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Why do hormones deplete with age?

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 Posted 3/2/2012 11:49:44 PM
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We seem to know the cause of most ageing factors, such as why telomeres shorten, why AGEs are produced, UV damage from the sun reducing collagen etc but I can't seem to find anywhere the actual reason for hormones to deplete with age? I don't see how that is ever gonna be prevented with any pill if we don't even know why they decrease in the first place. I mean, what are the bodily changes that go on as we age that cause the production of all hormones to gradually decrease? Does it have any correlation with telomere length or another ageing process we're aware of for example?

Some women for example were shown to appear younger at a mature age due to higher levels of oestrogen. But why were they higher? Was it just down to them consuming foods that promote oestrogen? And what about other hormones.

Thanks.
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 Posted 3/4/2012 2:54:48 PM
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Welcome to the Forums.

There are different hypotheses concerning why aging occurs.  Some scientists believe that aging is preprogrammed, like menarche and menopause which, as you know, significantly impact hormones.  Others believe it is the result of wear and tear on systems, organs and DNA, which would impact the hormones they are involved in.  One hypothesis posits that all of the symptoms that have been lumped under aging are really just separate diseases, such as osteoporosis and sarcopenia (called frailty), Alzheimer's disease and/or vascular dementia (called senility), etc.  Another hypothesis is that hormone production declines with age in order to help protect the individual from the adverse effects of long term exposure, i.e. cancer. 

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 Posted 3/4/2012 5:34:33 PM
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So if they deplete just to protect us from cancer then why do so many people engage in HRT?
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 Posted 3/5/2012 5:09:15 AM
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As we age, entropy sets in, and we must counteract this by energy.  Our bodily chemistry degrades and so we must supplement to keep our bodily chemistry functioning like it was when we were young.  The whole point of orthomolecular medicine is to determine which chemicals decline as we age and therefore what natural chemicals to take in from the outside to counteract the decline.
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 Posted 3/5/2012 7:13:50 AM
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To Loot, that is one of a number of hypotheses.  One also might note that younger people who have optimal hormone levels have a significantly lower risk of almost all cancers, and experience better health and well being.  The latter is why they use hormone replacement. 

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 Posted 3/5/2012 2:26:25 PM
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So younger people have high levels of hormones but low risk of cancer and yet hormone depletion protects us from cancer? Still doesn't seem to make sense. Saying 'entropy sets in' is all very well but why? Damage from the sun is extrinsic ageing and so we can't prevent that but it seems hormones deplete by our own bodies choice or some other internal reason. There has to be a reason our body chooses or is forced to do that. Or is it just losing hormones for a laugh...?
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 Posted 3/6/2012 4:26:41 AM
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The hypothesis makes sense when one considers that long term exposure to a hormone could be a problem.  Keep in mind that it is one of a number of hypotheses, not proven theories. 

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 Posted 3/6/2012 7:21:45 PM
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Ok, then again, why engage in hormone replacement therapy? Why do celebs take growth hormone at old age? There do seem to be side effects with too much hormone or hormonal imbalance but they seem more to do with the effect of the hormones themself in excess, rather than some other effect like dying or getting cancer.
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 Posted 3/7/2012 4:21:36 AM
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In answer to your first question, because of the many benefits they provide, including the maintenance of youthful characteristics.  There is also evidence that some hormones protect against cancer.  In answer to your second question, hGH helps to maintain or restore some youthful characteristics, such as skin tone and muscle mass, but may accelerate the actual aging process. 

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 Posted 3/7/2012 2:55:32 PM
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So basically hormone replacement will make you look young but at the cost of decreasing your overall lifespan?
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