Hormones are the body’s messengers. By definition, a hormone means that it is secreted from one part of the body and travels to other areas to give a signal or a message. They have everything to do with health and wellbeing.
Why is hormone health important?
Hormonal health is considered one of the pillars of well-being. Here, we’re not just talking about sex hormones, we’re talking about ALL hormones. Key hormones that we typically look at in Functional and Anti-aging Medicine are insulin, cortisol, thyroid hormone, DHEA, testosterone, estrogen (actually, there are 3 estrogens in humans), as well as progesterone and pregnenolone. With advanced age, GH (growth hormone) may need to be addressed as well. Things to remember about our hormones is that balance is key – we don’t want levels too high, or too low – and that they are a symphony – one affects the other. We
What typically happens as we get older is that our sex hormones tend to decline while insulin and cortisol levels tend to rise. Sex hormone imbalances and deficiencies can start in the 30’s when testosterone levels first start to fall, both in men and women. In women, progesterone typically falls when a woman is in her 40s and estrogen may decrease at menopause. Men can have a more gradual loss of testosterone known as andropause.
Common hormonal imbalances and associated health consequences are:
- Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
- Abnormalities in Cortisol regulation (sometimes called “Adrenal Fatigue” or “Stress”)
- Thyroid hormone issues
- PCOS – a state of high testosterone and insulin in women
- Excessive Estrogen relative to Progesterone (aka “Estrogen Dominance”) – this can manifest as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, breast cysts, cervical dysplasia and even skin conditions and histamine intolerance
- Sarcopenia (muscle loss)
- Body composition changes
- Loss of well-being and vitality
- Metabolic issues – hypertension, heart disease, cholesterol and blood sugar elevations
- Brain health
Balancing out one’s hormones helps each and every one of these conditions. While we want to keep our hormones balanced naturally as much as possible, if required, prescription hormones are used to attain balance and good health.