The brain may be the control center of the human body but hormones are the messengers that regulate all your body’s systems, from digestion to growth to sleep.
End The Hormone Havoc:
Lasting Results for Renewed Balance
When your body’s messengers are out of whack, they can wreak havoc on your body.
Hormone Imbalance Symptoms
The symptoms of hormone imbalance can vary widely based on the particular hormone being under- or over-produced. Some common hormone imbalance symptoms include:
- Weight gain
- Digestion problems such as constipation
- Change in heart rate
- Mood swings
- Increased anxiety or irritability
- Decreased sex drive
Gut Health and Hormones
Like many aspects of human health, balanced hormone levels start with a healthy gut. Some of the most common hormone problems can be solved or prevented by taking good care of your digestive system. Here are some specifics.
Estrogen is most commonly known as the female sex hormone, but it plays a role in both men’s and women’s bodies. In women, estrogen regulates the menstrual cycle, sex drive, bone mass, fat storage and mood. In men, estrogen protects bone mass, aids in the maturation of sperm, and improves libido. An imbalance of estrogen can lead to symptoms such as weight gain, bloating, decreased sex drive, headaches and mood changes.
The digestive system plays an important role in helping your body maintain proper estrogen levels. Irregular bowel movements or unbalanced probiotic levels in the gut can interrupt normal estrogen excretion and lead to re-absorption into the bloodstream, which in turn can bring your estrogen levels above a healthy level. Keeping a balanced and probiotic-rich diet is key to keeping your estrogen level in check.
One of the most significant hormones influenced by diet is insulin. Insulin allows your body to absorb glucose from food to make energy. It controls your appetite, body inflammation, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It also determines when and how your body stores fat. While insulin is crucial to your body’s function, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. When your body produces too much insulin, it can become less sensitive to insulin’s effects. This creates a cycle of insulin overproduction and insensitivity, which over time can lead to type 2 diabetes and other health problems.
Why would your body produce too much insulin? There could be several contributing factors, depending on your lifestyle and genes, but excess sugar consumption is probably part of the cause. The American Heart Association recommends 25 grams or less of sugar per day for women and 38 grams or less per day for men. However, the average American consumes 82 grams of sugar per day.
Cutting down the amount of sugar in your diet can help balance your insulin levels and reset your appetite and cravings. Pay attention to nutrition labels and avoid foods with added sugars such as corn sweetener, corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, honey, molasses and sugar molecules ending in “ose” such as dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose or sucrose. Especially avoid sugary drinks such as sodas and juices, which tend to be loaded with calories and sugar without making your body feel full.
Cortisol and Adrenaline
Sugar also has an impact on these stress hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. Adrenaline is called the fight-or-flight hormone. In a threatening situation, adrenaline rushes through your body to give you the energy and focus you need to deal with the threat. Cortisol helps your body allocate resources to its most important functions in a crisis and away from processes like digestion, growth and reproduction.
Both adrenaline and cortisol are valuable hormones in times of danger but, elevated levels over a long period of time, can contribute to serious health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and a weakened immune system. Limit your caffeine and sugar consumption to reduce your stress hormone level and incorporate stress management into your daily life.