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Jonathan Wright

with higher sex hormones and vegetarians with lower ones. These are just the facts. One can make up one’s mind about it.

But getting back to that more or less caveman diet approach–that actually does help to raise the sex hormones if you’re older. All right, then we can bring in our basic vitamin supplements and some of herbals that have been used around the world. Different continents seem to favor different ones that help with sex drive. There is a tradition of using ginseng from China. There’s yohimbe from Africa, ashwaganda from India, and maca from South America. So one can either use one of those supplements or others that our ancestors found useful for that, for literally thousands of years. Or one can use some of the combinations on the market. Some of the marketers have combined many of those things into one supplement, which does make it easier to use. But other marketers have pointed out that you don’t get as much of each herb in one supplement. They say that in China people use more ginseng than is ever in these supplements. In India they use more ashwaganda, and in Peru they use more maca, and so forth. But those traditional things, when studied scientifically, do turn out to have anywhere from a small to intermediate effects.

Just for example, a British researcher actually paid some research volunteers who had inordinate vaginal dryness to have biopsies done. He looked under the microscope, and sure enough the cells had atrophied. But in the study he did not have the volunteers take hormones–he had them all take ginseng. And a few months later–I guess they were well-paid volunteers–they all had biopsies done again. He looked under the microscope, and, well, look at that–the cells were not atrophied anymore. In fact, it looked like someone had fed them estrogen, but nobody fed them estrogen, and they could not find that they’d taken any. But it had that effect. So what I’m saying is that these traditional things from the various continents of the planet are indeed very useful. One can bring those in to improve performance before we even think about replacing, or rather, supplementing hormones. It’s not really a replacement because they’re not totally missing.

David: What do you think are some of the biggest problems with the way that medicine is practiced today, and what do you think can be done to help improve the situation?

Dr. Wright: With your permission, I’ll take that in two parts. First, I’m going to be a little bit hard on myself and my natural and alternative medicine colleagues in the area of hormone replacement. Hormone replacement is being done very erratically, and by all kinds of different means that are going to get us into trouble, give the whole field a very bad name, and just possibly bring on some of the unconstitutional governmental retributions that happen when things go wrong. Even though the retributions are unconstitutional, they happen anyway.

Let’s take the book out there called The Sexy Years by Suzanne Summers. The  tremendous service this book has done us all is to bring bioidentical hormones to the attention of millions of people. The disservice that Ms. Summers does in her book is she says that she’s taking two milligrams of estradiol every single day. Now, the laboratory that I work with has done studies of some thirty-five women doing doses of estradiol, ranging all the way from .025 up through .25, .50, 1.0, and up to 2.0 milligrams of estradiol each day. But the dosages in this study were not deliberate. All thirty-five women had different doses because they came in from doctors who were giving them different dosages, so we know it’s very disparate out there. And what we found is that women who take more than .25 milligrams of estradiol have excessively high levels of estrone, because estradiol metabolizes into estrone. They have levels of estrone that are equal to the levels that one would find in the third or forth month of pregnancy, which are well above the levels of estrone that a nineteen year old women would be putting out, never mind a thirty-nine year old women.

The rhetorical question in here is: Can it be healthy for Ms. Summers or anyone else taking a larger than “natural” dose of estradiol? She’s writing about it in her book, and perhaps some misguided natural medicine doctors will be following that lead. Can it be healthy to be going around with a level of a procarcinogenic estrogen that is higher than any young women would have in her body during the normal course of her menstrual cycle, and is only achieved for a brief period of time during pregnancy? That’s a rhetorical question because obviously that’s an unhealthy thing to do, and yet we haven’t gotten to any kind of consensus on even doses of these of these things in the identical hormone replacement field, and many women are being way overdosed.

The same thing goes for DHEA. We see some horrendously high levels of DHEA, and it’s metabolized in men who either self-dosed, or were advised by their doctors to be on very high doses because the doctors are only following their blood levels, and one can’t find the metabolites in the blood. So this bit of venting criticism here is an introduction to say that we have organized something that’s called the Bioidentical Hormone Society. We’ve had one meeting, and we’re going to be holding future meetings. The goal of the organization is to get information out about bioidentical hormones and how people working with them can use them safely. The Web site address is: The Web site has the graphics showing the different doses of estradiol and what it does in so far as producing levels of other hormones. You can measure all of this, and make sure it’s within safe levels for all of the presently “replaced” hormones. What we hope to achieve through these Bioidentical Hormone Society meetings is to have people pick up on the information, get organized and copy nature. We’re getting back to those two fundamental words: copy nature. 

Here’s another very simple principle that applies to folks with falling estrogen or falling testosterone. Excuse me, but no one has their ovaries or testicles stitched to the inside of their intestines, do they? And yet if we swallow those hormones, what we’re doing is we’re assuming somehow that those hormones enter the body through the gut. Now, that’s an entirely different route of administration then what they really do. When we swallow them they go for the gut, they zing right to the liver, and the liver gets whacked with them. It’s been shown, for example, that even when one of the safer estrogens, called estriol, is swallowed, metabolized, and then endometrial biopsies are done, sometimes there’s abnormalities that show up. But when it’s used in a cream or an ointment that’s rubbed into the vaginal area, which is close to where estrogen is delivered in the body by the ovaries, and then endometrial biopsies are done, no abnormalities show up.

When its taken in the cream that way it’s  close to where estrogen is delivered in the body by the ovaries. From the ovaries it goes into the pelvic plexis of veins, then all over the body, and, finally, to the liver, where it’s taken in. So it’s not just dose. It’s not just timing. It’s also the route of administration. Everything we need to do can be summed up in these two words: copy nature. And only when someone does several double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover studies that demonstrate that nature is wrong–and you can tell I’m doubtful that will ever happen–should we deviate from what nature does. That’s more or less the message that the Bioidentical Hormone Society is to trying to get out.

Now, so far as medicine in general goes, our very biggest mistake has been a century-long mistake. It started in the early part of the twentieth century, and it continues to this day–and that is, relying on patent medicines to heal the body. This has been an enormous mistake, because the condition necessary to patent anything says that it can not occur in nature. But out bodies are made of materials that are entirely natural–a big bunch of water, protein, vitamins, minerals, hormones, essential fatty acids, amino acids, and other things. And then we have adapted to the botanical world. So plant material can certainly cause harm, but not near as much as patent medicines. Patent medicines–by definition–have to be not natural, and if they’re not natural then, in a manner of speaking, they’re space aliens! (laughter) They’re molecules that have never been found on the planet before. Now, what do we think we’re doing trying to heal a body that was created or evolved on this planet with space alien molecules?

It’s not going to work. The best it’s going to do is suppress symptoms, and yet the medical profession has gone along with this for over a century. We do ninety percent of our studies on space alien molecules, and the little bit of benefit that they have, and the enormous harm they can cause. And one after another we have to shut them down because they’re doing too much harm. Then we go on to the next space alien molecule. One of these days the medical profession is going to wake up and notice that even though we have made enormous progress in diagnostics, diagnostic imaging, in surgeries, and so forth, when it comes to things that we swallow or apply to the body, we’re using molecules that have nothing to do with the body that we’re treating, and this has caused so many problems. When medicine gets away from that, when it stops putting space alien molecules in the body, and starts using

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