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Bioidentical Estrogens Are Safe, Right?

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Bioidentical Estrogens Are Safe, Right?

Let’s cut to the chase – it depends. Most of my menopause patients ask about bioidentical estrogens. Women everywhere are talking about them. Oprah did a show about them. Suzanne Somers wrote books about them. And women in book clubs and boardrooms are hearing bioidentical estrogens have all the benefits of pharmaceutical estrogen with none of the associated risks.

But is that really true? Read on.

What is bioidentical estrogen?

Like every hormone in the body, estrogen has a specific chemical structure. It looks like chicken wire made from 18 carbon atoms with one, two or three “OH” groups hanging off some of those carbon atoms. If it has one “OH” group it is called estrone or E1. If it has two “OH” groups it is called estradiol or E2. If it has three “OH” groups hanging off it is called estriol or E3. These are the three main biological estrogen molecules that a woman’s body normally makes. Estradiol is the most potent one and before menopause, is the most abundant.

When people talk about bioidentical estrogens, which estrogens are they talking about?

While there are other bioidential hormones such as testosterone and progesterone, there are only three bioidentical estrogens: estrone, estradiol and estriol. These three hormones can be found in chain drug stores and in compounding pharmacies.

How are bioidentical estrogens different from other estrogen products?

Most of the estrogen molecules that are purchased in a drug store have a similar chemical structure to E1, E2 or E3, but they are not identical to them. Your body thinks non-bioidentical estrogens are close enough to bioidentical ones to respond to them. But they aren’t exactly the same; they might be a little stronger, a little weaker, or just different.

Bioidentical estrogens are exactly the same chemical structure as the biological ones the body normally makes. They may come from plants, but they are not made in plants. You can’t squeeze a plant and get bioidentical estrogen out of it. The only plant they are made in is a chemical plant. So they are not natural. That is why the term used to describe them is bioidentical. The body cannot turn plant estrogens into human estrogens. It doesn’t have the necessary enzymes to do that.

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Read more: Alternative Therapies, Health, Healthy Aging, Menopause, Stay Well With Dr. Seibel, Women's Health, , , , , ,

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Dr. Mache Seibel

Women's health expert and guest speaker Dr. Mache Seibel addresses consumers' critical needs from weight control to HRTmenopause and beyond. He served on the Harvard Medical School faculty for 19 years and is founder of My Menopause Magazine on the Apple Newsstand (http://bit.ly/MyMenoMag). Download the Free App and first Free issue. He works with companies and organizations to bring exciting educational content to consumers. Visit his award-winning website DoctorSeibel.com to sign up for his free monthly newsletter.

38 comments

+ add your own
1:00PM PDT on Apr 13, 2013

Interesting,thanks!!

2:02PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Thank you

5:41AM PST on Jan 10, 2012

Thanks for the article.

12:46PM PST on Jan 4, 2012

For those sleepless nights, I want to remind everyone again - VALERIAN ROOT - 2x the dosage on the bottle for 3 nights. On that 3rd night, when your body recognizes the stuff for what it is and starts to react to it, BEST sleep of my life!

11:18PM PST on Jan 3, 2012

thanks!

11:14PM PST on Jan 3, 2012

I cant believe people actually believe this dribble about synthetic and bio-identical etc. It is just marketing hype and not science. Science in a lab does not equate to the actual effects on a human being. Your body has all the mechanisms to make all the hormones you need and it does it naturally. Ok, it's as simple as this and without a science lesson all you need to do is improve your levels of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) a pro hormone that is the primary steroid of the body and the precursor to all other hormones and active metabolites. If you are missing this stuff your heading into troubled waters. If you take synthetic or plant versions of hormones they are still not a natural substance and will cause your glands to atrophy away so you have no choice then but to continue with them. It's the old use it or lose it. This can be a complex subject but I would suggest you look up glyconutrients (this subject will be an eye and mind opener for most) and phytosterol nutrients. Welcome to a healthier you.

10:47PM PST on Jan 3, 2012

Useful information!

8:21AM PST on Nov 15, 2011

Thanks!

6:52PM PST on Nov 11, 2011

Try bio-identical hormone pellets from Sottopelle. I do. My osteopenia is almost gone according to my DEXA, no more hotflashes, I don't have the spare tire typical after menopause....I feel great!

7:46AM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

Hi Majaana,
You are correct. If a woman has a uterus and takes estrogen, she must take progesterone at least a few times a year to prevent or at least greatly lower the risk of uterine cancer. If she has had a hysterectomy (uterus removed) she does not need to take progesterone. I have several videos on this at www.DoctorSeibel.com/Menopause and you can also sign up there for my free newsletters and updates.

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