Hormones are your body’s chemical messenger system. They control many, if not most, of your major body functions, including digestion, mood, sleep, metabolism, respiration, stress, growth, movement and mood. Hormones, in short, are a big deal.
They also pack a powerful punch, and so they need to be balanced. To keep things running smoothly and to keep your body “in tune”, they have to be produced in exactly the right amounts at the right time.
This makes your hormonal system a little like an amplified orchestra with various instruments and roles to play:
- The pineal gland is the timer, to tell the system when to sleep and when to play.
- The hypothalamus is the sound man, detecting signals from the audience and reading the sound levels, balancing the output of control hormones.
- The pituitary gland, like a conductor, tells the individual players when and how forcefully, to do their part. If all is in balance, the individual player does just the right amount of work and the system is in tune.
- The thyroid hormone is the rate controller, increasing the speed of the beat and the efficiency of the instruments.
- The neurosteroids, or sex hormones, control tuning, maintenance and repair of the many instruments.
All of this must work in a complex biological harmony. Otherwise, like a poorly tuned orchestra, the results can be pretty awful.
Fortunately, the hormonal orchestra is usually an elegant and effective performance. The problem arises as we age, when hormone production begins to slow. It’s then that we hear the first problems in the musical score that is your body.
The progressive loss of hormones begins with the pineal, at about age 20, followed at about age 25-26 by declining growth hormone. After that, pregnenolone decreases, then DHEA, testosterone and progesterone, with estrogen in women following closely behind testosterone in men.
As hormones decline, your poor thyroid is left to handle the bulk of the work, like a lone musician trying to play an entire symphony alone.
Off Key: The Effects of Low Hormones
If we look at blood tests just a few months into menopause, a woman’s blood may contain:
- Zero estrogen, testosterone, growth hormone and melatonin, and;
- almost zero pregnenolone, progesterone and DHEA.
Is it any wonder things feel different? Like a poorly tuned orchestra, these changes don’t usually go unnoticed:
- Low testosterone and/or progesterone causes depression and panic attacks.
- Low progesterone causes menstrual irregularity, painful menses, water retention, poor sleep, reduced memory capacity, reduced self-esteem and inadequate maintenance and repair of the brain and nervous system.
- Low estrogen causes hot flashes, night sweats, poor sleep and general misery.
All of this elevates your stress levels and further inhibits the ability of your thyroid hormone to do an increasingly difficult job. As more time goes by, the orchestra slips further out of tune. Your body loses its balance, can’t manage sugar and cholesterol metabolism, and is unable to heal quickly, fight off infections, avoid autoimmune diseases and kill cancer cells.
It’s reasonable to conclude that many of our age-related disabilities (if not all) have their root in this progressive reduction of hormone production. Add the stress of modern life to the mix, and you have a musical score for accelerating the development of disease and the aging process.
The good news is that it’s possible to bring the orchestra back into tune! Using accurate testing and bio-identical hormone replacement, you can relieve some of the troublesome symptoms of aging and your body can begin to play a more pleasing score.
To learn more about your hormonal orchestra—and bring your instruments back into tune—contact the clinic at 705-444-5331, or book an appointment with Dr. Gervais Harry, MD online here.