Hormone levels inevitably decline as a man or woman ages. Production of hormones by the body tends to decline — and become imbalanced — as we age, and as a result we begin to feel less well and less vigorous.
Hormone replacement therapy is designed to replenish the hormones that you need to feel good and function at your best!
Hormone deficiencies occurs when the production of natural hormones decline in aging adults sometime after the age of 30. Menopause in women and andropause in men are terms for medical conditions that are usually associated with low and imbalanced hormone levels.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is the process by which vital hormones like human growth hormone, estrogen and testosterone are replaced on a prescribed schedule to mimic the body’s natural process.
Hormone replacement is natural — usually plant-based — substances that have an identical molecular structure and chemical composition as the hormones naturally produced by your body.
By contrast, synthetic hormones have intentionally different molecular structures: drug companies can’t patent a molecule produced naturally by the human body, so they design synthetic hormones that are molecularly different and therefore patentable — Premarin, Prempro, and Provera being the most obvious and widely prescribed examples of products containing synthetic hormones.
Hormones You Need to Know
Estrogen stimulates the growth of tissue, such as development of breast and reproductive organs, and ensures their function. In the brain, it boosts the synthesis and function of neurotransmitters that affect sleep, mood, memory, libido, and cognitive factors such as learning and attention span.
Estrogen decreases the perception of pain, preserves bone mass, and increases HDL – the good cholesterol. It also preserves the elasticity and moisture content of the skin, dilates blood vessels, and prevents plaque formation in blood vessel walls.
The most potent form of estrogen made by the ovaries, adrenals and fat cells when older. Estradiol affects the functions of most of the body’s organs.
The weakest and least active form of estrogen primarily functioning during pregnancy.
Progesterone is made primarily by the ovaries. The adrenal glands, peripheral nerves, and brain cells produce lesser amounts. Progesterone ensures the development and function of the breasts and female reproductive tract. In the brain, progesterone binds to certain receptors to exert a calming, sedating effect. It improves sleep and protects against seizures.
Progesterone is also a diuretic. It enhances the sensitivity of the body to insulin and the function of the thyroid hormones. It builds bone and benefits the cardiovascular system by blocking plaque formation in the blood vessels and lowering the levels of triglycerides. Progesterone also can increase libido and contribute to the efficient use of fat as a source of energy.
Testosterone is manufactured in women by the ovaries and adrenal glands, enhances libido and sexual response. It strengthens ligaments, builds muscle and bone, assists brain function, and is associated with assertive behavior and a sense of well-being. The level of testosterone influences both stamina and restful sleep. It has a protective effect against cardiovascular disease in both men and women.
DHEA is made primarily by the ovaries and adrenal gland. Smaller amounts are produced in the skin and brain. DHEA is the most abundant circulating hormone. It provides protection against the effects of physical stress and inflammation.
DHEA can also increase libido and sexual arousal. It improves motivation, engenders a sense of well-being, decreases pain, and enhances immune system function.
DHEA facilitates the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep, enhances memory, and assists in maintaining normal cholesterol levels. DHEA can be converted in into estrogen and testosterone through fat, muscle, bone and liver.
Cortisol is made by the adrenal glands. It regulates the immune response, stimulates the production of glucose, aids short-term memory, and helps the body adapt to stress by increasing heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure.
The level of cortisol increases early in the morning to prepare to meet the demands of the day. It gradually decreases throughout the day and reaches its lowest point late in the evening (a pattern known as “circadian rhythm”).
Pregnenaloneis the precursor (building-block) for all other steroid hormones. It is converted directly into DHEA and/or progesterone. DHEA converts to testosterone and estrogens. Additionally, progesterone converts to estrogens, cortisol, and aldosterone.
It is this succession of conversions that makes human life possible. Withoutpregnenolone, there can be no human steroid hormone production. Made from cholesterol, pregnenolone is a natural steroid hormone produced primarily in the adrenal glands, but in smaller amounts by many other organs and tissues of the human body, including liver, brain, skin, gonads, and even the retina of the eye. Like many health-promoting hormones, levels of pregnenolone drop with age.