The word HORMONE is derived from the Greek work hormano, meaning “to arouse or excite”. Hormones are chemical messengers that are usually secreted from the endocrine glands into the bloodstream. Once secreted, hormones then bind with appropriate receptor sites present on the cell membranes of their target organs. “Hormones and receptor sites work like a key and a door,” explains Michael Galitzer, M.D., Co-founder of The American Health Institute in Los Angeles, California. “In order to get into the cell and instruct the DNA to make cell proteins, a hormone must first bind to its receptor. This unlocks the door and delivers a message to the cell.”Hormones play many important roles in the health and maintenance of the body, including influencing the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals and water. They also regulate DNA and RNA production and the subsequent synthesis of cell proteins, are involved in the production of enzymes, and influence the energy production of mitochondria (microscopic structures present in every cell, responsible for converting proteins, carbohydrates, and fats into energy or ATP).
In addition, hormones regulate the body’s response to stress, kidney function, blood sugar balance, menstruation, and sexual function.As we age, however, hormone production in the body declines. Since hormones affect virtually every bodily process, low levels of certain hormones and impaired communication within the endocrine system creates havoc with all other body systems, including the immune, cardiovascular, detoxification, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. “A loss of hormonal balance, as occurs with aging, plays a predominant role in mental and emotional symptoms and in all illness,” Dr. Galitzer says. “Restoration of this balance is ideally achieved through BioIdentical hormone replacement therapy.”Nutritional deficiencies, lack of exercise, and exposure to toxins, can all result in changes in hormone production that can ultimately lead to diminished biological functioning. Stress can also seriously impact hormone production. “Chronic stress among individuals in their prime results in the same blood hormone levels as those of a 70-year-old,” Dr. Galitzer says. “This is one of the reasons that we age prematurely with chronic stress.”Other factors that can contribute to hormonal imbalances include endocrine disorders, malnutrition, sleep disorders, exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs), lack of sunlight, hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, and the use of over-the-counter and prescription medications (pain relievers, heart medications, anti-anxiety drugs, sleeping pills, and non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen , and indomethacin).