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From the time of your conception, HORMONES, which are produced by the endocrine glands, serve as messengers, telling your internal organs how to function. A decrease in the production of hormones begins in middle age and continues to diminish in a linear fashion through old age.

The ultimate in preventative medicine technology has been realized:

Hormone insufficiency has been discovered
to be a major element in the process of aging.

Fortunately, the NIA (National Institute on Aging) has instructed several major U.S. universities to study this phenomenon. Research from around the world during the last five years has led the NIA to realize the tremendous benefits of hormone replacement therapy.

The emphasis of allopathic (i.e. conventional) medicine has always been to diagnose and treat a disease process. Unfortunately, many of the disease processes, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have been blamed on the aging process. However, conventional medicine has never treated aging as a disease process nor has it tried to prevent this disease process. Now we can look at aging as a significant factor in disease formation and attempt to prevent the symptoms of aging by treating aging as a disease in itself. We have begun to change our thinking that it is normal to deteriorate with age; this is no longer acceptable.

This new gestalt (an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts) of treating age as a disease first started in 1992 by a famous endocrinologist at the Medical Center of Wisconsin. Dr Daniel Rudman studied hormone replacement in older men, the results of which were published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. Dr Rudman stated in an interview, “We reversed 10 to 20 years of the aging process in older men. Fat diminished, muscle tissue and strength increased.”. There was also increased lean body mass, decreased body fat, increased vertebral (i.e. spine) bone density, increased skin thickness, increased exercise tolerance and endurance, improved healing, improved immunity, and tremendous increase in overall well-being. This was accomplished by the simple administration of human growth hormone. Thus Dr Rudman’s study revealed solid research supporting the fact that hormonal decline itself is a major cause of our aging. Providing the body with additional growth hormone can reverse symptoms of the aging process.

Other scientists have realized the importance of supplementation of other hormones. Scientists at the Gerontology Research Center of the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Baltimore, Maryland, are working with other researchers to examine the role that reduced plasma sex hormones play in age-related disturbances, including musculoskeletal function, body composition and metabolic function. Combined hormone replacement therapy, by returning growth hormone and sex hormone levels to levels seen in younger people, has shown additive and synergistic effects. Physical and psychological function is improved, including improvement in cardiovascular function, improved cholesterol levels, increased lean body mass, and improved muscle strength and fitness.

Hormones are tiny chemical messengers that are continuously secreted into the bloodstream by endocrine glands to regulate activities of vital organs. Hormones stimulate a multitude of life-giving processes throughout the body which maintain health, harmony, growth, healing and repair.

Probably the best known hormone is insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas. Before the development and production and administration of insulin, many people died as a result of diabetes or had severe debilitating illnesses. Once scientists were able to synthesize insulin, the severe changes associated with diabetes were reversed.

Genetic engineering has now enabled scientists to synthesize all the natural hormones found in our bodies. The significant advancement in the ability to synthesize our hormones has lead to endocrinology research into the correction of the deficiency of hormones that contributes to our aging decline. It is the operation of the endocrine system that is responsible for the regulation of the body’s temperature, sexual desires, growth, healing aging and immune system function. It is the endocrine system that allows the central nervous system to communicate with every cell in the body.

Hormone deficiencies affect every cell in the body and result in degenerative changes and the aging process as well as symptoms of aging. Bringing hormone levels back to a level we had when we were younger reverses many of the unfavorable effects that begin to appear as we age.

Let’s take a look at the various hormones and their roles.

DHEA

DHEA (di-hydro-epi-androsterone) is a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland. This hormone is a precursor to other sex hormones. In addition to having its own hormone effect, DHEA results in a shift to an anabolic or protein building state. It reduces cardiovascular risk by increasing lipolysis (breakdown of fat). DHEA also stimulates the immune system (in concert with growth hormone), restoring sexual vitality, improves mood, and decreases cholesterol and body fat. Recent studies point to DHEA as an anti-stress hormone, reversing the effects of stress on the immune system. DHEA is also neuro-protective to the brain and spinal cord; recent studies point to a key role in DHEA in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

ESTROGEN

Estrogen is secreted by the ovaries. Estrogen has two main components: Estradiol (E2) and Estriol (E3)1.

Estradiol protects against heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other memory disorders. It protects against vaginal atrophy and urinary incontinence. It prevents the symptoms of menopause including hot flashes and temperature dysregulation. It improves balance by improving the visual somatosensory system in the central nervous system.

Estradiol deficiency results in urogenital atrophy, incontinence, sagging skin of the breasts, increased wrinkles of the face, increased fatigue, depression, mood swings and decreased libido.

It is of extreme importance that the estrogen prescribed be a natural estrogen and not a synthetic (i.e. chemically altered) estrogen. Chemically altered estrogens have been shown to be harmful.

We only prescribe natural hormones (referred to as bio-identical because the molecular structure is identical to what the human body produces) and never use the cancer causing synthetic (i.e. chemically altered) hormones (such as Premarin).

For optimal protection, natural estrogen (i.e. Estradiol) supplementation should be balanced by natural progesterone (see below) supplementation.

1 although written about by “celebrities”, estriol (E3) is only weakly active (binding weakly to estrogen receptors than Estradiol), so discussion is based on the data and utilization of Estradiol (E2)

HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE

Growth hormone (HgH) is secreted by the pituitary gland (in the front part of the brain) and is taken into the liver and converted to a protein called somatomedin-C (commonly referred to as insulin-like growth factor one; IGF-1). It is the IGF-1 that is partially responsible for the growth hormone functions within the body.

HgH contributes to ongoing tissue repair, healing, cell rejuvenation, bone strength, brain function, enzyme production, and the integrity of hair, nails and skin.

The signs of HgH deficiency are the same as the signs of aging. Body composition shifts with an increase in fat and body weight and a decrease in muscle mass and overall energy. There is a decrease in bone mineralization (this leads to “soft” bones), vitality ebbs, and there is an increase in cardiovascular disease and overall mortality. There are also psychological deficits and impaired physical performance, poor sleep, and decreased social interaction.

Research indicates that daily supplementation of HgH may reverse symptoms of the aging process and restore a more youthful physiology (i.e. function) and conditioning. All major studies of HgH have documented improved body composition and function. There is a consistent improvement in muscle:fat ratio. There is a 10-20% decrease in fat and a 10% increase in muscle. There is also an increase in lipolysis (i.e. the breakdown of fat) with a concomitant decrease in cholesterol and triglycerides. There is an increase in exercise capacity, bone density, muscle mass and strength. There is an increase in cardiac output and overall cardiac function. There is increase in skin rejuvenation with an increase in collagen and elastin. There is a significant improvement in immunity which results in HgH’s longevity effects and anticancer effects.

MELATONIN

Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland (within the brain). It is a circadian rhythm (processes that follow a 24-hour cycle within the body) hormone that affects the patterns of sleep. Research has shown that the cells of the body rejuvenate and repair during the deeper stages of sleep (Stage III and IV); it is during these deeper stages of sleep that the body produces natural killer cells (CD4 cells). Because melatonin increases Stage III and IV sleep, it increases and enhances immunity. Improved sleep patterns serve to energize the body and improve mood.

Melatonin has powerful antioxidant effects which accounts for its disease prevention qualities. Melatonin has tremendous cancer prevention effects due to the enhancement of the immune system.

Melatonin deficiency results in poor sleep quality, jet lag, irritability, hypersensitivity, and premature aging.

PREGNENOLONE

Pregnenolone is a precursor to other hormones. It functions as a memory enhancer and is a factor in cellular repair, particularly in the brain and nervous tissues. Pregnenolone protects cerebral function and protects against neuronal injury.

PROGESTERONE

Progesterone is secreted by the ovaries and reduces symptoms of premature menstrual syndrome. It protects against uterine and breast cancers, osteoporosis, fibrocystic disease and ovarian cysts. It dramatically decreases the symptoms of menopause.

Unfortunately, most U.S. physicians prescribe synthetic versions, called progestins – progestins are NOT progesterone; the two should NEVER be seen as the same. The progestins cause significant side effects such as clotting, weight gain, bloating, headaches and fatigue; progestins void the protective effects of estradiol on the heart and blood vessels. The natural occurring progesterone must be prescribed to avoid the side effects of estrogen and protect against cancer (progesterone is apoptotic to cancer cells).

TESTOSTERONE

Testosterone is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, testes, and ovaries.

Testosterone contributes to muscle mass, strength and endurance, increase in exercise tolerance, decreased fat, enhancement of well-being and psychological status. Testosterone protects against cardiovascular disease, hypertension, increase in body fat, and arthritis. It leads to improved lean muscle mass, increased bone density, decrease in cholesterol, improved skin tone, improved healing capacity, and increased libido and sexual performance. It prolongs quality of life by decreasing the diseases of aging, as does estrogen in woman.

Testosterone is present and extremely important in woman as well as men, making supplementation absolutely recommended for men and women.

THYROID HORMONE

Thyroid hormone (thyroid is actually a set of hormones referred to as T1, T2, T3 and T4) is a metabolic hormone secreted by the thyroid gland that regulates temperature, metabolism and cerebral (brain) function. It contributes to energy levels and temperature regulation and body warmth. Thyroid hormone increases fat breakdown, resulting in weight loss as well as lowered cholesterol. It protects against cardiovascular disease and improves cerebral metabolism (i.e. brain metabolism). Thyroid hormone helps in preventing cognitive impairment. Thyroid hormone is probably the safest and most beneficial cholesterol lowering agent, yet it is infrequently used for this!

SUMMARY

The basics for optimal health and healthy longevity are: proper diet, nutritional supplementation, exercise, and hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacement therapy stops cellular degeneration and allows regeneration of tissue, healing and overall slowing (i.e. managing) of the aging process.

Hormones are not drugs. Hormones are natural substances that have existed in our bodies since conception. The doses of hormones taken in hormone replacement therapy should never exceed what your body has already been accustomed to in its younger years. Hormones caused no harm in the body at that time and, when restored to youthful levels, will continue to provide the health and vigor that one loses as they age. When hormones are taken as prescribed by physicians and monitored closely, they produce no negative side effects. When all the declining hormones are taken together in the correct doses, they work with each other to restore declining immunity which in turn helps protect the body against cancer.

Physical deterioration is not a requirement of growing older.

It is now possible to stop much of the undesirable aspects of aging as well as the symptoms and diseases associated with aging. Hormone replacement therapy is an updated science which has been shown to not only prolong life but to prolong the quality of one’s life.

At the preventative medicine clinic, we specialize in total hormone replacement regimens coupled with nutritional supplementation, which should be combined with diet and exercise, to achieve maximal benefits and deter (or mitigate) the aging process.

After a complete physical examination and laboratory evaluation, a personalized hormone supplementation program will be prescribed for you and monitored until optimal hormone levels have been achieved.

We would be pleased to answer any further questions by phone or in writing.

In Fitness and in Health,

Daniel S Bennett, MD, DABPM
Hormone Optimization / Metabolics Clinic

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