Let’s face it, hormones rule our body!! Some of the chief hormones in our body include insulin, estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, testosterone and our thyroid hormones. Our endocrine, or hormone system is an integral driver in achieving overall balance in the body. If one hormone is unhappy, there is most often a domino effect in other areas of the body. For instance, the most common reproductive condition affecting females, PCOS, is still quite a misunderstood condition. Once thought as quite solely an estrogen dominant condition with some blood sugar disruption, recent research suggests that the increase in insulin, most often as a consequence of excess body fat causes extra storage of estrogen in adipose tissue, which then goes on to disrupt a woman’s cycle, skin and mood. It is very much a chicken and egg situation.
There are hormones that regulate our heart and kidney function, hormones that regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle, hormones for blood sugar regulation, temperature control, mood and behaviour, energy and of course our sleepy hormone, melatonin.
Balancing hormones is a huge focus are area in my practise, often alongside conventional medical treatment and drugs. Although there is a huge component of genetic predisposition in the eventual manifestation of particular conditions and endocrine disease, just as importantly is the environmental factors such as diet, nutritional status, gut health, exercise, stress levels and toxins that play a role in whether your genetic hand is played and to what extent.
Stress is a huge driver of hormone disruption. Stress causes more cortisol to be produced, which goes on to affect DHEA, in turn setting off a big potential hormone tsunami. Ultimately, as I have touched on before, long term stress, whether it be physical or emotional, eventually leads to adrenal depletion, resulting in insomnia, altered sleep patterns, lowered immunity, nutrient depletion and the onset of physical symptoms such as pain and inflammation.
Whilst in many cases, medical management and medication is necessary, all too often the importance of what you are eating, trace nutrient, macro and micro nutrient loss and exercise and either completely underrated, or sadly, in many cases completely overlooked.
Part of my management plan and detection of sub clinical hormone imbalance (hormones levels that may not be eliciting signs and symptoms yet) includes thorough laboratory testing, herbal and nutritional protocols and regular evaluation. Oh, and of course diet!! Loads of research has shown how important nutrients, gut flora and liver health is on the health of your hormones.
The liver is a whole different editorial, perhaps I will leave that until the new year……..
So, for happy hormones, my formula is to first be vigilant and listen to your body, make yourself aware of relevant family medical history and put an action plan together that includes a good, clean diet low in sugar, hig in good fats and fresh fruits and vegetables, in addition to any necessary prescription drugs.