How To Balance Your Hormones
Hormones are the chemical messengers that control virtually every biological process in the body. Hormones tell your cells what proteins to manufacture and your organs which functions to perform. When hormone levels decline, less information is transmitted, and the body functions less effectively. Research clearly shows that declining hormone levels are a potent risk factor for disease, aging and death.
Below is a simple test for you to take and find out if you are experiencing the symptoms of aging, which may indicate that your hormone levels are not in the optimum ranges.
From the scale of 0 to 4, rate how often you experience the following symptoms:
(0=Never/None, 1=Seldom/Slight, 2=Often/Moderate, 3=Always/Severe, 4=Constant/Serious)
- Shortness of breath?
- Digestive problems?
- Allergic reactions, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat?
- Weight problem?
- Low resistance to stress?
- Inflammatory arthritis?
- Intolerance to medications?
- Dizzy when standing up?
- Food allergies?
- Blood pressure problems?
- Allergic symptoms present in nose, throat, ears or skin?
- Fast beating heart in stressful situations?
- Brown age spots or large white spots of depigmentation?
- Feel better after eating something sweet?
- Crave sugary, salty or spicy foods?
- Need 20 minutes to one hour daily for nap or quite time to get through the rest of the day?
Total up your points and see which of the following ranges your score fall under:
- 0 : You may not be experiencing any aging symptoms and your hormonal levels are in the optimal range of emotional, physical and mental functioning.
- 1 – 18 : You may be experiencing slight aging symptoms and your hormonal levels are slightly outside the optimal range of emotional, physical and mental functioning.
- 19 – 36 : You may be experience moderate amount of aging symptoms and your hormonal levels are moderately lower than the optimal range of emotional, physical and mental functioning.
- 37 and above : You may be experiencing severe symptoms of aging and your hormonal levels are severely below the optimal range of emotional, physical and mental functioning.
There are basically four important different groups of hormones – stress hormones, sex hormones, thyroid and human growth hormone.
Stress hormone imbalance is one of the most common causes of accelerated aging and disease. Stress is part of our daily lives. It can have a profound effect on our emotional and physical wellbeing. Two important stress hormones secreted by the adrenal gland are the cortisol and DHEA.
What happens when it’s imbalanced?
Cortisol is one of the fight or flight hormones produced in response to stress. It prepares us for action and gives us motivation. Our body however, is not designed to live on a steady diet of high levels of cortisol. In fact, many of the most common health problems that plague us as we get older are blood pressure, weight gain, memory loss, lowered immune response – are driven in partly the effects of too much cortisol.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is your body’s own natural antidote to the negative effects of cortisol. In a healthy body, a rise in cortisol will trigger a compensating rise in DHEA which helps suppress cortisol production. If your body is continually overproducing cortisol however, this delicate balancing act is disturbed. Eventually, elevated cortisol levels start to suppress the production of DHEA.
To increase your DHEA levels:
- get regular exercises
- good sleep habits
- sleep reduction and relaxation techniques
Just as we reach midlife, a hormonal shift takes place and the production of sex hormones begin to decline. For women, the hormonal changes that lead up to follow menopause are fairly dramatic. When women reach their 30s and 40s, it is very common to see a situation in which there is an excess of estrogen level, commonly known as estrogen dominance.
What happens when it’s imbalanced?
Estrogen dominance can cause premenstrual syndrome (PMS), night sweats and depression. To return the balance of estrogen levels in the body, we focus on progesterone levels. Progesterone is a balancing hormone that works in a dynamic relationship with estrogen to regulate the menstrual cycle and the health of the reproductive organs. It also provides the important benefits for breast and bone health. Furthermore, studies have shown that progesterone prevents excessive proliferation of both normal and cancerous breast cells.
Besides estrogen dominance, there is also a possibility of estrogen deficiency. As women enter their 40s, the ovaries begin to atrophy and estrogen levels start to decline. As estrogen levels drop, many women experience unpleasant symptoms such as hot flushes and insomnia. Low estrogen levels also have long-term effects on health such as vaginal dryness, atrophy of the sexual organs, loss of skin tone, depression and even forgetfulness.
How can I manage it?
Natural progesterone can be derived from sources such as soy and wild yam. These plants contain plant hormones, which are extracted and then chemically converted into hormones that are identical to human progesterone.
Supplementing the declining levels of estrogen using natural estrogens which can be derived from plants such as soybeans can help alleviation of menopausal symptoms, improve skin firmness, improve your memory and even protect you against Alzheimer’s disease.
The thyroid gland, located in your neck, secretes hormones that regulate your energy metabolism, controlling how much energy is stored in the form of fat and how much is actually released into the cells for use by the body.
The thyroid helps to regulate your body temperature, your sleep rhythms, and your digestive function, and it is crucial to the immune system’s ability to fight off infections and even cancer cells. It is also critical for cognitive functions and mood. Symptoms of low thyroid functioning includes depression, fatigue, feeling cold, dry skin, weight changes and difficulty conceiving.
Human Growth Hormones
The remarkable growth and development of our bodies, from tiny babies to full size adults, is orchestrated largely by human growth hormone (HGH). As we reach adulthood and our physical maturation is complete, the role of HGH downshifts to one of repair and regeneration. If tissues or organs are damaged by trauma or disease, growth hormone works to regenerate them. Growth hormone also works throughout life to maintain bone strength, muscle tone, brain function and the integrity of the hair and skin.
What happens when it’s imbalanced?
As with other hormones, the body’s production of growth hormone diminishes with age. By the age of 60, levels of growth hormone are commonly one-quarter of their youthful levels. The loss of growth hormone, along with other hormonal declines, leads to symptoms we associated with aging.