The use of ‘bioidentical hormones’ has become somewhat of an epidemic. The internet is loaded with websites boasting the miraculous benefits of using bioidenticals for just about anything including weight loss, anti-aging, insomnia and of course ‘hormone-balancing.’ Men are now in the cross-hairs of the ‘Low-T” marketing campaign which conveniently describes their most common symptoms including fatigue and ED as being the sole indicator of their supposed low testosterone levels. By creating the perception of a hormone deficiency being the root of the problem, they were able to provide a solution in the form of bioidentical hormones. But unfortunately, these “all natural” hormones carry with them some surprising risks that no one is talking about.
Bioidenticals are not Bioidentical
Bioidentical hormones are NOT found in nature. In fact, there is not one single plant that contains human hormones. Not one. Some of them however, do contain certain phytochemicals that when we ingest the plant, can provide the building blocks for your own body to make the hormones it needs. But the plants themselves do not contain hormones.
In order for chemists to create a bioidentical hormone, they extract these phytochemicals from the plants and chemically manipulate them through a multi-step process in order to produce a “bioidentical” hormone. But is it really bioidentical? Are they exactly the same as the hormone that your body produces? Not one bit. Although they have significantly less risk than synthetic hormones, this does not make them safe.
Bioidentical hormones, specifically progesterone and some estrogens, are routinely added to body-care products including skin/facial care, lotions, creams, etc. in order to create soft, smooth, wrinkle-free skin. And this is completely legal as it falls within the loopholes of the law. They are not required to disclose this on the label due to proprietary information. So, unbeknownst to the buyer, many well-known skin-care products are delivering hormones directly into your body without your consent. And routine blood tests cannot detect them.
It’s a Family Affair
Both men and women who are taking ANY kind of bioidentical hormone will be actively sharing it through what is known as passive transfer. This occurs with skin-to-skin contact or direct deposit of skin oils on shared surfaces. Spouses, children, and pets have the greatest risk due to regular and frequent exposure. The possibility for hormone transfer is even greater with spousal contact, especially when sweating under the covers. When snuggled up next to each other, their shared sweat through direct, skin-to-skin contact is the conduit for transferring hormones back and forth.
So let’s play this scenario out. If the male is on bioidentical testosterone, regardless of the mode of entry (topical or oral), his wife will eventually have elevated testosterone levels and can experience personality changes or other physiologic hormone dysregulation. If the woman is on progesterone or estrogen (remember, we are talking about bioidentical hormones only), she is now passing that over to her man resulting in an increase of female hormones for him. As well, each of them will be sharing their respective hormones with their children, pets, family members or co-workers. This now becomes a potential hormonal disaster that can only be resolved with proper testing and targeted intervention.
It Really is Unbelievable, I Know
If you are having difficulty wrapping your head around this, I get it. It seems pretty unbelievable at first but I have seen this scenario first hand in hundreds of patients and can attest that it is a very real problem. If you or someone you know is using bioidentical hormones, popular over-the-counter cosmetics or other suspicious skin care products, get the word out about how problematic these bioidentical hormones are.
Fixing the Problem
First, find a qualified practitioner to help you get off your hormones. He or she should be very familiar with salivary testing and what is known as Functional Endocrinology. If your current practitioner is unfamiliar with either of these terms or disregards them as being irrelevant or inaccurate, it might be time for you to look for a new practitioner.
Second, after you’ve ordered the appropriate tests, begin to switch out any suspected hormone-containing products for ones that are safe to use. And then start working on your liver detoxification capacity. Don’t be quick to run to the internet, otherwise known as Dr. Google, but instead, listen to a qualified practitioner who understands how to gently clear out those stored hormones by providing specific herbal and nutritional support for the liver so you don’t continue passing them along.
You don’t have to stay on bioidentical hormones in order to feel amazing. Your body is fully capable of providing the right amount of hormones as long as it has what it needs to do so.
The bioidentical hormone craze is not all it’s cracked up to be. These compounds are not safe and ultimately put the people you love at the greatest risk. Take the time to find someone who can help you break the cycle and fix the underlying problem. You’ll be so glad you did!