What Are Bioidentical Hormones?
You might have heard of "bioidentical hormones" or "bioidentical hormone replacement therapy" and wondered what it is exactly and how it is any different than traditional hormone replacement therapy, or HRT.
In general, hormones are chemical signals your body uses to regulate dozens of functions, including everything from digestion to your sex drive to the rate at which you age. Your body produces many different kinds of hormones from various glands. Those hormones are then released into the bloodstream, where they travel to the target tissues and signal some kind of action. Some hormones cause you to be hungry, while others signal that you're full and it's time stop eating. Other hormones are released in response to danger and cause your body to go into a "fight or flight" reaction. Still others signal sexual desire and arousal. A doctor who specializes in hormone systems is known as an endocrinologist.
Hormones are an important part of the practice of medicine, but there has been considerable controversy in recent years about how they are best used. Traditionally, doctors have prescribed certain steroid hormones such as estrogen and progesterone to women to relieve symptoms of menopause and protect against heart disease. These traditional hormones were synthesized in a lab from various sources, including the urine of pregnant mares. Because they are analogues to human hormones (meaning they are chemically similar), they are biologically active in the human body. This is also true for xenoestrogens, or hormones that are found in the environment, including in certain kinds of plastics and petroleum products. Xenoestrogens are not true hormones, but they are biologically active hormone analogues that can stimulate changes in the human body.
More recently, researchers have discovered how to create hormones that are identical to your own natural, or endogenous, hormones. These hormones are called "bioidentical" because they have the same exact molecular structure as natural hormones and are therefore indistinguishable to your cells and tissues from natural hormones. They are derived from various plant sources. Bioidentical hormones are frequently used as part of a bioidentical hormone replacement therapy program. In general, bioidentical hormones have fewer side effects because they are kept at physiological (normal) levels.
Do I Need Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
If you've noticed strange symptoms lately, but just thought, "I guess that's part of aging," you might be in the early stages of hormone decline and imbalance. Although it's different for everybody, both men and women can start to suffer from declining hormone levels between the ages of 30 and 35. By age 40, the majority of men and women will be experiencing at least some decline in hormone levels.
Still, there is no "magic age" after which everyone needs BHRT. In fact, every person is unique, and some people maintain healthy hormone levels far into old age. The only way to know for certain if you would benefit from BHRT is to take a simple and quick hormone balance test. This test is used to precisely measure levels of various hormones so your doctor can diagnose any deficiencies and begin to correct them.
At Genesis Health Institute, we have worked with thousands of men and women to design and prescribe BHRT. Our clinic is based on the philosophy of treating the whole person. We are not simply a hormone replacement clinic, but a complete lifestyle and anti-aging clinic that looks at the complete health picture and helps you design a comprehensive program that will erase your symptoms and return the health and vitality you experienced in your 20s and 30s. Our programs include:
- BHRT, if necessary. We can test and correct hormone deficiencies in both men and women.
- A personalized nutrition program, including a comprehensive eating and diet plan designed to help you lose weight and reduce your risk of suffering from chronic diseases of aging.
- A supplement program with high-quality nutrients and dietary supplements that have been shown to support health, prevent disease, and restore your optimal nutrient levels.
- A personalized exercise program under the supervision of our expert physicians.