Age Management: Hormones



Ask any endocrinologist and he or she will tell you that hormonal balance equates to health. Our hormones give us life, intelligence, mood, drive, sexuality, physical and mental energy, and the desire to grow, learn and achieve. They are not in our body by mistake. They are there to allow us to function well and enjoy the world we live in. Since our hormone-producing glands control our basic body functions such as metabolism, growth and sexual development, it is critical that the amount of hormone manufactured by each gland is carefully balanced. Too much or too little can have effects throughout the body and cause a variety of disorders.


Strong evidence suggests that declining estrogen levels appear to be associated with reduction of muscle mass, increase in fat mass and a gradual weight increase. During a woman’s childbearing years, which are generally her most healthful, her ovaries produce a balance of three important estrogens: estradiol, estriol and estrone. Estradiol is the predominant estrogen, produced in twice the amount of the other estrogens in the blood. To function at its best, a woman’s body must maintain this ratio of 2:1. If the ratio is altered, too much estrone is created. Estrone is a very strong breast stimulator. One reason women complain of breast tenderness when on oral estrogen, is because the ratio is disturbed, resulting in excess estrone. With conjugated or synthetic estrogens, the ratio is actually reversed to an unhealthy 1:2.


During the last decades over 100 synthetic estrogens have been marketed, some of which may have produced uterine cancer and heart-disease in some women. Synthetic compounds are not identical to what the body produces. Equally when the media and even studies often refer to ‘estrogen’ is not actually true estrogen. What matches the body’s own chemistry is a biologically identical or equivalent estrogen. A Biological identical estrogen or testosterone – biologically equivalent to that which your body has produced all of your life- works with the body to simply replace what’s missing and return your body to its youthful 2:1 ratio.


Exactly how testosterone works is not well understood. To complicate matters even further, our attitudes towards testosterone are often tainted by cultural beliefs about masculinity and femininity. Testosterone, usually thought of as a male hormone, is something we all have and need in order to maintain our quality of life. How much we have on any given day depends on a lot of things, including gender, time of day, age, menstrual cycle, menopause, stress, and medications. Men produce most of their testosterone in their testes and a tiny amount in their adrenal glands. Levels decline with age in both sexes. What we do know for certain is that testosterone plays at least four important roles in the body: 1) It is vital for nutrition, 2)it helps sex drive, 3) it regulates mood and builds energy, 4) it influences masculine traits. Studies suggest that testosterone directly impacts muscle development, fat levels, bone mass, many different parts of the brain, moods, depression, energy levels, ability to have orgasms, and ability to sleep. Anxiety and irritability are increased in both men and women who suffer from testosterone deficiency.


Testosterone contains two parts; 1)an anabolic part (for building muscle), and 2)an androgenic part (for developing masculine traits and libido). Anabolic steroids are prescription drugs that mimic testosterone's muscle-building properties. Unfortunately, you’ve heard plenty about anabolic use in the sports world. Most physicians distrust these synthetics and the federal government regulates them, thanks to some unforgettably embarrassing Olympic moments.


Receiving bio-equivalent testosterone is not the same as taking an anabolic steroid. There are many positive studies that have been reported on bio-equivalent testosterone replacement therapy for both men and women. It is true that excess testosterone can cause a variety of side effects. Too much is too much, and the body responds accordingly. This takes us back to what we have been saying about balance. It is a delicate act. If you take too much or use synthetic and chemically treated testosterone you can expect serious consequences—like hair loss, facial hair (in women), water retention, irritability, acne, headaches, joint stiffness, prostate problems and increased liver enzymes. But don’t let anyone talk you out of replacing what your body needs. You won’t grow a mustache or go bald if you restore your testosterone to its formerly healthy levels. The endocrine system is a fantastic balanced system with exquisite feedback controls.