A Conversation with Suzanne Somers
Author of AGELESS
Q: AGELESS opens with an invaluable primer on hormones, the “juice of youth.” Do
you think people still shy away from learning about their hormones?
Suzanne: Unfortunately, hormone replacement therapy has gotten such bad publicity that
women are fearful. This negative press addresses the risks, specifically, of synthetic
hormones. As a matter of fact, The Women’s Health Initiative in 2002 declared that it
would be better for women to take nothing at all rather than take these harmful synthetic
drugs. My goal in Ageless is to demonstrate the difference between synthetic hormones
and bioidentical hormones and to help people understand how bioidentical hormone
replacement therapy (BHRT) can restore our health and enhance our quality of life.
Q: Anti-aging medicine seeks the root causes of one’s symptoms, as opposed to treating
the symptoms alone, as orthodox medicine continues to do. What does this mean in terms
of the way people feel?
Suzanne: We have come to accept feeling bad as a way of life. Now we know that many
daily aches and pains, sleeplessness, unexplained weight gain, and autoimmune diseases
such as fibromyalgia and toxicity can be reversed by going to the root cause. By
strengthening the weakest organs and glands and restoring the body to hormonal balance,
anti-aging medicine helps us fine-tune our bodies, which makes us feel more energetic
and vital. Once we experience feeling well, the old ways of conventional medicine seem
outdated and destructive.
Q: In AGELESS, you interview several of today’s top, cutting-edge Western doctors on
how to most effectively use bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for optimum health
and greater vitality. What was the most surprising thing you learned?
Suzanne: Every doctor I interviewed noted that it is the imbalance of hormones that
allows disease to proliferate. Those people who do not take advantage of the innumerable
health benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement are shortchanging themselves.
Without hormone replacement to boost their potential for longevity and overall well-
being, they may experience the deterioration that comes from cancer, heart disease, and
Q: One interview raises the point that menopause is a much “softer” process in
developing countries than in the U.S., and that we have 30 times the incidence of breast
cancer. What is behind this “health gap” in our country?
Suzanne: The country mentioned, Gambia, has a softer or more comfortable menopause
and less cancer and heart disease because, as the country’s minister of health stated, “We
are a poor country, we can’t afford your chemicals.” I think that says it all. The United
States is the sickest nation on the planet due to excessive exposure to toxins, our polluted
environment, and our high-stress lifestyles. Unless we change our habits and approach to
medications, our health will continue to decline.
Q: There seems to be an “epidemic” of breast and ovarian cancer among aging female
baby boomers. What is the connection between synthetic hormones (i.e., birth control
pills, Premarin, or Provera) and cancer?
Suzanne: The Women’s Health Initiative in 2002 stated that Premarin and Provera are
responsible for giving women cancer, among other terrible diseases. The alarming rise in
breast cancer is due to excessive exposure to chemicals from drugs (so-called
“hormones”) and the fact that birth control pills and synthetic hormones do not replicate
nature. Synthetic hormones are a band-aid for some of the nastier symptoms of hormonal
loss, but do nothing to replace lost hormones, which is the goal of bioidentical hormone
Provera is a very popular synthetic hormone used in continuous combined therapy,
meaning that the same amount of estrogen (horse estrogen by the way) and progesterone
are administered every day. This is completely unnatural. In nature, women cycle, so to
confuse nature by giving women hormones incorrectly has been at the base of the tragic
and rapid rise in breast, ovarian, lung, and colon cancers.
Q: You discuss two methods for bioidentical replacement therapy: static dosing and
rhythmic cycling. What’s the difference between them and what does that mean for
women and men?
Suzanne: Static dosing administers the same amount of estrogen every day of the month,
with the same amount of progesterone added to create a cycle days 18 to 28. In rhythmic
cycling, the dosage of estrogen is adjusted every three days and increased to reach an
estrogen “peak” on day 12. Then, progesterone is added in on days 18 to 28, dosing up to reach a progesterone “peak” by the tenth day of the progesterone cycle. With static
dosing, a woman cycles as she once did when she was making a full complement of
hormones. Rhythmic means exactly replicating nature. It is an individual choice—some
women feel fine on static dosing and others feel better on rhythmic. If a woman has a
bleeding problem, then rhythmic usually rectifies the problem and eliminates the need for
Q: Why haven’t pharmaceutical companies begun to make bioidentical hormones readily available in individualized doses, the way synthetic hormones are?
Suzanne: Bioidentical hormones are not a drug and therefore cannot be patented. Also, it
is easier to give women a “one pill fits all” type of regimen. It is my hope that, in the
future, pharmaceutical companies can patent their delivery system, therefore making it
proprietary, providing women with healthy, individualized, life-giving real hormones as
opposed to the harmful synthetic hormones that are currently so readily available.
Q: How are men responding to the symptoms they experience during andropause—the
decline in the production of hormones in males? Suzanne: As men get older they gain belly fat, lose their vitality, become moody, and
eventually lose their sex drive. All of these symptoms are due to hormonal loss. Were it
only getting fat and grumpy, it would not be so bad, but these symptoms represent
internal shutdown: belly fat is insulin run amok, a precursor to diabetes; grumpiness
is symptomatic of testosterone loss, as is a dwindling libido. Low testosterone leads to
heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. When men replace missing testosterone, they
build bone and muscle, and the quality of life benefits are staggering. Once men
experience the joy of renewed vigor and vitality, they are sold on the idea of BHRT.
Q: What are the top five lifestyle changes you would suggest to reverse the aging process?
Suzanne: First, bioidentical hormone replacement of all the missing hormones (as
established by a blood test); it is the most essential element of anti-aging. Then, I’d
suggest you find a qualified anti-aging doctor to establish which of your glands and
organs need strengthening. Third, detoxify the body of heavy metals and chemicals to
strengthen the liver, which is the clearing house of the body. Next, sleep nine hours
nightly to allow the body’s natural production of hormones to do its healing work. And
fifth, understand and eliminate the devastating effects of stress on the hormonal system.
Yoga is one way to calm the mind, and it is important to take time to “smell the roses.”
Q: You are the proverbial pin-up girl for reaching a vibrant, sexy 60. Can you share the
“life-lessons” that you found when you approached your 40s, 50s and 60s?
Suzanne: Perimenopause, which occurs at around age 40, should be taken seriously. Due
to the hormone imbalance that occurs at this time, we are particularly vulnerable to
cancer. Also, women typically start to gain weight at 40. This is hormonally driven and
an indication that hormones need adjusting. In our 50s, when we are menopausal,
bioidentical hormone replacement is essential for quality of life and good health. The 60s
are no longer defined by a number, but by energy. At 60, I feel more vital than at any
time in my life. By supplementing my body with full-on BHRT, my weight is where I
want it to be, I have no trouble sleeping through the night, my mood and outlook on life
are positive, my health is superb. I never thought I could look and feel this good at 60 and
I realize that what you put into your life and health is what you get out. All the searching,
researching, caring, and therapy have brought me to this place of well-being and I can say
to all who inquire, “If you are willing to put in the effort, you can enjoy a better second half of life than your first.”