What’s the role of hormones?
- Hormones play a critical role in our body’s chemistry, carrying messages between cells and organs.
- Hormones affect our body’s functions, from growth and sexual development and mood to how well we sleep, how we manage stress and how our body breaks down food.
- When they are in proper balance, hormones help the body thrive. But sometimes hormone levels are too high or too low. Hormone imbalances can occur any time regardless of one’s age and cause serious health problems requiring ongoing medical management.
We want to share with you some tried and true methods for helping to normalize your endocrine health. These are things that can be applied to everyone. They won’t solve every problem, but they’re definitely a good start. Whether you’re a thyroid patient, a post-menopausal woman, a 21-year-old bodybuilder worried about overtraining.
Optimize your sleep
With poor sleep, everything falls apart, including the regular function and patterns of testosterone, growth hormone and thyroid and alters the activity of the pituitary gland, our master endocrine organ.
- Get plenty of natural light throughout the day
- Limit bright light after dark, especially blue and green lights (computer, mobile)
- Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep
- Try to sleep prior 23:30
- Read a book instead of watching TV or playing with your smartphone prior sleep time
Optimize your diet
To make hormones, you need the basic structural building blocks. That means eating enough dietary fat, especially saturated, monounsaturated, and omega-3 fats.
- Minerals like selenium, magnesium, zinc and calcium are extremely important for a healthy hormone production and metabolism
- Cholesterol is crucial building block to increase lean muscle mass
- Eat enough calories – listen carefully to your natural hunger feeling: hormones like insuling, thyroid, leptin etc. all perceive and are modulated by the caloric balance.
- What your carb intake: If you’re just doing easy slow movement, some sprints, and strength training, you probably don’t need extra carbs. If you are an ambitioned athlete you might need some more natural carbs (e.g. sweet potatoe, yam, quinoa).
Optimize your exercise style
- Minimize chronic endurance sessions: if so go extremely slow to improve mitochondria quality (180-age = max pulse for such training session)
- Do more short and intense workouts (sprints, strength training, HIIT)
Become more naturally active during the day
Increased daily movement—housework, fidgeting, walking, gardening, carrying groceries, playing with your kids/pets—adds up, and it’s something that the most health- and fitness-conscious tend to ignore or discount.
- Breaking up sitting with frequent standing and easy movement to improve insulin sensitivity
- Sitting time predicts estrogen metabolites in postmenopausal women (more sitting predicts rising in the same metabolites linked to endometrial and breast cancer
- The more men sit in front of the TV the lower their testosterone gets
Manage your stress
When we’re stressed out, everything gets put on hold until we can deal with the stressor. During stress cortisol gets released.. If stress gets chronic cortisol levels also become chronic and disrupt your endocrine system.
What’s the problem with chronic cortisol levels?
- Chronic cortisol opposes testosterone production
- Chronic cortisol reduces thyroid hormone production and impairs the conversion of inactive T4 to active T3.
- Chronic cortisol drives insulin resistance
How to manage stress:
- Try to find out what stresses you
- Start dealing with those identified stressors (it is mostly about people)
- Watch your sleep
- Walk and enjoy the nature (horizon, trees, listening to birds, smell the flora)
- Enjoy massages
- What your breathing (breath deeply all the way down to your stomach)
Discover meaning in your life
Hormones direct physiological processes in the body. Without meaning or life purpose, the endocrine system drifts aimlessly.
- Have goals
- Have dreams
- Have a passions
Test your health markers frequently
Following your symptoms, in going by how you feel, look, and perform can also be an approach. But having the values in front of you can really help, especially if you if you pair them with your symptoms
- Get tested at regular intervals
- Track the trends
Leave the comfort zone every now and then
We enjoy comfortable lives. Everything works. We don’t have to face pulse-pounding situations or bring down large game just to eat. If we get cold, we turn up the heat. It it gets hot we turn up the AC as simple as that.
But exposure to uncomfortable physical and mental sensations is important for hormone function.
- Cold exposure: great method to improve insulin sensitivity and reducing insulin levels
- Heat exposure: sauna can have also great hormonal effects as it increases endocrine homeostasis.
Always be aware that your hormones need to be in balance to enjoy maximum health.
Sometimes you just need modern professional medical help. Since our environments are so wildly different from our evolutionary environments, we occasionally need to step outside of “natural” methods to get the help we need.
Sometimes replacement therapy is the ticket. Sometimes supplementation and healing protocols. Find a good doc to discuss this issue, if needed.
Keep it up!
Ihr Youdowell Team
This information does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. We solely provide suggestions for you and your doctor to research and provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. Youdowell AG is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.
Sleep Duration and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-analysis of Prospective Studies: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/38/3/529.short
Impact of Five Nights of Sleep Restriction on Glucose Metabolism, Leptin and Testosterone in Young Adult Men: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0041218
Compatibility of high-intensity strength and endurance training on hormonal and skeletal muscle adaptations: http://jap.physiology.org/content/78/3/976
Stress, Life Events, and Socioeconomic Disparities in Health: Results from the Americans’ Changing Lives Study: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/002214650504600305
Behavioral problems linked to cortisol levels: Study finds intervention needed as soon as behavioral problems appear: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110209124143.htm