Suzanne Somers: Super Saleswoman

Suzanne Somers first came into our living rooms as the slightly addled sweetheart of the 1970's hit sitcom "Three's Company." Three decades later, Somers is a super saleswoman on a different stage, peddling more than 1,000 different products everywhere from the Home Shopping Network to her own Web site.

And Somers is now pitching her most dramatic promise yet: a treatment she said is the fountain of youth for us all.

The benefits of that treatment are the focus of her 16th book, a best-seller called "Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones."

"I'm sleeping. I have a libido. I'm not depressed," Somers told ABC News. "In fact, I'm happy, I'm healthy, I'm thin. I don't itch, I don't bloat, I don't have any hot flashes."

That's music to the ears of any woman who has suffered through the often debilitating effects of menopause, which come as the body's estrogen, progesterone and other hormones decrease with age. Doctors have long treated the problem with synthetic hormones.

However, Somers said the alternative -- custom-mixed bioidentical hormones -- is closer to the hormones the body makes on its own. She also said they work better, and provide miraculous anti-aging benefits to boot.

Non-Cosmetic Agelessness

Somers herself has just turned 60, and has now been taking bioidentical hormones for a decade. She said she not only feels better as a result, but she looks great toot. "Because I have energy and because I have vitality," she said, "I think it projects a youthfulness, an agelessness that isn't a cosmetic agelessness."

Somers said her own youthfulness is not the result of plastic surgery, although she does admit to getting Botox injections. "If I was not on bioidentical hormones, I would not look like this."

Somers also criticizes traditional hormones because one, Premarin, is made from female horses' urine. She said bioidenticals, like the ones she takes, are more natural, because they use elements found in soybeans and yams. However, many experts point out that all these hormone treatments -- bioidentical or otherwise -- are lab processed. In the end, they tell ABC News, there's no significant difference.

Dr. Lauren Streicher, an obstetrician and assistant professor at Northwestern University, points out that horses' urine is just as natural as yams and soybeans, and said Somers and her followers are fooling themselves. "Just because something is natural doesn't mean it's safe. Arsenic is natural. How safe is arsenic? So, she's making leaps here. She's making assumptions that have no scientific validity."

The Cancer Question

A series of landmark studies by the Woman's Health Initiative found that standard hormone replacement therapy actually increased the risk of breast cancer, heart attack and Alzheimer's. Millions of women stopped taking the drugs cold turkey.

Somers insists in her book that the bioidentical versions of the hormones not only don't have those risks, they'll actually provide protection against those diseases. "It's the greatest protection against cancer," she said. "So, is it a cure for cancer? No. But is it a protective? Absolutely."

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