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Similar to the Gods of Greek Mythology, hormones control everything. They bind to receptors much like a lock and key, only certain keys open certain locks. Hormones are also promiscuous and enjoy binding to other hormone receptors if they are similar enough in structure to do so. There is a not a system in your body that a hormone does not impact in some manner or another. Hormones beget more Hormones, they make baby hormones down stream that affect other receptor sites in the body, its a complicated process! Men and women produce the same hormones although in different amounts. Nevertheless, as we age, our bodies produce less hormone like estrogen (vital for sexual health), progesterone (also known as the calming hormone), and lest we forget Testosterone (for strength, stamina and of course machismo, the confidence booster). Out of balance hormones affect both men and women with a range of symptoms that is why ignoring hormonal health is not just silly, its downright dangerous!
Maintaining a healthy diet is fundamental but did you know that specially your body needs various types of fats to create healthy cell membranes and they are fundamental building blocks for hormone production? The healthier the fat, the better your hormones will feel. Some great options for healthy fats include, avocadoes, coconut oil, flax seeds, walnuts, fish oils and seafood.
Studies show that people who mediate daily, practice yoga, experience less hormonal swings than those who don't. Rest is important. Many people lead such hectic lives with many demands placed on them that they have little time to let their bodies re-adjust. Find small ways and time to relax. This is also where Adaptogens help out. Adaptogens are plant derived medicine that regulate our bodies hormone system. As the name suggests, adaptogens help your body “adapt” to imbalances in a completely natural, holistic and safe way. These adaptogens have been used extensively in different cultures and some of these names may be familiar to you.
Getting eight hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep every night is one of the best things I can think of to balance hormonal levels. I highly recommend to invest in your sleep.
Physical activity is instrumental for our hormonal health. Circuit training, weights, cardio are good choices but I find that high intensity interval training and sports, are more effective natural boosters of testosterone levels due to their inherent nature of competition, aggression, intensity.
What the body cannot make, we may replace with Bioidentical hormones which are hormones that have the identical molecular structure as the hormones which you naturally produce in the body. They are available as a prescription from a compounding pharmacist and there are many different dosages, types and combinations of bioidentical hormones. So it is important that you speak with your Family Physician or Naturopathic Doctor to discover the right dose for you and understand the benefits, side effects and pitfalls of using Bioidentical Hormone Therapy.
If you are uncertain about what your hormones are doing, be sure to have them assessed by someone knowledgable. There is such complexity in the vast realm of hormones and it is important to understand why a particular hormone may be high or may be low. Here is a sample report of my own blood work and I must say, it's given me tremendous insight as to the inner workings of my body.