Hormones – I’m going to take a few extra minutes to talk about hormones. I could talk about this, as could Dr. Gerber, for hours. We love this. We believe it’s misunderstood by an awful lot of people. We’re mostly talking about deficiencies. There aren’t too many cases where, as you get older, you make more of a hormone. That would be unusual. Mostly, as you get older, you make less of the hormone. Hormones attach to your cell walls and create effects in your cells. They’re signal messengers. They tell your cells to do something. If you don’t have them around, your cells are not getting told to do something. This is not good. Every one of your hormones influences oxygen utilization.
These are the main players: testosterone is the male hormone; it’s also very important for women. Estrogen is the female hormone, the primary female hormone. Actually, estrogen is the category of hormones, but I’m just going to use that term. Progesterone is another major female hormone, which is also important for men.
New data for nitric oxide production shows that estrogen is actually important for men. We used to think it was really bad for males; you’ve go to get your estrogen level as low as possible. Maybe not.
Melatonin is a hugely important hormone. Some guy was talking on Dr. Oz the other day about melatonin being dangerous. Bogus! Thyroid – I think you’re convinced by now on that one. DHEA and thyroid – T3 actually– can’t exert its effects without DHEA. So, you might make a case that DHEA is just as important as thyroid.
Hydrocortisone is grossly important and is an under-utilized hormone. People are scared of hormones. But of all the hormones they’re scared of, they’re scared of hydrocortisone the most. That one is probably the most important one you make – the one we clinically, in doctor’s offices, see as being the biggest problem. And then there is growth hormone. Those are not all the hormones, but they are the main ones that doctors utilize, and the ones we really focus on. They’re the ones that cause the biggest problems, as they tend to get deficient most often.
How do you know if you’re hormone deficient? One thing you don’t do is to get your hormones measured. I’m going to say it again: If you want to know if you are hormone deficient, what you don’t do is to get your hormones measured. That’s not going to tell you. Now, how can I possibly say that? That doesn’t make sense. It’s counterintuitive, isn’t it?
If you look at the ranges that hormones are reported in, you’ll have an idea as to why that is, because the range is huge. For example, the range for testosterone, on one end, is normally around 250, and the other end is around 1000. Are you telling me if you’re 251, you’re okay? “Oh, you’re in range, Frank.” “Thanks.” I don’t know about that. The ranges in all the hormones are huge. All of them. Huge ranges. If you’ve got the range and you are in the top 95 percentile, I would say you are probably not hormone deficient. I think that’s a safe bet.
Not always though – because of these little things called receptors. I said that hormones go to a cell and do something on the membrane. They don’t actually get into the cell by the way; they attach to the cell. And that attachment creates reactions in the cell. They attach to a thing we call a receptor. No receptor, no place for them to attach; they don’t work.
Our cells are designed to regulate hormones in at least two ways: how much of that hormone is there, and how many of the receptors are on the cell. If you have 100,000 hormones, and one receptor, are you any better off than one hormone and one receptor? No. We can’t measure receptors. All we can do is measure the hormones in the blood. They mean nothing; literally nothing.
What you want to do is measure function. So, if you want to know if you are low in T3, you realize that T3 stimulates the mitochondria to produce heat. So, let’s measure how hot you are. If you’re hot, you’re probably okay with T3, because T3 regulates that. If you’re cold, you might be cold for other reasons, but you might be cold from low T3. So you look at the function of the hormone. You never look at the blood levels. So, that’s the first thing. You need to know what the symptoms are for each hormone deficiency. What’s the symptom for an estradiol deficiency? What are the symptoms for progesterone deficiencies? What are the symptoms for testosterone deficiencies? If you have a deficiency, then give yourself the hormone. Hormones are safe; you’re not going to kill yourself, folks. They’re safe. If you don’t need the hormone, and you take it, guess what? You won’t get any better. You can stop taking it at that point. In medicine, that’s what we call a clinical trial. If you have the symptoms that are suggestive of a low hormone level, I give you the hormone. If your symptoms go away, I’m a genius; I just figured this huge thing out.
Now, the rest of it is a matter of getting the right level of the hormone. In that case, we might use blood levels. We might use testing to help do that. That’s how you do it. A laboratory is usually only useful to monitor the therapy – never to diagnose. You can establish baselines. So, if you were to come see me, we would get all those blood levels checked, and then I’d say the heck with it. I would say your testosterone is in range, but I’m giving you testosterone because you have every symptom in the book. That’s the first thing. Replacing deficient hormones will make you feel better. There’s no doubt about it. You will feel better. You will like me. You will feel better.
Not everything we do makes people feel better, does it? I could give you an herb. I could give you a vitamin, knowing that it is going to make your oxygen utilization improve. But it might not make you feel better. These guys make you feel better. You like these. They will make you feel better, but that is not the most important reason to take them. It really isn’t. The most important reason why you need to replace your hormones as they become deficient is because, through the process of remodeling, hormones keep your body young and functional.
Let’s talk a little bit about “remodeling”. This is a good term. It is actually a physiological term, but it really fits well for this example I am going to give you. Say you are 20 years old and you buy a brand new house. Let’s say every day while you are away at work, a group of workers come in and tear down part of your house and rebuild it. And by the time you get home, they are out of there. One day, they come in and tear out the hall bathroom and rebuild it. The next day, they tear out your master closet and they rebuild it. The next day they tear out another bathroom. You get the idea. Now you are 80 years old. How old is the house? It’s brand new. It’s been continually remodeled. I alluded to that when I was talking about your heart. That’s the way our bodies work. They remodel.
When you stop and think about it, it’s pretty remarkable when you can look at a guy who is 67, who can actually do a lot of stuff. 67 years old – that’s a long time for things to break down. That’s because of remodeling. That’s controlled by these hormones. If you are low on them, it’s not a good outlook for you.
Here’s the reality: next to exercise and diet, replacing deficient hormones is the most effective way to slow down the aging process. No question about it. They help to prevent the diseases of aging. It is dangerous not to take hormones if your body needs them. One of the things that always happens is you put somebody on hormones, and then they come back a year, or maybe two years, later and they’re worried. They’ve heard something on the radio, or whatever, and they ask: “Doc, do I have to continue taking these hormones for the rest of my life?”
And I say, “No you do not. Absolutely not. As soon as you want to start aging at a more accelerated rate, you go right ahead and stop them.” Understand, there’s going to be a point in your life when you want to cash in your chips and say it is all over – you’re moving on to the next phase. That’s when you should stop them. If you’re there, let’s stop them.
Replacing deficient hormones is just as safe as replacing deficient vitamins. There is no difference. If your body is used to that much, and you have that much, and I give you that much, what’s the problem? Theoretically, it doesn’t make any sense. And in actuality, I can tell you I’ve only been giving these hormones for something like 25 to 30 years. There are never any problems ever. It is just as safe as replacing anything else that’s deficient in your body. That’s the word on hormones. So, I hope you don’t get too concerned about hormones.