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Best Anti Aging Supplements: Can Hormones Keep You Young?
Some of the best anti aging supplements, or at least the most well known, are actually hormone supplements. Hormones are chemicals produced in our organs that act as messengers, sending signals to other parts of the body. Examples are adrenalin, produced in times of stress, putting our system on red alert; and the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone which, with others, are responsible for the changes around puberty and many other functions related to sex and reproduction.
Hormonal Supplements for Women
Hormone production tends to diminish as we grow older and therefore hormones are often used as anti aging supplements. For example, women are often recommended to take estrogen and other hormones around the time of the menopause to reduce menopausal symptoms and keep them feeling and looking younger. Estrogen levels drop suddenly around the time of the menopause and the body often has trouble adjusting to this, resulting in symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings.
Many doctors now do prescribe a cocktail of hormones known as HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) or MHT (Menopausal Hormone Treatment) for women at the time of the menopause. However, some studies have shown increased risk of certain diseases including breast cancer when these types of hormone therapy are taken for a long time. Most experts therefore recommend taking HRT for as short a time as possible. Therefore, hormone therapy for women can ease the symptoms of menopause but it is not recommended as a permanent solution for staying young.
Hormonal Supplements for Men
In men, testosterone production also tends to be reduced with age. However, there is nothing like the sudden drop of a woman's menopause. The reduction is gradual and usually does not cause symptoms. Some men who are affected by loss of libido (sex drive) might find supplementation helpful, but it does not help with erectile dysfunction (impotence). Testosterone supplementation is suspected of contributing to prostate cancer in some cases. Therefore, most doctors would not prescribe it if a man's levels were normal for his age.
DHEA - The Supplement for Everyone?
Recently there has been a lot of publicity about DHEA, or dehyrdoepiandrosterone. This is a substance that the human body can use as a building block to produce many different hormones. Its supporters argue that it is safer than other hormonal supplements because instead of increasing levels of the sex and other hormones artificially, it simply provides the basis for the body to make whatever it needs.
Research into the effects of DHEA is not yet conclusive because there has not been time to study large groups over a significant length of time. However, the small studies that have been carried out have suggested that DHEA can help with certain hormone related issues such as obesity, depression, lupus and adrenal deficiency. This is especially true if DHEA levels were low in the person before supplementation began.
However, it has not been shown to increase muscle strength or endurance, cure impotence, improve the memory or delay skin aging. Therefore, whether you consider DHEA to be one of the best anti aging supplements on the market depends on what you are hoping for it to do.
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