When we talk about hormones, people often just think about male or female sex hormones however, the human body secrets and circulates some 50 different hormones and the crucial role they play in our overall health is often overlooked. We will touch very briefly on this subject in this article along with the subject of menopause and andropause (male menopause).
What is the role of hormones in the human body?
Hormones are the chemical messengers that our body’s need to tell our cells what to do.
There are numerous hormones that affect our systems such as cortisol, the stress hormone, insulin which controls blood sugars which is very inflammatory to the body in high levels and thyroid hormones that can affect mood, energy and weight. All these hormones are part of what we call the endocrine system and a deficiency or imbalance in anyone of them can also have a negative impact on the other hormones.
The Endocrine Glands. The endocrine system is composed of nine specialised glands (the pituitary, the thyroid, the four parathyroids, the two adrenals and the thymus) and a number of organs capable of producing hormones (including the pancreas, heart, kidneys, ovaries, testicles and intestines). The hypothalamus, which is not a gland but a nerve centre, also plays a major role in the synthesis of hormonal factors.
Hormone balance is deeply connected to the nutrition and toxins we absorb, the exercise we get, the weight we carry, and the stress levels we put up with. How these multiple factors impact the overall hormone picture is crucial, particularly at midlife. If stress takes centre stage in our lives and becomes chronic, cortisol floods the system and total hormone production lags. This forces the body to steal from its own supplies of available progesterone, to make more cortisol, thus depleting this key balancing hormone with obvious implications for oestrogen dominance. Prolonged stress tears up our bones, melts our muscles, robs us of strength and energy, lowers our libido and overwhelms our immune system, putting us at serious risk for chronic illness and autoimmune disease.
The bottom line: when our adrenals get run down, we get run down. Supporting them with enough rest, exercise, and good nutrition is vital in maintaining hormone balance and long-term health.
The one thing all these hormones have in common is that they all pretty much work until you die. However this is not so for the hormones most involved in the aging process: oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Unfortunately they take a permanent vacation when women enter menopause and men begin andropause (male menopause). But just because they leave doesn’t mean you don’t need them anymore.
Men and Menopause: Male menopause or andropause has been best described by Morales and Lunenfeld as a “biochemical syndrome associated with advancing age and characterized by a progressive deficiency in serum androgen levels (hence andropause) with or without a decreased genomic sensitivity to androgens. It may result in significant alterations in the quality of life and adversely affect the function of multiple organ-systems.” In other words it occurs as a result of a progressive decrease in testosterone levels which can have a very adverse effect in men who normally start decreasing testosterone levels after the age of 30 with a more rapid deterioration after the age of 50.
Because the onset of andropause is gradual and many of its symptoms mirror those associated with medications or disease states common in the elderly, a clinical diagnosis can be difficult to make.
The symptoms include a reduction in muscle mass with the resulting strength alteration, a decrease in lean body mass and increase in fat mass, decreased libido and erectile dysfunction, increased osteoporosis, mood changes, reduction in cognitive functions, decrease in bone mineral density, decreased body hair and skin thickness, a reduced energy and sense of well-being, irritability and depression along with an impaired quality of sleep.
Women and Menopause: Imbalances of the hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone can lead to many uncomfortable experiences, like night sweats, hot flushes, mood swings, depression and anxiety. (Yes women also need testosterone) The most common decline seen in menopausal and post-menopausal women is oestrogen. When oestrogen levels become unbalanced, women may experience symptoms such as low libido, bone loss and weight gain. The bone loss that women experience due to declining oestrogen levels can lead to osteoporosis and increase the likelihood of bone fractures.
More and more women over the age of 50 are suffering from conditions known as Post-Menopausal Osteoporosis and are more prone to heart disease, stroke and cancer. Not so long ago (three generations at most) many, if not most, women did not live much past menopause. Among all the primates, only the chimpanzee and humans live more than a few months after her last offspring has been reared. In nature menopause is virtually unknown and unnatural.
The medical mainstreams answer for this problem in women is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) which comes with a laundry list of side effects and can do more harm than good. Say what you will about drug companies, they are good at one thing: coming up with ways to sell products that we don’t need or that are patently dangerous, requiring us to use more stuff we don’t need to fix the problem caused by taking the stuff we didn’t need in the first place.
It is always better to use all natural nutrients which can help support and balance healthy hormone production rather than synthetic substitutes which often have dangerous side effects. Youngevity has two specific products especially formulated to support men and women facing menopause and andropause problems.
For females: Youngevity developed an all new approach to female oestrogen and hormone balance and specifically formulated XeraFem which does not contain hormones but rather helps to nutritionally restore oestrogen by nutritionally rejuvenating the tissues and systems that are responsible for hormone production while promoting better health and hormone activity without the use of risky Hormone Replacement Therapy. XeraFem is also a powerful supporting defence against the oxidative stresses responsible for causing aging.
XeraFem’s formula includes:
- Maca (300mg) – known as the women’s energizer, Libido booster and fountain of youth. Research has shown its capability to improve total hormonal balance
- Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis root) –an ancient Chinese herb known to support women’s health
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale root) – has been used worldwide to aid with menstrual cramps
- Damiana (Turnera diffusa var. aphrodisiaca whole herb) – used for women’s health and has been shown to balance female hormone levels
- L-Arginine & L-Histidine – free form amino acids necessary for healthy hormone production and balance
For males: Youngevity brings us XeraTest which brings together the most powerful, scientifically researched nutrients for the ultimate hormone free, all natural testosterone support. It addresses the physiological mechanisms that often suffer from specific antioxidant and nutritional deficiencies in men in order to support healthy testosterone production. It promotes better vitality, strength, stamina, endurance, energy, mood, sexual function, brain function and is a powerful defence against the oxidative stresses of aging.
It has an all-natural supply of high-quality vitamins, minerals and botanicals which includes:
- Furan-T Fenugreek extract (300mg) – a natural source of saponins. Fenugreek may significantly promote testosterone production while improving numerous other indicators of healthy male reproductive function
- T-Nutrient Blend (200mg) – includes Tribulus terrestris which has been found popular among natural body builders and other athletes. The nutrients in Tribulus terrestris are associated with an increase in a cascade of hormone producing pathways
– Suzanne Somers (American actress, author, singer, business woman and well known health spokes person)
Have another fantastic health filled day crusaders
90 For Life Australia