Because I’m a holistic doctor I of course recommend that others also live a “natural” lifestyle. In other words, I encourage people to eat healthy whole foods and try to minimize their consumption of processed foods, especially those with artificial ingredients. The same concept applies to household products and cosmetics, as in order to avoid xenohormones and other environmental toxins I recommend for people to purchase natural products whenever possible.
Many people assume that just because something is natural this means it is completely safe. But this isn’t true, and two good examples of this are with herbs and bioidentical hormones. I consult with a lot of people who have taken herbs and/or bioidentical hormones on their own. And truth to be told, most of the time doing this isn’t going to harm someone, although in the case of natural hormones it can lead to some severe problems if one doesn’t know what they’re doing, which pretty much describes 99.9% of people.
Let’s first talk about supplements and herbs. I have told the story in the past about how many years ago, not too long ago after I graduated from chiropractic school, how I purchased some supplements in order to do a detoxification. At the time I didn’t know too much about nutritional supplements and herbs, but I purchased a few of them, and the first night after I took them I woke up in the middle of the night because I had a strong urge to urinate. However, I was unable to urinate, which as you can imagine was an extremely uncomfortable feeling. Actually I was able to urinate, but it took about ten to fifteen minutes to “squeeze” out the urine.
I went to the medical doctor the next day and got my first prostate check, had a urinalysis performed, and everything came back negative. I stopped taking the supplements, and was able to urinate again without a problem. But of course I had to make sure it was the supplements I took which was responsible for this problem, and so a few days later I foolishly took the supplements again, and sure enough the same problem happened.
Now once again, such problems when taking nutritional supplements and herbs might be rare, but they do happen. This is one reason why I constantly talk about seeking the advice of an expert. Another reason is because even if no problems arise when taking nutritional supplements and herbs on your own, the chances of receiving optimal results are slim unless if you have a great deal of knowledge about these supplements and herbs, which most people don’t.
Taking natural hormones can without question cause greater problems. It is not uncommon for me to consult with someone who has experienced an overdose when taking bioidentical hormones. This is especially common with progesterone creams. And one reason for this is because one really can’t tell how much of a hormone a person needs. Everyone is different, and so different people will require different dosages. After all, we weren’t meant to take bioidentical hormones, as our amazing bodies know exactly how much hormone is needed. When someone suffers a hormone imbalance, it’s not due to the fault of the body, but usually due to some external problem.
This doesn’t mean that I never recommend bioidentical hormones, as there are some cases when I will. But I don’t dispense them to all of my patients, although I can’t say the same for some other doctors. While bioidentical hormones can help some people, they have been abused, and just because they are natural does not mean they are completely safe.
People will argue that taking bioidentical hormones is no different than taking nutritional supplements. But it is very different, as hormones are supposed to be produced within the body, and not taken externally. The same isn’t true about the vitamins and minerals we need. Plus, hormones are extremely powerful, which is a big reason why they can lead to so many problems.
In summary, even though supplements, herbs, and bioidentical hormones are considered to be “natural”, this doesn’t mean they are safe. This is especially true with natural hormones such as progesterone and testosterone, as taking such hormones might be necessary sometimes, but most of the time they aren’t needed. And when it is necessary to take them, you really should consult with an expert. Of course one problem is that most doctors aren’t experts when it comes to bioidentical hormones, as many also assume since they are “natural” that they are safe. So you need to be careful when choosing a doctor, making sure they don’t recommend bioidentical hormones to most or all of their patients. And you also want to be careful when taking supplements and herbs on your own, as my personal experience shows that problems can arise when self-treating your condition.