The terms “bio-identical” or “natural” hormone replacement have lost some favor with healthcare professionals as they can be misleading.
Historically, “bio-identical” hormones referred to the hormone replacement products made by compounding pharmacies. These pharmacies, like Customedica, purchase these hormones and make them into various dosage forms, such as creams or capsules. Bio-identical refers to the fact that these hormones are made to be chemically identical to the hormones our bodies make. These hormones are chemically derived from compounds occurring naturally in plants such as soy and yams, but some chemical alterations are done which is why the term “natural” isn’t 100% accurate.
The alternative was to supplement with hormones is by “synthetic” or “commercially available” hormones. These are branded products made by large pharmaceutical corporations. These synthetic hormones have altered chemical structures when compared to our naturally occurring hormones. These alterations allow the chemical to be patented, which is why larger companies prefer to make these altered hormones.