Embracing a Healthy Family: Bioidenticals & Custom Compounded Hormones: Pursuit of Alternative Medicines

Bioidenticals & Custom Compounded Hormones: Pursuit of Alternative Medicines

Organic, natural, alternative and the list goes on as the age of internet produces more information to anyone with access can handle.  The ease of researching and to promote and publish books is making it blatently easy to market your opinions and products whether founded or not.  We all are hearing the benefits of organic products and who can not admit that the concept is good?  The older I get, my quest to stay younger and live longer has grown beyond my wildest imagination.  Now when I crave a Big Mac, I contemplate the millions of calories I'm adding to my already challenged body not to mention preservatives, flavorings and hormones utilized in the meat and buns.

I work at a pharmaceutical company so I understand the in's and out's of clinical trials and research.  The trend within the whole beauty and well being market is on bio this and bio that and gene this and gene that.  The latest buzz and I might be wrong but I think Suzanne's Somers book has started the flap is around BioidenticalI admit that I've not heard that term until this morning when I was reading this AP article titled "'Bioidenticals' Not FDA-Approved, Contain Estrogen."

The key take away from this is any health care supplement/product that is deemed natural is not required to go through the FDA process of proving safety and efficacy.  You might recall the Hydroxycut recall and prior to that, years ago, ephedra (I think).  Both products were deemed "natural" so the unsuspected user assumed it was safe and I was one of those. 

This trend with Bioidenticals is within the name as the appeal to consumers.  Per the article: 

"Bioidentical" is a marketing term that has no accepted medical meaning. Its implied benefit is not unique to alternative remedies; many prescription drugs contain hormones that chemically match estrogens and progesterones made naturally by the body.

Women need to understand there's no rigorous evidence these preparations are any more effective or any safer than traditional hormone therapy. In fact, there's much less evidence for efficacy and very little research on long-term safety," said Manson, who has no industry ties and was a key researcher in the big federal study that warned women in 2002 of the health risks from long-term hormone use."

The article also mentions compounding pharmacists which according to the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists are those 'who provide personalized medication solutions, mixed safely by trained, licensed pharmacists.'

I had no idea that they could do that either so I definitely learned a lot about this topic.

One final quote from the AP story:

In 2001, the government tested 29 products from compounding pharmacies and found that one-third did not meet standard quality benchmarks, including potency problems, Manson writes in her book, "Hot Flashes, Hormones and Your Health."
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