We have a NAMS (North American Menopause Society) Certified Menopause Practitioner on iPharmasave staff, located at Cloverdale Pharmasave. Attend Pharmacist Lyle Sunada’s seminar on Hormone Balancing in Cloverdale, or stay tuned for the opportunity to attend one of his seminars here at Pharmasave Steveston Village. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or sign up for our newsletter to be notified of upcoming events.
What is Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Many people believe that “natural hormones” refer to products which are obtained from plants (such as wild yams/soybeans) or animals (for example, horses). Yet this is not the case. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is the use of hormones identical in all aspects and absolutely indistinguishable to the hormones found in your body at appropriate physiological proportions.
What is Natural Estrogen?
Although we often think of “estrogen” as a single hormone, “estrogen” is really a short-hand for a group of several different but related hormones with similar properties. There are three major forms of natural estrogen in the human body. They are estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). Under normal circumstances, hormone levels vary according to the stage of the menstrual cycle, but the amount of each hormone usually fluctuates within the following proportions:
Estrone (approx. 10-20% of circulating estrogens)
Estradiol (approx. 10-20% of circulating estrogens)
Estriol (approx. 60-80% of circulating estrogens)
What is Bi-estrogen?
Bi-estrogen is an estrogen combination intended to mimic your natural circulating estrogens with estriol and estradiol. Estriol is considered to be the safest of the estrogens. It is believed to be less cancer causing and balances the more powerful effects of the stronger estrogens (E1 and E2). Because estrone is predominantly made from body fat after menopause and is one of the estrogens that is implicated in increasing breast cancer risks (largest component of Premarin), clinicians tend to not include it in estrogen formulations and rather recommend a combination of just estriol and estradiol.
What about Premarin® / C.E.S.®?
Premarin®, a conjugated equine estrogen, contains 75-80% estrone, plus 6-15% equilin (a form of estrogen found exclusively in horses), a small amount of estradiol, and other horse estrogens. Premarin® is derived from pregnant mares urine. C.E.S.® is a synthetically produced estrogen chemically altered to resemble Premarin® in structure and composition. C.E.S.® originally comes from plant sources but are then chemically synthesized to the same horse estrogens as Premarin®. Because their drug is originally synthesized from plant sources, they will often make the claim that their product is from natural sources. The original source is not important but rather that the end product is identical to your own hormones. Putting horse estrogens into your body is not natural.
What is Natural Progesterone?
Natural progesterone is an underlooked hormone found in the human body and is identical in every way to what our body produces and is often confused with synthetic progestogens. Synthetic progestogens, like Provera®, (medroxyprogesterone acetate), are only slightly chemically different in structure to progesterone, but can have very different actions in the body. Synthetic hormones do not allow our bodies to produce other hormones, which are needed for other functions in the body. This difference can have a major effect on the body and is the reason why one sees so many side effects with Provera® and hardly any with progesterone. Progesterone helps balance out estrogen in the body. Drug manufacturers have always focused on declining levels of estrogen but should really look at all the hormones in the body. The whole purpose of NHRT is to replace the hormones that have naturally declined, back to physiological levels when one was healthier and feeling better.
Why use Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
PMS, premenopausal symptoms, endometriosis, low sex drive, fibrocystic breasts, heart disease, and osteoporosis-most women will experience these or other hormone-related problems. Millions of women must decide to undergo HRT and suffer its side effects and increased risks of cancer. Why put horse estrogens or other foreign hormones in the body when it just seems logical to use what the body has been producing for years? It would appear to be much safer to mimic nature as closely as possible. This is why BHRT employs using human estrogens, natural progesterone, and natural testosterone in exactly the patterns established in woman’s bodies over tens of thousands of generations. Attend one of our upcoming seminars to learn more about this alternative form of HRT as featured on the Oprah Winfrey show.
How can I learn more about BHRT?
The following books are recommended to increase your knowledge of NHRT:
You’ve Hit Menopause – Now What?; George Gillson, M.D., Tracy Marsden, B.Sc.(Pharm.)
– a great book that looks at the connection between all the sex hormones and how saliva hormone testing can help to guide you in determining what you need
The Wisdom of Menopause; Christiane Northrup, M.D.
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause/Premenopause; John R. Lee, M.D.
– layperson’s guide to progesterone.
The Sexy Years: Discover The Hormone Connection; Suzanne Somers
– gives the reader first-hand knowledge of the benefits of BHRT through the experiences of Suzanne, other patients, and experts in the field.
Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis; Alan R. Gaby, M.D.
– a detailed look at nutritional and natural approaches to preventing osteoporosis.