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What Is The Difference Between “Natural” and Bio–Identical Hormones?
After the Women’s Health Initiative report was published in 2002 and showed very clearly that synthetic hormones made by pharmaceutical companies caused many serious health problems in women, women who were on them stopped taking them, and other women refused to let their medical doctors prescribe them. This meant that the pharmaceutical companies very quickly lost and continue to lose millions [billions?] of dollars in sales of synthetic hormones to women.
Women started to look for “natural” hormones and the marketplace stared to produce “natural” hormone creams made from the Mexican wild yam or from soy.
When the pharmaceutical companies saw the amount of money that manufacturers were making from the sale of these “natural” hormones, they tried to find a way to have women accept and buy their hormone drugs. The pharmaceutical companies developed new hormone drugs that also were made from the Mexican wild yam or from soy. These so called “natural” hormones made from natural sources such as the Mexican wild yam were then dropped off by drug company representatives at the offices of medical doctors in sample form with the explanation that they were natural hormones.
I describe the use of the word “natural” for these so called natural hormone drugs made by pharmaceutical companies as “baffle with brown sugar!”. Why do I say that?
Let me explain how both biologically identical (bio–identical) hormones and these so called “natural” hormone drugs are made. The starting point for many biologically identical (bio–identical) hormones and these so called “natural” hormone drugs are the Mexican wild yam. In order to make biologically identical [bio–identical] hormones and these so called “natural” hormone drugs, a base ingredient called Diosgenin needs to be chemically extracted from hundreds of Mexican wild yams [this process was first discovered in 1938].
At this point in the explanation, many women would say “whoa!” that means that even biologically identical [bio–identical] hormones are actually synthetic chemicals because they are made from an ingredient that is chemically extracted from the Mexican wild yam. The answer to that comment is that we know that a person can’t just eat Mexican wild yams and end up getting biologically identical hormones that they can use in their body. Our digestive system just doesn’t have the chemicals [enzymes] that can separate the Diosgenin from the Mexican wild yams. The analogy that I give to women is as follows. If I give you a raw egg and ask you to place it in your mouth and chew it until it turns hard boiled, will the raw egg ever become hard boiled? The answer, of course, is No! Although we are biochemical beings [the study of the natural chemical reactions going on inside the bodies of human beings is called Biochemistry], we need a chemical reaction caused by heat to turn a raw egg into a hard boiled egg that we can now easily eat.
In like manner, the Diosgenin needs to be chemically extracted from the Mexican wild yams before it can be used to make biologically identical [bio–identical] hormones. The chemical structure of the Diosgenin is then changed into exact copies of our sex hormones [estrogens, progesterone and testosterone] so they look like and act in our body exactly the same way as the hormones produced in our body do.
The following illustration shows the difference between a woman’s estrogens on the left and biologically identical [bio–identical] estrogens on the right — absolutely no difference.
In order to make a so called “natural” estrogen, the pharmaceutical companies change the chemical structure of the Diosgenin so that it is exactly the same as the chemical structure of pregnant mare urine [Premarin] without having to use a horse. An example of this is a so called “natural” estrogen called C.E.S.. However, the initials C.E.S. stands for conjugated estrogen. The Merriam–Webster's Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam–Webster, Inc. definition of conjugated estrogen is as follows:
Main Entry: conjugated estrogen
: a mixture of estrogens and especially of estrone and equilin for oral administration in the form of the sodium salts of their sulfate esters — usually used in plural but singular in construction <conjugated estrogens is a mixture — United States Pharmacopeia XXII/National Formul ary XVII, 22dEd.>; — see PREMARIN
The following illustration shows the difference between a woman’s estrogens, a so–called “natural” equaline, and equaline, an ingredient in Premarin which is a synthetic conjugated estrogen. The color red is used to show the difference in the molecular structures of synthetic estrogens when they are compared to the molecular structures of a woman’s estrogens.
Therefore, many of these so called “natural hormones” made by pharmaceutical companies are actually synthetic hormones just like the ones tested in the Women’s Health Initiative.
Unfortunately, for many years many unsuspecting medical doctors, knowing that many women would no longer take the synthetic hormones and were looking for natural alternatives, gave the samples and then prescriptions of these so called “natural” hormone drugs to trusting and unsuspecting women. The women taking these so called “natural” hormone drugs have the same health risks that were found during the research by the Women’s Health Initiative on the synthetic hormone drugs.
Also, because of the abuse and misuse of the term “natural hormones”, many women may now not trust anyone who talks about biologically identical [bio–identical] hormones thinking that “natural hormones” and “biologically identical [bio–identical] hormones” are the same thing.
Therefore, in this book, I use the term “biologically identical [bio–identical] hormones” instead of using the term “natural hormones” in order to prevent a misunderstanding about the type of hormones that I am talking about.