FAQGot Questions? Get Answers.
Why do I need food sensitivity testing?
Certain foods can trigger an inflammatory response in the body as a result of interrupted digestion absorption issues (namely leaky gut). Only vitamins, minerals and nutrients are supposed to traverse the protective gut barrier and absorb into the blood stream. In leaky gut or disrupted intestinal barriers large pieces of food protein are able to be recognized by the blood stream and if there is genetic predisposition, over exposure to certain foods, or other trigger this can stimulate an inflammatory response through an antibody (white blood cell) response called IgG. This inflammation also triggers the hormone cortisol which repositions and deposits fat in the midsection. Understanding which foods trigger this inflammatory response can allow you to plan your meals accordingly to reduce exposure and therefore the inflammation and cortisol response. We have used this on literally thousands of patients with amazing results in decreased whole body inflammation, autoimmune disease and weight loss.
How is this different than an allergy test my doctor does?
Most allergy testing is left to specialists in allergy and immunology. Most traditional family or internal medicine physicians are not familiar with food allergy testing or if they are only do immediate food allergy testing in the form of IgE testing through blood or skin prick. These tests are usually limited to just a few foods and usually if you have an immediate IgE reaction you probably already know it. For example if you break out in hives from eating peanuts you probably have already had exposure and reaction and are fully aware. Some doctors do not believe in the validity of IgG food allergy testing because of all they skepticism surrounding the testing methods and reliability. We only use facilities with the best quality controls and the results are evident in the multitude of patients we have tested, treated and who’ve received significant results.
Why do I need to repair my gut?
Modern life is hard on your gut. Your entire digestive tract can be affected by stress, processed foods, alcohol, medications, and bacteria. All that chronic irritation can lead to inflammation and, eventually, to a lot of little pinprick-style leaks in the very thin and delicate lining of your intestinal wall. And even a tiny leak can cause surprisingly big problems. A healthy gut is very selective about what gets passed into your body. But a leaky gut can release undigested food particles, bacteria, and toxins into your bloodstream, leading to a potentially outsized immune response.
If the damage to the lining of your gut is bad enough that such substances regularly leak through, it can wreak havoc on your health. Healing the gut is essential in the process of true health restoration. There are many causes of leaky gut and identifying food sensitivities are just one piece of the puzzle. Removing these inflammatory foods is essential while restoring essential elements like probiotics and digestive enzymes, anti-inflammatory agents and restorative amino acids all found in our digestive repair protocols.
Are there any symptoms to indicate that I may have leaky gut?
The long list of conditions associated with leaky gut syndrome (a.k.a. increased intestinal permeability) include digestive issues like gas and bloating, irritable bowel, autoimmune disease (thyroid, arthritis, diabetes…)acne, allergies, asthma, autism, and many more.
Can't I just take medications that my doctor prescribes for upset stomach or irritable bowel syndrome?
These medications may actually make leaky gut worse because they can worsen permeability issues. They do not address the underlying cause and many physicians are not educated in how to heal and prevent disease, merely mask symptoms.
What is bio-optimization?
Bio-optimization is the term that Better Living Rx uses to describe the total plan of optimization of your health. Through education, medical management and health coaching we incorporate what we call the bio-balance system addressing all areas that influence health with hormones, stress, fitness, nutrition, and detoxification. Addressing all these areas are what get the best, fastest and most sustainable results.
How is this different from a wellness check conducted by my company?
Ironically, wellness checks conducted by companies are part of the ongoing problem in our health model today. Why? Because what do they do in these wellness checks? Look for disease. Diseases that may or may not truly impact our long term health and wellness and misguided physicians who are courted and often times married to pharmaceutical companies only perpetuate these rituals to prescribe their medications which lead to great profits for the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. For example what is the first thing most company wellness programs check? Cholesterol. And through fear tactics the pharmaceutical companies bait physicians to put patients on cholesterol lowering drugs that not only aren’t necessary but can cause debilitating side effects without ever educating patients what your cholesterol is essential for. Namely making your youthful hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Without getting into the debate of the best way to manage cholesterol levels in this discussion understanding that educating our generation on what true wellness is essential to aging with optimal health and wellness.
Do you offer anything for children?
Childhood obesity is at epidemic levels in the United States and for that reason we also have programs developed specifically for children. Better Living Rx can literally help you transform the lives of your entire family. How good would it feel to know that your decisions today added another ten years onto your child’s life, not to mention helped paved the way for generations of healthy decisions?
For children, in addition to our bio-optimization programs, we also offer food sensitivity testing, supplements, and individual coaching and support.
We take the health of the entire family seriously. You matter and so does your child.
What are bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are an exact replica of the hormones that are naturally produced by the body. The difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones is that, although both are created in labs, synthetic hormones are not identical to the hormones naturally created in your body and bioidentical hormones match your body’s hormones molecule by molecule.
Depending on what your symptoms are and which hormone(s) your body needs, your Better LivingRx affiliated physician may choose to prescribe bioidentical hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid hormones, DHEA, melatonin or others as needed.
Who needs bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT)?
The only way to know if you need bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is through specific laboratory testing. There are specific lab panels available to determine if your hormones are imbalanced.
Signs and symptoms of imbalance may include, but are not limited to fatigue, depression, hair loss, weight gain, muscle atrophy, low energy levels, insomnia, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, and anxiety. In many cases, hormone imbalances can occur with expected changes in the lifespan, such as menopause and andropause.
Following lab testing, a trained physician will review your results to determine if BHRT is necessary for you. In some cases, BHRT may not be necessary; however lifestyle and environmental factors may change this need over time, so routine testing, along with a preventive health lifestyle is recommended to keep hormones balanced and maintain optimal health.
When should I consider bioidentical hormone therapy?
In general, your body’s natural hormones begin to decline after your mid-20s and hormone imbalance symptoms are frequently present by your mid-30s. Men and women often start replacing hormones between the age of 35 and 40. If you are experiencing symptoms of hormone imbalance, it is best not to wait.
What is the difference between bioidentical and synthetic hormones?
The difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones is dual fold. Unlike bioidentical hormones, synthetic hormones may be patented by pharmaceutical companies; therefore dosage varies only by milligrams dictated by your doctor, while the molecular structure of the prescribed hormone is the same for every single person on that drug. Additionally, synthetic hormones are not created structurally the same as human endogenous hormones, which often leads uncomfortable side effects. While synthetic hormones can mimic the effects of endogenous hormones on certain biological pathways, they rarely offer the same effectiveness at a deeper, molecular level.
Bioidentical hormones mimic the affinity of human endogenous hormones; therefore they are effective on more biological pathways, at all levels. Because bioidentical hormones are an exact structural replica of endogenous hormones side effects are rarely observed, and in the event you do experience side effects, talk with your doctor – the dosage may simply need to be adjusted. The added benefit of bioidentical hormones is that each dose is tailored specifically for your needs, not simply what doses the pharmaceutical company offers (as is the case with synthetic hormones.)
What are the ingredients of bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are hormones derived from plants, such as soy or wild yams, and are designed to be structurally identical to the hormones produced naturally inside the human body. Additional ingredients in each prescription vary by hormone – testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, etc. and form- creams, gels, pellets, pills, etc.
Your pharmacy may be able to provide with an ingredient list for your specific medication.
Why do women need hormones before, during and after menopause?
Hormones affect a multitude of pathways in the body. Women may experience fluctuations in their hormone levels throughout the lifespan. Imbalances can occur due lifestyle and environmental factors, as well as expected changes, such as pregnancy, perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause. Imbalances of hormones, including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can lead to many uncomfortable experiences, like night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, depression and anxiety. The most common decline seen in menopausal and post-menopausal women is estrogen. When estrogen levels become unbalanced, women may experience symptoms such as low libido and bone loss. The bone loss that women experience due to declining estrogen levels can lead to osteoporosis and increase the likelihood of bone fractures. Adjustments to a womans hormone levels through BHRT and lifestyle changes can reduce or eliminate these discomforts and improve overall health and well-being.
Why do men need testosterone replacement?
As men age, production of the hormone testosterone begins to decline and they experience symptoms of low testosterone. Testosterone is the hormone that is responsible for maintaining mental focus, energy, metabolism, muscle mass, fat levels, and sex drive. By balancing a man’s hormones with bioidentical hormone therapy, men can restore their vitality and reduce the symptoms of andropause.
How long until I see results using bioidentical hormones?
Most patients begin feeling better within a few weeks of beginning the program, but some results may take a bit longer to achieve. You may begin to feel a difference within a matter of days, especially when it comes to sleep patterns and energy levels. Every patient has a different experience, but the end result is the same – a healthier, balanced life.
Changes like these take time to evolve. Remember, it took some time for you to lose balance of your hormones, so it will take your body some time to recover. Consistency and compliance every step of the way will improve your results.
Are bioidentical hormones approved and regulated by the FDA?
Many people are under the misconception that bioidentical hormones are not FDA-approved. This is simply not the case. The hormones derived from plant sources, such as soy and yams, which are approved by the FDA, however the methods of delivery and custom doses are not.
Bioidentical hormones may be delivered in the form of creams, patches, pills, gels, pellets or vaginal rings. Bioidentical hormones are designed in a lab and shipped to a compounding pharmacy where they are custom designed to fit the needs of each patient. Synthetic hormones are created in specific, patented doses and delivery methods (not customized), therefore regulation is possible.
What makes a Better Living Rx affiliated physician an expert in bioidentical hormone therapy?
The physicians of the Better Living Rx network must be Board Certified or Board Eligible in a clinical field that requires patient contact and in good standing with their associated college. But here’s where Better Living Rx separates itself from the back. We provide each patient a treatment team approach. First, individual patient lab results are reviewed by Dr. Tammy and her Hormone Prescription Recommendation team. Recommendations are provided based on Dr. Tammy’s twenty plus years’ experience in medicine and her clinical work with more than 30,000 women and men. Second, the lab results and hormone prescription recommendations are then reviewed by our affiliate physician which incorporates a vast number of years in experience and clinical practice. Finally, our compounding pharmacy consists of another level of hormone expertise. They also review labs, recommendations, and patient paperwork to compile the final compounded, highly individualized formulation. There is currently no other clinical team in the US providing this level of hormone care and attention to its patients.
Additionally, we encourage and create the opportunity for all of our physicians to complete the Fellowship for Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine coursework and earn continuing medical education in the area of anti-aging and functional medicine of no less than 150 credits accrued over a 3 year period. Furthermore, we encourage every physician to be an active member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M).
Why don't traditional doctors prescribe bioidentical hormones?
Traditional doctors do not usually have the time or the resources to seek expertise in bioidentical hormones. Better Living Rx affiliated physicians undergo extensive training in bioidentical hormone therapy and have specialized knowledge of anti-aging medicine.
Do I need a prescription for bioidentical hormone therapy?
Yes. Bioidentical hormones are compounded prescription drugs that are produced in a specialized pharmacy. Each prescription is hand made from the highest quality ingredients and made by pharmacists that specialize in formulating drugs. Since every patient is unique, the strength or the dosage form needs to be specially made to fit the individual.
What can I expect once I've become a member?
Upon becoming a member, your Better Living Rx Coach will help to coordinate your optimization by getting you scheduled for classes, labs, supplements, setting goals, and getting started. We’ve made it convenient by not requiring you to ever have to leave your home. From our hands on, individualized coaching, to the involvement of our physician, our members and their ability to be able to focus on their health are foremost in our minds.
Your coach will ensure that you’ve completed all of your paperwork for the lab and your physician. Before ever leaving your home, your coach will arrange for one of our Better Living Rx affiliated phlebotomists to come to your home for your labs. They will ensure that everything has been processed and delivered to the lab for testing. Once your results are received your coach will notify you and coordinate a time to speak with our Prescription Recommendation Center if needed, and then you will visit with one of our affiliated physicians. After your physician visit, you will be contacted by our compounding pharmacy and they will again review your labs and the prescriptions you will be receiving. Your prescriptions will be delivered to your doorstep within three working days.
As you move forward on the program, appointments will be scheduled every other week to discuss your goals, progress, supplements, prescriptions and any concerns or successes you would like to share.
My sex drive is low, could it be my hormones?
Yes, estrogen and testosterone work in a perfect balance to fuel your sex drive. Too much or too little of either these hormones can cause a decrease in sex drive or cause performance issues. In some cases, increased levels of cortisol, classically secreted due to chronic stress, can negatively impact the sex hormones and impair your libido.
Will my weight change from bioidentical hormone therapy?
Hormones are like stop-lights. When they are balanced the light is green and you will get the optimum results from your nutrition and fitness programs. When they are imbalanced the light is red making it, in many cases, difficult to lose and easy to gain weight.
Hormones are chemical messengers that cause the body to make changes affecting weight gain or weight loss. Changes in hormone levels are also dependant on the lifestyle we lead and can affect our mood, metabolism, and energy levels.
For example, when males become less active there is often a gradual decline in testosterone. This hormone is known to boost metabolism and has the benefit of helping lower fat levels. Thus, when testosterone is balanced a man’s ideal weight is easier to achieve.
What is a compounding pharmacy?
A compounding pharmacy is a specialized pharmacy that creates tailor-made bioidentical hormones prescriptions. The quality of the ingredients, the expertise of the pharmacist and the quality of customer service are all critical decisions when determining the best pharmacy. Poor quality prescriptions are not effective and may impact results; therefore the choice of pharmacy matters greatly. You may use a pharmacy of your choice, however our Better Living Rx affiliate pharmacy meets or exceeds all State requirements, have a specific expertise in bioidentical hormones, and can guarantee the best possible pricing for our patients.
Will you prescribe me vitamins and supplements?
Yes, our line of privately formulated supplements are based on Dr. Tammy’s intimate knowledge of how vitamins and supplements best help the body to heal, metabolize, and regulate hormones. The best way to achieve the nutrients you need are through plant based nutriceuticals. Even if you ate from the Garden of Eden, 10-15 vegetables a day, it would be hard to get all the nutrients you need for optimal health. Our team will collaborate and recommend the best supplement regimen for you. Better Living Rx affiliates recommend only physician grade vitamins and supplements.
Will you take over as my doctor?
No, although your Better Living Rx Team is happy to communicate with your current physician, it’s encouraged that you to continue your usual primary care/emergency visits with him or her.
Will this treatment interfere with my currently prescribed medications?
Typically, the answer is no. The only time when medications will interfere with bioidentical hormones (and vice-versa) is when the medications you’re taking contain hormones, like birth control and certain acne medications. In many cases, certain medications are no longer needed, once hormone levels are restored to a healthy balance. This generally happens because balancing hormones improves your overall health. One of the most important examples of this is with diabetes. As your health improves your need for sugar lowering medications will drastically change. It’s important to talk with your doctor about what medications and supplements you’re currently taking to know for sure if the interaction will have any adverse effects.
Do I need to take these hormones forever?
The length of necessity of hormone therapy varies from person to person. Hormone levels are affected by genetics, lifestyle habits and environmental factors. Some patient may be able to wean themselves off of hormones with consistent dedication to their treatment plan, which includes not only hormone therapy, but nutrition and fitness recommendations as well.
Unfortunately, there is no one answer that will apply to all individuals. Treatment plans are specifically tailored to each individual and their needs.
What are the side effects associated with bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormone therapy has a few potential side effects which are classically linked to dosage – as your hormone levels improve, your dosage may need to be changed. If you notice side effects, contact your physician.
- Men and women have reported increased aggressiveness, acne or irritability during the initial phases of testosterone hormone therapy, but these issues are generally resolved as levels become balanced.
- Some women have reported breast tenderness, spotting, cramping and bloating. These symptoms may be experienced initially with estrogen hormone treatment, but resolve as hormone levels become balanced.
- Occasionally, hormone therapy patients will complain of itching or redness at the injection or insertion site, these symptoms diminish as the body adjusts to treatment.
It is always recommended that you communicate side effects to your physician to be promptly addressed.
My doctor has prescribed birth control pills for me, are they considered hormone therapy?
Yes, birth control pills are a type of hormone therapy but are different from bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Birth control pill hormones are synthetic. Synthetic hormones have differences in their chemical structure that are not a replica of the body’s natural hormones.
No, imbalance of hormones are what cause cancer. Specifically too much of the wrong kind of estrogen (which is found in synthetic birth control pills and traditional HRT). This false impression began in 1991, when the very controversial Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) was halted due to increased incidence of chronic disease among subjects. This study used the synthetic hormone, Prempro, and subjects of the study were an average age of 63 years. Meta-analyses following this study, including some as recent as November 2011, have shown that most of the subjects had pre-existing conditions that lead to the development of disease during the study and that hormones actually reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases in women.
In fact, more than 15 major medical organizations now endorse hormone therapy as a safe and effective treatment plan for many adverse health conditions.
What is the best age to consider bioidentical hormone therapy?
The optimal age for treatment varies per person. Some people may be affected at a younger age than others by adverse health conditions that may impact hormone balance. However, on average, men and women may begin to experience age-related hormone imbalances around the age of 40. Symptoms of andropause, perimenopause and menopause, which classically occur around middle-age often prompt many individuals to seek treatment through hormone balance.
Many individuals may find it beneficial to have their hormones tested in their 20s or 30s to establish an optimal baseline. Once you have determined your baseline, you can take steps to ensure your hormones stay balanced and continue routine testing to monitor hormone levels. In the event of an imbalance at any point in your lifespan, your physician may refer to your baseline and develop a treatment plant to restore levels to that optimal baseline easily.
If I have a family history of cancer, should I avoid bio-idential hormones?
No. It is advisable and strongly encouraged that individuals who have a history of cancer be evaluated by the Better Living Rx Treatment Team. Our affiliated physicians can analyze and interpret your hormone levels to better determine cancer risk and strategically devise a plan to assist in disease prevention through bioidentical hormone therapy, nutrition and fitness.
How long after being cancer free can I use bioidentical hormones?
This is handled on a case by case basis in accordance with the Hormone Recommendation Center and the affiliated doctor you are seeking to work with. Each doctor has a preference when handling cancer patients, current or in remission. Cancer patients may use bioidentical hormones, however, the use of certain hormones will not be ideal for cancer patients; therefore the doctor needs to be made aware of your condition before you become a patient.
Is estrogen therapy linked to increased risk of heart attack and breast cancer?
No, correct balanced estrogen therapy does not increase risk of disease, including heart attack and breast cancer. Having balanced hormones actually reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases in women and men.
Can the Better Living Rx Team use lab work I have already had done?
No, we cannot accept labs done by physicians outside of our network. We ask that if you’ve had labs done that you bring to your consultation along with all additional medications or supplements that you may be on. Better Living Rx affiliated physicians work closely with our lab to ensure consistency and accuracy of specific hormone panels prescribed and the timely manner in which the results are delivered. Labs must be obtained prior to your first appointment with our medical team.
Can I have my own doctor do the labs so that it will be covered under my insurance?
No, we cannot accept labs done by physicians outside of the Better Living Rx network.
If I decide to start a Better Living Rx program, how much will it cost?
Potential patients often ask, “How much does a program cost?” The simple answer is every program is individualized and based solely on need. We offer several different service options based on the goals of the member and the coaches assessment. Our programs are extremely affordable and can range from an investment of $99 per month to at most $400 per month. All programs include coaching sessions, physician visits, labs, hormones, food sensitivity testing, supplements and education. The average cost for hormones ranges from $38-$60 per month. Most of our members are on fixed incomes, retired, single, students or on limited incomes. We make every effort to provide the most cutting edge services for bio-optimization at the most affordable investment.
Better Living Rx does not charge an annual membership fee. Instead, it is only necessary to purchase those services that are recommended for you. You will work with your physician to decide what is best for your diagnosis and health.