Age-related hormone symptoms can be frustrating. Nearly everyone experiences hormonal balance in their lifetime. This can be a result of puberty, menstruation, erectile dysfunction, menopause and external hormonal factors. But there are many more causes for hormonal imbalance. One of the most common is aging. While age-related hormones are natural, you don’t have to suffer through all the symptoms. If you’re experiencing symptoms or want to avoid them, you might try hormone optimization. Keep reading to learn more about hormone optimization and how to age gracefully.
What are Hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers that flow throughout the body. The endocrine system controls and produces hormones. Age-related hormone changes are natural. Most women enter menopause around age 51 on average, but this can depend on individuals. Likewise, men’s testosterone levels decrease about 1% every year after age 40. While these changes are natural, that doesn’t mean they can’t be controlled. Hormonal symptoms can be managed through hormone optimization.
Hormone optimization focuses on reaching your body’s optimal hormone levels. Optimal hormone levels are crucial for proper cellular function. Your hormone levels do not fall because you age; you age because your hormone levels fall. Hormone depletion can cause:
- Weight gain and loss of muscle mass
- Mood and concentration disorders
- Sexual problems
- Decreases in bone mass
- High cholesterol
- Elevated blood sugar
Hormone optimization determines whether you are at or below the optimal threshold. Then, a qualified doctor can determine what supplemental substances you should take for your lifestyle and age. Hormone replacement therapy – HRT – is the process of adding needed hormones to the body.
TurnerMD practices bio-identical hormone therapy. This means the hormone supplements are chemically identical to the natural hormones already found in the body.
Oxidation occurs when free radicals and antioxidants are imbalanced in the body. Free radicals are molecules that contain oxygen with uneven numbers of electrons. These uneven electron counts can react with other molecules to create oxidation.
To combat oxidation, you must consume antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that prevent cell damage by fighting free radicals. This not only helps normalize hormone levels but can also help your body fight disease. Examples of free radicals include Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) and more. These can be found in common foods such as:
- Sweet potatoes
Hormonal imbalances can increase inflammation, which can further affect hormone production. When your body over-produces substances like cortisol, it can cause chronic inflammation. This can affect hormones such as insulin. Other benefits include helping with rheumatoid arthritis, IBS and other autoimmune disease. Reduced inflammation can also help prevent heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Foods like refined carbohydrates, sodas, red meat, margarine and fried foods can increase inflammation. To combat inflammation, an anti-inflammatory can help. Anti-inflammatory diets are similar to the Mediterranean Diet rich in:
- High fiber plants
- Whole grains
- Plant-based proteins (nuts and beans)
- Leafy greens
- Colorful fruits and veggies
Enhance Mitochondrial Function
Do you remember your high school biology class? If you do, you might remember hearing mitochondria called the “powerhouse of the cell.” Mitochondria take in nutrients and create energy in the cells. This plays a vital role in creating hormones, namely female sex hormones. Mitochondrial dysfunction can particularly affect women through a reduction in estrogen production.
To enhance mitochondrial function, you should have a diet high in omega-3s and Alpha Lipoic Acid. ALA is an omega-3 acid. Omega-3 oils are found in fish oils such as salmon, tuna, herring, and sardines and can be taken as a supplement as well.
Get Adequate Sleep
As you age, sleep quality and duration often decline. Partly, this is due to decreasing hormone levels. Particularly, a decline in melatonin, progesterone and testosterone can affect sleep. Poor sleep is therefore both a symptom and cause of hormonal imbalance.
Studies have shown that inadequate sleep may contribute to hormonal changes. For example, decreased metabolism can lead to health problems like obesity. To get better sleep try to:
- Make a schedule
- Exercise regularly
- Create a good sleep environment
- Watch when you eat
- Manage stress and mental health
Studies have shown that you need to exercise hard enough to lose your breath 3 to 5 times a week. You can accomplish this by exercising for 20-30 minutes at moderate– or high–intensity levels. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise a week. Aerobic exercise should affect your breathing, but you should call 911 if you have prolonged trouble breathing or chest pain.
Another way to move more is to use a standing desk. Most people find themselves in a sedentary job, sitting most of the day. The negative health consequences from prolonged sitting are well-established. These can include poor posture, reduced fitness levels and more. A standing desk can help you avoid prolonged sitting and exercise your core muscles. For more tips, check out our top physical fitness tips post.
Optimize Hormone Levels
Whether you’re already experiencing age-related hormones or want to avoid them, hormone optimization may be right for you. Hormone optimization is a way to ensure hormone levels are at optimal levels to avoid symptoms of imbalance and aging. Diet plays a role in hormone optimization. Hormonal symptoms can be managed with an anti-inflammatory diet high in antioxidants and mitochondrial-promoting foods. Regular exercise and good sleep are also vital to good health.
Learn more about our bio-identical hormone replacement therapy program and membership.
TurnerMD is a direct primary care practice in Brentwood, Tennessee, led by Dr. David Turner. We proudly serve the Middle Tennessee region with men’s and women’s personalized preventive care and advanced bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. Call us today to learn more about our memberships.
Last reviewed Nov. 27, 2020