Natural hormones are substances that are like those produced naturally. Synthetic hormones are close enough to the natural kind to get into the cell and perform many of the same functions, but they don’t provide all of the benefits and they do have some definite problems.
As an example, both natural progesterone and the synthetic counterparts, which are called progestins, help prevent cancer like uterine cancer. However, only natural progesterone protects against breast cancer, normalizes the fatty acid profile, restores normal sex drive, and regulates sleep patterns.
Progestins, on the other hand, contribute to mood swings, fatigue, depression, insomnia, bloating, breast tenderness, weight gain, and anxiety ‘ of which none are side effects of natural progesterone.
Synthetic estrogens are altered so that drug companies make them individual and patent them. They tend to be stronger and more toxic than estrogens manufactured naturally in the human body; and so they increase the odds of having symptoms of estrogen dominance, which are weight gain, bloating, anxiety, depression, and low blood sugar, and from estrogen-related diseases like breast and uterine cancer. The natural forms of estrogen, i.e. estradiol, estrone, and estriol, tend to be safer.
It’s important to note that most studies of hormone replacement therapy involve the use of synthetic hormones. Don’t assume that all hormone replacement therapy brings about the same results we’ve seen in the recent studies, all of which used synthetic hormones. We’re in need of some valid long-term studies on the effects of the natural and synthetic versions of both progesterone and estrogen.