01 Jul Does Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Slow Down Aging?
When one considers using bioidentical hormones there are multiple factors to consider. For many women, the impetus is the varying degree of vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats) that can make one’s life miserable. For others, the impetus is “brain fog” which consists of problems focusing on difficult subjects, short-term memory loss, or some other brain problem which is not a normal condition for the individual. Still others are looking for the long-term cardiovascular, bone-preserving, colon cancer prevention, or brain-preserving effects. These and other effects of hormones which help prevent some chronic condition would reasonably be expected to extend life on the average. We also need to point out that aging affects not only our bodies, but our brains as well. No reasonable person would want to have a perfectly functioning body with few aches and pains in our 80’s to 90’s but at the same time suffer from dementia.
Another known effect of hormones could be considered a cosmetic issue. Women who replace estrogen tend to have fewer problems with aging skin such as fine wrinkles, paleness and dryness. Most of us know women who appear to be younger than their years. Some of these women are just genetically lucky, while others have supplemented hormones since they entered menopause. Also, low levels of testosterone contribute to thinning of skin, which makes it appear older.
For men, lower levels of testosterone (Andropause) contribute to muscle loss, elevated cholesterol, memory loss, and cardiovascular problems. While we can’t put off aging forever, one could make the case that if we replace testosterone, we could delay these signs of aging.
In a more general sense, the loss of hormones is a major contributing factor in initiating the aging process in both men and women. We know that the older we are, the lower the levels of all the hormones we make. If we look at just some of the known effects associated with loss of hormones such as osteoporosis, increased Alzheimer’s risk, increased colon cancer risk and elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, it becomes at least suspicious that this is the cause of many of our problems in aging. One could say that this loss of hormones is one of the primary reasons that we decline so much in our older years. So if we wish to add years to our life and have more life in those years, we should consider replacing those missing hormones in exactly the form our bodies have always made.