What are bio-identical hormones and where do they come from?

The Women’s Health Study of 2002 has proven the use of synthetic hormones is not a healthy way to replace women’s hormones. When all the available hormone studies were evaluated the conclusion was that taking synthetic hormone replacement caused adverse side effects, that could contribute to complications such as breast cancer and heart disease.

Have there been any medical studies done on the safety and efficacy of bio-identical hormones?

There are reputable published studies over a period of many decades confirming the safety of using bio-identical hormones. There is even some data available that suggests bio-identical hormonal replacement may offer some cardiovascular protection. These materials are available on request.

What are bio-identical hormones and where do they come from?

Natural source bio-identical hormones are made from botanical plants such as soy and yams. The human body cannot convert soy or yams directly into natural hormones, so the natural plants must be pharmaceutically processed to produce natural bio-identical progesterone and Bi-Est and Tri-Est, the estrogens. These final products are either rubbed on the skin or swallowed by the patient.

I’ve read that hormone replacement therapy mimics the body’s natural hormones but doesn’t really replace them like bio-identical hormones do. What’s the difference?

When synthetic hormones flood the receptor sites they do not differentiate the hormone receptor sites and also attach to the receptor sites of many other steroid hormone receptors. As is often the case in nature, more is not always better. When the other receptor sites are flooded they often shut down their function and are no longer able to perform normally. You now have the potential for unwanted chemical alterations that lead to adverse symptoms. The difference with bio-identical hormones is they are identified by the human body as natural. The hormone is adopted and processed by the receptors with no harmful by-products.

Will bio-identical hormones help with symptoms like hot flashes, sleepless nights and memory problems?

Natural progesterone is very effective in the treatment of hot flashes. Many women respond positively to progesterone treatment alone, and do not require any other bio-identical replacement such as estrogen. Bio-identical hormones can also improve insomnia. The progesterone transdermal cream used in the evening has a mild sedative effect. We have found that patients report improved memory with the use of bio-identical hormones as lubrication of brain synapses seems to allow quicker cognition, alleviating this common symptom occurring with menopause and aging.

How can bio-identical hormones help fight the symptoms of aging?

Bio-identical natural hormones are anti-inflammatory and therefore anti-aging by the nature of their action. Estrogen and progesterone, along with many other hormones, have a role in cell regeneration. Healthy hormonal balance = healthy cellular activity, inside and out.

How do I know if BHRT is right for me?

You will require a hormone assessment to determine if you need a hormone or thyroid doctor. You can start your hormone and thyroid assessment here by completing the Hormone Replacement Assessment and/or book an appointment with our clinic nurse to discuss in more detail.

Dr Turek.....you had me at 'hormones are skin, brain and bones for women'.


"At 45 I had a hysterectomy and my surgeon reassured me that leaving my ovaries intact would keep my hormones stable. At that time I didn't understand enough about functional medicine and the intricate role all organs play in signalling hormone production to make the best decision. It wasn't long before I developed symptoms of hormone imbalance. 


I have been fortunate enough to know Dr Caroline Turek on both a personal and professional level for many years. She has an intuitive nature, a passion for healing and commitment to learning and so I started my journey down this fascinating path of understanding women and hormones - how they effect our health and how they help us stay youthful.


Dr Turek's intervention restored my hormone balance, my health and my sanity. If you are struggling with symptoms that effect sleep, weight, hair loss, libido, bone density loss, anxiety, depression, premature aging, then I recommend you start by gathering information and book that consult.

It could be life changing!"

-Roseanne Parke, RN

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Centre for Restorative Medicine

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