Bioidentical hormones are hormones made primarily from plant sources that during the manufacturing process look and act exactly like the hormones once made in the body. The most common hormones made this way are estradiol, the most potent of the estrogens, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone is derived from animal sources but after processing is also bioidentical.
The body treats bioidentical hormones no differently from what it makes itself. That means the body has the capacity to fully metabolize those hormones efficiently without provoking an inflammatory response seen with synthetic hormones and can safely eliminate their breakdown products from the body. If you think you may be a candidate for this sort of procedure, it is pertinent that you contact a doctor immediately.
Locating the Hormones
Many internists, family practitioners, and gynecologists are familiar with the basic use of hormones, primarily estrogen and progesterone and will often prescribe a commercially made topical preparation and oral progesterone. They will be able to provide symptom relief without significant monitoring or laboratory testing. Someone considering a comprehensive bioidentical hormone
Someone considering a comprehensive bioidentical hormone program, however, should seek a doctor who is experienced in prescribing all hormones that are deficient, who is knowable of their interactions, dosing, and side effects, and who knows how to monitor progress appropriately. Those physicians have advanced training in the field and often are estrogen replacement therapy-ified by respected national organizations.
Methods of Ingestion
Bioidentical hormones can be taken orally, topically, virginal and in some instances by injection or by pellets placed under the skin. Each delivery system has its advantages and disadvantages and determination which is the best approach is decided upon by the patient and the physician.
Uses in Therapy
Aside from the major benefits of reduced chance heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer and osteoporosis reduction, there are other less known benefits. Colon cancer can be reduced by 37%. The incidence of macular degeneration and even periodontal disease are reduced. Prostate cancer has been reduced as well with testosterone therapy.
One of the major challenges to physicians who offer hormone replacement is dealing with the misconceptions driven by early poorly designed and interpreted studies that implied an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, blood clot formation, cancer, and dementia. Once in the medical media, along with ongoing studies using synthetic hormones, the general consensus was to avoid all hormone therapy.
Unfortunately, well-designed, randomized controlled medical trials showing how natural supplementation definitively results in a positive outcome without the risks of disease are not very well known by the public or even the medical community. The only trial that is relevant in these circumstances is the Danish trial. In general, these tests demonstrated no increased risk for coronary artery disease or blood clot formation, a decreased risk for stroke and breast cancer, and a lowered risk for diabetes and hypoestrogenic replacement therapy tension. Most important, all of these trials were done with oral bio-dental estrogen.
Natural vs. Synthetic Hormones
It is extremely important to understand the difference between synthetic and natural hormone replacement. Synthetic estrogen, e.g. Premarin, comes from mare’s urine, which is actually over eight different types of estrogen. This provides a hormonal effect in women at the expense of causing inflammation. Inflammation is strongly associated with heart disease, diabetes and cancer. In addition, noting the need for progesterone, Premarin is also combined with the synthetic progesterone Provera, or Prempro as a combination pill.
Provera is not progesterone, but rather a progestin, a hormone that acts like progesterone. Although it prevents uterine cancer there is little or no protection against breast cancer. It has also been shown to cause heart attacks and stroke. It is not to be confused with bioidentical progesterone, which comes from yams. It is highly protective and has none of the drawbacks of Provera. Unfortunately, many of the studies that reach the medical media use synthetic hormones; those studies using bioidentical hormones are not properly recognized by the general public and even the medical community.