Hormones such as estrogen and testosterone play a crucial role in many biologic processes ranging from sexual characteristics to mood, bone strength, muscle strength, metabolism, and obesity. In both men and women, testosterone and estrogen are present, with lower levels present in men compared to women and vice versa. In fact, although at lower levels, women actually have more testosterone than estrogen. As we age, these levels begin to decline starting as early as age 30, with a sharp decrease in levels by age 50-60. Symptoms of deficiency can manifest with increased weight, loss of muscle mass, fatigue, mood changes, increased blood sugars, and sexual side effects developing. Studies have shown that low hormone levels as we age increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weak bone, and even dementia.
Factors that can help maintain healthy hormone levels include diets encompassing lean protein, limited processed foods, sugars, and simple carbohydrates. Regular exercise, muscle strengthening, improving sleep, decreasing stress and cortisol (stress hormone) in body are all beneficial for hormone levels.
Hormone replacement options after appropriate work-up and blood testing can be done using topically absorbed creams, topical patches, injections, and small pellets placed under the skin. Pellet therapy provides a more steady state of hormone release over many months.
Although not everyone needs hormones, a comprehensive and individualized approach to health care is needed to help optimize our quality of life. As I have mentioned before, Longevity (years we are active doing what we want) is ultimately more important than Life Span (how long we live regardless of quality).
As a physician, my goal at Ultra Wellness Medical is to personalize care for each patient, including optimization of hormone levels with bioidentical hormone formulations when needed based on labs, symptoms, and always with the patient's goals in mind.