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Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy Overview

VitaScript specializes in compounding bio-identical hormone replacement therapy prescriptions. Bio-identical hormones differ from other forms of HRT because of their structure. Bio-identical hormones are chemically identical to our own natural hormones. These hormones are plant derived from soy or wild yam, and are converted toestrone, estridiol, estriol, progesterone, testosterone, dehydroepiandosterone (DHEA) and Thyroid (T3/T4).

Synthetic or mismatched hormones, do not have the same structure of our natural hormones. Some estrogen hormone products are derived from the urine of pregnant horses. While these hormones may be natural and appropriate for the horse, the ratio of different estrogens, the types of estrogens, the dose, and the chemical structures of the estrogens are foreign to the human body; they do not have the same pharmacological activity in our bodies. Some synthetic hormone products may be plant derived, however they are converted into equilin hormones rather than human hormones. The Women’s Health Initiative study found that mismatched hormones increase the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots. None of these serious side effects have been observed in research on bio-identical hormones. While bio-identical hormones have not been researched as extensively in the U.S. as mismatched hormones, the existing clinical trials in Europe on bio-identical hormones show they are more effective and have fewer side effects than mismatched hormones.

At VitaScript, we work exclusively with bio-identical hormones. We custom compound prescriptions so our patients receive the dosages, delivery methods, and ratios of different hormones that are specifically appropriate for that individual. For more information about bio-identical hormones, please explore the links below.

More about bio-identical hormones:
Bio-identical hormones have the same chemical structure as hormones that are made by the human body. The key to natural or bio-identical versus synthetic is the molecular structure of the hormone. In order for a replacement hormone to fully replicate the function of hormones which were originally naturally produced and present in the human body, the chemical structure must exactly match the original.

Researchers have long held that there are significant differences between hormones that are natural to humans (bio-identical) and synthetic (including animal-derived) preparations. Structural differences that exist between synthetic or animal and human hormones may be responsible for side effects that are experienced when non-bio-identical hormones are used for replacement therapy.

Side chains may be added to a natural substance to create a synthetic product that can be patented by a manufacturer. A patented drug can be profitable to mass produce, and therefore a drug company can afford to fund research as to the medication's use and effectiveness. However, bio-identical substances can not be patented, so scientific studies are less numerous on these natural hormones.

Goals of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy:
Alleviate the symptoms caused by the natural decrease in production of hormones by the body
Give the protective benefits which were originally provided by naturally occurring hormones
Re-establish a hormonal balance

The goals of any form of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) should be to provide an adequate supply of the deficient hormone in a form that is as close as possible to that which the body originally produced, therefore resulting in normal physiologic effects. Every person is unique. Therefore, it is a sensible approach for health care professionals and patients to work together to customize HRT. Bio-identical HRT can be compounded in the needed strenght and dosage form and administered via the most appropriate route to meet each individual's needs.

The precise components of each person's therapy need to be determined after physical examination, medical history, symptoms and laboratory testing are considered. Close monitoring is essential to ensure that appropriate dosage adjustments are made.

JAMA. 2002 Jul 17; 288(3):321-33