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Optimizing Weight Loss by Optimizing Hormones
A New Strategy for Maintaining Lean Body Mass Past Middle Age
By Dr John H Maher, A.B.A.A.H.P.

No matter how you slice it, weight always comes down to calories digested versus calories used. Calories are "burned" as energy. Calories not burned are used to repair, rebuild, grow body tissues, mostly as muscle in the mature adult. The rest are "stored" as fat. Hormones, and their closely related regulators, the neurotransmitters (brain messengers) are integral to this process. They help regulate appetite, digestion, energy production and repair, rebuilding and growth. As the "Hormones of Youth" decline in middle age, and stress hormones (cortisol) and insulin, the "Hormones of Age", increase, so do our waist lines!

So an ideal integrated strategy for obtaining and maintaining a desirable lean body mass past middle age would aim to:

1. Control calories ingested/digested

2. Optimize calories burned as energy

3. Optimize tissue repair, rebuilding and growth

Understanding the role of hormones and brain messengers called "neurotransmitters" in this integrated strategy will be the emphasis of this series of articles.

We discussed ways to do number one and two above in Part I and II of this series. You can read them on-line as Vol. 2, lessons 3 and 4 of this course.

In Part III, we will now discuss how to accomplish step 3 namely, how to optimize tissue repair, rebuilding and growth.

Anabolism and Catabolism

Metabolism is divided into two major processes, anabolic processes and catabolic processes. Anabolic processes are the "building up" processes and catabolic processes are the "breaking down" processes.

Indeed, one could argue that one has reached their peak and are in decline when the catabolic processes are outpacing the anabolic processes. An example would be bone metabolism. When the processes that build bone are outpaced by those that break it down, then one's bones mass will start to decline. Indeed the scientific word for this process is the "osteocline". The osteocline occurs because the hormones of youth, which keep bones strong, start to decline in middle age. These hormones are Hgh and the sex hormones. This "androcline" in men and "menopause" in women leads to osteopenia (poor bone) and eventual osteoporosis.

This very same process leads to a loss of muscle and accumulation of fat starting at middle age. Indeed, as we age we tend to lose lean body mass, and put on fat mass. Lean body mass comes from bone, muscle, organs, skin, ligaments, cartilage etc. So as Hgh and the sex hormones drop we get weaker bones, lose strength and size, have less organ reserve, our skin thins and our joints creek. We also add fat, although past 80 even the accumulation of fat tends to slow down!

In both sexes, human growth hormone levels drop about 14% a decade after puberty . As the function of human growth hormone is to make tissues grow and promote tissue repair (re-grow), while enhancing the beta-oxidation of fats (fat burning), it is easy to see why users of Hgh and Hgh secretagogues like Hgh Plus report increased muscle size, and trimmer figures, not to mention better blood lipid profiles. Indeed, as Hgh stimulates repair and rebuilding calories are utilized for energy and protein is used for infrastructure.

Muscle tissue requires much more energy to attain and retain than fat. Therefore the more muscle mass one has, the greater the calorie requirement to maintain weight. And nothing builds muscle as efficiently as testosterone. Indeed the abuse of "anabolic steroids" by weight lifters, body builders, wrestlers and NFL Football players refers to various testosterone related compounds. Of course we do not advocate such practices, though we understand the temptation. Nonetheless, the all too common "spare tire" you see start to develop in middle-age is directly related to dropping free testosterone levels and increasing insulin levels. Have you ever noticed how few men over 40 sport "six packs". Yet most any 18 year old has a rippled stomach. Why? Testosterone levels mostly.

Therefore a key component for most men over 40 who wish to maintain that hard body is to add Hgh secretagogues and testosterone enhancers to their nutrient dense, low glycemic diet and exercise. 

For Men over 40, consider:

1. Hgh Plus 24 drops at night

2. AndroEdge, one pump early AM and late PM.

3. Take one week off between bottles.

4. ThermoLoss, 2 tabs before breakfast and lunch.

5. If evening carbohydrate craves are too strong, one 5 HTP at night is indicated, more especially when such cravings are combined with poor sleep and low mood.

For Men under 40, ThermoLoss and perhaps 5 HTP is all that is needed.

What About Women?

Women experience a drop in Hgh and testosterone too. But 5 to 8 years before menopause they start to experience a drop in progesterone and estrogen as well. As estrogen can be made by fat cells, there is a tendency for women to put on more fat so they can keep their estrogen levels up, and stay fertile, for as long as possible! These fat cells tend to favor the waist area. Indeed, women with carbohydrate sensitivity (sweet tooth/ carbo cravers) will tend to start to become "apple shaped" instead of "pear shaped". As mentioned earlier in this series, women tend to put on 1 and 1/2 lbs. of fat a year starting in their mid thirties, while losing muscle at 1/2 a pound a year! 

Progesterone helps to stimulate the thyroid and fat burning, as well as being a natural diuretic. (It also is an anti-depressant, bone builder, anti- clotter and protects against breast cancer.) Progesterone is not to be confused w/ progestins like Provera, which are synthetic hormones and do not have these same qualities.

Therefore, a key component to women over 40 who wish to maintain a lean body is to consider adding natural progesterone to their nutrient dense diet and exercise programs. Common signs of need for progesterone enhancement include PMS, fibrocystic breasts, endometriosis, , menstrual cramps and bloating. (See Vol. 1, lesson 3, "Slowing the Aging Process with Natural Progesterone" to learn more.) 

Then adding plant estrogens is to be considered as well. Remember, as your bodies production of estrogen begins to drop, usually by 40, your fat cells begin to expand because estrogen is produced by fat cells. So in order to prop up your estrogen levels, your body switches into a fat storage mode. (Ever notice the tendency for some women to put on weight after an hysterectomy?) By adding plant estrogens like soy and flax seed to the diet, you can fight this tendency while enjoying other possible benefits like protection against heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer.

A great soy based meal replacement formula is one serving of UltraMeal with one tablespoon ground flaxseed. Quick, easy delicious, fortified and cheaper than most meals to boot!

For women with peri-menopausal symptoms in spite of using natural transdermal progesterone, soy and flaxseed, adding phyto-estrogenic herbs is the logical next step if estrogen enhancement is not an option. Again, by keeping estrogen up, there is less need for more fat cells. Conversely, thin women often have the toughest time at menopause, as they do not have enough fat cells to make up for the estrogen drop that occurs at the peri-menopause. In either case, an herbal phyto-estrogen product like "Menopause Wellness" ought to be considered.

Of course, with the peri-menopause and menopause, enhancing both estrogen and progesterone using a natural transdermal cream is to be strongly considered. This is especially true if progesterone, and phyto-estrogen foods and herbs are not enough to control the night sweats, the hot flashes and vaginal dryness. (See Vol. 1, lesson 4, "Estrogen: Friend or Foe?")

Most all women would do well to enhance HGH by menopause, especially if they are having symptoms. If low sex drive comes on with menopause, this is a strong sign that testosterone is dropping too! Women with low testosterone would do well to consider Libidex/Vital Love and Hgh Plus to restore sex drive, build muscle and bone and burn fat.

The best hormone test is the DHEA Challenge Test, also known as the DCT, which measures DHEA, progesterone, estradiol and testosterone. See the RxforWellness Article Archives "How to Use Our Products" section for more information on mail order saliva tests.

Protocols for Adult Woman

As you can see, it is a bit more work for women to figure their hormonal enhancement program. Generally, however, the strategies to attain and maintain lean body mass looks like this:

A nutrient dense low glycemic nutritional strategy and exercise, and:

Under 35, consider ThermoLoss, 2 caps before breakfast and lunch. If evening carbohydrate craves are too strong, one 5 HTP at night is indicated more especially when such cravings are combined with poor sleep and low mood.

As sub-optimal thyroid function is 10 times more common in women, if there are sub-optimal thyroid signs and symptoms, add one 7 KetoLean twice a day if the basal (before rising) under arm temperature of the first 3 days of the menstrual cycle is below 97.8 on average. If below 97.2 add T-100 as well. Much below 97.2 with many thyroid symptoms calls for a visit to your doctor. (See Vol. 1, lesson 6 for more info.)

By 35, consider adding soy and flaxseed to your diet. We recommend UltraMeal w/ ground Flax.

At 40, consider adding transdermal progesterone, using the FREE home study course lessons, questionnaires and tests discussed above to decide when you might best start progesterone. We provide the best value in progesterone with Projuvine.

With the start of the peri-menopause, consider adding herbal phyto-estrogens like "Menopause Wellness".

If these do not prove strong enough, consider adding Estro Pro, which is an all natural triple estrogen plus progesterone product. 

If sex drive has noticeably dropped, consider testosterone enhancements with Libidex/Vital Love.

By menopause, if not earlier, add an HGH enhancer like Hgh Plus.

The Hormones of Age

On the other side of the balance we must keep the hormones of age, insulin and cortisol, the stress hormone, under control.

Insulin

Insulin can be viewed as a fat storage hormone. High carbohydrate intake, and large meals in general, causes a rapid rise in blood sugar. Insulin is released to lower it. Excessive insulin forces your body to burn glucose for energy instead of stored body fat. Insulin also converts the excess sugar into fat and thus drop blood sugar levels too low, called hypoglycemia. This makes you hungry again!

When too much blood sugar is stored away as fat, the brain does not get adequate amounts of its only fuel, blood sugar! The resulting low-blood sugar triggers loss of concentration, energy slumps, mood swings, hunger and cravings!

Elevated insulin levels:

1) force the body to burn carbohydrates for energy.

2) Prevent the release and utilization of stored body fat.

3) Convert and store excess glucose into fat.

4) BLOCKS GROWTH HORMONE RELEASE!

As we grow older, our insulin levels become higher and higher as we become more insulin insensitive. The best way to keep insulin under control is to eat small, frequent, balanced nutrient dense, low glycemic meals, and to exercise regularly. Those with carbohydrate intolerance would do well to add insulin sensitizing nutrients such as those found in Insulin Wellness and ThermoLoss. Insulin Wellness has no stimulant herbs or appetite depressants. Insulin Wellness is recommended to those who are not taking ThermoLoss and who score high on the Sugar Sensitivity and the Insulin Sensitivity. More information on insulin and low glycemic foods can be found in Vol. 2, lessons 1 and 2. 

Remember, 5HTP is also good for sugar cravings if the above regimen does not prove enough.

Cortisol

Cortisol levels tend to rise somewhat with age. What rises more dramatically is the cortisol/ DHEA ratio, as DHEA definitely drops with age. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is a catabolic hormone. It tends to breakdown muscle, bone and brain tissue. As maintaining muscle mass is integral to maintaining a lean body mass and burning off calories, any process that speeds catabolism of lean body mass is to be retarded as much as possible. Moderate exercise, play, recreation, relaxation and meditation all lower cortisol. (As an aside, the best nutrient to retard brain aging from stress is Phosphatidyl Serine.)

Putting it All Together!

We said in the beginning that an ideal integrated strategy for obtaining and maintaining a desirable lean body mass past middle age would aim to:

1. Control calories ingested/digested

2. Optimize calories burned as energy

3. Optimize tissue repair, rebuilding and growth

To control calories digested we recommended using phenylalanine and tyrosine during the day and 5HTP at night. These amino acids and their metabolites are the building blocks out of which the brain makes messengers that shut off hunger and reduce carbohydrate cravings, respectively. Specifically we recommended ThermoLoss 1-3 for before breakfast and lunch , and one 5-HTP in the evening.

To optimize calories burned, we recommended eating small, frequent, nutrient dense , low glycemic meals. We suggest the majority of food be eaten by 3 PM. We further recommended fish, water, added fiber (psyllium, oat bran, chitosan), green tea, water rich vegetables and clear soups. If carbohydrate sensitivity was problematic based on experience and or the Sugar Sensitivity Questionnaire, then a Zone Diet or even Atkin's or other low carb diet links were suggested.

Exercise was encouraged of course, particularly muscle building exercise as muscle has a very high calorie demand.

Those with sub-optimal metabolisms were lead to first check for sub optimal thyroid function by taking the hypo-thyroid questionnaire and their basal metabolism rate or BMR. This is a simple A.M. axillary (arm pit) temperature explained in Vol. 1, lesson 6. 7-KetoLean was suggested for the lesser cases with T-100 added for the more sub-optimal thyroids. Those with more normal findings were informed about thermogenic products, products that increase metabolism and fat burning. ThermoLoss was the product choice provided.

Finally, enhancing the hormones of youth, namely Hgh and the sex hormones, which tend to add muscle and or inhibit fat, while keeping insulin and cortisol at bay with good diet, exercise, play, recreation and/or meditation, and Insulin Wellness or ThermoLoss was suggested.

By putting together your own personalized program to reduce calories, increase metabolism and maintain a youthful hormonal profile, you will not only attain and maintain lean body mass, you will have created an excellent anti-aging and longevity program as well! 

Dr John H Maher, A.B.A.A.H.P.  is the editor of Longevity News.  www.RxforWellness.com "Your FREE Anti Aging Program Online!" 

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