Hormones: Should We Put Them Back or Let Them Tank?
February 28, 2011|
If you have a desire to ignite a heated debate, forget religion and politics, and instead drop the subject of hormone replacement. The topic of hormone replacement is polarizing, and people generally fall into the anti- or pro- camps. I’m in with the pro-hormones group and consider bioidentical hormone replacement (BHRT) intrinsic to the Healthy, Sexy, Happy program.
Part of the reason people get all freaked out about hormone replacement is that they know little or nothing about it. When you understand how important hormones are to preventing or reversing accelerated aging, the idea of using them is much more exciting.
Our endocrine system is the chemical communication system of our bodies. Nothing happens from breathing to assimilating food without hormones. You need all your hormones operating at a normal level, interacting and balanced at all times for this communications system to operate efficiently. We have the same physiology that humans have always had, on proteins and fats (like butter) to produce and regulate hormones. Over the last few decades, people have stopped eating enough natural, healthy fat and have instead consumed way too many carbohydrates, simple carbs. This deprivation of fats has resulted in people experiencing hormonal decline and imbalance, because when one hormone tanks other hormones get dragged over the cliff. Then you have faulty communications and code-red bedlam in your body. If you tamper with your hormonal communications systems by not eating proteins and fats, your body and brain will break down faster than they can rebuild. You’ll age very quickly, be overweight, or obese, or prison-camp thin and you'll suffer disease or brain issues, and not so lovely outward manifestations of aging (wrinkles, cellulite, flab, tooth loss, thinning hair, and so on).
I advocate eating a balanced diet of real, whole living food to begin to correct hormonal imbalances. If you’re too far gone
, or you’ve entered into sex hormone decline (estrogen, progesterone, pregnenalone, and/or testosterone) then you’ll need to see an enlightened doctor, have labs drawn and get bioidentical hormone replacement prescribed in an individualized fashion.
Most people can grasp the rationale behind eating real food, but the idea of putting hormones into their bodies may seem freaky and unnatural. For all the people who argue that BHRT is “unnatural,” please tell me what’s natural about having open-heart or brain surgery, being equipped with a colostomy bag, having chemo drugs shunted into your arteries, being irradiated, shooting insulin, or any of the other “normal” medical procedures or protocols?
I’m going to continue taking BHRT because I want to avoid the insidious but inexorable slide—instigated by hormonal decline—that builds steam and propels the hormonally depleted into accelerated aging and disability. I would very much like to see people become aware of the fact that we don’t have to die a protracted death of “aging.” We don’t have to be stricken with diseases, incapacitated by drugs, crippled with pain, or lost in the oblivion of some neurological disease with nothing to look forward to but an appallingly impersonal hospital finale. ( At the same time, because we’re assaulted against our will by toxins, even the most health-minded, disciplined person can get sick. The purpose of my program, including BHRT, is to do everything we can to avoid that fate.)
This probably sounds like a reasonable argument, but you may still be unsure, so let’s take it onto the very edge of controversy. Probably the most notorious of all hormone replacement is human growth hormone. HGH is a hot-button hormone because hormone replacement is not widely accepted or understood, but more notably because of the perceived abuses of hGH by professional athletes, and the exorbitant cost, which has served to associate hGH with vain, aging movie stars. In my opinion, there’s a very fine line between abuse, or “cheating,” and personal responsibility to your body, and I’m perfectly comfortable sitting on the edge of this controversy.
Human growth hormone (hGH) is made abundantly in our bodies when we’re children and is the reason we grow. As adults hGH helps balance all the other systems in our body and is the most powerful anti aging hormone helping to keep all organs healthy and maintain muscle mass. HGH begins a very early decline in our twenties and drops dramatically year after year. Between the ages of twenty and forty we lose half of our production.
Let’s look at elite athletes who are punishing their bodies and breaking down in a dramatic acceleration of aging during every day of training and especially in competition. There’s really no question that these people need some hormonal support. Is it abuse for them to replace the hormones that their bodies are using up like crazy? I’m not talking about people who turn themselves into circus hulks. But in many cases, I don’t believe athletes are “cheating” by using hormones. I see many elite athletes’ use of testosterone and hGH as a microcosm of what we all should be doing—being responsible to our bodies by assisting our endocrine systems, if and when it needs it. Consider that athletes use up bodily fluids like crazy, and so they need to drink water, right? For the energy expend? Food. Nutrients? Vitamin and mineral supplements. Electrolytes? Veggie juice. Hormones? As my sister Nadine would say, “Ding, ding, ding!”
Hormone replacement, especially human growth hormone, is still on the fringe of healthcare, and you have to decide where you stand. In my opinion, the problem is not that hGH is unnatural or cheating, but more that it’s not affordable for most. If we had real health care, we would be looking at ways to keep people from aging in an accelerated way, by replacing hormones like hGH.
I use a full spectrum of hormones, and I intend to keep using them for the rest of my life. I could list them all for you, but I think it’s best if you go into BHRT without any preconceived ideas of what is normal or optimal. I have numerous deficiencies that stem way back to my childhood sugar diet, from having been a teenage smoker, from my high-stress lifestyle in the film industry in my thirties, from a thyroid crash in my forties (that I talk about in Healthy, Sexy, Happy), and from my demanding lifestyle as a writer and spokesperson for health. Everybody lacking in hormones is deficient in a different way.
I can’t call BHRT a fountain of youth, but it is kind of miraculous. For the very first time in the history of humankind we can replace the missing hormones of our body’s communication system in a fairly exact way and in so doing stay healthy and normal our entire lives. We don’t have to nose dive into the abyss of aging. We can remain energetic, athletic, alert, sexy, and be as optimally healthy as we can be our entire lives. I’m not so delusional to think that BHRT will keep me young forever. We’re all going to age and die. But it’s how we age
, and how we die that interests me. I would like to take care of business as usual until I die. And I would like for my death to be a celebratory experience, surrounded by loved ones in my own home. That’s the way we were meant to leave this world. My program can help make that happen, but it’s not going to be nearly as effective without incorporating BHRT when your hormones begin to decline.
Your girlfriend in health,