The term ‘bioidentical’ refers to chemicals or hormones with structures the same as those produced with the normal human body. The term ‘natural’ usually refers to substances that already exist in nature; those that are not created in a lab. Whether created in a lab or found naturally, the substances that are structurally the same as those produced within our own bodies have a predictable effect and metabolism when used as supplements. As I remind my patients, cocaine is a natural product. This does not mean that it’s beneficial or good for you!
What does this mean for aging?
Most of us between the ages of 35 and 50 start noticing a gradual decline in our vitality, increased weight gain and difficulty losing weight, increased susceptibility to injury during our weekend warrior activities. Many women and men also experience changes in sexual function. For women this can manifest as decreased libido, decreased responsiveness and increased vaginal dryness. Men may experience a loss of or a decline in the presence of early morning erections, a decrease in libido, or interest in sex, and a decrease in the quality of erections. Actual menopause occurs when women have cessation of menses for 1 year. In the US the average age for women is 52 (from 40-60). This process is actually fairly gradual as our hormonal production declines.
There is an intricate complex interaction of hormones in our bodies that assures proper function. Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, thyroid, and melatonin are all hormones that impact our health and function as we age. More importantly the levels of these hormones in the body should be measured to correctly be replaced to a more optimal level With bioidentical hormone replacement therapy these levels are checked before replacement therapy to guide the treatment and then rechecked regularly to assure appropriate response to therapy. This is not available with the ‘one size fits all’ approach to traditional hormone replacement therapy.