As chemical messengers of the human body, hormones play a significant role in maintaining the equilibrium in our systems, organs, tissues, and cells.
Secreted into the blood by various glands, these hormones travel to their target organs and tissues, affecting a person’s physiology and behavior in an amazing number of ways. Hormones influence a variety of bodily processes, a list that includes growth and development, digestion, metabolism, respiration, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, stress response, and mood.
Hormones are mostly synthesized in the different glands that make up the endocrine system. These include the pituitary gland and the pineal gland in the head, the thyroid and parathyroid glands in the neck, the thymus in the chest, the adrenal gland and the pancreas in the abdomen, the testes in men, and the ovaries in women.
The effects of hormones in men and women
It is simply amazing how such minute substances can significantly affect the human body and even influence the way people behave and conduct themselves. As is often the case with teenagers, hormonal changes do not only alter the individual’s physical features, it also often results in erratic behavior that can become a source of conflict between these unwitting teens and the people around them. Adolescents who undergo such changes are thus appropriately labeled as kids experiencing “raging hormones.”
It should be noted, however, that hormonal changes don’t only occur during a person’s teenage years. They occur throughout a person’s lifetime. In fact, as a person ages, the declining levels of hormones result in many major changes that can affect his or her health and quality of life.
In women, for example, declining levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone can cause the onset of menopause and its many related symptoms and health problems. In men, decreasing testosterone levels can likewise affect mood, sexual function, energy levels, and cardiovascular health.
How to keep your hormones in balance naturally
Because there are many things that can affect a person’s hormone levels, it makes absolute sense to try to deal with the challenge of hormonal imbalance using a similarly multifaceted approach. Here are some tips you can follow.
Eat a healthy diet
Bad food can make your hormone situation worse than it already is. Eating too much sugar, for instance, can cause your insulin levels to spike, and it can also affect your estrogen and testosterone levels. Consuming too much soy and dairy products can likewise negatively influence estrogen levels in the body, contributing to health problems related to estrogen imbalance.
Try following a low-carbohydrate, low-glycemic index, Mediterranean-style diet that is rich in vegetables, lean protein, nuts, fruits, and seeds like flaxseed and chia seeds. You may also consume healthy monounsaturated fats, which can come from sources like olive oil, canola oil, fish oil, and avocadoes.
Choose dietary supplements wisely
Vitamins A, B, D, and E, along with the minerals calcium and magnesium have been shown to have beneficial effects on hormone levels, so ask your nutritionist or doctor if it’s a good idea to take them as supplements. Also consider taking fish oil, which is a good source of healthy fats.
Get proper sleep
Sleep deprivation is so prevalent in modern society that many people nowadays consider it normal or even a necessity, whenever one’s job or work calls for it. But did you know that it can adversely affect your body’s production of hormones? Sleep loss alters your pituitary-dependent hormones, your appetite-controlling hormones, and the hormones that control your metabolism, making it a major risk factor for chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes. Getting 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night is one of the best ways to ensure that your hormones don’t go off kilter.
Get proper exercise
Getting at least half an hour of exercise every day can help maintain good hormonal balance, along with supporting general physical health and wellbeing. Circuit training, in particular, can improve your insulin response and stimulate the production of testosterone and human growth hormone.
Yoga, on the other hand, can help in neutralizing high cortisol and adrenaline levels, making it an excellent workout option for people who are not only concerned about their belly fat but are also dealing with issues like bad mood, anxiety, and sleep disruption.
Reduce stress levels
Chronic stress can likewise make your hormone situation worse. Make sure that you have sufficient diversions to keep your mind off things that cause you stress. Activities like mindful exercises, spa treatments, playing with a pet dog, and yoga have been shown to help reduce stress levels in people.
Get bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
Bioidentical hormones are synthesized from chemicals extracted from plant sources, but they affect the body the same way that natural hormones do. There are replacements for a variety of hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, human growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor 1, thyroid hormones, pregnenolone, DHEA, cortisol, and vitamin D.
An endocrine physician may suggest bioidentical hormone replacement therapy using one or a combination of these bioidentical hormones to re-balance your hormone levels. Make sure that you understand perfectly the potential benefits and effects of undergoing such therapies.
Before engaging in any sort of diet plan, supplementation, exercise routine, and other activities that can drastically affect your health and wellbeing, always make sure to consult medical professionals first. With the right guidance, you’re more than capable of keeping your hormones in balance, naturally.