Hormonal Aging: Fact vs. Fiction
Many patients who come to see me complain of fine lines, loss of elasticity and lack of hydration. Some of these patients are no older than their late 20’s. What many don’t realize is these changes are often caused by a drop in hormones—an effect we call, hormonal aging. Over 70 million women in North America are experiencing hormonal aging. Although this is a perfectly normal and natural process, it’s often misunderstood..
Here are a few common myths associated with hormonal aging.
Myth: All hormones decrease with age
Fact: Levels of hormones do change as we age. However, not all hormone levels necessarily decrease. It is true that the most talked about hormones – testosterone in men and estrogen in women – do decrease as we age. But surprisingly to some, there are hormones that will actually increase over time. One of these is the parathyroid hormone that helps regulate the amount of calcium in the blood and bone.
Myth: Hormone treatments can stop the aging process, or make you feel young again
Fact: To date, there has not been conclusive research demonstrating that hormone therapy can add years to one’s life or prevent age-related issues. And while some drugs do provide real health benefits to people with hormone deficiencies, they can also sometimes have extreme side effects. Therefore, anyone who is taking hormone supplements should only be doing so after being clinically diagnosed with a hormone deficiency and under a doctor’s supervision.
Myth: Hormonal aging can be stopped
Fact: You can’t completely stop hormonal aging, despite the fact that there are products that certainly help to slow the appearance and symptoms of it. And as I always tell my patients, the best anti-aging medicine is good nutrition and a happy, healthy lifestyle. As our Inclusive Health research has shown, in order to maintain superior health, you must concentrate on what you put on your body, what you put in your body and how you treat your brain. Studies have shown that people who exercise, reduce stress and eat a healthier water-rich selection of foods are less likely to see dramatic changes in hormones as they grow older. There is no replacement for the benefits your mind, body and hormones experience from living a healthy lifestyle.
Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement.