Truly Personalized Hormone Healthcare by Joseph J. Collins, RN, ND
After addressing generalized nutrition as discussed in the Foundations of Hormone Health the next step is to improve hormone function with the Hormone Specific™ Formulations. This suite of formulations have been designed to be used together in many different combinations so that the unique needs of each patient can be addressed. A one-size-fits-all herbal therapy is just as inadequate as a one-size-fits-all hormone therapy. Those of us involved in natural medicine have been quick to point out that indiscriminately giving every woman PremPro® (a combination of equine estrogens and medroxyprogesterone) is not properly addressing the needs of each patient – it is one-size-fits-all. However, there are many herbal formulations that are basically “Herbal PremPro”; a one-size-fits-all mixture of herbs that really should not even be in the tablet or capsule. For example; many of these one-size-sits-all formulations will mix Vitex agnus-castus (Chasteberry) with herbs that are added to help improve libido. Such as mixture shows very limited understanding of phytotherapeutic science, in that Vitex agnus-castus is an anti-libido herb, hence its’ common name “Chasteberry” – from "chaste" – abstaining from sexual relationships.
To be fair, Vitex agnes-castus does have other very valuable properties beside supressing libido. However, its’ use must be appropriate to the need. Since Vitex agnes-castus can help with progesterone receptor function, I use a very, very, very small dosage in the ProgestoMend™. That is why it is listed as the very last ingredient in that formulation. When you see Vitex agnes-castus listed at the beginning – or even middle of a formulation, then there is most likely too much Vitex agnes-castus in that herbal tablet – unless the Vitex agnes-castus is being used specifically to treat hyperprolactinemia, or breast pain (though there are better treatments for breast pain). Reputable supplement companies list herbs in order of their amount.
Inspiration for the Hormone Specific™ Formulations
It is the failure of those one-size-fits-all formulations that motivated me long ago to design the Hormone Specific™ Formulations that are specifically formulated for the hormone that needs to be supported. In my practice, I found that some patients needed estrogen support only, or progesterone support only, or testosterone support only. So I developed combinations that are now called EstroMend™, ProgestoMend™ and TestoGain™. I also found that some patients needed to have excessive testosterone controlled. That resulted in the TestoQuench™ for Women and the TestoQuench™ for Men formulation. The Hormone Specific™ Formulations suite of formulations has grown to include many formulations that may be used together in different combinations based on the unique hormonal needs of each person.
It is pretty obvious that personalized hormone healthcare requires some work on the part of the healthcare professional. For example, when addressing menopause, there are significant variations in how menopause presents (see menopause webpages). In addition to those variations in menopause type® presentation, other factors need to be considered, such as surgical history, previous exposure to birth control pills, traditional (old school) hormone replacement therapy or other hormone therapies, other medications, weight, variable intensity of symptoms, and other conditions that may also be present, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease or other autoimmune diseases. So we can see that there are infinite possibilities for dealing with personalized hormone healthcare. Experienced healthcare professionals who use an integrative approach typically recognize the concept of biochemical individuality and understand there is no such thing as an average person – we are all unique.
Protocols for Personalize Hormone Healthcare
Truly personalized healthcare does not come without significant work and commitment on the part of both the healthcare professional and the patient. That is why Your Hormones, Inc. now provides both clinicians and members access to a number of hormone health protocols. Protocols are used by healthcare professionals for the planning, care and management of hormone health conditions, based on clinical observations and extensive review of the medical and scientific literature. The protocols are personalized based on the unique needs of each patient. These protocols have been used for years by clinicians who have given Your Hormones, Inc. feedback on the ongoing development of each protocol. Now, these protocols are shared with Members to allow both healthcare professionals and patients to benefit from the protocols, and to continue to share their observations.
Many factors should be considered when providing a personalized approach with the Hormone Specific™ Formulations including age, gender, medical history, hormone therapy history, weight of patient, digestive history, patient’s previous experiences with herbal therapies and the patient’s vitality and ability to respond to herbal therapy. The ability of the patient to respond to herbal therapies may be affected by general nutrition and intake of macronutrients such as proteins, fats and carbohydrates as well as micronutrients including vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. Other factor that have systemic effects such as exercise, sleep, hydration and the degree of systemic inflammation will also affect how a person responds to any therapy.
Personalized Dosage Guidelines
One observation made by every experienced healthcare professional is that patients respond to different dosages of herbal therapies at different stages in the healing process. During the initiation of herbal therapy, it is often best to start with a lower dosage (especially when using our high-grade concentrated herbs). As the vitality of the patient increases, a larger, more restorative dosage is usually tolerated. However, once the patient has obtained the higher levels of wellness, then it only takes the lower maintenance dosage to keep them feeling optimal health. This personalized changes of the dosage based on where the patient is in the healing process is the concept behind the Protocol 242™ that can be used in the Hormone Specific™ Formulations. These points are addressed in greater detail in the next section, which discusses customizing dosages of the Hormone Specific™ Formulations.
Next: Learn about Customized Dosage Guidelines
This article is part of the Educational Module on Hormone Health.