According to Census data from 2000, there are about 37.5 million women reaching or currently at menopause (ages 40 to 59). For many consumers, "natural" implies "safer". That perception explains the demand for natural products. Often however, the manufacturing of natural products are not well-regulated and the significance of the word "natural" has different meanings for consumers and manufacturers.
Natural hormone replacement therapy (NHRT) is a misnomer. Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BNRT) is the proper term. This article will explain the important differences and why you should use Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Bioidentical hormones have the exact molecular structure as those made in the human body. In other words, the two are indistinguishable from each other. Bioidentical hormones produce the same physiologic responses as those of endogenous(bodies natural hormones) hormones. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers bioidentical hormones to be natural regardless of their source, and as a result they cannot be patented.
Misconceptions About Bioidentical Hormones
Many women are unfamiliar with the significance of bioidentical hormones, it seems they are more concerned about the source of the hormones rather than the effects produced by those hormones. Bioidentical hormones can be extracted and derived from a variety of different sources such as plants (soy or yams) or animals (pigs or horses). They can also be produced synthetically. However, hormones of plant or animal extraction that are bioidentical to human hormones are still not completely natural in the purest sense, because they undergo a laboratory process and several processing steps before the bioidentical end product is obtained.
The Important Issues When Deciding Bioidentical Therapy
Natural hormone replacement therapy involves two important issues. The source of the product, trying to acquire a natural source from plants and the end product, trying to obtain something bioidentical. Which is more important? The physiologic effect, which occurs with a bioidentical product. This should be the most important focus, but women are most comfortable with hormones that are obtained from a plant source and that are as bioidentical. Few commercially available products fit this description. But, thanks to WHI (Womens Health Initiative) findings that exposed the failure of synthetic hormone replacement, women are selecting what has been available for over 20 years, bioidentical hormones that are plant derived.
Pharmaceutical companies profits come from patents that insure them seven years of profits, where no other company can manufacture a product like theirs. Hence, the cost of this product is determined totally by them.
There are several new products that have been marketed as being natural because they are derived from plants such as soy or yam, but few are truly natural because they are not bioidentical. Sometimes, a bioidentical hormone is combined with another completely synthetic non bioidentical hormone, and the results is advertised as a natural product. Premarin for example is advertised as a natural estrogen replacement therapy because it is derived from the urine of a pregnant mare but it is not bioidentical to human estrogen and has been found to have devastating effects.