Hormone Management

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Hormone Management

Keeping hormone production near youthful levels appears to slow the aging process dramatically. Several strategies are presented to accomplish this.
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Hormones drive most bodily functions; learn how to manipulate your hormones to stimulate the fat-burning, anti-aging hormones while suppressing those that make you fat, sick, tired and old before your time.

The endocrine system manufactures, monitors and controls your hormone levels, and those levels determine how strong your bones are, how much muscle or fat your carry around, how well you think and how well you resist disease. There has been lots of information in the public eye lately on the major hormones of the human physiology. Testosterone and estrogen are hot topics, mostly involving synthetic, non-human-identical versions of them, and the risk of cancer associated with women taking them to relieve symptoms of menopause, or men using them to correct “ED”. We have been inundated with mostly misinformation about cholesterol and triglycerides for decades. Suddenly there is much news about syndrome X, or metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, and some understanding that rising levels of cortisol is a factor in aging. But, making sense of all this disparate information is nearly impossible because it is conflicting, complex and confusing.

There is, however, a simple way to break it down: If you want a well-muscled body with strong bones and minimal fat hanging on it, then you want to optimize your anabolic hormone operation and reduce your catabolic hormone influence. Strangely, this also helps you think better, feel more energetic and positive, and makes you more resistant to disease. There are many published strategies for doing this, and many of them are close to the whole truth, but for one reason or another, they seem to work for a while then become too much of a burden to adhere to.
Strategies for Hormone optimization:

Hormone management can be roughly broken into two strategies. The first is to eat, exercise and take supplements that enhance your own hormone production and optimization. The second involves directly supplementing with bio-identical hormones. In either case, you really don’t know where you stand with hormone levels and balance unless you test them relatively often. Because hormone levels and ratios make you more or less susceptible to cancer and other diseases associated with hormone imbalance, it is prudent to pay the money and find out the levels of the significant hormones and their metabolites, particularly as we get older. In your youth, exercise and nutrition will work to keep you fit and trim, because the natural hormone levels of youth, especially if you eat correctly and exercise enough. As we enter our thirties, anabolic hormone production starts to decline. Then it becomes important to increase the muscle-building types of exercise that boost testosterone production and act to preserve or increase muscle mass and bone mass. In our 40s and 50s, we need to add supplements that boost growth hormone, anabolic hormones and combat stress. Examples of these are; GH secretagogue formulations for increasing growth hormone output, tribulus, yohimbe, muira puama, ginseng, pygeum, catuba and horny goat weed for boosting anabolic hormones, and rhodiola for stress resistance. DHEA is a substrate for the other sex/anabolic hormone production, so this age-range is an appropriate age to begin using it on a regular basis. With all bio-identical hormones, a trans-dermal formulation is the better way to assimilate them without a first-pass through the liver; this lets more unmodified hormone into the blood stream, without losses through and stress of our livers. In our fifties, sixties and beyond, for men, it becomes important to block conversion of testosterone to DHT and to estrogens and their metabolites that can promote prostate growth and prostate cancer. Personally, I have used a combination of the prescription drug Avodart for blocking DHT production and the bodybuilding product Attitude from SAN to block estrogen conversion. SAN replaced Attitude with another product Myo-Test, and this has worked well also. This strategy is a bit like shooting in the dark, but it has worked well for me in terms of supporting normal sexual function and strength building. It has allowed me to not just hang on to muscle mass, but actually build a better, stronger body into my 70s than I had in my 50s. I believe the best way to approach this whole issue of hormone management is with the help of an MD or ND fully experienced in this practice. That leaves you about 1-2% of the medical practitioners to select from (in my experience), and perhaps even less if you live in the Los Angeles CA area. Most doctors write this off as an area of quackery and depend only on pharmaceutical drugs which manage diseases, but almost never cure them. Search the listings of anti-aging and life extension doctors to find one near you, and verify their credentials with professional organizations promoting this type of medicine (http://www.worldhealth.net/ and http://www.lef.org/ are two sites with listings). I have been looking for a knowledgeable doctor in the LA area, and I will probably give him/her my business in the near future.

Educate yourself regarding the impact of aging on the endocrine system:

If you accept the premise that the aging process inextricably manifests a decrease in hormone production by nearly all the endocrine system’s elements, the question still remains whether this is a symptom of aging or a primary cause? There is plentiful evidence that it is some of both. Strategies that improve hormone outputs in favorable directions seem to retard at least the perception of aging, and I would argue that they retard the actual process. All these glands interact, and a deficit in any one will impact the operation of the others. Basically, the first part of the system that starts to falter will start bringing the others down. An example would be hypothyroidism. There are many causes for that condition, and degrees of that condition, but one cause that seems to be nearly epidemic in the USA is a deficiency of Iodine. The thyroid needs iodine to function at all, and maybe as much as 5-10 mg/day to function optimally. The level isn’t known for sure, but there are many physicians who use these levels to ‘fix’ the condition naturally. When thyroid output is too low there is a bodily sense of chronic fatigue. The adrenal glands see this as a stress, and start ramping up cortisol production. Cortisol is an agent of inflammation – used to break down proteins in damaged tissue for repair, so inflammation levels throughout the body rise. The liver sees this as something needing repair, and starts raising LDL cholesterol levels to boost sex hormone production, and lowers HDL to keep the cholesterol levels in the tissues higher because it is needed for repair of nearly every membrane and cell wall in the body. The pancreas increases insulin levels to get more glucose into the tissues for energy production. Over time this irritates the blood vessels and plaque buildup occurs and endothelial malfunction worsens, blood pressure rises chronically, etc., all because we didn’t get enough iodine on a chronic basis. In the meantime the pituitary is banging out Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and becoming exhausted in the effort. At some point the adrenal glands (or another gland) becomes exhausted and fails, and you are on the way to a rapid downhill slide. In addition to nutritional deficiencies, the endocrine system is also very susceptible to enviro-toxins and especially heavy metal contamination. Most MDs or NDs working in the field of endocrine health will measure heavy metal levels and toxin levels as the first step in the process of healing the patient, and start a detox program to reduce or eliminate toxic materials as the first step. Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, M.D. of Seattle feels that everyone should be on a life-long detox program; contaminants are that present in today’s living environment.

We at Seniorfitness.com hope to bring you information that leads to useful strategies for optimizing the anabolic, anti-aging hormone levels and balance. This we know – at every age you can eat right and exercise appropriately to gain muscle, build strength, lose fat, think better and become more resistant to disease. Check this page often for latest in understanding how to make it happen for you.

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