Natural Estrogen vs. Synthetic Estrogen
We prefer to use bioidentical hormones, either estriol alone or in a combination formula called Tri-estrogen. Tri-estrogen is composed of 80% estriol and 10% each of estradiol and estrone, the same ratios as produced naturally by the body. Although Tri-estrogen is not sold by drug companies it is available through compounding pharmacies with a prescription.
We Avoid Premarin
As its name implies, Premarin is derived from the urine of pregnant mares. Although it exerts estrogenic effects in humans, horse estrogen is not the same as human estrogen, and is not necessarily as safe or as effective. The cruel torture that pregnant horses are put through in Premarin “factories” has also led many women to seek another source of estrogen.
Sometimes, We Use Estrace
Estrace is a synthetic version of 17-beta-estradiol, which occurs naturally in the human body. However, Estrace is not a balanced form of estrogen, because the human body also manufactures two other compounds: estrone and estriol. There is evidence that estriol, although a relatively weak estrogen, does not promote cancer, and may actually prevent it.
Natural Progesterone vs. Synthetic Progestins
There is only one progesterone, the specific molecule made by the adrenal glands or by the ovary as a consequence of ovulation.
First and foremost, natural progesterone is essential for the survival and development of the embryo and throughout pregnancy. On the other hand, Provera, the most commonly prescribed synthetic progestin, carries the warning that its use in early pregnancy may increase the risk of early abortion or congenital deformities of the fetus.
Because progesterone is a natural hormone, the body is normally able to produce it, use it, and eliminate it as needed. The synthetic progestins, on the other hand, are not well processed by the body. Their activity is prolonged, creating reaction, in the body that are not consistent with natural progesterone.
Progestins bind to the same receptor sites in the cell as progesterone, but from that point on they carry a different message to the cell. This undoubtedly explains the alarming array of listed warnings, contraindications, precautions and adverse reactions to progestins, all of which are uncharacteristic of natural progesterone.
Estrogen and Progesterone
In a normal functioning premenopausal woman, estrogen is made from progesterone and/or androgens within the cells of the body. After menopause, estrogens are converted from adrenal-produced androgens (DHEA), primarily in body fat. Estrogen and progesterone are, in many ways, antagonistic; yet each sensitizes receptors for the other. A key to hormone balance is the knowledge that when estrogen becomes the dominate hormone and progesterone is deficient, the estrogen becomes toxic to the body; thus progesterone has a balancing or mitigating effect on estrogen.
Estrogen is responsible for the maturation of young women at puberty. Estrogen causes the accumulation of fat that gives the female body its contours, but in excess or when it is not in balance with progesterone can contribute to excess fat accumulation. When women consume considerably more calories that what is needed, estrogen production increases proportionately to supernormal levels and may set the stage for estrogen dominance syndrome and exaggerated estrogen decline at menopause.
It is clear that excess estrogen, when unopposed or unbalanced by progesterone, is undesirable. Many of estrogen’s undesirable side effects are effectively prevented by progesterone. A new syndrome is being recognized: that of estrogen dominance. This syndrome, commonly occurs in the following situations:
Estrogen replacement therapy
Premenopause (early follicle depletion resulting in a lack of ovulation and thus a lack of progesterone well before the onset of menopause)
Exposure to xenoestrogens (foreign chemicals that have an estrogen effect in the body that causes early follicle depletion)
Birth control pills (with excessive estrogen component)
Hysterectomy (can induce subsequent ovary dysfunction or atrophy)
Postmenopause (especially in overweight women)
Estrogens used in the meat industry
Thanks to a nearly universal misconception in Western medicine that estrogen deficiency brings about all menopausal symptoms, it is the custom to prescribe unopposed estrogen for women who do not have a uterus (i.e. have had a hysterectomy). Equally unfortunate is the fact that premenopausal estrogen dominance is simply ignored.
A peculiarity of Western industrialized societies is the prevalence of uterine fibroids, breast and/or uterine cancer, fibrocystic breasts, PMS, ovarian cancer, premenopausal bone loss, and a high incidence of osteoporosis in menopausal women. Most of these may be due to estrogen dominance.
Symptoms that can be caused or made worse by estrogen dominance:
Acceleration of aging process
Premenopausal bone loss
Decreased sex drive PMS
Thyroid dysfunction mimicking hypothyroidism
Water retention, bloating
Fat gain, especially abdomen, hips and thighs
Increased blood clotting
Autoimmune disorders such as lupus
Thyroiditis and Sjogren’s Disease (increased risk of strokes)
In the United States and most industrially advanced countries, diets are rich in animal fats, sugars, refined starches, and processed foods. This provides calories in excess to the bodies needs and leads to estrogen levels in women twice as high as those in women of the more agrarian third-world countries.
|ESTROGEN'S EFFECTS||PROGESTERONE'S EFFECTS|
|Stimulates breast tissues||Protects against fibrocystic breasts|
|Increases body fat||Helps use fat for energy|
|Causes salt and fluid retention||Natural diuretic|
|Depression and headaches||Natural antidepressant|
|Interferes with thyroid hormone||Facilitates thyroid hormone action|
|Increases blood clotting||Normalized blood clotting|
|Decreases sex drive||Restores sex drive|
|Impairs blood sugar control||Normalized blood sugar levels|
|Causes loss of zinc and retention of copper||Normalizes zinc and copper levels|
|Reduces oxygen levels in all cells||Restores proper cell oxygen levels|
|Increases the risk of endometrial and breast cancer||Prevents endometrial and breast cancer|
|Slightly restrains bone loss||Stimulates bone building|
|Reduces vascular tone||Restores normal vascular tone|
|Increases the risk of autoimmune disorders||Precursor of corticosteroids|