What Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)? October 07, 2015
The term "bioidentical" means that the chemical structure of a hormone medicine is identical to the chemical structure of a hormone produced by the human body. Bioidentical hormones are derived from a plant molecule called "diosgenin," found in Mexican Wild Yam or Soy, then synthesized in a laboratory to be identical to the hormones naturally produced in your body. This biochemical lab process ensures that bioidentical hormones have the exact molecular structure and duplicate the exact same function as your hormones. What does that mean for you? When you use bioidentical hormones, the cells in your body recognize them and use them just like natural hormones.
Bioidentical hormones are safe because, like your own hormones, they fit perfectly into the hormone receptor "locks" of the cells in the body where they do their work. And because they have a 100 percent "relative binding affinity" (RBA) for your internal hormone receptor sites, they do not trigger side effects. So, just as the key to your car fits perfectly into the ignition and sparks the engine, bioidentical hormones fit into your body's hormone receptor locks and spark exactly the same response as the hormones produced in your ovaries, testes, adrenal gland or hypothalamus.
Non-bioidentical, often referred to as "synthetic" hormones, do not have a 100 percent RBA for the hormone receptor sites in your body. They are like keys that get stuck and do not quite fit. At a cellular level, this less-than-perfect fit is the biochemical reason that synthetic hormones trigger unwanted side effects, and often pose serious health risks. The reason that "synthetic" hormones are so prevalent is simple: only by changing the molecular structure of a hormone can it be patented and sold as a drug. From a business perspective, there has been no financial incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to research, support, or fund medical education forums on bioidentical hormones, because they cannot profit from the use of bioidentical formulations that cannot be patented.
Since 1986, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved at least twelve bioidentical hormone replacement medications. Bioidentical hormones are made from materials that are registered by the FDA and the United States Pharmacopeia (USP)--the same registrations used by big pharmaceutical companies. The preparation of bioidentical hormones is regulated by state boards of pharmacy that oversee all pharmacy practices in each state in the U.S.
Which bioidentical hormone you need, and how much of it you need, will depend on your individual body chemistry or physiology. Whereas "synthetic" hormone drugs are typically prescribed as if one size fits all (for example, a woman of 35 who weighs 112 pounds will be given the same drug as a woman of 59 who weighs 160), physicians who prescribe BHRT recognize that each individual has a unique hormone profile. A 35 year old pre-menopausal woman has very different hormone deficiencies than a 59 year old post-menopausal woman. Each person requires a different mix and ratio of BHRT to reestablish hormone equilibrium.
Unlike "synthetic" hormone replacement therapy, an individual's formulation of BHRT is not mass manufactured. Each prescription is compounded on site at a compounding pharmacy. Dr. Randolph's Pharmacy can produce literally whatever the doctor orders! Not only can we formulate different dosage strengths--for example, the number of milligrams per gram--we can also mix bioidentical hormones into various "delivery forms," such as capsules, tablets, sublingual drops, gels, creams, or subcutaneous ("under the skin") pellets with time-release. Our compounding pharmacy combines current technology with customized options. Think of it as the difference between buying your clothes "off the rack" at a department store, versus having your clothes handmade and tailored to fit your body: which would you prefer, for the best fit and comfort?
Dr. Randolph has prescribed BHRT for nearly two decades for thousands of women and men suffering from symptoms of hormone imbalances, such as hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, brain fog, moodiness, worsened PMS, bloating, headaches and migraines, depression, low libido and decreased sexual pleasure, decreased bone density and increase in fibrocystic breasts. He prescribes it because it's safe and effective!