Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy

Lots of questions come in about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Is it safe? What kind of HRT should I use? These hot flashes are driving me wild. What can I do about them? What about breast/uterine cancer in relation to HRT?


Let’s start sorting through these questions by differentiating between patented drugs used for hormone replacement therapy and Bioidentical Hormone Replacement. Since natural substances cannot receive a patent, drug companies have to tweak/change the 3 dimensional configuration of a natural substance or produce a synthetic chemical to obtain a patent on their product.


Hormones act on cells by locking into the cell membranes to activate certain processes in the cell. The key (hormone) needs to fit the lock precisely for optimal functioning of the cell. Obviously patented drugs do not fit the lock as precisely as the hormones that our bodies produce and so they cause more adverse side effects.


Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy


What’s a more optimal hormone replacement therapy when our own hormonal levels decrease? Many holistic and anti-aging doctors have opted for Bioidentical Hormone Replacement with estrogens and progesterone molecules that have the same molecular configuration as our own natural hormones. These hormones come from plants like certain yams and soy.


So, when you read reports about HRT, ask questions. In this study did they use synthetic hormones or Bioidentical hormones because the effects on the body can be quite different between the two types of HRT.


Identifying Synthetic Hormones


The names of the synthetic (drug) hormones may be more familiar to you than the names of the Bioidentical hormones. Do Premarin and Provera sound familiar to you? That’s because they are the most commonly prescribed sex hormones.




Now some may argue that Premarin is “natural” because it comes from PREgnant MARe’s uriNE. It may be natural for the mare, but not for a woman! Mare’s estrogen acts quite differently in the human body compared to human estrogen.


Premarin contains conjugated estrogens, in other words a variety of estrogen types but primarily contains estrone (E1) and other forms of estrogen called 17α-dihydroequilin, 17α-estradiol, and 17β-dihydroequilin. Why a woman would want to consciously introduce these types of hormones into her body is beyond me. As you know “equilin” refers to horse. It might be good for the horse but not for women.


When doctors prescribe Bioidentical Hormone Replacement, they never use these hormones that are so unfamiliar for the human body.

The female human body produces 3 basic forms of estrogen:

E1 = estrone

E2 = estradiol

E3 = estriol


Estrone, E1, forms from oxidation of estradiol and has a weaker action than estradiol. The ovaries and fat cells in the belly produce this form of estrogen. Naturally post-menopausal women produce estrone as their major form of estrogen. It has a weak action on the tissues but the body can convert it back to estradiol.


Estradiol, E2, produced by the ovaries and by conversion of hormones produced by the adrenals, is the major working estrogen because it locks into the estrogen receptors on the cells to induce the estrogen effects on the cells. Considered the most effective estrogenic component, it produces the greatest effects with the least amount of hormonal quantity.


Estriol, E3, forms from the metabolism of estradiol in the liver. It is considered the weakest form of estrogen.


Other prescription hormones in the form of drugs:

E1 – Ogen tablets

E2 – Estrace tablets or vaginal cream, Climara skin patch

E3 – Estriol


Progestins—are synthetic forms of progesterone prescribed under the names:


Provera and Depo-Provera





That’s an overview of the most commonly prescribed synthetic hormones so you can be well informed when considering HRT.


Also consider this brief overview of HRT possible side effects:


The most common side effects from estrogen prescriptions manifest as nausea, headache, or breast tenderness which may be alleviated by lowering the dose of Premarin or switching from the oral from to the patch placed on the skin.


Progesterone side effects can show up as headaches, breast tenderness, irritability, or depressed moods.


But the greatest concern about HRT lies in the evidence that these hormones may increase your risk for breast cancer, uterine cancer, heart disease or stroke. Obviously, we would like to alleviate miserable symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness leading to more susceptibility to urinary tract infections, painful intercourse without heightening our risk for these deadly diseases.


Perhaps there’s a way to do so. With your doctor explore the risks for your particular situation and research a method to supplement hormones that fine tunes the process of balancing your hormones while minimizing the risks.


With this information on the synthetic hormones in mind let’s now become informed about Bioidentical Hormone Replacement (BIRT), that fine tuning process in the next article.



Dr. Jo


About Dr. Jo

Dr. JoDr. Jo delights in sharing the message of health. She believes disease is optional if you know how to take care of yourself. And she’s a great coach to help you reverse or prevent disease.

So she writes this blog to keep you up to date with information that may undermine your health if you are not aware of it. She also provides tips on healthy living, how to reverse degenerative diseases, delicious recipes, and ways to enjoyably change your habits to healthy ones.

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