A bio identical hormone has the same chemical and molecular structure as the naturally occurring hormone produced in the body.
For a hormone to be considered ‘natural’ or ‘bio-identical’ its structure must replicate exactly the structure of the hormones produced by the body, including the arrangement of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms.
The word ‘natural’ is used to refer to the structure of the molecule, not its source. A ‘synthetic’ hormone has slight structural differences to a hormone produced by the body, which means it can act differently in the body and produce substantially different effects.
Synthetic hormones have a different arrangement of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms to naturally occurring hormones in the body and sometimes have additional atoms such as sodium or sulphur.
Bio-identical hormones are 100% identical to the chemical structure of estradiol, progesterone and testosterone found in the human body. As a result, they fit their hormone receptor sites perfectly so their messages are translated properly and their effects are more consistent with the normal biochemistry of the body.
Treatments with naturally occurring hormones are considered TRUE HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPIES, whereas hormone treatments with synthetic hormones should be considered A HORMONE SUBSTITUTION THERAPY.
In our next article on Bio-identical hormone therapy we will review the benefits of natural over synthetic products.
Written by our in-house registered nurse and Bio-identical Hormone specialist, Roz Lee.