There are certain myths about Bio-identical hormones which need to be cleared up according to the Institute for Integrative Medicine. Even after years of consistent proof that Bio-identical hormones are better and safer than synthetic versions, many doctors are still confused by these misconceptions.
Myths about Bio-identicals:
MYTH 1: COMPOUNDED HORMONES ARE UNREGULATED
Compounding is the process by which Bio-identical hormones are made into a useable cream or oral supplement by a pharmacist. The pharmacist works according to specific instructions from the prescribing doctor regarding a dosage that suits the patient’s needs.
MYTH 2: THEY’RE PRESCRIBED BY QUACKS
Just like the synthetic hormones used in conventional HRT, Bio-identical hormones are scheduled medications – most are only available by prescription.
MYTH 3: THEY’RE NOT WELL ABSORBED BY THE BODY
Absorption depends on the delivery system in which the hormones are suspended. For example, the most advanced transdermal delivery system – transdermal meaning “through the skin” – is a substance called pluronic lecithin gel. This is easily absorbed, delivering the required hormones straight into the body and raising hormone levels without interference by the liver or digestive enzymes.
MYTH 4: THEY’RE NOT EFFECTIVE
Many studies – too many to list – have proven that the Bio-identical hormones estradiol, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone alleviate the symptoms of menopause. They also help relieve chronic fatigue syndrome, bone mineral loss and sexual dysfunction, while reducing the chances of dying from an age-related chronic disease like heart and blood vessel disease, various forms of cancer, metabolic syndrome, auto-immune diseases and brain dysfunction.
MYTH 5: THEY’RE NOT QUALITY CONTROLLED
The purity, potency and efficacy of Bio-identical hormones are regularly and carefully monitored through laboratory testing and doctor feedback. This ensures that the medicine is free of contaminants, delivers the dose stipulated on the label and has the desired effect in the patient.
MYTH 6: THEY’RE NO SAFER THAN NONBIOIDENTICAL (SYNTHETIC) HORMONES
As their name states, Bio-identical hormones are identical to nature, in other words, they have exactly the same chemical structure as the hormones produced by the body itself.
MYTH 7: IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO INDIVIDUALISE TREATMENT
Customization of Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is indeed possible through regular lab testing and by carefully monitoring the symptoms of the patient. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all dosage when it comes to hormones, which is why compounding specifically according to the patient’s needs is a cornerstone of the discipline.
MYTH 8: SALIVA TESTING DOESN’T WORK
Saliva tests are, in some respects, considered more sensitive and accurate than blood tests. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the US makes use of saliva tests to monitor the stress levels of astronauts. Hormones delivered through the skin only enter the blood stream very briefly, but show up in the saliva far more measurably. This is because the hormone in the saliva has already been fully processed to its useable form before passing through the soft tissue of the saliva glands.