Holistic Longevity Medicine

8 02 2013

Holistic Longevity Medicine

Welcome to HormoneSynergy.  We know that aging isn’t optional, but optimal aging is.  We also know that health and longevity are not merely the absence of disease, but the presence of optimal physical, mental, and emotional well being.  HormoneSynergy provides the most advanced treatments for slowing the effects of aging and cognitive decline while restoring health and vitality with the use of natural therapies, lifestyle recommendations, and bioidentical hormones.


Lowering your risk for Breast Cancer

11 07 2010

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women. A woman’s risk for breast cancer increases with age. Currently, a woman has approximately a 12% chance of developing breast cancer if she lives to be 90 years old; this also means her risk of not getting breast cancer is approximately 88%. Death rates from breast cancer have decreased since 1990. There were more than 180,000 cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in the US in 2008 with 40,000 deaths. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths—lung cancer is the first. To some extent, breast cancer may be preventable.

Cancer occurs when cells divide and grow without restraint. The growth and death of cells is usually regulated; however, when normal cell regulators malfunction and cells don’t die at the proper rate, they continue to divide, and cancer can develop.

Breast cancer usually grows slowly. By the time a tumor is large enough to be felt as a lump, it may have been growing for 10 years and the spread of tumor cells (metastasis) may have already occurred. Therefore, screening methods such as mammography, ultrasound, MRI, or thermography, are important tools in providing early detection. In addition, preventive measures such as a healthy diet and lifestyle, nutritional supplementation, and exercise are crucial.

Knowing the risk factors for breast cancer can help you identify your specific risk. Breast cancer risk factors can be categorized as “modifiable” and “non-modifiable.” Although non-modifiable risk factors cannot be altered, modifiable risk factors can be changed based on daily choices regarding diet, exercise, lifestyle habits, and stress management.

Non-modifiable risk factors for breast cancer include:

• Being female

• Advancing age

• Family history (mother, sister, or positive BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation)

• Early menarche (first menstrual period)

• Late menopause

• Diethylstilbestrol (DES) use by mother

Modifiable risk factors for breast cancer include:

• Obesity

• Lack of exercise

• Hormones: conventional HRT—synthetic progestins and, possibly, synthetic estrogens, depending on duration of use; birth control pills (some studies show this, some don’t); bioidentical estrogen (depending on duration of use)

• Poor diet: high animal and trans fats, low fiber intake, deficient intake of fruits and vegetables

• Breast trauma

• Late age pregnancy, never having been pregnant, lack of breast feeding

• High alcohol intake (>1 drink per day)

• Cigarette smoking

• Working the “graveyard” shift

• Environmental toxin exposure (radiation, xenoestrogens, second hand smoke)

• Benign breast disease (fibrocystic breast changes, may or may not increase risk)

In my new book “HormoneSynergy, Optimal Aging and Hormone Balance” I address all these risk factors as well as discuss ways to reduce your risk.  You will also learn the latest research regarding hormones and breast cancer, and how new studies are showing women who recieve testosterone pellets have been shown to have no increased risk of breast cancer even though they were taking estrogen and synthetic progestins.

You can call our clinic to order a copy of my new book or purchase a copy from our online store.

In Heatlh

Dr. Kathryn Retzler

Hormone Imbalance Symptoms and Bioidentical Hormones

21 06 2010

As a primary care physician who specializes in natural medicine, I think the most important role doctors can play is that of teacher – to provide complete, unbiased information so that patients can make their own informed decisions.

Symptoms of hormone imbalance in women include:

  • Heavy, irregular, or painful periods
  • Hot flashes or night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Foggy thinking
  • Memory problems
  • Breast tenderness
  • Water retention or bloating
  • Weight gain
  • Low libido
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Increased facial hair
  • Thinning skin or wrinkles
  • Hair loss
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Cold body temperature
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Infertility
  • Bone loss
  • Ovarian cysts or uterine fibroids

It makes sense to test baseline hormone production, and then if low levels and/or hormone imbalance symptoms deem necessary, to prescribe low dosages of bioidentical hormones that eliminate or minimize symptoms, or to bring a patient’s hormone levels to within physiological range. There is no established protocol for such treatment and potential risks exist; therefore, a conservative approach to treatment is most prudent.

Choosing an doctor who listens, provides you with information, and respects your treatment decisions is your right and responsibility. Expect your physician to provide you with available research, benefits, and risks of any treatment you choose. Do not be afraid to question any treatment or to make your own healthcare decisions

For additional information about hormone imbalance symptoms, anti-aging and bioidentical hormones replacement therapy, please visit my clinic website at:


or read my new book: HormoneSynergy, Optiomal Aging and Hormone Balance.

In Health

Dr. Kathryn Retzler
Portland, Oregon

What to look for when purchasing supplements

1 06 2010

In my practice I’ve seen many patients come in with a shopping bag or tackle box full of pills, proudly showcasing the huge number of supplements they take. Many supplement takers eat an unhealthy diet, skimp on sleep, remain sedentary, and live high stress lives. I’m dismayed that people think taking pills or dietary supplements, natural or pharmaceutical, is a reasonable substitute for a healthy lifestyle and life-affirming diet. Therefore, if you’re hoping to find the magic herbs, supplements or nutrients that will enable you to skip the the first 6 steps to optimal aging and hormone balance as outlined in my new book, you’ll be disappointed to know there aren’t any. If you are already following the first 6 steps as much as possible, there are exceptional quality supplements, often referred to as “nutraceuticals,” that can certainly help in your quest to attain hormone balance and optimal aging.

It’s important to keep in mind that not all supplements are alike, no matter what the manufacturer or label may claim. Make sure the supplements you take are made in facilities that have pharmaceutical certification or are certified for good manufacturing practices (GMP) by the NPA (Natural Products Association), NSF (National Sanitation Foundation International), or TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia). This certification ensures that the products you use are of exceptional quality.

Besides coming from GMP-certified companies, ideally the supplements you take should be scientifically evaluated to verify the presence and concentration of active constituents. Few supplement manufacturers conduct clinical trials on their formulas to document safety and effectiveness. This is because research is very expensive to perform. However, purchasing supplements that are documented for safety and effectiveness is a reliable investment in your health.

In addition to quality assurance and evaluation via clinical trials, look for bioavailable forms of nutrients and dosages. Consider the supplements you take to be as important as any medications prescribed by your doctor. In fact, you may consider them to be more important than medications since they can help you prevent the “polypharmacy” that is standard of care for aging Americans (remember, 25% of all Medicare patients use six or more drugs every day).

Using one of the most respected pharmaceutical supplement companies in the country, I have created my own unique anti-aging formula (based on what myself and my husband take every day) that contains what I believe to be the essentials for Optimal Aging and Hormone Balance. This unique daily formula was designed to support adrenal gland function and resistance to stress, and to promote optimal brain, bone, cardiovascular, hormone, and immune function.

These twice-a-day packets contain a multivitamin and mineral supplement and a potent antioxidant “green food” that includes the ORAC equivalent of 4-5 servings of organic fruits and vegetables. Extra vitamin D, bioavailable folate, reduced Coenzyme Q10, fish oil, and resveratrol enhance optimal aging and youthful energy levels.

To find out additional information, please visit my clinic website.

In Health.

Low Testosterone Levels in Men

31 05 2010

Ask the average guy what he knows about hormones or hormone imbalance symptoms and he’ll probably say something like “Hormone imbalance, that’s the reason women get all emotional before their period” or “Hormone imbalance is why women have hot flashes and get crabby when they go through menopause.” Many men don’t realize the crucial role hormones play in their own bodies or recognize that declining or low testosterone levels cause significant and progressive symptoms of hormone imbalance.

The term “andropause” is referred to as “male menopause” in the mainstream media, and “androgen decline in the aging male (ADAM)” in the medical community. Symptoms of andropause and low testosterone levels usually come on gradually due to the progressive decline in testosterone, often coupled with an increase in estrogen production. Low testosterone levels are commonly seen in men over 40, with levels decreasing as early as the 30s. Recent studies suggest the prevalence of low testosterone in men over 45 years may be as high as 38.7%1, with >50% of men having low testosterone by age 70.

What does testosterone do?

Testosterone is an “anabolic” hormone, meaning it builds structural tissue such as muscle, bone, and the heart. Testosterone maintains lean body mass (increased muscle to fat ratio), promotes wound healing, and improves energy level. Testosterone is perhaps best known for maintaining a robust libido (sex drive) and normal erectile function.

Heart health and normal blood sugar levesl are influenced by testosterone. Low testosterone is associated with high insulin levels, and testosterone supplementation has been shown to decrease insulin resistance and help reverse diabetes. In addition, low testosterone is a risk factor for congestive heart failure and high blood pressure. Testosterone also improves blood flow to the heart itself by dilating the coronary arteries.

Brain function such as mental sharpness, memory, concentration, and mood is dependent on optimal testosterone production. Low testosterone is a risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease, which currently afflicts someone in the U.S. every 71 seconds. Testosterone also influences brain chemicals that help prevent depression.

Symptoms of low testosterone levels

The following symptoms are possible with sub-optimal or low testosterone levels in men:

Accelerated aging
Decreased muscle mass and strength
Weight gain
Low energy
Poor exercise tolerance or stamina
Joint stiffness or aching
Irritability or depression
Loss of competitive edge
Decreased memory or poor concentration
Low libido
erectile dysfunction

The following conditions have been shown to be associated with sub-optimal or low testosterone levels in men:

Heart disease
Alzheimer’s disease

Natural ways to raise low testosterone levels

Low Testosterone levels can be enhanced my maintaining a healthy diet high in good-quality protein and low in simple carbohydrates, and keeping alcohol intake to a minimum. In addition, exercising for 30-45 minutes at least 4 days per week can enhance testosterone production. Avoiding environmental toxins in plastics and pesticides may help, as can reducing stress levels. Supplements, such as zinc and selenium, and herbs, such as saw palmetto and nettles, can improve hormone balance in men. Lastly, since the aromatase enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen is found in fat tissue, maintaining a healthy weight helps optimize testosterone production.

Testing total and free testosterone, as well as estradiol and PSA levels, is crucial after age 40. If levels are low or suboptimal, supplementation with bioidentical testosterone (the same molecule produced by the body) is possible through topical creams or gels, patches, or pellet implants. Testosterone pellet implants are the easiest, most convenient, and most effective way to raise testosterone to healthy levels.

Mulligan T, Frick MF, Zuraw QC, et al. Prevalence of hypogonadism in males aged at least 45 years: the HIM study. Int J Clin Pract. 2006 July 1; 60(7): 762–769.
Harman SM, Tsitouras PD. Reproductive hormones in aging men I. Measurement of sex steroids, basal luteinizing hormone and Leydig cell response to human chorionic gonadotropin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1980;51:35-41.

To learn more about the importance of testosterone, symptoms of low testosterone levels, natural ways to improve production, research on bioidentical testosterone supplementation and treating low testosterone levels including testosterone pellet implants, please my clinic website at: