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What are Hormones?

Hormones are molecules that are synthesized and secreted by specialized cells often localized in endocrine glands in the body. Hormones are released into the blood stream and exert biochemical effects on target cells. Hormone action is determined by the presence of specific hormone receptors located either on the cell surface or intracellularly in the target cells. Hormones turn on the cellular machinery and therefore cause increased metabolism, increase in protein synthesis, increase in cellular repair, and increase in cell replication. Some of the hormones such as insulin, thyroid, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone are well known to most people.  But how well do people understand what they do?

All aspects of aging are influenced by hormones. As we age cellular receptor sites become less sensitive to stimulation by hormones, thus requiring an increased amount of hormone to affect a cellular change. This is precisely why people need optimal levels of hormones. And even though their levels might be normal, they still need more hormones in the body to improve and feel better. (This is particularly true with thyroid.) These changes in hormones result in decreased healing and repair of tissues. Research has now proven that hormone therapies are valid means to improve and prolong quality of life, thus showing that deficiencies in hormones and endocrine dysfunction can contribute to the signs and symptoms of getting old.  Nothing reverses aging. However, hormones can slow down the process and help us maintain our good health.

Unfortunately, the technology to accomplish this age reversal by genetic engineering is not currently available. In the meantime, we must take advantage of the current state of the art, preventive medicine techniques which include avoidance of risk factors of disease, optimum nutrition, adequate exercise, caloric restriction, antioxidant therapy, and optimal hormone replacement. We can certainly slowdown that aging process to achieve less deterioration, less illness, a better quality of life and to feel and function better. This is true Preventive Medicine.