What are hormones?
Hormones, in their most basic form, are chemical messengers. Hormones are released from specific glands and organs in the body and travel through the blood stream to send messages to other cells. They affect many difference processes in the body including energy, mood, sleep, sexual function/desire, reproduction, metabolism and growth.
When we have a hormonal imbalance in our system, we experience non-favorable symptoms. These symptoms can include but are not limited to: difficult menopause, PMS and painful periods, irregular periods, fertility issues, adult acne, endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, abnormal hair growth, weight gain, insomnia, decreased libido, fatigue, insomnia, thyroid dysfunction, bone loss, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, etc. Men can experience much of the above as well as low sex drive, muscle loss, belly weight gain & erectile dysfunction.
What happens to our hormones as we age?
Hormones are produced by the endocrine glands and have an impact on every cell in the body, acting as the brain’s messengers, telling the body’s internal organs how to function. Beginning around the age of 30 hormones start to drop by 1% to 3% each year, contributing to a number of symptoms and a slow, steady change in health & vitality.1-5
For women, progesterone decline accelerates at about age 35 and it is estimated that by the time a woman is 45-50, she will have an 80% reduction in progesterone. Progesterone decline is associated with many PMS and Peri-menopausal symptoms and is one of the easiest and safest hormones to support. Estrogen declines at a more rapid speed for women around the age of 40-50. When hormone levels decline in women, women often gain weight in the belly, hips and thighs, have difficulties with memory and feel they have lost their “glow”. For men, the prevalence of low testosterone is as high as 38.7% in males over 45.5 When hormone levels decline in men, men often gain weight in the belly and chest area, have difficulties with memory and begin to lose interest in life’s daily activities. Box sexes can have a reduced ability to sleep well and feel like they are losing their “joie du vivre”. As weight increases, hormones are stored in fat, and become unavailable to meet the body’s demands.
In addition, as our hormones decline compounded with nutritional deficiencies, many diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, blood sugar imbalances, and osteoporosis increase while our quality of life decreases.
Why are hormones important in the aging process?
Research shows that menopausal hormone therapy is associated with a 40% reduction in mortality in women who are below the age of 60 or who use hormone support within 10 years of beginning menopause.6 When women experience uncomfortable menopausal symptoms: work productivity has been shown to be reduced by 10-15 %, sick days increased by 23% and health related costs increased by 40%.7 Opting for healthier lifestyle choices and restoring hormone balance helps hormone-deficient adults regain a balanced, healthy endocrinological state so their bodies function to their best potential.8-10 Researchers now believe that hormone decline is actually a major cause of aging.
Are hormones just for women?
Although the most popular use is with women, both men and women experience a decline in hormones and thus can benefit from hormone support.
1. Morgentaler, Abraham, Testosterone for Life: Recharge your vitality, sex drive, muscle mass and overall health.
2. Sommers, Suzanne, Sexy Forever; Breakthrough: 8 Steps to Wellness; Ageless: The naked truth about bio-identical hormones
3. Schwartz, M.D., The Hormone Solution: Naturally alleviate symptoms of hormone Imbalance from adolescence through menopause
4. Feldman HA, Longcope C, Derby CA, et al, Age trends in the level of serum testosterone and other hormones in middle-aged men; longitudinal results from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. J Clin. Endocrinol Metab. 2002;87:589-598
5. (5) Mulligan T, Frick M, Zuraw Q, et al. Prevalence of hypogonadism in males aged at least 45 years: the HIM study. Int. J. Clin. Pract. 2006;60:762-9
6. Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy: An Endocrine Society Scientific Statement. JCEM July 1, 2010 95 no.7 Supplement 1
7. Kleinman et al, JOEM 55, 465-470, 2013
8. Gordon, Mark, M.D., Endocrinologist | Millennium Health Centers, Inc. | millenniumhealthcenters.com
9. Sangetta, Pati, M.D. | SaJune Institute for Restorative & Regenerative Medicine| sajune.com
10. Schwartz, Erika, M.D. | The Age Management Institute| derika.com