What is “natural” hormone replacement and why consider it an option for you? Natural hormones are biologically identical to the hormones your body makes. Meaning, the chemical structures of the hormones are identical to those synthesized in your ovaries and other areas of the body. The body sees Prempro and Premarin and considers them foreign substances, but it recognizes bio-identical hormones as familiar and responds to them in natural ways. Dosages are customized to each patient. One size does not fit all. Each patient is put on a dose specifically chosen according to individual hormone levels, symptoms, genetic profile, stress level, and overall health assessment. Since the product is compounded at special pharmacies, any dose of any hormone can be added, subtracted, and adjusted as appropriate. This is individualized hormone replacement therapy, which takes into account the fact that all women and men are not the same. There are multiple modalities of administering natural hormones: creams, gels, sublingual drops, injections, capsules, hormone pellet implants. All the benefits of hormone replacement therapy–mood, sex drive, heart, brain, bone density, and cancer protection–apply to natural hormone replacement without clinical evidence of the well documented side effects of the chemicalized, horse urine, conjugated estrogens contained in conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
What is the difference between “bioidentical” and chemical/synthetic hormones?
- Mixture of horse urine-based, chemicalized synthetic estrogens (equilin, equilinin, etc.) plus additives and coatings, which are also synthetic.
- Can remain in the body for as long as 13 weeks.
- Potency of synthetic estrogen is approximately 200 times that of natural estrogen.
- Contains higher percentage of more aggressive types of estrogen.
- “One-size-fits-all” dosing.
- Bioidentical replaces instead of substituting an unfamiliar chemical.
- Eliminated from the body in a matter of hours, not weeks.
- Potency is same or even less than estrogen levels in ovulating women.
- Customized treatment program.
- Physiologic doses used.
- All of the body’s other hormones are evaluated and treated simultaneously, to keep natural balance intact (DHEA, cortisol, testosterone, progesterone, thyroid hormones, insulin, etc.)
- Diet /nutrition, exercise, stress control, digestion, and detox are equally important parts of treatment.
Latest Research It’s not the estrogen you take that causes breast cancer , but the estrogen you make. We now know that estrogen converts into other forms (metabolites), which determine the ultimate effects of estrogen on your body. It appears to be the metabolites of estrogen that determine the risk of developing breast cancer. (Metabolite: The product of the chemical changes a substance undergoes in the tissues.) There are three significant metabolites of estrogen that determine cancer risk:
- The first is 2-hydroxy estrone (good for you). It does not stimulate cell division and it attaches to estrogen cell receptors and blocks attachment of more aggressive estrogens.
- The second is 16-hydroxy estrone (bad for you). This one strongly attaches to receptors and stimulated DNA synthesis and cell replication. It binds permanently to receptors, while other estrogens attach briefly and are released.
- The third metabolite is 4-hydroxy estrone (also bad). May directly damage DNA and can cause mutations that are carcinogenic.
Equine estrogens (Premarin, Prempro) promote metabolism of the 4-hydroxy estrones, causing mutagenic damage (cancer potential) five times more rapidly than human 4-hydroxy estrones. Too high (or low) doses of ANY type of hormone (hormone imbalance) will cause undesirable side effects. Natural HRT is prescribed at the lowest effective doses, and treatment is followed with regular lab tests (blood, saliva, urine), uterine ultrasounds, breast exams, mammograms/thermograms, pap smears, and regular visits to the physician’s office.