Anti-Aging vs. Hormone Replacement Therapy

What is hormone replacement therapy or HRT? The intervention itself was brought to media attention and made infamous by professional sports players who abused the system. All of the negative press and notoriety has given HRT an almost taboo reputation. The fact of the matter is however, that HRT was around long before it’s abuse by athletes. Estrogen replacement was discovered in 1938 but it wasn’t until the 1960’s that the industry itself picked up steam. The basis for the foundation of HRT, in most cases is aging. As we age, the production of our critical hormones, estrogen in women and testosterone in men and human growth hormone (GH/hGH) in both, wanes to levels that are mere fractions of what they once were. The goal of HRT is to restore these youthful hormone levels under the premise that they will make the patient feel, once again, young; or at the very least better than they had been feeling. Benefits include increased: focus, drive, strength, stamina, libido and bone density. Side effects however include increased risk of: stroke, cancer, gynecomastia, hair loss, headaches and risk of blood clots.

All in all, for those who truly need it, HRT is a marvel of modern medicine. The ability to adjust hormone levels well beyond our normal limits defined by age or disease borders the lines of “playing God”.

With the strength of what HRT can do for patients, one is forced to wonder: what’s different about anti-aging? If you’re restoring hormone levels to youthful levels, aren’t you basically reversing the aging process? The short answer is…kind of.

In 2009 the nobel prize was awarded to scientists who discovered telomeres and telomerase. Telomeres are on the tips of every single chromosome, in every single cell, throughout our bodies. As we grow and age, cells have to divide and replicate. With every single replication our telomeres shorten. Think of them as the tips on the end of your shoelaces, without them, your laces/DNA would fray and fall apart and the cell would die. No cells, no tissue, no organs, no body…no life.

The hope and potential is in telomerase. Telomerase is naturally “expressed” or produced in your body, in small amounts. Telomerase makes your body lengthen it’s telomeres, this in turn leads to healthier cells which can duplicate longer and…keep you alive and healthier, longer.

Think of cell duplication like photo-copying. Imagine how your DNA might look after being photo-copied for 40, 50 or 60 years? The image isn’t pretty and without clear instruction/DNA, cells aren’t able to perform the way they are supposed to resulting in disease and aging. Telomerase activation focuses on lengthening telomeres which fortify DNA and keep us going for much longer.

So when it comes to HRT or anti-aging my answer is, both. If you want the complete package, both are necessary. I recommend my patients start with 6 months to a year of anti-aging protocols and then, if their issues haven’t been cleared up by the rejuvenated cellular function, at that point HRT is the next step. Without that order and only taking HRT, you are basically taking a 1957 (insert your birth year) sports car and without making any repairs to it, throwing in a supercharger. Often times it is simply far too much for the body to handle and will lead to further problems down the road.

If you have questions or comments regarding your HRT/Anti-Aging programs or this article, please feel free to write me at:

Yours In Health,

Dr. Kennedy

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