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Are Oprah and Suzanne Somers Right?

Posted Jul 11 2009 12:57am

In This Issue:

What You Need to Know about Hormone Replacement Therapy

By Al Sears, MD

Have you heard all the fuss over the way Oprah presented hormone replacement therapy (HRT) hormones on her show? You may have even read about it in Newsweek.

Oprah’s guest on the show, Suzanne Somers, touted the benefits of using bioidentical hormones for HRT over synthetic drugs. She said bioidenticals changed her life. They gave her a greater sex drive, a better mood, better sleep, and all the things that menopause hinders.

But Suzanne’s advocacy of bioidenticals, along with Oprah’s nod of approval, sparked a wave of criticism throughout the mainstream medical community.

Critics argue that Suzanne, known for her role as blonde airhead Chrissy Snow on the sitcom “Three’s Company,” is not a medical expert and she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. But I beg to differ…

It’s true that Suzanne is not a medical expert, but she’s no airhead.

Somers is the author of several best-selling books on the subject, including The Sexy Years: Discover the Hormone Connection and Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones.

She’s a woman who has educated herself about the options available for HRT. And she has her facts straight. I happen to agree that bioidenticals are the better option versus synthetic drugs. I recommend them to my own patients. And I’ve seen great results.

Suzanne is also not far off by stating that many doctors don’t know much about bioidenticals, which is why they don’t prescribe them. Most doctors simply rely on Big Pharma’s solution.

The bottom line is that a woman has the right to know her options when it comes to HRT.

Which would you choose? Exact replicas of your own hormones that are easily identified by your body OR a synthetic drug that comes from the urine of pregnant horses?

Today, I will tell you what I know about bioidentical hormones and why I think they are the better option when it comes to HRT.

Choose Safety First

Why are bioidenticals a better option?

For one thing, they are safer. Several studies and analyses support me on this.

A recent analysis of over 200 studies found that bioidentical HRT is both more effective and has greater health benefits for menopausal women than synthetic hormones. 1

The study showed that women taking them were less likely to have sleep problems, anxiety, depression, and cognitive problems — common side effects of synthetic hormones. And these women had a reduced risk of breast cancer and superior heart protection. 2

A German study found the effects of estriol, a bioidentical estrogen, successful in 92% of all cases. And 71% of women completely eliminated hot flashes and sweating. 3

A Japanese study of post-menopausal women found estriol treatment to be safe and effective as well. There were no negative side effects in the uterus or breasts of these women. 4

And nobody has reported adverse events from using bioidenticals.

The FDA is quick to point out that pharmacies aren’t required to report adverse events from bioidenticals or compounded drugs. Surely, they argue, that’s the reason why there aren’t any complaints. But, they always fail to mention that consumers could report any adverse events. And when they do, doctors and hospitals are requiredto report all of them.5

Think about it, do you go to your pharmacist when you have a bad reaction to a drug? Or do you call your doctor? After all, your doctor is the one who prescribed the treatment.

Know the Risks of Artificial Treatments

Synthetic HRT drugs, on the other hand, have a laundry list of reported risks. 6 Just take a look at this table.

Risks of Synthetic HRT Drugs

  • Sharp chest pain
  • Sharp lower leg (calf) pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Vision problems
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Breast lumps
  • Dizziness
  • Fluid retention
  • Nausea
  • Severe abdominal pain and swelling
  • Breast tenderness
  • Depression
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Mood changes
  • Increased uterine fibroids
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Acne
  • Decreased libido
  • Hair loss

As you can see, alleviating the symptoms of menopause can often result in something much, much worse if you take the synthetic form of the drugs.

One study of the Women’s Health Initiative looked at women who took Prempro, an estrogen-progestin combination drug. The National Institute of Health had to cut the study short because several thousand women showed an increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease, blood clots and stroke. 7

In particular, the study found that Prempro resulted in:

  • 26% increase in breast cancer
  • 41% increase in strokes
  • 29% increase in heart attacks
  • 100% increase of blood clots in legs and lungs
  • Increased risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer

No wonder droves of women quit these drugs cold turkey when this and other studies came to light.

They may provide relief for some women, but the potential dangers are not worth the risk — especially when there are safer alternatives that are more effective, like bioidenticals.

Knowing How Your Hormones Are Made Makes a Difference

Bioidenticals are radically different from the synthetic hormones that are sold by drug companies. They are made from plants, and they have an identical molecular structure to the hormones made by your own body.

Your body doesn’t see them as foreign matter.

Synthetic HRT drugs are chemically altered forms of hormones that come from animal waste. That’s right, horse urine.

One of the most widely prescribed HRT drugs is Premarin, an estrogen-therapy drug made by Wyeth, which also makes Prempro (estrogen/progestin combination). Both of these drugs contain horse urine from pregnant mares.

This is big business, folks. About a hundred ranches in North Dakota and Canada raise pregnant mares to produce urine for Premarin and other HRT drugs.  These horses are kept pregnant and confined to small spaces without any room to move. And their offspring/foals often end up somewhere even worse.

What’s more, these horses are given limited drinking water so that their urine will produce more concentrated estrogen. 8 So concentrated in fact, that these estrogens are much more potent than the ones produced by your own body.

Need I say anymore?

Get Your Hormones in Balance with Your Own Special Blend

I have used bioidenticals in my practice for years. My patients love them. Like Suzanne Somers’ experience, they tell me that the treatments changed their lives.

If you are looking for a way to ease the side effects that come with menopause, you should certainly consider them as an option for your HRT. Here are some suggestions to help.

  • With hormones, it’s all about the right balance, so the first step to get control of your hormones is to have your doctor check your levels. Ask to have your estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone checked. You will be able to see where you have too much of one and not enough of another.
  • Ask you doctor about bioidenticals. When it comes to hormones, one size does not fit all. Everyone’s needs are different. With bioidenticals, your doctor can prescribe a custom blend of naturally occurring hormones that are specific to your needs. You’ll need a compounding pharmacy to fill your prescription. They are usually independently owned and easy to find in your state.
  • If your doctor is unwilling to prescribe bioidentical hormones, you can find other doctors who will. There are many doctors throughout the country who specialize in alternative and natural health that will help you. You can check out the directory of these doctors on my website.
  • If you are in the South Florida area or want to travel here and set up a consultation with me, I would be happy to see you. Just give my office a call at 561-784-7852 and ask for my Clinical Coordinator, Tanya.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD


  1. Mainstream Medicine Stunned by New Findings of Bioidentical Hormones: New Analysis Proves They Are Safer and Superior to Standard HRT. 3/2/09.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Estrogen Therapy? Don’t Worry!,Life Extension Magazine, Oct. 1999.
  4. Takahaski, K, et al. Safety Hum Reprod. 2000 May; 15(5):1028-36.
  5. FDA Attacks Bio-identical Hormones,, Jan. 11, 2008
  6. Hulley S, JAMA. 1998;280:605-613.
  7. Writing Group for the Women’s Health Initiative Investigators. JAMA. 2002;288:321-333
  8. “Premarin: A prescription for Cruelty”. Fact Sheet. Viewed 4/13/09

[Ed. Note: Dr. Sears is Chairman of the Board of Total Health Breakthroughs. He has written over 500 articles and 7 books in the fields of alternative medicine, anti-aging, and nutritional supplementation.]

Breaking News from Dr. Al Sears

Use the “Power of the Claw” to Sweep Toxins Right Out of Your Body

Recent clinical tests reveal a chemical nightmare… As you read this letter, you have over 280 deadly toxins flowing through your bloodstream.  And they’ve been there since the day you were born.

But Nature designed 3 “Super Foods” that round up disease-causing toxins and literally drag them out of your body. I put all 3 of these super foods into a potent new formula called Ultra Greens.

It’s like having an iron-clad insurance policy against the biggest health threats of our time. Aside from unbeatable disease-fighting protection, Ultra Greens gives you a shot of energy, burns excess fat and relieves headaches. Many of my patients say they’re sleeping better than they ever have in their lives!

Best of all, it’s easy and affordable… Click HERE to Get Rid of Toxins Now!

walking Healthy Living:

Create Your Personal 4-Step Health Care Reform Act

By Dwight Lundell, MD

Part 1 of a 2-part article

It is an admirable goal that the President and Congress are debating various proposals known as “Health Care Reform.” Every American citizen should have insurance but something is missing.

Lost in the debate and headlines is the fact that having health insurance does not increase your chances of being healthy.  It gives immense peace of mind for catastrophic costs of illness, but another choice far more rewarding is getting healthy and remaining healthy.

Most insurances costs are for chronic and preventable illnesses related to lifestyle choices.  It is far wiser to create good health and by following my 4-step plan, you will produce your own personal Health Care Reform.

In this 2-part article, we’ll look at why foods and lifestyle choices lead to chronic illness and disease and how you can make simple changes.

Step No. 1 Eliminate Harmful Foods and Behaviors
The Surgeon General has kept us aware for the last several dozen years that cigarette smoking is harmful.  Today, 140,000 people die of lung cancer every year while 16 million Americans have diabetes, 57 million have pre-diabetes and an estimated 195,000 lose their lives annually to diabetes.  The diabetes numbers are staggering.

Sugars and Simple Carbohydrates
A common bad choice for millions of Americans is over-consumption of fast foods, foods high in sugar and simple carbohydrates. We need warnings on these foods that are just as harmful as carcinogens in cigarettes.

If you question this, look no further than heart disease and diabetes.  Foods high in sugar and simple carbohydrates lead to elevated blood sugars that cause inflammation.  This is the root cause of heart disease and other vascular problems.

The inflammatory process from sugars and simple carbohydrates causes cholesterol in our blood (even in normal ranges) to enter the artery wall building plaque that eventually ruptures with disastrous consequences like a heart attack.  In the absence of inflammation, cholesterol would float freely in and out of the artery wall as intended.

In diabetes, inflammation in the vessels results in loss of kidneys, eyesight and limbs.   Diabetics ultimately losing their lives tragically, prematurely and needlessly.

Not very long ago sugar was a rare treat reserved for special occasions while simple carbohydrates were consumed at a bare minimum.  Today they have become a basic staple consumed in large quantities.

It is medically indisputable that a dramatic rise in inflammatory diseases such as diabetes and heart disease begins with higher intakes of sugar and simple carbohydrates.  Your favorite cereals contain as much as 14 grams of sugar per serving.

The CDC states 27% of US deaths annually are from heart disease while the AHA estimates 33%.

Omega-6, Fast and Processed Foods
The fear of saturated fat brought recommendations to use vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, safflower and cottonseed.  We cook with these oils; they are liberally used in processed foods further compounded by fast food chains’ excessive use.

Omega-6 fatty acids in vegetable oils are a leading cause of excess inflammation in your body.   Omega-6s metabolize into pro-inflammatory chemicals which cause inflammation-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, obesity and heart disease.

The Surgeon General may not issues warnings, but you can do something now.

Be aware these foods create inflammation and eliminate them as much as possible from your diet.   We are not consuming these products occasionally; we are consuming them every day in massive quantities.

Return to eating real, whole, nutritious foods with lots of color — and if you must have sugar, make it a rare and special occasion.

These simple changes in foods you consume will have a dramatically positive affect upon elevated inflammation in your body.

Step No. 2 Exercise Reduces Inflammation
Before you moan and say yes, I know I need to join a gym or take up a sport, my step is good news and quite simple — just take a walk.  A dramatic case in point is my older brother diagnosed with high blood pressure who began taking medication. My advice to him was walk just 30 minutes a day.

After two weeks following my advice, he fainted arising from a chair because his blood pressure was too low.  His doctor stopped medication and as long as he continued walking, his blood pressure remained normal.

You’ve heard exercise advice for years but do you know why?

Only recently has research demonstrated that moderate exercise as simply as a brisk walk 15 to 30 minutes a day, substantially changes your risk profile and lowers inflammation.  While exercising, your muscles produce significant quantities of anti-inflammatory chemicals that lower inflammation in your body and arteries.

Surprisingly over time, how you feel from this simple step will propel you into exercising more; and of course, the more the better within the limits of your physical capabilities.

In Part 2 we’ll look at new science on inflammatory fat cells, losing weight and the right supplements to reduce inflammation.

[Ed. Note: Dr. Dwight Lundell is the past Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital, Mesa, AZ.  His private practice, Cardiac Care Center was in Mesa, AZ.  Recently Dr. Lundell left surgery to focus on the nutritional treatment of heart disease.  He is the founder of Healthy Humans Foundation that promotes human health with a focus on helping large corporations promote wellness. Dr. Lundell is the author of The Great Cholesterol Lie. Click here now to learn more.]

Tragic Celebrity Deaths From Heart Disease

One year ago, famous newscaster, Tim Russert, left us suddenly. Billy May, the TV pitchman left us a few days ago.  Both were undergoing traditional medical therapy of lowering cholesterol and both died suddenly of heart disease.

Unfortunately, that treatment did not save them from heart disease nor can it save you.

Both men left big gaps for their families, loved ones, and for their fans.  In between the loss of these two famous people, over one million Americans also died of heart disease, mostly prematurely.

You can prevent this from happening to you.  Cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Dwight Lundell’s new book, The Great Cholesterol Lie, unravels the truth behind cholesterol, heart disease and inflammation.

You are one click away from healing your heart.  Click here to learn more.

healthy salad Healthy Recipes:

Green Goddess Dressing

By Kelley Herring

Is your salad dressing harming your health? The answer is probably yes. That’s because mostbottled salad dressings rely on inflammatory omega-6 rich oils (like soybean oil, grapeseed oil and other vegetable oils) as their base ingredient. But this dressing relies on olive oil and avocados — two of the best sources of inflammation-fighting monounsaturated fats — to add rich, creamy texture… healthfully.

Time To Table: 10 minutes
Serves: 32 servings (1 Tbsp. each)

The Benefits
Low Carb, Low Sugar, Low Sodium, Gluten Free

3 tbsp organic white wine vinegar
1 tsp organic lemon juice
1 small anchovy, finely chopped
1 Tbsp organic basil, chopped
1 whole organic shallot, finely chopped
3 Tbsp organic Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 medium ripe organic avocado
2 Tbsp organic tarragon, chopped
2 Tbsp organic cilantro, chopped
3/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
1 clove organic garlic, minced
1/2 tsp organic lime juice
1/2 tsp organic agave nectar
1/4 cup organic heavy whipping cream

Blend avocado, vinegar, garlic, anchovy, lemon juice, lime juice and agave nectar in processor until coarse puree forms. With machine running, gradually add oil through feed tube; blend well. Transfer mixture to bowl; whisk in cream. Add parsley, tarragon, cilantro, basil, and shallot; whisk to combine. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill at least 3 hours (dressing will separate if not chilled). Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes and re-whisk before serving. Keep chilled. Makes 2 cups.

Nutrition Information
58 Calories, 6 g Total Fat, 1 g Saturated fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 4 g Monounsaturated fat, 1 g Polyunsaturated fat, 3 mg Cholesterol, 6 mg Sodium, 1 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fiber, 0 g Sugars, 0 g Protein

[ Ed. Note: Kelley Herring is the founder of Healing Gourmet - the world's leading website on the power of foods to promote health and protect against disease. Her latest work is a revolutionary health transformation program called, Your Plate, Your Fate. In this 7-part program you'll learn how to protect your health and optimize your weight by maximizing the nutrients in your food.  Learn more here.]

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