Hormones as the Key to Vitality
While the answer to this question is easy, the way to achieve the outcome can be more complicated (if you don’t know what to focus on to do so).
Today we are here to provide an answer. And, that answer has been available to you since birth. It has been inside of you your entire life. The truth is that the key to your vitality is in your hormones.
Hormones can either push us up or drag us down, depending on their levels and interaction. It’s then essential to optimize hormones, so they can work for us and not against us.
Below is an example of how hormones affect your health:
More and more often, we are hearing from parents who are testifying to how they do not understand why their teenagers (or young adult children) do not have the same drive and motivation they once had while in their youth. Many suspect the problem is a generational issue. “Kids have it too good now’” they say.
Obviously, there are some generational and lifestyle differences. But this lack of drive is most likely justified by an unbalanced hormonal (aka: endocrine) system.
Male Testosterone Levels Are Declining
Studies show that men’s testosterone levels have been declining for decades, even in young adults. Researchers have found that men’s testosterone levels in the USA have been declining by about 1% per year since the 1980s. This means, for example, that a young adult male in 2040 will have about 40% less testosterone than his father had at that same age. That’s almost half of the testosterone levels he was intended to have by nature. This research conclusion is seriously alarming.
Why are male hormone levels dropping? We definitely can justify this with the lifestyle changes brought on by modern day life. Men are less likely to hold jobs in manual labor (as they did in generations before), and they experience higher levels of stress. Some researchers also theorize that there are other contributing factors involved, such as increased temperatures in homes and offices; lack of exercise; and even tighter underwear. Nevertheless, the most important factor to consider is the increased exposure to endocrine disruptors, such as pesticides, parabens, and chemicals which are commonly found in household products (i.e. phthalates and bisphenol A. ).
Why Testosterone is Important for Both Men and Women
Some may believe that testosterone is only important to have drive and build muscle. After all, that’s what “T” is known for on the street. However, testosterone is incredibly important for many bodily functions for both men and women. That is correct, women are affected by testosterone levels as well. Ladies produce testosterone in the ovaries and adrenal glands. Testosterone is thought to have important effects on ovarian function, bone strength, and behavior.
In both men and women, testosterone is important for proper function of the reproductive system; healthy skin and hair; strong muscles and bones; fat metabolism; cardiovascular health; proper central nervous system function; and levels of energy and motivation. As we often say here at BIOHAX, testosterone is the ultimate hustler’s serum.
The same way we discussed testosterone, we could also talk about cortisol, estrogen, dopamine, growth hormone, insulin, oxytocin, progesterone, serotonin, thyroxine, and triiodothyronine. All of these impact your overall vitality. It is essential that they are all in balance and at the right quantity within your body for you to perform at your best (and to live a long healthy life).
Peptide Hormone (IGF-1)
esides the hormones mentioned above, we also have the less known peptide hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). This peptide hormone is another key player in unlocking our vitality. IGF-1 increases from when we are born until we are about 30 years old. From this point on, production declines significantly.  The older we are, the less IGF-1 we secrete.
In reality, we could make the same comment about most of the above hormones. As you age, there are substantial hormonal changes. The older we get, the less of these hormones we have. Alternatively, we might consider another “chicken or egg” dilemma. Is it possible that we are aging because our hormone levels are declining, and not the other way around?
Let’s get back to IGF-1. As the name suggests, insulin-like growth factor-1 can replicate some functions of insulin. And it plays an important role in your metabolic health. The better your metabolism is, the more energy you have, and the better your brain runs. Two key components to measure vitality.
Research shows that IGF-1 is partially responsible for the cardiovascular system’s development and protection. It acts as an antioxidant, fights inflammation, and promotes vasodilation (aka: widening of the blood vessels) to increase blood flow and bring more nutrients and oxygen to all parts of the body. It’s no surprise that low levels of IGF-1 are associated with low energy, vitality and mood.
This peptide hormone is also known for its roles in our sense of smell, neuron synapses, bone growth and mineralization, cell growth, cell differentiation, and cell death. Can you see how important it is to have optimum levels of this superstar hormone?
It’s important to note that some studies show that high IGF-1 levels increase the risk of cancer, some show the exact opposite. In fact, this pattern of inconclusive findings repeats itself when researching about most hormones and their optimization through hormonal replacement.
Should we be concerned? Not really. Below explains why.
Most cancers have a higher incidence later in life, when hormones are actually declining. This means that your hormones might even have cancer protective effects. So why are some studies showing that increasing these hormones in the body can cause cancer? Well, that can be because some researchers are not using bioidentical hormones.
Bioidentical hormones, as the name suggests, are chemically identical to those our bodies produce naturally. On the other hand, hormones used in traditional hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) are made from the urine of pregnant horses, the pancreas of pigs and cows, and other synthetic hormones.
While we need more research to further explain how these “replica” hormones interact in our body, it’s easy to understand how our immune system can perceive these foreign agents as threats and promote inflammation.
The major takeaway is that if you want to perform at your best, your body has to have the right quantity of the right hormones.
- Low Motivation
- Decreased energy
- Low sex drive
- Lack of concentration
- Skin and hair issues
Your hormones are most likely off balance. A way to find out is to visit your physician and get them checked.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can optimize your hormonal health, so you can feel and perform at your best, click here to speak with us. We would love to help!
Marcos de Andrade MD, MBA Biohax