Control your sex hormones the natural way, was the general theme provided by Dr. Pantalee Chuensampan M.D. at the Sunday, May 20, Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC) meeting. Dr. Pantalee is from the Health Promotion Center of Bangkok Hospital Pattaya (BHP) specializing in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine.
She spoke about the functions of sex hormones in men, a subject that is almost obsessive with many of her male patients. She also talked about the female hormones as well. She talked about the classes of hormones, effects of ageing, including metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular and other diseases. She outlined the common laboratory evaluations and treatments, which included pharmaceutical, but she placed her emphasis on natural approaches.
For men, she explains, the sex hormone testosterone helps to maintain health, stamina, libido, memory and well-being. However, “Low-T” can cause fatigue, mood swings and irritability. This hormone starts to decline in men at around 35 years of age. A chart was presented that showed men, at age 45-54 lose about 34% of their testosterone, then by age 65-74, about 40% is lost and after the age of 85, 50% is commonly lost.
Some of the symptoms of low testosterone include reduced sexual desire, loss of body hair, decreased frequency of shaving, height loss, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, increased breast tissue and an enlarged prostate. Symptoms may not appear for 2-4 years prior to actually having “Low-T”. The doctor discussed lab evaluations, including serum “Total-T” having results of less than 300 ng/dL and “Free-T” of less than 5 ng/dL being low. A test of the salivary is also available. She talked about fasting insulin, fasting blood sugar and HbA1C, Lipid panel, blood counts, LH, FHA and Dexa scans for bone density as part of applicable laboratory evaluations.
The doctor outlined the relationship between “Low-T” and metabolic syndrome, or clusters of conditions that occur together, increasing risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A chart outlining five conditions that help define metabolic syndrome which includes: abdominal obesity, hypertriglyceridemia (high levels of triglycerides), low HDL, hypertension and diabetes.
Correction of “Low-T” include the reduction of insulin sensitivity/high blood-sugar levels, reduction of cholesterol and weight loss. If needed, Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) may be prescribed in either testosterone injection or testosterone cream application. A “Natural Approach” for “Low-T”, includes the use of DHEA (DeHydroEpiandrosterone), ginseng, finger root, Thai ginseng, black binger, vitamin D and zinc.
For women, the two main hormones are estrogen and progesterone. The ovaries also produce some of the male hormone testosterone. Female sex hormones are important in the continuation of the human species, since they prepare a woman’s body for fertilization and childbirth. Because a woman’s body undergoes various cycles throughout her life, hormonal imbalances are inevitable and don’t necessarily indicate that there’s a problem. Menstrual and menopausal changes are a normal part of development. Estrogen helps to retain calcium in bones, regulates the balance of high density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood-stream, and aids the maintenance of blood-sugar levels, memory functions, and emotional balance. Progesterone helps reduce body fat, reduces anxiety, and promotes hair growth. Testosterone in women plays an important role in the health and well-being. Testosterone affects libido, mood, energy, and body fat and helps to protect against osteoporosis.
Dr. Pantalee discussed the symptoms of menopause, such as systemic weight gain, night sweats, hot flashes, joint soreness, back pain and urinary issues. She also talked about psychological episodes of dizziness, sleep problems, mood swings and less interest in sexual activity. Menopausal fat redistribution was demonstrated, with charts that show how this can result in a metabolic syndrome that can lead to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Lab evaluations are discussed, including serum estradiol, progesterone, LH, FSH testing, blood-sugar and other tests.
Treatment of low estrogen generally involves the use of a high-dose of estrogen, but she emphasized that such treatment may not lower the risk of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). She also talked about bioidentical hormones, which are hormones that are made in a laboratory and phytoestrogens which are compounds that naturally occur in plants and plant foods. She emphasized maintaining correct insulin and blood-sugar sensitivity, a decrease of cholesterol and weight loss.
She advocated the natural approach for estrogen health, with such products as soybean, tofu, tao jeaw, tempeh and natto. She also likes flaxseed, coconut water, fenugreek and curcuma comosa.
The common denominator between the genders is the control of insulin-sensitivity/blood-sugar levels, a decrease of cholesterol and weight loss. She recommends increasing insulin-sensitivity with bitter melons, Thai pea eggplant, gym nena silvestre and cinnamon. To lower lipid levels, she recommends the use of roselle juice, plant sterols, safflower, eggplant, Thai garlic, omega-3 fatty acids and tocotrienol. Decrease visceral fat with finger root, Thai ginseng, black ginger, Thai holy basil, garcinia camogie and ginger.
After the presentation, everyone was brought up to date on upcoming events which was then followed by the Open Forum where members and guests can ask questions or make comments about Expat living in Thailand. For more on the PCEC and their activities or to subscribe to their weekly newsletter, visit www.pcec.club.