Health and Wellness as You Age

Each part of your body – from your brain to your skin, your heart, your kidneys, and your muscles – has a specific job. They take direction from your endocrine system to get the work done. The glands of the endocrine system send out hormones that tell each part of your body what work to do, when to do it, and for how long. Hormones are vital to your health and well-being. Upset any part of the delicate balance, especially the production of endocrine hormones, and, like a chain reaction, you disrupt the entire system.
As life would have it, the arrival of middle age begins this process of physical disruption and imbalance. That’s when hormone production declines in women and men alike. By the time a woman reaches her early 50s, she completely stops making her most important estrogen—estradiol. At the same time, her progesterone and testosterone levels all but disappear. Diminished testosterone production in middle-aged men can actually cause them to become estrogen dominant at this stage of their lives.
Beyond creating sexual performance issues, a long list of other distressing symptoms often accompanies midlife hormone deficiency. Unwanted weight gain, loss of sexual desire, fatigue, depression, increased anxiety and irritability, hot flashes, night sweats and migraines are just a few of the signs of a body out of sync. It’s also a time when relationships falter and physicians too often prescribe counseling and anti-depressants instead of hormone replacement.
Perhaps the most alarming outcome of hormone deficiency, however, is the growing vulnerability to aging-related diseases. Abundant research continues to link low levels of key hormones with increased risk of diseases like osteoporosis, prostate and breast cancer, coronary artery disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and others.

Healthy Hormone Levels Are Vital to Good Health

Healthy hormone levels are associated with optimum brain function, emotional and physical well-being, cardiovascular and bone health, breast and prostate health, cell growth regulation, beneficial blood sugar levels, better sexual function and satisfaction, and more.

Properly restoring testosterone and estrogen (specifically estradiol) to the levels of younger years replenishes your body and gives it what it needs. Hundreds of body functions depend on the presence of these key hormones in order to work properly. This is true whether you’re male or female, 19 or 91. Your need for hormonal balance never goes away.

Using Pellet Implants Could Be Your Passport to Healthier Aging

Did you know that bioidentical pellet therapy can help keep you on the road to more vibrant aging? When you combine appropriately administered pellet implant BHRT with a healthful diet, regular exercise and other aspects of a beneficial lifestyle, you will reap the rewards thousand fold.

Why pellets? Many people don’t realize that bioidentical pellets have been prescribed and researched since the 1930s. Abundant medical literature in respected international journals supports pellet implants as the safest and most effective hormone delivery system available. Pellet doses can be individualized and will go to work for you around the clock for 3-4 months.

Additionally, pellet therapy is more convenient and cost effective than other HRT methods. Pills, patches, injections, creams and gels all come with a long list of downsides. Hormonal balance can be difficult or impossible to achieve with these. And besides the mess, the expense and the bothersome repeat dosages, why take a chance on the side effects and serious health risks of synthetic hormone treatments?

Be proactive. Have your hormone levels tested before symptoms and health issues get out of hand. Find a specialist, preferably someone with expertise in bioidentical pellet implants. The key to your well-being has everything to do with the type and quality of the hormones you’re taking, the method being used, and the skill and knowledge of your practitioner.


Meta-analysis concludes beneficial effect for testosterone replacement on body composition, glucose

Life Extension Update
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The March 2016 issue of the European Journal of Endocrinology published a meta-analysis of randomized trials and observational studies that affirmed an association between testosterone supplementation and improvement in body composition, glucose levels and insulin resistance.

For their analysis, Italian researchers identified 59 randomized controlled trials and observational studies that provided information on varying aspects of body composition in 3,029 men receiving testosterone and 2,049 control subjects. Not surprisingly, use of any testosterone preparation was associated with higher testosterone levels. Supplementing with testosterone was associated with a significant reduction in fat mass and an increase in lean body mass. Fasting blood glucose was lower among men using testosterone, particularly among younger men and subjects with metabolic disease. Insulin resistance was also reduced in men who supplemented with testosterone compared with those who did not use the hormone.

When the analysis was limited to placebo-controlled trials that enrolled men with low testosterone levels, testosterone supplementation was found to be associated with lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

“In men, visceral obesity is the main cause of age-related late-onset hypogonadism and weight loss is the first avenue of its treatment,” note authors Giovanni Corona and colleagues. “On the other hand, hypogonadism is associated with a substantial increase in fat accumulation, in particular in the visceral stores . . . The antiobesity activity of testosterone supplementation in hypogonadal men may be effective because, on one hand, it reduces abdominal fat accumulation and, on the other, it improves muscle mass and strength, facilitating adherence to exercise regimens designed to combat obesity.”

“Our data suggest that testosterone supplementation is able to improve body composition and glycometabolic profile particularly in younger subjects and in those with metabolic disturbances,” they conclude. “Specifically designed studies are urgently needed to confirm this point.”2016_man_720_02

Fitness & Exercise Middle-Age Fitness Helps Ward Off Stroke Later

Study finds this one thing reduces risk by 37 percent

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 9, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Physical fitness in middle age may lower your risk of stroke after 65, a new study finds.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that healthy mid-life behaviors pay off as we age, and lower our risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke,” said Dr. Ralph Sacco, chairman of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He was not involved in the study.

Among nearly 20,000 adults in their mid to late 40s, researchers found the most fit had a 37 percent lower risk of having a stroke after 65, compared with the least fit.

The protective effect of fitness remained even after the researchers accounted for risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and an abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation.

“Incorporating exercise and regular physical activity in one’s day-to-day routine is important to improve fitness and lower risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases in older age,” said lead researcher Dr. Ambarish Pandey. He is a cardiology fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week.

Pandey said an exercise routine should include aerobic exercise (such as jogging, swimming, walking or biking), plus strengthening exercise (such as free weights or strength-training machines).

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of long-term disability, Pandey noted.

Most strokes occur when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain, cutting off blood and oxygen. This causes brain cells to die and can leave permanent disability.

Pandey speculated that exercise might help prevent stroke by keeping blood vessels healthier and lowering inflammation that can affect their function.

The findings suggest doctors should consider low fitness levels a risk factor for stroke, the study authors said.

While lifelong fitness is best for optimum health, starting later in life is still beneficial. “It’s never too late to exercise to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke,” Pandey said.

The report was published online June 9 in the journal Stroke.

Pandey and colleagues analyzed 1999-2009 data from a study conducted by the Cooper Institute in Dallas. It used treadmill tests to measure heart and lung exercise capacity when participants were 45 to 50.

The most interesting finding in this study, Sacco said, was that the effect of fitness was independent of some traditional risk factors. “Diet was not evaluated and can also be linked to health fitness lifestyles,” Sacco said.

Sacco agreed it’s never too late to start getting fit to reap health benefits.

“Other studies have shown that physical activity, even among older individuals, can also lower stroke risk and be associated with less silent stroke and mental decline,” Sacco said. “However, among older adults it is important to check with your physician before you start more vigorous physical activity.”hormonereplacementherapy

How Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Beneficial to Men?

When people think of hormone balance and replacement therapy, women usually come to mind. However, this is also extremely important for men.

Testosterone levels greatly affect a man’s overall well-being and health. With age, men naturally experience a decline in their testosterone levels. This is known to cause andropause, easily explained as the male version of menopause.

Loss of testosterone can have several side effects including:

  • Poor sexual performance
  • Potential for osteoporosis
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • and more

In order to restore this hormonal imbalance, men have several options. SottoPelle® offers a science-based hormone replacement therapy that is designed specifically for andropause. After the age of 30, men have especially found this beneficial to their lifestyle.

Hormone Replacement Therapy Beneficial to Men

For instance, our hormone replacement therapy provides a natural solution for decreased testosterone levels. With SottoPelle®, men are able to gain back their sexual desire and drive. This restored testosterone encourages optimal sexual performance.

Men also experience more energy which complements other aspects of their lives as well. To illustrate, they have more tolerance when it comes to exercise, gain muscle mass easier, and consequently see a decrease in body fat. Without this hormone increase, men continue to battle against a lack of manufactured testosterone that actually encourages weight gain.

Finally, hormone replacement therapy improves a man’s mental health. Not only does it offer physical benefits, but it helps clear the mind as well. SottoPelle® provides clarity that strengthens the mind and increases memory in men. It also helps individuals cope with depression and anxiety so that they experience more consistent moods.

Overall, hormone replacement therapy is essential for men who want to experience optimal physical and mental well-being throughout their entire lives. Despite the natural decline in testosterone that comes with age, SottoPelle® offers a solution. Men now have the option to increase their hormone levels and revitalize their bodies with age.testosterone-750x422

Have You Had Your Thyroid Checked Lately?


Most men and women know something about aging-related estrogen and testosterone deficiencies, but what about thyroid hormones? The thyroid is also an important part of your endocrine system. In fact, it plays a central role in your health. Its control over metabolism affects nearly every cell and organ in the body. The thyroid also regulates body temperature, growth, muscle strength, appetite, and the health of your heart, brain, kidneys and reproductive system.

As you get older, thyroid function begins to slow down. Unfortunately, under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) is difficult to diagnose. The symptoms are often vague and develop so slowly that many people don’t even know they have it. It was estimated in 2009 that nearly 4.6 percent of our populace aged 12 and up has hypothyroidism. According the American Thyroid Association, more than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. Women are statistically more likely than men to develop hypothyroid and it’s also more widespread in people over age 60.

Indications That You Should Have Your Thyroid Checked

The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism are:
• Low energy
• Fatigue or exhaustion, even after a full night’s sleep
• Cold and heat intolerance
• Decreased sweating
• Dry skin
• Weight gain
• Puffy face
• Dry, thinning hair
• Depression
• Slowed heart rate

Other signs of hypothyroidism may include:
• High cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• Digestive problems
• Constipation
• Circulatory problems
• Anemia
• Allergies
• Frequent infections
• Sleep disturbances
• Muscle weakness
• Acne
• Eczema
• Infertility
• Premenstrual syndrome
• Memory loss
• Difficulty losing weight
• Fuzzy brain
• Difficulty concentrating or forgetfulness
• Low libido

You may have several of these or even none at all. The only way to know for sure is to see a doctor and have your thyroid checked. Since these symptoms can also be related to other health problems, it’s imperative to have a thorough health check to determine what’s going on. You’ll need comprehensive blood tests, including thyroid and other endocrine hormone panels. If you’re over 50, you may find your doctor writing off your complaints as a part of “normal aging.” Find another physician who will take your situation seriously.

What is Your Health Worth to You?

Good health is priceless. Who doesn’t want to live to a ripe old age feeling vibrant, engaged and relevant? And guess what? The odds are in your favor. Statistics show that the population is not only living longer, but staying more active and vital well into their 80s, 90s and even 100s! So you are not alone in your quest for well-being.

Staying healthy, whatever your age, depends on a lot of different things—the kinds of food and chemicals you ingest, the amount of exercise you get, your attitude, and other influencers. In the center of all this is YOU. Your body, mind and spirit—everything that is uniquely you—is impacted each and every day by the choices you make and steps you take.

What is Your Health Worth?

Modern medicine is, fortunately, becoming more of a partner in your wellness and less of a mere band-aide for symptoms. Rather than solely providing sick care, it is transforming into a more preventive, proactive and participatory collaboration. The expanding arena of information technology is driving other changes too. Telemedicine, the cloud, smart devices and artificial intelligence are already revolutionizing diagnostics and treatment, as well as the future role of doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. These extraordinary changes mean that, down the road, you will enjoy greater control over your aging process.

In the meantime, be sure to invest in your health! Obviously, you want to eat a healthy diet, exercise, keep your brain active and maintain a spiritual practice. But, did you know that the right kind of hormone replacement can also be a really key investment in your present and future? Despite what you may have heard there is abundant research dating back to the 1940s to support the many health benefits of properly administered BHRT.

SottoPelle® calls it healing from the inside out. For decades we have treated tens of thousands of men and women using our proprietary, research-based pellet implant method. We’ve seen the remarkable results and heard patients thank us again and again for giving them back their lives, their relationships and their health. SottoPelle® has done wonders for people suffering from osteoporosis, Type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s and even TBI (traumatic brain injuries). It is our heartfelt mission to help you heal and live your best life possible.

So, check us out. You’ll be amazed at how, like so many others, you will actually feel like you’ve regained your life.

Menopause, Hormones, and Heart Health

Recent studies show that women are experiencing menopause at much earlier ages than expected. By age 40, most women are totally depleted of normal levels of estrogen and have lost nearly all their progesterone and more than half of their testosterone. The average woman can expect her periods to stop when she is just 46.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading killer of women. Research indicates a correlation between declining estrogen levels during menopause and an increase in the risk for cardiovascular problems. Women who have gone through menopause are two to three times more likely to develop heart disease.

Estrogen is shown to support the blood vessels. Results from a 1991 study indicated that after 15 years of estrogen replacement, risk of death by cardiovascular disease was reduced by almost 50 percent and overall deaths were reduced by 40 percent.

At the same time, testosterone supports the cardiovascular system in women as well as men.

While hormone therapy can help protect the heart health of menopausal and aging women, the key to effective treatment lies in the type of hormone and administration method.
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) uses natural, plant-derived compounds that precisely match the same molecular structure as human hormones – unlike traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which is synthetic, or pharmaceutical. Bioidentical hormones are better assimilated by the body without the dangerous side effects associated with synthetic type – including heart disease.

Research demonstrates that hormone pellets – about the size of a grain of rice and slipped under the skin – provide the most effective hormone delivery method since the hormone release is monitored naturally by the heart rate. When prescribed and properly administered, BHRT pellets can support heart health and offer relief for menopausal symptoms.

Numerous studies* cite the potential benefits of bioidentical estrogen and testosterone pellets to:

• Reduce harmful LDL and total cholesterol
• Increase protective HDL
• Decrease triglycerides
• Assist in retaining the ability of the coronary arteries to dilate and remain pliable

Evidence from a 2013 study by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports the “timing hypothesis,” which shows that women in the early stages of menopause are more likely to experience additional cardiovascular benefits from HRT treatment than women who have been menopausal for 10 or more years.

Another study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that 32 percent of heart attacks and cardiac deaths were reduced in women age 60 or younger who had received bio-identical hormone treatment.

I recommend that women start checking their hormone levels with a simple blood test around ages 35-40 to correct hormonal imbalances. This can help to protect their hearts and avoid many unpleasant health problems that occur during menopause, such as thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, depression, breast cancer, brain fog and fibromyalgia. Bioidentical hormones, taken in early menopause, may actually help prevent coronary heart disease and many of these issues.

*Menopause, Susan Davis, 2000; Obstetrics & Gynecology, Notelovitz, 1987;

Can High-Intensity Exercise Help Me Lose Weight? And Other Questions, Answered

I recently wrote about a study showing that one minute of intense interval training, tucked into a workout that was, in total, 10 minutes long, produced comparable health and fitness benefits to 45 minutes of more moderate, uninterrupted endurance training.

Readers posted almost 400 comments to the article and flooded the Internet and my inbox with questions and sentiments about extremely short workouts. Given the extent of the response and the astuteness of the questions, I thought I would address some of the issues that arose over and over.

Q. Are high-intensity interval workouts actually better for you than longer, endurance-style workouts — or just shorter?

A. Better is such a subjective word. At the moment, the two types of workouts appear to be largely equivalent to each other in terms of a wide variety of health and fitness benefits.

In the study that I wrote about, “1 Minute of All-Out Exercise May Equal 45 Minutes of Moderate Exertion,” for instance, three months of high-intensity interval training practiced three times per week led to approximately the same improvements in aerobic endurance, insulin resistance and muscular health as far longer sessions of moderate pedaling on a stationary bicycle.

One type of workout was not more beneficial than the other, in other words, but one required much, much less time.

Other studies have generally produced similar results, although, to be honest, the science related to interval training for health purposes and not simply for athletic performance remains scant. An interesting new review of past research to be published in June did conclude that, for overweight and obese children, short sessions of intense intervals may lead to greater improvements in endurance and blood pressure than longer bouts of moderate exercise, although the authors did not discuss how best to get children to complete frequent interval sessions.

The upshot of the available science is that if you currently have the time and inclination to complete long-ish, moderate workouts — if you enjoy running, cycling, swimming, walking or rowing for 30 minutes or more, for instance — by all means, continue.

If, on the other hand, you frequently skip workouts because you feel that you do not have enough time to exercise, then very brief, high-intensity intervals may be ideal for you. They can robustly improve health and fitness without overcrowding schedules.


What about combining brief high-intensity workouts with longer, endurance workouts?


Alternating high-intensity workouts with endurance-style workouts may yield the greatest health and fitness gains of all.

In a 2014 study, a group of sedentary adults began either a standard endurance-training program, in which they pedaled a bicycle moderately for 30 minutes five times a week, or swapped one of those bike rides for an interval session. All of the participants wound up significantly more aerobically fit after 12 weeks.

But the men and women who had completed one interval session per week had developed slightly more overall endurance than the other volunteers. As a result, they had lowered their risk for premature death by about an additional 18 percent, the study’s authors conclude.


Do I have to use a stationary bicycle for interval training?


Most recent studies of high-intensity intervals have involved computerized stationary bicycles because scientists can easily monitor the riders’ pace and intensity. But there is nothing magical about the equipment. The key to high-intensity interval training is the intensity, which most of us can gauge either with a heart rate monitor or our own honest judgment.

For moderate exercise, your heart rate typically should be between 70 and 85 percent of your maximum. (I recently wrote about how to determine your individual maximum heart rate.) This intensity would feel like about an 8 on an arduousness scale of 1 to 10.

During an intense interval, however, your heart rate should rise to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate, or above. Think of this as feeling like about a 9.5 on the 10-point scale. You maintain that intensity for only 10 or 20 seconds at a time, however, followed by several minutes of very easy exercise before repeating the intense work.

Almost any type of exercise can be used for interval training, including running up the stairs in your office’s stairwell during your lunch hour, said Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and an expert on intervals. (His book about the science and practical implications of high-intensity interval training will be published in early 2017.)


Will high-intensity intervals help me to lose weight?


Few studies have yet looked at the long-term effects on body weight of exercising exclusively with high-intensity intervals, although some experiments do hint that high-intensity interval training can reduce body fat, at least in the short term.

In a 2015 study, for example, overweight, out-of-shape men who began either to jog or otherwise exercise moderately for an hour five days per week for six weeks or to complete intensive interval training for a few minutes per week all dropped body fat and about the same percentages of fat, despite very different amounts of exercise. Likewise, a group of women recovering from breast cancer who were assigned either to moderate exercise or brief interval training for three weeks lost comparable amounts of body fat during the study.

But these were small-scale, brief experiments. Whether interval training helps or hinders long-term weight control is still unknown.

Do Women Really Need Testosterone?

Most definitely! Even though testosterone is a man’s most important hormone, it is vital to women as well. Testosterone supports more than 200 body functions beyond sexual performance and desire. Physiologic blood levels of testosterone support bone health, muscle strength and mass, red blood cell production and fat distribution. It also aids in cognitive function, boosts positive mood and energy levels, enhances the ability to handle stress, and helps maintain a clean liver and blood vessels.

Female testosterone is manufactured in the ovaries and adrenals at much lower levels than in men. A healthy woman in her 20s generally produces around 300 micrograms of testosterone daily.1 (Women are said to need less because they are much more sensitive to its effects.) Testosterone production peaks at that age and reduces by 50% as she approaches menopause. Combined with other menopausal hormone deficiencies, the lack of testosterone negatively impacts many essential body functions. This sets the stage for numerous degenerative illnesses. Low levels of testosterone have been scientifically linked to osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and other health issues.

Beyond the obvious health benefits provided by testosterone, replenishing it to more youthful levels also provides welcome relief from a variety of menopausal symptoms like irritability, loss of libido, foggy thinking and others.

Given the significant contribution testosterone makes to a woman’s health and well-being, it makes perfect sense to restore beneficial levels using proper hormone replacement therapy. Research shows that the bioidentical pellet implant method like that used by SottoPelle® is the safest and most effective way to deliver hormones into the blood stream. Many testosterone treatments cannot provide the same steady, around the clock hormone levels for months at a time that pellets can. Additionally, testosterone patches, creams, gels and injections are fraught with problems and side effects, the greatest of which is the dangerous use of synthetic testosterone.

Symptoms that may indicate you‘re testosterone deficient:

1. Constantly tired or exhausted, no matter how much sleep you get
2. Muscle loss, weakness
3. Gradual weight gain, especially around the waistline
4. Decrease in bone density
5. Loss of sexual desire
6. Mood swings
7. Depression/anxiety
8. Foggy thinking, difficulty concentrating
9. Hair loss

If you suspect that you are testosterone deficient, please call us for an appointment. Join thousands of others who have discovered that you don’t have to live with it!


Heal Traumatic Brain Injury With Bioidentical Hormones

By Michael Downey

Traumatic brain injury afflicts nearly 1.7 million Americans annually1 and causes devastating cognitive, emotional, and physical deficits.2

Standard therapies frequently fail to provide significant recovery after the acute phase, and chronic symptoms can linger over a lifetime. Many patients are unable to fully re-enter society.2

Innovative physicians are discovering that brain trauma can trigger deficiencies in certain hormones.2 When these hormones are restored using precise bioidentical therapy, a reversal of functional deficits associated with traumatic brain injury has been shown.

Beyond brain injuries, accumulating evidence suggests that—as rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease continue to explode—replenishing these same hormones may also help inhibit these degenerative brain diseases.3

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI) suffer from a broad spectrum of effects that often only show up decades later4 and continue to get progressively worse.

Conventional medical treatment frequently fails to achieve substantial recovery, and persistent symptoms can become extremely disabling.2

TBI is caused by both primary and secondary injury.5 Primary injury6 occurs from the forces at the time of injury and is believed to be irreversible.7

It is the complex secondary mechanisms that play a critical role in the delayed progression of brain damage—presenting novel opportunities for therapeutic strategies.

One of the secondary injury processes that may promote latent neuronal death is post-traumatic inflammation, which has been shown to increase blood-brain barrier permeability, cerebral edema, and intracranial pressure, resulting in neuronal dysfunction following TBI.8

Considered to be one of the “signature wounds” in veterans of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, mild traumatic brain injuries are often a result of blast waves from roadside bombs. Most of the 115,000 soldiers afflicted have recovered quickly, but studies suggest as many as 15% will go on to suffer lingering cognitive problems.9

But TBI can affect anyone. Car accident victims. Construction workers. People prone to falls. And quite often, athletes playing contact sports.

What you need to know
Reverse Brain Trauma And Inhibit Neurodegeneration

Reverse Brain Trauma And Inhibit Neurodegeneration

  • Mainstream therapies have been largely unable to alleviate the progressive symptoms of traumatic brain injury, which often occur years after the original trauma and can include devastating cognitive, emotional, and physical effects.
  • Recognizing that brain trauma triggers sex hormone deficiencies that can produce these worsening effects, some physicians are using an innovative sex hormone replacement technique that uses subcutaneous pellets to deliver bioidentical hormone replacement. Patients report rapid reversal of symptoms.
  • Also, at a time of exploding rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, accumulating evidence suggests that by replenishing diminished sex hormones, aging individuals can help inhibit these devastating brain-wasting diseases.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

When former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome in 1984,10 it was natural to blame his sport. Repeated head blows make professional boxers prone to brain damage, including parkinsonism, tremors, and a severe form of TBI known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)—which is the dementia-like disease associated with repeated concussions.11 CTE develops in about 20% of pro boxers.12

The repeated concussions suffered in football have been making headlines for some time now. Decades ago, football players knew they were assuming some risk of long-term damage to knees, back, or even the neck—but the risk of devastating cognitive damage was not well-known.

Offensive lineman Joe DeLamielleure played his final year in the NFL in 1985 at the age of 34.13 But years before being named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003, he began showing TBI symptoms.14

“You turn 50 and suddenly, things change,” he says. “I thought it was depression, but there were other things besides that. High anxiety. I never slept.”

His symptoms included headaches, bursts of anger, and a 68% hearing loss in his left ear, which he attributes to years of right-handed defensive linemen slapping him in the head.

“I lived football, I loved football,” DeLamielleure says. “I look at how I am now and I think, ‘Is this a temporary thing or am I going to end up like Mike Webster?’”15

Webster, a former offensive lineman and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was just 50 when he died, after spending his final years suffering from dementia and parkinsonian symptoms. In his autopsy, CTE was clearly evident. The extensive brain damage included many diffuse amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, and the small projections from brain neurons known as neuritic threads were also found to contain tau protein.16 Amyloid and tau are implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.17

CTE effects frequently include memory and decision-making difficulties, mood and behavior problems—including depression and hopelessness—or sudden, violent behavior. Sometimes, there are no symptoms at all.18 Evidence suggests that a high portion of retired football players develop CTE. 19,20

The autopsy conducted on ex-NFL safety André Waters after his 2006 death showed CTE, with substantial deposition of tau and neurofibrillary tangles—and a fatal, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.21 Prior to his suicide, Waters had suffered from cognitive and neuropsychiatric impairment, including chronic depression, suicide attempts, insomnia, paranoia, and impaired memory.22 The neuropathologist performing the autopsy said that Water’s 44-year-old brain had degenerated into that of an 85-year-old man with characteristics similar to early-stage Alzheimer’s victims.21

Waters’ experiences echo the stories of former football players such as Dave Duerson, Ray Easterling, and Junior Seau—all of whom committed suicide and were later diagnosed with CTE.23

Cognitive symptoms can be explained by neurodegenerative diseases other than CTE, especially in the absence of repeated concussions. “There is no framework to make that [CTE] diagnosis while someone is alive,” according to Robert Stern, professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Boston University School of Medicine.23

But PET scans can be clearly indicative and diagnostic for CTE,” disagrees Gino Tutera MD, the medical director of SottoPelle ® Therapy, who has written three books on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. “And Mr. DeLamielleure has PET scans [consistent with lesions that occur as a part of] CTE.”24,25

Ex-NFL player Joe DeLamielleure’s devastating outlook was about to change dramatically.

The Superiority Of Bioidentical Hormones
The Superiority Of Bioidentical Hormones

The synthetic hormone replacement drugs that are most often prescribed by physicians have a structure that differs from human hormones, a feature that allows them to be patented and therefore, be much more profitable.60

While synthetic hormones do reduce some symptoms of hormone deficiency, they cannot restore the natural hormone balance that optimally supports good health. The inherent differences in synthetics prevent them from communicating with many of the receptors that control crucial body functions—setting the stage for serious health problems.61

Bioidentical hormones, however, are plant-based hormone substances that precisely match the molecular structure and functionality of human hormones. Dr. Tutera’s pellet-implanted bioidentical hormones are mostly yam based.

The body recognizes bioidentical hormones, enabling them to bind appropriately to—and communicate properly with—the same receptors as their human counterparts. The body metabolizes bioidentical hormones in the same way as its own hormones, generating the same physiologic responses to provide vital support to the body’s organs, tissues, and cells.

When prescribed—and administered correctly—bioidentical hormones can benefit a variety of conditions from menopause and testosterone deficiency to weight gain and osteoporosis.62 And they are virtually free of side effects.

Every individual’s body chemistry is unique. So it is particularly relevant to SottoPelle® therapy that bioidentical hormones are not mass-produced. This means that they can be individually compounded—personally customized—to meet the exact dosage needs of each patient’s specific deficiencies, based on the results of blood testing. Of course, this level of customization is not possible with mass-produced synthetics.

New Hope For Brain Injury Victims

New Hope For Brain Injury Victims

Frustrated with the lack of options within mainstream medicine, DeLamielleure sought help from Dr. Tutera, who has developed a bioidentical hormone replacement program called SottoPelle®, which is Italian for “under the skin.”

DeLamielleure and two other Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees—Paul Krause and Bobby Bell—heard that Tutera and his colleagues were having some success treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease patients.

“All three were skeptical, due to the fact they did not understand how [sex] hormones could affect brain function,” says Tutera. “But they were desperate for improvement.”

“This therapy helped me achieve balance in my body and mind, which I have been struggling with for a long time,” says DeLamielleure. “In just a few months, I have so much more physical energy…and mental clarity.”

Dr. Tutera has long been one of a small number of physicians delivering bioidentical hormones to replenish low sex hormones by implanting a tiny, slow-release pellet.

Unlike synthetics, bioidentical hormones are plant-based hormone substances that precisely match the molecular structure and functionality of human hormones. SottoPelle®’s is a pellet-implant delivery system of bioidentical hormones.26

Physicians generally prescribe hormone delivery orally (tablets) or percutaneously (creams or patches). But each SottoPelle® pellet—about the size of a Tic Tac®—is implanted subcutaneously (under the skin) in the patient’s hip area. A mild local anesthetic is used and the procedure takes a few minutes. Pellets are replaced periodically, according to each patient’s specific needs. Unlike other hormone replacement methods, the release of hormones from pellets increases as demanded by the body—during exercise or periods of stress, for example, when blood flow quickens. This mimics normal youthful hormone release and consistent blood levels are easily maintained.26

This novel technique was first developed in Europe in 193527 and brought to the US four years later by the late Dr. Robert B. Greenblatt. 28 However, it never found its way into mainstream medicine here.

“I first started using pellet therapy in 1992. It was taught to me by a physician who was trained by Dr. Greenblatt in the 1960s,” says Tutera. “I felt as if I had found the missing piece to my puzzle of how to help women feel better by better regulation of their hormones.”

Taking dose customization further, Dr. Tutera’s pellet therapy involves a patent-pending dosing algorithm that ensures a highly accurate dosing amount for each individual.

“Back in the early 1990s, I realized that individual dosing was the key,” explains Tutera. “The dose—which is customized to bring patients back to high-normal levels of testosterone—is dependent on age, size, how deficient they are, and other factors.”

The precise dose of each individual’s pellets is determined after blood testing to pinpoint the patient’s specific deficiencies. This level of customization is not possible with mass-produced synthetics.

DeLamielleure’s significant improvement isn’t an isolated case. Former defensive back Paul Krause relates a similar story.

Krause retired after the 1979 NFL season, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998, and still holds the all-time record for interceptions. But in his words, “Things started to go bad.”

“I started not to have fun, my memory was going, and I almost didn’t care what happened to me. I can honestly say I needed help, physically and mentally. Like many NFL players, I’ve had some dark and difficult times due to my CTE. I didn’t care if I ‘left’ or not,” he says, suggesting past suicidal thoughts.

“I went to other clinics and doctors, and they said we really can’t tell you what your problem is.”

Krause has started on Tutera’s hormone therapy and is enthusiastic about the early results.

“I’ve started feeling good again…I can concentrate, read, and relax,” he says. “It’s changed the outlook of my life: I don’t want to ‘leave’—I want to live.”

A number of other retired NFL players have turned to SottoPelle® for relief from a variety of traumatic brain injury-related complaints—including linebacker-defensive end Bobby Bell.

Retired from the game since 1974 and named to the Hall of Fame in 1983, Bell recently started bioidentical hormone therapy. He found that, “about three or four weeks out,” his worst TBI symptoms were already greatly reduced.

Tutera says he is in the early stages of treating DeLamielleure, Krause, and Bell and expects to be able to document their further recovery over time. Typically, SottoPelle® involves implanting new hormone pellets every three to six months, which varies by individual. For instance, patients DeLamielleure, Krause, and Bell will now receive their pellets every five to six months.

Beneficial effects are often seen in patients with memory fog within four weeks—which clearly demonstrates the crucial link between traumatic brain injury and hormone deficiency.

Critical Role Of Hormones In Traumatic Brain Injury—And Disease

Critical Role Of Hormones In Traumatic Brain Injury—And Disease

It may seem odd that hormonal balances are connected to traumatic brain injury.

However, many studies demonstrate that hypopituitarism—a condition in which the pituitary fails to produce normal hormone levels—is relatively common following TBI,29 affecting at least 50 to 76% of victims.30-32 Sometimes hypopituitarism diagnoses are not made for more than 20 years after the injury.33

Brain-injured patients who have a deficiency in growth hormone exhibit greater deficits in attention, executive functioning, memory, and emotion than patients with normal growth hormone levels.34 Growth hormone binds to receptors found in the brain, especially in regions responsible for learning and memory.35,36

The sex hormones, specifically, are also closely related to cognitive function and dysfunction. Sex hormones can function directly as neurotransmitters in the central nervous system.37

At least 16% of long-term TBI survivors develop hypogonadism—in which the testes in men or the ovaries in women produce insufficient levels of sex hormones. However, it is estimated that these deficiencies are not identified or treated in most individuals.29

As a hormone that can penetrate the blood brain barrier, estradiol promotes neuronal growth.38 It does so by decreasing inflammation and boosting the growth of dendrites, which are branched, tree-like projections at the ends of neurons that receive information from other neurons and transmit electrical stimulation to the body (soma) of the neuron. In the male brain, testosterone is converted to estradiol (in the presence of the enzyme aromatase). These activities minimize the effects of brain trauma and support healing.39

Suboptimal levels of estradiol are associated with lower scores on standardized assessments of cognition in both men and women.40 Postmenopausal women with higher levels of endogenous estradiol also have better semantic memory than women with estrogen deficiencies.41 And postmenopausal women treated with estradiol displayed improvements in executive function compared to placebo.42

Recent findings,43 confirming 27 prior studies,44 show that estrogen replacement reduces all-cause mortality and increases general well-being in estrogen-deficient women. Progesterone also protects and heals injured brain tissue.45

In a study involving over 500 aging men and women, optimum testosterone levels were linked with better performance on the Mini-Mental Status Examination.46 Several other studies concluded that testosterone levels are positively associated with multiple aspects of cognitive function. 47,48 And scientists have found that recovery of patients with traumatic brain injury is greater in those with higher testosterone levels.49

Some dietary supplements are known to protect the brain from traumatic injury. For example, post-injury administration of melatonin has been shown in animal studies to prevent dangerous short-term brain swelling and help brain tissue maintain its function.50 Also, nicotinamide—when combined with progesterone and given within about 24 hours after TBI—has been shown to improve functional recovery.51

Despite the demonstrated links between sex hormones and neuroprotection, virtually no physicians use sex hormones to treat TBI. However, over 200 SottoPelle®-trained physicians worldwide are now changing the way we think about traumatic brain injuries—and a variety of other diseases—and how to treat them effectively.

Generally, sex hormone replacement therapy is used to treat andropause and menopause. Physicians are currently exploring the use of bioidentical sex hormones to treat TBI, CTE, mood disorders including depression, cognitive deficits, fatigue, menstrual headache, and loss of libido—as well as Parkinson’s disease, type II diabetes, and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Bioidentical sex hormones have even been used to treat osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, muscle loss, and elevated cholesterol.52-54

Perhaps most compelling, however, for aging individuals concerned about the risk of dementia, returning hormones to physiologic levels can help prevent both mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease!

The Link Between Traumatic Brain Injury And Hormone Deficiency
The Link Between Traumatic Brain Injury And Hormone Deficiency

Most people think of hormones as the products of the endocrine glands located throughout the body. That is an accurate—but incomplete—view of these powerful biological regulatory molecules. Virtually all endocrine glands are under the control of the pituitary gland, which is located inside the skull at the base of the brain. Because of its powerful influence on the other endocrine glands, the pituitary is often referred to as the “master gland.”

But even the pituitary is subject to a higher form of control. An ancient brain structure called the hypothalamus has a direct connection to the pituitary via a unique network of veins. Regulatory molecules from the hypothalamus “tell” the pituitary how much of its hormones and hormone-releasing factors to produce.63 And the hypothalamus, as part of the brain itself, receives constant neurological input from all over the body, creating a host of feedback loops. It is those feedback loops that maintain a steady balance between extreme biochemical states.

That connection between the brain’s hypothalamus and the endocrine system’s pituitary is called neuroendocrine function. And, although it may seem obvious, medical science is only just beginning to recognize that trauma to the brain, even apparently minor trauma, can damage the hypothalamic-pituitary system and have profound effects on hormonal function.

In fact, most people—including the majority of physicians—assume that the neurological deficits that follow a traumatic brain injury result simply from disruption to brain tissue itself. In this simplistic model, a hit to the head causes the brain to be “rattled,” triggering bleeding, bruising, and other large-scale injuries that can be seen on MRI and CT scans. And it’s true that we can predict some of the deficits a brain-injured person will sustain by evaluating the location and severity of the damage that is visible using those scans.

But victims of traumatic brain injury frequently have sustained neurological deficits that exceed what would be predicted simply by examining brain scans. Unfortunately, people with so-called minor traumatic brain injury, who comprise the largest group of brain-injured patients, have no visible damage at all on brain scans.

It is disrupted hormonal function, not simply physical “brain damage,” that creates the sustained neurological deficits suffered by victims of traumatic brain injury.

Sex Hormones May Inhibit Alzheimer’s Disease

Sex Hormones May Inhibit Alzheimer’s Disease

Whether due to TBI or aging, sex hormone insufficiency is increasingly linked to dementia. For instance, age-related declines in sex hormones significantly contribute to Alzheimer’s disease risk in both men and women.3

And just as Dr. Tutera has shown that TBI symptoms can be treated and possibly reversed with sex hormones, the same hormones have been shown to reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease3—the sixth-leading cause of death in the US.56

Both estrogens and androgens provide a broad range of neuroprotective activities. Some of these are relevant to normal brain aging, others may benefit neurodegenerative conditions, and still others appear to be largely specific to Alzheimer’s disease.3

Testosterone levels were found to be lower in Alzheimer’s patients, and some studies suggest that low free testosterone may precede Alzheimer’s onset. Also, in observational studies, testosterone levels were positively associated with global cognition, memory, executive functions, and spatial performance. 57

Various studies suggest that there might be an optimal testosterone level beyond which there is no further cognitive benefit. In fact, excessively elevated levels may hinder improvement in cognition and have negative effects.57 This demonstrates the necessity for hormonal testing. It also reinforces the superiority of the SottoPelle® process, which customizes pellets to meet the specific dosage needs of each individual patient.

Similarly, evidence suggests that estrogen replacement therapy in postmenopausal women may protect against Alzheimer’s. Since testosterone also declines in postmenopausal women, estrogen therapy supplemented with androgens may provide women with additional protection against Alzheimer’s.58

Estrogen has been shown to inhibit the pathways of Alzheimer’s by counteracting the neuropathologic changes, the deficiency in the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and the brain cell death seen in this disease.4 Tutera explains that the mechanisms for this Alzheimer’s protection include:

  • Increased dendrite spine density,
  • Enhanced synapse formation,
  • Modulated nerve growth factor activity,
  • Production of neurotransmitters (such as acetylcholine),
  • Increased apolipoprotein E levels,
  • Anti-inflammatory effects,
  • Increased breakdown of amyloid precursor protein resulting in less beta-amyloid,
  • Enhanced blood flow,
  • Augmented glucose uptake and metabolism, and
  • Reduced glucocorticoid elevations.


Traumatic brain injuries frequently cause devastating cognitive and physical effects that standard therapies cannot fully alleviate, leaving many patients disabled and lost.

Recognizing that brain trauma triggers sex hormone deficiencies, which can produce these worsening effects, some physicians are using a cutting-edge, subcutaneous pellet-delivery technique for bioidentical hormone replacement. Patients are achieving rapid reversal of symptoms.

Additionally, evidence suggests that—as dementia and Alzheimer’s rates explode—replenishing diminished sex hormones may help inhibit these devastating brain diseases.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.


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