Hormones & Health

It’s not your lifespan that counts… It’s your healthspan...
Women’s Hormones Defined
How they work and why we need them

Hormones are molecular messages. They manage important processes in all body systems. Reproductive functions are a top priority for the success of the human race and in women, estradiol and progesterone are the major hormones in a healthy reproductive system. Women also produce the androgen hormone testosterone, an important hormone from the ovary that drives reproduction.

The role of hormones in health

From puberty until the beginning of menopause (aka perimenopause), the role of sex hormones in a women’s health is about driving reproduction. In general, healthy young adult women have high levels of ovarian hormones compared to menstruating women forty or older. As a woman ages, those levels slowly decline.

When a woman reaches perimenopause, the ovaries are producing much less of the sex hormones. Initially, ovulation starts to sputter: estrogen is low and progesterone may be low or non-existent during some cycles. During these times, the body leans on the adrenal glands to make androgens (which convert into estrogens in fat deposits). Later, these fat deposits are the post-menopause source of estrogens - mostly estrone.

Menopause is the permanent loss of a woman’s sex hormone system. Metabolic imbalance, which results from this loss, can lead to many degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and dementia -- unless the sex hormone system is restored appropriately.  How we age, and whether we become impacted by metabolic imbalance can be affected by a variety of factors such as genetics, environmental exposures, poor nutrition, lifestyle habits and loss or decline of any hormone system.

HORMONES FACTS

The monthly fluctuation of estrogen in a woman’s body is responsible for controlling thousands of cellular processes and has over hundreds of key functions. Here are just a few of the key functions involving estrogen:

1. Grows the lining in the uterus so that the fertilized egg can implant.

2. Increases collagen production in the entire body, most notably in the blood vessels, skin, vagina and bladder.

3. Maintains cardiovascular elasticity and blood flow.

4. Prevents the body from losing bone density by inhibiting osteoclasts.

5. Increases vaginal lubrication and sex drive.

6. Augments sexual desire.

7. Fuels fat metabolism.

8. Facilitates mental health by increasing serotonin and dopamine in the brain.

9. Stimulates the production of progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, and more estrogen receptors.

10. Modulates adrenaline levels.

11. Is anti-inflammatory.

12. Modulates immune functions.

13. Increases melatonin levels.

Progesterone helps to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and, like estrogen, it fluctuates throughout the month. The main job of this key hormone is to get the uterus ready for pregnancy. If there is no fertilized egg, progesterone levels drop and menstruation begins. If a fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall, progesterone helps maintain the uterine lining throughout pregnancy. Here are just a few of the key functions involving progesterone:

1. At its peak, stimulates apoptosis (cell death/anti-cancer).

2. Increases bone density.

3. Reduces anxiety.

4. Lowers blood pressure.

5. Reduces cramping.

6. Acts as a natural diuretic.

7. Improves insulin sensitivity.

8. Increases GABA secretion.

9. Is a precursor to cortisol, and all the steroid hormones.

10. Modulates immune functions.

Testosterone is an essential hormone for both men and women. It moderates one’s mood and boosts energy levels. It also increases libido, promotes strong muscles and bones, and helps one perform everyday bodily functions.

Progesterone can convert to testosterone. However, too much testosterone blocks the action of estradiol and the female sex drive is more estrogen-dominant than testosterone-driven. Adding testosterone to a hormone profile may not be needed unless you are a female without ovaries or have been post- menopausal for over 10 years. Levels in women are 1/10 – 1/20 of men. Here are just a few of the key functions involving testosterone:

1. Plays a role in healthy heart and blood.

2. Supports a body to make less fat, more muscle.

3. Builds bone.

4. Improves verbal memory, spatial abilities and mathematical reasoning.

5. Improves libido & erectile function.

6. Improved mood.

The graph below illustrates the prevalence of chronic diseases with age, and as hormones decline in the body.
Hormones perform vast and vital roles in the body’s software system.

Healthy hormone function is important for overall health. Health can decline with age for a variety of reasons including the decline in reproductive hormone levels: due to hormone messages being drowned out by stress, by environmental toxins, or by the competition for hormone receptors by artificial estrogens (xenoestrogens) in our food and environment.

With hormone decline, physical health may deteriorate, mental wellness decreases, and chronic diseases may creep into our lives. Physical changes may include:

1. Increased resting heart rate

2. Rise in blood pressure

3. Amplified immunoreactivity

4. Decrease in short term memory function

5. Changes in body fat distribution and composition

6. Thinning hair on head, arms, legs, and pubic area

7. Increased facial hair

8. Blood chemistry changes such as:

  • Raised cholesterol levels and elevated fasting insulin / glucose levels.

  • Increase in bone turnover markers

  • Positive ANA and increased inflammatory markers

Pharmaceuticals, sadly, are often the first-line therapy for many to address these symptoms and markers of disease. With Physiologic Restoration, one can prevent this downward spiral. Restoring natural sex hormone cycles, observing a healthy diet, utilizing therapeutic supplements and exercising can support a more optimal functioning of all the body systems,

Create the vital and vibrant healthspan you deserve!

WHN is a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation to promote, advocate, and advance women’s wellbeing and longevity through clinical research and education about the benefits of Physiologic Restoration to reduce the symptoms of hormone imbalance and degenerative decline.

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