Natural hormones versus synthetics provide more-complete correction of symptoms with fewer side effects. The hormones that most medical providers prescribe are synthetic products manufactured in a lab. These formulations are chemically based compounds that are not identical to that produced by the human body. The synthetic hormones can cause many very strong side effects because of their harshness in nature. Synthetic hormones are known to last too long in the body. The most popular synthetic estrogen is a drug called Premarin, and it is made from the urine of pregnant horses (PREgnant MARe’s urINe). Premarin was approved by the FDA over 50 years ago, when requirements were far less stringent than even now. There are many unknown ingredients in Premarin which are unstudied, untested, and unnatural in human tissue.
The synthetic progestins used in HRT are broken up in the liver after going through the digestive system. The liver changes these into three other metabolites. The benefits that women need from real natural progesterone that balance and eliminate these toxic estrogens are not available, because these progestins do not work the way human identical progesterone does. Synthetic hormones can be taken orally, applied via a cream or by a suppository. According to the FDA, for some women, hormone therapy may increase the chances of blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer and gall bladder disease. For women who have not had their uteruses removed, estrogen increases their chance of getting endometrial cancer. Adding progestin, however, lowers this risk.
Bioidentical hormones, or natural hormones, replace what women’s ovaries stop producing after menopause with a duplicated hormone molecule. Synthetic does not necessarily mean artificial. Synthroid and Estrace are “synthetic” in that they have been made in the laboratory rather than within a biological organism, but they are “natural” in that they’re the exact molecules made by the thyroid and ovary, respectively.
Natural hormones are hormones in their purest form-bioidentical in molecular structure to those made by the human body. “Natural” human forms of ovarian hormones are the building blocks found in wild yams and soybeans. The laboratory converts these plant compounds into chemical molecules identical to those made in the human body for 17-beta estradiol, progesterone, or testosterone, which can then be fashioned into standardized tablets, patches, creams, gels and injectables for prescription. Thus, scientists able to synthesize a natural, bioidentical compound to replace what women’s bodies no longer makes. Another example is the “natural” estrogen-type compounds (genistein and others) found in soy and red clover and many other plants. These are “natural” substances, since they come from biological plant sources. These compounds are unnatural for women’s bodies, however, since human bodies don’t make these same compounds and don’t have the enzymes to change the genistein or clover isoflavones into 17-beta estradiol.