(Note: I wrote this blog with my friend, Dr. Lindsey Berkson)
We can’t live without hormones. Hormones have much more to do with the body than just controlling reproductive actions. In fact, hormones control every bodily function, which includes the neurological, cardiovascular systems as well as the kidneys and even our vocal chords. In order to achieve optimal health, we need our hormones properly balanced on all levels. When hormonal pathways are disrupted, disease and disorder sets in.
In our toxic world, hormonal pathways are often disrupted by synthetic hormones, which are found in our food, medicines, and the environment. Over the last 20 years, many scientific articles have proven the effectiveness and safety of bioidentical, natural, hormones. Bioidential, natural hormones refer to substances derived from plant products that are exact copies of our own hormones in structure and function. During that same time period, many physicians began prescribing bioidentical, natural hormones in order to help maintain optimal function of the endocrine system in their patients.
Unfortunately, conventional medicine has consistently relied on using synthetic hormones such as Premarin® and Provera®. Many conventional doctors still prescribe synthetic hormones today. Synthetic hormones are foreign substances to the body. This practice continues even though countless studies have found these foreign substances are associated with severe adverse effects including an increased risk of breast cancer as well as blood clots and heart attacks and less severe effects such as weight gain and gallbladder disease.
On the other hand, bioidentical, natural hormones do not have these adverse effects. In fact they are often protective against these issues. And natural hormone therapy, by improving multiple bodily systems, has been shown repeatedly to allow many women to stop taking many drug therapies including statins, as well as medications used to treat hypertension, depression, osteoporosis, and sleep disorders.
More and more holistic practitioners are starting to prescribe bioidentical, natural hormones. As the public became more aware of the hazards of synthetic hormones, they have naturally gravitated to the use of natural, bioidentical hormones. Needless to say, this trend does not please The Big Pharma Cartel. In order to counter the trend of more people using natural, bioidentical hormones, The Big Pharma Cartel petitioned the FDA to remove bioidentical hormones from the market place.
However, compounded estrogen has been made for nearly 80 years. Bioidentical, natural hormones can be easily “compounded”–a term for manufacturing a prescription individually by a trained pharmacist. The FDA’s actions are not based in factual science. Rather, the FDA is trying to help The Big Pharma Cartel dominate the natural hormone marketplace by getting rid of their competition—in other words, eliminating compounding pharmacists.
For over 30 years, from 1970 up to the early 2000’s, women (and doctors) were told by The Powers That Be (e.g., American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinology) that conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was effective for preventing heart disease. Furthermore, women were assured that conventional HRT would not increase their risk of cancer. This happened even though many studies during this time period showed that conventional (synthetic) HRT significantly increased a woman’s risk for breast cancer and heart disease.
Then, in 2002, the world was turned upside down when the Women’s Health Initiative found that the use of synthetic hormone replacement therapy—Premarin and Provera—were associated with significant increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease, strokes and blood clots. (1)
Now everyone knows better—or at least they should. More and more studies have found that bioidentical, natural HRT—using natural progesterone, estrogen and testosterone–does not increase the risk of heart disease, breast cancer, blood clots, or stroke. In fact, natural HRT is the one of the most effective treatments for protecting the brain from dementia and dementia-related illnesses. As emergent science is showing that natural, bioidentical hormone replacement is the one intervention that enlarges hippocampal volume, that part of the brain that stores memories and shrinks before cognitive decline. Furthermore, natural HRT has now been shown to protect against premature death and heart disease. (2)
No matter how many conventional medical associations warn against bio-identical or natural hormone replacement, a new survey from American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) (2015 Annual Meeting: Abstract O-8. October 19, 2015) clearly shows that doctors prefer bioidentical, natural hormones over synthetic hormones. Today, almost 60% of clinicians write scripts for them. Why wouldn’t any physician use a natural hormone as it is safer and more effective than a synthetic hormone?
This increased awareness and prescribing trend of physicians to use natural, bioidentical hormones has not gone unnoticed by Big Pharma. In fact, Big Pharma wants to profit from this paradigm shift.
A new Big Pharma company, TherapeuticsMD, has been formed which contains members from the old Big Pharma Company (Wyeth) that manufactured synthetic hormones. TherapeuticsMD is manufacturing a bioidentical, natural hormone called Replenish®. (3) It contains bioidentical forms of estrogen and progesterone. Interestingly, according to the company’s abstract, they actually claim that natural hormones are proven to be safe and protective. Keep in mind that for many years Big Pharma was busy trying to prove that bioidentical hormones were ineffective and dangerous.
Let’s follow the money and the players:
The study on REPLENISH® was funded by TherapeuticsMD, Inc. Many of the employees of TherapeuticsMD, Inc. were employees of Big Pharma Cartel founding member Wyeth which made Prempro®—the synthetic HRT that was found to cause significant increases in blood clots, breast cancer, strokes, and heart disease.
How long should hormones be taken?
Many doctors that have used bioidentical hormone replacement for decades have seen that it keeps women and men healthy as long as they take it. However, the conventional group NAMS (North American Menopause Society) has consistently stated that HRT should be prescribed for the shortest time period possible in order to minimize adverse effects.
We have a better idea: Don’t use conventional HRT–Prempro–ever. Then you won’t have to worry about serious adverse effects. If you are going to use a hormone for any condition, it should be a bioidentical, natural version of a hormone such as natural progesterone, estrogen, or testosterone.
A new Finnish article showed that hormones need to be taken “life-long”, not short term, to lower mortality timing by preventing heart attacks and strokes. This study was presented at the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) this October 2015. And, guess what? Big Pharma partially funded this session. Why? You can probably guess this one by now—Big Pharma is soon going to market their new natural product Replenish®. Once the emerging news gets out that hormone therapy is optimal and safe for many decades to come, Big Pharma wants to be the one to supply and make money from it.
How do they do that? By eliminating their competition.
Enter in the best friends of the Big Pharma Cartel: The FDA.
Over the last decade, the FDA, working under the commands of Big Pharma, has been actively trying to eliminate all compounding pharmacies. The FDA states that compounding pharmacies are dangerous, unregulated and use items that are too complicated to compound. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Compounding pharmacists are skilled professionals at mixing bioidentical hormones to a doctor’s prescription. In our practices, we (LB, and DB) have successfully used compounding pharmacies for over 30 years. In fact, a compounding pharmacist should be part of the health team when natural, bioidentical hormones are prescribed. A knowledgeable compounding pharmacist can provide a wealth of experience for both the doctor and the patient. Furthermore, they provide an invaluable service at manufacturing a safe product that is unique for that particular patient.
Natural, bioidentical HRT is a safe and effective treatment that has many clinical uses. Dr. Howard Hodis, MD, from the atherosclerosis research unit at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles, is a physician/scientist who stated, “These are irrefutably consistent data that say that hormones lower mortality — and the message is, you stop, you die.” (4)
Individualized hormone replacement provides technology that safeguards against premature dementia, aging and even early death. (5)
There is a tsunami of aging folks who need to keep their hormones balanced. It’s critical, to live better and longer, to be educated about the benefits of natural HRT and the dangers of synthetic HRT. We have each written a book about natural, bioidentical hormones. For more information we refer you to: The Miracle of Natural Hormones by David Brownstein, M.D. and Safe Hormones, Smart Women by Dr. Lindsey Berkson.
Be informed to stay empowered.
Dr. Berkson’s website is: http://drlindseyberkson.com/
Dr. Brownstein’s website is: www.drbrownstein.com
- JAMA 7/17/02. Vol. 288, No. 3
- J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Sep 28:jc20151864
- Maturitas. 2015 May;81(1):28-35. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2015.02.266. Epub 2015 Mar 9.
- North American Menopause Society (NAMS) 2015 Annual Meeting
- Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Nov;124(5):947-53. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000461.