Study Results On Synthetic And Animal Derived Hormones Vs. Natural Bio-Identical Hormones
By Charles Cannata, RN, MDX
Prior to the 1990’s, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was thought to be a beneficial treatment for post-menopause symptoms in the U.S. HRT protected the cardiovascular system and offered protection against colorectal cancer as reported by such prestigious medical authorities as The Mayo Clinic.
In the 1990’s, a study was commissioned by the National Institutes of Health to research these claims. The study was The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). The WHI tested three substances for treatment of menopause: Premarin, Provera and Prempro.
WHI Study Results for Synthetic Hormones
Premarin is a substance that is comprised largely of Equine (Horse) hormones; not human hormones. Provera is a synthetic progesterone (called a Progestin) that has some of the effects of natural progesterone, but has other, often opposite effects of natural progesterone. Prempro, was a combination of the two.
The WHI, intended as a 10-year study of approximately 160,000 women, was fully underway in the latter 1990’s, but was abruptly halted in 2002 after only 5 years because the negative outcomes occurring in the study subjects far exceeded the rate at which these events should be occurring naturally. These negative outcomes included clotting, heart attacks and strokes, and an increased incidence of breast cancer. Doctors began to reassess their belief in “beneficial” hormone replacement. Within months, the number of women using hormone replacement dropped by almost half and left millions of women to needlessly suffer from menopause symptoms without the benefits of HRT. What had happened that so dramatically altered the conventional wisdom of the time?
I think the answer is evident. The WHI did not test human hormones. It tested two synthetic drugs, Premarin and Provera, which were purported to be ‘hormones’ by the pharmaceutical manufacturer. Since you can’t patent what occurs in ‘nature’, these synthetic drugs had to be created differently so they could be patented to provide the drug company with marketing exclusivity.
European Study Results using Synthetic vs. Natural Hormones
During the same time period, in Europe, the EPIC E3N French Cohort Study was underway. That study looked at over 92,000 women during a 12-year period from 1990 to 2002. The E3N looked at estrogen administration using both synthetic progestins and natural progesterone to determine the impact on breast cancers.
The E3N validated the findings of the WHI in that estrogen with synthetic progestins increased the risk of breast cancer. In contrast, the E3N showed that estrogen and natural progesterone decreased the risk of breast cancer. Although the E3N showed no significant differences between oral and transdermal estrogen administration with regard to breast cancer, a 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Menopause Society proved that oral estrogen (Premarin) had a higher incidence of clots that could lead to stroke and heart attacks.
What perpetuates the confusion in HRT is that the WHI is still taught in medical school as the benchmark for hormones. In addition, those involved in the WHI recently came out with new findings indicating that using Premarin and Provera in lower doses over shorter periods of time was OK!!!! That’s like saying something to the effect, “We know this may kill you so we’ll prescribe less of it for shorter periods of time and hope for the best.”
Premarin Generated $2 Billion in Sales in 2001
According to a Wall Street Journal article published on March 16, 2009, entitled The Truth About Hormone Therapy, it said that, “Premarin was the bestselling drug in the US in 2001, generating $2 Billion a year for Wyeth” (a pharmaceutical company). That kind of revenue, coupled with Big-Pharma’s deep lobbying pockets can tend to confuse the minds of many.
Multiple Benefits and Limited Risks of Bio-Identical Hormones
Today, there are hundreds upon hundreds of articles and studies from prestigious medical journals and noted physicians that speak to the multiple benefits and limited risks and side effects from “Bio-Identical” hormones as compared to their “synthetic and animal derived counterparts.” Read some of these studies at www.bellavitamedicalcenter.com under the RESEARCH tab.