Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical Hormones with Karim Merani

In this episode of The Functional Medicine Radio Show, Dr. Carri’s special guest Karim Merani explains bioidentical hormones.

Karim Merani has a Masters degree in Pharmacy, from the Leicester School of Pharmacy in Leicester, UK.  He’s been a pharmacist in Canada for 6 years, and has been involved with compounding since registering.

He currently sits on the Board for the Association of Compounding Pharmacists of Canada, and has previously served as President of the association.  Karim owns and operates 4 independent pharmacies in the Ottawa area, where his main focus of practice is bioidentical hormone replacement, topical pain management, and pediatrics.

Main Questions Asked:

  • What do you mean by compounding pharmacy?
  • How are bioidentical hormones different from synthetic hormones?
  • Are bioidentical hormones safe?
  • What are the potential benefits of bioidentical hormones?
  • How does a patient know if they need bioidentical hormones or not?
  • Do you need a prescription to buy hormones?
  • What are some possible side effects of bioidentical hormones and how would someone know they are been dosed too high?
  • What makes your compounding pharmacy different?

Key Points Made by Karim:

  • Compounding pharmacies focus on customized medications tailor made to meet specific needs. They often change the delivery method of a medication for those who can’t take the normal form.
  • Compounded bioidentical hormones are derived from natural sources, usually yam, rather than synthetic. Bioidentical hormones are processed much more efficiently by the body.
  • Many of the fears associated with hormone replacement therapy often confuse the two types of hormones – synthetic verses bioidentical.
  • Bioidentical hormones that we use today are very different from the synthetic hormones used in the 1980’s.
  • Generally speaking, bioidentical hormones are safe but there is some necessary work that has to be done to ensure they are safe. Start low and go slow when it comes to dosage.
  • Hormone therapy is effective for menopausal or perimenopausal women, but it also has uses in treating osteoporosis and fatigue.
  • Not everybody experiences the symptoms of hormone imbalance the same way.
  • The primary methods for testing for hormone therapy is saliva or blood testing, with saliva testing being more accurate. There is a newer third test, a urine test, but it’s not proven to be effective yet.
  • Dosing accurately is the most important aspect of hormone treatment which is why saliva testing is the most common method.
  • You need a prescription to buy hormones and should definitely avoid buying hormones from sources on the internet.
  • Bioidentical hormones are mainly derived from yams due to the increase in the number of people sensitive to soy.
  • Topical hormone creams need to be composed of a particular base cream to ensure the medication is absorbed properly into the body.
  • Progesterone is typically applied to an area of the body with a higher amount of fatty tissue; estrogen is usually applied to an area like the forearm. It’s recommended to avoid applying the cream to the abdomen area.
  • High doses of progesterone can cause fatigue. High doses of estrogen can lead to irregular heart rates or hot flash type effects.
  • Hormone therapy is not a wonder drug – it takes time for the treatment to work.
  • Hormone therapy is sometimes covered by insurance but it will depend on the composition of the hormones in particular.
  • The collaborative approach is often the best one. When the doctor, the patient, and the compounding pharmacist work together you will get the best results.

Resources Mentioned:

Karim’s website

Book – Reclaim Your Energy and Feel Normal Again

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