Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement
Therapy - What Is It? Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy is the use of
natural hormones from plant sources that have been engineered in a registered licensed compounding pharmacy lab to be
an identical match to the human hormone. Though bioidentical hormones have been around for years, most practitioners
are unfamiliar with them. There are several branded versions now available for use though their one-size-fits-all dosage regime
is very similar to that of synthetic hormones. But in our practice, we use an individualized, patient-centered approach.
We begin by testing hormone levels (hormone panel) and when warranted, we prescribe a precise dosage and combination
of bioidentical hormones.
What Are Synthetic Hormones? They are intentionally made to be different than those your body produces. That’s
because drug companies can’t patent a bioidentical structure to make it exclusively theirs, so they invent synthetic
hormones that are patentable. Synthetic hormones are those than have been prescribed by doctors since their introduction
into medicine. This treatment is commonly know as HRT or hormone replacemnt therapy. The best know ones are:PremPro,
Provera, Premarin, Aygestin, Megace. These are the hormones used in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study. This
study was stopped early due to evidience that showed a significant increase in breast cancer, heart disease and stroke related
to the synthetic hormones.
hormones “better” and safer than synthetic hormones? We
long ago concluded that the answer to these questions is yes. Synthetic hormones are quite strong and often produce intolerable
side effects but bioidentical hormones are natural, and our bodies can metabolize them, which minimizes side effects. Bioidentical
hormones can compounded to matche to each woman’s needs which is just impossible with mass-produced products.
Bioidentical hormones, from existing studies, are safe when used correctly. European medical
studies suggest that bioidentical hormones are safer than synthetic versions. It is important to have your hormone
levels tested and receive the correct level of bioidentical hormones prescribed by a physician that is knowledgeable
of bioidentical hormones replacement therapy. To date most physicians are not knowledgeable of bioidentical hormones.
Can bioidentical hormones be
used for breast cancer patients? Very few practitioners will prescribe any type of HRT
— synthetic or bioidentical — for women who have had breast cancer or even a family history of breast cancer.
In fact, many are given anti-estrogen drugs. As a breast-health expert who co-developed Gr8Life
Program, I think that we just do not have enough data to rule out HRT in every case. So I prefer to look at each woman’s
particular situation, history, pathology, and blood work. I’ve had breast cancer patients who,
like Suzanne Somers, use low-dose bioidentical hormones by choice. These women have researched the issues and discussed them
with their healthcare providers in order to make well-informed decisions for themselves.
Bioidentical hormones —
are they right for you? Celebrities
like Oprah Winfrey and Suzanne Somers have brought bioidentical HRT onto center stage. Whenever a talk show, book, blog or
news magazine highlights bioidentical hormones, we’re deluged with calls about bHRT. Women may not have heard about
this option for menopause symptoms, and many are asking, “Is bHRT right for me?” If you have symptoms
related to hormone imbalance, the answer is probably yes. We’ve used bioidentical hormone replacement
therapy for nearly 19 years in our clinical practice, and patients have had great success. Most report feeling as
well as they did 5 - 10 - 15 years earlier.
Is bHRT the only way to achieve
hormonal balance? Bioidentical hormones can work wonders, but they should be combined with
a combined natural approach that combines medical-grade nutritional supplements, gentle endocrine support, and dietary
and lifestyle changes for maximum benefit.
We recommend that every woman start with this combination approach to create a solid foundation
for her health. In our Gr8Life Program, we’ve developed a three-pronged approach that supports a woman’s hormonal
pathways “upstream” of where problems arise.
The Program provides:
1. Daily Essentials Nutrients to fill in the nutritional gaps left by our modern diet.
2. Plant-based support to rebalance
the three major sex hormones most likely to fluctuate in perimenopause and menopause: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
It’s very important that the combination approach outlined
above be used for optimal results.