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.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Aging Skin and Hormones -Is there a link?

ZRT Labs:
Hormones & The Skin
It certainly isn't news that hormones are involved in skin health. But it may be news that effects of declining estrogen levels are more obvious on the skin of the face than elsewhere on the body.
How so? Read on.
Lower Hormone Levels = Lower Skin Vitality
Women and their doctors have known for a long time that the decline in hormone levels as we age has a negative impact on skin properties, and we typically see skin thinning, wrinkling, discoloration, and dryness. This is because hormones are intrinsically involved with maintaining collagen content, skin lipid levels, elasticity, wound healing, and glycosaminoglycan content. Not only do hormones act at prolific receptor sites throughout the skin, but also several cellular components of skin including the sebaceous glands, fibroblasts, sweat gland cells, subcutaneous fat cells, and epidermal keratinocytes actively produce androgens and estrogens for local use.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Hormone Therapy-Important Things to Consider

Hello BLOG community!
I've been getting questions more and more these days surrounding all of the options in how to take hormone therapy and what's best for an individual.  And keeping the individual at the forefront of decision making in choice of therapy is definitely key.  The wide, wide, world of hormone therapy has opened up almost exponentially over my 20 years of providing personalized hormone therapy and  is now becoming more accepted in the medical mainstream.  In fact, I have many physicians, nurses, chiropractors, and nurse practitioners that I design custom compounded hormone therapies for each and every month.  

Lets face it, we are all aging, and feeling good is important especially when it comes to the plethora of symptoms that women and men can experience in the aging process. And just to refresh everyone, these are some of the common aging concerns that I hear about from patients seeking guidance on hormonal imbalance. 

fatigue, weight gain, sweats, brain fog, depressed mood, hot flashes, decreased sex drive, osteopenia or osteoporosis, insomnia, anxiety, diminished vitality, disinterest, PMS, PMDD, and mood swings.

fatigue, depressed mood, lack of initiative, increased abdominal fat, brain fog, decreased stamina, decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, decreased self confidence, indecisiveness, sweats, hot flashes. 

These are some important points to consider when it comes to hormone replacement therapy and in making the decision about the best plan for YOU. 

1) Testing is important
I would personally never take any kind of hormone therapy without testing my levels of hormones.  The days of cookie-cutter, 'lets give this a try', shot gun approach type medicine are far in the past and we now have great tools to assess and address hormonal imbalances.  The most common options in testing are blood, saliva, or urine.  If your provider is unwilling to test your hormone levels, I would raise an eyebrow of suspicion and simply ask, "why not??"  If you want to test by saliva or urine, don't hesitate to reach out to me.  I can walk you through the simple process of testing which is a MOST EXCELLENT way to evaluate hormones and more.  It's how I test my own levels.

2) The type of hormone used is important
Do your homework.  For me, only bio-identical hormones will ever be used.  Bio-identical hormones are molecularly identical to what our body produces from a physiological standpoint.  Synthetic hormones, (birth control pills included), are not my preference because of the chemical makeup of the hormones, the sources of the synthetic hormones, and the side effect profile associated with synthetics.  If you don't believe me take a look at the common adverse side effect profile for Premarin and look at it's source 'pregnant-mare-urine' (yuck), thus the name Pre-mar(e)-in. Furthermore, synthetic hormones do not include a very important estrogen called Estriol (E3).  Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy allows those tested hormone levels to be addressed and restored directly to the needs of the individual.  That's personalized medicine at it's best. 

3) Delivery method of hormone replacement therapy is important
It seems that convenience is very important to people, but I would warn, cannot be placed out of order when it comes to some of the more important things that must be considered first, like delivery method of the hormones, the correlating metabolism of those hormones by delivery method, and the side effect potential.   The majority of patients I design hormone therapies for are receiving conservative daily doses of hormones as capsules, creams, and dissolvable oral troches, and there are many (especially men), who do patterned injections through commercial products on the market every week or two for their needed hormone dose.  I design and promote these options because there's a lot of patient control over the hormone dosing, there's important aspects correlating with how an individual metabolizes each hormone, and if discontinuation or reduction of dose is needed, it's as easy as withholding a dose, or reducing the dose, or prolonging the time until the next injection.  Liver metabolism is also very important and using delivery methods that are more protective to the liver over time can be significant.  Hormones are typically used for several years so this is critical for the long haul in using a replacement therapy.  Also, through the right testing options we can even assess if a person would likely benefit from a capsule over a cream in terms of how the receptors are affected with a particular hormone.  Amazing right?! Knowledge if Power!

I suppose that pellet therapy also needs to be included in this discussion. Although maybe considered convenient, pellets are little designed slow release hormone vectors about the size of a grain of rice that are inserted under the skin with local anesthesia and 'wear off' over a period of 3 to 6 months.  The supra physiologic (high) dosing contained in a hormone pellet raises concern because once that pellet is inserted, its in, and there's no going back when it's discovered that the dose didn't go so well for a person.   I've seen many patients over the years coming my way asking what to do for their horrible acne breakouts on the face, the increased facial hair, the aggressive feeling and irritability, the body rash, the scalp hair loss, and more after getting a pellet inserted.  Sadly, I have to tell them that they will have to have it removed (if possible), or wait until it wears off.  Which remember can be a matter of months, not days....Yikes!

Here's something else to think about with pellets. What if all of a sudden there's a lump discovered in the breast, or abnormal bleeding and the pellet has just been placed?  Polycythemia for men is also something to think about and needs to be monitored carefully.  Waiting for a wear off of the inserted pellet hormones is not something that's going to be reasonable for the recipient.  Also, ask for a copy of your hormone lab work and see where your levels are before having the next pellet inserted.  I've worked with patients and reviewed their chart only to find that the levels were still quite high at the 3 month mark or beyond and another pellet was placed anyway.  

4) Your hormone therapy provider/prescriber is important
Please make sure that you find a provider that is well educated in hormone therapy.  I've seen a lot of pop-up clinics come about over the years and when I start receiving the same prescription components, and the same dosing for each patient that comes through that clinic, I become especially concerned.  A weekend certificate class or symposium is not ideal.  You want a provider that is highly dedicated to this highly complex field of hormone therapy. Be careful with your provider choice.

5) Costs
Price is an important aspect to consider also when it comes to anti-aging and hormone therapies.  It's important for an individual to know that they can maintain the cost over a reasonable amount of time.  I commonly tell people that their hormone levels did not suddenly hit low levels overnight, nor will they automatically be restored overnight.  It takes adequate time of consistent dosing to get a good steady state effect and to see optimal benefits.   Believe me, I see and hear of some super pricey therapy options and then adding the lab work on top, and the maintenance fees, and follow up provider calls or office visits, etc., making it very cost prohibitive for a person. Compounded hormone therapies are typically very affordable because the personalized formulation contains multiple restorative hormone agents as an all-in-one therapy eliminating the need to buy separate prescriptions for each.  Over the years I've taken multiple therapies that a person has been using, and have found a way to combine the therapy into a single source of therapy.  That's always well received and appreciated. People are usually pleasantly surprised when I share the costs of maintaining therapy through compounding options such as capsules, creams, and troches.  

So, as you can see hormone therapy has a lot of important aspects that have to be considered. We are all trying to manage the budget as best we can for our good health and for our aging needs.  The best type of hormone replacement for each individual is the priority and having an understanding of each of the options is essential.  Please, please, please check out a book or two, do some research, ask about providers in your area, get a referral from a trusted friend, but ultimately determine what's best for you.  My desire is to get you thinking and to make you more informed about the plan you choose to go with.   If I can answer any questions or provide more information please email: 

Be Well!
Dr. Sonja O'Bryan, Pharm.D., ABAAHP, 

Monday, September 9, 2019

Eat Your Veggies for Better Health

It’s no secret that vegetables are good for you, and this is well supported by many studies. Much like all things not everything is created equally, and some are better than others, as such we’ve collected a short list of some of the vegetables that are the most nutritious ones to put into your body. 

Spinach is high in iron, potassium, magnesium, carotenoids, as well as vitamins A, B, C, E, and K; it contains many vitamins and minerals essential to blood clotting, bone metabolism, and a healthy immune system to go along with anti-aging antioxidants to help fight inflammation. Spinach is also relatively tasteless which makes it easy to be added to soups, salads, and smoothies, plus it is low in calories at about 6 calories per cup. 
Cauliflower is a cruciferous veggie that is high in vitamins C and K, calcium, fiber, potassium, and folic acid. It also contains phytonutrients that have immune enhancing, anti-aging, and cancer fighting properties. Cauliflower can be consumed raw or cooked making it a good choice to add to salads, rice, or just a snack.
Asparagus may be one of the healthiest veggies, aside from being low in calories at about 4 calories per stalk it is rich in fiber, potassium, folic acid, amino acid asparagine, as well as vitamins A, B6, and K. Asparagus has a natural diuretic effect to help rid the body of excess water, bloat, and sodium. 
Carrots are great for your eyes thanks to their vitamin A and carotenoid content. Along with making a great crunchy snack they are full of vitamins B, C, and K, as well as potassium, and insoluble fiber that help protect against cancer. 
Broccoli is another cruciferous veggies that is high in vitamins and nutrients that aid in heart health, fighting cancer, and rebalancing blood sugar. Broccoli is also low in calories and high in fiber content so it will help to keep you feeling satisfied. Broccoli also contains about 2.6 grams of protein per 100 gram serving according to the USDA. 
Microgreens are not just a garnish as they contain 4-40 times more nutrients by weight than their fully grown counterparts as well as a larger variety of polyphenols that help to prevent buildup of free radicals and decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and heart disease. 
Sweet potatoes may be the candy of veggies, as a plus they are full of vital nutrients, fiber, potassium, beta-carotene, as well as vitamins B6 and C. Sweet potatoes are lower on the glycemic index than regular potatoes and can help maintain normal blood sugar levels. 
Brussels sprouts are great for fighting inflammation, and aiding in methylation, which is the body’s biochemical pathway that down regulates inflammation and keeps the detox pathways functioning properly. Brussels sprouts also help to boost heart health, rebalance blood sugar, and ward off cancer. 
Garlic and onions are packed full of anti-aging antioxidants and sulfur compounds that can help to reduce the risk of ovarian, mouth, and colon cancers. One study found the combination reduced the risk of breast cancer, and other studies suggest they can help to relieve gut issues as they promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive system. 
Kale may have a reason for being trendy as it contains glucosinolates that are broken down into biologically active compounds during digestion that can help protect cells from DNA damage, help inactivate carcinogens, reduce inflammation, and stimulate cell death to reduce the risk of cancer. Kale is high in calcium, copper, potassium, as well as vitamins B and K making it great for the brain, heart, and bone health. 
Mustard greens, turnip, and collards are excellent sources of vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as iron, potassium, magnesium, folate among others. They also contain glucosinolates that have been found to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties which can help to inactivate carcinogens and prevent tumor formation and metastasis. 
Seaweed/ Sea vegetables aren’t very popular but contain a variety of beneficial minerals and health boosting trace elements; they are also abundant in vitamins B, C, and K along with being one of the most effective ways to get iodine needed for thyroid hormone production. Nori, dulse, kombu, kelp, and Irish moss are also anti-inflammatory and help to balance blood sugar levels.
Beats make an excellent source for fiber at 3.5 grams per cup which will help to slow digestion and keep you feeling full for longer while helping to prevent blood sugar spikes. The fiber will also help to lower LDL cholesterol by preventing it from being absorbed in the digestive tract. Beats are rich in folate which is essential for fetal development, and they have been found to help lower blood pressure. 
Bell peppers can help you to eat the rainbow as they come in a variety of colours which are low in calories while being rich in anti-aging antioxidants, folic acid, fiber, potassium, as well as vitamins A and C. Green bell peppers also contain lutein that helps to protect vision. These colorful veggies are great raw or cooked making them great food choices for snacks. 
Green peas contain a few more carbs than other non-starchy vegetables but they are still good for you. They are full of vitamins A, C and K as well as fiber, folate, niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin. Green peas also contain about 6 grams of protein per 100 grams. 
That expression “Eat the Rainbow” is a good rule of thumb for consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables good food stuff, which has been shown time and time again to be the easiest way to improve overall well being, maintain and assist in weight management, and to help ward off conditions like heart disease, high cholesterol, and cancer. Food can be used as medicine, what a wonderful thing, provided it is healthy food.

Repost worldhealth. net

Monday, February 25, 2019

GENETIC TESTING IS HERE! ~The Answer May Be In Your Genes

I'm excited to share that I will be rolling out genetic testing March 1, 2019.   For almost 2 decades, I've offered testing of all kinds (hormones/adrenals/thyroid/heavy metal toxicity/metabolites/neurotransmitters/iodine/fertility), but there was a gap in my client offerings when it came to getting down to the literal "DNA" of health and wellness matters.  That was until I discovered a world-renowned research team, testing data providing robust scientific evidence, and a way for people to conveniently and affordably obtain a genetic testing profile (45 genetic markers) from the convenience of their own home.   I took the leap personally and sent off my own sample for genetic analysis so that I could understand the process, costs, and personal discovery involved in offering this to others.
I've posted screen shots (below) of a few pieces of my final report for you to see.

My final report is 40 pages long, displayed in an easy to read color brochure that goes with me now.... for life.  My DNA is not going to change and that's what I love about this testing.  It's a roadmap for my entire life on nutrient metabolism, eating habits, injury risk, physical activity, food intolerances, and more.  The human genome is simply fascinating and definitely helpful as a guide.

You might be reading this blog and find yourself doing all of the right things, or best things, yet hitting some barriers.  What if I told you that the reasons for those barriers may be in your genes.  Your DNA sometimes requires you to do things differently compared to others and in doing so, you have a more identifiable method and plan for your personalized healthcare.  We now know that specific variations in our genes can explain how we will respond to foods, beverages, and supplements that we consume.  But not only that! Here is a list of the contents that are included in the genetic testing.  I provided a summary using a screenshot from my own personal booklet.

Genetic and Personalized Nutrition testing provides answers to some of the big questions that people are concerned about.  Should I limit salt intake?  Should I limit caffeine?  Do I have a gluten intolerance? Do I have a sugar preference? Am I prone to Vitamin D or Calcium deficiency? Am I motivated to exercise? Do I have a high pain tolerance?  Genetic variation determines not only the color of our eyes and hair, but how we metabolize and utilize the foods, nutrients, and supplements we ingest. The one-size-fits-all approach is definitely not the personalized approach when we consider the technology that is now available to us.  Genetic testing is certainly the way of the future, but thankfully it already exists now for those that want to discover more about themselves in their quest to live, look, and feel better.  Why wait?

 Mention this blog and get a 15% discount on the genetic consultation/testing kit fee through March 31, 2019.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja