Welcome to the first issue of the Hormone Balance Hotline! In this and coming issues, we'll be sharing insights with you about health issues that Dr. John Lee dedicated his life to addressing. We'll cover the latest research on hormones and wellness, news about natural alternatives to conventional hormone replacement therapy, and bulletins about the latest developments in the field. We want to make this newsletter an invaluable source of information and advice that you can use to achieve optimal health naturally.
In This Issue
Over the last several months, multiple research studies have shown surprising declines in breast cancer rates since 2002. More importantly, the studies indicate that the declines occurred because millions of women stopped using conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While the latest research does not prove that HRT promotes breast cancer, it strongly suggests it. That vindicates Dr. Lee's position that conventional HRT can often reduce the body's ability to inhibit breast tumor growth.
The good news about breast cancer rates began showing up in the media last December when researchers reported significant reductions in both the use of HRT and incidents of breast cancer in California. Scientists from the Northern California Cancer Center and Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research noted that HRT use dropped 68 percent in the state between 2001 and 2003. Shortly thereafter, breast cancer rates dropped by 10 to 11 percent. The decline continued in 2004, which told the researchers that the rate reduction was not a fluke.
The Good News Spreads
A week later, researchers reported similar findings across the entire United States during the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. According to the research teams, U.S. breast cancer rates plunged an unprecedented 7 percent in 2003. That was the year after many women discontinued HRT because of findings from the Womens Health Initiative (WHI) study that linked HRT use with breast cancer and heart disease.
What was even more stunning was the decline in breast cancer rates among women that were most likely to use HRT. Among women between the ages of 50 and 69, there was a 12 percent reduction in cancer rates during 2003. Moreover, there was a 15 percent decline in the incidence of estrogen-driven cancers, the kind that are most easily linked to HRT.
There is also evidence that these trends could continue. While federal statistics on breast cancer rates in 2004 will not be available until April, data from the California cancer registry indicates that rates in that state continued to decline during the year. A study of the California data can be found in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. (Click here to download a copy of the Journal article; you will need the Adobe PDF Reader to view it.)
How Did it Happen?
It may seem surprising that breast cancer rates declined so quickly after the WHI study spurred women to drop HRT. After all, most breast tumors take years to form, so going off HRT would not instantly stop them in their tracks. However, some scientists are theorizing that many of the tumors that were forming, but had not yet been detected, stopped growing or even began shrinking once HRT was discontinued. As a result, they never showed up on mammograms.
This theory fits well with Dr. Lee's findings that the estrogen in HRT can fuel the growth of tumors and that their removal can stop the growth. In his groundbreaking book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer, Dr. Lee cited research that showed how unopposed estrogen breaks down the body's natural defenses against tumor growth. Estrogen does this by activating a gene known as Bcl-2 that slows the process of cell death, known as apoptosis. While apoptosis may not sound like a good thing, it really is. Every day, millions of old cells in our bodies need to die in an orderly fashion to make way for new ones. If old cells in the breast do not die, they can lead to dense, lumpy, or fibrocystic breasts. They can also create tumors.
In short, estrogen that is unopposed by other hormones — particularly progesterone — can act as a cancer accelerator in many women. When the accelerator is removed, tumors may often cease growing or even shrink. Moreover, research demonstrates that natural progesterone can play an important role in tumor reduction. As Dr. Lee pointed out in his book, progesterone activates gene p53, a gene that helps to restore normal apoptosis in cells.
What Can You Do?
There is much more that we could say about breast cancer and HRT, and we will revisit the subject in future issues. But for now, what can you do about the latest findings? Here is what we suggest:
Data came from the Northern California Cancer Center, the National Cancer Institute, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology (Clarke et al, Vol 24, 33:Nov 20 2006)
We are pleased to announce that several long-time colleagues of Dr. Lee have formed a non-profit organization to advance his work. The John Lee M.D. Institute has just opened its doors and will hold its first educational conference for healthcare providers in Portland, Oregon on April 14th and 15th. The conference, "Becoming an Expert in Bioidentical Hormone Balancing", will prove invaluable to providers who want to advance their skills in this field.
The John Lee M.D. Institute was formed to educate healthcare providers and the public about the work of Dr. Lee and to train healthcare professionals in the art and science of natural hormone balancing. The Institute's founders include Jay H. Mead, MD and Erin Lommen, ND, who have been professional colleagues and personal friends of Dr. Lee and his family for many years. They will be speaking at the upcoming conference along with other experts in the bioidentical hormone balancing field, including Don West, Rph and Hilary Andrews, ND.
According to Dr. Mead, the conference will be an information-intensive event that will feature cutting-edge clinical pearls from the speakers. Those who attend will learn how to:
The Institute has applied for 12.5 hours of CME credits to help those who attend meet their license requirements.
You can register for the event and learn more about the John Lee M.D. Institute at its web site (www.drjohnleeinstitute.com). If you need additional information, you can call or write Nancy Hunt at 6019 NE Mason St, Portland, OR 97218, (503) 493-9014.
Welcome to our first edition of the Hormone Balance Hotline! We look forward to a continuing relationship and to supporting you in your efforts toward optimal health and hormonal balance. We've been very busy with our transitions here at JohnLeeMD.com, so we have not been able to respond to all of your wonderful emails. However, we'll write back to as many of you as we can, and we so appreciate hearing from you.
My husband, Dr. John Lee M.D., touched so many lives. Recently, we received an email from a dear lady in Georgia who met Dr. Lee and wrote of how graciously he spoke with her about her health concerns. His pearls of wisdom are what we want to share with you, and this very gracious lady was thrilled to have her story told to help us all.
She and Dr. Lee were talking about her recent bone mineral density (BMD) test and the fact that the test showed she had osteopenia, a decrease in BMD that may be a precursor to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a further loss of BMD where some of the bone structure and proteins in the bone are disrupted. Bones with osteoporosis are more susceptible to fractures.
She writes, "One important thing he told me was to get a mini-trampoline and jump on it 12 minutes a day! I asked about walking. He said, ‘Walking won't do it.' Also, he said magnesium was more important than calcium." So this dear lady got a mini-trampoline and followed Dr. Lee's advice faithfully for 15 months and then had another bone mineral density test. Her bones had improved markedly! She also does other healthy things, but credits Dr. Lee and her faithful use of the mini-trampoline for her healthy bone results. She said, "I remember Dr. Lee's words, ‘12 minutes a day is all it takes.'"
So, happy jumping for healthy bones! As always, check with your healthcare provider before starting or changing your exercise regimen to help determine what's right for you. We don't endorse any mini-trampoline brands, but we do suggest that you get one that's nice and sturdy. Some models have a hand bar to hold onto for stability if needed, or you could place your trampoline near an object where you can steady yourself if need be. This dear lady from Georgia who shared her story tells us, "I place my trampoline right behind a living room chair so if I want to rest my hand on the chair back, I can."
Yours for good health,
Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation (Vol 10, 401-408)
If you are an older man and your balance is not what it used to be, you may not want to blame it entirely on your advancing years. According to a five-year study of 2,578 men ranging in age from 65 to 99, men with lower testosterone levels are more prone to falling than men with higher testosterone levels. In the study, the men in the lowest quartile for bioavailable testosterone (in other words, the 25 percent with the lowest levels) had a 40 percent higher fall risk than those in the highest quartile. The effect of low testosterone was most apparent among men aged 65 to 69 years. Low testosterone levels were also associated with reduced physical performance among all the subjects.
Fortunately, it is possible for many men to return their bioavailable testosterone to normal levels without undue medical risks. This was one of the assertions that Dr. Lee made in his highly informative booklet, Hormone Balance for Men. In the booklet, Dr. Lee discusses how the medical community has mistakenly concluded that testosterone promotes prostate cancer. If that were the case, Dr. Lee argues, more young men would be getting prostate cancer because they have higher testosterone levels than older men. He then offers research that sheds light on the real causes of prostate cancer. He also explains how many men can use natural testosterone and other bioidentical hormones to address symptoms related to hormone imbalances.
At JohnLeeMD.com, we offer several resources for men besides Hormone Balance for Men. Most men start by taking our free hormone balance test to see if their symptoms may be related to their hormone levels. They can also purchase saliva and blood tests to determine whether they have a hormonal imbalance. For most men, we recommend a set of six baseline saliva tests that includes testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, DHEA-S, and morning and evening cortisol. It is also advisable for most men to test their sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) levels via a blood spot test.
In short, aging does not have to be as tough on men as many of us think. Like women, most men can find ways to achieve hormone balances safely and naturally. And if the latest research is any indication, it could help them to age more gracefully....literally!
Archives of Internal Medicine (Orwoll et al, Vol 166, 19:Oct 23 2006)
Before we sign off, we wanted you to know about a new way that you can spread the good news about hormone health and save money on your next purchase at JohnLeeMD.com. Just point your web browser to our Tell a Friend page at http://www.johnleemd.com/store/tef-sub.html. Use this page to provide us with the name and email address of a friend who could benefit from our web site. We will send them an email that introduces them to our web site and offers them a 10% discount on their first purchase. If your friend visits our site, you will receive a 10% discount on your next purchase as well!
Rest assured that we will not send unwanted "spam" to your friends or sell their email addresses to anyone. We will also make it easy for them to tell us if they do not wish to receive any further emails from us. So please...accept our offer and help those who are special to you to improve their health naturally!
In Our Next Issue....
We'll take another look at the relationship of hormone imbalances to breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease. In addition, we'll examine some interesting research on the relationship between antidepressants and bone fractures. We'll also explore what Dr. Lee and his colleagues have said about hormones and depression. Until then, we wish you wellness!