Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Youth-Rejuvenating (natural) Hormonal Treatment

"It is something that is being promoted purely on the basis of the marketing, and not based on anything that shows it is better [than conventional hormone-replacement therapy]."
"The main claim is that it is safer than conventional hormone therapy, and there simply is no evidence to support this."
"That kind of regulation [regulatory body investigating only after complaints] is not proactive. Somebody gets harmed first before the regulator acts."
Ubaka Ogbogu, law and pharmacy professor, University of Alberta

"The risks are not yet well understood."
"They [bioidentical  hormone therapy -- BHT] may have the same breast cancer, stroke, blood clot, heart disease and dementia risks that synthetic hormone therapy has."
Health-Link BC
Bioidentical hormone therapy is often called "natural hormone therapy" because bioidentical hormones act in the body just like the hormones we produce. But here again, that tricky word natural muddies the waters. Pregnant mares' urine is natural, but Premarin is not bioidentical, at least not to human estrogen. The same goes for Cenestin, which is made from plants but is not bioidentical.Harvard Health Logo
Check the Internet for websites operated by medical doctors and pharmacies -- doesn't everyone and anyone? -- promising "anti-aging" treatment achieved through the use of natural products, and since they're 'natural' they are, of course, guaranteed to be safe, to be effective and a hugely lauded 'natural' alternative to the kind of hormone-replacement therapy that was at one time prescribed wholesale for menopausal women who failed to appreciate the symptoms of menopause, until an American study revealed its conclusions in 2002 that the standard menopausal drugs actually increased breast cancer, coronary artery disease and stroke risks.

Suddenly hormone replacement therapy that enjoyed such a trusted and ubiquitous prescriptive mode, lost its considerable share of the market, and women searched instead for home remedies like Evening Primrose and soy products to relieve their symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats. And then along came 70-year-old Suzanne Somers touting the miraculous effects of bioidentical hormone therapy to maintain her lithe and lovely youthfulness in apparent agelessness.

Actress Suzanne Somers in 2013 in Toronto as she promoted a book on bioidentical hormone therapy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A new Canadian study points out that despite the claims these businesses make of the extraordinary effectiveness of BHT and particularly the brand they're selling, there has been no research to support their claims and nor are the 'natural' therapies they're busily vouching for approved by national health regulators. This is an elemental failing that has been emphasized by the University of Alberta professors responsible for the study and its conclusions.

Their research is claimed to be the first to study online advertising of the treatment through a scientific lens. It represents added evidence of the influence that those supporting unproven health products have on impressionable consumers, while the purveyors who have bypassed regulatory approval take advantage of their medical credentials to impress those reading their incentivizing advertising that everything they claim is reliable and reflective of reality.

The popularity among the general public of potential consumers of bioidentical hormone therapy has risen sky-high. One U.S. business consultant places the value of the business at $2-billion, in the United States. What has captured the public attention is the inference that the hormones which are derived from plants like soybeans and supposedly compounded specifically by pharmacists to match individual needs, are identical in function and practicality to the hormones the human body produces.

The researchers from University of Alberta studied claims on 100 websites of various health professionals, 59 percent of which were Canadian, to discover that over 60 percent claim bioidentical hormones are safer than conventional hormone-replacement therapy, and a quarter of the sites state the hormones are "protective" against breast cancer, leaving the impression among the gullible that their product had the potential to prevent the disease.

At least half of the sites described the medicines as anti-aging, while 70 percent labelled them as natural products. One in two of the websites were operated by medical doctors, 19 were driven by pharmacies and others reflected the businesses of natural-health practitioners. Lead author of the study, Nese Yuksel, a professor of pharmacy, emphasized that those plant hormones have been chemically processed to mimic human hormones, which places claims of 'natural' hard up against the reality of semi-synthetic.

"They're promoted as being natural, but they're actually not", affirmed Professor Yuksel who had herself worked for two pharmaceutical companies making conventional hormone treatments. As well, a number of women's health and allied medical organizations have reached the conclusion that no basis exists for suggesting that bioidentical hormones are indeed safer or that they are an improvement over conventional replacement hormone therapy.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and several medical specialty groups, the hormones marketed as "bioidentical" and "natural" aren't safer than hormones used in traditional hormone therapy, and there's no evidence they're any more effective.
The term "bioidentical" means the hormones in the product are chemically identical to those your body produces. In fact, the hormones in bioidentical medications may not be any different from those in traditional hormone therapy. Several hormone therapy products approved by the FDA and prescribed by health care providers contain bioidentical hormones.
"Natural" means the hormones in the product come from plant or animal sources; they're not synthesized in a lab. However, many of these products still need to be commercially processed to become bioidentical. Mayo Clinic

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