We all produce hormones, which are necessary for our bodies’ proper functioning. But as we get older, our endocrine glands begin to shut down, and we acquire all the signs of advancing age: weight gain, altered weight distribution, reduced energy, hair loss, slower healing times, and many others. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is an attempt to reverse these changes.
When you get to about 55, it’s time to consider HRT. (Always consult with your doctor first before beginning any medicinal program.)
“Normal for your age”
So you go out and find a doctor to test your hormone levels. But if she says your tests are “normal for your age”, beware! These numbers might be a cause for concern in a younger person, but it’s considered good enough for you, and it’s not going to be fixed because she doesn’t consider it to be a problem. It’s like, your body is deteriorating on schedule, nothing wrong here, and you can get dressed now.
So if your doctor tells you your tests are “normal for your age”, say you want to be compared to people in the prime of their lives, and not use people your own age as a baseline. And ask the these three questions:
- ◆ If I’m 60 and tired a lot, am I active enough for my age?
- ◆ If I’m 70 and in the hospital a lot, am I healthy enough for my age?
- ◆ If I’m 80 and dead, am I alive enough for my age?
No more quibbling! Find yourself a clinic that specializes in longevity and let’s see what we can do about it!
The Sex Hormones
Sex hormones are what people first think about when they think about hormones. (From this point forward, “men” and “women” refer to those in the prime of their lives, from adulthood to retirement age, in good health, with no unusual medical conditions.)
Testosterone is called the “male sex hormone” but that’s not the complete story. Women have testosterone in their systems too, but only about ⅒ of what men have. (It comes from her adrenal glands.) Some testosterone is necessary for both energy and a sex drive.
You can make your own plant-based testosterone supplement by obtaining a bag of pine pollen, soaking it thoroughly in alcohol, straining it, and putting a little bit under your tongue. (I made some of this myself. I nicknamed it “rocket fuel”.)
The “female sex hormone”, estrogen, is also present in both women and men. But again, the concentrations are different. Women have a lot more of it.
There are three different types of estrogen — estradiol, estrone, and estriol. I’ve never seen a tablet that contains all three, so just to be on the safe side, I alternate between two brands of tablets just to get a variety.
I’ve been told it’s dangerous to take estrogen without progesterone because then the estrogen will be “unopposed”. No, I don’t quite understand it. But I take it anyway because that’s what I was told to do.
Another hormone I take. Again, I don’t really understand why, but I’m just taking DHEA as recommended.
SOME OTHER HORMONES
This, the thyroid hormone, regulates the distribution of energy in the body. It also diminishes as we get older, so it too needs to be replaced.
A simple blood test for thyroid hormones might not detect this type of hormone shortage — so ask your doctor about a challenge test instead. Or, as a last resort, just take a small dose and see if it fixes anything. (Just watch out for the placebo effect. What is the placebo effect exactly? It’s hope.)
This one helps you to get to sleep and stay asleep. It comes in both regular (get) and time-released (stay) forms. In some areas, you can even get gummi bears with melatonin in them — the ultimate late-night snack!
Bright light neutralizes any melatonin in your body, so take it at bedtime just before you turn off the lights.
The important one — Somatropin / hGH
Somatropin is also called human growth hormone (hGH) but that’s a bit of a misnomer — not only does it regulate growth, it converts calories into energy, heals wounds, and repairs any tissue that is wearing out. You might say that anywhere your body needs to fabricate human protein, Somatropin is involved.
There are a number of side effects that can occur if you take too much, so use it carefully.
But the main disadvantage of Somatropin is that it is horribly expensive, and insurance won’t cover it. If the alternative is to hire someone to come in every day and help you take your bath, help you get dressed, prepare your meals, and do other household chores that you used to be able to do yourself; then the injections may be cheaper.
There are social objections to life extension, too. First of all, people have been growing old and feeble for millenia — anything that works contrary to that can be seen as “against nature”. You may have younger relatives who want you to shuffle off to “the other side” so they can inherit your money — whatever extends your life delays their getting it and gives you more of a chance to spend it yourself.
But the big push against Somatropin will come from governments. Living longer violates Aso’s Mandate, and I half expect all this to be made illegal some day. If you require lots of medical care and/or are drawing a retirement pension each month, every additional year of life means a drain on the public treasury. Dead men cash no checks, and it’s cheaper for them if you don’t live so long.
One final word
Occasionally, I’ll hear about transsexuals going on Hormone Replacement Therapy. While I’m all in favor of doing so, we shouldn’t call it Hormone Replacement Therapy because nobody’s replacing anything that was there before and now isn’t. So let’s call it something else — just plain Hormone Therapy will do fine.