Our Approach to Anti-Aging
Most adults begin to focus on anti-aging components of their health regimen as they enter menopause (typically, for most women, between the ages of 45 and 50) and andropause, which occurs in middle-aged men and includes a collection of symptoms, including fatigue and a decrease in libido, usually attributed to a gradual decline in testosterone levels. To help our patients combat the symptoms associated with menopause and andropause, we design an anti-aging program specific to each patient’s needs. While our anti-aging program are unique to each patient, the foundational component for most of them includes bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
To design the most appropriate anti-aging program for you, we first identify your current hormone levels using blood, urine, or saliva analysis. Throughout your anti-aging program, we will monitor your hormone levels to ensure they reach a target level that corresponds to the reference ranges for healthy women or men.
In addition to monitoring your hormone levels, our anti-aging programs include a whole-body approach. In other words, we include preventive components into your program, such as diet, exercise, and other lifestyle-based strategies. For instance, for optimal health women require a balance of estrogen and progesterone. Imbalances are often exacerbated by chronic stress, which would require any anti-aging program to include a stress-management initiative.
A healthy diet that is low in processed foods and high in whole organic foods, along with regular exercise, can also go a long way to keeping your hormones balanced as you age.
The Impact of Hormones on Anti-Aging
Your hormones are an important component of your body’s anti-aging makeup, and hormone deficiencies can undermine your overall health, especially during the period of menopause and andropause. How your health is impacted is dependent on which hormone is being under-produced, as well as the severity of the deficiency.
To counteract hormone imbalances, many people elect to undergo hormone replacement therapy, either through the administration of synthetic hormones or hormones derived from naturally occurring sources. However, studies have shown that synthetic hormone therapy can increase the likelihood of various types of cancer and heart disease, which is why many patients are now taking a natural approach to hormone imbalance with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Natural bioidentical hormones derived from sources such as yams and soy can help you find relief from symptoms of hormonal imbalance without the risks that are presented with the use of synthetic hormones. Bioidentical hormones come from nature, but are designed to replicate the same chemical structure as the hormones that are produced naturally by our bodies.
The term, “bioidentical hormones,” refers to hormones that are molecularly identical to those produced by the human body. Chemical substances derived from plant tissues are scientifically engineered in laboratories to precisely match natural human hormones. These hormones are then compounded into creams, gels, pills, and pellets to help your body absorb them more easily, which makes them a highly effective component of any anti-aging regimen.
Alternatively, synthetic hormones are developed in a lab using a patented mix of chemicals. As such, synthetic hormones contain tiny molecular differences that do not exactly match the body’s natural makeup. As such, your body recognizes synthetic hormones as foreign.
Are Bioidentical Hormones Safe?
Because bioidentical hormones are derived naturally, our bodies can metabolize them properly. In addition, while synthetic hormones are mass-produced and rely on a one-size-fits-all approach, bioidentical hormones are designed to match your individual hormonal needs, which results in a greater relief during menopause and andropause.
Ongoing research and clinical studies supports the claim that bioidentical hormones are safer and more effective than synthetic hormones. However, it’s important to remember that no drug therapy, nutritional supplement, or naturally occurring herb is 100 percent safe in 100 percent of patient; regardless of its effectiveness in the vast majority of patients, there is always a chance that you may experience an adverse reaction. That’s why you should first consult with a hormone specialist before beginning any hormone replacement therapy. By scheduling an anti-aging consultation with us first in our Savannah, GA, office, we can help safeguard yourself from any potential side effects.
Because bioidentical hormones are still relatively new as an anti-aging treatment, there have been no long-term studies of their efficacy. However, many short-term studies have been completed, with each showing positive results in the relief of symptoms of hormonal imbalances such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and cognitive problems, as well as in the decreased risk of heart disease and breast cancer.
Long-term and short-term studies of synthetic hormones show them to be less effective at treating symptoms of menopause and andropause, while also increasing the risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.
How Bioidentical Hormones Work
Natural bioidentical hormones fit perfectly into the hormone receptors of your body because they are identical to your natural-made hormones. This perfect fit allows your body to completely utilize the hormone without the side effects that are common with non-bioidentical hormones.
Bioidentical progesterone and estrogen have repeatedly been shown to reduce and eliminate the breast-cell proliferation rates, while synthetic versions of these hormones – especially progestin – have been shown to increase breast cancer risk significantly. In terms of cardiovascular disease, bioidentical progesterone maintains and enhances the heart protective effects of estrogen, decreasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.