Hormones are the chemical messengers that travel, via our bloodstream, to every organ and tissue in the body. They influence fat storage, energy levels, sex drive, brain health and a host of other vital functions.
Some of the most important functions of your hormones and how too much, too little or wrong ratios of these have a tremendous effect on your health.
- Women synthesize most of their estrogen in their ovaries and other reproductive tissues.
- In women, estrogen protects against heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, memory disorders, vaginal atrophy and urinary incontinence.
- Prevents symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, irritability, mood swings and temperature dysregulation.
- Instrumental in orchestrating the menstrual cycle and works in harmony with progesterone, both of which are essential to normal, healthy female function.
- Men need to produce estrogen through a process involving an enzyme called aromatase that transforms testosterone into estradiol. In men, estrogen is thought to affect sperm count.
- Signs of estrogen deficiency (new article;insert link)
- The most abundant hormone in the body and is mainly secreted by the adrenal glands but is also produced by the skin and brain.
- Essential component in many of the body’s physiological and metabolic functions including building the immune system, reversing the effects of stress, regulating hormone balance and helping maintain levels of well-being.
- Promotes an anabolic or protein building state, which increases breakdown of fat.
- Can increase energy, strength and libido.
- Studies link it to reduced cardiovascular risk and restored sexual vitality.
- DHEA levels naturally start to decline after the age of 30, which is precisely when many adults start to experience weight gain, sluggishness, lowered libido and other symptoms caused by higher levels of inflammation. By the time someone reaches the age of about 75, they produce only about 10 to 20 percent of the original DHEA they created in their youth.
- Secreted primarily by the testicles of males and, to a lesser extent, the ovaries of females.
- In males, testosterone protects against heart disease, hypertension and arthritis.
- Leads to improved lean muscle mass, increased bone density, decreases in cholesterol, improved skin tone, improved healing capacity, and increased libido and sexual performance.
- Prolongs the quality of life by decreasing age-related diseases
- Extremely important in females for body fat reduction, sense of well-being, libido, endurance and energy.
- Made by the pituitary gland, goes hand-in hand with testosterone.
- Contributes to ongoing tissue repair, cell rejuvenation, bone and muscle strength, brain function, enzyme production, integrity of hair, nails and skin and fat breakdown.
- Released in the ovary.
- A building block for the production of other hormones like estrogens.
- Integral to reproduction.
- Helps control the effects of estrogen.
- Helps protect against certain cancers, osteoporosis, fibroids and cysts in the ovaries.
- Produced by the adrenal glands and is meant to control energy levels in times of stress.
- Helps us escape danger or recover from extreme effort.
- Short spikes of the are necessary and not a cause of worry. But when cortisol levels are imbalanced (either too low or too high at all times), it can be a symptom of stress. This can lead to cardiovascular issues and a wide range of other health problems.
- Precursor hormone synthesized from cholesterol, principally in the adrenal glands, but also in the liver, skin, brain, testicles, ovaries, and retina of the eyes.
- Functions as a memory enhancer.
- A factor in cellular repair, particularly in the brain and nerve tissue.
- Protects against neuronal injury and facilitates cerebral function.
- Produced by the pineal gland (in the brain).
- A neurotransmitter hormone that regulates circadian rhythm (your patterns of sleep).
- Has powerful antioxidant effects, which also helps disease prevention.
- Studies link it to inhibiting breast cancer cell proliferation.
- Deficiency is linked to poor sleep, jet lag, irritability, hypersensitivity and premature aging.
- Produced by the thyroid gland, this metabolic hormone regulates temperature, metabolism and cerebral function.
- Contributes to energy levels and the body’s ability to maintain a constant temperature.
- Increases fat breakdown, improves head hair growth, reduces cholesterol levels and body weight.
As you can see, hormones can have a powerful effect on your body. Understanding how and why they affect your health can be a key factor in getting and maintaining the physique you want. Healthy behaviors like regular exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep can go a long way in keeping hormone levels in check.