Bio identical vs. Synthetic Hormones: There Is a Difference!

Synthetic forms of progesterone and estrogen were developed because bio-identical forms cannot be patented. So what’s the difference?

Synthetic hormones may have a structure similar to, but not exactly the same as, a hormone produced by your body. These chemical differences are significant. A synthetic hormone acts differently in your body and can produce substantially different side effects. Also, because synthetic hormones are foreign to the body, it will not detoxify them efficiently. This can lead to higher hormone levels and increased side effects and risks. Bio-identical and synthetic hormones should not be considered the same or used interchangeably.

Bio-identical refers to the molecular structure that makes up the hormone. A bio-identical hormone is derived from plants, including yams and soy, and are then modified in their chemical structure to make them molecularly identical to those in our body.

Be cautious by over-the-counter or prescription hormone products that are marketed as “natural” or “plant-based,” because most do not come near to being bio-identical to native human hormones or performing as such in the body. Examples of this are the numerous proprietary HRT options being marketed as “plant-based” and “natural,” as well as purely yam-based creams.  Some only contain precursors to our natural hormones so the body still has to convert them.

A good example of this is conjugated estrogens. They are the most commonly used oral estrogens. These mixes of estrogens are obtained from the urine of pregnant mares. Although its source is considered “natural” (horses), the molecular structures are certainly not naturally occurring to the human body. Bio-identical hormones, when used with care, can have excellent results in resolving most hormone-related symptoms.

Hormones that we commonly compound for BHRT upon the request of a physician include the following
  • Progesterone
  • DHEA
  • Testosterone
  • Pregnenolone
  • Estradiol and Estriol
  • Triiodothyronine / Liothyronine  (thyroid hormone)
  • Levothyroxine (thyroid hormone)

Hormone testing makes treating a hormonal imbalance much more precise and reinforces the need for each person to be treated as a unique being. Ask us about the benefits of saliva testing!