Hormones and aging

It is better to burn out than fade away.  -Neil Young

It is better to wear out than to rust out. -Millard Fillmore

Hormones decline with age

It is no mystery that hormones decline with age. What is a big mystery is whether or not this decline is wholly or partially responsible for the decline in function that we experience as we age. Given the negative attitude of "mainstream" medicine and the FDA toward anti-aging therapies (as evidenced by their recent insistence on putting a "black box" on testosterone replacement), I can say with near certainty that there will be no large-scale, unbiased studies of the anti-aging potential of hormone replacement therapies.

I am embarking on a series of "experiments" on myself to "optimize" my levels of various hormones that decline with age. Through these interventions, I will be investigating the effects of various supplements, lifestyle changes, and even medications to optimize these hormone levels.

Which hormones decline with age?

Perhaps a better question is: "Which hormones don't decline with age?" 

It is well documented that numerous hormones show significant decreases with age. Besides the well-known decreases in estrogens and progesterone in women and the decrease in testosterone in men, other hormones also show significant declines. Some of these are much more dramatic than the declines in sex steroids. Growth hormone, IGF-1, DHEA, T3, pregnenolone, and melatonin are notable in their decreases and their clear effect on proper biological function.

What is "optimal"?

There is no definition of optimal when it comes to hormone levels. Plain and simple. Much as I wish I could, I can't look at your labs and say that they are optimal. What works well for one person, may be too low or too high for the next person. That said, most of our hormones peak somewhere around 25 and then begin to decline. Some like DHEA decline precipitously, while others slowly "fade away" (testosterone in men is great example of that). So, I am going to make an rather arbitrary distinction that a 25 year-old level is "optimal". There is some scientific back up for this claim at least for growth hormone in both sexes  and DHEA, estradiol, and progesterone in women.


Dr Jeff



Jeff EdmanComment