The Aging Process

You probably know that your hormone levels fluctuate as you age. A big surge in adolescence helps drive puberty, while the impact of many hormones weakens as you grow older. But is this a consequence of aging or a cause?

Scientists decided to do some research on that exact topic. There have been a few studies over the years ( that suggest a connection, but that’s not the same as having proof.

Part of that is because it’s very difficult to show that just because two things are related, one causes the other. Correlation is not causation. That’s especially true when there are a host of other factors, like diet, that also have a profound effect on the aging process. To make things even more complicated, at least some of the studies on hormones and aging have been done on non-human creatures, like mice. The results aren’t always the same when actual humans are involved.

One of the specific hormones that have received attention include, perhaps unsurprisingly, human growth hormone (HGH). This mostly helps growth in children, while adults mostly use it for maintenance. It keeps your organs and tissue working properly and may even help mood and cognitive function. In the modern world, however, it is also available as a sometimes controversial anti-aging supplement.

If hormones being imbalanced or deficient are a cause of aging, that suggests that some kind of hormone therapy may reduce the impact. Again, though, with research as it currently stands, we don’t know that giving people hormones just because they’re getting older (rather than for specific symptoms associated with certain deficiencies) will help. It may even be harmful in some cases.

Aging is a complicated process involving lots of different parts of the body. Hormones are complicated, too. Trying to break biology down into simple explanations can often feel like a futile task. With new research coming out all the time, perhaps one day we will understand the complex mix of chemicals and processes that drive the human aging process.

It seems likely that we can’t attribute human aging to any one thing, but it is also probable that hormone levels do play a role. After all, pretty much every part of the body is affected by one hormone or another. It’s certainly a fascinating area for further study.

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