The ZRT Laboratory Blog

The ZRT Blog is an extensive resource for patients and health care providers searching for health and hormone testing information. Here, you can read about ZRT’s cutting edge research, advances in testing, wellness advice, and health industry highlights.

Estrogen: The Link Between Microbiome, Menopause & Metabolic Health

Posted by Dr. Kate Placzek on Saturday, 23 September

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The diversity of the microbiome has profound implications for metabolic health. The micro-organisms that we host in our gastrointestinal tract maintain our gut integrity, break down complex carbohydrates to improve energy extraction from food, produce vitamins and minerals, aid in digestion and absorption, ferment dietary fibers and protect us against pathogens. Maintaining a delicate balance in the diversity of the host-microbiome relationship is crucial for disease prevention and healthy aging. 

Studies on the microbiome are emerging as a new and exciting frontier of science. However, how the microbiome interacts with the endocrine system to modulate metabolic health is still one of the less explored avenues in microbiome research. This blog aims to shed light on the intertwined roles of gut microbiota and estrogen on metabolic health for women as they transition into menopause.

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Research Updates – Trials of HRT Started in Early Menopause

Posted by Margaret Groves on Friday, 15 September

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One of the primary objectives of the Women's Health Initiative was to see if postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) improved long-term risk of coronary heart disease, among other chronic diseases.

However, the combined estrogen/progestin (Prempro) arm was halted in 2002, citing that the participants’ risk of cardiovascular disease outweighed any potential benefit of HRT in the prevention of colorectal cancer and bone fracture [1]. The conjugated equine estrogen (CEE)-only arm was also halted in 2004 citing no improvement in heart disease risk but an increased incidence of stroke, and no benefit in terms of fractures, although there was a reduced breast cancer risk [2].

Yet the WHI investigators published a report this week [3] after a cumulative follow-up of 18 years finding that there was no overall increase in all-cause, cardiovascular, or cancer mortality as a result of either Prempro or CEE-only treatment during their participation in the trial.

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Nutritional Lithium: Orchestrating Our Genes & Optimizing Our Moods

Posted by Dr. James Greenblatt on Friday, 08 September

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This is part two of Dr. Greenblatt's Nutritional Lithium series. Part one can be found here.

Epigenetics & Psychiatry

The field of epigenetics has far-reaching implications for psychiatry. As acquired epigenetic alterations can be transferred to the next generations, what scientists used to label as an inherited psychiatric disease may in fact be the result of epigenetic changes in a family’s shared environment.

Many psychiatric diseases are consistent with the theory of epigenetic dysregulation because of their fluctuating nature and disease course. Single gene and whole genome epigenetic analyses have shown atypical epigenetic markers in the blood and brain of individuals with psychiatric diseases including abnormalities in DNA methylation, histone modifications and microRNA expression.

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Lithium's Billion Year Journey: A Cinderella Story for Brain Health

Posted by Dr. James Greenblatt on Thursday, 24 August

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This is part one of Dr. Greenblatt's Nutritional Lithium series. Part two can be found here.

As far as cosmologists can tell, there were only three elements present when the universe was first formed some 13.8 billion years ago: hydrogen, helium, and lithium.

As one of the three original elements, lithium is found throughout our atmosphere. The sun, stars, and meteorites burn brightly with the gleam of this highly reactive element. On earth, lithium remains a major mineral component of granite rock, and also lingers in significant amounts in sea water, mineral springs, and soils. 

Lithium has also found its way into our cell phones, electric cars, and holiday fireworks. Every organ and tissue in the human body contains the mineral lithium, with particular importance in health, specifically brain health.

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