Bio-Identical Hormones

Bioidentical hormones are plant-derived hormones that are chemically similar or structurally identical to those produced by the body.

Bio-identical hormones include estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), estriol (E3), progesterone, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and pregnenolone.

Estrogens

Estrogens actually refers to a group of related hormones, each with a unique profile of activity. Under normal circumstances, a woman’s circulating estrogen levels fluctuate based on her menstrual cycle. For Hormone Replacement Therapy, these hormones are often prescribed in combination to re-establish a normal physiologic balance. The three main estrogens produced in female humans are:

  • Estrone -E1- (10-20% of circulating estrogens) is the primary estrogen produced after menopause
  • Estradiol -E2- (10-30% of circulating estrogens) is the most potent and major secretory product of the ovary, and the predominant estrogen produced before menopause.
  • Estriol -E3- (60-80% of circulating estrogens) causes little or no buildup of the endometrium, and is very effective in alleviating vaginal and urinary symptoms in postmenopausal women. Estriol is produced in very large amounts during pregnancy.

Progesterone

  • is commonly prescribed for perimenopausal women to counteract “estrogen dominance” which occurs when a woman produces smaller amounts of progesterone than normal relative to estrogen levels.
  • alone, or combined with estrogen, may improve Bone Mineral Density.
  • minimizes the risk of endometrial cancer in women who are receiving estrogen.
  • is preferred by women who had previously taken synthetic progestins.
  • may enhance the beneficial effect of estrogen on lipid and cholesterol profiles and exercise-induced myocardial ischemia in postmenopausal women (in contrast to medroxyprogesterone acetate).

Androgens

Androgens are a class of hormones that include DHEA and testosterone, which are normally produced in a young healthy woman, and are important for libido as well as integrity of skin, bone, and muscle. When women enter menopause, testosterone and DHEA levels may decline.