HUMAN vs. SYNTHETIC HORMONES: There is A Difference!
Synthetic forms of progesterone and estrogen were developed because “natural” forms cannot be patented. So what’s the difference? A look at progesterone and it’s synthetic analogs – called progestins- should illuminate the answer.
Progestins are chemically similar to progesterone, but different enough to have some dramatic side effects. Natural, micronized progesterone has fewer reactions than MPA. The only major problem attributed to the natural form – drowsiness – is dose related. This is easily corrected by adjusting the dose downward until anesthesia ceases and positive results remain.
Non Human Estrogen is not much better. In the U.S.A., conjugated estrogen is the most commonly used oral estrogen. It’s obtained from the urine of pregnant mares and under-goes a conversion in the intestinal tract to estrone (the type of estrogen most implicated with increased risk for breast cancer in studies.)
The synethetic analogs of conjugated estrogen are also converted to estrone.
Estriol has been shown to actually inhibit breast cancer in mice. It has all the benefits of the stronger estrogens, but with fewer risks. It’s only negative is that it’s much weaker than other estrogens, hence more is needed to achieve the same results.
For example, if you take dosage of 0.6 to l.25 mg of conjugated estrogen, you would need 2 to 5 mg of estriol for the same effect. But remember, with the increased amount of estriol you use, the less likely you are to get breast cancer (which is exactly the opposite of the dose relationships for synthetic and conjugated estrogens).
Many physicians use an estrogen combination called “Bi-East” which combines the advantages of estriol with the potency of estradiol in a ratio of 80-20%.
How is “Human” Progesterone, Estrogen, and Testosterone Available?
Though not obtainable from most retail pharmacies, these hormone formulations can be made for you by a compounding pharmacy. 1+ uses pure, micronized progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone, these compounds these hormones into a variety of dosage forms according to your doctor’s prescription.
You can receive these hormones in capsules to be taken by mouth or as transdermal creams. The transdermal cream prevents the breakdown of any hormone by the stomach and also delays the “first pass” effect of the liver. This “first pass” effect renders the hormone much weaker and, sometimes, produces harmful by- products.
Estrogen Deficiencies Are Also Easily Treatable
One complication of a woman’s diminished estrogen levels in the increased risk of heart disease. The frequency of heart disease in women, which is low before age 50, rises dramatically after menopause and approaches that of men.
A theory long held has a woman’s natural sex hormones protecting her heart earlier in life, i.e., before menopause. During the last few years, this theory has been proven. Results of a three-year study regarding the effects of hormone replacement therapy on heart disease were reported in 1995.
The most illuminating result was that the greatest increase in HDL, cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) was found in women taking estrogen alone which equals a 25% reduction in the risk of heart disease. Estrogen combined with progesterone reduces heart disease risk also, but no as dramatically as estrogen alone. The study revealed a third of the women taking only estrogen developed endometrial changes (which is a
precursor to uterine cancer).
As an easy-to-apply transdermal cream, this combination is used daily to reduce the risk of heart disease without increasing the risk of breast cancer.
In the treatment of osteoporosis, estrogen has a role. It affects bone repair in two ways:
- By slowing the rate of bone loss.
- By improving the absorption of calcium from the intestinal tract.
In combination with progesterone, estrogen can effectively slow down osteoporosis. As with the progesterone treatment for osteoporosis, many physicians prescribe an estrogen transdermal cream to effectively treat this disease. Your doctor can decide what proportions of each of the three estrogen components are needed for your cream by having your hormone levels tested.
Low estrogen levels have been linked to memory loss and Alzheimer’s Disease. In both men and women, the brain is a major organ target for estrogen because this hormone serves as a “communications path” from body to brain and increases connections between brain cells.
In a 1994 study of 144 women aged 55 to 93, half of the women took estrogen and the
other half did not. The estrogen-supplemented group scored significantly higher in a
group of memory tests than the non-supplemented group..
Testosterone Deficiencies in Men and Women
There is a male menopause – sometimes called Andropause – that’s similar to the female
Andropause is more subtle than menopause because it happens more gradually and without the symptoms expected from menopause (hot flashes, night sweats, etc.). But the end result is about the same: loss of muscle mass, lack of energy, and decreased libido to name but a few symptoms.
Andropause, however, responds very well to testosterone supplementation. But did you know that testosterone a “love hormone” for women, too? It’s true!
A study conducted in Australia by a group of physicians – and reported in the British Medical Journal – showed positive results. Implants of testosterone and estradiol (estrogen) were placed beneath the skin of postmenopausal women with a loss of libido. Follow-up tests six weeks later showed “significant improvement” in libido while treatment with estradiol alone had no such effect.
Identical Human Replacement Therapies offer a method of correction that allows women of child-bearing age normal menstrual periods and increased opportunities for conception.
Postmenopausal women and andropausal men, the probabilities do exist for decreased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and osteoporosis in conjunction with increased energy and libido.
In short, Human Hormone Replacement, Therapy can – and does – improve quality of life in millions of men and women worldwide.