Conventional Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for women usually consists of a standard prescription of hormones – most commonly Premarin and Provera.  Premarin is derived from the urine of pregnant mares that are kept enclosed in tight spaces so that urine is easily captured.  Provera is synthesized in the lab from natural progesterone, then modified for reasons of product patenting.

Animal-derived and synthetic hormones are similar to human hormones, but they do not have the same molecular structure.  When they bind to the cell receptors throughout the body, the fit is not exact, often resulting in side effects.  (For example, synthetic progesterone can produce water retention, irritability, depression, insomnia and allergic reactions, while natural progesterone often relieves such symptoms.)

Natural (bio-identical) hormones are identical in molecular structure to the hormones the body makes.  When a bio-identical hormone circulates through your body and binds with its receptors, the fit is the same as if your body had produced the hormone.  Natural hormones have been growing in popularity because they are effective, and are without the negative side effects that can occur with the patented synthetic hormones.

Proper diet, correcting nutritional deficiencies, exercise and herbal medicine go a long way in supporting proper glandular function.  When I do use natural hormones, I try to make sure I support all deficiencies simultaneously – this produces a synergistic effect, and much smaller doses of each hormone is needed for optimal results.

Following are the more commonly used natural hormones, and some of the conditions that they are used for:

Sleep disorders and jet lag.  Is a potent anti-oxidant and can improve immune system function.  May also fight cancer.

Human Growth Hormone:
Can improve and perhaps reverse many signs of aging, including: thinning hair, wrinkled skin, loss of muscle tone, low resistance to stress, depression, low resistance to infection, poor healing of wounds and varicose veins.  Has improved the following conditions: osteoporosis, cardiac diseases, fatigue and perhaps cancer.

Thyroid Hormones:
Symptoms of hypothyroidism: Fatigue, difficulty getting up in the morning, cold extremities and intolerance to cold, dry skin, brittle nails, psoriasis, eczema, acne, recurrent infections, constipation, menstrual disorders, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), infertility, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, difficulty losing weight, hypoglycemia, diminished sweating, poor memory, depression, headaches and migraine headaches, fibrocystic breast disease, ovarian cysts, weakness.

Has been beneficial in treating chronic inflammatory diseases, fibromyalgia, lupus and other auto-immune diseases, arthritis, depression, fatigue states, memory loss and moodiness.

Has been beneficial in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, immune system diseases including AIDS, bacterial and viral infections, osteoporosis, asthma and allergies.  Effective in treating auto-immune disorders such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease and others.

Natural Cortisol:
Has been of benefit in treating chronic fatigue syndrome and auto-immune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and others.

Natural Progesterone:
Helpful in treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopausal symptoms, endometriosis, osteoporosis, and fibrocystic breast disease.  Can also serve as a natural diuretic and natural anti-depressant.  Can facilitate thyroid function, restore libido, restore proper cell oxygen levels, normalize blood sugar levels and aid in building bone.

Natural Estrogens:
Helpful in treating menopausal symptoms, retarding bone loss, improving skin tone, improving memory loss and improving coronary artery disease.

Natural Testosterone:
Helpful in improving osteoporosis, improving the symptoms of diabetes, improving libido and sexual functioning, and increasing a general sense of well being.  Can decrease feelings of anger, irritability, nervousness and tiredness.  Can prevent and treat coronary artery disease, and auto-immune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.  Helpful in regaining muscle mass.

I prefer to test a patient’s hormone levels before I supplement with natural hormones, so that I’m not giving anything that’s not really needed. For example, hot flashes can happen with both too low and too high levels of estrogen, or too low or high progesterone.  I prefer testing saliva, because saliva shows the only the biologically active form of each hormone.