As we age, and approach mid-life, many of us start to consider hormone replacement therapy. But is it right for me and is it safe? Many want the restorative benefits of a youthful hormone profile but are concerned about health risks. Numerous studies have shown that the hormones traditionally used, which are synthetic or “non-human identical,” can increase the risk of cancer and heart disease. Thankfully, there is a safer and natural approach to hormone balance achieved by using bioidentical hormones. Both men and women can find relief of symptoms with these hormones, without the risks found in synthetic versions.
Chemical structure is key when it comes to hormone replacement therapy. Biologically identical hormones (often called bioidentical hormones) have the same molecular structure, and perform the same function, as our own endogenous hormones. The body recognizes them and processes them in the same way it has processed its own natural hormones for years. Bioidentical hormones are derived from natural sources, such as yams or soy, and then made to have the identical chemical structure as the hormones we produce.
Unfortunately, many of the hormones regularly prescribed are not identical to those found in the human body. These hormones may resemble our own hormones (bio-similar) and often have physiological effects and are not identical to the hormones our bodies make. Thus, the body must work to metabolize these foreign substances and that may produce harmful by-products with potential side effects. Pharmaceutical companies must alter the chemical structure of the hormone to have a patentable product to sell.
In contrast to synthetic versions, bioidentical hormones offer people a more natural approach and hormones that our bodies can metabolize properly. In addition, bioidentical hormones can be prepared by the pharmacy and dosed by your physician to meet your individual hormone needs.
Remember that even though bioidentical hormones are safer than synthetic derivatives, the hormones must be balanced and adjusted for the individual. Acquiring and maintaining optimal hormones balance will require ongoing blood tests and dosage adjustment to ensure maximum benefits.
At the Age Management Center at PRO Medical, we only use bioidentical hormones and regulate them with physician supervision. Hormone therapy is useful in optimizing your health, overcoming age related symptoms, and helping people to live their best life.
Written by: Dr. Joseph Upton, Medical Director, Age Management at PRO Medical
Dr. Upton, board certified Anti-Aging physician, is the Medical Director of the Age Management Center at PRO Medical. He has been practicing medicine for over twenty years with nine years in Private Practice Family Medicine. Dr. Upton obtained his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1992 and subsequently completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Washington. His passion to help patients achieve and maintain optimal health is giving new hope to an entire generation who want to take control of how they age.