Bioidenticals

Community Leader
Registered: 09-25-2003
Bioidenticals
Tue, 12-31-2013 - 10:45am

I am posting this as follow-up to my Vitamin D post since, this, too, is controverial...in case you are interested, the link to the entire article is:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/What-are-bioidentical-hormones.htm

"The interest in a more natural approach to hormone therapy has focused attention on bioidentical hormones — hormones that are identical in molecular structure to the hormones women make in their bodies. They’re not found in this form in nature but are made, or synthesized, from a plant chemical extracted from yams and soy. Bioidentical estrogens are 17 beta-estradiol, estrone, and estriol. (Estradiol is the form of estrogen that decreases at menopause.) Bioidentical progesterone is simply progesterone. It’s micronized (finely ground) in the laboratory for better absorption in the body.

Bioidentical hormone therapy is often called “natural hormone therapy” because bioidentical hormones act in the body just like the hormones we produce. But here again, that tricky word natural muddies the waters. Pregnant mares’ urine is natural, but Premarin is not bioidentical, at least not to human estrogen. The same goes for Cenestin, which is made from plants but is not bioidentical.

Technically, the body can’t distinguish bioidentical hormones from the ones your ovaries produce. On a blood test, your total estradiol reflects the bioidentical estradiol you’ve taken as well as the estradiol your body makes. On the other hand, Premarin is metabolized into various forms of estrogen that aren’t measured by standard laboratory tests. Proponents of bioidentical hormones say that one advantage of bioidentical estrogen over Premarin is that estrogen levels can be monitored more precisely and treatment individualized accordingly. Skeptics counter that it hardly matters, because no one knows exactly what hormone levels to aim for, and symptoms, not levels, should be treated and monitored."