Organs and tissues that produce hormones are governed by the endocrine system. Your hormones are best described as naturally occurring chemicals produced in certain locations around the body, which are eventually let loose in the bloodstream. They then work to influence certain other organs and systems.
Although some hormones seem to specifically aim particular organs, some organs in fact produce their own controlling mechanisms instead of relying on these hormones.
With age, all of the naturally occurring systems begin to change, and a common problem is that they seem to become desensitized to a certain degree. Not only this, the actual production of hormones can also dramatically differ.
As a result, the levels of blood in certain hormones can either increase or decrease, whilst others remain the same. The hormones’ metabolization can similarly slow down.
As stated earlier, some organs that create hormones can be controlled by other hormones. As you age, you will begin to notice many changes including a slowing down of the metabolism, a gradual onset of body fat and diminished muscle mass.
Changes Brought about by Age
Nearly all your hormones are created by the hypothalamus which is located inside the brain. From there, it controls the structure of your endocrine. Although the quantities of these hormones can stay the same, the response given by organs is what changes.
By the time you reach middle age, your pituitary gland reaches its peak before splitting in two parts. These are normally referred to as posterior and anterior.
The posterior stores hormones that are created by the hypothalamus, and is located in the rear.
The anterior is responsible for producing hormones that dictate overall growth, breast development, dropping of testes, ovaries, cortex, adrenaline, and the thyroid gland.
The thyroid gland can be found in the neck. This gland is responsible for managing the metabolic system. As you age, your thyroid’s texture changes, it becomes lumpier. As we all know, the metabolism slows down with age. With some people, the thyroid hormones and their production and breaking down remains pretty much the same, but with others, hormone levels can rise to such an extent that it can increase the risk of death resulting from cardiovascular complications.
The thyroid gland is surrounded by four tiny glands known as the parathyroid glands. The parathyroid hormones influence phosphate levels, as well as calcium. Parathyroid hormones are known to drastically increase with age and this is a common cause of the onset of osteoporosis.
The pancreas produces insulin which assists sugar to get into cells were it can be utilized as an energy source.
Glucose levels tend to rise 8- 14 mg/dL every 10 years after the age of 50 because the cells become desensitized to the presence of insulin.
Moving on, the adrenaline glands can be found somewhere over the kidneys. The surface layer of the adrenaline glands is known as the adrenaline cortex and is responsible for producing a number of key hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone.
Cortisol is known as a stress hormone and it influences the breakdown of proteins, glucose, fat, and plays an essential anti-inflammatory role.
Aldosterone helps to regulate the fine balance between electrolytes and fluid. This also diminishes with age and is a major contributor to symptoms of lightheadedness and sudden drops in blood pressure. Similarly, cortisol also diminishes with age, although the blood levels remain pretty much the same.
The testes and the ovaries perform two specific functions. Firstly, they are responsible for creating reproductive cells in the form of sperm and ova. Secondly, they produce the required sex hormones responsible for developing facial hair in men, and breasts in women.
How These Changes Affect People
With age, some hormones deplete, whilst others remain pretty much the same. Surprisingly, some hormones actually increase with age. The main hormones that are known to increase with age include renin, growth hormone, calcitonin, and aldosterone.
Unfortunately for women, prolactin and estrogen levels are major casualties of aging.
The male hormones that pretty much seem unaffected by the ageing process include insulin, epinephrine, cortisol, and thyroid hormones.
Unfortunately for men, testosterone becomes a major casualty as a man ages. On the flipside, the hormones that remain pretty stable include luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulator hormone, parathyroid hormone, and norepinephrine. Low testosterone is fast gaining recognition as a potentially hazardeous condition that can sometimes lead to more serious ailments. The medical profession’s response to this rising problem is the growing push towards HRT (hormone replacement therapy) treatments.
Unfortunately for the HRT companies, they have been repeatedly litigated against by a growing number of disgruntled HRT patients due to their side effects. In a desparate bid to fill in the growing void, natural testosterone supplements have suddenly become the “rage”, and are potrayed as the safer alternatives to HRT.