iStock_000011390359SmallOur lives can be very simply divided into three stages:  the GROWTH HORMONE stage, the SEX HORMONE stage, and the DECLINING HORMONE stage.   Hormones are chemical “messengers” secreted by specific glands into the bloodstream that control biological functions.  They tell cells of the body what to do, when to do it, and to what degree.  With declining hormone levels, the body functions less well.  The production of most hormones peaks in the mid-twenties and then begins to decline.  Some people’s hormone levels decline faster and further than others for a variety of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental reasons.  Numerous studies have shown that people with hormone levels that are better preserved fare well in terms of health, vitality, and longevity.

Those of us with the more rapid and pronounced declines in hormone levels experience the familiar symptoms of fatigue and loss of energy, problems of mood and memory, loss of drive and ambition, decreased libido, weight gain, muscle loss and ultimately declining quality and length of life.  Menopause is a familiar term used to indicate the decline in women’s’ sex hormones and is associated with numerous physical, emotional and metabolic changes.  We now also recognize the more gradual decline of male sex hormones in men and refer to it as “andropause.”  Similarly, the decline in Growth Hormone levels may be called “somatopause.

While hormone levels certainly decline with age, health and lifestyle related hormone imbalance is a leading cause of fatigue, weight gain and illness.   Correcting the underlying causes of the hormone imbalance is often all that is required to improve hormone levels.   Bio-identical hormone replacement is another option and can be life transforming.