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You know that having balanced hormones helps alleviate symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, loss of libido and mood swings. But healthy hormone levels do more than improve the way you feel– they can save your bones (and maybe even your life).

May is National Osteoporosis Month, and according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation:

● An estimated 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, 80% of them women
● Almost half of women over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis
● A woman’s risk of hip fracture is equal to her combined risk of uterine, ovarian and breast cancer.1

Not only that, studies show that the risk of death goes up sharply in the event of a hip or back fracture.2

What does this have to do with hormones?

The hormone estrogen protects women’s bones, and when menopause hits and estrogen levels plummet, women are at greater risk for bone loss, osteoporosis and fractures. Hormone replacement therapy keeps estrogen levels where they should be, protecting your bones and, as a result, your health and vitality.

What if I am already taking medications to prevent bone loss?

While for older women with a diagnosis of osteoporosis, bone building drugs can and do reduce the incidence of fractures, many younger post-menopausal women with osteopenia (bone loss that is not as severe as osteoporosis) are being prescribed these drugs on a “preventive” basis. These drugs can have serious side effects, and research shows that they don’t provide much protection from fractures for women in these situations.3

Maintaining healthy hormone levels can help women protect their bones without the side effects associated with bone building medications.

What about men?

Just like with women, healthy hormone levels are an important part of protecting bone health in men.

A 2017 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that one year of testosterone therapy significantly increased bone density and bone strength in men aged 65 and older. This is part of what researchers have dubbed “the T Trials,” an effort by the National Institutes of Health to study the effects of testosterone treatment in 790 men ages 65 and older. The ongoing trials will next seek to confirm if testosterone therapy and its bone-building ability also protects men from suffering fractures.4

In the meantime, it’s exciting that the research is catching up to what we already know– that healthy hormone levels are key to aging well, staying strong, remaining vital, and holding onto your health, all the way down to your bones!

Resources:

1. https://www.nof.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/what-women-need-to-know/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4124750/
3. http://hormonebalance.org/userfiles/file/aarp_bone_health.pdf
4. https://www.healio.com/primary-care/mens-health/news/online/%7B65bd909f-b9ad-420a-89f8-2128df053f51%7D/testosterone-treatment-improves-bone-density-strength-in-older-men