No more posts

Every so often a patient asks me, “What are antioxidants and why do I need them?”  My answer is always the same.  To understand what antioxidants are, you need to understand what a free radical is.

Let’s Start from the Top

Free radicals consist of harmful molecules that are missing electrons.  Electrons typically come in pairs.  This lack of electrons cause the molecule to be highly reactive and cause damage by attacking the most basic parts of our healthy cells causing what is considered “oxidation”.  Oxidation can set off an entire cascade of chemical reactions causing damage.  Free radicals can even cause cancer.

Ways we encounter free radicals every day:

Cigarette smoking
Airborne emissions/pollution
Ultraviolet radiation
Herbicides & pesticides

Free radicals aren’t entirely bad.  There are some body systems that require free radicals to complete their processes.  They actually play a role in the immune response to fight off viruses and bacteria and they start the process of inflammation that helps to repair injuries.  However free radicals obtained from the sources above definitely cause premature aging and disease, so we fight these with antioxidants.

What Antioxidants Do

Antioxidants basically have the ability to “render harmless” free radicals.  They provide the missing electron or break down the free radical molecule.  This then stops the cascade of chemical reactions (oxidation), thus   the name, anti-oxidant.  This process depletes the antioxidants, to where there are none remaining and must be replaced.

Where Do I Get Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are found in most fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  Vitamins such as A, C, and E have antioxidant properties.  Some foods that have more antioxidants are:

antioxidants hormone therapy

  • Blueberries
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Pecans
  • Artichoke
  • Kidney
  • Beans
  • Cranberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cilantro


Antioxidants are also available in supplement form.  Remember to talk to your doctor before adding any supplement to your diet.  Just to name a few antioxidant supplements.

1. Glutathione is truly the master of all antioxidants, glutathione boosts the activities of all other antioxidants and vitamins. Up until a few years ago, glutathione was not stable when taken orally.  However recent advances have created S-Acetyl Glutathione that can be taken orally and has proven to boost the body’s antioxidant levels.

2. Vitamin C has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants in the body including Vitamin E. It is not made by the body and must be consumed in food or by supplementation.

3. Curcumin comes from Turmeric which is a member of the ginger family. Its roots are dried and ground into an orange-yellowish powder.  Curcumin has been shown to inhibit certain enzymes that cause inflammation in the body.

Because antioxidants are depleted when fighting free radicals, you want to be sure to eat a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and nuts every day to replenish your fighting power.  If you are using a supplement as well, be sure to check with your doctor and chose a high-quality supplement brand (preferably pharmaceutical grade).  Let’s do everything we can to keep ourselves healthy and young for as long as possible!

May you have continued good health,

Dr. Melissa Miskell












Original post. 


Although almost every woman learned about her menstrual cycle from other women in her life or in health class, menopause is rarely discussed even among the closest friends. With over 25 million search results for “symptoms of menopause” in Google, it is clear that most women seek information about menopause on the internet before turning to a doctor for confirmation.

For many women, the traits of menopause come as a gradual onset of slight body changes. Other women experience menopause like the last scene of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” with brilliant hot flashes or night sweats.

The most common signs reported by women in perimenopause are night sweats and hot flashes, but other physical warning signs can be hard to connect to menopause because most women experience these maladies throughout their lifetime.

Some of these menopause indicators include:

  1. Fatigue: As mothers, wives and professionals, all women know fatigue as their friend every day, but the fatigue that comes with menopause is sometimes accompanied by a depression that makes the simple act of getting out of bed too much to accomplish. Suddenly, a woman can go from tired at the end of the day to completely without strength before the day even starts.
  2. Breast Tenderness (or general changes): Any woman that has experienced her period knows the signs of breast tenderness. Like that favorite bra that will not fit right for a few days out of the month, breast tenderness is a constant indicator of menopause as well as PMS. Anytime breast changes are noted, a doctor should be consulted to rule our breast cancer, but breast tenderness at non-PMS times can be a suggestion by the body that menopause is on the way.
  3. PMS: Notice that the letters do not change? Whether discussing pre-menstrual syndrome or perimenopause symptoms, the signs of menopause can mirror PMS. The first changes most women notice is a worsening of PMS mood swings, change in the length of periods or flow of periods, and an on-going inability to focus.
    Lower Sex Drive: All women encounter times when they are just “not in the mood;” however, by their mid-thirties, most women know themselves enough sexually to know when their sex drive shifts. If a woman goes from “not tonight” to not in recent memory, especially in a relationship where intimacy usually exists, then a lower sex drive might be a signal of menopause.
  4. Bladder Leakage: With the decrease of Estrogen and other female hormones, women sometimes experience bladder leakage when laughing, coughing, or sneezing. While sending women searching for the middle ground between a maxi-pad and Depends, bladder leakage can be an indicator that menopause is around the corner.
  5. Vaginal Dryness: As Estrogen declines, many women experience vaginal dryness due to the thinning of the vaginal walls and decrease in lubrication as a part of their journey into menopause. Sometimes, the decrease in lubrication can lead to painful sexual intercourse, which may in turn trigger low sex drive.


The easiest way to determine if the symptoms are indicators of perimenopause or the onset of menopause is to visit a doctor and have your blood tested. Many women put off visiting a BHRT doctor, who specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement, once they notice the indicators because they are embarrassed or concerned about the next step.

The best way to find out the truth is to make an appointment with a qualified healthcare provider that specializes in BHRT to guide you through each step of menopause and help maintain your current quality of life.


The term “bio-identical hormones” has been bantered about by alternative medicine physicians for years. Suzanne Sommers brought the concept to millions of women through her multiple publications. It can be quite confusing, however. You do not have to be 50ish to be symptomatic. Many people begin to have symptoms such as insomnia, mood swings, decreased sex drive, apathy, and foggy thinking as early as 35. Women make estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Progesterone and estrogen are the primary female hormones. They are made in the ovaries and are the reason that women have a monthly cycle, become pregnant (well, not the reason, but they allow it to happen), and feel like a woman. The decrease in these hormones marks the onset of menopause.

For women, progesterone is the first hormone to start to decline in concentration. The reason for this is because progesterone is only produced in the ovaries, whereas estrogen and testosterone are also made in the adrenal glands and fat cells. The production of hormone from the ovaries begins to decline after the age of 30. This is why peak bone mass occurs at age 31 and then declines. Since progesterone is only made in the ovaries, women may begin to feel the effects of this decline well before they actually go through menopause.

For women, there are 3 basic categories to hormone replacement. The first, is over-the-counter plant based formulas. These are comprised of phytoestrogens derived from plants such as soy, wild yam, or black cohosh. These molecules will weakly bind to hormone receptors. The second category is comprised of pharmaceutical hormones. Examples of these would be Premarin and Provera. Premarin is derived from Pregnant Mare Urine and is therefore conjugated equine estrogens (currently all the estrogens have not been identified). Provera is a completely synthetic molecule, not found in nature. These molecules will bind to the receptor, but have excess atoms that can be detrimental. This was shown in The Women’s Health Initiative Trial which proved that Premarin and Provera increased the risk of breast cancer and heart disease. The third category is bio-identical hormones. These are compounds that are the exact molecular makeup of the hormones produced by the ovaries. They fit the hormone receptors perfectly and do not cause cancer.

It should be noted that cancer is caused by free radicals. Free radicals are caused by radiation, pollutants, heavy metals, cigarette smoke, etc…not hormones produced naturally by your body. Now, do not mistake, there are some cancers that are estrogen and/or progesterone receptor positive. Your own natural hormones or bio-identical to your own natural hormones will cause these cancers to grow. But they do not cause the cancer.

In short, bio-Identical hormones can be compounded to fit your exact needs. Testing should be done to determine the concentration of hormone in your body and then a specific combination of hormone can be compounded to improve your quality of life and promote healthy aging.

There are hundreds of clinics attempting to treat hormone imbalance. What makes us different? We listen, then we take action. Our business model makes it possible for us to start your treatment on day one. Faster treatment = feel better faster.
Hormone Replacement Therapy in San Antonio, Waco, and Boerne

Copyright by Hormones By Design 2022. All rights reserved.