Treating High Cholesterol with Human Identical Hormone
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Treating High Cholesterol with Human Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy

by Paul Hueseman, RPh, PharmD
October 2003

brought to you by Bellevue Pharmacy, a ProjectAWARE sponsor

Recent clinical studies of hormone replacement therapy have discounted the cardiovascular benefit that hormone replacement therapy confers for post-menopausal women. However, these studies, the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study1 and the Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study II (HERS II)2 were done in patients receiving Premarin and Prempro (combination of Premarin and medroxyprogesterone), not human-identical hormones.

In addition, neither study was designed to measure the effect of hormone treatment on cholesterol. Cholesterol has an important part in the incidence of blocked arteries, or atherosclerosis, resulting in heart attacks and strokes. The study period on both of these studies was cut short, therefore long-term cardiovascular benefits, such as reduced incidence of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular events, were not evident in the time that was allowed.

While cholesterol is an important part in blocked arteries, it is also a critical compound for life. It is the basic building material for cell membranes, bile acids, vitamin D3, and basic hormones such as pregnenolone, DHEA, progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. When deterioration of the reproductive system functions occurs, such as during menopause, there is a striking decrease in hormone levels that results.

The human body tries to maintain a normal ratio between different hormones: DHEA / cortisol, estrogen / progesterone, female / male hormones. When there is a malfunction in this feedback loop mechanism, the result is an imbalance in hormones. When the production of hormones declines, the body will try to correct this problem by increasing the production of cholesterol since cholesterol is the building block for hormones.

A similar situation occurs in pregnant women when the female body requires more hormones to sustain her pregnancy and development of the baby in the womb. As a result, cholesterol levels are elevated significantly. 3-4

Although there are no large studies such as WHI and HERS II to rely upon for evidence of reduced cholesterol with hormone therapy, there are some small studies that have documented this effect. R. Arnold Smith, M.D. and his colleague Sergey A. Dzugan, Ph.D. have reported results of patients with hypercholesterolemia who were successfully treated by restoring hormone levels to a youthful physiologic serum level.

This study involved forty-one patients (16 males and 25 females, ages 25-81) with hypercholesterolemia who were treated with human identical hormones. The combination of hormones included pregnenolone, DHEA, estriol, estradiol, estrone, progesterone, and testosterone. The follow-up period of the study ranged from 2 to 68 months. All patients responded to hormone therapy. Mean serum total cholesterol dropped by 25.6%—from 254.6 mg/dL at baseline to 188.8 mg/dL. Serum LDL (bad cholesterol) decreased by 23.9%—from 158.2 mg/dL at baseline to 120.4 mg/dL. In addition, authors report that all patients described a significant improvement in the quality of life. 5

This article identifies possible benefits from human identical hormone replacement therapy. Clearly there is a role for alternative treatments for lowering cholesterol. In addition, in this age of determining benefits versus risks for hormone replacement therapy, it is very important to research all possible areas of benefit of hormone replacement therapy and to differentiate human identical hormone replacement therapy from synthetic and nonhuman-derived hormones.



  1. Writing Group for Women’s Health Initiative Investigators. JAMA 2002;288:321-333.
  2. Grady D, Herrington D, et al. JAMA 2002;288:49-57
  3. Erkkola R, Viikari J, Irjala K, et al. One-year follow-up of lipoprotein metabolism after pregnancy. Biol Res Pregnancy Perinatol 1986;7(2):47-51.
  4. Loke DF, Viegas OA, Kek LP, et al. Lipid profiles during and after normal pregnancy. Gynecol Obstet Invest 1991;32(3):144-7.
  5. Dzugan SA, Smith RA. Treating high cholesterol by replacing hormones lost to aging. Life Extension 2003; (Sept):41-48.


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DHEA or Testosterone for Women
Estrogen and Memory Loss
HRT for Breast Cancer Survivors and Women at High Risk for Cancer
Human Identical Hormones
Premarin, Facts and Opinions
Progesterone FAQ
Synthetic Progestins and Natural Progesterone, Differences
Natural Progesterone, What Role in Women's Healthcare
Tamoxifen for Prevention of Breast Cancer
Testosterone and Its Benefits to Women
Testosterone's Impact on Postmenopausal Women...
Thyroid Hormone, Symptoms, and...
Typical HRT Products
Where to get Natural Hormones
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