Keeping Your Hormones on Track
By Don Colbert, MD
Hormones have a way of getting out of sync as we age, primarily due to age and hormone-disrupting chemicals that we have subjected our bodies to over a long period of time.
A small number of my patients’ hormones are out of balance due to their genetic factors, but for the vast majority, it comes down to:
• Age (Hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, pregnenolone, and growth hormone gradually decline as we age, especially after age fifty.)
• Lifestyle (active or sedentary)
• Insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, obesity)
• Chronic illness or insomnia
• Regular exercise
• Adequate sleep
• The cumulative effect of the ten dementogens on their body and brain, especially marijuana, which can increase estrogen production and decrease testosterone levels in men
• Hormone disruptors (low testosterone can be caused by Parabens and phthalates, which are in many personal care products, including shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, hair care products, shaving creams, gels, and more. Parabens are preservatives that block bacteria and mold growth and are used as a fragrance ingredient for many personal care products and cosmetics. Phthalates
work as softeners in personal care products, such as shampoos, conditioners, and cosmetics.)
• Endocrine disruptors (These can also raise estrogen levels and lower thyroid function and include Bisphenol A, perchlorate (a byproduct of aerospace and weapons industries, and found in drinking water in some regions of the USA), dioxins, PCBs, PBDEs (used to make flame retardants), PFAS (used to make nonstick pans), and more. (See Hormone Health Zone for more information.)
Do I Need to Optimize My Hormones?
For most people, balancing and boosting their hormone levels is enough to get their health back on track and to prevent, slow, manage, stop, or reverse Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Some people, however, will need more. They can tell because their hormone levels simply don’t get high enough to get optimal results, no matter what they do. Their bloodwork will also show a plateau.
That’s fine. Thankfully, there is an answer, and that is to optimize your hormones. That means we return your hormones to their levels when you were young (age twenty to twenty-five).
Sometimes, certain symptoms or signs of low hormone levels will not go away. This can result from age, medications, disease, chronic stress, toxicity, lack of sleep, diet, or lifestyle, but it can also signify that hormone optimization is the only way to boost it to the level you need.
At this point, the goal is to push past balanced hormones and optimize them. You can choose to optimize all your hormones or the main ones you are working on. It’s up to you.
Look for a doctor who will use bio-identical hormone replacement therapy in the form of shots, creams, or pellets. There are many application options, but orally is usually not a good option for estradiol and testosterone. It’s fine for DHEA, pregnenolone, and thyroid. Hormone pellets usually work best for hormone optimization.
Some patients also benefit from optimizing growth hormone levels. IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) is a screening test for growth hormone, and my goal is to optimize the IgF-1 level to 200–250 ng/ml. I do this with a growth hormone secretagogue receptor peptide, ibutamoren, and a growth hormone releasing hormone receptor peptide CJC-1295.
Afterward, check your specific hormone levels regularly (two months after starting hormone therapy; six months thereafter) to make sure you are staying in the optimized range.
The process of optimizing your hormones is not a silver bullet. You still need to eat healthy, exercise, get your sleep, deal with stress, etc. But when you combine all these good choices and habits with optimized hormones, that is when amazingly good things happen! I’ve even seen symptoms disappear and sickness and disease stop and completely reverse.
Optimize your hormones if need be, but at the very least, balance them. Your body and brain need balanced hormones to stand strong against Alzheimer’s and dementia.