What is Hormone replacement Therapy?
Hormones are signaling compounds made by the body’s endocrine glands. The hormones are released into the bloodstream and transported to different tissues, where they perform their specialized action. Hormones control important functions in your body including:
When your hormones are out of balance many harmful processes occur, including chronic inflammatory and degenerative processes. A hormonal imbalance can cause sexual dysfunction, infertility, weight gain, fatigue, mood swings, premature aging, and much more.
Supplementing with selected hormones can help people whose bodies don’t make enough of a certain hormone, or whose hormone levels are unbalanced. In this blog post, we outlined which hormones are safe and useful to supplement.
What is synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy?
The hormonal compounds found in standard Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) are not bioidentical. This means that they are similar, but not identical to the natural hormone they replace.
In order for a medical company to patent a chemical compound, they need to alter the chemical structure of the molecule slightly, so it is different from its natural form. This is because it is not possible to patent a natural substance.
Many different estrogenic substances are used in birth control pills, they have estrogen-like actions, but are not chemically identical to the body’s naturally produced estrogen.
Similarly, medical companies produce a range of different progesterone-like molecules, called progestins. These compounds are similar but not identical to the natural progesterone produced by the body.
What are bioidentical Hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are hormone supplements that are chemically identical to the ones made by the body.
Bioidentical hormone therapy with pregnenolone, progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone is available.
Some bioidentical hormones are produced by medical companies, others are sold and manufactured by pharmacies, and some are produced by health food companies.
There is not much money earned on bio-identical hormones supplements, because the natural substances can not be patented, as mentioned earlier.
Are bioidentical hormones better than HRT?
Many ask if bioidentical hormones are better than synthetic HRT. The answer to this question is some bioidentical hormones are safe and very helpful, whereas others are extremely harmful.
Bioidentical hormones are often promoted as safe and a better choice than standard synthetic HRT. However, this is only true for the bioidentical hormones pregnenolone and progesterone, whereas supplementing bio-identical estrogen and testosterone is very dangerous.
Is bioidentical Estrogen dangerous?
According to Dr. Ray Peat, estrogen is a very harmful hormone. Only a small amount of estrogen is actually produced in the female ovaries.
Instead, both men and women are able to produce large amounts of estrogen in various tissues, when the body experiences stress or inflammation. Estrogen excess promotes premature aging, male and female infertility, chronic inflammation, low thyroid function, etc.
An estrogen deficiency is very unlikely, even in female menopause, estrogen is not deficient, instead, it is the decline in progesterone production that induces menopause, you can learn more about the balance of progesterone and estrogen in our Hypothyroid Treatment Program as well as in our Hormonal Support Guide.
Because natural estrogen is a stress hormone, which produces a myriad of harmful effects, supplementing an estrogenic substance either a synthetic HRT or a bioidentical estrogen is extremely dangerous.
Is bioidentical testosterone dangerous?
Many people believe that supplementing with testosterone is helpful for sex drive and muscle strength. However, just the opposite can be true if you supplement too much testosterone, or if your body is under stress. In these cases, testosterone is easily converted to estrogen, which as explained has a range of negative effects on the body. This is why we never recommend using testosterone in any form, not even a bioidentical testosterone supplement.
Dr. Ray Peat’s safe bioidentical hormones?
According to Dr. Ray Peat supplementing bio-identical progesterone and pregnenolone is safe and helpful in the case of stress, aging, and inflammation.
Progesterone and pregnenolone are synthesized in large amounts in youth and both hormones decline with age. Therefore, these hormones are often referred to as youth-associating hormones.
Progesterone and pregnenolone are the body’s natural protective substances, they both have anti-aging and anti-stress properties. Supplementing natural bio-identical progesterone and or pregnenolone can help fight stress, aging, chronic inflammation, estrogen excess, thyroid problems, infertility, and much more.
You can learn much more about the interplay between different hormones in our Hypothyroid Treatment program.
Best Brands of Bioidentical progesterone and pregnenolone:
It is important to know that you can get many different brands of bioidentical progesterone. However, not all are equally good. We only recommend Dr. Ray Peat’s Progesterone oil. You can learn more about why this is the best natural progesterone supplement on the market in our blog post: “Dr. Ray Peat’s Progesterone“.