Bioidentical vs. Synthetic Hormones

Bioidentical hormones are again shown to be superior to synthetic hormones, according to a study published in a recent issue of Breast Cancer Research. This study, which followed 80,000 post-menopausal women over 8 years, found that bioidentical hormones are not associated with breast cancer, while the synthetic hormones offer a significant increase. This study adds to a host of medical literature that demonstrates the superior safety of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as compared to synthetic hormones.

Young healthy women produce estrogen and progesterone in balanced amounts.  At menopause these hormones produced primarily in the ovaries drop dramatically. This can cause serious health problems as well as unpleasant symptoms such as hot flashes, memory lapses, night sweats, insomnia, weight gain, and general crankiness! Restoring hormone balance promotes overall good health and reduces the risks of cancer, heart disease, stroke, blood clotting, dementia, and bone loss.

Synthetic estrogen (Premarin, Estraderm, Estrace, etc.) and progesterone (Medroxyprogesterone, Provera, Progestins, etc.) are all foreign or synthetic substances manufactured in a pharmaceutical laboratory.  Synthetic hormones bear little resemblance to hormones our bodies make naturally. All synthetic estrogens are derived from pregnant mares’ urine, a choice made by pharmaceutical companies in the 1950s, and still the only source of pharmaceutical synthetic estrogen today!  All those years ago, menopause was not a topic discussed routinely at home or in the doctor’s office.  The women’s movement was just starting and it was understandably more concerned with birth control than menopause. The pharmaceutical companies had no demand to look beyond horse urine, so they did not.

By the 1990s, Premarin was the estrogen of choice and one-third of all menopausal women were taking it. Research uncovered an increased incidence of breast cancer, uterine cancer, blood clotting, and cardiovascular risk associated with the use of this synthetic hormone. Along came progestin, another synthetic hormone!  Again, progestin has little resemblance to our natural progesterone. This second synthetic hormone was developed to compensate for the dangerous side-effects of the first synthetic hormone – estrogen!

About this time, some began to wonder if using hormones from pregnant horses was such a good idea. 

It should go without saying that horse estrogen is different from human estrogen. In 2002, a Woman’s Health Initiative study was so compelling it forced the FDA to require pharmaceutical companies to add a “black box” warning (the strongest warning in prescription labeling) to all synthetic estrogens and progestins. In an effort to find a safer alternative for their patients, some pioneers in the medical community began looking into natural HRT using bioidentical hormones, which are hormones identical to those produced naturally in women.

At Radiance, our choice is bioidentical estrogen based on the human estrogen hormones estriol and estradiol, combined with a natural progesterone product compounded for your individual needs. Many studies show this natural HRT offers a wealth of potential health benefits, without the potential dangers associated with synthetic hormones. Studies suggest that bioidentical hormones help relieve menopausal symptoms, while benefiting bone and urinary tract health. They may also help improve cardiovascular risk factors. Several studies have shown that transdermal estrogen (patch or cream) confers less health risk than oral estrogen, and may also be more effective.  Since orally ingested drugs are often first metabolized in the liver, the hormones can be excreted before having any effect in the body.

Even more interesting, The Reed Neurological Research Center in Los Angeles investigated the effects of pregnancy-level doses of estriol in women with multiple sclerosis (MS).  Cerebral MRI images showed a significant reduction of cerebral lesions from multiple sclerosis. These lesions increased when treatment stopped and decreased when treatment was restarted. These particular lesions are associated with disease progression in patients with MS

Ever wonder why pregnant woman seem to glow?

Ever wonder what happened to that shiny hair and lovely skin we had in our twenties?  Estrogen Baby!  Low estrogen levels are associated with accelerated aging, including the loss of collagen and moisture content of skin as well increased facial wrinkling. Conversely, natural estrogen replacement has been shown to improve collagen levels and moisture content of the skin and reduce wrinkles. A study published in The Lancet estimated the ages of 100 women and compared their ages to their levels of estrogen.  In women ages 35-55 it was found that women with the lowest estrogen levels looked 8 years older than their actual age, and those with the highest levels looked 8 years younger (a 16 year differential!)

At Radiance, we are interested in both your health and beauty. We can order a test to evaluate your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and cortisol levels, so you will know exactly where your hormones stand.

Recently, the FDA claimed that the hormone naturally produced in our bodies, estriol, is not safe, while admitting that no adverse effects from estriol have ever been reported!

For more information and to take action, please visit the HOME (Hands Off My Estrogen) Coalition website atwww.homecoalition.org.

 

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