Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Education And Debate

The marketing of a disease: female sexual dysfunction

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 20 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:192

Rapid Response:

Mineral deficiencies lower testosterone levels in diseases and contribute to sexual dysfunction.

The rejection of Proctor and Gamble's experimental testosterone patch
by advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration in December 2004 was a
welcome relief in my 45 year battle against the misuse of hormones, either
for contraception or disease “treatments”.1,2 Ray Moynihan points out that
testosterone use is being actively promoted in spite to the proven
unacceptable increased risks with HRT.

The masculinising effects of contraceptive Pill androgenic
progestogens, which included migraine, hirsuitism, weight gain, acne,
hypertension and even violent aggression, were easily observable in the
1960s. An irony is that the main cause of sexual dysfunction in young
women is low dose oestrogen progesterone-dominant oral contraceptives
which dry up secretions, increase monoamine oxidase activities and cause
loss of libido and depression.3

Apart from obvious financial gain, some of the impetus to prescribe
testosterone or progesterone as HRT, in health and several diseases, is
due to misinterpretations of research results. Significantly lower levels
of testosterone and progesterone were recently found in the follicular
phase of normal ovulatory cycles in women with multiple sclerosis.3 Women
with post-Pill amenorrhoea and anovulatory cycles usually have severe
mineral deficiencies and ovulation can be restored with patience and
verified nutritional supplementation, in my experience. This suggests that
nutritional deficiencies may impede testosterone production first before
ovulation and luteal progesterone production become impeded later.

Okun and colleagues have also found lower serum testosterone levels
in patients with Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases.4 A knee-jerk reaction
is to prescribe testosterone in the same way as HRT has been given to
“treat” menopausal physiological falls in oestrogen and progesterone
production. This approach fails to consider the real reasons for
impairments in hormone production which are essential nutrient
deficiencies. Underlying severe deficiencies of zinc, magnesium and often
of copper are being found in recent studies of patients suffering from
numerous conditions including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer and Parkinson
diseases.5,6 These common deficiencies also tend to intensify with ageing
but can be easily and safely corrected if supplementation is monitored by
mineral analyses.

The reality is that adding extra exogenous sex hormones to patients
who already have severe essential nutritional deficiencies will further
compromise failing systems and exacerbate the underlying mineral
deficiencies and imbalances. The WHI and MWS studies of the effects of HRT
were prematurely terminated because of unacceptable increases in vascular
diseases and cancers which are the inevitable consequence of fundamental
impairments of cellular function.

Why is the international medical community taking so long to come to
terms with these basic facts of life?

Apart from the obvious financial implications, hormone analyses are
more readily available than are white blood cell zinc, red blood cell
magnesium and red blood cell superoxidase dismutase activity analyses.
This situation should be remedied as quickly as is possible.

1 Moynihan R. The marketing of a disease: female sexual dysfunction.
BMJ 2005;330: 192-194 (22 January), doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7484.192

2 Grant ECG. Testosterone HRT is dangerous., 6 Dec 2004

3 Tomassini V, Onesti E, Mainero C, Giugni E, Paolillo A, Salvetti M,
Nicoletti F, Pozzilli C. Sex hormones modulate brain damage in multiple
sclerosis: MRI evidence. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2005; 76:272-5.

4 Okun MS, DeLong MR, Hanfelt J, Gearing M, Levey A. Plasma
testosterone levels in Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases. Neurology. 2004
Feb 10; 62 :411-3.

5 Grant ECG. Damp climates, oestrogens, nutritional deficiencies and
multiple sclerosis., 12 Dec 2004.

6. Grant ECG. Parkinson's disease and HRT., 18 Jul 2004

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

23 January 2005
Ellen C G Grant
physicain and medical gynaecologist
20 Coombe Ridings, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT2 7JU,UK