Bioidentical Hormones Judged Safe By Physicians, Celebrities

When Suzanne Somers hit her 40s, she had three years of frustrating, unexplained weight gain that no one seemed to understand. In a recent blog post, she explains that she faced the one-two punch at 40: the changing toxic planet took its toll along with her declining hormones.

Somers turned the tables with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Unlike dangerous synthetic hormones, bioidentical hormones are developed in the lab from yam or soy so they are, as their name suggests, as identical as possible the hormones your body naturally produces.

“While standard hormone replacement treatment may actually cause you to gain weight, especially around your abdomen, using bioidenticals may actually help you lose weight,” Somers says. “Hormonal health is the key to losing weight; you can’t do it any other way.”

But Are Bioidentical Hormones Really Safe?
When it comes to the safety and effectiveness of hormone therapy, one commonly heard lament is, “Even the experts don’t agree.” Over the last 10 years, there has been a complete abandonment of hormone therapy in some settings accompanied by reluctance to treat women who would benefit from relief of their symptoms. As a result, some women have sought unproven alternative therapies.

In July, a new joint statement, prepared by The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and The Endocrine Society, concludes that hormone therapy is an acceptable treatment for menopausal symptoms. This statement has been endorsed by 12 other leading organizations in women’s health.

“We want to emphasize the difference between taking hormone therapy short-term for treatment of menopausal symptoms versus taking hormone therapy for prevention of chronic diseases. Many women can safely take hormone therapy for relief of menopausal symptoms when they work closely with their provider to assess their personal risks and benefits,” says Dr. Margery Gass, executive director of NAMS. “Women and clinicians have been frustrated by the many conflicting recommendations over the past 10 years. This statement should be reassuring to all.”

The Therapeutic Window
Dr. Paul Savage, CEO of Ageology, says it’s important to note that there is a “therapeutic window for women.” In other words, women early into hormone imbalances will benefit the most from hormone therapy.

“This is because the lack of hormones—estrogens and testosterone—cause physical changes over time, some of which cannot be easily remedied even with the use of hormone therapy,” Savage explains.

Early detection of hormone imbalances and early treatment with natural hormone therapy is the best method for preventing heart disease, mental decline, and bone and muscle loss, Savage says.

He concludes: “Treatment of these conditions once they appear, usually years after hormone imbalance has occurred, is not as good as treating hormone imbalances in order to delay or prevent the onset of these life-threatening conditions.”

For more information on how you can find out if bioidentical hormone therapy is right for you, contact an age management Ageology physician.