How are bioidentical-hormones different than synthetic hormones?
Estrogen Management: Mystery Solved!
After talking to a friend today that has recently been evaluated by a competent physician, I decided to write a bit about bioidentical-hormones, such as testosterone and estradiol. The different between bioidentical-hormones,testosterone, estradiol, and synthetic versions of these hormones is critical to understanding hormone replacement therapy(HRT).
The main definition of bioidentical-hormones is any substance or hormone that is a manufactured drugs must have the exact chemical structure as that produced in the human body. Although synthetic derivatives of testosterone and estradiol can be made in the laboratory, only the drugs made with identical chemical structure can be considered bioidentical hormones. If they have the same chemical structure, they have predictable behavior in the body. Predictable behavior means safety because we already know what the body's own testosterone and estradiol do as far as function and behavior.
When synthetic drugs are taken, they have metabolites that break down during the process of detoxification and metabolism and these metabolites are not always benign (harmless). Often metabolites of synthetic hormones influence cells in different ways that are not conducive to longevity and optimal health the same way that the 'natural' bioidentical versions do. For example, ethinyl estradiol found often in birth control pills is not the same as bioidentical estradiol. Also progestins are synthetic versions of progesterone. Trenbolones, nandrolones, and methyl versions of anabolic steroids are all derivatives of testosterone and are not considered bioidentical-hormones.
Some examples of side effects that are known from synthetic hormones collectively (both male and female hormones) are:
- increased LDL
- decreased HDL
- arterial inflammation
- possible joint inflammation
- generation of metabolic carcinogens
- increased free radical damage
- increased free radical production
For the above reasons and many others, we can see how synthetic hormones are the same as bioidentical hormones. Aren't anabolic steroids synthetic drugs? Yes. For the most part they are which is why knowning about their general metabolism and toxicity is a great help to avoiding unnecessary risk and damage to your health and body over the long term.
Some versions of bioidenticals with respect to anabolic steroids are the following:
I am constantly surprised at how many athletic individuals I meet on a weekly basis that do not have the slightest idea about the truth concerning testosterone replacement therapy. Even fewer individuals are aware of the fact that testosterone shots are very different from creams, gels, pellets, etc. The easiest way to tell testosterone from an "anabolic steroid" and therefore distinguish a drug/medicine as "bio-identical" all you have to do is look for the word "testosterone ________ate".
The suffix (the ___ate) is just filled in with the exact form of testosterone in the formulation. For example, testosterone enanthate is a long acting testosterone formulation that is typically used in the US and is given at a frequency of 1x per week in most bio-identical HRT protocols.
The "suffix" or "form" or "name" of the testosterone does not change the type, they are all bio-identical. They just have different rates of release into the bloodstream and different activity based on the half-life of the given ester. It is argued all over the web and is not really significant unless you are into splitting hairs but generally:
*enanthate - 6-8 day half life most popular form in US HRT
*cypionate - 4-6 day half life sometimes used in US HRT
propionate - 2-3 day half life rarely used in US HRT
suspension - 12 hour half life never used in US HRT
decanoate - 8-10 day half life rarely used in US HRT
phenylpropionate - 3-4 days never used in US HRT
*most commonly used "esters" or "forms" of testosterone used by US medical clinics in HRT
So as long as you see the word "testosterone" followed by a whacky chemical name you have "bio-identical" testosterone in some form with a designated strength and half-life. There are even more forms of testosterone but these are the most common.
The strength and form of testosterone used will change the metabolism of estrogen in your body and will necessitate a specific drug regimen and or protocol in order to maximize your Testosterone therapy while controlling for side effects. Find out how this works:
How to Use Antiestrogen Drugs to Optimize Your T-Therapy