Your hormones control everything and you can take control of your hormones by taking stock of your environment and lifestyle. Hormones affect your immune and nervous system and other hormones. Hormones regulate mood, energy, weight, digestion, sexual function, mental physical and emotional health, reproduction and regeneration and repair. Removing things that disrupt your hormones and adding things that balance them can keep you healthy, vital, and full of energy with stable moods, weight, and the ability to ward off infection and heal. Let’s explore the top hormone disruptors so you can take control.
Forms of Stress
Stress can be physical, mental, toxins, hormonal, infections, inflammation, nutritional excess or deficiency, social isolation, lack of sleep and anything that causes dis-stress. The stress response sets off an initial excess production of cortisol and the neurotransmitter adrenaline otherwise known as epinephrine and these signaling hormones and neurotransmitters have wide ranging effects and affect other hormones.
Dangers of Prolonged Stress
The stress response was designed to fight or flee and then shut off so you can return to normal and relax, rejuvenate and repair as well as rest and digest. However, in our modern day of information overload, multi-tasking and 24/7 access to news, social media, texts, emails and incessant demands the stress response can become prolonged and have bad effects. Over time the body will break down and have the following effects:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
- Increased blood sugar and a risk factor for diabetes. In fact, if children age 5-9 had severe stress, it increased the likelihood of developing diabetes.
- Reduced intestinal motility, thinning of intestinal lining, and increasing intestinal permeability “leaky gut.“ This can lead to food sensitivities, autoimmune and neurological disorders and inflammation.
- Impaired ability to reproduce due to suppression of Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone.
- Menstrual irregularities such as lack of period, inability to ovulate, and irregular periods.
- Men can have decreased sperm production, decreased sperm motility and changes in sperm, impotence, and ED (erectile dysfunction) and ejaculation disorders.
- Decreased Thyroid Stimulating Hormone which in turn decreases production of thyroxine (T4), the hormone made in the thyroid.
- While Growth Hormone will increase with short term physical stress, prolonged stress blunts this hormone that keeps us young, builds muscle and enhances sleep.
- Obesity caused by cortisol depositing fat in the belly, increased ghrelin the hormone that makes you feel hungry, decrease in leptin the hormone that makes you feel satisfied.
This in turn leads to blood sugar swings that affects mood, energy, weight, and sleep. Cortisol raises blood sugar which in turn will raise insulin. When sugar is not burned, it is stored as fat especially in the belly. Stress can lower production of thyroid hormone, sex hormones
Counteract the Effects of Stress
- Regular physical exercise – will relieve anxiety and depression and burn the sugar so it is not stored as fat. Be careful not to overdo exercise because this can have a counter effect. Moderate exercise boosts mood by releasing endorphins. It can boost growth hormone and testosterone, build muscle, and bone and regulate blood pressure and weight.
- Relaxation techniques such as deep belly breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi, progressive muscle relaxation.
- Getting out in nature may be the antidote to modern-day “stress-state” and “technostress.” calm the nervous system.
- Diet of whole foods, Omega 3 fats and organic, grass fed lean protein while avoiding or limiting sugar, alcohol and processed foods that cause blood sugar swings and may contain chemicals that disrupt hormones. Having adequate B Vitamins, Zinc, Magnesium and Omega 3 fatty acids have benefits at reducing stress or the cortisol response under a number of conditions and stages of life.
- Heartmath has over 200 studies to show how it can help with balancing the nervous system to achieve better sleep, performance, decision making and decrease anxiety and depression. You can learn how to do it with or without a phone app. Contact Kathy@VibranceForLife.com
- Fisher Wallace Stimulator delivers an electrical pulse that stimulates the brain to produce serotonin and other neurochemicals required for healthy mood and sleep, while also entraining a calm brainwave state and modulating the “fight or flee” sympathetic nervous system. It has been clinically proven in multiple published studies and approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Over 14,000 providers nationwide have prescribed it with good success.
- Alpha Stim electrotherapy device is a safe, effective, drug-free treatment that works. Studies show proven relief from pain, anxiety, insomnia, and depression with no lasting side effects.
- Adaptogenic herbs and supplements can preserve cells and modulate the effects of stress on the body. Some herbs raise cortisol when burned out such as ginseng and licorice while others lower cortisol or modulate its effects. It is best to know your levels.
- Massage A 2005 review of studies found that massage therapy increased levels of the anti-depressant and mood boosting neurotransmitter serotonin by 28% and levels of dopamine the satisfaction neurotransmitter by 31%, It also reduced cortisol levels by an average of 31%.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. It has been demonstrated to be as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.
It is important to determine the source of dis-stress that are disrupting your hormones such as toxins, allergy, adverse food reactions, nutritional excesses, or deficiencies, sedentary or solitary lifestyle, lack of sleep or hormone imbalances. Have an evaluation by a functional medicine physician can take a holistic approach to bring your mind, body, and spirit in better balance. Fill out an application for a clarity call to see if we are a good fit.