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a Review Article by Dr. Leo Rebello
a Review Article by Dr. Leo Rebello
28/552 Samata Nagar, Kandivali East, Bombay 400101, India
Tel. no. (91-22) 28872741

Based on a foolproof book titled
Martin Walker / Maggie Tuttle
367 pages Price $20. ISBN : 78051 964675

The view that contemporary medical science has of the human person is still primarily based upon a 19th century model of mechanical engineering, which considers the human body as a machine and every part in it as replaceable, except perhaps the doctor's brain !!!:). The exponents of this view forget
(a) that the body is a living organ with an inner environment of its own which is polluted by the food we eat, air we breathe, water we drink, thoughts we nurture;
(b) that the healing is within and
(c) that the treatment should not be worse than the disease.

Although hormones are largely recognised as pleasure tools or agents of youth, sexuality and immortality (all false notions), they play an important role in the body. Produced by different organs and glands, and transported to different cells, in a complex network of demand and provision, over 30 hormones govern a wide range of physical and psychological conditions.

Hormones determine the course of growth and eventual height, the stimulation of secreted milk in mothers. They maintain sodium and phosphate balance in the kidneys and sugar levels in the blood - insulin is a hormone. They are responsible for development and maintenance of the male and female sex characteristics, while also regulating reproduction. They are almost entirely responsible for the management of digestion in the human body.

Apart from having huge tasks such as these, hormones, their distribution and strength, also determine a multitude of details that make up an individual's quality of life. They determine processes, such as secretion of saliva in the mouth and of liquids in the eye, the secretion of lubricants in the vagina and density of bone. Hormone imbalance can cause oily or dry skin, pre-menstrual tension, low energy and fatigue.

However, the introduction of non-individual specific hormones into the human body will create myriad problems. In other words, it is a treatment worse than the disease, namely, menopause - which is a passing phase.

The glands and organs of the endocrine system are: the hypothalmus, pituitary and pineal glands, which are situated in the brain; the thyroid, which is situated in the front of the neck, just below the voice box; the two adrenal glands situated on the upper ends of the kidneys and the pancreas; in women, the ovaries, which are situated on both sides of the uterus, and, in men, the testes. Most of the major organs of the body like the heart, the stomach, the intestines and skin, produce hormones as well as perform their main functions.

The pituitary gland produces, among other things, the growth hormone, prolactin, which initiates and sustains lactation, thyrotropin, which stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones, and corticotrophin, which stimulates the adrenal glands to prodce its hormones. It also affects the nervous system, secreting endorphins, signals to the ovaries and testes to make sex hormones, and controls ovulation and menstruation in women.

The thyroid gland produces thyroxine and triiodothyronine. These hormones control the metabolic rate and determine energy levels.

In the kidneys and pancreas, the adrenal glands regulate the salt and water balance in the body, as well as stress responses, metabolism, the immune system and sexual development and function.

The male sex hormones produced by the gonads, the testes, are called androgens, the most important of which is testosterone. This hormone controls the male sex characteristics, both primary and secondary, including muscle growth and growth of facial and body hair. The female gonads, the ovaries, produce oestrogen and progesterone, which regulate the development of all the female sexual features and reproductive functions, including menstruation and pregnancy.

A complex relationship between the pituitary gland - sometimes called the 'master gland' because it controls so many varied functions - and the hypothalmus, within the brain, ensures that the pituitary gland produces hormones in relation to the emotional mood of the individual and to external factors such as temperature and climate change and light exposure.

Female reproductive hormones begin their development and their regulation in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. The hypothalamus first releases the gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which in turn stimulates the pituitary gland to produce follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH). These two instructing hormones then command the ovaries to secrete oestrogen and progesterone.

Hormone balances change throughout the course of a person's life, depending on when and how the identity develops with age. Hormones move with differing regularity and energy at different times in the male and female bodies. After sexual maturity, which comes earlier in women than in men, hormone levels in women fluctuate cyclically over a much wider range than those of men. At female menopause, ovarian secretion shuts down. In men the testes continue to produce testosterone, but at an increasingly slower rate. In very old age, the brain hormonal environment is similar in the two sexes.

The function of hormones and what they do to the human body has changed historically. Now that women in developed societies, for example, have fewer children and are less often pregnant, they have three times as many periods, and higher levels of circulating oestrogen than their great-grandmothers did a century ago.

A good example of the complexity of the endocrine system and the human historical condition is the hormone melatonin, which is produced by the pineal gland. Melatonin is an antioxidant which goes through the body scavenging 'free radicals', damaging toxic elements that build up in the body.

Melatonin is produced when sleeping in complete darkness. With the development of electricity in the early 20th century, light and darkness patterns that had previously dictated human behaviour, changed radically leading to production of less melatonin. Some scientists believe that changing light pattern and lack of melatonin could be one of the factors contributing to the increase in cancers.

The production of hormones can be affected by stress, infection and in the contemporary world, the taking into the body of hormone-mimicking chemicals. Imbalances of hormone can lead to a variety of illnesses, which originate in both the mind and the body. Levels of oestrogen and progesterone can both inhibit and encourage tumour growth in the breast, the uterus and the ovaries. It is thought that levels of hormones are also linked to diseases of the mind such as Alzheimer's, schizophrenia and more common ailments such as depression, anxiety and alcholism.

It is dangerous to give any kind of hormonal supplementation because artificial processes of delivery cannot imitate nature and always provide a sudden increase in hormones into a delicate and complicated system.

There is a recognised series of illnesses caused by malfunctioning of the hormone producers in the body, which include: goitre (over production of thyroid hormones), Hashimoto's thyroiditis (under production of thyroid hormones), gigantism (over production of growth hormone), Type 1 and 2 diabetes (created by the lack of production of, and the inability to utilise insulin), Cushing's syndrome (execessive amounts of glucocorticoid hormones, resulting in symptoms that include obesity, growth failure, muscle weakness, acne, high blood pressure), Grave's disease and adrenal insufficiency leading to weakness, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, dehydration and skin changes. A lack of thyroid-stimulating hormones is suspected of playing a part in osteoporosis.

The approach of physicians to giving and taking away hormones from women over the last half century, in no sense matches the infinitely complex natural modulation of the human female person. The automatic assumption that synthetic hormones would inevitably play a useful role in making the human body function better is one of Allopathy's most perverse and ill-founded conclusions.

Now in her early sixties, Maggie Tuttle had an interesting younger life as a popular singer and campaigner. In 1979 (she was 37) she lost a baby and suffered from irregular periods. She was prescribed HRT by her GP. >From the first time she took HRT, Maggie felt unwell with several symptoms. For 15 years, Maggie visited a large number of doctors, who all told her that the new symptoms had nothing to do with HRT. Maggie, of course, was sure that these were the adverse reactions of HRT, that she was the victim of iatrogenic illness (doctor or drug induced disease). Maggie changed her prescriptions many times. However, nothing stopped the terrible pains in her back and shoulders, hot and cold fevers, sweating or the extreme fatigue that had descended on her. Perhaps worst of all were the times when she literally lost her mind, suffering bouts of unconsciousness. It is good that she did not die like Irene Brankin (whose death certificate appears on page 342 of the book) and has lived to tell the story of medical mess.

In 1995, after a period of a new prescription, when her hair started falling, Maggie did the only thing that she should have done long ago: she stopped taking HRT. Three months after she stopped taking hormones, most of Maggie's symptoms had gone and her hair had begun to grow back. In the meantime she had placed an ad in a newspaper asking if anyone else was having a similar experience and she was inundated with several frantic callers, which made her set up Menopausal Helpline, which was wound up in 2003. Inspite of tremendous support from print and electronic media and wide awareness, Maggie felt bitter that the voice of the women was still not recorded properly.

Licensed to Kill and Maim ably chronicled by Martin Walker (he really walks the talk) records the collective experiences of over 10,000 women who had contacted Maggie, simultaneously piecing together the scientific reports of the detrimental consequences of HRT. The conflict between the 'medical state' and the fragile individual, between the mighty pharma MNCs and the 'consumer', disabled further by medical professionals, and between the laity and the unholy alliance of professional physicians and pseudo-science, is becoming fiercer.

The Questionnaire on the side effects of HRT on page 341 lists about 45 adverse effects of HRT and thereby educates the women. Some of the dangerous side effects are breast cancer, depression and suicidal feelings, ME, discharge from the vagina, hair growth on face and body, high BP, memory loss, loss of libido, migraines, psoriasis, stomach cramps, thinning bones, thyroid problems, voice deepening, obesity, erratic behaviour, etc.

Even though the alternative to HRT as outlined in this book is patchy, it does inform the reader that there are alrernatives available. The campaigners unhesitatingly recommend and quote from the most authoritative book Women and the Crisis in Sex Hormones by Barbara Seaman. Her nutritional advice to women during the menopause (or for that matter throughout life) is: eat fewer sweets, starches, and fried or fatty foods, especially saturated fats, and to increase consumption of fibre, raw fruit and vegetables, whole grains and cereals, especially iron-rich beans, bran, dried fruit, greens and nuts.

What Barbara has forgotten is the yoghurt, barley, honey and sprouts and to emphasise that among fruits, the organically grown seasonal fruits and vegetables are the best.

The book also talks of useful herbs like black cohosh, chasteberry, dong quai, Siberian ginseng, evening primrose oil, gingko biloba, kava-kava, liquorice and sage. Among vitamins, the Vitamin E and B complex are regarded as being of utmost value in Menopausal phase and the book further records homeopathic remedies like Lachesis30 and Silver Nitrate 30.

There are many homeopathic and biochemic remedies for Mentrual and Menopausal problems, which can be included in the next edition. Similarly, there is nothing about Yoga, Massage, Music, Reiki, Hydrotherapy, Acupressure or Aromatherapy in the book. Likewise, a full chapter on Diet and Nutrition during Menopausal phase could be included and it will be my pleasure to guide the authors to include this useful information in the second edition.

Barring these minor lapses the book is foolproof. Extensive bibliography, chapter wise Index, major subject wise index and the names index, help the readers to understand this difficult topic. Glossary perhaps is the only other thing missing.

I compliment the authors and the publishers for bringing out such a useful document which exposes the con-game called the HRT.

Enpassant, Allopathy has created something like 30,000 diseases due to over use of drugs. Create scare, sell medicines, weaken people, make them dependent and rake in profit -- that is the kind of nonsense the modern medicine is.

To order this 40 and above woman's Bible contact:

or write to Slingshot Publications, BM Box 8314, London WC1N 3XX