Hormones Explained
Low Testosterone Symptoms in Men, Symptoms of Low Testosterone Sand Diego and La Jolla 92121

Hormones Explained

On this page you can learn more about key hormones that impact human health. If you would like more details about the science behind hormone replacement treatments, please contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation where we can provide additional educational resources.

 

TERMS (click to learn more):

Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

DHEA

Thyroid Hormone

Testosterone

Estrogen

Progesterone

Pregnenolone

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin

Melatonin

Vitamin B-Complex

Cortisol

Insulin

Aldosterone

Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

Human Growth Hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain. It is considered the “healing hormone” because in adults it helps us heal and not deteriorate.

Some of the benefits of natural human growth hormone replacement include:

  • Increase in cardiovascular function and output and decrease in atherosclerotic plaque formation
  • Increase in clot dissolution
  • Increase and reversal of loss of muscle strength
  • Increase in bone mass and growth – 3% per year bone growth
  • Decrease in centripetal fat (love handles)Improvement in lung function and capacity
  • Improved hair, skin, nail growth and thickness
  • Improvement in memory and cerebral function = happy and healthy
  • Improved wound healing including postoperative healing and protein synthesis
  • Increase REM and stage 4 sleep = improved sleep
  • Restoration of youthful immune system
  • Increase in energy level and exercise capacity
  • Enhancement of sexual performance
  • Elevation of mood
  • Increase physical and psychological well-being
  • Increase in life expectancy and quality of life by disease prevention
  • Increase in tightness of skin, decrease in wrinkles secondary to increased collagen and elastin
  • Returns clients back to a more vigorous state of health

DHEA

DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) has been called the “mother of all steroids”. It is produced by the adrenal glands and is the most abundant steroid in the human body. It is involved in the production of testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and corticosterone. The decline of DHEA mirrors that of HGH, so by age 65 your body makes 10 to 20% of what it did at age 20. Its benefits include but are not limited to the following:

  • Replacement and balancing results in a shift of a catabolic state to an anabolic or protein-building state
  • Reduces cardiovascular risks by increasing lipolysis and preventing atherosclerosis Its potent anti-cancer properties enhance the immune system
  • Improves mood
  • Decreases body fat and cholesterol
  • Improves memory, mental ability and cognitive functioning
  • Decreases the incidence of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases
  • Boosts Energy
  • Slows the aging process
  • Its antioxidant properties prevent the formation of free radicals
  • Improves sleep
  • Improves energy
  • Relieves stress
  • Prevents lipid peroxidation as an antioxidant
  • Prevents osteoporosis, increasing bone density
  • Induces weight loss with concomitant muscle gain
  • Reduces depression
  • Decreases incidence of Diabetes
  • Improves Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Improves autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, Herpes and Epstein-Barr
  • Improves erectile function
  • Reduces depression
  • Decreases incidence of Diabetes
  • Restores sexual vitality

 

Thyroid Hormone

  • Proper levels of thyroid hormone
  • Regulate body temperature
  • Increase metabolism
  • Improve cerebral function and prevent cognitive impairment
  • Increase energy
  • Increase fat breakdown, resulting in weight loss
  • Regulate body temperature and body fat percentage
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Protect against cardiovascular disease
  • Relieve symptoms of thin sparse hair, dry skin and thin nails

Proper overall body function depends on thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone is a metabolic hormone secreted by the thyroid gland. There are two types of thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3). The thyroid gland uses iodine to produce these hormones, thus the importance of iodine in our diet. About 80% of the thyroid hormone we produce is T4, which is the inactive hormone and held in reserve, while T3 makes up 20% of the thyroid hormone and is about four times stronger than T4. T3 is the active hormone that the body uses to function.

The release of thyroid hormones is controlled by the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is produced in the pituitary gland. When there are high levels of TSH in the blood this means the pituitary is trying to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones but the gland is not responding. Because thyroid hormones are bound to proteins while circulating in our bodies, it is the unbound, available, Free T4 and Free T3 that should be measured along with TSH.

Naturally derived thyroid, with the mixture of T4 and T3, is the ideal replacement because it mimics the natural thyroid hormone produced by the body. Unfortunately, it has become routine practice to prescribe synthetic T4 alone which is not adequate and may not be converted to the more biologically active form T3, for proper levels of thyroid hormone.

Testosterone

Testosterone is an anabolic (or building) hormone. The age-related decline in testosterone levels is associated with the following identifiable signs or symptoms:

  • A decline in muscle mass and strength. Loss of muscle
    volume and tensile strength are hallmarks of aging. Diminishing
    testosterone levels directly correlate with a decrease in the
    synthesis rate of muscle proteins, formation of contractile
    structures and the force generating capabilities of muscle cells.
    Declines in muscle mass are also correlated with increased risk
    for falls and fractures.
  • Increase in body fat mass, particularly abdominal fat and pectoral fat. Sometimes, Gynecomastia, (enlargement of breast tissue in men) may occur. Decreases in testosterone are also associated with increasing levels of leptin. Leptin is a peptide hormone produced by fat cells and its circulating levels are directly reflective of an individual’s fat mass. Adequate testosterone levels and lean mass are inversely correlated with leptin levels.
  • Decrease of bone mass. Studies indicate that age and associated declines in testosterone levels correlate with bone loss in men. Declines in Estradiol and testosterone levels are associated with bone loss in women as well, and this phenomenon appears at an earlier age and at a more rapid rate compared to men. Up to 30% of men aged 60 and over may become osteoporotic. One in 6 will fracture a hip at some point in his life. Women are hormonally and statistically more complex than men. Female hormone replacement studies do not separate the effects of estrogens and testosterone, but do show benefits of proper overall hormone replacement programs. An unsupplemented woman will at ages 60 – 80, show a 50% reduction in her original bone mineral density and 1 in 4 will suffer a vertebral or hip fracture.
  • Decline in sex drive and frequency of sex thoughts. Interestingly, this decline precedes declines in actual performance.
  • Increased frequency of erectile dysfunction in men and diminished sexual response and pleasure in women.
  • Decreased sense of overall well being, perception of energy level and vigor. These types of complaints, along with non-specific irritability, are frequently the first symptoms associated with declining testosterone levels, but are the most often overlooked or attributed to stress or “not being as young as you used to be.”
  • Decline in stamina and exertional performance. A graph of the declines in testosterone and growth hormone levels can be placed over a graph of the percentage of professional athletes still performing at a given age, with essentially identical shapes. Other “performance-minded” individuals, like business executives and people whose careers demand multi-tasking or complex problem solving skills, also frequently note similar functional declines.
  • Decline in cognitive skills, concentration and memory. Studies show declining testosterone level is strongly associated with cognitive decline and diminished visual-spatial memory.
  • Coronary artery disease and cholesterol derangement. In population studies, low levels of testosterone are associated with increased risk of atherosclerotic cardiac disease. Older men treated with testosterone can show decreases in total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol). Low testosterone levels are also correlated with a greater degree of atherosclerotic obstruction when coronary artery disease is present.

The goal of testosterone replacement therapy is to minimize, prevent or reverse the affects of our age related decline. The beneficial effects of attaining healthy testosterone levels are seen for both men and women and are essentially the inverse of the aforementioned list of problems. Of course, the goals for testosterone level are appropriately lower for women.

Testosterone Therapy

While the clinical indicators of testosterone decline may give a care provider a notion that an individual may be a candidate for testosterone replacement, objective measures must be obtained to properly institute and manage therapy and rule out and address accompanying medical problems.

To adequately measure testosterone levels, both total and free testosterone studies should be evaluated. For males: a level of 260-1,000 ng/dl is given as the normal laboratory range from men aged 20-70. For females, this range is 15-70 ng/dl. Free testosterone levels average approximately 2% of the total, 50-210 pg/mi for men and 1-10 pg/mi for women. Free testosterone is the slightly more valuable of the two, as it reflects the amount of testosterone available to perform useful work at any one moment.

Estrogen

Estrogen is secreted by the ovaries and adrenal glands. There are three types of estrogen found in a woman’s body: estrone, estradiol and estriol. Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) has turned out to be a lifesaver for millions of postmenopausal women who benefit from its use. A survey examining the benefits of ERT on women found that overall mortality from all causes was reduced. In particular, deaths due to coronary artery disease and stroke were reduced.

Proper levels of estrogen

  • Protect against heart disease and stroke
  • Prevent osteoporosis
  • Prevent and lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and senility
  • Improve memory and concentration
  • Protect against macular degeneration and cataracts
  • Decrease cholesterol and increase proportion of HDL or good
    cholesterol
  • Protect against vaginal atrophy, urinary incontinence, bladder
    problems and urinary tract infections
  • Prevent menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and
    temperature disregulation
  • Improve static balance by improving the visual somatosensory
    system in the central nervous system
  • Prevent insomnia and improve sleep
  • Prevent anxiety
  • Enhance well-being, health and vigor
  • Improve the quality of day-to-day life
  • Improve muscle tone
  • Reduce wrinkles
  • Promote stronger and shinier hair
  • Promote more enjoyable, satisfying sex life after menopause

Estrogen deficiency leads to

  • Memory problems with slow down in the speed of brain processing
  • Hot flashes
  • Urogenital atrophy
  • Incontinence
  • Sagging of the skin and breasts
  • Increased wrinkles on the face
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased libido

All of these can be corrected by natural estrogen replacement.

Progesterone

Natural Progesterone is secreted by the ovaries and adrenal glands much like estrogen. It helps…

  • Reduce symptoms of PMS and menopause
  • Decrease headache and bloating with menstruation
  • Protect against uterine cancer and breast carcinoma,
    fibrocystic disease, and ovarian cysts
  • Protect against heart disease
  • Reduce cholesterol levels and increase proportion of HDL or
    good cholesterol
  • Increase breakdown of fat
  • Increase feelings of calmness
  • Improve overall well-being
  • Prevent water retention
  • Elevate mood
  • Restore libido
  • Prevent osteoporosis by stimulating osteoblasts to form new
    bone
  • Moderate many side effects of excess estrogen – reduce fluid
    retention, bloating, headache, bleeding, and fibroids
  • Support estrogen’s effect on bone and lipids

Combining the benefits of estrogen and progesterone replacement provides many of the benefits without risks. They work in tandem in the body of pre-menopausal women and an increasing number of physicians believe that both hormones should be replaced postmenpausally.

Together estrogen and progesterone protect against cardiovascular disease, improve and/or prevent osteoporosis, improve mood status and improve sexual function and libido.

Progesterone by itself has a large number of benefits including the breakdown of fat, increasing energy through fat loss, protecting against endometrial and breast cancer, improving mood and sexual function, and normalizing levels of blood sugar, zinc, and copper.

The foremost concern about estrogen is whether it increases the risk of endometrial cancer. When progesterone is given along with estrogen for ten or more days per cycle, it not only eliminates the risk of this cancer, but can actually reduce it beyond that which occurs spontaneously.

Pregnenolone

Pregnenolone is a precursor to all the steroid hormones, including DHEA, progesterone, testosterone and estrogen. It is produced from cholesterol in the mitochondria in the cells in the brain and the adrenal cortex. Pregnenolone stimulates our brain receptors, influencing learning, and is a memory enhancer. It is essential to keeping our brain functioning at its peak capacity. Levels are directly correlated with cognitive ability and decline with age.

Male and female bodies use pregnenolone differently. In women, more of the pregnenolone becomes estrogen while in men more is used to make testosterone. However, on its own, pregnenolone is essential in keeping our brain functioning at its peak capacity and it is found at higher concentrations in the brain than in any other organ in the body, which serves to enhance our mental functions.

Current research is being done to test the benefits of pregnenolone with those suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, conditions such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, cardiovascular problems, and for boosting the immune system.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin

For males 45 years or younger, it is ideal for the body to produce its own testosterone. This is done by cycling supplemental testosterone followed by HCG. HCG stimulates the body’s own production of testosterone. This is especially ideal for male clients planning on having a family in the future.

Melatonin

Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland, a small gland in the brain. It regulates the circadian rhythm and the deep stages of sleep. Melatonin maintains the body’s balance, equilibrium and homeostasis.

Benefits of Melatonin include:

  • Powerful antioxidant properties
  • Fights cancer
  • Boosts immune function
  • Scavenges free radicals
  • Promotes youthful sleep patterns
  • Influences stage IV & REM sleep
  • Prevents jet lag
  • Regulates mood
  • Is an energizer
  • Increases natural killer cells and CD-4 cells

Deficiency causes:

  • Poor Sleep
  • Jet Lag
  • Irritability
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Premature Aging
  • Nocturia (excessive night time urination)

Vitamin B-Complex

The vitamin B-complex refers to all of the known essential water-soluble vitamins except for vitamin C. These include thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), biotin, folic acid and the cobalamins (vitamin B12).

Benefits of Vitamin B-Complex

  • Energy Production
  • Healthy Nervous System
  • Good Digestion
  • Healthy Skin, Nails and Hair
  • Synergy
  • Counteract Stress
  • Improved memory and mood
  • Improved Sleep
  • Increases metabolism
  • Targets abdominal

Deficiency of Vitamin B-Complex

  • Greasy Hair
  • Dandruff
  • Scalpy lips
  • Poor Hair Growth
  • Gray Hair
  • Dry Skin
  • Redness and irritation
  • Premature Wrinkles
  • Muscle soreness and cramping
  • Insomnia

Cortisol

Cortisol, also known as hydrocortisone, is a steroid hormone or glucocorticoid produced by the adrenal gland. It is released in response to stress, and high levels of cortisol lead to high blood pressure, weight gain and other deleterious manifestiations. On the other hand, low levels reflect chronic stress and cause adrenal fatigue, poor immunity, fatigue and depression. Cortisol’s primary functions are to increase blood sugar, suppress the immune system, and aid in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. It also decreases bone formation.

Insulin

Insulin is a hormone that is central to regulating energy and glucose metabolism in the body. Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose from the blood, storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle. Insulin also influences other body functions, such as vascular compliance and cognition. Once insulin enters the human brain, it enhances learning and memory and in particular benefits verbal memory.

Elevated insulin can cause:

  • High blood pressure
  • Blood fat abnormalities
  • Abnormal immune system functioning
  • Acne
  • Ankle swelling
  • Burning feet
  • Constipation
  • Decreased memory or concentration
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Fluctuating high blood pressure readings
  • Fuzzy brain
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Irritablility
  • Sugar cravings
  • Water retention
  • Weight gain, especially around the middle

Aldosterone

Aldosterone is one of the steroid hormones produced by the adrenal gland. It increases the reabsorption of sodium and water and the release (secretion) of potassium in the kidneys. This increases blood volume and, therefore, increases blood pressure.