Hormones have a bit of a bad reputation, especially among women. However, these chemicals have jobs to do to ensure that your body is functioning properly. Hormones come from glands in your endocrine system, and they do so much more than most people realize. Plunkett Fitness wants you to know everything you need to know about how some of the most commonly discussed hormones can affect your overall health.
Testosterone is the main male sex hormone that helps the body build muscle, but it is also found in women. A testosterone imbalance can be caused by a poor diet, lack of exercise, and mood. Eating too much meat and being too sedentary can also lead to an imbalance, as well as excessive drinking and smoking.
One common sign that testosterone levels are out of balance is weight gain, especially around the stomach. Other symptoms are insomnia, decreased libido, depression, and poor memory. Low testosterone levels in men can lead to erectile dysfunction. In women, too much testosterone can lead to excess hair growth, acne, and a deepening of the voice.
Estrogen is the main female hormone, and it is responsible for menstruation, reproduction, and menopause. Too much estrogen can lead to moodiness, depression, constipation, and chronic musculoskeletal aches. Low levels of estrogen can cause osteoporosis. When estrogen levels are unbalanced, many women experience acne, skin lesions, hair loss, and thinning skin.
Estrogen can be leveled out with hormone replacement therapy and other nutritional supplements such as magnesium and vitamin B complex. To help balance out estrogen levels, you can improve your diet and exercise more frequently.
Cortisol is a hormone that is responsible for stress, both physical and psychological. It helps with energy and overall health. During stressful times, cortisol production is increased to help you cope with whatever situation is causing the stress.
When you are dealing with stress, your body will boost cortisol levels. In most cases, these levels will go back to normal afterward, but in some cases, they remain high. Symptoms of high cortisol levels include stomach ulcers, fatigue, anxiety, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Low levels of cortisol in the body can cause chronic fatigue syndrome and alcoholism.
The best way to keep cortisol levels in balance is to find ways to relax such as meditation and other relaxation techniques.
Serotonin is known as the feel-good hormone. What some people don’t realize is that this hormone helps regulate a lot of different things in the human body, including mood, sleep cycles, memory appetite, and some muscular functions. While estrogen and testosterone imbalances can be caused by your lifestyle, serotonin imbalances are caused when the brain doesn’t produce enough of the chemical to regulate mood and stress levels properly. Excess serotonin can be caused by the use of recreational drugs, supplements, and some medications.
Symptoms of low serotonin include depression, migraines, panic attacks, weight gain, insomnia, and carbohydrate cravings. High serotonin levels can cause confusion, sedation, decreased libido, and agitation. Antidepressants can help balance serotonin levels, but other things that can help are regular sleep, exercise, and eating foods high in tryptophan such as avocado, pork, and yogurt.
Irisin, also called the exercise hormone, is released during exercise. This hormone converts white fat cells, which are known for storing calories, into brown fat cell that eliminate calories instead. High levels of irisin in the body may also reduce your risk of age-related diseases like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. When you are working to strengthen large muscle groups like your glutes, core, and quads, you increase the level of irisin in your body.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps promote sleep in the body. When the sun starts to set, your brain secretes this hormone, but peak levels occur very early in the morning. Your brain needs total darkness to produce melatonin, so go to bed in a dark room every night without the TV or your cell phone.
Melatonin also helps to counteract stress. It is also an antioxidant that can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cancer when your body doesn’t get enough.
Oxytocin is released when you touch someone, which is why it is also called the love hormone. High levels of oxytocin can increase sex drive, prevent stress, lower blood pressure, and increase trust. Oxytocin also helps impair memory.
Estrogen can enhance the effects of oxytocin, which means that women tend to bond more intensely after sex, and normal touch can be a turn-on when a woman is ovulating.
Hormones do all kinds of things in our bodies. The hormones listed above aren’t the only ones our bodies produce, but they are some of the most commonly known. Other hormones are also responsible for growth and development, metabolism, and more. When hormones get out of balance, numerous problems can occur. Diet and exercise can help balance some of the hormones our bodies create.
To get involved in fitness to help balance hormone levels, contact Plunkett Fitness today at 913-390-3360. Our Overland Park personal trainers will create a custom diet and exercise program that will help you look and feel healthier. Personal training sessions can help you learn the proper techniques for lifting weights and help you lose weight in a safe, healthy manner.
We are not medical professionals. If you believe that your hormones are causing problems, seek advice from a medical professional.