What Really Is The Difference Between Natural and Synthetic Hormones? : Exclusive Renegade Health Interview

Monday Dec 12 | BY |
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I’m really excited to bring you a new two part interview series today…

About two weeks ago, I interviewed Dr. David Brownstein who is an expert clinician who helps people balance their hormones and improve their thyroid function.

Basically, he takes really tired, worn out people – people who are always achy, lethargic, have low sex drive and moody – and makes them feel like they’re themselves again.

I think you will find this interview very useful (my written comments follow!)…


Click the play button to start the call:


Here are my thoughts on this interview…

1. I interview a lot of people and this one was good.

For this interview, I hesitated to give you a summary here because I think listening to Part 1 and Part 2 of this interview is more important than reading my comments.

I interview on average about one to two experts a week these days (Which is about 100 or so a year.) When I got off the phone with Dr. Brownstein and Annmarie asked me what I thought of it, I said that I want to have him on regularly. I think he’s fantastic and I hope you do too.

Remember, he is a clinician – a person who works with people on a regular basis. As you know, here at Renegade Health, we put extra weight toward the practitioners who are seeing patients because they’re the ones that are putting theory to practice.

I’d listen to Dr. Brownstein before I followed any protocol based on a theory of health, not practice.

2. What is the difference between synthetic and natural hormones?

Sometimes your hormone system gets a little frazzled. When it does, some doctors give you synthetic hormones in hope that they do the trick. Some natural doctors are a little more savvy and understand that natural hormones are more likely to work with the body than synthetic.

Very simply put, natural hormones work best and are relatively safe (as long as they’re used smartly and monitored.) Synthetic hormones were created so that the drug companies were able to patent something natural. Basically, as Dr. Brownstein explains, these companies take a natural hormone and alter with methy- chain or carboxyl- chain to make it patentable. This is how they are able to create something that can be called intellectual property and eventually become a drug.

But as Dr. Brownstein explains, hormones and their receptors work like a lock and key, so that if something isn’t exactly right, you may not get the benefit – or worse, you may damage the receptors.

3. The best way to test for hormone imbalance.

Dr. Brownstein recommends using blood testing for monitoring your hormones. He also acknowledges that some of his colleagues who get good results use salivary testing as well.

If you find a knowledgeable practitioner, they will be able to guide you through what tests to take.

4. You rarely use one hormone at a time for the best therapy.

Just like in the body, you don’t have just one hormone being produced at a time. Your body produces multiple hormones like a conductor guides a symphony.

So Dr. Brownstein’s explanation of this, shows that he has a much deeper understanding of how natural hormone replacement can be effective than most. Hormones, when used together, are more effective.

5. Some of the most common nutrients Dr. Brownstein recommends are…

…Vitamin C, salts (unprocessed sea salt), ALA (an antioxidant), and iodine. These four he feels are necessary for most people who are having trouble with their hormones – as well as people looking to prevent some of the most common ailments.

6. Magnesium testing isn’t as accurate as you may think.

One of the most interesting things Dr. Brownstein explained was that the blood serum magnesium testing that many major labs do isn’t all that accurate. He’s been working with Quest Labs to help change the methodology to get a more exact reading.

So for now, he feels hair testing is reasonable. But regardless of the testing, he puts many of his patients on magnesium anyway since most people are deficient to begin with!

Your question of the day: Have you (or someone you know) ever taken natural or synthetic hormones? What were your (their) results?

You can find out more information about Dr. David Brownstein here: http://www.drbrownstein.com

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Palo0aky says:

    its interesting that you mention blood test arent acuratein relation to magnesium. I just remember this vegans who say ohh my blood tests are fine. they are in the healthy range. what ever this is a slightly diferent topic. Still this is a BIG great thanks to your work research and daily information.Thank you Kevin for informing.

  2. Michele Jordan says:

    I was on synthetic thyroid and then switched to Armour by my current physician. It took awhile to get the dose correct and during that time I was not doing that well but once we regulated the correct dose, the improvement was dramatic. I also take magnesium, vitamin C and iodine. I believe the iodine enhances the effect of the thyroid medication.

  3. Sarah says:

    May I ask why you were on thyroid medication? Is that for thyroid problems or for having your thyroid removed (if it was)? Reason I’m asking is because someone close to me had his thyroid removed many years ago, and is on thyroid medication as well. I’m wondering if he could be on something else more natural than what he’s taking (a prescription drug of some sort I’m pretty sure)…

  4. Sharon Christiansen says:

    Its so wonderful that licensed Doctors are stepping out of the conventional medicine box to treat patients with alternative and natural measures! I am a breast cancer patient & opted for non surgery treatments!(Natural Chemo – Bloodroot & enzymes)as well as completely changing by diet. (diagnosted in April 2010). Natural progesterone is one of the measures I am still on as well as iodine rescue for 6 months. My alternative practioner used the saliva hormone test & and my conventional oncologist uses the blood test. I’like to know more about additional hormones that I maybe should be taking (Symphony). THANKS! I recommend the book “What your Dr might not tell you about Breast Cancer” by Dr. John R. Lee. He covers hormones very well.

  5. Velda says:

    Thanks, Kevin. I did take HRT right after my hystorectomy. It made me very depressed, so my doctor tried different drugs. Finally settled on one called Estratest – which was a balance of 3 hormones. I could not remember to take them most of the time, and felt fine without them. Also, I told my doctor that I didn’t believe we were made to injest horse urine. So, I stopped taking them. After that, there was a lot of news coming out about how it caused cancer, etc. I was glad I stopped taking them. My bones are fine and, even though I had a heart problem, my heart problem is gone. Sooooo glad I didn’t take them. Thank you for bring such great information!!

  6. Nancy says:

    I was prescribed synthetic Thyroid hormones and for the first few months they seemed to work and then all the previous symptoms returned……it wasn’t until I was put on natural thyroid that I had results and even that not until after I had gone through two cycles of treatment for Wilson’s syndrome where the body creates reverse t3 because it thinks it is in some sort of crisis and needs to conserve and shut down. I had almost 12 years of unresolved systemic thyroid symptoms and a body temperature of almost 2º below normal. Since all of that was resolved and then after 5 years of natural thyroid supplements, I have weaned myself off those entirely, having determined that as an autoimmune disease, it was a form of self hatred and could be healed through correcting that inner issue. I am fine now….YEAH! We live in a magically self healing body …if we allow it to do so and take responsibility for it.

  7. I went though the change totally naturally and I am so glad I did. You need to know your body, learn now http://jdimlm.com/miracles. We have to educate ourselves read and study all the time. So glad there are people who care out there. Thank you

  8. Sue Jones says:

    Very, very interesting. Would Himalayan Salt be classified as unrefined salt?

  9. Eileen says:

    Thyroid hormone information has been really frustrating for me lately. I have hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism and I decided to finally take armour after natural approaches (taking herbs, meditation, kelp, iodine, etc) didn’t work. I keep reading how everyone feels SOOOOO GOOD on the Armour. I have YET to feel that. I don’t notice a difference at all. I have a hard time finding these “amazing” natural doctors that people keep mentioning or they don’t take insurance at all and are too expensive to see regularly. I am willing to try anything but I keep hearing different information. My endocrinologist does nothing except check my blood every 3 months and prescribe me Armour Thyroid. I also just heard that cruciferous veggies are bad for the thyroid. As well as peaches and hemp. Hello!!!!—- I am a vegan and I take pride in and enjoy eating my chard, kale, cabbage, etc everyday. I always thoughts these foods are good for you! I can’t believe that they could be detrimental in thyroid conditions. It is hard enough eating raw and vegan and then to limit myself hemp (I use it in my smoothies for protein), certain fruits, and cruciferous veggies… what’s next? I am at the point where I don’t know if I should up my Armour dose (I take 60 mg a day) or just quit it cold turkey?

  10. Anne says:

    Armour changed formulation in 2009 with a change in owners causing some issues for some patients, including adrenal imbalances. It works for some people just fine, but there are other natural thyroid USP formulations available out there. This list was a godsend to me since I no longer have a thyroid: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/armour-vs-other-brands/

  11. Anne says:

    Actually, a better, more up-to-date list seems to be here: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/options-for-thyroid-treatment/

  12. […] you liked yesterday’s interview (here), you’re going to really enjoy […]

  13. nicola says:

    After the disaster in Japan I started eating a lot more sea veggies and adding a couple drops of iodine a month to my health protocol. By August I became hyperthyroid due the the miniscule doses of pure iodine. Likely there was a propensity that I aggravated.The symptoms were awful including near heart attacks ( I am a young and health woman in my 30’s. Luckily I have a TCM practitioner who is a chemist who knew I did not need to nuke my thyroid but instead used herbs to get mostly back on track. After 16 years of being a healthy vegetarian including following the BED diet, eating meat was one of the main things that made the difference in coming back to health. Needless to say I think recommending and taking iodine is dangerous. And I hesitate to consider any health advise from self proclaimed experts on the matter.

  14. Emma Spring says:

    Everyone I see is highly deficient in iodine and needs to supplement. It is only the people who already supplement with iodine who are working into wellness. Your body can’t live without iodine, salt or water, these are necessary for daily functioning. The reason we have so much illness in the world is lack of iodine. Learn how to heal with iodine, it’ll save your life.

  15. Darlene says:

    I have Hashimotos and have no thyroid. When I had my thyroid removed the surgeon told me nothing about my disease and just put me on Levoxyl. I was feeling pretty good for about a year, then everyday after that I felt worse and worse. I hurt everywhere and my legs ached so bad I couldn’t sleep. I also had all the classic hypothyroid systems. After another year of going to the Dr. and no results, I found a natural path Dr. Along with the regular thyroid test, she did food sensitivity tests. I found I have sensitivity to gluten, soy, tomatoes, corn, rice and ginger and my thyroid tests showed I have a reverse t3 problem. My body was under a terrible amount of stress eating foods that I was sensitive to and taking the t4 and turning it to reverse t3. Also, a lot of the fillers in thyroid meds is corn starch. I tried almost every med there is on the market and found one that the filler is one my body can handle. Once we did that the reverse t3 numbers came down and I can’t believe how good I feel. Diet is very important for my health.

  16. Oleander says:

    Re HRT. from horse urine.

    These horses are kept continually in cramped stalls. kept pregnant (to produce the hormone levels) Their new born foals are slaughtered, causing the mares immense distress.

    Anyone for HRT????????????

  17. kitten says:

    Kevin would you kindly mention the time length of interviews. This will make it easier to schedule a listening time. Thanks so much!

  18. Elisheva says:

    From what I understand, only about 1% of the body’s magnesium is in the blood – so blood tests really don’t tell us if we are deficient.

  19. I am very happy that Dr. David explained in detail why he changed over to natural health care away from symptom related drug therapy that does not address the whole body cause and effect.

    Nature provides all the hormones that your body needs and any hormone is synthetic will not be recognized by the Liver and associated organs that will cause these organs to confine and to store these alien toxins to the body.

    Our adrenal glands naturally produces hormones from the foods we eat supported by proper life style.

    Believe or not plastic residue that leaches into our food supply causes hormonal imbalance especially in men causing the female hormone estrogen to be elevated .

    Sodium according the Dr, Bernard Jensen is the youth mineral and seaweeds, celery , and trace minerals of iodine and natural Himalayan sea salt liquid like sole. Heat destroys vitamin C and the mineral magnesium is found in all dark green leafy vegetables that most western diets are lacking in. Replace all your conventional iceberg lettuce with rich dark leafy greens instead for the minerals magnesium and vitamin K.

    Barry Gourmet & Raw

    Barry Gourmet & Raw

  20. Elsie says:

    I just received my Life Extension Magazine January 2012 and it is talking about Magnesium, and they said that (magnesium -L-threonate is better absorbableform of magnesium and protects to restore Synaptic Density. The article is Reversing Brain Decay. Maybe I will try to see His website and see what can be of help to me.

  21. […] can check out this two part interview series here and […]

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