Youth Hormones, Is It Real?
Since the beginning of time, it seems humans have been searching for the ‘fountain of youth.’ In the last 100 years, there have been lots of names associated with this ageless dream, the hormonal fountain of youth, hormones of youth, or youth-enhancing hormones. If you do not have a hormone deficiency, taking extra hormones is not going to be of any benefit.
The main hormones we are talking about when we say the “hormone of youth” are progesterone, estrogen, humans growth hormone (HGH), and dehydroepiandrosterone (aka DHEA which can become estrogen, testosterone and also works to help elevate progesterone levels)2 Clinical data indicate that estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and hGH play an important role in the human ageing process, and may slow down the ageing process and promote the so-called “successful aging”.2
When you are in perimenopause, menopause, or postmenopause, you can experience great relief from your symptoms, and slow aging by resupplying the hormones that are declining as you age. To put it simply, if you are a woman over the age of 35, you are likely suffering from a hormone imbalance, and you can likely benefit from hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
This is true for men as well. Males who are older, and have lower levels of testosterone, will likely experience a number of positive effects from taking testosterone. These include improved libido and erectile capacity, increasing strength and bone mineral density, and perhaps having a positive effect on their cognition.1,2 For women, the positive impacts of HRT can be far more obvious and can help to prevent long-term diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers.3,4
Aging is a complicated process, and like Bette Davis said nearly 100 years ago, “Getting old ain’t for wimps.” Who doesn’t want to live longer and age gracefully? But, if we want to live longer we should also try to look and feel good doing it! While we can’t reverse the aging process, we can slow it down. Hormone replacement therapy is regarded as a cornerstone of anti-aging efforts. Currently, women can expect to live about ⅓ -½ of their lives in a state of sex hormone deficiency (not enough estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone) if they don’t take hormone replacements. That is a huge problem.
Developmental Biology is the field that studies the lifelong process of aging that starts at conception. We know from this field of science that your hormones regulate nearly everything… from deciding your gender as a fetus, to the functioning of your organs and body systems throughout your life. We don’t mean just reproductive organs. Hormones regulate all of the systems ranging from your skin to your heart, your mood, and mental cognition.5 As we age it is expected that hormone levels will change, but sometimes the change is too dramatic and will cause symptoms and disease. We see this in both perimenopause and menopause.
The changes we observe in hormones aren’t always unidirectional (not always down). Sometimes when one hormone goes down, others will go up relatively. For example, as estrogen drops, you will see an increase in another hormone called cortisol. When cortisol increases, you can experience increased anxiety and even weight gain. So, the balance is what we are looking for. Not too much, and not too little of any one hormone. When these hormones are off-balance, the appearance of aging can occur very quickly, and long-term diseases can take root.
If we are lucky enough to grow old, we should wander down that path with joy and grace. Since human life expectancy is increasing every year, it is no wonder that there is now a greater focus than ever on finding a fountain of youth. Some claim to be able to identify your hormone levels by just looking at you; that it is so evident in your face they can diagnose it. I wouldn’t go that far, but in some ways, I agree.
The jowls from droopy and dry skin, lines on your face, and even thinning hair and brittle nails may be due to a dip in hormone levels – and the solution could be getting the levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone back to youthful levels again. No amount of cosmetic treatments can cover up the fact that your hormone levels affect how young you look and feel. HRT is an effective treatment for tackling symptoms of age.
Personalized hormone treatments. For you.
Key Hormones of Youth
So, what are the key hormones of youth? If you are peri- or menopausal, there are three (3) hormones that can help to make you look younger.
Menopause is just a continuation of the estrogen story. At puberty, women start to create more estrogen, and the levels will continue to increase through childbearing years. At perimenopause, estrogen levels begin falling. Women can expect to hit perimenopause by their late 30’s to early 40’s. By adding back the decreasing levels of estrogen, in combination with progesterone and testosterone therapy, you can help ease the symptoms of peri- and menopause and reduce the risk of other diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and many more.
Dwindling estrogen level is the largest contributor to dry eyes, dry skin, and fine lines around the mouth and on the forehead. Your skin also becomes thinner, because the levels of collagen and elastin also dip along with estrogen.
Estrogen deficiencies accelerate skin aging and can result in atrophic skin changes ( furrows and wrinkles, less skin elasticity, and skin that is dry or easily damaged). Estrogen is critical in regulating your skin’s physiology, targeting: keratinocytes (protects the skin layer from invasion), fibroblasts (think the connective structures that hold your skin firm), melanocytes (cells responsible for coloring think age spots), hair follicles, and sebaceous glands (your own lubricant and moisturizer), and improve, wound healing and immune responses.
All that being said, the hormone estrogen is responsible for making skin look younger. Estrogen not only affects your skin but also your muscle mass, metabolism, and energy levels.
Normal testosterone levels in women are responsible for many important physiologic properties. When testosterone levels drop the benefits of replacing the lost T are many. Testosterone levels in women help drive libido, sexual response, orgasm, and overall sexual satisfaction.6 Testosterone also helps improve lean muscle mass; these added muscles can increase metabolic rate and helps with weight loss.3 Replacing low testosterone to normal levels can also improve energy and decrease fatigue.6,7
Testosterone helps with brain function by improving concentration, clarity of thought, and overall cognition.6 Testosterone improves bone health and maybe breast protection.6,7,8 Finally, testosterone replacement to your normal youthful levels has an anti-aging component for skin, hair, and nails and has been shown to improve the overall quality of life and a general feeling of wellbeing.9
Progesterone’s main ‘job’ is to prepare a woman’s body for possible pregnancy during her reproductive years. But that’s not all that progesterone does; it also regulates a full cascade of hormonal events in your body.
It might surprise you to hear that progesterone acts as a natural antidepressant, and can enhance your mood and relieve anxiety. It actually stimulates the brain’s ‘feel-good,’ center. So it makes sense then that when progesterone levels drop with menopause, anxiety can become a major menopause symptom.5 Researchers have shown that progesterone appears to be the most potent anti-anxiety hormone for menopausal women.6,7
While there are many causes of anxiety – your kids, your job, or something else – progesterone hormone deficiency is the main factor leading to moodiness, brain fog, and depression during menopause.
Skin aging, as well as decreases in muscle, bone density, sexual desire, and intellectual activity, can lead to mood disorders osteoporosis, cognitive decline, dementia, heart problems, and painful sex. Progesterone can directly contribute to longevity, and lead to a significant improvement in your quality of life.10,11
Progesterone’s effects on another hormone, insulin, can help both with weight loss and longevity. Too much insulin is known to speed up the aging process. Progesterone can reverse insulin’s effects and slow the aging that you may be noticing. By helping to control stress, progesterone can again be considered an anti-aging hormone.
Human Growth Hormone
Human growth hormone (hGH) is a hormone produced in a tiny gland called the pituitary gland located at the base of your brain, just behind your nose. Even though it is about the size of a bean, the pituitary gland influences nearly every part of your body. The pituitary gland produces hormones that help regulate everything from bone and muscle growth to blood pressure and reproduction. However, as we get older, the hGH production begins to decline.
When we produce the appropriate amount of HGH in our youth, we are blessed with a youthful body. But as we age, the levels of HGH steadily drop and you will notice those changes not only as you look in the mirror, but also even as you try to concentrate. With decreased HGH, you will notice the decline of youthful attributes such as:
Good muscle mass
High energy levels
You can see why the HGH hormone is often referred to as the fountain of youth, with wide-ranging benefits that can also affect how well you sleep.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
If you are concerned about your hormone levels and the effect they have on how you look and feel, you can try Winona today to get your hormone levels back on track. If you do have low levels of one or more hormones, then estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone therapy are possible treatment methods to help you look and feel great.
Anti-aging medical specialists at Winona are using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, or youth hormones, to regulate hormone levels in patients with age-related hormone imbalances. These youth-enhancing hormones are a more natural way to feel young again. At Winona, we optimize your health and well-being by addressing your hormone imbalances that contribute to signs of aging. Our wellness services include bioidentical hormone therapy for women.
We create customized treatment plans to help reverse the effects of aging. Login now to bywinona.com
“This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.”
MF. Sowers, et. al., “Testosterone Concentrations in Women Aged 25 – 50 Years: Associations with Lifestyle, Body Composition, and Ovarian Status,” American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol 153, Issue 3, 2001, 256-264
S Bolour and G Braunstein, “Testosterone Therapy in Women: a Review,” International Journal of Impotence Research, 17, 2005, 399-408
Davison, S.L., et. al, “Androgen Levels in Adult Females: Changes with Age, Menopause, and Oophorectomy.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Vol 90, Issue 7, 2005, 3847-3853