We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Hormone levels in humans decrease with age. The effects are especially detrimental for women after menopause. Biologists state that turtles do not exhibit most of the phenomena related to aging. For example telemore shortening does not happen in certain turtle species. Here is my question: Do turtle hormone levels decrease with age as in humans?
Aging and Hormone Levels - Biology
The endocrine system arises from all three embryonic germ layers. The endocrine glands that produce the steroid hormones, such as the gonads and adrenal cortex, arise from the mesoderm. In contrast, endocrine glands that arise from the endoderm and ectoderm produce the amine, peptide, and protein hormones. The pituitary gland arises from two distinct areas of the ectoderm: the anterior pituitary gland arises from the oral ectoderm, whereas the posterior pituitary gland arises from the neural ectoderm at the base of the hypothalamus. The pineal gland also arises from the ectoderm. The two structures of the adrenal glands arise from two different germ layers: the adrenal cortex from the mesoderm and the adrenal medulla from ectoderm neural cells. The endoderm gives rise to the thyroid and parathyroid glands, as well as the pancreas and the thymus.
As the body ages, changes occur that affect the endocrine system, sometimes altering the production, secretion, and catabolism of hormones. For example, the structure of the anterior pituitary gland changes as vascularization decreases and the connective tissue content increases with increasing age. This restructuring affects the gland’s hormone production. For example, the amount of human growth hormone that is produced declines with age, resulting in the reduced muscle mass commonly observed in the elderly.
The adrenal glands also undergo changes as the body ages as fibrous tissue increases, the production of cortisol and aldosterone decreases. Interestingly, the production and secretion of epinephrine and norepinephrine remain normal throughout the aging process.
A well-known example of the aging process affecting an endocrine gland is menopause and the decline of ovarian function. With increasing age, the ovaries decrease in both size and weight and become progressively less sensitive to gonadotropins. This gradually causes a decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels, leading to menopause and the inability to reproduce. Low levels of estrogens and progesterone are also associated with some disease states, such as osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, and hyperlipidemia, or abnormal blood lipid levels.
Testosterone levels also decline with age, a condition called andropause (or viropause) however, this decline is much less dramatic than the decline of estrogens in women, and much more gradual, rarely affecting sperm production until very old age. Although this means that males maintain their ability to father children for decades longer than females, the quantity, quality, and motility of their sperm is often reduced.
As the body ages, the thyroid gland produces less of the thyroid hormones, causing a gradual decrease in the basal metabolic rate. The lower metabolic rate reduces the production of body heat and increases levels of body fat. Parathyroid hormones, on the other hand, increase with age. This may be because of reduced dietary calcium levels, causing a compensatory increase in parathyroid hormone. However, increased parathyroid hormone levels combined with decreased levels of calcitonin (and estrogens in women) can lead to osteoporosis as PTH stimulates demineralization of bones to increase blood calcium levels. Notice that osteoporosis is common in both elderly males and females.
Increasing age also affects glucose metabolism, as blood glucose levels spike more rapidly and take longer to return to normal in the elderly. In addition, increasing glucose intolerance may occur because of a gradual decline in cellular insulin sensitivity. Almost 27 percent of Americans aged 65 and older have diabetes.
Humans Can Reverse Their Biological Age, Shows a 'Curious Case' Study
In a yearlong clinical trial, three drugs rolled back participants' epigenetic clock.
Someone call Brad Pitt, because it might be time for a sci-fi spin on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. New research shows humans may be able to reverse their epigenetic clocks, a measure of biological age, with a trio of drugs that are already on the market.
In a small, 1-year clinical trial published Thursday in the journal Aging Cell, nine participants took three common medications — growth hormone and two diabetes drugs — and reversed their biological age by 2-and-a-half years on average. Greg Fahy, Ph.D., lead author of the study and chief science officer of anti-aging therapeutics company Intervene Immune, tells Inverse that this research proves the concept that biological aging may not be unstoppable.
“One of the lessons that we can draw from the study is that aging is not necessarily something that is beyond our control,” he says. “In fact it seems that aging is largely controlled by biological processes that we may be able to influence.”
As opposed to chronological age, the number of years a person has lived, biological age is how old a person seems. It’s measured by looking at epigenetic markers that indicate chemical changes to DNA over time — like “decorations on your DNA,” Fahy says.
One such marker is the addition of methyl groups to DNA, a process called methylation. Previous research led by University of California, Los Angeles professor Steve Horvath, Ph.D., who conducted an analysis of this clinical trial, has shown a relationship between aging and methylation. Horvath found the process to be a key metric in developing epigenetic clocks.
Those clocks can be “a beautiful tool for people who want to study changing aging,” Fahy says. In the past, conducting a trial to determine how a therapy affects lifespan would require following the person until, well, the end of their life. Using epigenetic clocks to determine biological age means getting those answers much sooner.
“If this really all works, and we can show it’s really as safe as we believe it is, this is something that can be used to treat aging very soon,” Fahy says.
That’s in part because Fahy’s trial used three common drugs that are already FDA-approved: recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) and two diabetes medications, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and metformin.
The goal of the trial was to regenerate the thymus, the “master gland of the immune system,” Fahy says. The gland takes white blood cells from bone marrow and converts them into T-cells, which fight off diseases including bacteria, viruses, and even cancer. “It’s an essential process for staying alive,” Fahy says.
But humans begin to lose that function around the time they hit puberty.
“The thymus starts to wither and die around the age of 12 or 13,” Fahy says.
Growth hormone has been shown to reconstitute the thymus in animal studies, but it can also raise insulin levels. So Fahy and his team gave participants metformin to keep those levels in check.
The third drug, DHEA, was included because of a theory of Fahy’s. Young people have higher growth hormone levels without the increased insulin — and Fahy believes that’s due to their higher levels of DHEA.
To test out his hunch, Fahy used a peculiar subject: himself. He took human growth hormone for a week, and his insulin levels increased by 50%. Then he added DHEA, and “the increase was 100% reversed,” he says.
After the yearlong trial, Horvath’s analysis of the participants’ epigenetic clocks shocked Fahy. He expected to see changes in the thymus, but not necessarily an overall clock rollback.
“We really didn’t know it was going to have a broader benefit of reducing aging in a more generalized way,” Fahy says. (He admits there had been hints, however, including obscure research conducted in Italy that indicated thymus transplants in older animals would rejuvenate the liver, brain, insulin response, and thyroid hormone status.)
Fahy’s study didn’t have a control group, and it included only nine people, all white men. The next steps, he says, are to conduct more research that include more groups of people. But first, Fahy plans to do a bit more self-experimentation.
“Before I try anything on anyone else, I like to do it on myself first,” Fahy says, to “make sure it’s safe and make sure it works in the way I think it will.”
Fahy says his team has a lot more to learn, but he’s encouraged by the preliminary results. “It’s so exciting that we’re able to ask the question now,” he says, “even if we can’t answer it.”
Aging and Hormone Levels - Biology
The pituitary gland, found in the brain and the thyroid gland, located in the front of the neck, as well as parathyroid (neck), adrenal (found on the kidneys) and pancreas (abdominal cavity) glands, all release different hormones that produce various instructions and functions for our organs. They control growth, and affect our bones, intestines, and kidneys. They regulate metabolism and help our body use energy and fuel efficiently. Hormone imbalances may cause anything from viral illnesses to autoimmune disorders to cancer and other medical conditions.
These glands produce important hormones that are related to aging processes,, including melatonin, endorphins, and estrogen and testosterone. The importance of such hormones in anyone's battle to slow down the aging process cannot be overlooked.
Hormones have the ability to make us feel happy or sad. Because changing our dieting, exercise and mental outlooks are nine-tenths attitude understanding and realizing the importance of hormones and hormone production are as much a part of finding valuable antiaging techniques that will produce the results that we are all looking for.
So, let's become familiar with a few of the hormones associated with the aging process and the fight to stay younger, both in appearance and physique.
Melatonin is mainly responsible for regulating our sleep cycles. Adequate amounts of sleep are essential not only for our emotional and mental well-being, but our physical well-being as well. Those who are sleep deprived are generally more apt to grow ill or experience a decreased ability to fight off common colds and viruses than individuals with adequate amounts of melatonin. Produced by the pineal gland at the base of the brain, melatonin has been called the "wonder drug" that extends life spans by up to 25%.
Melatonin is also known to find and destroy free radicals that increase risks of cancer and heart disease. The pineal gland knows when we are growing older, and by the time we hit our mid-40s, it begins to produce lower levels of melatonin. However, individuals who take melatonin supplements in very small doses are literally able to "trick" the body into believing that we are younger than we are. Melatonin should not be taken under certain conditions, and by certain age groups, so always ask your doctor about advise for its use.
Endorphinsare hormones released by the brain through exercise. Exercise increases the production and distribution of this chemical, one that makes people "feel good" and happy. Studies have shown that high levels of endorphins help to keep people active and maintain positive attitudes that help reduce stress and the damage that stress often causes the human body.
Estrogen , formed in adequate levels in a woman's ovaries, helps to prevent breast cancers, bone loss, and heart disease. Estrogen is also a major component of women's ability to maintain monthly cycles and fertility levels. It is considered one of the strongest hormones in the human body. Estrogen levels may affect multiple tissue and organ systems, from the bones to the liver to the brain. Estrogen helps skin, blood vessels, and reproductive organs and tissues maintain their strength and flexibility during a woman's childbearing years and beyond.
Testosteroneis a male sex hormone. Women's endocrine systems typically create testosterone as well, though only about one tenth of the testosterone levels that men do. Testosterone promotes the ability of the body to use protein in the formation of skin, muscles, and bone. Men between the age of 40 and 70 years old experience a decrease in the levels of testosterone produced by the body, but like women, have the option of hormone replacement therapies when determined appropriate by physicians.
DHEAhas literally been called the "fountain of youth" hormone. Produced by the adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys, this hormone is linked to our immunity capacity, memory, and energy levels. It also plays an important role in our bone density as well as the way in which each individual handles stress. DHEA is available as a supplement, as is estrogen, testosterone, melatonin, and estrogen replacement therapy.
ACTH is known as the body's stress hormone. Suffering from chronic stress has negative impacts on the aging process. ACTH is a hormone that stimulates the adrenal gland to produce and disperse cortisol into the body. While cortisol is necessary in many body operations, when it's released as a response to stress, it can lead to negative effects that include but are not limited to weight change, poor skin condition, premature aging of immune cells, fatigue, aches and pains, and insomnia.
He focused on the epigenetic changes because earlier work hinted that women who have their ovaries removed&mdashand therefore experience early menopause&mdashtend to show signs of aging sooner than women who don&rsquot need the surgery. Other work also showed that some of these women who then took hormone therapy to replace the hormones that stopped after their surgical menopause showed signs of having younger or restored cells compared to women who didn&rsquot take the hormones.
Taken with his current epigenetic results, says Horvath, &ldquoAll of these arguments very, very strongly suggest that the loss of hormones that accompany menopause accelerates or increases biologic age.&rdquo
In the other study, another group of researchers from UCLA found that poor sleep, particularly insomnia, can also trigger similar acceleration in aging. Those aging-related changes can make chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer more likely.
The two studies highlight the increasing focus on biological age, as opposed to chronological age: in other words, how old people really are, as indicated by their cells and tissues. Depending on people&rsquos genes and lifestyle habits, they can age at different rates, and Horvath says the epigenetic evaluation is a much better indicator of aging than a birth date.
&ldquoWe really couldn&rsquot measure biological aging in the past,&rdquo says Horvath. &ldquoWe didn&rsquot have a molecular measure of age, of how old cells and tissues really were. Now we have a wonderful opportunity to really study what stress factors affect biological age, and what could be done to slow aging.&rdquo
Part of that solution may include re-visiting the role that hormone therapies might play, particularly for women, in slowing the aging clock. Horvath is not advocating that post-menopausal women start taking hormone replacement therapy as a way to stay young, but it&rsquos possible that in the future, newer versions of these hormones, with fewer side effects, could be a part of aging gracefully. &ldquoIn the future there may be low-level hormone therapies that are almost like a statin pill,&rdquo he says of the popular cholesterol-lowering medications that can reduce the risk of heart disease. &ldquoBut I don&rsquot think we have that yet.&rdquo
If you are concerned about your hormone levels and the effect they have on how you look and feel, you can have your hormone levels checked. If you do have low levels of one or more hormones, then estrogen, testosterone, and/or HGH therapy are possible treatment methods to help you look and feel great.
Anti-aging medical specialists have been using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to bring up hormone levels in patients with age-related hormone imbalances. It’s the more natural way to feel young again.
Decrements in muscle strength with aging are part of a continuum, which for some older adults may lead to declines in physical function and potentially to decreases in the ability to perform many activities of independent living. As noted above, aging is associated with a loss of muscle mass and muscle function, leading to reductions in muscle strength, power, and endurance with age. Loss of muscle mass leads to a decrease in the contractile tissue volume available for locomotive and metabolic functions. Sarcopenia, or loss of muscle mass, with resulting declines in strength, is thought to be central to frailty, a wasting syndrome associated with decreased strength, reduced exercise tolerance, walking speed, and declines in both energy output (in terms of physical activity) and energy intake (in terms of dietary intake) (Fried et al., 2001). Frail older adults are at high risk of developing disability in mobility and in the activities of daily living (which in themselves further predict dependency, falls, and mortality). Consequences of loss of strength include balance problems and decreased exercise tolerance as well as frailty, functional limitations (such as slowing of walking and stair climbing speed), and difficulty with tasks dependent on general strength and exercise tolerance (such as ambulation, housework, or shopping). Thus, loss of strength is a component of frailty, and both loss of strength and the aggregate frailty syndrome independently predict the development or progression of physical disability and dependency in older adults.
A recent study of more than 5,000 community-dwelling men and women aged 65 and older found that 7 percent were frail, and that the incidence of frailty increased rapidly with aging (Fried et al., 2001). Frailty is twice as likely to develop in women as in men. However, 4.3 percent of community-dwelling older men have 3 or more symptoms or signs consistent with frailty (Fried et al., 2001).
Frailty is often closely associated with disability, particularly with difficulties in independently performing some of the activities of daily living. Men aged 70 and older report high rates of disability (Table 2-7) as measured by self-reported difficulty or dependency in walking, and in performing Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (tasks of household management essential to independent living, including shopping and meal preparation), and Activities of Daily Living (basic self-care tasks, including bathing, dressing, walking across a small room, and using the toilet.) Thus, both frailty and disability are frequent adverse health outcomes for older men as well as older women.
Physical Functioning in Community-Dwelling Men, 70 Years and Older, U.S.
There is increasing evidence to suggest that declines or dysregulation of function of multiple biologic systems with age, including hormones, contribute to the loss of physiologic reserves and the ability to maintain homeostasis that underlie the development of resulting frailty (Wagner et al., 1992 Walston et al., 2002 Fried and Walston, 2003). While it is biologically plausible that testosterone plays a role in the development of frailty as well as in the loss of strength and in increased physical disability in older men, it is likely one of numerous dysregulated systems that is responsible.
Clinical Trials of Testosterone Therapy and Physical Function
Five placebo-controlled trials have examined physical function outcomes in studies of testosterone therapy in older men (Table 2-8). Three of the trials were conducted in populations of healthy older men with mean ages of 70 and older. The other two trials evaluated testosterone therapy in men with coronary artery disease and in men admitted to a rehabilitation unit. The studies were small (ranging from 15 to 108 participants) and of short duration. Three of the trials administered testosterone for three months or less. Transdermal patches were the route of testosterone administration in three of the trials, and intramuscular injections of testosterone enanthate were used in two trials.
Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trials of Testosterone Therapy and Physical Function in Older Men.
The results of the randomized trials are mixed. The two trials noting improvement in the testosterone-treated group, as compared with placebo controls, were in men with low testosterone levels at baseline or men who were ill. In the two clinical trials that used the Functional Independence Measure, only slight improvements were seen when compared with placebo controls. Improvements were noted by Amory and colleagues (2002) in a postoperative assessment of the administration of supraphysiologic doses of testosterone 21 days to 1 day prior to surgery. Inconsistent results were found in the three trials that used the SF-36, a scale assessing eight physical function and quality-of-life related domains. The two trials of longer duration (12 and 36 months) did not find strong improvements in the SF-36 assessment of physical function. Snyder and colleagues (1999b) also assessed walking and stair climbing and did not find differences between the placebo and testosterone-treated groups.
Physical function is an area that has not been widely studied in relationship to testosterone therapy, and although the results of the few randomized trials to date are inconsistent, this is an area that deserves further exploration as it is an important outcome to aging men and is related to several potential intermediates of the effects of testosterone such as strength (as well as many other risk factors).
Aging and Hormone Levels - Biology
acromegaly disorder in adults caused when abnormally high levels of GH trigger growth of bones in the face, hands, and feet
adenylyl cyclase membrane-bound enzyme that converts ATP to cyclic AMP, creating cAMP, as a result of G-protein activation
adrenal cortex outer region of the adrenal glands consisting of multiple layers of epithelial cells and capillary networks that produces mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids
adrenal glands endocrine glands located at the top of each kidney that are important for the regulation of the stress response, blood pressure and blood volume, water homeostasis, and electrolyte levels
adrenal medulla inner layer of the adrenal glands that plays an important role in the stress response by producing epinephrine and norepinephrine
adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) anterior pituitary hormone that stimulates the adrenal cortex to secrete corticosteroid hormones (also called corticotropin)
angiotensin-converting enzyme the enzyme that converts angiotensin I to angiotensin II
antidiuretic hormone (ADH) hypothalamic hormone that is stored by the posterior pituitary and that signals the kidneys to reabsorb water
alarm reaction the short-term stress, or the fight-or-flight response, of stage one of the general adaptation syndrome mediated by the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine
aldosterone hormone produced and secreted by the adrenal cortex that stimulates sodium and fluid retention and increases blood volume and blood pressure
alpha cell pancreatic islet cell type that produces the hormone glucagon
autocrine chemical signal that elicits a response in the same cell that secreted it
beta cell pancreatic islet cell type that produces the hormone insulin
calcitonin peptide hormone produced and secreted by the parafollicular cells (C cells) of the thyroid gland that functions to decrease blood calcium levels
chromaffin neuroendocrine cells of the adrenal medulla
colloid viscous fluid in the central cavity of thyroid follicles, containing the glycoprotein thyroglobulin
cortisol glucocorticoid important in gluconeogenesis, the catabolism of glycogen, and downregulation of the immune system
delta cell minor cell type in the pancreas that secretes the hormone somatostatin
diabetes mellitus condition caused by destruction or dysfunction of the beta cells of the pancreas or cellular resistance to insulin that results in abnormally high blood glucose levels
endocrine gland tissue or organ that secretes hormones into the blood and lymph without ducts such that they may be transported to organs distant from the site of secretion
endocrine system cells, tissues, and organs that secrete hormones as a primary or secondary function and play an integral role in normal bodily processes
epinephrine primary and most potent catecholamine hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla in response to short-term stress also called adrenaline
estrogens class of predominantly female sex hormones important for the development and growth of the female reproductive tract, secondary sex characteristics, the female reproductive cycle, and the maintenance of pregnancy
exocrine system cells, tissues, and organs that secrete substances directly to target tissues via glandular ducts
general adaptation syndrome (GAS) the human body’s three-stage response pattern to short- and long-term stress
gigantism disorder in children caused when abnormally high levels of GH prompt excessive growth
glucagon pancreatic hormone that stimulates the catabolism of glycogen to glucose, thereby increasing blood glucose levels
glucocorticoids hormones produced by the zona fasciculata of the adrenal cortex that influence glucose metabolism
goiter enlargement of the thyroid gland either as a result of iodine deficiency or hyperthyroidism
gonadotropins hormones that regulate the function of the gonads
growth hormone (GH) anterior pituitary hormone that promotes tissue building and influences nutrient metabolism (also called somatotropin)
hormone secretion of an endocrine organ that travels via the bloodstream or lymphatics to induce a response in target cells or tissues in another part of the body
hyperglycemia abnormally high blood glucose levels
hyperparathyroidism disorder caused by overproduction of PTH that results in abnormally elevated blood calcium
hyperthyroidism clinically abnormal, elevated level of thyroid hormone in the blood characterized by an increased metabolic rate, excess body heat, sweating, diarrhea, weight loss, and increased heart rate
hypoparathyroidism disorder caused by underproduction of PTH that results in abnormally low blood calcium
hypophyseal portal system network of blood vessels that enables hypothalamic hormones to travel into the anterior lobe of the pituitary without entering the systemic circulation
hypothalamus region of the diencephalon inferior to the thalamus that functions in neural and endocrine signaling
hypothyroidism clinically abnormal, low level of thyroid hormone in the blood characterized by low metabolic rate, weight gain, cold extremities, constipation, and reduced mental activity
infundibulum stalk containing vasculature and neural tissue that connects the pituitary gland to the hypothalamus (also called the pituitary stalk)
inhibin hormone secreted by the male and female gonads that inhibits FSH production by the anterior pituitary
inositol triphosphate (IP3) molecule that initiates the release of calcium ions from intracellular stores
insulin pancreatic hormone that enhances the cellular uptake and utilization of glucose, thereby decreasing blood glucose levels
insulin-like growth factors (IGF) protein that enhances cellular proliferation, inhibits apoptosis, and stimulates the cellular uptake of amino acids for protein synthesis
luteinizing hormone (LH) anterior pituitary hormone that triggers ovulation and the production of ovarian hormones in females, and the production of testosterone in males
melatonin amino acid–derived hormone that is secreted in response to low light and causes drowsiness
mineralocorticoids hormones produced by the zona glomerulosa cells of the adrenal cortex that influence fluid and electrolyte balance
neonatal hypothyroidism condition characterized by cognitive deficits, short stature, and other signs and symptoms in people born to women who were iodine-deficient during pregnancy
norepinephrine secondary catecholamine hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla in response to short-term stress also called noradrenaline
osmoreceptor hypothalamic sensory receptor that is stimulated by changes in solute concentration (osmotic pressure) in the blood
oxytocin hypothalamic hormone stored in the posterior pituitary gland and important in stimulating uterine contractions in labor, milk ejection during breastfeeding, and feelings of attachment (also produced in males)
pancreas organ with both exocrine and endocrine functions located posterior to the stomach that is important for digestion and the regulation of blood glucose
pancreatic islets specialized clusters of pancreatic cells that have endocrine functions also called islets of Langerhans
parathyroid glands small, round glands embedded in the posterior thyroid gland that produce parathyroid hormone (PTH)
parathyroid hormone (PTH) peptide hormone produced and secreted by the parathyroid glands in response to low blood calcium levels
pineal gland endocrine gland that secretes melatonin, which is important in regulating the sleep-wake cycle
pinealocyte cell of the pineal gland that produces and secretes the hormone melatonin
pituitary dwarfism disorder in children caused when abnormally low levels of GH result in growth retardation
pituitary gland bean-sized organ suspended from the hypothalamus that produces, stores, and secretes hormones in response to hypothalamic stimulation (also called hypophysis)
PP cell minor cell type in the pancreas that secretes the hormone pancreatic polypeptide
progesterone predominantly female sex hormone important in regulating the female reproductive cycle and the maintenance of pregnancy
prolactin (PRL) anterior pituitary hormone that promotes development of the mammary glands and the production of breast milk
stage of exhaustion stage three of the general adaptation syndrome the body’s long-term response to stress mediated by the hormones of the adrenal cortex
stage of resistance stage two of the general adaptation syndrome the body’s continued response to stress after stage one diminishes
testosterone steroid hormone secreted by the male testes and important in the maturation of sperm cells, growth and development of the male reproductive system, and the development of male secondary sex characteristics
thyroxine (also, tetraiodothyronine, T4) amino acid–derived thyroid hormone that is more abundant but less potent than T3 and often converted to T3 by target cells
triiodothyronine (also, T3) amino acid–derived thyroid hormone that is less abundant but more potent than T4
zona fasciculata intermediate region of the adrenal cortex that produce hormones called glucocorticoids
zona glomerulosa most superficial region of the adrenal cortex, which produces the hormones collectively referred to as mineralocorticoids
zona reticularis deepest region of the adrenal cortex, which produces the steroid sex hormones called androgens
Unlike women, men do not experience a major, rapid (over several months) change in fertility as they age (like menopause). Instead, changes occur gradually during a process that some people call andropause.
Aging changes in the male reproductive system occur primarily in the testes. Testicular tissue mass decreases. The level of the male sex hormone, testosterone decreases gradually. There may be problems getting an erection. This is a general slowing, instead of a complete lack of function.
The tubes that carry sperm may become less elastic (a process called sclerosis). The testes continue to produce sperm, but the rate of sperm cell production slows. The epididymis, seminal vesicles, and prostate gland lose some of their surface cells. But they continue to produce the fluid that helps carry sperm.
The prostate gland enlarges with age as some of the prostate tissue is replaced with a scar like tissue. This condition, called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), affects about 50% of men. BPH may cause problems with slowed urination and ejaculation.
In both men and women, reproductive system changes are closely related to changes in the urinary system.
Fertility varies from man to man. Age does not predict male fertility. Prostate function does not affect fertility. A man can father children, even if his prostate gland has been removed. Some fairly old men can (and do) father children.
The volume of fluid ejaculated usually remains the same, but there are fewer living sperm in the fluid.
Some men may have a lower sex drive (libido). Sexual responses may become slower and less intense. This may be related to a decreased testosterone level. It may also result from psychological or social changes due to aging (such as the lack of a willing partner), illness, long-term (chronic) conditions, or medicines.
Aging by itself does not prevent a man from being able to enjoy sexual relationships.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) may be a concern for aging men. It is normal for erections to occur less often than when a man was younger. Aging men are often less able to have repeated ejaculations.
ED is most often the result of a medical problem, rather than simple aging. Ninety percent of ED is believed to be caused by a medical problem instead of a psychological problem.
Medicines (such as those used to treat hypertension and certain other conditions) can prevent a man from getting or keeping enough of an erection for intercourse. Disorders, such as diabetes, can also cause ED.
ED that is caused by medicines or illness is often successfully treated. Talk to your primary health care provider or a urologist if you are concerned about this condition.
BPH may eventually interfere with urination. The enlarged prostate partially blocks the tube that drains the bladder (urethra). Changes in the prostate gland make older men more likely to have urinary tract infections.
Urine may back up into the kidneys (vesicoureteral reflux) if the bladder is not fully drained. If this is not treated, it can eventually lead to kidney failure.
Prostate gland infections or inflammation (prostatitis) may also occur.
Prostate cancer becomes more likely as men age. It is one of the most common causes of cancer death in men. Bladder cancer also becomes more common with age. Testicular cancers are possible, but these occur more often in younger men.
Many physical age-related changes, such as prostate enlargement or testicular atrophy, are not preventable. Getting treated for health disorders such as high blood pressure and diabetes may prevent problems with urinary and sexual function.
Changes in sexual response are most often related to factors other than simple aging. Older men are more likely to have good sex if they continue to be sexually active during middle age.
The 6 Changes in Lifetime Hormone Levels that Cause Aging – And How to Easily Reverse Them!
After spending 30 years, so far, of studying the aging process from every possible angle, it becomes clearer and clearer to me that aging is not some mysterious, inscrutable, unsolvable problem. Rather, it is quite apparent that aging is controlled, like many other things in our lives, by changes in hormones. Do bear with me and let me give you a little background on aging first, then you will get VERY USEFUL information about the hormone changes that cause it – complete with graphs and charts!
The Background and the Controversy:
The conventional view of aging, which is currently in a state of major change, has been that aging was just an accidental artifact of us and other animals living too long, because we had never lived this long in the past. Since life was nasty brutish and short, we never evolved mechanisms to keep our bodies alive at ages that they never reached in “the wild”. In fact a common quip by aging theorists of the recent past was “animals don’t age in the wild”, said with much confidence and authority. This has proven to be completely untrue.
Truly this was a very simplistic and wrong-headed view as we shall soon see.
The new thinking that is emerging amongst the younger students of aging and evolution is that aging evolved for a purpose and thus is controlled like many other facets of human life by changes in hormones. If you search the Pub Med Science database for the terms aging and evolution, there almost hasn’t been a paper published in years that did not question the prevailing paradigm of the past and suggest that aging was actually programmed. And what drives our lifetime programs more than anything else? You got it – HORMONES!
There can be no denying that female menopause is driven by dramatic changes in hormone levels. It is so obvious because it happens so quickly relative to the total human life span.
What was not so obvious until recently is how other hormones vary over the typical human lifetime to drive the aging process. Except for menopause, the changes caused by aging-related hormones occur gradually in humans. A classic example of rapid hormone-driven aging can be seen in the case of the Pacific Salmon who live for 3 years and then return to their spawning grounds to reproduce. And in the 3 days after spawning they deteriorate rapidly and die! Poof! Just like that. And if you castrate them, they can live for 7 years!
The old theory, when confronted with the obviously rapid programmed aging of the Pacific Salmon, simply created a new category of aging called semelparous aging (aging during a one time burst of reproduction) – and with the wave of a hand said it had nothing to do with other types of aging! Out of sight out of mind!
pacific salmon spawning
3 days later
For humans, it turns out there are hormones that are good for you and prevent aging. And there are also hormones that are bad for you and promote aging. (The aging-promoting hormones that when increased initially drive the development program and cause the initiation of puberty, are elevated even more at older ages and drive the aging program – it is all one seamless mechanism).
Okay now the stuff you have been waiting for!
Let’s start with the hormones that are good for you first: Melatonin, Pregnenolone, DHEA, and Progesterone.
The master hormone that controls your other reproductive hormones and suppresses the “bad“ hormones. It peaks at night and drops dramatically in the daytime. It is like your hormonal clock. The problem is that when we age the nighttime peaks in melatonin get smaller and smaller. This is the trigger that causes all sorts of other pro-aging hormonal changes to occur.
I know from personal experience and blood testing that when I take large doses of melatonin it boosts my progesterone levels up quite high, to about 30% higher than the upper limit of the normal reference range for men of my age. I suspect that high melatonin peaks also promote higher levels of DHEA and pregnenolone as well. Progesterone, pregnenolone, and DHEA are all “good hormones” that decline with age.
In a study involving mice and rats, the melatonin levels of these animals shoot way up, way higher than their youthful nighttime peaks when they are semi starved. And what else happens? The mice live up to 40% longer than normally fed mice. Is there a link? I am sure there is. Another hormone that also increases quite a bit during caloric restriction is DHEA. Let’s look at DHEA next.
Caloric Restriction in Mice
DHEA is a steroid hormone very similar in structure to estrogen and testosterone. There are quite a few books about DHEA as being a wonder anti-aging hormone that prevents cancer and is a potent antioxidant. What happens to your DHEA levels when you age?
This hormone is known as the super-memory hormone. Giving pregnenolone to old rats boosts their memory to the same level as that of young rats. It is also a steroid hormone. “Steroid” just means it is a hormone that is initially created from cholesterol. So what happens to your pregnenolone levels when you age?
The first step for all steroid hormone synthesis occurs when the body makes pregnenolone from cholesterol. Step two is when our bodies use some of that pregnenolone to make progesterone. All other downstream steroids like testosterone and estrogen originally start off as progesterone.
All steroids have a very similar chemical structure:
But don’t let that fool you! They may all look the same like magnetic hotel room keys do. But due to their differing electrical signatures they bind to specific hormone receptors and this explains their dramatically different effects while appearing so similar.
Progesterone is known to be one of the most neuroprotective substances known to man, and is known to be the reason why women recover from brain injuries much more easily than men – due to higher female progesterone levels. At menopause, women’s progesterone levels crash to almost 0, while it takes a bit longer for men’s progesterone levels to crash which happen in their 60’s and 70’s.
Progesterone levels in women by age
Two interesting points to make about progesterone are that one, the negative symptoms of menopause like night sweats, weight gain, and mood changes, are now believed to be caused by the unopposed estrogen which declines at a slower rate than progesterone does in the menopause. Some doctors are now giving their menopausal patients 300 mg of progesterone per day to eliminate these symptoms. Secondly, while researching the cause of ALS for a reader, I noticed that men get the dreaded ALS at a 4 to 1 ratio as compared to women. However, after menopause the ratio becomes 1 to 1. This told me that progesterone might be protective against ALS and indeed a later mouse study by Korean researchers found that progesterone dramatically prolonged the lives of male mice in a mouse model of ALS. Remember – progesterone is the most neuroprotective substance on earth!
It is simple, if you want to slow and even reverse the aging process, you need to supplement with DHEA, pregnenolone, and melatonin, and maybe progesterone. Because increasing your melatonin levels leads to increase in progesterone so you might not need extra progesterone.
All these hormones are available over the counter without a prescription in the US – which is an unusual situation compared to the rest of the world where many hormones are available by prescription only.
If you want to supplement with smaller amounts of progesterone you can also get progesterone cream (which absorbs through your skin) without a prescription in the US as well. High-dose progesterone – brand name Prometrium – is available by prescription only and is dramatically overpriced!
What dosages should you take? That is a good question.
For DHEA, it’s 100 mg for men and maybe 25 to 50 mg a day for women
For melatonin, if you really want the anti-aging effects you will likely want to try higher doses than are considered normal. Like 75 mg a night for women and 120 mg a night for men. Just be prepared for the 4-month adjustment period of lots of sleeping!
For pregnenolone, 100 mg a day is likely fine. I take 200 mg a day and there have been no adverse effects from even 400 mg a day.
I do not take progesterone. My melatonin intake seems to boost it. Melatonin also boosts progesterone levels in females. It is up to you to decide whether to supplement.
So now let’s take a look at the two major hormones that increase dramatically after age 50 in both men and women that are bad for you and drive both the aging process and menopause.
FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteinizing Hormone):
These two hormones were originally discovered as being major players in women’s monthly reproductive cycles.
FSH stimulates the maturation of the human egg called the ovum. Once the egg has matured, LH increases. One of the functions of the increased LH level is to eat away at the follicle so the egg can be released into the fallopian tube for fertilization by the sperm.
However a funny thing happens after the age of female menopause (around age 50) in both men and women. The FSH and LH levels increase by very large amounts of up to 1,000 percent!
These increases were ignored for years by mainstream scientists, but I proposed in my 1998 paper on aging that these hormones actually drove the aging process. Scientists laughed at my proposed idea but facts have been coming out with a vengeance that this is indeed the case!
It turns out that the NIH, not too long ago, has agreed that LH is intimately involved in driving the attack on the brain that causes Alzheimer’s. It has also been found that men with higher levels of LH showed more signs of frailty.
Recently, FSH has been implicated in causing osteoporosis (as predicted in my 1998 paper) as well as age-related weight gain. I expect FSH will also be found to be the cause of the destruction of both heads of the femur that is causing us all to get knee and hip replacements in alarming numbers!
Take a look at the lifetime female LH and FSH levels:
(Men show a similar pattern after the age of 50 except with a relatively larger increase of FSH to LH as compared to females).
So how do you keep these “bad” hormones from increasing?
Thankfully, it is very simple – just take high doses of melatonin. Melatonin suppresses both FSH and LH.
Melatonin suppression of FSH and LH explains why melatonin taken early on in the initial stages of menopause REVERSES menopause and reinitiates the menstrual cycle!
There are a few hormones I did not address like the dramatic decline in Growth Hormone with age. It has been found that mice deficient in growth hormone live much longer than controls, and that GH supplementation can make you look better but does not make you live longer and might even give you diabetes.
So that’s it for this summary! If you would like to know more about hormone changes and aging you can get a much more detailed look at this in my book “What Darwin Could Not See – The Missing Half of the Theory” available at amazon.com.
And finally, if you plan on performing your own high dose melatonin, pregnenolone, resveratrol, DHEA, or Vitamin D3/Vitamin K2 experiment to prevent aging or to treat various chronic medical conditions. You might want to consider buying bulk powder vitamins/hormones rather than pills given the high doses involved and the high cost of pills. For example Vitamin K2 can cost $6,500 per gram if you buy Dr. Mercola’s pills, 30X the cost of gold!! If you buy pure bulk K2 powder you can get it for just $15 per gram. It’s not just BigPharma who is ripping us off! Find out more from this article>>>>
In 2010, Jeff T. Bowles began a series of e-book bestsellers to publish health issues that deal with the problem of healing and aging from an evolutionary perspective. By joining the simple logic of evolution with a large number of diverse facts as well as the results of his 25-year-old private research, Jeff was able to demonstrate a wide range of new, simple, and very effective ways to relieve many chronic diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, asthma or age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and ALS. Jeff was the first person who could show in a rat experiment (1997-2001) that rats whose water intake is restricted, live significantly longer (even longer than restricting food). In 1998 his article “The Evolution of Aging – A New Approach to an Old Problem of Biology” was published in the journal Medical Hypotheses. Later he published two other articles in the journal. His hypothesis that the suppression of a certain hormone can stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease resulted in the founding of the company Voyager Pharmaceuticals, which showed in a 50-million dollar project, that the suppression of the hormone LH in women actually prevented the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. In his proto-book about ALS he predicted in January of 2013 that progesterone would be the first effective treatment for ALS ever. Six months later some Korean researchers showed that progesterone dramatically extended the lives of male mice in a mouse model of ALS – the equivalent of 17 human years whereas most ALS patients only survive 2 to 4 years.