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Hormone Therapy and Immune System Functions

Hormone therapy for immune system

Numerous hormones play a critical role in promoting immune system functions. For that reason, we examine the connection between hormone therapy and immune system performance. In this review, we answer some frequently asked questions about various types of hormones and their impact on immunity, as well as what you can do to balance crucial hormone levels for better immune functions.

How does hormone therapy affect your immune system?

As we age, the body reduces the amount of certain essential hormones, such as progesterone, DHEA, growth hormone, testosterone, and estrogen. Some of these hormones present a direct impact on the functions of the immune system. That can lead to decreased effectiveness of the immune system in fighting off invading bacteria and microorganisms.

Unfortunately, the answer is not as simple as adding hormone therapy and immune system support resulting from the treatment. Hormone specialists must use great care and diligence when prescribing supplemental hormones to ensure systemic homeostasis (balance) throughout the body.

There are some benefits to hormone therapy and immune system functions.

What Does the Immune System Do?

The immune system is the body’s protector from outside pathogens or invading microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It consists of a vast network of hormones, tissues, and cells ready to repel the invaders, distinguishing them from necessary organisms.

We often talk about hormone therapy and immune system functions together because certain hormones are involved in the production of the white blood cells (leukocytes) that fight these invaders. Leukocytes come from the following areas:

  • Bone marrow: produces red and white blood cells
  • Thymus: promotes maturity of leukocytes
  • Spleen: filters the blood
  • Lymph nodes:

Leukocytes fall into one of two categories:

  • Lymphocytes: these cells begin in bone marrow. The ones that stay there become B cells. Others travel to the thymus where they become T cells. The B cells produce crucial antibodies that help alert the T cells. The T cells destroy the compromised cells.
  • Phagocytes: these cells, which consist of neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages, and mast cells, destroy invaders, remove the dead cells, and help the body heal wounds.

Cytokines are signaling molecules that support the cells in the communication of signals crucial to immune responses.

How Do Hormones Influence Immune System Functions?

Certain hormones play a significant role in the production of red and white blood cells. Some hormones that influence immunity include:

  • Growth hormone: this hormone is directly responsible for cellular reproduction. Along with its mediating hormone insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a hormone that it stimulates the production of by the liver, GH promotes cell regeneration in the body. GH helps keep the thymus from shrinking, allowing for improved T cell proliferation. Growth hormone also increases the synthesis of antibodies by B cells.
  • Estrogen: helps regulate immune responses by modulating the function of B cells and inducing T cell homing. Low estrogen levels have been associated with reduced lymphocyte counts and cytokines necessary for inflammatory response.
  • Testosterone: elevated levels are often immunosuppressive, down-regulating the responses of cytokines. Too much testosterone can send more cytokines to an injection or injury, leading to an influx of immune cells that increases inflammation. As a result, the white blood cells can begin to destroy cells the immune system they are there to protect. When testosterone levels are low, the hormone cannot regulate critical immune responses that help fight infections. Testosterone also stimulates the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow to help improve circulation.
  • Cortisol: regulates T cell-mediated inflammation. Chronically high levels of cortisol can lead to resistance of immune system functions, increasing inflammatory cytokine production that can compromise critical responses.
  • DHEA: helps promote the function of T cells.
  • Progesterone: helps to keep T cell and NK (natural killer) cells in balance to reduce the risk of certain types of autoimmune diseases.

Does hormone therapy lower your immune system?

Hormone therapy provides many crucial benefits for the adult body. However, to get these benefits, it is essential to work with an experienced hormone specialist to ensure that hormone levels do not get too high. As we have explained above, elevated testosterone levels can be immunosuppressive, weakening immune system responses.

When does hormone therapy weaken immune system functions?

Individuals who engage in the use of hormones such as testosterone or HGH without doctor authorization put their bodies and immune systems at risk. When hormone levels get too high, that can lead to problems with immune functions.

For healthy hormone therapy and immune system functions, all treatments must be prescribed and supervised by knowledgeable and experienced hormone specialists.

How Do Menopause, Andropause, and Somatopause Affect the Immune System?

Menopause causes women to experience a significant decline in progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen levels. However, since the adrenal glands continue to produce a small supply of hormones, and belly fat production or aromatase signals testosterone conversion into estradiol, it is possible for women to experience hormonal changes that can influence immunity.

Andropause occurs when men experience a decline in testosterone levels that can prevent healthy immune system responses.

In somatopause, growth hormone levels decline, interfering with thymus function and blood cell production.

Does hormone therapy reduce immune system functions if you are a male using testosterone treatment?

The only time a man needs to worry is if he is using testosterone illegally. Hormone specialists require follow-up blood testing four weeks after beginning treatment to assess testosterone levels. That helps ensure safe hormone therapy and immune system responses.

Benefits of Hormone Therapy for the Immune System

With professionally prescribed hormone replacement therapy, immune system health and functions can improve. One possible benefit of hormone therapy and immune system strengthening is found with supplemental testosterone treatment for adults with Low T.

Low testosterone has been shown to be a problem for men dealing with COVID-19. At a German hospital, the majority of men admitted with coronavirus had low testosterone levels and had a far higher risk of mortality from the illness. The women who were most likely to die had elevated levels of testosterone, which were linked to higher inflammatory responses. When that inflammation overwhelms the lungs, it results in respiratory failure.

Here are some of the ways hormone treatment and immune system improvements can help you stay healthy:

  • Testosterone Therapy: By increasing low testosterone levels to a more normalized state, the hormone can regulate crucial immune and inflammatory responses.
  • Human Growth Hormone Therapy: Through essential support of the thymus, HGH can help improve T cell and B cell proliferation. With growth hormone therapy, immune system functions improve. HGH treatment has shown significant benefits for people with HIV/AIDS.
  • Estrogen Therapy: In menopausal women, estrogen can help improve immune responses and reduce inflammation.
  • Progesterone: Treatment may help improve NK and T cell activity.
  • DHEA: If levels are low, supplementation may increase B and monocyte cells.

Since both growth hormone and testosterone help to oppose cortisol, increasing their levels can help reduce excess cortisol in the bloodstream.

To learn more about hormone therapy and immune system functions, please contact National HRT for a free consultation by phone.

Medically reviewed by   Reviewers National HRT Staff - Updated on November 21, 2023

Please note that the information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.