HISTORY OF BIOIDENTICAL HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
Before we begin, let’s address those of you that do not know bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (aka BHRT and natural hormone therapy). It is the use of hormones that are identical on a molecular level with our endogenous hormones.
Bio-identical hormones go back in history for hundreds of years. The first record of their use goes back to Ancient China. This is where older women routinely ingested dried young women’s urine to counteract problems associated with menopause. The reasoning behind this form of therapy was that young women’s urine contained high levels of metabolic waste products such as progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone.
As medicine evolved, the next time bio identical hormones were used was in the 1930s. This was again, for menopausal symptom relief. A Canadian researcher named James Collip developed a method to extract an orally active estrogen from the urine of pregnant women. He then marketed it as the active agent in a product called Emmenin. Emmenin was then replaced on the market when its manufacturer “Wyeth Pharmaceuticals” began producing the more easily manufactured conjugated equine estrogens (relating to horses). This took place in 1941 under the brand name Premarin. By 1992, Premarin was the most widely prescribed drug in the United States.
BIOIDENTICAL HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY IN THE 1970S
BREAK THROUGHS IN HORMONE REPLACEMENT FORMULAS
In the 1970s, research and reports indicating risks from synthetic conjugated estrogens began to appear. An investigation determined that the addition of a progestogen to estrogen treatment reduced the risks. In 1980, the “British Medical Journal” recommended oral bioidentical progesterone as an option when side effects from synthetic progestogens otherwise mandated discontinuing treatment. Lastly, in 1998, the FDA approved Prometrium, an oral bioidentical progesterone product produced by Solvay Pharmaceutical.
Physicians John R. Lee and Jonathan Wright were pioneers in the area of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy. Dr. Lee authored several popular books on BHRT and promoted custom-compounded Bioidentical replacement hormones, with the goal of achieving what he called a “natural hormone balance”. He based this goal on the clinical testing of saliva to establish where “deficiencies” were being detected. Dr. Lee also believed that Bioidentical hormone therapy acted as a panacea for many health conditions. In addition, Dr. Wright authored a popular book on HRT, which he promoted a triple-estrogen formula he called “Triest”. This combined the most common three estrogens (of over 25 types) found in human females: estriol, estradiol, and estrone. Previous bioidentical formulas had used only estradiol. Dr. Wright may have been the first proponent of BHRT to use the term “bioidentical”— the word he coined to describe unpatentable, plant-derived molecules that are identical to human hormones.
THE NAKED TRUTH ABOUT BIOIDENTICAL HORMONES
Fast forward a couple of years, the publication of a popular book written by actress Suzanne Somers in 2006, and the term “bioidentical” gained more prominence in popular consciousness as a “poorly understood new adjective” regarding hormone replacement therapy. Today, despite the plethora of clinical studies that document the benefits and safety of hormone therapy, many men and women don’t take any form of bioidentical hormones. Furthermore, they avoid taking advantage of hormones although they experience a diminishing quality of life-related issues. Some of these issues include andropause/menopausal symptoms. On the other hand, male and female baby boomers are entering andropause and menopausal stages at an alarming-increasing rate. Wellness physicians are now starting to coin the phrase hormone replacement therapy or HRT for hormone optimization therapy because we are not replacing a person’s production; we are optimizing it.
What is needed for the future of hormone optimization therapy?
the answer may lay in the world of functional medicine
Our current health care system or aka “sick care system” is failing us, and here is why. In comparison to the entire world, we spend the most in health care (3 trillion dollars), and we are the sickest country in the world! We are spending all this money to have the absolute worst health. You would think if you put more money into it, you would get healthier, but unfortunately, it is not the case. Also, did you know that 25% of the 3 trillion is spent on administration costs? Plus, the cost of drugs in America is off the charts. We have one of the highest obesity rates per capita in the world, one of the highest rates of heart disease and upper respiratory infections.
We think it is safe to say there is is very little health in health care in America. That is why they call it medical care because its all about medicine, and there is not a lot of money promoting natural or alternative health care. Mainstream medicine is prescribing based on symptoms and patching up the problems with patented synthetic medications, rather than finding the root cause of the issue and preventing it in the first place.
THE MEDICAL HEALTH INSTITUTE CONCLUSION
So, the stigma or misconception over hormone optimization therapy is due to the disease mongering media hype, inflicted by the allopathic medicine society. Today, we stand in the midst of a crisis between science, politics, and, most of all, the corporate greed profit motive. Men and women’s health is at stake; We need more university studies that are funded by non-profits and the government to follow up on the benefits of better health through bio-identical hormone optimization therapy. If seeing as the new mainstream of medicine in medical practices, the savings in terms of human health care costs could be huge, and the amounts of lives we could save could be potentially tremendous.