every three months until a proper hormonal balance is established, then tested on an annual basis.


Very few physicians are trained in bio-identical hormones and BHRT. Patients must follow the guidelines of a bio-identical hormone doctor to experience the full range of benefits BHRT provides. An experienced, knowledgeable bio-identical doctor can interpret a hormone test and prescribe a BHRT program customized to an individual patient.


Questions? Please call Healthy Living Liberty Lake at 509.924.6199 to schedule an appointment for BHRT assessment.

By Healthy Living Liberty Lake 18 Jul, 2017
We've all heard the advice to drink more water. 8 glasses a day, to be precise. Whether you're thirsty or not, it's good for you. I've always doubted this advice since it had no sound reasoning behind it, other than "detoxification". But now, a new study done by the University of Melbourne casts doubt on this advise.

Many who advocate drinking eight glasses or more of water daily are not aware of the potentially fatal side effect of water intoxication.  We are fortunate in that we have a mechanism to regulate fluid intake to keep us from over-drinking. The study showed for the first time that the brain activates a "swallowing inhibition" when excess liquid is consumed.
Participants in the study had to rate the amount of effort that was required to swallow water following exercise when they were thirsty, and then later when they were persuaded to drink an excessive amount of water. There was a 3-fold increase in the swallowing effort after over-drinking, which validated that the swallowing reflex is inhibited when enough water has been consumed.

MRI was used to record the activity in different areas of the brain involved with swallowing. The prefrontal areas made more active when the participants attempted to swallow with a great effort, meaning that the frontal cortex steps in to override the swallowing inhibition, in order to avoid water intoxication.  

Intoxication occurs when levels of sodium in the blood become abnormally low, which can cause symptoms of lethargy, confusion, nausea, convulsions and coma. In my 25 years of practice, I've had 2 patients die from excessively drinking water, causing sodium to be very low, which caused brain swelling. There have even been incidences where athletes in marathons were advised to fill up with water and then died, because they followed those incorrect recommendations and drank far in access of their actual need.

The researchers advocated doing what our bodies demand, stating that we should just drink according to our thirst, not a deliberate schedule.  We should trust in our "swallowing inhibition" that the brain activates if excess liquid is consumed.  The  brain helps maintain tightly calibrated volumes of water in our bodies. Do drink when you're thirsty. And remember on hot summer days, like we have now, you'll need to drink more to stay hydrated. Even more so with exercise.  

But don't drink water just b/c someone told you should drink at least 8 glasses a day .   Drink when you're thirsty, and you'll be fine.
By Healthy Living Liberty Lake 07 Jul, 2017
Everyone's ideas of happiness is different, but there is one thing we all have in common.  Serotonin- the critical neurotransmitter needed to boost mood.  People with low serotonin levels are often depressed, pessimistic, and generally not pleasant to be around.  Serotonin is called the "happy hormone", but also has other health benefits which make us healthy at the same time.

10 Ways to Naturally Boost Your Serotonin Levels:

1. Eat animal protein.  An amino acid called tryptophan helps produce serotonin, and animal protein is the best source. Tryptophan is especially high in chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beef and dairy. Whey and egg protein are scientifically proven to increase this amino acid in the brain.
2. Sunshine - natural light has a positive effect on mood, and triggers serotonin synthesis.  The brighter the sunlight, the more serotonin the body produces.  This could explain feeling down in the winter or on rainy dark days.
3. Vitamin D - helps convert tryptophan into serotonin.   Here, we need to supplement as we rarely get enough UV rays  to make enough.  You'll typically need between 2000 IU - 10,000 IU daily.
4. Omega 3's - help boost serotonin production in the brain.   Need 2000-4000mg daily.
5. Eat Curry - curry has turmeric, which is considered a potent anti-depressant.   Helps to increase serotonin in the brain, while reducing inflammation.
6.Caffeine - this has a positive effect on levels of serotonin in the brain, which is good news for most of us.   Don't overdo, however.
7. Exercise - has been shown to increase serotonin levels because motor neurons activated during physical activity boost the release of serotonin.  Regular exercise will spike tryptophan levels in the brain.
8. Massage - proven to reduce cortisol and increase happy hormones by as much as 28%.  Plus it feels great.
9. Nuts - contain tryptophan, so the more you eat, the happier you'll be.  They also have numerous other health benefits, such as decreasing inflammation, helping to prevent heart disease, cancer and respiratory ailments.
10. Green tea - contains L-theanine, an amino acid that boosts serotonin levels.   It also has a powerful antioxidant that prevents brain damage.

There you go, this is a good place to start, especially if you've been feeling down lately.   B vitamins may also help, but if none of this is enough, then see your doctor.
By Healthy Living Liberty Lake 14 Jun, 2017
Have you ever heard of Hashimoto's?  It's a common cause of low thyroid, or hypothyroidism. It's an auto-immune disease, which means the body is making antibodies against the thyroid and destroying it.

To diagnose, a blood test for thyroid antibodies must be done. Like all auto-immune diseases, it is much more common in women than men.
With Hashimoto's, blood levels often show an elevated TSH, and a low T3.  T3 is the active form of thyroid, and when the Free T3 is less than 3, expect fatigue as a common complaint.  

The conventional treatment of Hashimoto's is to prescribe a synthetic T4 , such as synthroid or levothyroxine.  This is not optimal, however, as often the T3 remains low.  And, in a review of patients on levothyroxine, long-term use was related to cardiac dysfunction, left ventricular hypertrophy (or heart failure) and rapid bone loss. Therefore, I typically will prescribe a T3/T4 combination, such as Armour or Nature Thyroid.
However, the goal is to reduce the antibody levels. To do this I recommend a supplement such as Thyrotrophin PMG made by Standard Process.   It must be taken three times a day and can act as a decoy, allowing the antibodies to attack it rather than the thyroid itself.
Now there is another option which has great promise.

Researchers looked at 40 men and women with Hashimoto's.  Half got placebo, and half got black cumin seed for 8 weeks.  Levels of T3, TSH and thyroid antibodies were measured before and after, and also the person's body composition.
What did they find?  "treatment with black cumin seed significantly reduced body weight and BMI. TSH and thyroid antibodies decreased, while T3 levels increased in those taking black cumin.  Those on placebo had no difference in their levels."

Every single measurement of Hashimotot's disease improved with this herb!  TSH improved 50%.  T3 levels improved 15%.  And antibodies decreased 50%.  All without side effects.

You can buy black cumin at any health food store or online - if you have Hashimoto's, give this a try.  
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