Bio Identical Hormone Replacement
Everyone gets old, but how rapidly you show your age depends a lot on hormonal balance. Post-menopausal women develop a well-known range of symptoms and changes in appearance. Andropausal men experience changes which are less well-known, but equally obvious: shiny, atrophic skin, loss of muscle mass, diminished energy, decreased sexual interest.
Since 1942, the standard of care for women was replacement with a standard dose of equilin, horse estrogen, with the occasional addition of medroxyprogesterone acetate or other synthetic progestins. These synthetic substances are substantially different in structure from human estrogens and progesterone, and in pharmacology and biochemistry, structure is everything.
Physiological studies of these synthetics led to the Women’s Health Initiative, sponsored by NIH and the National Cancer Institutes, and results published in 2003 showed increased risks of breast cancer and heart disease. Women by the millions quit using synthetic HRT at that time.
Most gynecologists will tell women that there is no evidence bioidentical hormones are any safer. But is that actually the case? A 2009 review article by Kent Holtorf, MD, in Postgraduate Medicine cites over 80 peer-reviewed medical studies showing that Bioidentical Estrogens and Progesterone greatly lower the risks of heart disease, stroke and breast cancer.
That is hugely important information. Women age more slowly on BHRT, and now appear to have lowered risks of several potentially life-threatening problems. Dosages have to be balanced, and appropriate for each individual woman (there is no one-size-fits all), but done properly, BHRT seems superior to the synthetic alternative, and plenty of scientific evidence to support that statement.
Men, too, age better, and more slowly, on appropriate doses of testosterone. Testosterone does not CAUSE prostate cancer. (If it did, prostate cancer would be a disease of men in their 20s when testosterone peaks.) But it can make existing prostate cancer grow, so it needs to be administered with watchful care (prostate exams, PSA levels, etc).
Used properly, BHRT can slow the clock for both sexes.