Compounded Bioidentical Hormones versus Generic and is there a Difference between Labs?

I already mentioned briefly about the difference between bioidentical and regular (non bioidentical) hormones. Here I will explain it in more detail.

Bioidentical means that its basic molecular structure is the same as what is naturally present in your body. It does not, however, mean that it is from a completely natural sources eg yam, animals etc. It could have been made up in a lab but the important thing is that its structure is the same and so the body recognises it as being the same and thus will not reject it. Something natural and readily existing in nature may be from a plant or animal (pregnant mare being the most famous as that is where generic oestrogen is sourced from). Why should we expect a hormone from a plant or an animal to be compatible with what we have in our bodies? They will certainly deliver some of the same results but there is bound to be side effects that we prefer did not exist like the breast cancer scare in the famous WHI study (the study that put a stop to widespread HRT prescriptions). 

The term compounding pharmacy is big in the US but unfortunately not here except for veterinary purposes. However it still exists albeit not in a big, publicised way. They are incredibly hard to find and when you do find one, there are many different aspects to look at, a lot of which may not be fulfilled. I source my hormones from an EU country and love their quality.

Whilst researching the finer points of getting the best products- including visits to labs-

What I have learnt is this:

  • The advantage of a bespoke product is that you can get the right dose in the right carrier which could mean having to take a smaller number of tablets/capsules.
  • The right carrier (or excipient) can make a huge difference to a product. Something taken orally is broken down in the liver. If for some reason, you don't want this to happen, you can choose a delivery system which may work better for that person. Some hormones don't work well in certain delivery systems- hugely important to understand especially when balancing hormones.
  • Another importance of the right excipient is its ability to carry the active ingredients to where it needs to be delivered more efficiently and effectively.
  • You could get it in a non bovine or non animal form for the religiously inclined or for those who prefer it. 
  • Most importantly is a process called micronisation which means breaking down the raw ingredients to very small particles which is easily absorbed by the body. This means that a 10mg of generic product may or may not deliver 10mg but a micronised product is more likely to. Hence controlling dosage is much easier as its a purer product.

These pharmacies work on a narrow percentage of error which means the end product is close to perfect (within these parameters). The downside is naturally the cost. If affordability is an issue, do use generic bioidentical products-its worth it! Keep in mind that it certainly is worth the money for the right product formulated just right and bespoke for you. Savile Row versus off the peg (without looking at labels, one can usually tell that it looks better). As one wonderful personal trainer tells her clients (a different context but the message is the same)- you should certainly save your money on these things, you need the money to pay for your bypass!