Why is bio-identical hormone replacement therapy much safer than conventional HRT?
Since bio-identical hormone replacement therapy employs hormones that are chemically identical to those human women have been producing on a daily basis for millions of years, not surprisingly, in scientific study after study, bio-identical human hormones are always found to be much safer than conventional HRT.
This is especially the case when BHRT is prescribed by physicians knowledgeable about prescribing BHRT in a way that most closely copies Nature – at doses tailored to the individual woman’s precise needs and in a schedule that restores as closely as possible the hormones’ natural ebb and flow during her healthy premenopausal menstrual cycle.
Latest peer-reviewed medical research confirms BHRT much safer than HRT
In Stay Young & Sexy with Bio-identical Hormone Replacement, Dr. Wright and Lane Lenard, PhD, discuss – in easily understandable, but not dumbed down analyses – virtually all the major studies done over the last 40+ years, a vast amount of scientific data showing both the safety and benefits of BHRT and, in contrast, the many adverse effects of conventional HRT. Further studies, which have appeared since the book was published in 2010 and are summarized below, continue to confirm earlier findings:
BHRT safer and superior to HRT for treatment of menopausal symptoms
In a year-long study of 189 menopausal women who were given bio-identical estrogen plus bio-identical progesterone, with or without DHEA or testosterone, 97% experienced varying degrees of symptom control. BHRT was provided after testing to determine the needs of each patient; then bio-identical hormones were mixed according to physician’s orders by compounding pharmacists to meet the patient’s specific needs.
Mental symptoms experienced at entry into the study improved in 90% of the women. Sixty percent of the women, who had gained weight during menopause, lost an average of 14.8 pounds. None of the complications seen with conventional HRT, e.g., increased risk of heart attack, stroke, dementia, and breast cancer, developed in any of the women.1
BHRT wins the bio-identical versus conventional HRT hormone debate
The use of bio-identical hormones for hormone replacement rather than “traditional” horse-derived and synthetic versions, i.e., conjugated equine estrogens (CEE), medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), and other more recently created “progestins,” has sparked intense debate in the medical community. The pharmaceutical companies are “concerned” that bio-identical hormones are of questionable safety since their conjugated equine estrogens (CEE), medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), and other synthetic progestins have clearly been shown to be unsafe.
A review paper, published in July 2009 in the journal Postgraduate Medicine, evaluated the evidence comparing bio-identical hormones--progesterone, estradiol, and estriol--with the commonly used conventional HRT versions for clinical efficacy, physiologic actions on breast tissue, and risks for breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.2
The researchers identified all published papers on the PubMed/MEDLINE, Google Scholar, and Cochrane* databases that included keywords associated with bio-identical hormones, synthetic hormones, and HRT. Papers that compared the effects of bio-identical and synthetic hormones, including clinical outcomes and in vitro (test tube) results, were selected.
What did all these studies show?
- Patients reported greater satisfaction with bio-identical progesterone rather than a progestin.
- Bio-identical hormones have distinctly different, potentially opposite, beneficial physiological effects versus their patentable counterparts, which have different chemical structures.
- Progestins produce a variety of adverse cardiovascular effects, which are avoided with bio-identical progesterone.
- Bio-identical progesterone lowers risk for breast cancer; progestins increase breast cancer risk.
- Estriol, the weakest human estrogen, has some unique physiological effects, which differentiate it from estradiol, estrone, and conjugated equine estrogens (CEE), and would therefore be expected to carry less risk for breast cancer.
- Bio-identical hormones are associated with lower risks of all adverse effects, including risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, and are more effective than their progestin and horse-derived estrogen counterparts.
The overall conclusion drawn from this very thorough review of the research:
Until evidence is found to the contrary, bio-identical hormones remain the preferred method of HRT.
Stay Young & Sexy with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement: The Science Explained
This article summarizes key points presented in-depth in almost 500 pages in Stay Young & Sexy with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement, the Science Explained by Jonathan V. Wright, MD, and. Lane Lenard, PhD. This book is the definitive resource on Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy and fully explains why BHRT is the best option for women, not only to alleviate the discomforts of menopause, but to prevent the long-term negative health consequences of our aging-related decline in sex hormones.
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Mahmud K. Natural hormone therapy for menopause. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2010 Feb;26(2):81-5.
Holtorf K.The bioidentical hormone debate: are bioidentical hormones (estradiol, estriol, and progesterone) safer or more efficacious than commonly used synthetic versions in hormone replacement therapy? Postgrad Med. 2009 Jan;121(1):73-85.