Since there is so much controversy surrounding estrogens and HRT recently, the prescription estrogen drugs (especially Premarin) have been thoroughly discredited. These are usually prescribed for post-menopausal women with hot flashes and related symptoms.
Note that we use bio-identical hormones extensively in our treatment protocols of PMS, PMDD, menopause, depression and migraine headaches. But taking soy, yams or black cohash by themselves will have zero effect.
Phyto-estrogens are naturally occuring estrogenic-like chemicals found in various plants. This includes soybeans and black cohash in particular. However, the marketing statements made by manufacturers of phyto-estrogens are simply untrue.
Phyto-estrogens from plants are NOT bio-identical to human estrogens. You can take all the black cohash on the planet and never get a true bio-identical estrogen from this.
However, if you take a soy-derived phyto-estrogen and make a single enzymatic step in the lab, then you can create a human bio-identical estrogen. But just taking a black cohash or soy supplement alone will not do the job.
Similarly, phyto-progestins are found in soy and in yams. At this level, it is called diosgenin, which does not have any human hormone activity. Again, unless that crucial enyme step is taken, then you just have expensive urine with no bio-identical hormone produced.
In order to manufacture bio-identical progesterone, diosgenin is first isolated from soy or yams. It is then converted in the lab with a single enzyme into a true, human, bio-identical hormone that is exactly like progesterone. But it took special steps to get there.
Simply taking a yam supplement will fail to have any effect (other than placebo effect) on your body.
So don’t waste your money on the phyto-estrogens, they don’t work. Instead use bio-identical hormones to correct PMS, PMDD, menopause, migraine headaches and depression.
Avoid prescription hormones, HRT or birth control pills at all costs. They are synthetic, chemically altered hormones that have hormone-like activity but are not bio-identical and have numerous side effects (and counting).
For a good information website on HRT and birth control pills versus bio-identical hormones check out http://www.DitchThePill.org .
Andrew Jones, M.D.
Medical Director, Women’s Health Institute of Texas