Most Lyme disease sufferers have learned, for instance, that bio-identical T3 thyroid hormone works better than patented Synthroid, the synthetic hormone of choice prescribed by physicians. But if you are a woman, you might not have considered how synthetic estrogen and progesterone are less beneficial than their bio-identical counterparts, and how using the "synthetic" stuff can actually contribute to your Lyme disease symptoms.
Let's start with the bad news. That patented estrogen that you are taking, Premarin, is made from horse urine. Yup, you heard right. You are being given hormones that are found in the urine of pregnant mares to replace the hormones that your body has been unable to produce. While the menopausal symptoms you used to endure as a result of a lack of estrogen have been largely mitigated by the stuff, you might now have others, which are considered to be side-effects of the hormone. If not, then great, but even if you are side-effect free, you are still at a substantially increased risk for endometrial and breast cancer (assuming you don't take any other hormones). That Lyme disease sufferers already have an increased risk for developing cancer is bad enough; why add a hormone that elevates that risk even more?
Also, consider what you are ingesting. Horses are huge animals. Their estrogen is a million times more powerful than what we humans make. Its chemical composition is also different, and ratios of estrone, estriol and estradiol differ markedly than those found in the human body. Thus, when you take Premarin, you are taking hormones that are different from those which your body makes, and because cell receptors for estrogen (and progesterone) are found everywhere, this negatively impacts the entire operation of your body.
So why are we prescribing horse hormones, just because they mitigate some of the symptoms of menopause? That is precisely the question, among others, that Jonathan Wright, MD, asks in his book, Normal Hormone Replacement.
Now for the good news.
Dr. Wright, after presenting the problems with patented estrogen and progesterone (for the sake of space I won't go into the problems of patented progesterone here), states that bio-identical, or "natural" estrogen and progesterone, are successful at mitigating menopausal symptoms, without the side effects or risks of the patented stuff. This is because these hormones are designed to be identical to those found in humans. Well, duh. And Dr. Wright has achieved success in using these hormones with his patients.
So why aren't physicians running to prescribe bio-identical hormones to patients? Ahem. Take a wild guess.
Money. Bio-identical hormones aren't patentable, and hence, drug companies won't spend money to study their effects upon humans. Neither can they make huge profits from them, so why should they advocate them?
Fortunately, studies have been done amongst practitioners who give bio-identical hormones to their patients. Their results using these hormones have been far more positive than the results they obtained from using patented hormones, and over the long run, they have found their patients to have lowered risks of both breast and endometrial cancer. (For details on statistics, see Dr. Wright's book). So apparently evidence for the success of bio-identical hormones is there; you just have to look for it.
If you are menopausal, or are fast approaching that age, and have unbalanced levels of these hormones (which is likely, since Lyme messes up most hormone operations), you'll want to consider bio-identical hormone replacement for the sake of ensuring that your entire biochemistry is set as much on track as possible to beat Lyme disease.
Indeed, replacing missing estrogen/progesterone may help to mitigate any of the following symptoms of Lyme disease: depression, insomnia, fatigue, brain fog, memory, and low libido. In addition, besides reducing the risk of breast and endometrial cancer, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy prevents osteoporosis, reduces hot flashes (if you are menopausal), maintains bone and muscle mass, protects against heart disease and stroke, improves cholesterol levels (and this is VERY important, as ALL hormones are made from cholesterol), and prevents diseases of the mind such as Alzheimer's.