Hormone supplement, benefits and risks
Feb 27 2014 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Hormones are chemical messengers that control and coordinate the functions of all tissues and organs. Each hormone is secreted from a particular gland and distributed throughout the body to act on tissues at different sites.

A number of natural hormones regulate body functions, including growth and development, metabolism, and reproduction. Numerous glands throughout the body produce hormones. The hypothalamus produces several releasing and inhibiting hormones that act on the pituitary gland, stimulating the release of pituitary hormones. Of the pituitary hormones, several act on other glands located in various regions of the body, whereas other pituitary hormones directly affect their target organs. Other hormone -producing glands throughout the body include the adrenal glands, which primarily produce cortisol; the gonads (i.e., ovaries and testes), which produce sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone; the thyroid, which produces thyroid hormone; the parathyroid, which produces parathyroid hormone; and the pancreas, which produces insulin and glucagon. Many of these are part of regulatory hormonal cascades involving a hypothalamic hormone, one or more pituitary hormones, and one or more target gland hormones. recently bioidentical hormones have become more popular.

Alphabetical listing of Hormones
Adiponectin - Low levels of a hormone secreted by fat cells, independent of body mass index (BMI) -- a measure of obesity -- are associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer in men. Previous reports have linked body fat and insulin resistance with colorectal cancer risk. Adiponectin, an insulin-related hormone secreted by fat cells, is inversely associated with both these factors.
Adrenocorticotropic hormone ACTH -
Agouti related peptide
Aldosterone
Amylin is released by the pancreas. Amylin is released during meals, and exogenous amylin leads to a dose-related reduction in meal size. Amylin has a rapid onset and brief duration of action.
Amylase
Androgen hormones such as androstenedione, testosterone, and DHT - Excess androgen hormones can lead to hair loss and acne.
Androstenedione is a steroid hormone made from DHEA. Androstenedione can convert into testosterone and estrogen.
Angiotensin from kidney
Antidiuretic hormone
Atrial natriuretic peptide used for therapy of heart failure
Cholecystokinin - CCK -
Calcitonin is a naturally occurring peptide hormone which acts via specific receptors to strongly inhibit osteoclast function. It has been used in the treatment of osteoporosis for many years. Historically, calcitonin was administered as a parenteral injection, but the intranasal formulation is now the most widely used because of its improved tolerability.
Corticotropin-releasing hormone - CRH -
Cortisol - this adrenal gland hormone - also called the stress hormone - is available synthetically under various names including dexamethasone, prednisone, triamcinolone, fluocinolone. High levels of cortisol can lead to a condition known as Cushing's syndrome. Stress releases more cortisol which makes it more likely to succumb to infections, even as simple as yeast infections. Those with Addison's disease have little or no cortisol production.
Desmopressin
DHEA hormone - Secreted by the adrenal cortex, the hormone DHEA - dehydroepiandrosterone - exerts its action either indirectly in peripheral tissues after its conversion to androgens and estrogens, or directly as a neurosteroid through the interaction with neuronal receptors. Analyses of randomized studies show that treatment with DHEA improves well-being and fatigue in patients with adrenal insufficiency and reduces disease activity in women with systemic lupus erythematosus. Interesting results with this hormone have also been observed in the treatment of depressive disorders, but these studies require confirmation. In contrast, there is neither justification for DHEA supplementation in healthy elderly subjects nor clear evidence for beneficial effects of DHEA on muscle function, bone metabolism or cognition. It can increase libido, though, but so can many over the counter natural herbs such as Horny Goat Weed for better Sex. Finally, there is no guarantee with regard to the quality of this hormone product or its safety during long term use.
Dihydrotestosterone - also known as DHT, this hormone is a metabolite of testosterone. High DHT hormone levels could lead to hair thinning and hair loss.
Erythropoietin hormone
Estrogen hormone -- This female hormone, actually men have estrogen also, is quite controversial when it comes to hormone therapy or replacement. Excess estrogen can lead to blood clots and increased risk of breast cancer. Reduction in the use of estrogen hormone (such as Premarin)  by post menopausal women could potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer. There are several estrogen hormones including estradiol, estrone, and estriol. Estrogen is called the female hormone even though men have estrogen in their bodies, too.
Follicule Stimulating Hormone or Follicular stimulating hormone - FSH hormone. Older women are more likely to conceive twins because rising concentrations of ollicle stimulating hormone (FSH) over-stimulate their ovaries. Identical twins come from a fertilized egg dividing to develop two babies. Non-identical twins occur when two eggs are fertilized at the same time.
     Plasma sex hormone concentrations and subsequent risk of breast cancer among women using postmenopausal hormones. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005. Sex hormone concentrations are associated with breast cancer risk among women not using postmenopausal hormones. We conducted a prospective, nested case-control study within the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) cohort to examine the association between plasma sex hormone concentrations and postmenopausal breast cancer among women using post menopausal hormones at blood collection. Although women using hormones have a different hormonal profile than those not using hormones, plasma sex hormone concentrations appear to be associated with breast cancer risk among post menopausal hormone users.
Gastrin
Ghrelin-- Small synthetic molecules called growth hormone secretagogues (GHSs) stimulate the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. Scientists have purified an endogenous ligand for GHS-R from rat stomach and named it "ghrelin," after a word root ("ghre") meaning "grow." Ghrelin is a peptide hormone in which the third amino acid, usually a serine but in some species a threonine, is modified by a fatty acid; this modification is essential for ghrelin's activity. The discovery of ghrelin indicates that the release of growth hormone from the pituitary might be regulated not only by hypothalamic growth hormone -releasing hormone, but also by ghrelin derived from the stomach. In addition, ghrelin stimulates appetite by acting on the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus, a region known to control food intake. Ghrelin is secreted from the stomach and circulates in the bloodstream under fasting conditions, indicating that it transmits a hunger signal from the periphery to the central nervous system. Taking into account all these activities, ghrelin plays important roles for maintaining growth hormone release and energy homeostasis.
Gonadotrophin - human chorionic gonadotropin -  HCG serves to maintain progesterone production by the corpus luteum in the early part of pregnancy. By the time HCG drops at the beginning of the second trimester, the placenta can make sufficient progesterone to maintain the endometrium. HCG also stimulates the development of fetal gonads and synthesis of androgens by the fetal testes. HCG has a similar to function to LH in stimulating secretion of estrogen and development of the placenta.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone -
Glucagon
HCG hormone
Human Growth Hormone -- HGH -- This controversial hormone has gotten a lot of press. Over the counter human growth hormone supplements or products are worthless since only the prescription injection is effective. Even then, hormone replacement with aging with human growth hormone is risky, expensive, and it may even lead to premature death. Excess growth hormone leads to a condition known as acromegaly. Additional human growth hormone side effects include elevated blood sugar and carpal tunnel syndrome. Human growth hormone releasers have not been studied enough to come to firm recommendations. Growth hormone deficiency can occur in children, and in this case Human-Growth-Hormone therapy is appropriate. Growth hormone releaser supplements are marketed widely but little proof exists of any long term benefit.
Incretins are a group of gut hormones that cause an increase in the amount of insulin released from the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas.
Inhibin B - In adult men, inhibin B regulates follicle stimulating hormone secretion by a negative feedback.
Insulin - this hormone is released by the pancreas.
insulin-like growth factor -- The insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) signaling pathway is evolutionarily conserved in diverse species including C.elegans, saccharomyces cerevisiae, Drosophila melanogaster, rodents and humans. Insulin-like growth factor is involved in many interrelated functions that are necessary for metabolism, growth and reproduction. Interestingly, more and more research has revealed that insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway plays a pivotal role in the regulation of longevity. Generally, disruption of the power of this pathway will extend longevity in species ranging from C.elegans to humans.
   Q. What is known, scientifically, of the efficacy and safety of IGF supplements?
      A. I am not aware of any supplements over the counter that are from a reliable company and have a high concentration of insulin-like growth factor.  I have not seen any studies regarding the benefits and risks of taking IGF supplements.
Leptin - leptin is a hormone that is secreted from adipocytes (fat cells) and functions to suppress appetite and increase energy expenditure. Leptin is a proinflammatory cytokine.
Lipase
Luteinizing hormone
Luteinizing hormone releasing hormone
Melanin concentrating hormone
Melanocortins
Melatonin - called the sleep hormone. You can buy a Melatonin supplement here. Melatonin hormone in one mg sublingual pills are also available.
Motilin
Neuropeptide Y
Neurotensin
Obestatin - Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine in California have discovered a hormone, which they call obestatin, that suppresses appetite and produces weight loss in rats. Interestingly, the hormone is derived from the same gene that gives rise to ghrelin, a well-known appetite-inducing hormone. However, after this was reported, new studies showed that perhaps the role of this hormone may be different. Now researchers think that obestatin inhibits thirst and anxiety, improves memory, and regulates sleep.
Orexins act as regulators of many functions including the control of sleep-wake states, breathing, and central chemosensitivity.
Oxyntomodulin hormone - Oxyntomodulin is a hormone found in the gut could help reduce appetite and increase physical activity in overweight and obese people. Injections of oxyntomodulin to 15 overweight but healthy volunteers aged 23 to 49. Those given oxyntomodulin hormone by injection ate fewer calories.
Oxytocin hormone - Exposing people to the hormone Oxytocin makes them more willing to bond with others. The same people exposed to the hormone but faced with a computer did not show increased willingness to take risks.  specifically affects an individual's willingness to accept social risks arising through interpersonal interactions. It is hardly surprising. Oxytocin -- also known as the "cuddle" hormone -- is released by both men and women at sexual orgasm, and the bloodstream levels have been shown to rise during massage but fall with recollection of a negative emotion. Intranasal administration of Oxytocin causes a substantial increase in trusting behavior.
Parathyroid hormone - A higher total habitual dietary phosphorus intake has been associated with higher serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) and lower serum calcium concentrations in healthy individuals. Higher serum PTH concentrations have been shown in those who consume foods with phosphorus additives. Adv Nutr 2014;5 92-97.
Peptide YY
Pheromones
Pregnenolone hormone is available over the counter.
Progesterone - this hormone is available in a synthetic form known as progestin
Prolactin hormone is one of the reproductive hormones
Relaxin is a peptide that is found to have a role in pregnancy.
Renin from kidney
Secretin
Somatostatin
Somatropin - human growth hormone
Steroid hormones include all natural hormones made by the adrenal gland, such as pregnenlone, DHEA, testosterone, cortisol, etc. Steroid hormones also include many synthetic hormones.
Substance P
Testosterone hormone - high amounts of testosterone hormone, especially during hormone replacement in men, may increase the risk for prostate cancer. Testosterone is called the male hormone even though women have this hormone, too.
Thyroid gland hormone - thyroid hormones T4 and T3, also known as thyroxine. Too little thyroid hormone leads to hypothyroidism, and too high a level of thyroid hormone leads to hyperthyroidism.
Thyroid stimulating hormone
Vasopressin hormone

Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy is controversial, and there are no clear cut widely acceptable guidelines. Each person, whether male or female, is unique in their requirement for hormone replacement with aging. Most people do not need hormone replacement, and if they do, tiny amounts of natural hormone DHEA or pregnenolone should be adequate. Bioidentical - or bio identical - hormones are preferable to synthetic hormones. For instance, natural hormone replacement with estrogen is preferable than using estrogen from animals, such as horse estrogens (Premarin) or synthethic estrogens.

Hormone imbalance has many causes including obesity, drugs, supplements, herbs, stress, or various medical or psychiatric conditions. Hormone imbalance symptom varies depending on which hormones are out of balance. Certain hormone levels can be measured.

Hormone saliva test -- Testing
Since different labs have somewhat different standards for hormone saliva tests, sometimes the results of hormone tests are difficult to interpret. A hormone doctor - an endocrinologist - is an expert on hormone test interpretation.

Adrenal Hormones
Androstenedione
Cortisol
DHEA
Pregnenolone
Progesterone
Testosterone

Gastrointestinal hormones
Many peptides are synthesized and released from the gastrointestinal tract. Ghrelin is an orexigenic peptide produced by the stomach, which appears to act as a meal initiator. Satiety signals derived from the intestine and pancreas include peptide YY, pancreatic polypeptide, glucagon-like peptide 1, oxyntomodulin, and cholecystokinin.

Hypothalamic Peptide Hormones
The hypothalamus produces several releasing and inhibiting hormones that act on the pituitary gland, stimulating the release of pituitary hormones. Neuropeptide Y (NPY), Melanocortins, Agouti related peptide (AGRP), Cocaine and amphetamine regulated transcript (CART), Melanin concentrating hormone (MCH), Orexins and endocannabinoids.

Kidney Hormones
Angiotensin
Renin

Pancreatic Hormones
Insulin
Glucagon

Pituitary Gland Hormones
Of the pituitary hormones, several act on other glands located in various regions of the body, whereas other pituitary hormones directly affect their target organs.
     Pituitary tumors cause symptoms by secreting hormones (prolactin, PRL, responsible for amenorrhea-galactorrhea in women and decreased libido in men; growth hormone, GH, responsible for acromegaly; adrenocorticotropic hormone, ACTH, responsible for Cushing's syndrome; thyroid-stimulating hormone, TSH, responsible for hyperthyroidism), depressing the secretion of hormones (hypopituitarism), or by mass-related effects (headaches, visual field abnormalities...). As you can see, the pituitary gland makes many hormones.
Adrenocorticotropic hormone
Growth hormone
Melatonin
Prolactin
Thyroid-stimulating hormone

Pro hormone
A pro hormone is a hormone that converts into another hormone.

Pregnancy hormone
There are two types of pregnancy tests - blood and urine tests. Both tests look for the presence of hCG - human chorionic gonadotropin -, the pregnancy hormone. Today, many women use a urine test, or home pregnancy test (HPT), to find out if they are pregnant. HPTs do not cost a lot, are easy to use, can be done at home, and are private.

Hormone pill
People normally refer hormone pill to mean estrogen or progesterone for hormone replacement therapy during hormone change after menopause. However many hormones come in pill form.

Endocrine -  hormones arrive by blood stream, secreted from a distant site
Insulin- controls glucose metabolism
Gastrin- stimulates gastric acid secretion and promotes growth of gastric and intestinal cells
Secretin- stimulates pancreatic secretion of fluid and bicarbonate, the liver to produce bile, and the stomach to produce pepsin
Motilin- regulates peristalsis and secretion between meals

Paracrine- hormones released locally
Substance P- influences secretion, absorption, blood flow, motility, and immunology

Hormones that can act as endocrine or paracrine substances
CCK- signal for gallbladder contraction, pancreatic secretion (and growth), & satiety
Somatostatin- inhibits secretion by gut cells, nerves, and hormone secreting cells
Neurotensin- increases blood flow & stimulates secretion.

What is a Prohormone? Some people spell it as Pro Hormone
A prohomoneis a substance that can be converted into a hormone. A prohormone usually is much less potent than the hormone it converts into. The term prohormone has been used in medical science probably since the 1950s. Examples include proinsulin and pro-opiomelanocortin. Some people consider DHEA to be a prohormone although this is controversial.
     In the last three decades, prohormone has also been used in the subculture of athletic, and nonmedical use of anabolic steroids and other hormones to refer to a product sold with the expectation of conversion after ingestion to an active hormone. Some marketers of prohormone supplements mislead the buyer to assume this prohormone product will provide the benefits of taking an anabolic steroid with less risk than taking the actual hormone. A typical prohormone is marketed to the consumer as a precursor of an anabolic steroid like testosterone, which is taken in order to boost the body’s available hormone supply.

Hormones and Food Intake
Gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and nervous system, both central (CNS) and enteric (ENS), are involved in two-way extrinsic communication by parasympathetic and sympathetic nerves, each comprising efferents fibers such as cholinergic and noradrenergic, respectively, and afferent sensory fibers required for gut-brain signaling. Afferent nerves are equipped with numerous sensors at their terminals in the gut related to visceral mechano- chemo- and noci-receptors, whose excitations may trigger a variety of visceral reflexes regulating GIT functions, including the appetitive behavior. Food intake depends upon various influences from the CNS as well as from the body energy stores (adipocytes) that express and release the product of Ob gene, leptin hormone, in proportion to fat stored and acting in long-term regulation of food intake. Leptin hormone acts through receptors (Ob-R) present in afferent visceral nerves and hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC), whose neurons are capable of expressing and releasing neuropeptide Y (NPY) and agouti related protein (AgRP) that activate the ingestive behaviour through paraventricular nucleus (PVN) (iVfeeding centerli). In addition, to this long-term regulation, a short-term regulation, on meal-to-meal basis, is secured by several gut hormones, such as cholecystokinin (CCK), peptides YY (PYY) and oxyntomodulin (OXM), released from the endocrine intestinal cells and acting via G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) either on afferent nerves or directly on ARC neurons, which in turn inhibit expression and release of food-intake stimulating NPY and AgRP, thereby inducing satiety through inhibition of PVN. In contrast, during fasting, the GIT, especially oxyntic mucosa, expresses and releases appetite stimulating (orexigenic) factors such as ghrelin and orexins (OX) -A and OX-B, and cannabinoid CB1 agonist. Ghrelin activates growth-hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R) in hypothalamic ARC and stimulates growth hormone (GH) release and in vagal afferents to promote the expression and release of hypothalamic NPY and AgRP stimulating PVN and driving ingestive behaviour. The balance and interaction between anorexigenic (CCK, PYY, OXM) and orexigenic (ghrelin and OX) factors originating from GIT appears to play an important role in short-term regulation of food intake and growth hormone (GH) release. An impairment of this balance may result in disorders of feeding behaviour and weight gain (obesity) or weight loss (cachexia).

Insect hormones
Ecdysteroids are compounds related to 20-hydroxyecdysone, the insect moulting hormone. See ecdysterone for more information.

Hypothalamic Hormones
The hypothalamus and obesity.
Curr Drug Targets. 2005.
Obesity, a condition already at epidemic proportions in the developed world, is largely attributable to an indulgent lifestyle. Biologically we feel hunger more acutely than feeling "full-up" (satiety). The discovery over a decade ago of leptin, an adiposity signal, revolutionised our understanding of hypothalamic mechanisms underpinning the central control of ingestive behaviour. The structure and function of many hypothalamic peptides (Neuropeptide Y (NPY), Melanocortins, Agouti related peptide (AGRP), Cocaine and amphetamine regulated transcript (CART), Melanin concentrating hormone (MCH), Orexins and endocannabinoids) have been characterised in rodent models. The pharmacological potential of several endogenous peripheral peptides released prior to, during and/or after feeding are being explored. Short-term signal hormones including Cholecystokinin (CCK), Ghrelin, Peptide YY (PYY(3-36)) and Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) control meal size via pathways converging on the hypothalamus. Long-term regulation is provided by the main circulating hormones leptin and insulin. These systems among others, implicated in hypothalamic appetite regulation all provide potential "drugable" targets by which to treat obesity.

Alternative Hormone Therapy
U.S. regulators have issued warnings in 2005 to dozens of companies that are promoting unproven "alternative" hormone therapies for women. The government has sent letters to about 50 firms and Web sites that market supplements and creams as alternatives to hormone replacement therapy, warning them against making baseless claims that the treatments can help with serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) aims to replace hormones diminished by menopause and is prescribed to women to relieve menopause symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings. However, millions of women have stopped taking the therapy and sought alternatives after learning in recent years that HRT can raise the risk of heart attack, stroke, breast cancer and other serious conditions. The FDA said it sent 16 letters to companies marketing alternative therapies, telling them that it considers the products unapproved new drugs, which require FDA approval before they can be sold. Many of the alternatives claim to be either natural progesterone creams or dietary supplements that contain plant-based hormones. Among the unproven claims cited in the warning letters, the FDA said, are that the therapies can reverse osteoporosis-related bone loss and increase bone density; reduce or arrest the growth of cancer cells; protect against fibroids, ovarian, and endometrial cancers; and treat various forms of arthritis.

Hormones influence fish
Researchers have found male fish with eggs in their testes and female sex traits off the coast of Southern California and believe that chemicals in sewage may be the cause. Changes appeared in fish such as English sole and California halibut, both of which are bottom dwellers, in water near where sewage is released. High levels of estrogen, both natural and man-made formulations used in birth control pills, are thought to cause such abnormalities in fish. Estrogen makes its way into sewage water and then the ocean through women's excretions.

Nerve growth factor and Love
Your heartbeat accelerates, you have butterflies in the stomach, you feel euphoric and a bit silly. It's all part of falling passionately in love -- and chances are the feeling won't last more than a year. The powerful emotions that bowl over new lovers are triggered by a molecule known as nerve growth factor (NGF), according to Pavia University researchers. The Italian scientists found far higher levels of NGF in the blood of 58 people who had recently fallen madly in love than in that of a group of singles and people in long-term relationships. But after one year with the same lover, the quantity of the "love molecule" in their blood had fallen to the same level as that of the other groups. The Italian researchers, publishing their study in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, said it is not clear how falling in love triggers higher levels of NGF, but the molecule clearly has an important role in the "social chemistry" between people at the start of a relationship.

Questions
Q. I have a friend who says she takes herbal pills for hormone balance or to correct female hormone imbalance. What does hormone balance mean?
     A. Hormone balance is a term used by lay people who do not understand the complexities of hormones in the body. As you can see from the hormone list on this page, there are hundreds of hormones, any many of them interact with each other. To take a supplement and claim that it leads to hormone balance does not make sense to me since it is impossible to measure all the hormone levels in the body at one time, and even if the hormones were measured, the levels could be quite different a few days or a few weeks later.

Q. What is your opinion on hormone glandulars?
     A. See glandulars for more information.

Q. Hi I am 36 having a complete hysterectomy and would like to know what you would recomend for replacing hormones i wont take the ones the dr said he wanted me to take my mother had cancer and the risks are too high. I am not sure what hormone or other option is the best for me.
     A. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to make individual recommendations, but we can refer you to this web page menopause. Good luck with the hysterectomy surgery and we hope everything goes well.

Q. Is DHEA a pro hormone?
     A. In my opinion DHEA is a hormone, but some people consider it to be a pro hormone. Perhaps it is both a prohormone and a hormone.

Q. I am a 50 year old woman. I have recently been diagnosed, and am being treated for, polyglandular autoimmune syndrome. I have had severe hypothyroidism for some time (currently balanced with T4 and T3 hormone) and now partial hypopituitarism (tested with stimulation tests).  I am on human growth hormone replacement therapy, and have also tested low (saliva test) in DHEA hormone, progesterone, and cortisol. My adrenal gland can make its hormones, as proved by a stimulation test, but my pituitary can't stimulate them to do so. My doctor has just recommended I take 15 mg of DHEA hormone twice a day, which he says can contribute to the production of progesterone and cortisol. I am excited to see the benefits of DHEA on your website, since I have had a problem with low energy and low libido for some time, among many other issues. My concern is the hair loss issues I've seen on your DHEA page. I have noticed hair loss in the top front center of my scalp for several months now. I had hoped that getting my hormones balanced would help this problem, but if DHEA supplements will make it worse, I'm very concerned. Is it possible that too low DHEA (or very low in the other hormones I've mentioned) would cause hair loss, that getting them balanced again can correct?
     A. You present a complicated case, and it is difficult to say. My guess is that DHEA hormone use may make hair loss worse, but I can't be sure.

Q. Do you think the nanoliposomal delivery of DHEA, & pregnenolone hormone is better than the ingestion?
   A. We have not seen any studies comparing the benefit and risks of different dhea and pregnenolone hormone preparations, and we actually do not know what they mean by nanoliposomal delivery since the prefix nano appears to be more of a marketing gimmick. Please use caution with these hormones.

Q. Can older men with elevated adrenal hormones and high progesterone use maca or suma. i heard these herbs are hormone balancers. would they balance the progesterone also?
   A. Not enough research has been done in humans with maca, suma or the vast majority of herbal supplements to determine what effect they would have on hormone levels in men or women. Although these herbs have been promoted as " hormone balancers, " this term has no meaning medically speaking. There are dozens of important hormones in the body and their levels fluctuate all the time and their interactions are extremely complicated. Furthermore, the dosage of an herb has an influence on hormone release or production, and different amounts may affect different people in different ways. To add to this complication, an herb may initially have a certain influence on a hormone level, such as progesterone, but after prolonged use the body may adapt and no longer be influenced as it did initially. Rather than focusing on the vague concept of "hormonal balance. " it is more appropriate to focus on what symptoms a person is having and what is the best option or options to treat these symptoms.

Q. A transgender friend of mine MTF, is taking hormones, and she had a violent outburst. Something that she has never done before, could it be the wrong dosage of hormones that she is taking or a chemical reaction cause a
psychological effect, and should I encourage her to go to her doctor and talk to him about these?
   A. High dosages of hormones, or imbalances of hormones, can cause uncontrollable outbursts or short temper.

Q. I recently had my progesterone and DHEA hormone levels tested. Both hormone levels were low. We did not test my pregnenolone or testosterone hormone levels. I am currently taking progesterone and 7-Keto DHEA. If progesterone and DHEA levels are both low, could this possibly mean that pregnenolone may be low also since it converts to progesterone and DHEA? Could simply supplementing with pregnenolone balance levels of both progesterone and DHEA hormone levels?
   A. The whole issue of hormone supplementation is very complicated and there are no simple answers. It is possible that taking pregnenolone hormone could elevate levels of progesterone and DHEA. However one must focus on treating the whole body rather than treating hormone levels. If a person feels well and has no major symptoms, there is no point in taking hormone supplements even if certain blood hormone levels happen to be slightly low. There is a danger supplementing with hormones and it could turn out to be counterproductive in the long run.

Q. I purchased some supplements a few weeks ago to try and raise my testosterone blood assay results. I had a baseline done just before I started through Z-Labs. Understanding all of the variables associated with hormone levels, what is a minimum number of weeks or months before having a new hormone assessment? At $270 each, I am just seeking a range or guideline, since all of this is out-of-pocket..
   A. Firstly, one has to determine whether there is a need to check the hormone levels. Many people spend a lot of money on lab tests that are not necessary or helpful. Rather than focusing on results of hormone levels, it is better to focus on the clinical signs and symptoms that are present. Blood work and hormone level checks need to be specific to what clinical signs and symptoms a person has. I am not a fan of routine hormone testing in healthy individuals. Secondly, there is no easy way to determine what supplements are required based on any specific hormone blood studies. Therefore, the question is too vague to answer and no specifics can be provided. If you do wish to recheck hormone levels, a general time frame can range from one to three months. But again, it may be a waste of money and time and, in my opinion, unless there is an obvious disease condition, it is better to determine what supplements to take based on how they make you feel overall rather than what the blood studies are showing.

Q. I just had a blood test through Life Extension, A complete blood test that included male hormones from LabCorp. Everything was in range, however Free Testosterone hormone (Direct) was Low, below range at 4.6 Ref. range is 6.6-18.1 pg/ml, DHEA Sulfate was 47, Ref range is 42-290 ug/dl and Estradiol hormone was 23 Ref. range is 0-53 pg/ml. My Testosterone, Serum is 293 Ref range is 241-827ng/ml What prompted me to take a blood test is because a saliva test showed DHEA at 2 Ref. range is 3-10ng/ml, Progesterone is 61 Ref. range is 5-95 pg/ml, Andostenedione hormone is 557 Ref. range is 151-350 pg/ml, Estrone is 29 Ref. range is 30-58 pg/ml, Testosterone was 17 Ref. range is 20-55 pg/ml DHT is 45 Ref. range is 39-89 pg/ml Can you tell me why if my Andostenedione is so high why wouldn't my Testosterone be higher, as you can see its lower than the low end of the Ref. range, so is DHEA and Estrone hormones. Can you possible explain the in-balance and tell me what androstenedione is and why is it so high and not increasing my testosterone.  
   A. Many people rely on blood tests for hormone levels rather than focusing on the clinical aspects of their symptoms, a complete medical history, routine blood studies, full physical exam, and how they feel. In my opinion, results of hormone levels, unless when extremely high or extremely low, are not reliable in terms of determining whether hormone replacement is necessary and even then what the right dosage or the right hormone should be. Many people waste a lot of money and get quite confused taking blood or saliva hormone tests.

Q. I am a 40 year old, white, female. I recently had my DHEA hormone levels tested and it was 4.7 which is in the normal range. But I also had my Sulfate DHEA hormone tested and it came back with a level of 452 which is about 200 units more than it should be. I have pretty severe anxiety and some depression. I also have inattentive ADD and Food sensitivities. I have researched pregnenolone and sulfate DHEA hormones, but it seems I can only find things on low levels.
   A. Before taking any specific action it is best to recheck levels by another lab since large variations can occur with labs and also at a different time. Hormone levels fluctuate and one level at one time of a day does not mean much. Furthermore, the whole person has to be evaluated in terms of medical history, other lab tests, physical exam, etc, rather than focusing on one hormone level at one time period.

I am a 52 year old male,5'8" at 160#. When I was 50 years old, I began supplementation with 50mg DHEA every other day and 100mg Tribulus Terristus daily to boost my testosterone for natural Body-building and libido. I also was taking 100mg DIM daily to lower estrogen levels. I must say I was making strength gains and fat loss. After about 3 months, I suffered a distal bicep rupture. Three months after this I became hospitalized with pnuemonia for three days. I continued with supplementation. Six months after this I suffered a double-hernia. At this point my Dr. sent me to an endocrinologist for extensive blood work. The first test showed I should be dead. Cortisol, testosterone, estrodol were extremely low. He ran another test thinking the Lab made a mistake. The second test came back the same. Before trying any supplementation, he told me to go off these supplements for 30 days and retest. The hormones were beginning to balance out. He had me go another 30 days off these supplements and test again. This time all my hormones were ok. The Dr. feels these supplements were the cause of the imbalance, shutting down my own natural production.