What We Learned in Education Hour, November 2023

Once a month R3 Health holds an all hands meeting where we have an open conversation about any questions the team has in reference to functional medicine and our clinical practices. Here is what we discussed this month! 

How do LH and FSH levels affect fertility and are these levels impacted by hormone replacement therapy?

Luteinizing Hormone and Follicle Stimulating Hormone are hormones produced by the pituitary gland. When it comes to fertility, these hormones impact egg development and ovulation in women. In men, these hormones help with the production of testosterone and sperm. When discussing hormone therapy, men often worry about testosterone replacement negatively impacting fertility. This is because when supplementing with testosterone, it is thought that the body halts its natural production of testosterone which in turn may impact sperm production. To counteract potential fertility issues, it is imperative that your healthcare provider is making sure that men on testosterone are also on HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin. This is because HCG helps stimulate the body’s natural production of testosterone via stimulating the pituitary gland to release more luteinizing hormone. When prescribed and monitored appropriately, hormone therapy should have no impact on fertility.

Melatonin is a hormone?!

Surely most people have heard of melatonin before, as it is commonly discussed when talking about supplements that could have a positive impact on your sleep. What you might not know is that melatonin is not just an over-the-counter supplement. It is actually a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. Melatonin is produced in the brain in response to the dark and aids in the regulation of your sleep cycle, or circadian rhythm. Because it is produced naturally in response to the dark, exposure to light before bed (especially screentime) can greatly impact the body’s natural melatonin production and greatly inhibit your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. 

How does DHT impact hair loss?

DHT, or Dihydrotestosterone, is naturally produced when testosterone interacts with an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which is responsible for converting the testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. This occurs naturally with about 10% of the body’s testosterone. When on hormone replacement therapy, increasing the levels of testosterone in the body can cause the DHT conversion to be much higher. When DHT levels are elevated, hair follicles can shrink which affects the hair growth cycle and ultimately can result in hair loss. If you are noticing thinning hair, it is a good idea to have your provider check your DHT levels. If elevated, a DHT blocker can help stop the testosterone to DHT conversion and ultimately stop hair loss associated with hormone therapy. 

Alternative modalities for anxiety and depression.

Ketamine has been used in a clinical setting since the 1960’s, where it was used as an anesthetic agent. Since then, it has established itself as a useful clinical tool for treating depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. At R3 Health we utilize ketamine delivered intranasally or sublingually, and patients report the relief of symptoms in as short as 1-hour without the side effects of traditional anxiety and depression medications. We believe Ketamine to be a very promising tool for helping mental health without the use of daily SSRIs. In addition to Ketamine therapy, our office often utilizes amino acids L-theanine and 5-HTP as natural support for mood stability, stress management, and sleep support. 

Natural ways to reduce blood pressure.

The overarching theme of this conversation was that lifestyle and dietary choices make the greatest impact on your blood pressure. In addition to healthy habits, nitric oxide products like Neo40 and L-arginine can help support lowering blood pressure readings. It does this by acting as a vasodilator and relaxing the inner muscles of the blood vessels. This widens the vessels and increases blood flow which helps lower blood pressure. 

That’s a wrap on our education hour this month; We can’t wait for you to read along with our conversation next month!