Truth in Medicine

The Truth about Bio-Identical Hormones:

Separating Fact from Fiction

An Interview with Dr. Gino Tutera

Medical pioneer blazes a new path

to better health and hormonal balance

for men and women with SottoPelle®


by Catherine J. Rourke

Published January 23, 2010

Part of the Observer's ongoing Truth in Medicine series


"Health Sentinel" reporter Catherine Rourke puts the medical stethoscope under the media microscope


Something's just not quite right.

Life doesn't feel like it used to and neither does your body. In fact, you've been healthy all your life, eating right, exercising and shunning poor habits like smoking. But now you may find that suddenly you have a strange illness or disease even though you're only in your forties. Or everyday life has become a monumental struggle just to get through the day.

Do you have trouble sleeping and getting out of bed the next morning? Are you struggling with weight gain despite a healthy diet, a steady stream of supplements and regular exercise? Do you experience highs and lows, mood swings and energy surges? Does it feel like a chore to focus and concentrate on mental tasks?

Maybe you're just zapped at the end of the day and hurt all over or experience strange headaches. Do you have low stamina and sink to your knees in the late afternoon and then stay up all night? Perhaps you find yourself facing major fatigue or even depression and mood swings that were never there before. You've lost your sex drive and your zest for life in general.

Welcome to hormone hell.

If you're a man or woman over 40, you're a prime candidate for hormonal imbalance. But, with all the endless debates and confusing reports about hormone replacement therapy (HRT), where do you begin? Your doctors seem to shrug off your symptoms as menopause and aging. And you wonder why this hormone problem never seemed to plague your parents or grandparents....

Crawling through the quagmire

Hormone imbalance presents one of the greatest medical debacles of our time. Its causes are subtle and invisible and its cures remain suppressed. And, not all hormones are alike. Nor are their delivery methods.

According to hormone pioneer Gino Tutera, M.D. -- a board-certified ob-gyn in Scottsdale, Ariz. -- that's precisely what the big booming pharmaceutical drug companies don't want patients or their doctors to know. There's simply too much money to lose if medicine embraces the safer, healthier, effective and cheaper way to achieve hormonal balance.

In fact, the debate and confusion surrounding the distinction between traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and the bio-identical kind (BHRT) continues to wage on, years after scientific studies and solid evidence point to the truth: Synthetic hormones can kill you while bio-identical ones can heal you.

Despite the clear facts on hormones, the media neglects to report them in favor of pandering to pharmaceutical company fraudulent press releases and publicity scare tactics. Again, there's too much profit to be lost in handsome revenues from pharmaceutical advertising, so the public remains in the dark.

What most doctors and medical experts and subsequently the media fail to recognize or explain is that both male and female hormones -- the literal control panel of the body for every single one of its multitude of functions -- have been undermined by the modern-day assault of hidden toxins that are contributing to this current epidemic hormonal imbalance.

We can thank radiation from cell phone towers and digital screens, the growth hormones and chemicals in our tainted food, the fallout from nuclear activity destroying the nutrients in our soil and purity of our water and a host of dangerous chemicals in every molecule we eat, drink, touch, breathe, swallow and inhale.

"If people wonder why their parents didn't have to supplement their hormones, all they need to do is to realize these factors," says Dr. Tutera. "They also didn't have our modern-day stress levels that contribute dramatically to hormone depletion. This is especially true for women because stress is poison to female hormones and their neurotransmitters. Working two or more jobs and then maintaining their domestic roles at home at the same time has created an unprecedented state of overwhelm for so many women -- the absolute worst thing for their health and hormonal balance."

In an culture that places "Superwoman" expectations on females and capitalizes on their multitasking natures, hormonal imbalance becomes the result.


Yet, Dr. Tutera claims, the stress and changes in men's roles haven't helped their testosterone levels either. In fact, modern life has impacted their estrogen levels too. Stress, Tutera says, poses the greatest hazard to hormonal balance in both men and women, but it's not as toxic to men as it is to women because the male neuropathways and testosterone predominance are genetically designed to handle major stress, which is not the case for women.

"The greatest tragedy of modern medicine," says Tutera, "is that it fails to recognize that both men and women need both estrogen and testosterone. Without both hormones, each gender would be dead. Yet millions remain crippled, hobbling around our stressful world on one hormone leg while the other is completely denied to them. It's shocking and it's devastating because it's making them sick and even killing them."

And neither medicine nor the media is doing anything about it except adding to the quagmire of confusion, he claims.

Headlines tell all

Just glance at the minestrone of contradictory headlines about hormone therapy within the past several years:

"Testosterone Tumbling in American Males"

“Jury Declares HRT Drug Caused Woman’s Breast Cancer”

“Fraudulent Hormone Research Affects Millions”

“FDA Allows Harmful Hormone Drugs to Stay on the Market”

“Men Continue to Ignore Andropause Symptoms"

"AMA and FDA Cite Danger of BHRT"

“Pharmaceutical HRT Linked to Stroke, Breast Cancer, Heart Disease in Women”

“Confusion Clouds the Truth about Bio-identical Hormones”

"Prostate Cancer Now Strikes 2 of Every 3 Men"

“Menopausal Women Don’t Get Enough Guidance on Hormone Options" "Women's Heart Disease on the Rise"

Dr. Tutera claims that the conundrum stems from an industry controlled by drug companies spreading mis-information about the benefits of bio-identical hormones. They want people confused because they want them to purchase their synthetic hormones. So what if a woman gets a heart attack or breast cancer from Premarin, or if a man develops blindness from Viagra? These corporations must retain their financial profits whatever the price.

Dr. Tutera also says that much like the doctors who remain steeped in denial on this issue due to medical school training controlled by drug company propaganda, likewise the media remains stonewalled in denial because the same drug company lords fund their publications and broadcasts through their slick, widespread advertising campaigns promoting synthetic hormones.

No one -- medicine, media, or drug companies -- wants to sacrifice its profits for human health. So the patient is the one who pays -- for the very drugs that will make them sick or kill them.

The truth about hormone delivery methods

Dr. Tutera explains that, in addition to all the confusion about the hormones itself, the truth about the ONLY real safe and effective method of hormone supplementation also remains in the dark.

"Cloaked in even greater denial is the fact that the effectiveness of bio-identical hormone therapy hinges primarily on its delivery method," Tutera says. "Decades of scientific studies show that there is only one effective means, yet few doctors are willing to acknowledge this fact."

Just as vaccines are injected directed into the bloodstream for maximum immediate effectiveness, so too hormones need to bypass the liver, intestinal tract, skin and other blocks posed by oral, sublingual and transdermal application. Instead, effective BHRT requires subcutaneous, or under the skin, insertion for optimum results.

That's why diabetics administer insulin directly into the blood and why flu medicine is delivered via vaccine. "Everyone knows that direct application through the blood is the most effective means of administering any medicine or supplement," Tutera says. "But when it comes to hormones, they drop the ball on this fact."

Your doctor will be the last one to tell you this, Tutera says. Because even s/he probably doesn't know. Most are simply too busy digging their way out from under the pile of insurance industry paperwork to read all the studies. They have simply become bookkeepers instead of true doctors or healers.

"Everyone is just shuffling patients along like an assembly line," Tutera says, "and too busy filing their hefty invoices to take the time to read the studies and medical journals -- or read in between the lines of drug company propaganda."

Or the doctors become so brainwashed by medical school hormone mis-education that they simply ignore the dilemma impeding most of their patients' health-- and probably their own.

Traditional hormone replacement therapy

Used to treat symptoms associated with menopause and peri-menopause, synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) has come under the media spotlight in recent years.

While HRT has deposited billions of dollars in annual revenues into the pockets of pharmaceutical manufacturers, it has also delivered shocking news to the millions of long-term users who paid dearly for it with breast cancer, blood clots, heart attacks, strokes and other side effects. Now, new studies claim that HRT also damages the brain, doubling a woman’s chances of developing dementia.

As its growing dangers continue to capture headlines and spark ongoing dissension within the medical community, more than 77 million aging Boomers face menopause and andropause in turmoil, wondering where to turn for reliable care and comprehensive, accurate and forthright information about HRT.

There is a better way: Bio-Identical Hormones, or BHRT. Yet, much like their doctors and the media, patients remain in the dark and confused over the difference between HRT and BHRT.

And that's exactly what the pharmaceutical industry wants. After all, it prefers that patients opt for dangerous drugs such as Premarin, YAZ, or even Zoloft.

Oversight and confusion

Despite the numerous studies and reports indicating the benefits of BHRT, which has been used successfully in Europe long, without any side effects, before the U.S. pharmaceutical industry tried to suppress the truth about it, the Web is glutted with industry-fueled propaganda citing the alleged dangers of bio-identical hormones.

A Google search for "BHRT" produces endless pages of contradictory and paradoxical reports either praising its healthful benefits or condemning its ominous potential harm. Furthermore, countless medical practitioners have sprouted up on the search engines, all offering BHRT and touting its marvels in the form of hormones such as Estrace, which is really synthetic, or the assortment of troches, pills, capsules, patches and transdermal creams.

While these products falsely boast they are "bio-identical," they contain nothing natural.

"All of it is man-made and synthetic, even some of the so-called 'bio-identical' ones," explains Tutera, who compounds his plant-derived hormones without any chemicals. "They are essentially all Band-Aids that will temporarily make patients feel better because people in general are so low in hormones. But these products are not fixing the inherent problem, which is that the body needs hormones 24-7 in varying amounts throughout the day. Taking a troche in the morning will make patients feel better, but by the afternoon the body lacks the right amount of hormone it needs."

Still, the thousands of men and women desperately seeking hormonal balance will find nothing but contradictory Web sites emphasizing the dangers of BHRT. This makes it impossible for them to evaluate underlying truth about bio-identical hormones so they can make educated choices about what really works and what doesn't.

Consumer magazines continue to feature full-page ads and two-page displays for dangerous hormones while their editors and writers fail to distinguish the truth about these sometimes fatal drugs because such publications rely on drug company advertising for their profits. Only now are some hormone articles starting to mention the word "bio-identical" and, even when they do, most fail to note the critical need to explore the various delivery method options.

Dr. Tutera explains what makes a hormone truly "bio-identical" below and how patients can know the difference. The term indicates that it precisely replicates the hormones produced naturally by the body -- something no manmade substance can achieve. Only plants can do that and, amazingly, the yam plant contains molecules identical to human hormones. That's the miracle and gift of plant medicine -- and the folly of the chemical kind.

The labeling of hormone drugs like Estrace as "bio-identical" is no different than the way the food industry labels alleged health food products as "natural." Think of it as a corporate profit bandwagon that every business is jumping on, including Walmart, which if falsely labeling unnatural products this way. The problem lies in that the FDA maintains no labeling pratice to distinguish many foods and even its organic labeling structure contains many tier levels. This is how our government fails to protect citizen health and blanket corporate interests and profits instead.

Pill or pellet? Pitfalls and possibilities

Once a patient chooses BHRT over HRT, s/he faces another vital decision: How should the hormone be administered?

After wading through the minefield of hypocrisy and fraudulent information promoted by pharmaceutical corporations on the type of hormone therapy, patients face another vast labyrinth of choices regarding the method of hormone delivery.

From troches and creams to pills, patches and pellets, most consumers don't understand the difference in how these hormone administration methods affect their body's absorption of bio-identical hormone. It shouldn't be so difficult for patients, should it? That, apparently, is no accident. Because most doctors don't even comprehend the difference.

According to Dr. Tutera, herein lies the crux of the confusion.

Most medical schools do not train future doctors in the differences between HRT, BHRT and especially in the effective hormone delivery methods. That's because medical schools and their studies are controlled by drug companies who need pills, creams, troches and patches to ensure their profits.

"Medical Web sites and consumer magazine reports also fail to highlight the fact that the key to successful BHRT lies in its delivery method throughout the body," he explains.


Chronic oversight of this critical aspect by medical practitioners, the media, authors of hormone therapy books, celebrities, health columnists, medical bloggers, physician Web sites and medical talk shows have the pharmaceutical industry celebrating the confusion. After all, traditional HRT represents a trillion-dollar industry and nobody wants to lose a dime of profit -- to hell with people's health.

So the medical industry and the media fail to deliver the scientifically documented facts about the various methods of hormone delivery, some of which remain very unsafe because they clog the liver, create blood clots and cause a host of other medical problems. And they fail to make the distinction between the traditional synthetic method of hormone replacement therapy and the natural bio-identical approach.

Medical myopia?

According to an investigation of BHRT practitioners and their thousands of Web sites, most remain as ignorant as their patients when it comes to understanding the effective hormone delivery methods. They simply may not have examined enough medical evidence to realize that some approaches have greater impact than others and can significantly impact their patients' health. So they are innocently simply applying a Band-Aid on a deep gaping wound despite the best intention for their patients.

Dr. Tutera claims that most are laughing all the way to the bank with fees that the average middle-class or working poor patient can't afford (let alone the increasing numbers of unemployed, bankrupt and impoverished Americans without any care) since BHRT coverage is shunned by the health insurance industry that only pays for traditional hormones -- you know, the kind that can kill you.

To sort fact from fiction on this controversial issue, the Observer posed some in-depth questions to Dr. Tutera, who trailblazed the path for bio-identical hormone therapy in the U.S. from Europe where it has been widely used for over 80 years -- and where women have significantly lower incidents of breast cancer and heart disease and men aren't as plagued with prostate cancer.

Dr. Tutera founded the SottoPelle® method of BHRT and practices it in Scottsdale, Ariz., with trained affiliate doctors all over the country bringing relief to exasperated American patients who lack freedom of choice in their medical care and the means to access affordable universal health care like every other nation on the planet.

Dr. Gino Tutera: the hormone messiah

With nearly 30 years of documented research and experience in hormone therapy, Dr. Tutera is recognized as a leading physician and medical pioneer in his field. He initiated a hormone medical breakthrough in 1992 with pellet therapy, a natural approach using bio-identical hormones and dramatically changing the lives of men and women suffering from hormone deficiencies – without any of the harmful side effects of synthetic hormones.

He claims that, due to modern-day stress levels and chemical overload in everything Americans eat, drink, breathe and touch, the resulting environmental “estrogenic soup” in their environment and lifestyles, that a good number of people, from ages 35 and up, will experience some form of hormonal imbalance, no matter how subtle.

After opening his first hormone therapy clinic in 1982, Dr. Tutera founded the SottoPelle® method 10 years later, a unique therapy using tiny pellets of bio-identical hormone slipped painlessly under the skin to deliver a 24-7 reservoir of on-demand support for the body’s optimum balance.

The way they've been doing it in Europe since 1939. Without a single negative side effect.

What distinguishes Dr. Tutera as a medical trailblazer is that he took this scientifically proven approach to a higher level by inventing a method of customized dosing called "BioCalc" that prescribes the precise amount of hormone for each individual based on his or her own needs.

"Everyone doesn't wear the same size shoe," Dr. Tutera states. "So why would they require the same size hormone? No two bodies are alike, nor are their hormonal needs."

According to Dr. Tutera, this innovative delivery system, when measured in the specific dose of hormones for an individual’s unique body chemistry, holds the key to vitality and well-being. That's because it evokes a round-the-clock normal hormonal balance controlled by the body's own natural heartbea and neurotransmitters that oral pills, creams, patches and other hormone approaches, whether synthetic or bio-identical, fail to achieve due to their roller-coaster delivery method.


Perhaps no one can explain this revolutionary system better than Dr. Tutera himself. That’s why we interviewed him in person at his Scottsdale-based office so he could answer frequently asked questions about bio-identical hormones and their effects on human health. [And we also put ourselves on his program as journalistic guinea pigs. Read the reporter's own experience with SottoPelle methos in the righthand column.]


Q.  Explain why hormonal balance is so critical to human health.

Dr. Tutera: Hormones represent the control panel of the human body. The only way to restore energy, a keen mind and a strong, fit body is by balancing the hormones to return the body to its normal physiological state. Hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and thyroid are all extremely important factors in maintaining that normality to re-establish cardiac, muscular-skeletal and cerebral physiology. And each gender needs BOTH hormones in proper balance to maintain good health. But women are being denied proper levels of testosterone while men are almost completely denied any level of estrogen. It's the reason why so many people of all ages are getting sick when they could be enjoying perfect health and vitality.


Q.  Are fatigue and weight issues indicative of hormonal imbalance?

Dr. Tutera: Absolutely! These are two very common symptoms and there is a definite correlation. The body can’t maintain its normal metabolic and systemic functions without proper hormonal balance. Many people wonder why, despite a good diet and vigorous exercise program, they’re still tired and gaining weight. The key is maintaining a normal physiologic state and balancing the hormones to maximize diet, exercise and supplements. Relying only on these strategies when your hormones are out of balance means that your system cannot derive any benefit. You can take all the supplements and do all the exercises in the world and you won’t lose weight. There needs to be more emphasis on the physiologic restoration that hormones promote rather than just the relief of symptoms.

"By age 40, most women are totally depleted of normal levels of estrogen and have lost nearly ALL their progesterone and more than HALF of their testosterone. And they wonder why they're fat, frazzled, fatigued and fuzzy-minded and can't function or lose weight."   

                              -- Dr. Gino Tutera, pioneering hormone specialist

Q.  What are some other symptoms of hormonal imbalance?


Dr. Tutera: Some typical symptoms in both sexes include fatigue, disrupted sleep, weight issues, body and joint aches, depression, mood swings, lack of energy, poor concentration, irritability and short tempers, high inflammation and CRP levels, exhaustion, low sex drive, loss of muscle mass and stamina, mental fog or fuzziness, diminished or nonexistent sex drive, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, irritability and general malaise. In women, it may also include PMS, irregular menses, night sweats, hot flashes, chronic dry eye and even plantar fasciitis, a painful foot condition. And that's just a partial list. Prolonged states of hormonal imbalance show up in the form of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, auto-immune disorders and other maladies like cancer.


Q.  When should people start having their hormone levels checked?


Dr. Tutera: Due to the poor diet and stress levels of today's lifestyles and the "estrogenic soup" we live in and thanks to environmental toxins and all the chemicals and growth hormones in food, I am seeing a rise in hormonal imbalances. My patients are getting younger and younger, which is really disturbing. We can attribute this to our modern lifestyles and all the stress, processed food, technology and radiation exposure, dangerous chemicals and many other environmental factors.

Therefore, I recommend both men and women start checking their hormones at age 35.

This can be done with a simple blood test. Any woman who has had her ovaries removed needs hormone replacement therapy of the bio-identical kind, no matter what her age, and should monitor her hormone levels after surgery on a monthly basis. If she doesn't get the right kind of treatment, she's headed for disaster -- heart attacks, osteoporosis, dementia, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and a host of auto-immune diseases.

By age 40, most women are totally depleted of normal levels of estrogen and have lost nearly all their progesterone and more than half of their testosterone. And they wonder why they're fat, frazzled, fatigued and fuzzy-minded and can't function or lose weight or getting sick.


Q.  Can we rely on diet, herbs and supplements alone to maintain or correct hormonal balance?


Dr. Tutera: No. The ravages of our environment -- from chemicals in food and water, pollutants, invisible radiation from screens, microwaves and cell phone towers, plus the endocrine disruption of plastics and stress -- have all create a world so toxic to human health that diet and supplements are no longer potent enough to counteract such extreme damage. Our soil and water are so contaminated that even organic plants lack their former nutrients and enzymes. Food is so processed that it no longer contains sufficient nutrients, which is a contributing factor to imbalanced hormones. Most people cannot afford whole, organic foods and even many of these are grown on soils that are now depleted due to toxic runoff from and chemicals in our rainwater and groundwater.

If the body is deficient in any hormone, all the diets, herbs and supplements cannot return human health to a normal internal physiological state. They may make you feel better, but your body cannot absorb them to derive their maximum benefit.

It's like trying to put high-grade fuel in a car with a cracked engine. The car still will not run properly and the engine is incapable of utilizing and distributing the fuel throughout the system. And you're simply wasting your money on expensive fuel that has you going nowhere. When that happens, you have to fix the engine. That’s what BHRT does -- the permanent repairs versus the temporary fix.


Q.  Does that mean people need to supplement with bio-identical hormones for the rest of their lives?

Dr. Tutera: Unfortunately, in most cases, the answer is yes, if they want to enjoy a healthy life with vitality and without serious illness. We live in a radioactive chemical soup that hormones simply can't withstand or produce enough levels to counteract. It's the same reason all the bees are dying. If cell phone tower signals are confusing them, don't you think it's confusing humans and our hormones? Very few people are actually healthy enough today to have physiological systems that can counteract the impact of our toxic environment. So we are slowly killing ourselves while spending a fortune on vitamins that aren't strong enough to affect our hormonal balance. They can help but they can't fix the huge broken wagon, but only mend a spoke in the wheel.


Q.  Explain the difference between pharmaceutical and bio-identical hormones.


Dr. Tutera: Pharmaceuticals are synthetic, containing artificial man-made chemicals that are not naturally created by the body – even though many doctors and drug companies refer to them as “natural.” But there’s nothing natural about them. They are merely simulations of what your body produces naturally. They work on a “trial and error” method of trying to create the right combination of hormonal doses to bring you to a state resembling normality. But, instead, they have dangerous side effects.


Bio-identical hormones, on the other hand, are not simulations or replicas. They are completely natural plant-based ingredients that possess a hormonal structure identical to that of humans. Very few people realize that we share that with some plants. So they offer a complete “reconstruction” of your human “engine,” so to speak, so it can run efficiently. Bio-identical hormones restore your body to a state of normality, with no harmful side effects.


Clever drug company ads are designed to fool women into thinking these drugs are natural and safe. Note the line that reads: Scroll down to see Important Safety Information. Dr. Tutera says if it's natural, then there should be no such warning...


Q.  Why are FDA-approved “natural” hormones, such as Premarin, Estrace and Prometrium, under scrutiny?

Dr. Tutera: Because there's absolutely NOTHING natural about them! It’s already been proven that they’re as safe as walking down the highway. You may dodge a few cars, but eventually you’re going to run into trouble. The problem is that none of those products are actually biologically identical to human hormones. It’s like saying a Chevrolet and a Bentley are exactly the same because they both have four tires.

In Europe, there’s a set protocol for distinguishing between what is synthetic, natural and bio-identical. We don’t have that here in the U.S. because the drug companies aren’t held responsible for doing so.


Premarin, for example, is as natural to the human physiology as a human hormone would be to a horse. It contains a mixture of 17 different estrogens; humans only make three. The FDA and pharmaceutical industry label it “natural” only because it comes from a mammal and not entirely from a synthetic source. Consumers and medical patients need to be very wary of what industry and government consider “natural.” Premarin is proven to actually reverse the normal ratio of estrogens in a woman’s body, causing more harm than good. Ask all the women who were placed on it over the years and the majority will tell you they experienced heart problems even though they had healthy habits and lifestyles.


Q. Are the popular forms of bio-identical hormones, such as patches, creams, sublingual pills and troches, safe and effective?

Dr. Tutera: Absolutely not. They're as worthless and useless as pouring oil in a cracked engine; the car is never going to run efficiently. Any hormone taken orally or transdermally creates a roller-coaster or yo-yo syndrome in the body. The FDA labels these hormones as natural but there's nothing whatsoever natural about them. And we have a nation of medical professionals dispensing them like candy and laughing all the way to the bank off the profits. Yet patients continue to live with their symptoms and often develop debilitating medical problems as a result.

If you take an oral hormone or even use a patch or cream, whether if it’s pharmaceutical or bio-identical, it delivers a large rush of hormone through your system all at once that you may not even need at that time, creating a peak-and-valley effect instead of allowing the body to naturally extract and distribute the varying levels it needs at different times throughout the body.

Q. What are some of the side effects of taking bio-identical hormones that really aren't bio-identical?

In 2002 the World Health Organization released a report proving that synthetic hormones were giving women heart attacks and breast cancer. So Big Pharma had to return to the drawing board and come up with something to prevent losing millions of dollars. That's when it invented pills like Estrace, fraudulently labeling it "bio-identical" and "natural" when there's nothing natural about it. It's sitll a man-made synthetic under the whitewashed false label. And it's still causing heart attacks in women along with blood clots, breast cancer and a host of other issues.

Q. What can women who need hormones do to ensure their health while restoring proper hormone balance?

The first thing I tell my patients is to stop taking the oral hormones and pharmaceuticals in general. Next, they need to get proper lab tests but the current standards are archaic and do not measure women's hormones properly. They even base their testosterone levels on men's ranges. I have a system set up with a national lab so patients know their hormone levels are being properly measured and accurately read. Then patients must switch to the pellet method of natural hormone delivery because it's distributed 24-7 and monitored by the heartbeat just like the body naturally controls hormone distribution in the body.

Hormones need to be inserted directly into the bloodstream for maximum effectiveness and natural delivery flow.

If you take a sub-lingual bio-identical troche or apply an bio-identical cream in the morning, the body gets a huge rush delivery of the hormone -- if it succeeds in bypassing the various body components to make it to the chemical messaging centers in the cells -- that then wears off as the day wears on. This is called the roller-coaster effect.

So, if you have a hard workout later in the day or a stressful evening, there's insufficient hormone in place to serve the body's need in that moment for more hormone. That's why the body needs a reservoir in place, sitting in the bloodstream and available at all times, 24-7, to achieve true hormonal balance. Because that's the way the body works.

All oral hormones build up in the liver and impair its function. Hormones like Estrace even suppress a woman's levels of testosterone, so she's creating a double-whammy of problems. But most doctors will mistakenly tell them that Estrace is bio-identical and therefore "natural" -- which is a total lie -- because that's what they've all been brainwashed by the pharmaceutical industry to believe.

The same applies to creams and patches. They're all unnatural, even the ones in the health food stores, and they can have very negative side effects on women's health.



Q.  What is the pellet subcutaneous method and how does it work?

Dr. Tutera: The pellet is a compounded bio-identical hormone the size of a grain of rice extracted from plants and slipped painlessly under your skin approximately two or three times per year. It acts as a reservoir, offering a hormone-on-demand delivery system that eliminates the need for daily intake of oral hormones and creams. Since it is administered directly into the bloodstream, the body continuously extracts the correct amount of hormone on an ongoing basis that lasts several months, depending on the individual.

This allows the body to deliver the varying amounts of hormone it may need, hour to hour, the way it does from its usual normal hormonal reservoir. The body releases hormone on demand based on a signal from the heartbeat that is carried by neurotransmitters to the adrenals, where most hormones are produced, and then to the rest of the endocrine system -- the thyroid, pituitary, ovaries and other glands and organs. But endocrine-disruptors like stress, plastics and chemicals have damaged these neurotransmitters, so most people are not producing normal levels of hormone.

Tutera notes: "We do not give the body credit for its amazing ability to extract the amount of hormone it needs at different times of the day from this reservoir, yet we trust man-made pills to do this. The human heartbeat controls hormone distribution and release throughout the body in the most effective way -- IF it is identical to the same hormone it produces naturally. Anything man-made will eventually be ejected."

Hormonal levels naturally vary every hour of every day. One day might be stressful on the job or include a rigorous workout, so the body will require more hormones. At other times, like on a relaxing day off, it might require less.

These have been used for over 80 years in Europe where women are not plagued with breast cancer, heart disease, obesity and other disorders on the rise in American women. That's because European medicine is not controlled and run by the pharmaceutical industry.

It’s long been known that conventional synthetic hormones (e.g. PremPro) tend to raise CRP levels, but thanks to the University of Texas Health Science Center in its year-long CHOICE study, we now know that women who use bioidentical (natural) hormones can significantly lower their CRP levels, by as much as 37%. This study also found that bioidentical hormones lowered blood pressure, and reduced fibrinogen and triglyceride levels. The results of this study have been presented to the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.


Q.  How do you determine the amount of hormone needed and how is the pellet administered?

Dr. Tutera: I use a set of simple blood tests to assess current hormone levels, including the thyroid, and to determine the specific and precise dose required. Then, using a mild, local anesthetic, the small hormone pellet is inserted under the skin right above the buttocks. It feels like any injection and is painless and takes less than five minutes.

I follow up with new patients after one month for a lab test to see how it is working or if they require additional hormone since I always start with the lowest dose. Most patients usually report an increase in their overall vitality right away and a decrease in their former symptoms. The hormone can last anywhere between four to six months, depending on the individual.


 Bio-identical hormone pellet


Q.  How does BHRT rejuvenate both men and women?

Dr. Tutera: BHRT balances the deficiency with a hormone that has the exact biochemical structure of the human hormone. Derived from natural plant-based ingredients, it is not a synthetic or replica hormone. The subdermal pellet delivers the hormone on an ongoing basis monitored via the heartbeat, just like the continuous secretion of the human endocrine gland system, drawing exactly what it needs when it is needed. If you can give the human body back the identical hormone it is lacking, normal physiology is restored internally and the body then experiences improved health, energy and well-being.


Q.  Why do you prefer using the subdermal method instead of oral, time-released capsules for hormone delivery?

Dr. Tutera: Pills, creams, patches, gels, oils and shots have a peak-and-valley effect, which is not how the human body secretes hormones.

Oral hormones, creams and patches cannot produce a normal physiologic state because they fail to deliver the varying amounts required by the human body at different times, causing a roller-coaster effect.

Since it is processed through the liver and digestive system before the body can absorb it, much of the hormone is lost in that process.



BHRT has been used in Europe since 1939. A 1978 study concluded that oral preparations result in “an unphysiological [sic] ratio of oestradiol to oesterone.” Also, a 1993 British study found that bio-identical estrogen increases vertebral bone density by one to two percent per annum versus the 8.3 percent per annum with the pellet.

Therefore, BHRT serves an essential role in the prevention of osteoporosis and even breast cancer.


Q.  Is there any chance of receiving too much hormone? And, if so, how would the excess hormone be removed if the pellet is already inserted?


Dr. Tutera: The exact amount of hormone a person needs is carefully determined by scrutinizing his or her lab test results. I start with the absolute lowest dose and then perform another set of lab tests one month later to see if more hormone is needed. I boost it in small increments, starting minimally and working our way up to achieve the perfect and safest level. More importantly, I ask my patients questions that most doctors no longer bother to ask since they simply look at lab test numbers these days and not at the patient. I ask my patients how they are feeling. How are their energy levels? Have their symptoms diminished? That tells me a lot right there. So there is never a chance of incorrect dosing when you start with the lowest amount.


Q.  Why isn’t BHRT widely accepted in the U.S. if it has been used successfully since the 1930’s in Europe?


Dr. Tutera: BHRT is a natural compound that cannot be patented, so drug companies stand to earn very little profit from it and therefore work with the FDA to condemn it due to what they claim is a lack of solid studies. Yet the majority of research studies are funded either directly or indirectly through government grants funded by the pharmaceutical industry. As a result, very few medical students learn about BHRT in their training. Many doctors still disapprove of BHRT, citing the lack of studies proving its safety or effectiveness.



Q.  What is your response to that?

Dr. Tutera: There are actually many already existing studies that prove the safety and effectiveness of BHRT, but they were conducted in Europe, where resistance to BHRT from profit-minded drug companies is not an issue. Therefore, these studies are not widely accepted by medical practitioners in the U.S.

[He hands the Observer a stack of studies.]

Pellet therapy has been heavily researched in England. It is also nearly impossible to get the BHRT studies we have done here in the U.S. published in any peer medical review journals because they remain so resistant to BHRT. The tragedy is that this resistance is impeding human health.


Q.  What would it take to get a comprehensive study done on BHRT?

Dr. Tutera: It’s going to take educating doctors and the American public about the dangers of synthetic HRT. That’s where the media comes in. Most media remain stonewalled against doing proper investigative research and educating the public about this issue because they are beholden to pharmaceutical company advertising and hesitate to lose their revenue if they publish reports such as this one you are writing for the Observer.

In any study, you have to question where its funding comes from. The problem is that pharmaceutical companies will not fund BHRT research. Instead, we have to conduct our own studies independently, which means the cost is passed on to our patients. Then the medical journals refuse to publish them.


Drug companies only fund studies on synthetic hormones.


Q.  Has BHRT received fair coverage from other major media?

Dr. Tutera: Very little and the reporting has been completely botched. Most media have sold out to drug-company advertising and fail to report the truth about BHRT since it threatens a trillion-dollar synthetic hormone industry. Suzanne Somers did a lot to spread the word about hormones with her books, even though she used an oral form, but she got shot down by the media because there were no American medical studies to back her claims -- only the European ones that the AMA and FDA refuse to acknowledge.


Q.  What are the results of your own studies on hormones, osteoporosis and breast cancer?

Dr. Tutera:  My 10-year study using the bio-identical pellet on women demonstrates a marked reduction in breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer. The results show an incidence of cancer to be .1 in 976 women versus a 1:9 ratio in the general population. The study also indicates that the use of BHRT via a subdermal delivery system allows the body to control its release of estrogen and testosterone, possibly contributing to lower cancer rates.


Also, we found that calcium, diet and exercise by themselves will not stop osteoporosis. The continuous release of estrogen and testosterone builds bone while slowing its breakdown. In fact, osteoporosis can be reversed in a year with BHRT. Published studies dating back 16 years demonstrate an 8.3% growth of bone with the use of pellet therapy. Osteoporosis is a disease of hormonal imbalance and should not be treated with the host of synthetic drugs currently be prescribed for the disease.


Of course, I haven’t been able to get these studies published in the U.S., so I will be presenting my findings in Europe. And I discuss the results in my new book.


Click here to purchase


Q.  What is the greatest misconception regarding hormones and BHRT?

Dr. Tutera: First, that bio-identical hormones are dangerous. Anyone who searches them on Google will find endless conflicting reports, most of them derogatory and scientifically unfounded. We are still in the Dark Ages of human health and what’s unfortunate is that so many people suffer needlessly when we have the medical means to relieve their anguish.

Perhaps the greatest confusion lies in what is really "natural," and the media made a fine mess a few years ago of labeling all hormones as dangerous while failing to distinguish between synthetic and bio-identical ones. So, for example, while synthetic oral estrogen was shown to be dangerous, the media never mentioned a word about the bio-identical kind and its proven safety levels.

The other big misconception is that each sex doesn’t think it needs the hormone associated with the opposite sex, but in fact both sexes require testosterone as well as estrogen. The current lab ranges for hormones are so inaccurate that they are doing a great disservice to both sexes, so modern medicine needs to update these archaic and outmoded levels. I actually treat men who are estrogen-deficient and so many of my female patients are so low in testosterone that I don't know how they get out of bed each day and manage to function.


Q.  What do women need to know about their levels of testosterone?

Dr. Tutera: This is perhaps the single most important hormone for ensuring women's health and the most neglected at the same time. Women need far more testosterone than they or their doctors realize, especially with all the debilitating factors of modern food, life, stress, radiation and chemical pollutants. In fact, it is the greatest missing factor in the health of women over age 40 who are being denied proper doeses and being overdosed on toxic forms of estrogen contributing to heart disease and a host of other problems.

By the age of 40, most women have lost half of their testosterone due to our toxic environment and stress. Yet women and their doctors have all been brainwashed to think that they don’t need testosterone and that it will grow hair in the wrong places. If they didn’t have any, they’d be unable to function every day. Fatigue, low stamina, mental fog, osteoporosis and sexual dysfunction are just some of the symptoms of dwindling testosterone levels that I’ve been able to eliminate in women who are totally amazed by the increase in their energy levels – without any hair on their chests!


The role of testosterone in women’s health is greatly underestimated and ignored by the medical profession, which fails to test their levels as well as read their lab results accurately. Women must insist that their doctors properly test their testosterone levels and properly translate the results, but they don't know what those are until they come through my office.

Most medical labs do not accurately measure women's hormones and assign a normal range for their testosterone that is seriously far below healthy levels.

This represents a dangerous disservice to women's health because it leaves them vulnerable to the illnesses of low testosterone: osteoporosis, heart disease, breast cancer, depression and dementia. While female testosterone levels should not drop below 100-150 to maintain good health, the labs will label a reading of 18 as "high" or even lower as within women's "normal" range. I personally like to see a woman's testosterone level over 100 to restore her to normal physiological health.


A study published in the “Journal of Fertility and Sterility” in April 2002 was one of the first to prove that the current method of determining a woman’s testosterone level is inaccurate and that the range of “normal” given by laboratories is completely wrong. If physicians are unaware of these studies and only look at the ranges the lab gives, they will miss the patient’s deficiency each and every time.


Most of my new female patients have severely low testosterone levels and wonder why they're dragging or can't sleep. Yet 99% of their doctors will look at the lab reports and tell them their levels are dangerously high. So I have to explain to them how misinformed the medical profession is when it comes to women’s health.

Even the best informed practioners who recogize women's need for bio-identical hormone replacement will ignore the subcutaneous method and administer pills, creams, patches and troches which fail to deliver proper hormone amounts precisely when the body needs them the most. The level of ongoing medical ignorance is shocking and it is literally killing both men and women unnecessarily.

The facts and evidence have been out there for decades and remain at everyone's fingertips with the emergence of the Internet. Yet no one is bothering to look or do any reading. We've created such busy lives and practices that we're missing the cures right under our noses and simply rely on false reports, medical and pharmaceutical propaganda and media that has sold out to drug companies.

Q.  What do men need to know about balancing their hormones?


Dr. Tutera: Men are trained to believe that they don’t have or need any estrogen. I am treating increasing numbers of men for low estrogen levels and they are surprised how much better they feel after BHRT. And they are not becoming effeminate or growing breasts; they are feeling fantastic for the first time in years.


While most men don’t realize it, they undergo andropause and need a balance of both estrogen and testosterone, which begins to gradually diminish in their thirties. Men ignore this fact and it’s a real detriment to their health.


They are brainwashed to think their physical changes are part of the aging process and that they must simply endure them. Men, as well as women, need to get a baseline testosterone test somewhere in their thirties to ensure their hormonal balance. More than 30 percent of my new patients are now men. The disservice to human health by the medical industy is not just to women but men as well. All human health is being neglected.


Q. Is there a correlation between thyroid disease and hormonal imbalance?

Dr. Tutera: Absolutely! The two are deeply intertwined and cannot be separated and there is a direct correlation between them because the endocrine glands impact hormone production. And since most hormone production is based on adrenal gland function, you can bet that the entire endocrine system is involved in finding the right balance.

It's no accident that 90% of women ages 40 and up have some form of thyroid disease. Most suffer from hypothyroidism, with symptoms like inexplicable weight gain, hair loss, fatigue, headaches and so on. Despite all their diet and exercise programs, their metabolisms have slowed to a crawl and they are baffled by their increasing girth and inability to lose any weight. They're taking expensive supplements and drugs, going to expensive health clubs to exercise like crazy and spending a fortune on diets and none of it is succeeding other than to empty their energy reserves and their wallets.

If their doctors would simply wake up and treat them with proper tests and subcutaneous delivery methods and bio-identical hormones for both their endocrine system and hormones, they would be astonished at the dramatic immediate results in their bodies, minds and emotions. Not only would they feel better, sleep better, look better and have more energy, but it would also eliminate so much of the manic depression they're experiencing.

Many come to me who have already been tested and prescribed synthetic drugs such as Synthroid, Armour, Cytomel and so on. But their duped into believing that these dangerous drugs are "all-natural" because their doctors told them so. And the doctors are duped into believing that because the drug companies label them as such. The truth is that there is nothing natural about them.

In fact, drugs like Synthroid are downright dangerous and will only worsen a patient's thyroid condition. I am continually astounded how doctors can administer bio-identical hormones to their patients and then prescribe synthetic thyroid medications when they should be giving them bio-identical hormones for the thyroid as well. It's like giving someone candy and poison at the same time.

Instead, after performing a series of thyroid tests, I prescribe Nature-Throid, which is a naturally compounded bio-identical hormone. Once I get a patient off the useless drugs and on a bio-identical thyroid hormone as well as BHRT program, their symptoms start to disappear after years of suffering on all those synthetic prescriptions. Their energy increases while their weight decreases. Their mood improves and they feel happy again. Plus, BHRT is much more affordable.


Q.  Many people are struggling with the financial and medical limitations of the current health system. Will they be covered by insurance plans for BHRT – if they have them? Can they afford BHRT if they are uninsured? What does it cost?


Dr. Tutera: Like I said before, health care is in the Dark Ages. Insurance companies in the current medical system only cover synthetic hormones and do not even consider BHRT, making patients pay out-of-pocket for the very foundation of their wellness. That’s why I have tried to make the pellet as affordable as possible, such as arranging for lower test costs with our lab provider.

Also, when calculating the dollar-per-dollar cost of synthetic HRT versus BHRT, the pellet, which lasts between four and six months, is far more reasonable than the monthly pharmacy costs of many synthetic hormones. The subcutaneous method amounts to approximately $100 per month. While that may not be affordable for some patients, it's still cheaper than the cost of synthetic hormones each month.


Dr. Tutera: Remember, if they cover it, it will probably kill you and if they pay for it, you will probably pay for it with your health.


I believe the day is coming when medical choices will be available to everyone. For now, I am committed to elevating this therapy to a level where it is available for every woman and man in America who wants it and needs it. In order to provide affordable hormonal balance for all patients, my office offers a monthly payment plan which is something unheard of in today's medical industry.



Q. What can people do to safeguard their health?

Dr. Tutera: As a doctor it disturbs me to say this: DON'T TRUST YOUR DOCTOR!  People can't accept his or her advice as the gospel truth without questioning it, no more than they can trust their government or the media or church anymore.

These days you have to take responsibility for your own health and do your own research. Good health is no longer about good diet and exercise or a healthy lifestyle because there are too many outside factors in our food, environment and stress that supplements, diet and exercise are no longer powerful enough to counteract and correct.

The public needs to be more discerning in its acceptance of what the so-called “experts” have to say about drugs and health care. They are too trusting of their doctors and have to question them and examine every treatment and prescription because so many will harm your health.

Ask yourself if your doctors are really listening to you and your symptoms and respecting your own body wisdom or if they are merely glancing at lab reports and writing rogue prescriptions. Are they keeping up with the latest studies and developments or shuffling papers? Are they bookkeepers or healers?

People have to be their own “doctors” because they can’t rely on traditional medicine to serve their best interests. That means doing whatever it takes to make an educated decision about what is proper for you and being open to let go of your former notions. And, above all, you have to trust your own body wisdom and let your intuition guide you.


Where do we go from here?

Without any definitive conclusions about hormone therapy from the Food and Drug Administration or the American Medical Association, the question remains:

How much longer does America have to wait for the medical community to work in concert with pharmaceutical companies to conduct proper studies, publish all findings and deliver accurate information to ensure public health and save lives?

The Observer upholds the fact that the media should be held accountable for the lack of proper investigations and exposés regarding the failure of medical journals to publish all findings, whether they threaten industry profits or not.

More importantly, the media has a moral responsibility to the American public to relinquish its greedy hold on pharmaceutical advertising revenues at the cost of human life.

The ads for the dangerous hormone drug Yaz that litter so many women’s and consumer magazines with their slick two-page boasts are just one example of this national disgrace. The editors and publishers of these magazine empires should be forbidden to run ads for drugs that have been proven to kill people, especially innocent young women seeking a remedy for PMS. Above all, they should be deeply ashamed.



YAZ ads lured thousands of young women with its ads to reduce menstrual cycles to just four times per year.

When the hormone drug resulted in numerous fatalities,

YAZ was forced to issue warnings.




For now, Americans must closely examine medical research on their own and women must demand precise tests and treatment from their doctors. We must not be intimidated by medical authorities, rushed through our appointments, or told that we’re crazy and need therapy. Finally, ask questions until you’re satisfied, even if they turn blue.

It’s your body, your health and your life. And your wallet too.

While bio-identical hormone therapy may offer an opportunity to enhance your well-being, taking a holistic approach to your medical care also ensures greater balance in your life. Perhaps the proper integration of mind, body and spirit offers the best prescription for our ultimate health and happiness.

Dr. Tutera's ultimate prescription for good health is this: Laugh, love, eat well, and live every day like it’s your last. 

Dr. Tutera has affiliate physicians trained and certified in the pellet method around the country. Visit http://www.sottopelletherapy.com for more details and testimonials. For a new patient information packet or to schedule a consultation, call 480-874-1515.

Catherine Rourke is an award-winning professional journalist who specializes in medicine, health care, women's wellness, social justice and workplace issues and remains dedicated to truth in media and investigative journalism. She earns no money to write stories such as these since they are not supported by media tied to the corporate-industrial-medical-pharmaceutical industry complex.

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Rourke launched this paper for the express purpose of disseminating the truth about medicine, human health and Big Pharma, which she considers "the greatest human genocide in history" because millions are needlessly sick and dying. Read more about the medical story that launched the Observer on the WHEN page.

Rourke is writing a book about the medical and media debacle described here and based on more than 12 years of investigative research about the epidemic of reprodutive health issues. Stay tuned for the release of "FIRE YOUR DOCTOR, DUMP THE MEDS, CANCEL THE PROCEDURE, AND SAVE YOUR LIFE!"

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Health Care Stories in The Sedona Observer

"Truth in Medicine" Investigative Reports


"Health Sentinel" reporter Catherine Rourke puts the medical stethoscope under the media microscope

With a combined background in hospital public relations, marketing communications and medical journalism, no one is better equipped to dissect medical issues than one who has sat on both sides of the media fence, from creating headlines as a hospital media liaison to writing them here as the Observer's tough-questioning medical Barbara Walters.

Rourke keeps a finger on the pulse of all the latest studies, translating them into simple yet lively articles so readers can make their own educated decisions about their health choices.

Click here to read more of Rourke's health care reports

and learn why local residents call her Sedona's "Health Sentinel"


Winner, 2008 and 2010 National Federation of Press Women awards

"Rourke runs circles around stethoscopes with her pen, carefully dissecting medical issues with the precision of a brain surgeon, asking tough questions and reading in between the lines of today's medical minefield to expose the truth behind the facts. This is "robust health reporting" in the public interest, with the Observer putting some muscle back into investigative medical journalism."                                                                                                                                       -- NFPW Judges, 2008

Stay tuned here for all the health news you can use and updates about medical developments that can safeguard your well-being. And, remember, there is no medicine like hope and no tonic so powerful as the expectation of a better tomorrow.

The Sedona Observer is a member of the AHCJ.



More Reports by Rourke

2006 Arizona "Community Journalist of the Year"

Click here to read Rourke's "Invisible Sedona" series, recipient of a distinguished "Community Journalist of the Year" award from the Arizona Press Club. With a focus on the city's socioeconomic issues such as subminimum-wage jobs, the lack of affordable housing and proper medical care, plus the plight of undocumented Mexican immigrants, Rourke reveals the dark side of "the most beautiful place in America" [USA Today, 2003] -- the side of Sedona most tourists never get to see and the one that falls into the cracks of its gilded red rocks.


Forgotten folks and neglected issues

swept under the rug


What is The Sedona Observer?

Launched in 2007, The Sedona Observer is a national nonprofit online newspaper dedicated to public service journalism. What began as a community journalism experiment to report the ignored issues has exploded virally with thousands of subscribers from around the globe. Using Sedona as a metaphor for "the microcosm of the macrocosm," it shuns advertising to prevent censorship and preserve genuine freedom of the press. Produced in Sedona, Ariz., for a national audience of thousands of free subscribers, the Observer is the recipient of six First Place national press awards.

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Posted January 28, 2010

I found your article after seeing your notes about bio-identical hormones during the hysterectomy forum panel you served on the other night through the Hyster Sisters Web site. I am shocked to learn about all this and even more dismayed that, as I am about to have my ovaries removed, my doctor never mentioned any need for hormone replacement therapy, let alone the bio-identical kind which I never even heard of until now. It sounds like this doctor is onto something and I will have to check it out.

Amy Donohoe

Austin, Texas


Posted February 5, 2010

Thanks to your paper for having the bravado to reject drug company ads in order to get this very important info out to us gals. I am horrified to learn how these synthetic hormones are and yet the doctors still prescribe them -- plus my daughter is on Yaz! I am confused, though, about what happens to menopause if I go on bio-identical estrogen -- do you just bypass everything? And do we have to stay on these hormones for the rest of our lives?

Michelle Maynard

Santa Rosa, Calif.


Posted February 13, 2010

I read this article with great interest since I have been very confused about the difference between pharmaceutical hormones and bio-identical ones. Now I see what the debate is all about - money over health - and this doctor does a great job of explaining what is going on. He deserves credit for having the courage to stand up to the drug companies and speak the truth in defense of public health!

Christopher Rainier

Phoenix, Ariz.


Posted February 27, 2010

Thank you Sedona Observer for this very enlightening article and for calling out to the media to take a moral stance! It is such a disgrace that our medical system suppresses proper information about BHRT and leaves us all in the dark to fend for ourselves and figure it all out. And shame on those doctors who keep prescribing these dangerous drugs and the disgraceful media for profiting from it all instead of doing a proper investigation. This is a serious problem and it's sad that so many people suffer unnecessarily when there is a solution. I never really understood BHRT until I read this valuable article.

Shania Vollenmeyer

Sedona, Ariz.

Posted March 9, 2010

Check out Dr. Tullio Simoncini, the Romanian doctor who discusses that cancer is a fungus. See his video in the link below.



Jim Law

Executive Producer

V.O.I.C.E. Entertainment

Sedona, Ariz.


Gino Tutera, M.D.

Founder of the SottoPelle®

BHRT Method


With nearly 30 years of experience treating hormonal imbalance, Gino Tutera, M.D., F.A.C.O.G, has been administering BHRT since 1991.

He received his medical training at the University of Missouri and opened his first clinic dedicated to hormonal well-being in 1982.

He now practices in Scottsdale, Ariz., with affiliated offices and trained physicians around the nation helping people enjoy healthier lives.

Dr. Tutera pioneered a medical breakthrough with the SottoPelle® subdermal method, which delivers BHRT directly into the bloodstream.


Click here to purchase

Dr. Tutera's new book

He is the author of You Don’t Have to Live with It and Life Regained: The Real Solution to Menopause and Andropause.

Click here to obtain free with purchase of Life Regained!

Noting that BHRT has been used successfully and safely since the 1930’s, Dr. Tutera is “committed to elevating this therapy to a level where it is available for every woman and man in America who wants it and needs it.”

Visit www.sottopelletherapy.com or call 480-874-1515 for more info.

Click here to join the discussions on Dr. Tutera's BLOG!


Hormonal Balance. Well-Being.

8412 E. Shea Blvd., Suite 101

Scottsdale, AZ 85260


Editor's Note: The Observer does not accept advertisements and receives no revenues from its publication to prevent censorship and preserve the editorial integrity of its content. Therefore, the endorsements in this column represent the editorial stance of the paper and not paid advertorials or sponsors.

Join Dr. Tutera for a




Wednesday, March 10, 2010
5:30 - 7 p.m.

Poco Diablo Resort

1752 Highway 179

Sedona, Ariz.

“So amazing!”

That’s what recipients of the SottoPelle® bio-identical hormone replacement therapy are saying about the results they have experienced.

If you can’t remember why you walked into the room, are lacking a good night’s sleep, suffering with hot fl ashes, night sweats, and a lost libido, then SottoPelle® may be for you.

Come and learn more as we welcome guest speaker Dr. Gino Tutera, founder and Medical Director of SottoPelle®, who has been changing the lives of thousands of men and women across the country who suffer from hormone defi ciencies since 1992.

The first 15 people to RSVP will receive a complimentary signed book by Dr. Tutera! [Must be present to receive book.] Receive a $30 discount card* good toward a consultation and insertion. *Cannot be combined with other discounts.

Seating is limited!

480-874-1515, Ext. 226

or e-mail: karenb@sphrt.com


Editor's Note: The Observer does not accept advertisements and receives no revenues from its publication to prevent censorship and preserve the editorial integrity of its content. Therefore, the endorsements in this column represent the editorial stance of the paper and not paid advertorials or sponsors.

A Reporter's Testimony

From Hormone Hell

to Bio-Identical Bliss

by Catherine J. Rourke

Something was terribly wrong.

I was eating right, exercising like crazy and taking every herb and vitamin known to man. I punctuated my daily life as a newspaper editor and columnist with journaling and meditation. I lived in the peaceful spiritual town of Sedona and took long, contemplative walks in nature. I even did yoga.

But I felt plain lousy.

While I did yoga stands in the evening after work, I couldn't get out of bed in the morning. The weight was rolling on like mad and my hair was falling out in tufts. I could hardly focus and the headaches were unbearable.

Could it be my thyroid, perimenopause or premature aging? Maybe it was all of the above?

Allopathic remedy: dangerous drugs

I was in my late forties, and strange things were happening to my body. I knew it stood on some strange, weird and very unpleasant threshold between PMS and menopause.

I was no longer a "work in progress" like my books and columns. I felt an inexplicable physical breakdown. And, I had to keep up with the high-pressure demands of my deadline-focused profession, one that insisted on absolute perfection and was fueled by Starbucks overload.

I sought help from my primary care physician, who said most of it was "in my head." A second opinion from an oby-gyn indicated I was very low in estrogen, even though I had all the signs of estrogen dominance - painfully swollen breasts, headaches, insomnia, fatigue, irregular menses, bloating, inexplicable weight gain and other symptoms. Go figure.

Another doctor said most of my symptoms were probably caffeine-related. I managed to chuck the Starbucks despite nearly falling flat on my keyboard every day around three in the afternoon. But all the symptoms persisted, so I went back to Starbucks and back to the doctor again.

Unfortunately, she prescribed some synthetic hormones and another called Premarin. I held the pills in my hand and my body shouted a resounding "NO!" It also cost a small fortune every month. And, if I was "estrogen-dominant," why was she prescribing estrogen anyway?

I was so desperate that I ignored my body's wise intuition and took it anyway. Two weeks later, I felt an odd sensation while I was pumping gas. I went in the restroom and watched in horror as buckets of blood poured out of me like a river. I thought I was dying and felt like hell.

A dent in my wallet AND my health

I tossed the synthetic hormones in the trash, saving myself a bundle and probably even my life, as I would later learn. [One of them was made from equine urine!].They were costing me $200 and my health. So I continued to live in misery and confusion.

Digging for facts

To discover the truth for the sake of my own sanity and well-being, I began investigating all the different hormone therapies and interviewing various doctors to distinguish fact from fiction.

I had to find out just exactly what was wrong with me. Plus, like my dieting and exercise, all the expensive herbs and supplements didn't seem to be making any difference in my life except lowering my checkbook balance.


After much extensive research, I discovered Gino Tutera, M.D., in 2005. After meticulous scrutiny of his program, attending his lectures, and presenting him with a litany of Barbara Walters'-style questions, I decided that BHRT was worth a try. I had been experiencing extreme fatigue and mental fog, not a good combo for journalism's long hours and cerebral, multitasking demands.


So I made an appointment to see Dr. Tutera to learn just what in the dickens was going on.

From breakdown to breakthrough

I'll never forget the first time I entered his office in Scottsdale. A large brass sign beside the door read: "Hormonal Balance and Well-Being." I prayed. Maybe this was the gate to hormone heaven.

When I reviewed the lab tests with Dr. Tutera, he asked how I was getting out of bed. My testosterone was rock bottom and he described my body as a "walking chaos zone" at the end of its rope.

I was devastated. How was this possible when coffee was my only vice? When I exercised almost daily and ate a good diet of fresh seafood, fresh produce and whole grains? And what about all those pricey elixirs from the health food store that boasted the secret to hormonal happiness?

I was constantly watching what I ate and never consumed refined flour, starches or a gram of sugar. Yet my blood sugar was sky high -- a sure sign of testosterone deficiency.

I didn't have kids or dogs or even a spouse to stress me out. Constant deadlines and dieting were enough. But the mirror told all.

Looking at my reflection wasn't a pretty picture. Between my face and my waist, it looked like I had been on an all-night bender of hard whiskey and soft pretzels instead of twisting myself like one in daily yoga class.

Dr. Tutera took a lot of time to explain everything - my lab reports, how the endocrine glands were interwoven with the reproductive system, and how the subcutaneous bio-identical hormone pellet delivery method worked with my body's natural process.

I eagerly received my pellet with no more than what felt like a quick pinch. Dr. Tutera added: "Tossing the synthetic hormones was a wise choice. You probably protected yourself from breast cancer and maybe even saved your own life."

I checked online and, sure enough, there were countless articles on the dangers of the very hormones my allopathic doctors had prescribed. Dangers like breast cancer, blood clots, heart disease and stroke. How could my doctors have ignored these studies?

Most of all, how did I miss the reports and fail to do my own research? I did that kind of thing for a living, after all.

Bio-identical bliss

Within hours I felt better and the hot flashes melted away. Suddenly I was sleeping like a baby. Two weeks later, I woke up one morning to discover a true miracle: I didn’t need to reach for my peripatetic coffee mug.

I had become so dependent on caffeine to get going in the morning that I kept caffeine-loaded Excedrin beside the bed to to blast the brain fog so I could make it over to the coffeemaker, which had been preset the night before on automatic brew. All just so I could get in the shower and get to work.


It was a destructive syndrome and I don’t know how I made my newsroom deadlines in those days and even managed to nail a few press awards. I lived this way for years, making my way from the home percolator to Starbucks to the newsroom coffee machine.

But on this new day when my testosterone kicked in, I not only skipped the coffee but also skipped up the steps to the gym three at a time without losing my breath. I felt GREAT and my energy soared.

My whole life changed. I lost weight and gained strength. I went from a size 18 back to my normal size 8. Best of all, my clarity returned and the mental fog was gone, without the use and abuse of caffeine. Or any dangerous drugs and synthetic hormones made from pregnant mares.

Proof of the pudding

Two years later, I fell prey to the convincing arguments of a naturopathic physician who was treating me for job stress. He was adamantly against the subcutaneous pellet method without really offering any solid evidence other than warning me I was playing havoc with my health.

He convinced me to try a bio-identical approach using a sublingual troche that he claimed was more effective in addressing my adrenal problems. So I replaced the pellet with a troche as an experiment for four months.

The results were dramatic.

With no change in my diet or exercise, the scale climbed a whopping 40 pounds while my energy levels plummeted. Once again, I couldn't get out of bed. Here was the proof I needed that Dr. Tutera was right about the peak-and-valley effect of hormone pills, troches, creams, patches, etc., whether they were bio-identical or not. Their delivery approach was an absolute flop - at least for me.

I ran back to Dr. Tutera like a prodigal daughter, dragging my butt behind me and begging for my precious pellet.

He just offered a wise smile and never admonished me for leaving the fold. He knew how journalism can breed skepticism and the need for a control experiment as solid evidence. The truth always comes out in the wash, or in this case, my body.

Within 48 hours after pellet insertion, I felt the cells of my body breathe a sigh of relief. I jumped out of bed like Popeye after downing a can of spinach. That's the miracle of SottoPelle® an instant boost of energy and vitality.

I not only felt great in the ensuing weeks and months but also lost all the weight. I never felt or looked better.


Genuine healing

Five years have passed and I am still going strong, now well into my fifties. I don’t run out of steam and I sailed through menopause minus the night sweats and hot flashes.

I owe Dr. Tutera my life and my well-being.

I have referred countless men and women to SottoPelle® and every one of them is thrilled with the results.

I still seek Dr. Tutera's wise counsel and take his life-saving hormones. While other doctors rush me in and out of their clinics like cattle and stare at laptops instead of me, he remains the only one who greets me with a hug and sometimes even a lollipop.

Most of all, he is the only physician who ever bothers to ask: "How are you feeling? What are you eating? Are you sleeping well? How is your life going? When are you going to learn to slow down? "

Dr. Tutera patiently answers all of my questions, drawing detailed diagrams and pulling up lab reports for extensive review. He explains everything in simple language a patient can understand.

He has even apologized to me on behalf of the medical profession for all the unnecessary pain and anguish I suffered years ago due to the rampant ignorance over BHRT!

I have never felt rushed by him or his staff. Since they're not bogged down by the crush of insurance industry paperwork, they have plenty of time to tend to their patients' needs.

Sure, the failure of health care coverage of BHRT means I have to pay out of pocket for the right kind of hormones. I simply regard it as my quarterly insurance payment since most plans have little to offer me other than catastrophic support. And even that remains questionable.

So I simply choose BHRT instead of Blue Cross and SottoPelle over that overpriced hormone supplement in the health food store. And anything in a pill, patch or cream that the medical industry tried to give me.

The way it's supposed to be

Dr. Tutera has diligently seen me through every phase of my health. Once he even rang me on a Saturday night to answer a question I had about my labs. I don’t know very many physicians who work those kind of hours or who follow up with their patients on weekends.


Journalists are supposed to remain neutral and unbiased. However, human health is one arena where I must offer a strong opinion because it is a matter of life and death. And I have seen the amazing results of bio-identical hormones and how they turned my own health around.

I was sick and getting sicker when using the allopathic approach. After just two weeks on SottoPelle®, my life and health took an amazing turn for the better.

Dr. Tutera was right in all of his advice and guidance every single time. He is my Medical Hero and everything a physician ought to be.

Thank you, Dr. Tutera, for demonstrating a true commitment to the Hippocratic Oath. Your remarkable dedication to human life and wellness is indeed a rare and refreshing experience in today’s contradictory health care reality.

While your mission remains so challenging in the face of ignorance, just keep in mind a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"If I can make just one person breathe easier, then my work is a total success."

I am one of many breathing so much easier, and your work is a major success!

Catherine Rourke 

Health-Medical Investigative Journalist

The Sedona Observer

Editor's Note: The Observer does not accept advertisements and receives no revenues from its publication to prevent censorship and preserve the editorial integrity of its content. Therefore, the endorsements in this column represent the editorial stance of the paper and not paid advertorials or sponsors.

Viagra Falls?

The hormone circus currently centers around the female variety, and is currently turning health care reform into a hotbed of reproductive politics.

On the other hand, male hormonal imbalances and reproductive health issues remain hidden in the shadows as men continue to pop an increasing number of “male enhancement” drugs, the most common known as Viagra, every year.


With an estimated 30 million men taking the drug at an average cost of $15 per pill, just do the math to calculate the profits of the drug lords at Pfizer, the manufacturer that holds the patent on sildenafil citrate.

Plus, Viagra is not a hormone, nor does it have anything to do with correcting the underlying health problems. Rather, think of it as a chemical Band-Aid that inhibits the enzyme that controls blood flow to the male organs. Nothing more.


We predict Pfizer’s sales will plummet into a virtual “Viagra Falls” as side effects start to take their toll on men’s health. Furthermore, Pfizer’s worldwide patent on the drug expires within the next couple of years and the market is already flooded with clones and other imitations.

Hasta la vista, Viagra; Bienvenidos, BHRT! 

Resuscitating Media Morality and Responsibility

to Ensure Public Health

by the Editors of the Observer

Based upon our research, it appears that synthetic hormones – the kind usually distributed by most allopathic physicians, whether for birth control or menopause – can spell major medical trouble for many women taking them.


Yet, despite these findings, we wonder about the glut of ads for hormones such as Yaz, still blatantly promoted with two slick pages of marketing hype in women’s magazines and upbeat commercials on female-targeted TV channels, all boasting of the drug’s many merits.

Then tune into another channel and watch attorney commercials offering representation and remuneration for those unfortunate women harmed by taking this "wonder" drug.


Where is the media’s moral responsibility when it comes to protecting public health?


In the morgue, obviously, as the editors and publishers of consumer magazines still fail to replace these ads with fact-finding articles warning people about the potential risks associated with drugs such as Viagra and synthetic hormones like Prometrium and Yaz which sometimes include death.

We suspect the ad revenues are just too profitable for publishers to ignore instead of worrying about a few funerals for some young women.


The Observer urges all media to resuscitate the Journalism Code of Ethics and uphold its original precept that “…the press is always for the truth of humanity and indignant at injustice.




Coming soon:

A review of Dr. Tutera's new book and an update on the results of his 10-year breast cancer study


Plus: Dr. Tutera Presents a Free Lecture in Sedona March 10!

480-874-1515, Ext. 226

or e-mail: karenb@sphrt.com



Media, Medicine & Morality

Rourke's new blog exposing the corruption between two industries

A Tale of Two Industries

This new blog highlights the connection between two professions based on moral codes of ethics but now operating as business commodities instead of principle-based practices. It presents solutions and new business models to restore integrity and public service to the journalism and medical industries.

With media founded on the First Amendment and Journalism Code of Ethics and medicine on the Hippocratic Oath, these industries represent the two vital foundations of democracy: freedom of speech and the right to health. As such, media represents the soul of democracy while medicine represents its heart. 

Every American has the right to truth, freedom of speech, health and life. But those sacrosanct rights have been sold out by these industries for the sake of power, profit and control.

This blog is one journalist's call to restore the health of two sacred practices in need of an Emergency Room.