Cobalt Chloride (CoCl2) is a chemical compound. A chemical compound (often simply referred to as a compound) is a pure chemical substance that consists of two or more different chemical elements. In the case of Cobalt Chloride there are two chemical elements involved - Cobalt (Co) and dichlorine (Cl2). The term Cobalt Chloride is also used to refer to the hexahydrate form of Cobalt Chloride, although this is in fact a different chemical compound.
Visually the difference between Cobalt Chloride and its hexahydrate is striking. Cobalt Chloride is blue, whilst the hexahydrate is deep rose. Because of this dramatic colour change and also the ease at which Cobalt Chloride reacts to hydration / dehydration, Cobalt Chloride is often used as an indicator for water. Indeed, the rose coloured hexahydrate is one of the most common Cobalt compounds found in the laboratory. Commercially, it is often used for the detection of moisture in, for example, drying agents such as silica gel.
At this stage you are probably thinking that the chemistry lesson is all very interesting but what on earth has Cobalt Chloride got to do with our health?
The answer is to do with hormone replacement therapy. But if you are a man reading this, read on because this subject is not necessarily gender specific. Men face similar challenges to women in that their hormone levels also decline as they age - and, as we’ll see below, that brings with it a whole raft of health issues for us as we grow older. It’s just that with men the reduction is more gradual. For ease of discussion, we concentrate here on women.
When you think about hormone replacement therapy, you probably think about the menopause. Most women reach menopause somewhere between the ages of 48 and 55, the average being around 51 to 52 years. Medically speaking the word menopause actually refers to the last menstrual period of a woman’s life and the transition period during which the body is undergoing changes (which can last from anything between two and six years around her last menstrual period). These days we also use the word menopause to describe this transition phase.
Dealing with the menopause can be one of the most challenging times in a woman’s life. Some women are fortunate and sail through the menopause years with hardly a second glance but for others the effects of the body’s hormonal changes can be incredibly distressing and debilitating. It’s estimated that, for example, around 20% of Australian women seek help in dealing with severe menopausal symptoms whilst another 60% of women experience milder symptoms. Menopausal symptoms can include hot flushes, mood swings, difficulties in concentrating, memory problems, lowered libido, vaginal dryness and disturbed sleep patterns.
Once through the menopause, women’s bodies then have to deal with life with much changed hormone levels. And with the aging of the population, women are now generally living at least one third of their lives in this post menopausal state. The reduced hormone levels post menopause present women with a whole raft of adverse health risks and problems. Some are just annoying but not life threatening such as decreased libido and increased fatigue, but others can also have a dramatic impact on a woman’s life such as osteoporosis, muscle weakness and declining cognitive function. In addition, the risks of developing such conditions as heart disease and cancer greatly increase.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was, in the past, heralded as the wonder treatment for dealing not only with the problems of the menopause years but also life thereafter. It appeared that HRT had the answer for not only helping to ward off many of the conditions that women face as they age, but also for improving their quality of life.
But beginning in July 2002, findings emerged from clinical trials that showed this was not so. In fact, the trials indicated that rather than offering older women protection against various diseases, long-term use of HRT might pose serious risks to a woman’s health and may even increase her risk of heart attack and stroke.
The clinical trials had formed part of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) that had been launched by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in April 1991. The WHI had been established in response to the crucial need for knowledge that related specifically to women’s health and in order to gain a clearer idea about the health issues facing older women. It was designed to be a long term (15 year) nationwide health study that focused on strategies for preventing heart disease, breast and colorectal cancer and osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. In total 161,808 women aged 50-79 were involved in the WHI, and it became one of the most definitive, far reaching clinical trials into women's health ever undertaken in the U.S.
Of the total involved, 68,132 women were enrolled into the randomized clinical trials, one component of which examined the use of HRT (using equine-sourced estrogens) and its effects on the prevention of heart disease and osteoporosis. Any associated risk of developing breast cancer was also investigated. Women participating in this component took hormone pills or a placebo (inactive pill). The studies revealed that rather than protecting women, HRT increased their risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer.
Not surprisingly, as a result of these findings debate over the use of HRT has intensified. Many women have turned away from traditional prescribed HRT and have instead begun to use Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BRHT) - sometimes referred to as bioequivalent or natural hormone therapies.
Like HRT, BHRT aims to restore the body’s hormonal balance (both in women and men). However, the important distinction to make here is not between synthetic and natural hormones, but between hormones that are found naturally in the body (bioidentical hormones) and those that are not found naturally in the body (exogenous or foreign hormones). Conventional HRT may contain some human hormones such as estradiol and estrone, but it also uses horse hormones which are clearly exogenous to humans.
By using hormones that contain the exact same structure as the hormones produced naturally by the human body, so that it mimics perfectly what your body produces (or used to produce) naturally on its own, the effects of BHRT are well known (particularly on other tissues within the body) and the side effects are far fewer. And rather than adopting the one size fits all approach of conventional HRT, BHRT is tailored to fit your exact requirements. What’s more BHRT has been found to decrease rather than increase cardiovascular and estrogen related cancer risks.
Unfortunately, despite the benefits of BHRT, a minority of women find that BHRT simply does not work for them and fails to relieve their menopausal symptoms. After several months of treatment they find no improvement at all.
Testing usually reveals that the cause of this failure is usually a very high level of all estrogens, a situation that is technically referred to as “estrogen hyperexcretion” or “failure of estrogen retention”. This hyperexcretion is caused by the liver metabolizing estrogen too quickly so that it is effectively being lost from the body via the bowels and urine.
It is at this point that Cobalt Chloride enters the scene. A small daily dose of Cobalt Chloride almost always works to resolve the problem of BHRT not working, although it should be pointed out that the effect of Cobalt Chloride is not instantaneous. It usually takes around three to six months of Cobalt Chloride therapy to rectify the situation.
It is thought that Cobalt Chloride works to lessen the rate of estrogen excretion from the body by reducing the number of cytochromes in the body. Cytochromes are estrogen-metabolizing enzymes. If there are fewer cytochromes, less estrogen is metabolized by the liver and excreted from the body and more estrogen is retained. As more estrogen is retained so the symptoms of low estrogen levels gradually decline until they disappear altogether. It is this process that usually takes around three to six months.
Once normal levels of estrogens excretion have been established and menopausal symptoms eradicated, Cobalt Chloride therapy can be discontinued.
As mentioned above, men also experience a decline hormone levels as they age although it doesn’t happen as dramatically as that in women. By the time men reach the ages of 40 to 55, they can experience a phenomenon similar to the female menopause, called andropause (sometimes referred to as “the male menopause”). Unlike women, men do not have a clear-cut signpost such as the cessation of menstruation to mark this transition. The bodily changes occur very gradually in men and may be accompanied by changes in attitudes and moods, fatigue, a loss of energy, sex drive and physical agility. Testosterone decline is also associated with poorer cognitive function and an overall impairment in both general and sexual health.
And whereas the menopause transition lasts for a period of around 5-6 years, the gradual decline in testosterone in men may be spread over decades. Although with age, a decline in testosterone levels will occur in virtually all men, there is no way of predicting who will experience andropausal symptoms of sufficient severity to seek medical help. Neither is it predictable at what age symptoms will occur in a particular individual. Each man's symptoms may be also different.
Even so, just as with women, falling hormone levels expose men to increased risk of developing such things as heart disease and osteoporosis.
As with women, a solution to the problems of the andropause is to take hormone replacements and again BHRT is available. But once more a small percentage of men may find that BHRT simply does not work for them (probably as a result of testosterone hyperexcretion). However, using exactly the same approach as with women, small daily doses of Cobalt Chloride over a period of around three to six months is usually all that is required to get BHRT back on track.
Take 1 to 3 capsules daily. Hormone levels should be checked to determine length of treatment - usually between 3-6 months of Cobalt Chloride therapy is required.
Each capsule contains 200mcg of Cobalt Chloride.
Cobalt Chloride must be kept out of the reach of children.
It should not be taken by pregnant or lactating women.