Bio-identical is the name given to hormones that have the exact same molecular structure as the hormones naturally produced by the human body. A hormone exerts its effect on a cell receptor in the same fashion that a key would insert into a lock. Non-Bio Identical or Drug hormones (like the birth control pill, premarin etc) are made to be similar, but are not identical to what the body knows as natural.
Drug version of these are prescribed in traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The problem with synthetic hormones is that although they are able to squeeze into the hormone receptor, the message they send to the cell is different than a natural hormone. Synthetic hormones (specifically Provera – a drug progestin not a progesterone), have been linked to unintentional side effects, such as weight gain, increased inflammation, water retention and some increased cancer risk was seen in the WHI study.
Bio-identical hormones are synthesized in a laboratory and this fact may cause some confusion. In the laboratory, sterols from plants such as soy and wild yam are used to create bio-identical hormones. Other natural materials can be used to achieve the same natural hormones, but these plant sterols are the easiest to transform into human hormones.
In the field of Integrative Medicine, physicians prefer bio-identical hormones whenever hormones are prescribed. Practitioners devote serious thought into the best method to deliver each hormone carefully considering safety, effectiveness and potential side effects. In general, transdermal delivery (cream applied to the skin) is preferred, as this method will bypass the liver and avoid potential conversion into unwanted metabolites. In some circumstances oral or injectable forms are preferred.
The types, combinations and dosages of bio-identical hormones are customized to fit each individual patient and will be discussed in the course of your treatment. The most common hormones prescribed are Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone and DHEA. The majority of bio-identical hormone prescriptions will need to be prepared by a compounding pharmacy in their own labs. These pharmacies adhere to strict regulations and certifications to ensure accuracy and quality when preparing the medicine as prescribed by the physician.
Main Differences – Bio Identical Hormones and Programs use:
Exact molecular structure as the human body
Transdermal route for estrogens to bypass the liver
Amounts equivalent to what the body produces
Each person uniqueness and are followed with blood, saliva or and 24 urine testing.