Customized Medicines

Customized Medicines
Dr. Sonja O'Bryan, Pharm.D., ABAAHP Board Certified Health Practitioner Diplomate-American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine: "Creative Medicines" for Hormones-Weight-Pain-Fatigue-Skin Diseases-Pediatrics-Autoimmune Disorders-Veterinary Needs. Using Complimentary, Integrative, Regenerative, Bio-Identical, and Lifestyle Medicine For Health and Healing.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Are You Showing Signs of Hormonal Imbalance?

When you hear the words “hormonal imbalance,” you probably think of mood swings and hot flashes. The truth is, there are numerous signs of hormonal imbalance, such as sleepless nights, weight gain, joint pain, low sex drive, depression, skin irritations, and more. These conditions can often be mistaken for a host of other ailments, leading to medications that may only resolve the symptoms, without treating the underlying issue. Bioidentical hormone replacement, from a qualified physician, puts back exact replicas of the hormones our bodies made during our prime. In my opinion, it’s a far better option than a lifetime of antidepressants, sleeping pills, and dangerous diet pills.
Here are a few of the key signs that your hormones may not be at optimal levels:
  • Digestive and metabolic issues. Hormonal imbalances can cause bloating, constipation, heartburn, and — more seriously — insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes.
  • Emotional and sleep issues. In addition to the mood swings, you may feel depressed or stressed. Additionally, insomnia is a common symptom of a spike in cortisol, one of your key stress hormones. Fatigue and insomnia often walk hand in hand.
  • Reduced resistance to illness. Low levels of thyroid can weaken your immune system.
  • Low libido. Just not in the mood? Women in perimenopause (13 years before menopause) and menopause often report a decrease in sex drive. This is due to a drop in the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone.
  • Cognitive decline. Suboptimal levels of the sex hormones can lead to that “foggy brain” feeling in which you can’t find the glasses sitting atop your own head.
  • Weight gain. Hormonal shifts are major contributors to weight gain. The big issue is that much of that weight is gained around the abdomen, where excess weight is more likely to be a precursor to heart disease.
If you’ve developed any of these ailments, consider having a qualified doctor who is an expert in bioidentical hormone replacement run a few tests to get a baseline for your hormones. That way, if a hormonal imbalance is the problem, you can fix it at the source instead of taking a handful of different medications to temporarily stave off symptoms. Possessing this knowledge may be the key to a healthier, sexier, leaner, and more energetic you.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Leaks, Squeaks, Sags, Fat, and Tantrums: Are You In A Hormonal Drought?

Aging is natural, if you live long enough to experience it!  We can all attest that as the birthdays come, so do other strange and unusual things.   Why is that happening?  Do I look as bad as I feel?  Did I just lose it? What's up with that?  These are common questions you might be asking yourself.    Various symptoms often accompany aging including loss of energy, weight gain, brain fog, irritability, achy/squeaky joints, insomnia, decreased libido, sluggish bowel function, bladder leaks, sensitivity to heat and cold, irregular menstrual cycles, restless sleep, afternoon fatigue, and so on.  But is it "normal" to have to deal with these things year after year, after year? For some sufferers, they just commit to the reality of the advancing biological clock and move on.  For others, they choose to fight and conquer what others think is "normal".  My opinion is that these symptoms are a sign of decline in biologically identical hormones.  It's like your body is suffering a drought.  I'm personally in the latter group and test my hormones EVERY year (without fail) to make sure things are ship-shape and keeping me at the best performance possible. I'm not suggesting that 40&50-somethings have the levels of a 20 year old, but getting reasonably near that mark is where most feel their best.  I can write that with a lot of confidence and experience because our team takes care of hundreds of men and women who are addressing their hormonal imbalances.   And, this area of healthcare is growing daily.   Please, look at the possibilities of aging (lists above and below) and check yourself before you wreck yourself trying to cope with the changes.  It is your choice how you live.

All hormone therapy is not created equal and the best option, in my professional and personal opinion, is customized, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.  That simply means it's a direct structural match to what the body produces on it's own and to what you as an individual are missing.  Give someone what's missing and in the dose appropriate to address their hormonal deficiencies, and they will live, look, and feel so much better.  Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) simply replenishes what the hormonal drought has caused with the aging process.  Lifestyle, diet, and exercise also play a beneficial role in bringing everything together for a person who is struggling along in the aging process.

Here's an example of what hormonal shifts can do:
Estrogen Dominance (aka Progesterone Deficiency) is something that I commonly see in the patients that seek testing and evaluation of their hormones.  They may be common symptoms, but they are not to be considered normal for someone wanting to feel and look their best.  Here's a list of the effects from this type of natural hormonal shift in the body and what can happen to women of ANY age:

Premenstrual breast tenderness
Mood swings, irritability, and depression
Fluid retention and weight gain
Headaches, including migraines
Anxiety and panic attacks
Irregular menstrual cycles
Insomnia and restless sleep
Sagging skin and wrinkles
Dry eyes
Elevated blood pressure
Elevated cholesterol
Low thyroid function
Loss of sexual desire
Bladder leaks with coughing, laughing, or sneezing
Uterine fibroids
Foggy thinking
Emotional sensitivity
Breast cancer
Joint aches

If you are experiencing leaks, squeaks, fat, sags, or tantrums, please do yourself a favor and call.  A baseline test to evaluate and treat your hormones is key to feeling normal again.  Trust me, aging happens to everyone, but not everyone seeks professional help.  You have the most compelling of information right here, but you have to own it and address it.  Give our team a call @ 417-231-4544 or email:

Here's to your NEW normal!!
Dr. Sonja

Friday, August 23, 2013

Everything is Linked to Hormones! Even Brussel Sprouts and Broccoli

When you were a child, did your mother ever force the issue of eating vegetables?  If so, I think you'll realize what great advice that was after reading this blog.  It actually was life-saving advice according to what the evidence now shows us for healthy hormone metabolism, anti-cancer effects, and detoxification processes.  Go Dr. Mom, right??  I'm a huge fan of vegetables and fruits to this day and could probably exist on gatherings from the garden with no problem.  Some of my family members though, uh,....not so much.   But don't worry if you also do not have a natural desire to eat brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli, etc.  There's an option in a capsule form for you anti-vegetable people.

Cruciferous vegetables belong to a family of plants called Brassica and various human studies have shown us that increasing consumption of the Brassica's can have a very positive effect on cancers of the lung, pancreas, bladder, prostate, thyroid, skin, stomach, and colon.  They also can improve cholesterol profiles and reduce stress at the cellular level.  Other benefits appear to be liver metabolism of carcinogenic compounds and improved blood profiles for those who redirect their diets towards these health promoting foods.

So what's the magic inside the broccoli? These vegetables contain glucosinolates which contain sulfur and are easily recognized by their strong smell and taste.  When we chew these 'natural medicines', an enzyme called myrosinase is released which breaks down the glucosinolates into health boosting active metabolites. These final products are indoles and isothiocyanates and are being heavily studied for their cancer protecting properties.  In fact, they are now captured in pill forms.  Wow!!  Plants in pills.  Who could have every imagined right?

I had a nurse practitioner refer a patient not long ago who had a history of  cancer and wanted to test her hormone levels.  Her results showed that she was very estrogen dominant (too much estrogen compared to progesterone) and she wanted to know what natural therapies she could use to help her body metabolize the estrogens in a healthier way.  My answer to them both? Indoles!  I suggested a product formulated with cruciferous vegetables and folic acid to promote estrogen metabolism down a healthier pathway.  I also suggested we retest her in 3-6 months and we saw marked improvement in her levels.

This is important not only to a person with this kind of medical history, but also to those women who are also estrogen dominant.  I can tell you that this includes a LOT of women.  Taking a product containing cruciferous vegetables can be so important for detoxification, healthy hormone metabolism, and prevention of cancers.   Balancing other hormones to lessen the burden of estrogen dominance is also a critical factor.  Progesterone has shown itself to provide it's own cancer reducing properties and starts it's decline in women at about 35-40 years old.   Sadly, most women are deficient and never take the time to test or treat their imbalances.  We have tons of women in our care who are taking progesterone therapy with GREAT improvement in their symptoms.

Please call me if I can help you.   This blog is especially important for those women with cancer risks in their family medical history.  If you have high estrogen and don't know it, then you could be putting yourself at more risk also.  Don't put off your health for another day.  Often natural approaches and simple changes can provide tremendous benefit and health for the long haul.


To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Monday, August 19, 2013

Anti-Aging Medicine is the Best Medicine:Preventing Disease & Promoting Longevity

Some years ago I felt this time would come and my hunch was right.  I began taking advanced curriculum in the area of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, functional, and regenerative medicine because I was so tired of the band-aid medicines prescribed to treat disease.   The light bulb was going off in my head wondering what the healthcare model would look like if we began to prevent disease from happening, or at least prolonging it's onset.  These years have afforded me some of the best training and education I have ever known, and believe me, I've been in school for many long years.  Some of the physicians, celebrities, and experts you see me talk about in my posts, I have had direct contact with as a student through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.  I doubt I could ever go back to the thoughts and practices of my early days in this professional path.  The doors of true healthcare are opening in ways we have never known before and people are looking to this as a better answer to their health and longevity.  The tide is finally turning, and I'm excited to be riding the wave of the future.  This is not just a good thing, this is a GREAT thing!  ~Dr. Sonja O'Bryan

Health Tides Turning: Suzanne Somers Tells #A4M 2012 Annual World Conference

Submitted by Lisa Buyer on Fri, 05/18/2012 - 17:17
"We expect to get a disease. Of course you will get a disease, look at the planet, our planet has been hijacked, our food has been hijacked," Suzanne Somers told the audience in her keynote to the 2012 American Academy of Anti-Aging in Orlando, Florida this weekend.
Healthy living is getting harder thanks to toxins, genetically processed foods and environmental conditions out of our control  Just look at today's top chronic disease killers: obesity, heart disease and diabetes.  But the good news is healthy living is also getting more popular with consumers who want to take charge and physicians who are sick of taking care of the sick and want to help people stay healthy.
New health consumer meet the new health doctor
The tide is changing thanks to the new top-tier health consumer who are driving the adoption of the anti-aging healthcare model. This group is responsible for reshaping a new healthcare landscape - seeking to create a world in which we enjoy prolonged lifespans, absence of disease and disability and full of productivity and vitality according to a presentation by A4M co-founder Dr. Robert Goldman.

The anti-aging industry is getting bigger, stronger and smarter with dedicated physicians who practice preventive medicine and influential celebrities such as Suzanne Somers who are making it their life purpose to shift society from disease care to healthcare. With a 9% growth rate year after year, in 2010 the anti-aging industry was valued at $115 billion and it is now on growth track to be $292 billion by 2015.
Suzanne Somers Healthy Takeaways on Aging and Hormones
  • Take care of your body.
  • Don't go to an anti-aging doctor who is not versed in bioidentcal hormones.
  • Doctors who are not versed in #BHRT are the ones who will tell you that BHRT causes cancer.
  • There is not one recorded death as a result of bioidentical hormone therapy, yet how many deaths from chronic diseases?
  • Drug after drug after drug is not the path to life extension.
  • Cancer can't survive in a body that is detoxified.
  • Health Tip: Go to the doctor when you are well, not when you are sick!
  • Scary Number: Four hours in medical school covered on hormone instruction…Really? Really! Find a qualified #A4M anti-aging doctor!
  • Men and women in their 30's and 40's are now suffering from hormone loss because of toxicity and environmental conditions.
  • Aging should be aspirational, aging people have wisdom
  • Living longer and healthier allows us to be a productive member of society - reinvent with wisdom
  • At 65-years-old Suzanne Somers says she plans on living to be 115!
  • Chew your food, it is the first step in nutrition!
  • Do away with some luxuries and spend it on healthcare.
  • Your body is like a Maserati, it is up you to fuel it.
So what's the bottom line?
Practice healthcare and take control of your health!  Here are the basics:
eat real food, sleep, manage your stress, exercise, avoid toxins, balance your hormones.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hormones And Memory: Are You Forgetting to Remember?

Brain Fog can be a huge issue for women as they go through the aging process. Often they will have concerns that they are 'losing their mind' or even getting early dementia.  I always suggest an evaluation of hormones when a woman complains that she is forgetting things and evaluate certain levels to see if I can help make a connection.  I also suggest certain nutraceuticals and natural vitamins to give a boost to the memory.  I have countless women who have seen tremendous benefit from hormone replacement therapy and we now know that prevention of certain diseases, like Alzheimers, is strongly influenced by hormone levels.   Do you remember Oprah some years ago saying that she started Bio-Identical Hormones and the fog lifted?  It's true!  Here's a study to give you a comparison of those patients who took hormones and those who did not and the impact it had on their memory.   Remember...(there's that word again)... testing, appropriate hormones , correct dosing, and an experienced provider in your care is key.   I can provide a kit, information, and evaluation of your hormone levels if this is something that is an issue for you.  I do it all day long, everyday. 

To your good brain health,

~Dr Sonja

SAN FRANCISCO -- A testosterone gel applied daily may improve cognitive performance in postmenopausal women, a randomized trial suggested.
Among women who were not cognitively impaired, those who received testosterone performed an average of 1.57 points better on the International Shopping List Task -- a measure of verbal learning and memory in which scores can range from 0 to 48 -- than those who received placebo after 26 weeks (P=0.037), according to Susan Davis, MBBS, PhD, of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
The difference is clinically relevant and equal to the reduction in performance expected in 1 year among patients with Alzheimer's disease and to the average increase seen in studies of an investigational histamine H3 antagonist -- GSK239512 -- that is being developed for patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease, she reported at the Endocrine Society meeting here.
The current study "suggests that the women are performing suboptimally even though it's normal for their age group and that we can really have women performing more optimally in terms of cognitive performance if they have a small dose of testosterone therapy," Davis said in an interview.
She noted that the effect on verbal learning and memory seen in the current trial is consistent with two smaller studies of testosterone therapy she and her colleagues have performed, and said that further investigation in larger and longer studies is warranted.
She cautioned that "this is not sufficient information that women should be started on testosterone therapy in general practice, but what it means is that we need to be looking at this as an area of research where we could possibly preserve cognitive function in women as they age and maybe delay the onset of cognitive decline."
The trial included 92 healthy postmenopausal women ages 55 to 65 (mean age 60) who were not taking any systemic sex hormone therapy and had normal cognitive function at baseline. They were randomized to daily administration of a transdermal gel containing 0.22 grams of testosterone or to placebo for 26 weeks.
The average testosterone level among the women was near the lower limit of normal at baseline, and it increased by a median of 1.7 nmol/L in the treatment group, bringing levels into the mid-normal range.
The women in the two groups had similar cognitive function at baseline.
The primary outcome was the score on the International Shopping List Task included in CogState, a computerized cognitive battery. Secondary outcomes included other cognitive variables -- such as visual attention, psychomotor function, visual learning, and executive function -- and scores on the Psychological General Well-Being Index.
Scores on the International Shopping List Task were significantly better in the testosterone group compared with the placebo group at 26 weeks, but there were no differences between the two groups for the other cognitive measures or for psychological well-being.
Davis said the treatment was well tolerated and pointed out that studies on the use of testosterone in women have not revealed any significant adverse effects on cardiovascular risk, lipids, insulin resistance, or breast cancer risk.

Before You Take That New Weight Loss Prescription, KNOW THIS

I've been at this for just a little while...okay a long while (wink wink), and in that time, I've watched weight loss medications come to the U.S. market later to  disappear due to unexpected side effects.  Most people aren't aware that the final stage of drug approval is actually when a product is released into the mass population.  Sadly, drug companies are still capturing data and information.  Truth!  That's the reason why they disappear all of a sudden.  Think about it. When you broaden the study scope, you open up greater possibility for adverse effect reporting.  This is a possibility with any medication and why I often prefer the old, trusted medications that have proven their effectiveness and safety. 

Weight loss is a $60 BILLION dollar business in America and just a 5-10% drop in weight can improve a multitude of physical problems and make us look and feel better overall.  But is getting the latest and greatest prescription the answer?  Here's some things you should know about a couple of recently approved products.

BELVIQ: This product is a serotonin 2C agonist.  That simply means it attaches and activates a serotonin receptor that is connected to appetite.  It helps patients feel full so they eat less.  About 47% of patients can achieve a 5% or greater weight loss within a year.  That doesn't seem too compelling to me, unless the person has a really high Body Mass Index.  For those people, I can see it providing a fairly significant amount of weight loss, but for the person who just wants to drop a few pounds before their high school reunion, this is not a good idea in my opinion. Unlike fenfluramine, which caused tons of problems years ago, it is not EXPECTED to cause heart valve problems.  I'm not too trustworthy of the words not expected.  Are you?  Is it worth the risk? 

 BELVIQ should also not be used with Dextromethorphan.  ~Big word I know.  Have you ever heard of Robitussin DM, Delsym, Mucinex DM, etc etc?   They all contain this ingredient.  Problem #2 exposed.  You have to be careful not to take certain over the counter medicines with Belviq. 

BELVIQ should also not be used with serotonin stimulating anti-depressants: Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, etc. etc.  Think about all of the patients out there taking these prescriptions for their depression and adding this weight loss medicine to their regimen.  Problem #3 It's not known what the effect will be in adding these together, but is could cause Serotonin Syndrome. (research this syndrome)

Another newer prescription weight loss product is called QSYMIA.  (Where do they get these names, right?  Actually I can tell you the process to name a medicine is quite intense.  I've been involved many times as an advisory professional on naming medicines. It's a pretty neat process.) 

QSYMIA is a combination product including phentermine and topiramate.  AKA single products Fastin and Topamax. Studies show that QSYMIA is a little more effective with a 70% effect on losing 5% or greater weight in 1 year.  The negative side is that it can cause more side effects: dizziness, insomnia, tingling in the hands and feet, impaired cognition.  Doesn't that just make you want to rush out and get some?  NOT! 

This is the HUGE warning with QSYMIA.  It can cause birth defects!!!  Appropriate counseling with those of child bearing age is critical with this product.   The list of medications that interact with this product is long.  I would certainly recommend you research that and talk with your doctor before taking this prescription for weight loss. 

I have many patients going about their weight loss in a different and more healthy approach.  I do use a host of nutraceuticals for my clients, but they are very strategic and targeted to their health and wellness needs.   I have products designed for cravings, diabetes, blood pressure, meal replacement, and more, but they are under my direct care in helping you be successful at weight loss.  Professionally prescribed supplements and a strategic lifestyle regimen unique to your needs is the way to go. 

~Just weighing in on weight loss today.  :) Be careful what you choose to do for yourself.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mentioning Unmentionables

I couldn't help but revisit an informational folder I have been collecting over the years on the topic of vaginal pain syndromes and vaginal dryness...which BTW is a fairly common problem for aging women.  No kidding!  Today, I'm mentioning something that is often unmentioned. One of the things I love the most about what I do everyday is that I get to be the spokesperson for the problems that women rarely speak of openly.   Thankfully they don't mind sharing with me in consultations as I go down my checklist of signs and symptoms attached to hormones and aging.  And also, it saddens me to hear the words, "well I figured I was just getting older and had to deal with this!"  That's not acceptable for me to hear, or for an aging woman to think.  Let me bring some attention to an area of hormonal imbalance that is quite common and relatively easy to fix.  Vaginal dryness might be interrupting your life and it doesn't have to.

During the reproductive years, three estrogens of importance are Estradiol, Estrone, and Estriol. About five years before actual menopause, the production of Estradiol begins to decline, and after menopause the production ceases almost completely. Consequently, estrone and estriol become the main circulating estrogens. This decrease and shift of estrogens commonly brings noticeable changes such as hot flashes, atrophy (thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls due to a decline in estrogen), and an increased risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.  That's the normal process of aging, but it's not a normal process to  'just live with'.  What woman wants to walk around feeling like their skin and body parts are turning into sandpaper?  What woman wants to have this and poor bone and heart health as well?  A patient often expresses that she feels she is drying up from the inside-out....but it doesn't have to be that way.

Studies have indicated that 50% of otherwise healthy women over 60 years have symptoms of urogenital atrophy. That's 1 in 2 and thus why I call it common. The symptoms are vaginal dryness, pain, itching, urination complaints, recurrent vaginal infections and urinary tract infections. It often hurts for these women to have sexual intercourse which often results in not engaging with their partner at all for fear of the painful after-effects of sex. I've helped address this one issue in countless relationships throughout the years of serving in this professional niche. I even covered this topic in my book in the chapter titled "Like a Prune".  Vaginal dryness bears mentioning because there is hope and help for those who suffer from this!!! The answer is often estrogen replacement therapy and we have tons of patients that get a common  formulation to help with this problem. In fact, the OB/GYN's that we collaborate with will order a unique formulation for their patients needing some help in this area of hormonal imbalance.   The blend provides healthy estrogen that the tissue needs to obtain moisture and healing. Vaginal atrophy is very treatable with testing and identification of this as the root cause. I have no idea why women put this off because it's very affordable, the custom medicine can be applied just a few times a week, and the benefits are tremendous for those that need this.

Lichen Sclerosis (LS) is another Uro-zone problem that can be associated with hormone deficiency. LS is a benign and progressive skin disease that creates patchy, white skin usually around the genital area. It can affect both men and women at any age, but usually is found in menopause aged females. Some medical articles suggest that androgen deficiency (testosterone) is a culprit and that testosterone replacement therapies applied to the affected area can help promote healthy skin and healing of the wounds associated with this condition. A soothing base can be used to promote good saturation of the therapy into the diseased tissue which gives great relief to those who suffer from this.

Sometimes with vaginal area pain there can be a neuropathic process causing pain sensitivity affecting activities of daily living. Working with a physician to determine if the issue is related to muscle constriction of the pelvic floor, involvement of the hormonal system, genetic and disease factors, or sexually transmitted diseases is important in determining a plan of action for creative medicine interventions. Very effective creams, suppositories, and sprays can be customized and formulated to control multiple issues contributing to the pain and on a per individual basis.

I think it's so important for women and men to know that there are options in treating these conditions. And believe me, throughout the years, I have responded to these needs many, many times. We can cover a lot of territory  in the creative medicines that we provide for these and other things. Simply talking with your personal healthcare provider is the first step in getting help. Feel free to connect with me or have your doctor contact me about your concerns and failed attempts at healing through other medicines and means. We are here to help in finding your answer through the means of creative medicines.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja