Understanding what hormones are and how they work is crucial to your staying healthy.
Hormones are powerful chemicals that keeps your body functioning optimally. They set into motion the function of various tissues and organs by stimulating, regulating, and controlling. In fact, they are involved in almost every biological process that goes on in your body.
Most types of hormones are present in your bloodstream at a very low concentration. They function by sending a signal into a cell to:
- make proteins
- make enzymes
- perform other vital tasks
- stimulate a cell to release other hormones
And no single hormone affects all cells in the same way.
Hormone supplements, particularly if taken without medical supervision, may adversely affect this complex system. These supplements, for instance, may not behave exactly the same way as our own naturally produced hormones because the body may process them differently.
In addition, natural hormone production isn’t constant, so circulating blood levels may vary significantly over a 24-hour period. Hormone supplements can’t replicate these fluctuations. As a result, high doses of supplements may result in excessive and unhealthy amounts of hormones in the blood. Hormone supplements also may compound any negative effects caused by hormones naturally produced by the body.
Claims that taking hormone supplements can make people feel young again or that they can slow or prevent aging are unproven. The reality is that no one has shown that supplements of these hormones prevent frailty or add years to people’s lives.
Finally, most of the processes in the body are tightly controlled and regulated. Too much stimulation can elicit natural responses to inhibit a hormone’s action. The body’s system of checks and balances is complicated and the notion that hormone supplements can improve function is an oversimplification.
Talk to your doctor before you take any form of hormone supplementation. Or you may suffer consequences you cannot begin to figure out.