Come to grips with your health – Cheah Ui-Hoon ”Business Times, Executive Lifestyle”

This is a very interesting excerpt from a longer article published in ‘’The Business Times’’ in 2002.

In those days Singapore was supporting compounded hormones. Many people, male and female, have benefitted since then. Why is there now a witch hunt against them in Singapore?

Marion Gluck, who was spreading the word in Singapore at the time this article was published, has blazed the trail with bioidentical hormones and now works from her clinic in London. (See

Come to grips with your health

Cheah Ui-Hoon Business Times, Executive Lifestyle
Friday, 06 December 2002 Page: 18
Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.

. . .

THE recent Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study on the dangers of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in the United States has decisively dunked HRT as the miracle treatment for ageing and menopausal women. This might come as news to most, but not to holistic medical practitioners.

In fact, the findings made on synthetic hormones like Premarine Provera now throws the spotlight on natural, or bio-identical, remedies that have been around for 50 years, but which are less well-known.

Dr Marion Gluck, a women’s health specialist, points out that there is a safe, natural alternative for women, and men, who are suffering from symptoms of menopause and andropause such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and depression.

The German-trained doctor, currently based in an integrative medical centre in Australia, is spreading the word about Natural HRT (NHRT) in Singapore. She’s been to Singapore four times already, giving talks on NHRT at Shambhala Yoga School. ‘Women have been given a raw deal, because they’ve been exposed to synthetic hormones which have higher risks of side effects, not knowing that the safer alternative has been available,’ says Dr Gluck. Also, synthetic hormones have been given to women as a one-size-fits-all solution, and isn’t customised to individual needs.

‘It’s really important for doctors and patients to know that there’s an alternative on offer,’ says Dr Gluck. One of the reasons for this lack of information is that natural hormones – referring not to the source of hormone but to the actual hormonal structure – aren’t commercially viable for drug companies to produce since they can’t patent it.

Natural, also called bio-identical, hormones are derived from wild yam and soy, and unlike mass-produced hormones, they are custom-made to match the exact needs of the individual. The delivery systems are also safer and less taxing on the liver, as bio-identical hormones come in the form of creams and troches, which are like lozenges. In NHRT, the hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone have identical chemical structures of the hormones they replace, not being artificial or synthetic.

‘We would prescribe physiological doses, which are usually quite low, and that is effective enough,’ says Dr Gluck, who’s been in medical practice for 24 years. Practising integrative medicine, Dr Gluck would also prescribe or refer patients to other forms of treatment such as acupuncture or traditional chinese medicine if those are necessary or better-suited for the patient. ‘Instead of disease-based healthcare, as is now practised in the West, we have to turn around and concentrate more on prevention. It’s not just to keep a healthy constituency, but also to curb rising health costs,’ she says.

In the future, it’ll be easier for Singaporeans to get NHRT next year when a local company sets up the region’s first compounding pharmacy. Specialist Compounding Centre will operate from Camden Medical Centre, specifically for NHRT prescriptions.

Thomas Khoo, the head pharmacist, explains that a compounding pharmacy is basically like how the pharmacies of old used to be, compounding different formulas to meet individual needs.

One reason why the compounding pharmacy hasn’t existed here is because of lack of demand, but Mr Khoo thinks that it’s a matter of awareness. ‘We’re focusing first on NHRT prescriptions, and will venture into other areas once we’ve established the pharmacy,’ he says.

Dr Marion Gluck can be reached at Other NHRT practitioners include Shirin Jacob Clinic for Women, tel: 6733-7716 and Dr Ian Lee, tel: 6734-3831.

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