Bio-identical hormones are made to have the same molecular structure as the hormones made by your own body. Synthetic hormones are made to be completely different. Drug companies aren’t allowed patent a bio-identical structure, so they invent synthetic hormones that are patentable.
Though bio-identical hormones have been around for years, people as well as some doctors are very unfamiliar with them. There are several branded versions now available for use in the kind of hormone replacement therapy (“HRT”) typical of synthetic hormones.
Basically, it has become a conclusion that bio-identical are much better than the synthetic hormones. The bio-identical hormones are natural and therefore work much better with our bodies like they were there naturally. This causes much fewer side effects. The synthetic hormones can cause many very strong side effects because of their harshness in nature. Basically, the bio-identical hormones can be matched to each individual woman’s needs rather than a mass production of hormones that “might’ work. By working with each person individually, it gives more of a guaranty that the results will be higher, and the side effects lower.
European studies have proven that bio-identical hormones are much safer than the synthetic, but this cannot be completely proven true, due to the fact that they have not yet been well studied, especially over a number of years like many drug approvals need for future side effects. More case studies will need to be done to determine that. Also, you never want to say that any drug is absolutely 100% safe.
Bioidentical hormones are custom-mixed formulas that contain various hormones which are chemically identical to the hormones that your body makes naturally. These products are sold over-the-counter, and are marketed as being customized to a woman’s individual hormone needs. To determine each individual’s hormonal needs, your healthcare professional will typically test you through saliva hormone testing. Manufacturers claim that bioidentical hormones are safer than standard, FDA-approved hormone therapy.
According to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), custom compounds may provide certain benefits, such as doses and mixtures of the hormones your healthcare professional determined that you need in particular, and are not available commercially. However, there also may be certain risks for those who use them. These compounds have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and as a result have not been tested for purity, potency, efficacy or safety. These products may even contain unknown contaminants.
Bioidentical estrogen and progesterone are available in FDA-approved hormone therapy products, including:
• Estradiol, which is derived from soy or yam sources, such as Estrace, Climara patch and Vivelle-Dot patch
• Natural progesterone (Prometrium)
These products are available to you in many different doses and forms. But the fact is, with more and more testing of these new individualized compounds, they are slowing becoming more and more popular. This new way of distributing hormones makes it so that there is no “one-dose-fits-all”. You receive testing to determine which hormones your body has slowed production on, and which ones you need. If it’s determined that you only need a small dose of estrogen, these new compounds allow that, rather than giving everyone the same dose.
Besides the hormone therapy, many women have found that they are able to help their own hormonal and metabolic rates themselves through, diet, supplements, exercise, and other lifestyle changes.
It hasn’t been recommended that any of the hormones be used for long term use, but it is definitely a good addition to any regimen in helping any person keep their body in optimal condition for a comfortable aging process.