Are there any differences between bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones, and is one safer than the other?

Written by Dr. Chris Smith, Updated on April 9th, 2024
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Consumers have been told that synthetic hormone treatment options work better because they have been created by credentialed scientists and tested more rigorously than bio-identical hormone treatments.

While synthetic hormones work for many patients, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy offers a natural and more effective alternative to chemically created products. Our clinic prefers to prescribe optimal dosage bio-identical HRT hormone replacement therapy because the positive results speak for themselves.

Made from natural sources like plants or genetically engineered in pharmaceutical labs, bioidentical (biologically identical) hormones mimic the body’s natural hormone production and thus replenish deficient hormones to more youthful or healthy levels.

To be sure,  when you break down the word “bio” as in biological, which means a living organism, bio-identical simply means that y our body recognizes these identical hormones at a molecular level.

So, for example, testosterone has X amounts of carbon atoms, X amounts of hydrogen atoms, and X amounts of oxygen atoms. All testosterone is the same; all estrogens are the same. It’s all bio-identical. That is when the molecule is made to be identical to the one your body produces.

In regards to the method of administration, whether via creams, injectables, or pellets, they are all considered bio-identical when they are created correctly and molecularly identical.

If they don't understand the difference, don’t let someone tell you an injection is synthetic and not bio-identical. The word synthetic is another word people fear for lack of knowledge about its intended meaning.

To synthesize simply means: to form! Your body synthesizes proteins every day. It takes molecules and forms a compound. This is what the word synthetic actually means in some cases. It’s not a bad or scary word.

Testosterone has been known and studied for many generations since the early 20th century. It is one of the most studied molecules in the human body. New studies about it come out regularly.

Human Growth Hormone replacement has been studied in humans since the late 1950s. HGH and Testosterone are very well understood. Sermorelin, first synthesized in the 1970s, has been studied for almost half a century.

So yes, all hormones that we take exogenously are synthetic because they are produced, but they are still bio-identical molecules because of the process they go through to be created.

Once you understand that, you can start approaching your health with more certainty and autonomy to benefit you.

You should be aware that as of today, there are over 80 peer-reviewed articles from institutions such as The Mayo Clinic, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of American Medical Association, Pubmed, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, and The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) which show that testosterone, bio-identical hormones, and peptides are safe medications to take, and how hormone therapy could actually, in most cases, prevent cardiovascular diseases.

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