By Crystal Springe, NTP
When it comes to health, hormones have a much bigger effect than many people realize.
Hormones maintain homeostasis, so for the body to function at a continual, efficient, and balanced state, you need them functioning at optimal level.
Hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, adrenaline, and insulin are extremely important chemical messengers that affect many aspects of your overall health. The entire endocrine system works together to control the level of hormones circulating throughout your body, and if one or more is even slightly imbalanced, it can cause widespread major health problems.
These chemical messengers control the majority of the major bodily functions, including:
Development and growth
Regulating body temperature
Maintenance of appetite and thirst commands
Usage, storage, and production of energy
Cognitive function and controlling emotions and mood
Stimulation or suppression of apoptosis, programmed cell death
Homeostasis of salt and sugar levels in the blood
Healthy immune system
Reproduction, sexual function, and reproductive growth
Adrenal dysfunction, from chronic stress and unhealthy eating habits, is the largest cause of hormonal imbalance. This has a huge effect on the functions listed above.
During a stress response our sympathetic (fight or flight) mode is activated. Our survival becomes top priority and steals resources to create stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This depletes all other systems and processes of necessary nutrients and energy.
The main hormone that gets affected by this process is progesterone. When you’re chronically stressed, your body begins to use resources needed to make progesterone to make cortisol instead, resulting in insufficient amounts of progesterone. When progesterone is low it can lead to estrogen dominance, infertility, PMS, and other reproductive issues.
When activated, our sympathetic nervous system also creates a spike in blood sugar, this allows the body to get a surge of energy that would be necessary during a fight or flight situation. Unmanaged blood sugar dysregulation can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance may coexist with obesity, diabetes, or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Steps to balancing your hormones:
Eat whole foods: A well balanced, diet means that your body will have all the nutrients (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) it needs for good health.
Swab carbs for healthy fats: Eating a variety of healthy fats is key to keeping your hormones in check. Your body needs various types of fats to create hormones. Not only are these essential fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they keep inflammation levels low, boost your metabolism and promote weight loss. Healthy fats have the opposite effect of refined carbohydrates (especially sugar), which lead to inflammation and can mess with the balance of your hormones.
Detox your liver: One of the many roles of the liver is to remove excess hormones from the body. If the liver is impaired the ability to perform this role also becomes impaired leading to hormonal imbalance.
Incorporate cruciferous vegetables: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, lady greens etc. support the liver in metabolizing excess hormones.
Use adaptogenic herbs: Adaptogen herbs are a unique class of healing plants that promote hormone balance and protect the body from a wide variety of diseases, including those caused by excess stress.
Develop a stress response management practice: Yoga, meditation, biofeedback, and deep breathing all trigger your parasympathetic nervous system which lowers cortisol levels and allows necessary nutrients to be properly distributed.
For more information or to work with Crystal on balancing your hormones, reach out today for a complimentary 30 minute virtual or phone consultation.