What is a hormone?
The word hormone is derived from the Greek word hormao, which means “I arouse to activity.” A hormone is a biochemical messenger that is basically a molecular call to action that can work with incredible speed, complexity, and specificity to communicate information. If anything goes wrong with that complex hormonal communication system, disease will result and you begin to age far faster than you should.
There are three separate, major classes of hormones involved in the metabolic activity of every cell in the human body. These three distinct classes of hormones must be present and functioning in a balanced state and at optimal levels for the body to thrive and function properly. Disease and the aging process are the result of improper hormone balance and suboptimal levels of any of these hormone classes: Autocrine, Paracrine, and Endocrine.
What are bio-identical, natural hormones?
It makes sense to ask—if there are hormones available that are natural to my body, why do most doctors prescribe synthetic hormones? The story of bio-identical hormones is merely one of money and politics.
Natural hormones are identical in structure to the hormones naturally found in the body, and may not be patented. A patent guarantees that a pharmaceutical company will have an exclusive right to manufacture and profit from their product. After the significant financial investment associated with developing and researching a pharmaceutical product, it is understandable that a pharmaceutical company would have a keen interest in protecting their investment with an exclusive, patented product.
Therefore, there is comparatively less research and minimal marketing of bio-identical, natural hormones. In order to sell a drug, a pharmaceutical manufacturer instructs physicians how and when to prescribe it. Much of what physicians are taught comes from the pharmaceutical companies that have conducted extensive research in order to justify unveiling a product. Because no pharmaceutical companies manufacture bio-identical, natural hormones, most physicians do not learn about them unless they do personal study.
Where do these bio-identical, natural hormones come from?
The pure pharmaceutical bio-identical (human identical) hormone is either extracted from plants or synthetically manufactured. What is most important is that the end product is identical to the hormone found naturally in the body.
Where do we get natural hormones?
There are special types of pharmacies called compounding pharmacies. These are regular licensed pharmacies capable of providing you with products from pharmaceutical companies. However, they are capable of much more. They are similar to the old-fashioned concept of the traditional pharmacist with a mortar and pestle.
They acquire the pure pharmaceutical-grade hormone and compound it into the form ordered by the physician. They produce pills, capsules, liquids, and creams according to the doctor’s specific prescriptions for you. This makes your regimen very customized and specifically tailored.
Are health food store products “bio-identical, or natural”?
Products in health food stores provide people with a variety of natural options, usually from an herb or plant source. Folk medicine, naturopathy, and herbalists have evolved to a modest level of sophistication and acceptance of these alternative, herbal products.
However, the products from compounding pharmacies are different in several ways. First, the dose provided by a pharmacy requires a prescription. Health food store products are most often of a dose insufficient to produce a measurable difference in the body, based on laboratory tests. Second, the products from compounding pharmacies utilize ingredients of a pure pharmaceutical-grade that are “micronized”. Micronized refers to the product being of a fine grain that will be well-absorbed, resulting in less waste as it processes through you digestive system.
Third, the natural hormones from a comopunding pharmacy can be prescribed as long-acting, or sustained release. This helps the body have a more balanced hormone level instead of the highs and lows that come with a quick-acting, quickly absorbed or poorly absorbed product A compounding pharmacy is able to customize and individual prescription and provides lots of options for a personal hormone program.
This ranges from individual doses, to custom fillers (Le. lactose-free), to options of delivery (sublingual triturates, tablets, capsules, liquids, or creams).
In summary, a bio-identical, natural hormone has a chemical structure that is identical to the hormone naturally produced by the body.
These cannot be patented by drug companies, and therefore do not receive even a fraction of the research and marketing dollars the synthetic hormones receive. Synthetic hormones have a structure similar to but not exactly the same as a hormone produced by your body.
These chemical differences mean that the synthetic hormone acts differently and produces substantially different effects or the breakdown products (metabolites) cause side effects. Bio-identical/natural and synthetic hormones are not the same and should not be used interchangeably.
Types of Hormones:
Amino acid based hormones
Polypeptide endocrine hormones
- Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)
- Growth hormone
Amino Acid endocrine hormones
Amino acid paracrine hormones
Cholesterol based hormones
- Steroid endocrine hormones
Fat based hormones
Endocrine hormones (i.e. thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, etc.) are made in a discrete gland and are then secreted into the bloodstream to seek their target cells and specific receptors on those target cells. Paracrine hormones (i.e. serotonin, L-dopa, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, etc.) are excreted over very short distances and usually through a defined pathway, like a nerve or a duct.
Finally, autocrine hormones (Le. eicosanoids, etc.) either act on the secreting cell itself or its nearest neighbor. A further distinguishing characteristic of hormones is their great variation in size. Obviously, the larger the hormone, the more difficulty it will have reaching its target tissue.
The polypeptide hormones are relatively large, like giant beachballs. Steroid and thyroid hormones are very small by comparison. Some paracrine hormones (like melatonin) and especially autocrine hormones (like eicosanoids) are lipid (fat) soluble because they do not circulate over large distances and are very small, allowing them to easily diffuse between cell membranes.
Just what are autocrine hormones?
These are hormones that act upon the secreting cell. They are used to sample the immediate environment surrounding the cell Eicosanoids are the best known example of autocrine hormones. An eicosanoid is a hormone based upon a 20-carbon atom, polyunsaturated fat. Eicosanoids are made by every cell in the body and fall into two basic groups that have opposing functions:
Series 1 (“good”)
- Act as vasodilators
- Act as immune enhancers
- Decrease inflammation
- Decrease pain
- Increase oxygen flow
- Increase endurance
- Prevent platelet aggregation
- Dilate airways
- Decrease cellular proliferation
Series 2 (“bad”)
- Act as vasoconstrictors
- Act as immune suppressors
- Increase inflammation
- Increase pain
- Decrease oxygen flow
- Decrease endurance
- Cause platelet aggregation
- Constrict airways
- Increase cellular proliferation
Strange as it may seem, you do not want to have all good and no bad eicosanoids; you do, however, want to have more good than bad. The bad group serves a useful purpose; for instance, blood clotting when we get cut. You just don’t want to have too much clotting.
Your goal is to do whatever you have to do to make more good than bad eicosanoids so that the balance is shifted towards to the good side most of the time. Good eicosanoids (Series 1) are derived from EPA (eicosopentaenoic acid), a special type of polyunsaturated fatty acid found primarily in cold-water fish and purified fish oils. Dr. Madsen’s Omega-3 MD fish oil supplement features the highest concentration of EPA available on the market.
Bad eicosanoids (Series 2) are derived primarily from arachadonic acid, an essential fatty acid that is primarily found in Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (like vegeatble and seed-based oils), and saturated fats (like in fatty red meats, whole dairy, egg yolks, and organ meats).
In summary, our objective is to provide you with the best bio-identical, natural hormone replacement in all 3 major categories of hormones—endocrine, paracrine, and autocrine.
Dr. Madsen’s Omega-3 MD™ Phytoplankton-Fish Oil Supplement is the very best tool for natural autocrine hormone replacement therapy, Dr. Madsen’s NTAA (Neurotransmitter Amino Acid) and FBAA (Fat Burning Amino Acid) furnish the best bio-identical, natural replacement for paracrine hormones, and Dr. Madsen’s bio-identical, natural hormone replacement therapy for men and women is the absolute best method for receiving replacement of endocrine hormones. Natural hormone replacement therapy is always better than synthetic hormone replacement therapy.