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Endocrine Changes and Aging

Endocrine Changes and Aging – Part II; Bob Gurney, PhD       www.nav4success.org

To follow-up on the article last month, select endocrine changes in the aging process will be provided in this brief. If you were waiting to read any significant research connecting hormone changes linked to aging and exercise, then you will be disappointed. In healthy adults, hormone changes are a fact of life and any notion that exercise can significantly change the release of hormones and endocrine related actions tends to be limited in conclusive evidence. The following table illustrates a summary of the literature addressing select hormone changes in older adults.

Hormone                        Changes with Aging  Potential Clinical Signs                    Comments

Luteinizing Hormone (LH); Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) Decreasing levels of testosterone – after age 30
  • Pain in bones
  • Muscular weakness
  • Increase in body fat (especially abdominal area)
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Decrease in sexual activity
  • Impaired potency
  • Men’s testosterone levels fall gradually and over a long period of time.
  • Not all men are affected by a drop in testosterone levels.
  • Changes in testosterone levels resulting from regular physical activity in older adults are not conclusive.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) TSH increase arises from age-related alteration in the TSH set point or reduced TSH bioactivity rather than a lack of understanding thyroid disease. Symptoms of aging can easily be confused with hypothyroidism, and in the past decreased thyroid function was believed to be one of the primary factors of the aging process. The literature is non-conclusive to changes in TSH during light to moderate physical activity. However, the evidence appears to be strong in terms of increased TSH blood levels with heavy exercise. The increases in TSH levels were not linked to clinical signs of hyperthyroidism.
Growth hormone (GH) Secretion of GH tends to decrease in older adults.
  • Lack of energy or fatigue
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain (body fat)


The actions of GH in response to exercise have been linked to the fitness level of individuals. The literature suggests that GH activity is lesser in trained versus untrained individuals in similar intensities of exercise. These differences are not clearly understood, yet the conclusions point to suggesting that regular physical activity affects the control processes of GH.


Endocrine changes in the functions of glands such as the pituitary, pancreas, adrenal and thyroid have been linked to type 2 – diabetes, as a result of impaired glucose tolerance. Diseases of this kind have been associated with elderly and tend to be related to factors of poor diet, inadequate physical activity and increases in body fat – especially in the organ areas of the abdomen.

Author: Bob Gurney

Email: navigatingforsuccess11@gmail.com

You can connect with me on Linkedin – Robert (Bob) Gurney



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