As we age we lose our hormones. All of our good building up hormones start declining after age 30. Cortisol and insulin tend to increase, which can harm our health. These changes are detrimental to our vitality and our health.
These hormone changes are part of the cycle of life, a building up and then shutting down. Hormones are the highest in our most vital and healthy time of our life, our teens and twenties when we have our highest energy and best health, our “child-bearing years”. After this time, about age 30, our genetics dictate that our good hormones decline: testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, thyroid hormone, and growth hormone. Hormones that can harm us, cortisol and insulin, start to rise. At about age 40, hormone decline accelerates in women as the ovaries begin shutting down hormone production in the peri-menopause. Men’s hormones continue to decline. This is nature’s way of shutting us down and eliminating us. It is not a coincidence that the healthiest time of our lives is when we have our full complement of hormones, nor that we begin developing the diseases of aging, heart, bone, brain, and eye problem, as our hormones decline. We age because we lose our hormones!
This was not as issue prior to 1900, when the average age of death was 50. Most men and women did not experience the full force of hormone loss. Now with the average age of death at 80, we can live 30 years or more without our hormones and the consequences.
Certainly, lifestyle, exercise, body weight and exercise, nutrient supplements all contribute to being healthy and may help make the process of hormone loss easier or make certain hormone loss slower. But none of these things will put your hormones back. Acupuncture, chiropractic, yoga, and Aruvedic medicine may also help alleviate hormone symptoms, but none will not put your hormones back. The only way to keep your youthful compliment of hormones is by replacing them, and only with hormones that have the same exact molecular structure that is native to the human body.
When we enter our 40’s women start feeling these changes as ovaries start to shut down production of sex hormones in peri-menopause and menopause. Nature is most cruel to women because symptoms of perimenopause can be swift and profound. Menopause has been often likened to falling off a cliff where men’s andropause is likened to rolling down a hill. Men begin noticing the more gradual decline in testosterone called andropause. Meanwhile thyroid hormone and growth hormone also declines.
In women testosterone is the first to start declining, then progesterone. In their 40’s, women start noticing insomnia, irritability, mood swings, depression, low libido, hair loss, and migraines directly associated with low progesterone. Estrogen also starts declining, but is the last to go with hot flashes, weepiness, night sweats, and lack of energy. The symptoms of hormone change can continue for 15-20 prior to loss of menstruation.
With loss of testosterone, men experience fatigue, memory loss, loss of libido, loss of muscle mass, weight gain, decreased athletic ability, muscle aches, and decreased interest in activities.
Thyroid hormone and growth hormone play vital roles in hour health and energy as well, and need to be replaced and even optimized (but not abused) when deficient with bioidentical equivalents.
Bioidentical hormone replacement will alleviate the symptoms of menopause and andropause. I am often asked, “Do I have to take them forever?”. The answer is yes. If you stop taking hormones all your symptoms will come back. Once you stop making your hormones, they are gone. They do not come back unless you put them back with bioidentical hormone replacement.
The long term consequences of lack of hormones are weight gain, loss of muscle mass, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, colon cancer, macular degeneration, cataract formation, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. A lower chance of having these problems keeps me happily taking my hormones and vitamins each day. I also feel the same way I did in my 30’s!
We all will die some day. The fact is that our cells can only divide so many times. Each time they divide they lose some DNA, and when a critical limit is met, they die. Current maximum age is believed to be 120 years due to this effect.
Of course we have to fuel our cells with nutrients and vitamins, limit our exposure to toxins and chemicals, and detoxify.
We are living longer because we have great living conditions and can prevent mortality from many diseases and accidents. But most of us will feel lousy for the last 30 years struggling with symptoms and disease until we come to accept our age and poor state of wellness. 50% of those who live to be 85 will have Alzheimer’s (estrogen can prevent Alzheimer’s disease).
It doesn’t have to be that way. With bioidentical hormone and nutrient replacement you can enjoy feeling good for the rest of your life. The means is available. The choice is yours.
Candice Lane, MD, Diplomate and Fellow American Academy for Anti-aging Medicine, 1250 La Venta Drive, Suite206, Westlake Village, CA 91361, 877-496-4289, 805-496-7869.