Natural Sources of Bioidentical Hormones
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Wittman, MD
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a very popular treatment used to help correct hormone imbalances. Hormone imbalances can cause symptoms of menopause, andropause, perimenopause, low libido, erectile dysfunction, depression, fatigue and many other conditions, it’s no wonder HRT is so popular. In the area of HRT, natural bioidentical hormones are considered among the best.
What are Hormones?
Hormones are chemicals found in the endocrine system, a system that helps control nearly all functions of your body, from sleep and mood to growth, metabolism, even sexual function or dysfunction.
Hormones are messengers in this system, communicating what needs to be done, where and when in the body.
If there are too few or too many messengers (hormone imbalance), body functions can be altered, resulting in menopause, hot flashes in women, and sexual dysfunction in men.
Solving this issue is a treatment known as BHRT, in which low hormone levels are replaced with supplementary hormones. However, there are two schools of thought, synthetic vs. bioidentical hormones, the difference between which has only recently been discovered.
What are Bioidentical Hormones?
Often called natural hormones, bioidentical hormones, like forms of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, are derived from naturally occurring hormones found in plants, phytohormones. By extracting a form of naturally occurring hormone, bioidentical hormones provide a hormone supplement that mimics the structure of your natural hormones identically; synthetic hormones can only come close.
This is important. The structure of any compound in your body—hormones in particular—acts to ensure that only the right chemical can jump-start a bodily function. Just as your car key works only in your car, hormones only work in specific receptors. If you lose that key however, any old key won’t work in its place (synthetic hormone) you need a specific key for your car (bioidentical hormone).
The term “natural” is currently used to mean organic, unprocessed, and food/medications that have undergone as little intervention as possible. With this definition of natural, “natural hormones” may actually be a bit of a misnomer as both bioidentical and synthetic hormones need to be collected, concentrated and packaged in some form of safe, clean lab. The major difference being the source of the hormone, Bioidentical/natural hormones coming from plants and synthetic hormones being created largely from potentially harmful petrol chemicals.
Natural Sources of Hormones
Natural hormones can be found in a wide variety of foods and even animal products.
Natural Sources of Estrogen
For estrogen, soy, yams, tofu, alfalfa sprouts, peas, beans, chickpeas, sesame seeds, fruits and flax seed have all shown to be natural sources.
Natural Sources of DHEA
Wild yams and soy have also been converted into DHEA, a chemical which the body further converts into testosterone.
Natural Sources of Cortisol
Cortisol, the “stress hormone” is essential for stabilizing the body under times of stress. However when the adrenal gland isn’t producing the necessary amounts, as in the case of Addison’s disease, grapefruit, coffee, even licorice are counted as sources of natural cortisol production.
Do I Need Hormone Replacement Therapy?
You may be wondering, “Why even bother with hormone replacement?” With bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, the dosage matters, it’s an imbalance which created your symptoms to begin with remember. Eating these foods won’t provide you with any way to accurately track the amount of your hormone ingestion. Also some of these foods only contain the precursor to specific hormones, they have to be altered slightly in a lab setting to become effective. In addition, you have to remember that bioidentical hormones are still medication, you’d likely have to take it every day. Would you really want to eat pounds of yams, beans, peas, fruits and so on every day?
Dangers of Synthetic Hormones
Synthetic hormones have been found to contribute to and even incite the formation of cancer, namely breast cancer, whereas natural/bioidentical hormones have been shown in studies to help prevent uncontrolled cellular division known as cancer.
While not strictly natural by modern standards, natural/bioidentical hormones have been found to be safer in the long run than synthetic equivalents. If you’re searching for an individualized treatment option for erectile dysfunction, Menopause, perimenopause, hot flashes, depression, and countless other conditions, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may be a treatment option for you.
Request more information about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and the natural hormones used today. Call (410) 567-0667 or contact Dr. Alan Stuart Weiss online.
Annapolis Integrative Medicine Clinic
Address1819 Bay Ridge Ave
Annapolis, MD 21403
9:30 am - 6:30 pm
Tue: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm