Welcome to Bella Vita Medical Center’s Research Library. We created this section to provide you with detailed information related to bio natural (“bio identical”) hormones and the medical literature that informs on the differences between ”bio identical” hormones and the synthetic “traditional” drugs promoted as hormones. The two are not synonymous. The information in this section is offered for education purposes.
To navigate this section we’ve segmented the literature into two categories:
1. Information for Patients
2. Information for the Medical Professional
Both categories are available to all visitors. If you have questions about what you read, please submit an email to [email protected].
Glossary of Terms: Some terms that you will read, are defined below to differentiate meanings:
PROGESTERONE (natural) and PROGESTIN (synthetic)
a. Progesterone: A female hormone, the principal hormone that prepares the uterus to receive and sustain fertilized eggs. http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=5060
b. Progestin: A progestin is a synthetic progestogen that has some biological activity similar to progesterone. http://progestin.askdefine.com/
c. Progestagens: (also spelled progestogens or gestagens) are hormones that produce effects similar to those of progesterone, the only natural progestagen. All other progestogens are synthetic and are often referred to as progestins. http://progestogen.askdefine.com/
ESTROGEN (natural) and CONJUGATED EQUINE ESTROGEN (synthetic)
Estrogen /es·tro·gen/ (es´tro-jen): a generic term for estrus-producing compounds; the female sex hormones, including estradiol, estriol, and estrone. In humans, the estrogens are formed in the ovary, adrenal cortex, testis, and fetoplacental unit, and are responsible for female secondary sex characteristic development, and, during the menstrual cycle, act on the female genitalia to produce an environment suitable for fertilization, implantation, and nutrition of the early embryo. (NOTE: estradiol, estriol and estrone are human hormones.)
Conjugated Equine Estrogen (CEE – brand name Premarin) The major forms of estrogen in Premarin are estrone (>50%), equilin (15-25%) and equilenin. (NOTE: equlin and equilenin are horse hormones.)
To attempt to understand the differences between bio identical hormones and synthetic hormones, consider the following:
What Possible Difference Can One Molecule Make?
Bio identical hormones are referred to as such because they are chemically identical to the human hormones made in the body, by the body; a complete molecular match. Bio identical hormones cannot be patented for market exclusivity.
Synthetic hormones, in order to be patentable to provide market exclusivity for the manufacturer, must be chemically altered so as to be different from the natural hormone they intend to represent. To chemically alter the structure of the hormone, an extra oxygen or hydrogen (for example) is placed here or there within the chemical structure.
So, what possible difference can one molecule make?
Let me offer this analogy:
Imagine you have two 8 ounce glasses of clear liquid in front of you.
One is H2O – Water. The other is H2O2 – Hydrogen Peroxide —- The difference? One oxygen.
If you drink the 8 ounce glass of H2O (water), you’ll be well hydrated. If you drink the 8 ounce glass of H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide), you could begin vomiting violently and may require hospitalization.
That’s the difference that one molecule can make.
Below are the chemical structures for the natural progesterone molecule and the synthetic progestin, called medroxyprogesterone acetate, marketed as Provera.
Please avail yourself to the literature we have compiled in this Research Section, “For Medical Professionals” or “For Patients”. Many pieces are found under both categories. Each piece has a short introduction. Please feel free to comment on anything you read, or submit questions to [email protected]. Thanks for reading. We hope these pieces written by numerous medical professionals help you to discern the differences and understand the ongoing debate between “bio identical” hormone treatment and “traditional” hormone treatment using synthetic alternatives.