By: Maggie Ney, ND
Hormones are involved in every metabolic reaction in the body. As we age, hormones decline and we begin to feel less vital, more metabolically imbalanced and not quite like ourselves anymore. Men may start to gain weight around the middle, lose hair, have more difficulty maintaining and gaining muscle mass, and experience a lower sex drive. Women, in addition to experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats, will also experience a loss in muscle mass, weight gain, hair loss, lower libido, brain fog, and sleep issues. Let’s take a closer look some at some of the important hormones that decline during the aging process and how they affect our mind and body.
- Supports learning and ability to focus.
- Supports healthy serotonin levels (our “happy” hormone). A drop in estrogen is correlated with a drop in serotonin and, consequently, affects Melatonin production which is essential for optimal sleep.
- Support bone health by inhibiting bone loss.
- Supports heart health by relaxing and dilating blood vessels so blood can flow more freely. Estrogen also increases HDL (“good” cholesterol), reduces LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and neutralizes free radicals and lower oxidative damage to our vasculature.
- Skin elasticity (less estrogen means more wrinkles, sagging skin and thinning vaginal mucosa which can make intercourse painful).
- Supports a healthy bladder (a loss of estrogen can cause more UTIs and incontinence).
- Better blood glucose control and enhanced insulin sensitivity.
- Healthy weight.
- Protects the uterus and prevents against endometrial hyperplasia and uterine cancer when a woman is also being exposed to estrogen.
- Progesterone increases the effects of GABA a calming neurotransmitter and can help reduce anxiety. A lack of progesterone can increase feelings of anxiety and contribute to insomnia.
- Helps with sleep.
- Bone support by supporting bone growth.
- Blood pressure control through its diuretic effect.
- Supports healthy libido.
- Supports muscle mass and strength.
- Protects against cognitive impairment and dementia.
- Support muscle mass, strength and reduces risks of falls.
- Supports healthy bone mineral density.
- Supports healthy energy levels.
- Lower levels of DHEA is associated with more depressive symptoms.
- Lower sex hormones levels can increase cortisol levels (“our stress hormone”) which contribute to mid center weight gain, fatigue and cognitive decline.
- Thyroid gland tends to slow down with age and contribute to weight gain, slower metabolism, and depression.
- As sex hormones decline, we become more insulin resistant which increases the risk of developing diabetes and dementia and contributes to weight gain and mood disturbances.
As our lifespan increases with incredible medical advances, we are experiencing a longer time without hormones which are essential to feeling metabolically balanced and optimally healthy. At the Akasha Center, we focus on increasing everyone’s healthspan, not just their lifespan. Balanced hormones are a key component for optimal health and aging. With the right food, exercise, and sleep coupled with a healthy gut microbiome, supported detoxification systems and appropriate supplement protocol, many of the health problems associated with aging can be reversed. For those that need further support, we offer individualized bioidentical hormone protocols to give your body back the hormones that are lost with the aging process. At the Akasha we believe (and see first hand) that you can continue to age with energy, vitality and in metabolic balance.
Dr. Maggie Ney is Director of the Women’s Clinic at the Akasha Center and specializes in female hormone balancing and healthy aging. For more information about her practice or the Akasha Center, please visit akashacenter.com or call 310.451.8880.