June 17, 2004
JAMA Study on HRT
If you own a television or radio, read any newspaper
or magazine, or even had a conversation with a friend, family member,
or co-worker, then you’ve undoubtedly heard what my newsletter and
e-letter subscribers have known for yearsconventional hormone
replacement therapy (HRT) is dangerous and should be avoided.
While I am thrilled that women across America have
finally heard loud and clear what I have been saying for years,
it seems that as many questions have been raised as answers given.
I’d like to spend our time together today helping you to sort out
the findings of the eye-opening study presented in the July 17,
2002 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association
(JAMA), highlight a few studies that have actually prophesized these
findings, show you how to wean yourself off of conventional HRT,
and offer natural solutions for relief from menopausal symptoms.
Be sure to share this information with all the women in your life.
Explanation of the Study
The study presented in last week’s issue of JAMA
reported on the findings from one part of the Women’s Health Initiative
(WHI), an 8.5 year project funded by the National Institutes of
Health. The WHI involves 161,809 postmenopausal women between the
ages of 50 and 79 and focuses on outlining the benefits and risks
of a variety of treatments designed to lower the incidences of several
diseases, including heart disease, breast and colon cancer, and
fractures in postmenopausal women. Of this group, 16,608 women who
were healthy and had an intact uterus participated in one part of
the WHI, which tested the effectiveness of estrogen/progestin therapy.
According to the findings, women taking estrogen/progestin
for five years or more had an increased risk for blood clots, coronary
heart disease (CHD), strokes, and breast cancer. They did find that
the treatment decreased the risk for colorectal cancer and hip fracture.
The researchers concluded that, “The results
indicate that this regimen should not be initiated or continued
for primary prevention of CHD.” In fact, researchers felt so
strongly about the negative implications of long-term combined HRT,
especially the unacceptably high risk for breast cancer, that they
ended the study three years early.
The Research Path Leading Up to the Study
While the national media reports that the medical
community is shocked and stunned by the results of the recent JAMA
study, I can’t help but wonder why. Reports on the risks associated
with conventional HRT have filled medical journals for more than
twenty years. Two different studies presented in 1975 in the New
England Journal of Medicine found that estrogen significantly
increased the risk of cancer of the uterine lining.
In a 1997 study published in the Lancet, researchers looked
at 51 earlier studies involving a total of more than 161,000 women.
They concluded that conventional HRT increased the risk of breast
cancer with each year of use. Women using HRT for five or more years
were at 35 percent greater risk. In that same year, the Medical
Tribune reported that after ten years of use, ERT (replacement
therapy using estrogen alone) increased a woman’s risk of dying
from breast cancer by 43 percent.
In 1998, the Heart and Estrogen/progestin Replacement
Study (HERS), focused on the connection between conventional HRT
and heart disease, and involved nearly 2,800 postmenopausal women
with an average age of 67 who were given either a combination of
estrogen/progestin or placebo for about four years. All participants
had a history of heart disease.
The findings of this study, which were presented
in the August 19, 1998 issue of JAMA, found that the estrogen/progestin
combination did not prevent heart attacks or death from coronary
heart disease, but in fact, did increase the risk for clots in the
veins and lungs.
Finally, in January 2000, concerns about combined
estrogen-progestin hormone replacement treatment identified by a
large National Cancer Institute study were reported in JAMA.
The study concluded that women who took the combined treatment for
five years had a 40 percent greater chance of developing breast
cancer than women taking estrogen alone or no hormones. Similarly,
other recent studies have confirmed an even higher 60 to 70 percent
increase in breast cancer risk with the long-term use of HRT.
One of the questions that has been posed in every
newspaper and on every television program since the release of the
JAMA findings is “Now What?” Many women fear that
giving up HRT means a return of dreaded menopausal symptoms such
as hot flashes, night sweats, and anxiety. For those of you who
receive my newsletter, my answer to this question is quite simpleuse
a combination of safe, natural therapies like phytoestrogens, vitamins,
and natural progesterone. Not only are these complementary treatments
gentle and highly effective, they are readily available in most
health food stores.
For relief of the symptoms associated with menopause,
as well as support for your cardiovascular system and bones, I recommend
taking the following daily dosages: 400 to 2,000 IU of vitamin E
per day; 80 to 160 mg of a standardized extract of black cohosh
per day (this dose should contain a total of 2 to 4 mg of the active
component triterpenes, calculated as 27-deoxyacteine); and/or 50
to 150 mg of soy isoflavones per day.
You will also need to elevate your progesterone
levels with a natural form. Although it’s available by prescription
as a pill, most women prefer to use natural progesterone as a topical
cream or spray, which is absorbed through the skin. A typical dosage
of natural progesterone cream is 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon applied to
any clean area of the skin once or twice a day (be sure it contains
400 to 600 mg of progesterone per ounce). A typical dosage of the
spray is 5-10 sprays per day.
Read More on Menopause:
Keep it SIMPLE Tip Taking Herbs
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