Three Biologic Processes that Contribute to Aging

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Detailed Aging Discussion of the Metabolism, the Cardiovascular System, and the Gut.

This discussion is the second part of a series on the factors that make human age.  My view of the aging process is like the falling of the house of cards, it starts with one thing and then the effects multiply and cause other changes of aging. The first changes are found in the sex hormones and their decline after age 40, which triggers a decrease of growth hormone, which results in defects in our immune system and our metabolism slows, our heart and blood vessels lose their elasticity (we get hypertension and narrowed arteries) and our GI system stops absorbing necessary nutrients and producing  the neurotransmitters produced in the gut that protect us from becoming depressed.

There are 10 biological factors that cause us to age:

1 The endocrine system

  1. the immune system
  2. the metabolic system
  3. the cardiovascular system
  4. the G I system
  5. the Thyroid Gland
  6. the nervous system
  7. Brain Function
  8. The Muscular system
  9. The Sensory system

For those of you reading or watching our healthcast, we are displaying my algorithm that depicts the sequence of these changes that cause us to age.  From my perspective if we can replace or stimulate the production of the first hormones that decline, testosterone, estradiol and growth hormone, then the rest of the changes will either not occur or occur at a much later date in our lives.  That is the goal of BioBalance Health LLC—stop the progression of aging, early in the process.

Aging of the Metabolism:

One of the most obvious signs of aging is the outcome of metabolic malfunction which slows our metabolism and makes us gain fat around the middle and trade muscle for fat.  This algorithm shows how the loss of T, E2 and GH trigger the aging of the metabolism by decreasing muscle mass, increasing fat mass, and making the body more efficient with calories so when we eat, more becomes fat.  Leptin a hormone that helps us burn fat decreases with loss of muscle and we gain even more weight.  The onset of Estradiol loss (menopause) makes us insulin resistant, causing us to decrease the amount of blood sugar we can get into the cells to make energy, and divert it to the formation of fat.  This is a known side effect of estrogen loss in women and the increase of estrone and belly fat in men. [1]

“When thinking of insulin activity, the changes in the body’s changes in. lean versus fat mass decrease strength and physical activity. This alters energy metabolism and impairs resistance to infection. Increasing levels of total and central body fat in advancing age, contribute to the development of metabolic disease and lead to increased likelihood of cardiovascular problems.

“age-related increases in fat mass and waist circumference is greater in women than in men.”

“changes in physiology with age reflect a decline in physical activity-related energy expenditure—an important predictor of total and central body fat.”[2]

Happily, all of these issues can be reversed with replacement of T and E2 to women and T in men when they are replaced with pellets and not oral therapy, and or with daily weight training. Oral therapy continues the low metabolic rate, that slows with age.  My patients complain that they eat the same amount but still gain weight and it is true.  A Calorie is not the same for young people with adequate sex hormones as it is for men and women over 45!

“Doctors generally think that aging is associated with impaired glucose handling. Age-related changes in anthropometric characteristics and environmental factors have been hypothesized as being among the main causes for this association. As far as the anthropometric changes are concerned, a decline in lean body mass and an increasing fat mass are common findings in aged individuals.”

“Researchers report that age related environmental factors—specifically, changes in diet quality and decline in the degree of physical activity—may be common causes that hasten the changes in insulin and insulin-resistance that may develop as people age.”[3]


Aging of the CV System

We need both pressure and flow in our cardiovascular system. We want to understand the impact of the aging process on the cardiovascular system and the effects of this process on any diseases or lifestyle changes that are typical in the aging process. Our veins need to be full of blood and the heart muscle needs to pump the blood throughout the system. As our veins or arteries harden or become filled with plaque this becomes more difficult for the heart. We can develop hypertension and have the resting pressure be too high or we can have difficulties with the heart pumping too hard to try to force blood through hardened or stiffened arteries. These problems can lead to damage of the cardiovascular system and to death.

These are now thought to be age related changes in the cardiovascular system:

  1. Stiffening of the arteries which increase systolic blood pressure
  2. Decline in peripheral circulatory factors, including a decrease in muscle mass with age during exercise, a decreased ability to direct blood flow to muscles, and a decreased ability of muscle to utilize oxygen.
  3. Decline in aerobic exercise capacity, whether measured as total work performance or maximal oxygen consumption. THIS DECLINE APPEARS TO BE APPROXIMATELY HALF OF THE 10% PER DECADE DECREASE SEEN IN SEDENTARY PEOPLE.
  4. Decline in maximal exercise heart rate is a universal age -related occurrence.

Age related changes are totally non universal

Aging of the cardiovascular system is also triggered by the loss or deficiency of Testosterone.  When people lose testosterone and gain fat and lose muscle the inflammatory process in the body increases which causes plaque formation on the vessels, the amount of Nitric Oxide that is secreted by the arteries diminishes and the blood pressure rises making the heart work harder and harder.  Another action of low testosterone is that there is a reflex that increases cholesterol when free T decreases, in fact when someone has a fast rise in Cholesterol, then I check their cholesterol and most of the time it is elevated.

If we can stop the loss of T or replace it and replace Estrogen to women, we can slow the rate of heart disease and maintain the nitric oxide and lower blood pressure.


This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author, with Brett Newcomb, MA., LPC., Family Counselor, Presenter and Author.


[1] Klatz Ronald MD., The AntiAging Revolution: Basic Health Pub.,ISB 978-1-59120-200-4

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid

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