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Hormones 101

Hormones are chemical messengers that are critical for our health. Our bodies need them to run properly. Hormones are secreted by organs and glands in our body, like the thyroid, adrenals, pituitary gland, ovaries, testicles and pancreas. Mainstream medicine offers treatment for hormonal imbalances through hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, thyroid medication and insulin shots. The down side of these treatments is that you become dependant on taking this drug for life. For example someone with a low functioning thyroid will have to take synthroid or some form of T4 for the rest of their life. 

    Signs of hormonal balance are symptoms such as, digestive issues, low libido, insomnia, fatigue, depression, irregular periods and infertility, weight changes and hair loss. To drive into specifics, certain symptoms indicate different problems. Low testosterone will cause ED, muscle loss, fatigue and mood related problems. Low estrogen will cause reproductive issues, irregular cycles and changes in mood. Low thyroid will result in a slowed metabolism, weight gain, anxiety and digestion issues. So from your symptoms you should get an idea of what is off whack. 

  So lets say I have low thyroid. The question now is, why? What causes hormonal dysfunction. Like everything genetics plays a role, however there are other factors that can contribute to the problem such as, diet, stress levels and toxin exposure. Food allergies may also cause hormonal havoc. Leaky gut and an unhealthy flora are connected with hormonal issues. Inflammation in the gut can impact your whole body and affect hormone production. Inflammation can also come as a result of poor diet and lifestyle. 

    What can I do about it? Increase your fiber intake, but do it slowly to avoid gas and bloating. Avoid conventional meat. Opt for organic meat that didn't come from a cow that receives appx 6 growth hormones during its lifetime. Eat healthy fats that are necessary for your body to create hormones. Salmon is a great source of omega 3 fat. Avocados and coconut oil are also good sources of healthy fat. Try to keep your omega 3/6 ratio balanced. REfined vegetable oils are high omega 6 sources so reduce the use of corn, cottonseed, canola, soybean, peanut, sunflower and safflower oils. Instead use coconut and avocado oil more often. 

   Calm yourself and reduce stress levels is always important. For hormones it's no different. Sleep is another thing that must be taken into account when it comes to balancing hormones. Inconsistent sleep patterns can suppress ovulation and other problems. Try to get 8 hours of quality sleep every night, sticking to a routine of getting up a going to bed the same time each night. The room you sleep in should be very dark. 

       Hormonal dysfunction can be extremely aggravating, because hormones directly affect our feelings and emotions. It is hard to be in a good frame of mind with low thyroid for example. We can have everything, but yet do not enjoy it because of our state of mind. Unlike other physical problems, hormones directly affect our minds. So for those out there struggling with such problems I totally understand how painful it can be. Hopefully, by making the right choices we can change the ships direction.

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