A New Paradigm in Modern Medicine
Conventional medicine has always held the belief that aging is inevitable and that its progressive deterioration cannot be altered. Fortunately, there is an exciting revolution in science and medicine that identifies aging as a disease. We are now entering a new era in mainstream medicine that focuses on the prevention of the aging process rather than simply the treatment of aging symptoms.
One of the most important preventative therapies in this new paradigm of care is hormone supplementation. Because many physicians assume that age-related hormonal declines are natural, the medical community as a whole, has been very slow to offer hormone replacement therapy to the aging community. However, researchers from around the world have now shown that a hormonal deficiency associated with aging is no different from that of a younger person with a hormonal imbalance, and should be treated as deftly and as quickly as other hormonal related complications and diseases.
Clinical studies have demonstrated that DHEA has a beneficial effect on immune response, sex drive, metabolism and emotional stability. Its effect on the immune system via distribution of stress hormones and its use as a powerful antioxidant demonstrate potent age-resisting capabilities. Other health-related benefits, including support of cognitive function, help the body cope with stress and protect against heart disease through its effects on lipids and body fat.
Failure of memory and lack of mental clarity can be among the most frustrating aspects of aging. Studies indicate that pregnenolone might be beneficial against age-related cognitive decline. Nicknamed the "mother hormone," pregnenolone is a precursor and necessary building block to DHEA, which in turn can convert to testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.
This metabolic hormone secreted by the thyroid gland regulates temperature, metabolism and cerebral function, which generate energy and warmth. Insufficient thyroid levels result in fatigue, increased cholesterol levels and increased risk of coronary artery disease. With age, thyroid hormone levels gradually decline resulting in a decreased metabolism, which effects all cells and organs. Low thyroid causes low energy, loss of motivation and thinning hair, skin and nails.
Estrogen and Progesterone
As the first commonly replaced hormone, estrogen has experienced a bumpy ride over the last four decades. Conclusions of studies, like the Women's Health Initiative, have left women scared and vulnerable after menopause. The WHI study only focused on the synthetic non-biologically identical hormones which can have negative effects on the female body. Bio identical estrogen mimics exactly what the body makes. It is essential for muscle tone, skin smoothness, hair texture and sex drive. It may also help deter osteoporosis, Alzheimer's and heart disease. Bio identical progesterone (exactly the molecule your body produces) should always be viewed as the life-long partner of estrogen. They balance each other out and work synergistically to promote optimal female health. Progesterone helps stimulate bone growth, healthy heart function and boosts mood and well-being.
Although testosterone is the primary male hormone, women also benefit from its supplementation. Levels of testosterone decline with age in men and women. At optimal levels, testosterone increases bone density and bone formation, enhances energy and sex drive, decreases body fat, increases muscle strength, lowers blood pressure and modulates cholesterol levels. Testosterone is an essential hormone that neither men nor women should be without as they age.
Melatonin regulates the circadian rhythm as well as the deep stage of sleep. Studies suggest that the immune system is stimulated during these periods of deep rest. In the January, 1997 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, melatonin was praised as a powerful antioxidant and a potential anti-cancer agent. In light of hundreds of studies showing that melatonin can scavenge free radicals, induce youthful sleep patterns and possibly slow the aging process, it's a perfect candidate for the anti-aging roster.
Human Growth Hormone
Growth hormone is the most abundant hormone produced by the pituitary gland. However, after the age of thirty, HGH declines at a rate of 14% per decade. Studies have shown that supplementation of HGH increases positive changes in body composition, increases bone mass, improves cardiac function and exercise ability, enhances skin texture and improves wound healing. This hormone has the potential to support the body's healing from the deterioration associated with the aging process.
How and Why We Age
Over the last 50 years, research in the fields of endocrinology and immunology has improved our knowledge as to how and why we age. Communication between the nervous, endocrine and immune systems makes it possible for us to adapt and survive in our environment and hormones are the messengers between these systems. Hormones are molecules that are released into the blood stream and exert biochemical effects on receptor sites to regulate our body's temperature, reproduction, growth, aging and immune functions. As messengers of the central nervous system, hormones instruct our internal organs on how to function. Unfortunately, both men and women experience a drop in these life sustaining hormones as they age.
Hormonal Deficiency Symptoms
• Weight Gain • Loss of Muscle Mass • Degenerative Diseases (Diabetes, Cancer, Heart Disease, Osteoporosis) • A Compromised Immune System • Wrinkling and Thinning of the Skin • Depression and Stress • Cognitive Decline • Insulin Resistance • Loss of Sex Drive • Fatigue • Sleep Disorders
Replenishment of these hormones to optimal, physiological levels (within normal limits and not to excess) has been shown to alleviate these age-related changes.
How Hormones Fit Into the Aging Process
Hormones are molecules that are manufactured in the endocrine glands, which include adrenal glands, testes, ovaries, thyroid, pituitary, and pineal glands. As the body ages, the levels of hormones diminish. In addition, the specific hormone receptor sites in the cells tend to change with age and become less sensitive and more resistant to hormone stimulation, resulting in a decrease in cellular function, cellular repair, protein synthesis and cell reproduction. All in all this results in the signs and symptoms of aging that may be reversed by replacing hormones to optimal levels.
As the levels of hormones decline so do our physical and mental capabilities. We lose our energy, vitality, strength, physique and health. The deterioration seen in normal aging results in osteoporosis, coronary artery disease, muscle atrophy, sleep disorders, depression, mood disorders and decreased sociability. Much of this is caused by a decrease in hormones. By restoring these hormones to their youthful levels, it is now possible to restore our zeal and energy, and to strengthen and bolster our bodies as well as our minds. We can improve and reverse many of the symptoms and signs that we have come to associate with aging. We can also regain our youthful resilience, which protects us from the stressors of daily life.
Biologically Identical Hormones
Structure is everything when it comes to hormone replacement therapy. Natural, biologically identical hormones mimic the shape and function of our own endogenous hormones. The body treats and processes them the same way it has processed its natural hormones for years. They are safer, with fewer sides effects, and have been found to have a rejuvenating and proactive effect.
Unfortunately many of the hormones regularly prescribed are not identical to those found in the human body. These hormones may somewhat resemble our own hormones and may accomplish some of the same tasks, but they are a far cry from what the body is used to and needs. As the body works to metabolize these foreign substances, it may produce toxic by-products, which can cause a wide array of side effects like bloating, mood swings, water retention and more serious problems such as cancer and heart disease.
In light of this, patients should insist on prescriptions for biologically identical hormones only. The quality of life as you age depends heavily on the quality of hormones you take.
It is important to note that proper replacement of hormones involves replenishing all of the deficient hormones back to optimal, more youthful levels utilizing only biologically identical hormones. Which hormones to replenish, how much to replenish, and how to adjust the hormones is the art and science of this new specialty of hormone replacement therapy. We applaud you for taking the first step; now let us help you achieve the quality of life you desire and deserve.
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A Personal Program For A Healthy Lifestyle
Dr. Molly Mears, Enlighten's Medical Director and team, will conduct an initial consultation with you and draw blood for testing. Based on the result of these and other evaluations, Dr. Molly Mears will formulate an optimal hormone replacement regimen that is specifically tailored to your needs.
Your personalized program will include prescriptions and recommendations for appropriate dietary supplements, exercise and proper nutritional guidelines designed to restore your hormones and quality of aging to optimal levels. This preventive medicine program is designed to help you feel, function and live your best while preventing age related decline in health. With optimal bio identical hormone replacement, the focus is on a healthy quality of life year after year for years to come.
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