Bio-identical hormones are biologically identical to the hormones your body makes, meaning the chemical structures of the replacement hormones are identical to those synthesized in your organs. The body recognizes bio-identical hormones as familiar and responds to them in natural ways. One size does not fit all–dosages are customized to each individual. Each patient is put on a dose specifically chosen according to their individual symptoms, genetic profile, stress level, and overall health assessment. Since the product is compounded at special pharmacies, any dose of any hormone can be added, subtracted, and adjusted as is appropriate. This individualized hormone replacement therapy takes into account the fact that all women and men are not the same. There are multiple modalities of administering natural hormones: creams, lozenges, gels, sublingual drops, injections, capsules, and hormone pellet implants.
- The first is 2-hydroxy estrone (good for you). It does not stimulate cell division. It attaches to estrogen cell receptors and blocks the attachment of more aggressive estrogens.
- The second is 16-hydroxy estrone (bad for you). This one strongly attaches to receptors and stimulates DNA synthesis and cell replication. It can bind permanently to receptors, whereas other estrogens attach briefly and are released.
- The third metabolite is 4-hydroxy estrone (also bad). This may directly damage DNA and can cause mutations that are carcinogenic.
Equine estrogens could promote metabolism of the 4-hydroxy estrones, causing mutagenic damage (cancer potential) five times more rapidly than human 4-hydroxy estrones.
The risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapies must be considered for each patient. Testing, regular monitoring, and minimizing risk factors are essential.