Bioidentical Hormone Replacement: What You Won’t Hear from Your Doctor
Kelly Parcell, ND
One of the greatest areas of confusion and natural medicine today, especially in Boulder, is the subject of bioidentical hormones. Consumers, practitioners, manufacturers and the media all contribute to some of this misunderstanding. How are bioidentical hormones different from synthetic hormones? A bioidentical hormone is a hormone that is biochemically identical to the human hormone. You have wanted to try estrogen but are wary of side effects and possible dangers. You heard that premarin is made from pregnant horse’s urine (pre-mar-in ….pregnant mare’s urine…get it?). This type of estrogen is nothing like human estrogen. You may have heard that synthetic estrogens can increase risk of blood clots, breast and uterine cancer.
Most people don’t know that there are three dominant estrogens in the human body: estradiol, estrone, and estriol. All three of these types of estrogen can be synthesized from plants in the laboratory. Typical plants used in this process are the Mexican yam and the soybean. With soybeans a compound called beta-sitosterol is extracted and through a number of enzymatic reactions the lab can make either estradiol, estrone, as trial, progesterone, DHEA, and even testosterone. The end product is called natural because it is biochemically identical to the corresponding human hormone.
The same thing is done with Mexican wild yam. A compound called diosgenin is extracted and a similar process takes this compound and makes it into a bioidentical human hormone.
The key point here is that natural hormones or just like the ones found naturally in your body. Bioidentical hormones and natural hormones essentially mean the same thing.
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