There’s a “Pause” for Men Too!

Male-Andropause-BaucomInstitute

Male Andropause. You may have never heard of it, especially if you are a woman under 30. However, it is a very real and prevalent issue for men, especially after age 40. Let’s start with what it is and then what to do about it.

To put it simply, andropause is the steady decline in the hormone testosterone. It usually effects men around the age of 40 and continues for a longer period of time, possibly lasting for decades, than menopause with women which can have more extremeandropause_graph effects but over a shorter period of time. Most men think these symptoms are just a part of aging and that they should just accept their fate. They couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, by age 45-55 men can experience the same types of effects similar to menopause.

The effects can include changes in attitude and mood, mild depression, fatigue, lower sex drive, reduced erections, weight gain in the middle, loss of energy, and reduction in physical agility because of the loss of muscle mass.

So what’s the answer? It seems inevitable. It stands to reason that if the loss of testosterone is the cause then the replacing of testosterone would be the answer. True, but how do you replace an organic chemical that the body itself reproduces? This is where the answer and the problem both lie, as if two sides to the same coin.

Hormone therapy has become more common in treating the effects of menopause in women. However, the side-effects have become too dangerous, like when men take Viagra to enhance their sexual performance. It is not a natural component; therefore the body cannot assimilate it without side effects.

Bio-identical hormones have become preferable due to their natural effects on the body. These same types of bio-identical, natural hormones are now available to men as well. The bio-available testosterone not only increases muscle mass and improves a guy’s general well-being, it also lowers cholesterol, enhances libido and sexual energy, and helps prevent pre-mature heart disease.

If you have these symptoms from aging, even if you are just in your 40’s, don’t wait until they are worse. Contact us today at The Baucom Institute to learn from your own “Age Management Plan” what you need at your age.

What are some symptoms you have noticed in yourself or someone else you care about? We would love to hear from you.

Am I Losing It or Does Anybody Feel This Way?

Portrait of a middle aged woman sitting in a chair and looking sad

Hormones are vital in protecting and telling the body what to do. An important part of age management medicine is measuring and, where necessary, supplementing important hormones that decline, but contribute to longevity. Often patients come to the Baucom Institute with complaints of fatigue, decreased libido, poor concentration, and weight gain despite proper exercise and nutrition. The missing piece to their puzzle is often hormonal restoration and balance. When we restore and balance hormones to their youthful level, we use bio-available hormones. These bio-available hormonal messengers are the same as our bodies produce and can be utilized as natural restorative factors to qualify aging. Hormone restoration and balancing requires precise testing and monitoring. It should only be performed under the medical management of a qualified physician.

COMPARING HERBS AND BIO-AVAILABLE HORMONES

Bio-available hormones require a prescription by a physician. Often people confuse the difference between bio-available hormones and herbs that stimulate hormones. Herbs, or holistic naturopathic medicine, can be a contributor to the wholeness of a being, but instead of using naturopathic herbs to simulate what these hormones can do, as physicians we can have these hormones compounded by a pharmacy. In today’s world of medicine, many pharmaceutical companies are also now beginning to produce bio-available hormones.

A PERSONALIZED HORMONE BALANCING AND RESTORATION PLAN

Hormones work in concert with one another. The vital glands that send these important messengers throughout our brain and the rest of our body do so in a synchronized balanced manner. It’s our job, at the Baucom Institute, to identify if hormone balancing and restoration is appropriate and, if so, format for that patient a hormonal balancing and restoration plan designed to achieve increased vitality and youthful exuberance.

Learn More about Bio-Available Hormones

What symptoms do you struggle with?

One Patient Among Many

familyMRGrad2013Hi. My name is Beth Rose. I am one patient among many.

I’m one patient among many others who see Dr. Karan Baucom and who has seen significant changes from diagnosis and prescribing changes for me in my daily life.

I began to see “Dr. B.” a few months ago because I was having several symptoms that began to worry me about my health. I have been a fairly healthy person throughout my 52 years.

I was very active when I was younger up until I had my children. Like a lot of moms, our kids take precedence, and we forget about taking care of ourselves! Over the last 20 years I have begun to have aches and pains in my joints, fasciitis in my feet, increasing back pain, terrible heartburn especially at night, increasing fatigue, no energy for running around with my kids, and the last few months terrible pain after eating in my upper torso. I have felt a mess and, with working our business that my husband and I own, I know the stress of that has contributed to the issues.

I had talked to Dr. B. about my family’s health a lot but Dr. B. asked how I was doing. She knew I was under a great deal of stress and could see the fatigue and lack of energy. I made an appointment and soon was undergoing several tests, including a full blood workup, sonograms, and mammogram. When Dr. B. got the test results back, she sat me down and gave me the most thorough report I’ve ever heard about my health! I was amazed with all the information and how it all linked together. My hormone levels were out of whack, I had gallstones, there are nodules on my thyroid, and I have several food allergies among other issues. I was totally shocked.

With advice and direction as well as prescribing a vitamin and bioidentical hormone supplement regimen, I am beginning to feel good again. I have increasing energy and less fatigue each day. Even better, my outlook on life is much more positive, which I think that has everything to do with the hormonal balance.

I appreciate my family physician, who we have been going to since our children were babies, but Dr. Baucom, as my specialist in Restorative Medicine, has been a life changer for me personally. I’ve never seen anyone take so much time with their patients, not only to diagnose and treat but to also educate.

I’ve been through the “School of Longevity” at The Baucom Institute. I hope to graduate with flying colors in the few next the months to come!

Hormone Series – Part VII: Insulin

insulin

Insulin is a powerful hormone which comes from the pancreas gland. Insulin is vital to converting progesterone to testosterone and testosterone to estrogen.

Diabetes is the lack of insulin doing its job of transporting and storing glucose (sugar) inside the cell to be utilized as energy. Instead, the glucose cannot enter the cell because insulin will not transport it.

There is a tragic epidemic being ignored today involving obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol or triglycerides – it is called Syndrome X. It affects the young, the middle aged, and the old. It is a reflection of the processed foods we eat, our lack of dietary restrictions and the fact that these foods contain little or no nutrients.

Without insulin carrying on its function, cholesterol and triglycerides build up in the liver. They in turn create fat, clogging blood vessels, and in turn cause high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia and heart disease. Too much insulin causes inflammation and “AGES” you. Advance Glycation End productS (AGES). Excess sugar creates “AGES” that bind collagen causing wrinkles as well as “free-radicals.” Free-radicals can in turn cause cancer. This is why diabetes and high levels of insulin are associated with a shortened life span if left unchecked.

Maintaining correct insulin balance through proper diet and exercise is a critical component of the Baucom Institute’s longevity and life enhancement program.

 

Hormone Series – Part VI: Cortisol

cortisol

The adrenals are two triangular shaped glands located on top of each kidney. Cortisol is one of several hormones released by these powerful glands. It is released as a “stress hormone.”

Cortisol controls:

  1. Blood sugar
  2. Fat and Protein mobilization
  3. Prevents inflammation
  4. Will make the liver make sugar from fat

The pituitary gland activates the adrenal gland by secreting ACTH. ACTH is adrenocorticotropic hormone. It stimulates the “cortical” layer of the gland to make cortisol. Cortisol has distinct bio-rhythms. It is high in the morning and by the evening is down. Stress alters the rhythm and may eventually cause the gland to become “exhausted.” “Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome” by James Wilson, ND, PhD, is an excellent book to explain why and how cortisol depletion can result in severe exhaustion. Unfortunately this hormone is not understood by most physicians. It is a test rarely ordered and a syndrome basically ignored.

Stress factors:

  1. Anger
  2. Fear
  3. Death of family member
  4. Divorce
  5. Marriage
  6. Financial Worries
  7. Job
  8. Relationships
  9. Personal Illness
  10. In-laws

Just to name a few, are viewed as stress. These issues if chronic and severe can totally deplete this vital hormone. Thyroid and severe adrenal stress go hand in hand. Low blood pressure as well as low blood sugar may be the only symptoms. Recovery from adrenal stress can take up to a year with treatment to resolve.

Cortisol is vital to the feeling of well-being. Longevity and quality of life are severely compromised when this powerful and needed hormone is barely available. Patients will rely on sugar and caffeine to “boost” their drive because they are unaware as to the real reason for their chronic fatigue.

Since the adrenal gland is needed for survival when compromised, all the other glands suffer as well. The thyroid gland, in trying to pick up the slack, will, in time, become hypo active itself, further compounding the situation.Cortisol-is-a-hormone-300x210

Eventually the immune system falters and Lupus, Crohn’s, colitis, chronic sinus and infections can plague the individual. Abdominal obesity (cortisol paunch) along with decreased HDL cholesterol, increased triglycerides and increased blood pressure herald the demise of this vital hormone. There is acute adrenal fatigue, and mild and high adrenal fatigue. Saliva testing of the morning, noon, evening and night cortisol levels is the best way to determine the level of fatigue.

At The Baucom Institute, treatment is based on the stage of fatigue and support is given to the glands until they are healed. We also encourage your lifestyle and diet be altered. Of course, alleviating the stress factors is paramount to getting the most out of your treatment.

What is your stress level? What do you think your level of well-being is right now?

Hormone Series – Part V: DHEA

happymanwomanIn our series on hormones, there is one that most people don’t even realize is a major player in not only their health but their wellbeing, too. That is DHEA or Dehydroepiandrosterone, a natural steroid made from cholesterol primarily by the adrenal glands. Studies show that DHEA may help with systemic lupus, and may decrease cholesterol. In long term studies, it reduced insulin resistance and also helped relieve depression.

DHEA functions to boost the immune system in auto-immune disease. It is contraindicated in patients that have testosterone or estrogen related cancer.

A low DHEA level may be an indication of adrenal fatigue. Symptoms include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Decrease in muscle mass
  • Decrease in bone density
  • Depression
  • Aching joints
  • Loss of libido
  • Lowered immunity

DHEA supplementation must be tested on a regular schedule as it may, in men, convert to estrogen. Although readily available over the counter in health food stores, it is a powerful hormone that should be monitored.

In “DHEA and Adrenal Imbalance,” Dr. Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP, states that “The average adult makes about 25 mg of DHEA per day (some more, some less) with dwindling production as we get older. Men at all ages have more DHEA than women. Natural DHEA production is at its highest in your twenties: by the time we reach seventy we only make about 20% of the DHEA we had when we were young. DHEA is a very powerful precursor to all of your major sex hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. (Its molecular structure is closely related to testosterone). We call it the “mother hormone” — the source that fuels the body’s metabolic pathway.”

Dr. Pick goes on to say, “Besides DHEA, your adrenals also make the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Adrenal exhaustion from coping with chronic stress — from (among other things) poor nutrition, yo-yo dieting, emotional turmoil, and job-related stress — means your adrenals are bone-tired from pumping out cortisol and they simply can’t manufacture enough DHEA to support a healthy hormonal balance. One thing we do know is that adequate levels of DHEA are needed to ensure your body can produce the hormones it needs when it needs them. In that balanced state your mood is stable and you feel clear-headed, joyful and vigorous. DHEA is the best “feel-good” hormone we know. And it works quickly and effectively when taken with the right combination of support.”

Now, there is evidence to show that healthy levels of DHEA may fight Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, osteoporosis, depression, heart disease and obesity, but there is no clear cut evidence until further studies are done

A DHEA-Depression Study was done and reported by Miranda Hitti in WebMD Health News. “The study was small and brief. It included 23 men and 23 women age 40 to 65 with mild to moderate depression starting in midlife. Two DHEA doses were used. For three weeks, patients took a lower dose — 90 milligrams per day. For the other three weeks, they took 450 milligrams of DHEA daily.

In 23 participants, DHEA cut depression symptoms by 50% or more. A similar reduction was seen in 13 subjects after taking the placebo. Men and women responded similarly. Treatment with the supplement was associated with an increase in testosterone blood levels in both men and women. Taking DHEA for 6 weeks also significantly improved sexual function scores, compared to the scores after taking the placebo or before the study started.”

Do you suffer from symptoms similar to the ones above? If so, which ones and how long?

Hormone Series—Part IV: Progesterone – The Other Female Hormone

Three-Generations-of-Women-sm

Progesterone is a female sex hormone that balances estrogen. “Progesterone is used as a part of hormone replacement therapy in women who have passed menopause (the change of life) and have not had a hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus). Hormone replacement therapy usually includes estrogen, which is used to treat symptoms of menopause and reduce the risk of developing certain diseases. However, estrogen can also cause abnormal thickening of the lining of the uterus and increase the risk of developing uterine cancer. Progesterone helps to prevent this thickening and decreases the risk of developing uterine cancer. Progesterone is also used to bring on menstruation (period) in women of childbearing age who have had normal periods and then stopped menstruating. Progesterone is in a class of medications called progestins (female hormones). It works as part of hormone replacement therapy by decreasing the amount of estrogen in the uterus. It works to bring on menstruation by replacing the natural progesterone that some women are missing.” (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a604017.html)

Natural progesterone is important in many ways including healthy bones and brain processing. Progesterone has anti cancer properties, decreases anxiety and stabilizes mood swings. PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is indicative of a progesterone deficiency. Women who have had hysterectomies should still have natural bio-available progesterone replacement as it is an important part of maintaining a woman’s hormonal balance, and a contributor to youthful vitality and vigor. There are progesterone receptors in other areas of the body to include: breast, bone and brain, all working to keep the body balanced and healthy.

If you have difficulty with menopause or menopausal symptoms, what treatment are you currently using if any? Would you consider natural hormones?

Hormones Part III–Estrogen

stress BW

Female healthcare in America is way behind that of our European counterparts. Unfortunately, menopause, its transition, or the lack of female hormones has been the brunt of many comedians’ jokes. Unfortunately, in our society we’ve almost considered it just matter of fact that women will enter a transition when they will become cranky, irritable, bloated, fat, obtain jowls, and have everything fall down. The Baucom Institute for Longevity and Life Enhancement more than understands this dilemma and wants to stop the cascade of ignorance that has occurred by bringing the standard of female hormone management to a standard of care that is secondary to none.

Estrogen is primarily a female sex hormone. There are three types of estrogen: estradiol, estriol, and estrone, which is not used because it predisposes women to cancer. When estrogen starts to wane in the menopausal years there are numerous signs: hot flashes, loss of sexual interest, mood swings and insomnia. Supplementing the body with bio available Estradiol, the main human estrogen, can help provide protection against diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, various types of cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease, as well as help improve skin and hair and increase libido.

There are risks associated with estrogen replacement therapy, but with proper dosage, periodic monitoring of test results and proper medical management, the benefits outweigh the risk.

According to Edward Lichten, M.D.,PC, Birmingham, Michigan, “In the last 35 years, more than 40 epidemiological studies have been performed to gather information about the risks of taking estrogen and developing breast cancer. Most studies show either no increased risk or slight increase with prolonged estrogen use. And to the physician, this information is both comforting and reassuring that prescribing estrogen is in the best interest of our female patients.

THE ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF ESTROGEN

  1. Women who are fearful of estrogen causing breast cancer, find that the use of VAGINAL ESTROGEN CREAM is less objectionable. By using 1/2 to 2 grams daily, the vaginal and bladder symptoms are relieved with small amounts being absorbed.
  2. Women who want to take a bio-identical estrogen preparations may start with natural ESTRADIOl (E2) in the transdermal patch, or may elect to use a natural estrogen cream.
  3. Natural Estrogen Pellets. An old technique for the 1950′s and 1960′s is returning into use. This technique places compressed pellets of natural estrogen under the skin of the hip with a minor, office surgical procedure. In exchange for the 5 minutes it takes the physician to place these pellets, most women can remain hormonally stable for 3 to 6 months!”

http://www.usdoctor.com/estrogen.htm

 

 

The “Delicate Butterfly” Thyroid

img_pod_butterfly-little-girl-2603-RTXXX1TContinuing our series on hormones, we next look at the thyroid and the delicate balance it creates to regulate our body. Endocrineweb.com says your thyroid gland is a small gland, normally weighing less than one ounce, located in the front of the neck. It is made up of two halves, called lobes that lie along the windpipe (trachea) and are joined together by a narrow band of thyroid tissue, known as the isthmus. The thyroid is situated just below your “Adams apple” or larynx.

The function of the thyroid gthyroid butterflyland is to take iodine, found in many foods, and convert it into thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. These cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make T3 and T4. T3 and T4 are then released into the blood stream and are transported throughout the body where they control metabolism (conversion of oxygen and calories to energy).Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism. The normal thyroid gland produces about 80% T4 and about 20% T3, however, T3 possesses about four times the hormone “strength” as T4.

thyroidThe thyroid gland is under the control of the pituitary gland, a small gland the size of a peanut at the base of the brain (shown here in orange). When the level of thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) drops too low, the pituitary gland produces Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which stimulates the thyroid gland to produce more hormones. Under the influence of TSH, the thyroid will manufacture and secrete T3 and T4 thereby raising their blood levels. The pituitary senses this and responds by decreasing its TSH production. One can imagine the thyroid gland as a furnace and the pituitary gland as the thermostat. Thyroid hormones are like heat. When the heat gets back to the thermostat, it turns the thermostat off. As the room cools (the thyroid hormone levels drop), the thermostat turns back on (TSH increases) and the furnace produces more heat (thyroid hormones).

The pituitary gland itself is regulated by another gland, known as the hypothalamus (shown in our picture in light blue). The hypothalamus is part of the brain and produces TSH Releasing Hormone (TRH) which tells the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid gland (release TSH). One might imagine the hypothalamus as the person who regulates the thermostat since it tells the pituitary gland at what level the thyroid should be set. (http://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/how-your-thyroid-works)

The thyroid is probably the most common of the glands to become diseased as low thyroid or high thyroid. A properly balanced thyroid gland efficiently burns fat, improves the feeling of wellbeing and helps with brain function. If this doesn’t happen, hormone replacement is prescribed. Indications of a low thyroid might be fatigue, weight issues, cold intolerance, dry skin, thinning or brittle hair and depression. As we age, the thyroid may produce fewer hormones. Testing for a thyroid issue is done using different processes. The most common is a blood test that checks the levels of the hormones of the thyroid (T3, T4 and TSH). These tests will give an accurate account of your thyroid hormone balance.

Because of the wide range of what is considered to be acceptable, many people remain undiagnosed for a thyroid disorder or diagnosed incorrectly. The replacement of thyroid hormones is a unique balancing process. T4 has to be converted to T3. With the appropriate tests, we can combine natural hormones that are tailored to the patient’s individual needs and restore their thyroid hormonal balance as part of their personalized age management plan. As with all hormone replacement treatment plans, proper dosage and scheduled monitoring is essential.

Do you have symptoms you believe are related to the thyroid being out of balance or not functioning properly? Comment below—we can help!

The Universe of Hormones

endocrineThere are so many hormones we still do not know them all! They come from glands that are located in our head, our neck, our abdomen, and even between our legs. Many of these (glands) are major contributors to our health and our longevity. They enhance our way of being. They secrete chemical messengers called hormones. To understand hormones we must understand the glands that secrete them. At the Baucom Institute, we want you to be informed and knowledgeable. So, let’s begin.

First on the list is the endocrine system which consists of an area of our brain called the hypothalamus which will secrete or stimulate the release of hormones from the pituitary gland as well as the suppression of other hormones. The pituitary gland is the master gland that stimulates the thyroid, the adrenals, as well as the ovaries and testes to secrete their hormones.

As the pituitary gland stimulates the secretion of messengers or other hormones to stimulate these glands, you begin to understand it is a highway of information that must go from the head, all the way through the body. For instance, “a group of non-sex hormones that many people have heard of is the endorphins, which belong to the category of chemicals known as opiates and serve to deaden our pain receptors. Endorphins, which are chemically related to morphine, are produced in response to pain. The natural response to rub an injured area, such as a pinched finger, helps to release endorphins in that area. People who exercise a lot and push their bodies “until it hurts” thereby stimulate the production of endorphins. It is thought that some people who constantly over-exercise and push themselves too much may actually be addicted to their own endorphins.” (from  University of Cincinatti Clermont College )

These glands must carry out their functions expertly if we are to have good health. Do you think there are some physical issues you are having which might be an indication that your endocrine system is not working properly?