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Role of Hormones in the Body + How to Support Them

Regulating hormones has been the biggest wellness topic in the last few years. The more I hear about them, the more I realize that hormone balancing, cycle syncing, and supporting your hormones feels almost like a fad diet. Most people don't realize what hormones are, how important they are in the body, and what they do to support our health. So, I have given you all of the hormones that make an impact on a women's health for you to read today and maybe gain some insight as to what hormones you may be having trouble with, if any.


Most of us don't know we have hormonal issues until it is too late. Maybe we aren't gaining weight, maybe we have been diagnosed with a thyroid issues, or maybe we simply find ourselves a-mist a mood swing-- throwing a shoe at our husband for reasons unknown. It's the hormones.



Serotonin

Secreted from: Gut


The "happy" hormone. Likely one of the hormones that most people are deficient in. I used to work at a hospital and I would say more than 75% of the people that we saw there were on anxiety or depression meds. It is seriously an epidemic that no one talks enough about. I do believe in therapy and emotional support, but when most of the population has depression/anxiety... it's not always an emotional issue. It's a nutrient issue.


Serotonin works to improve mood as well as digestion. It is a precursor to melatonin. Which most people also have a deficiency in. Let's dive in deeper.


Melatonin

Secreted from: Pineal Gland


Essential for good sleep. Helps to relax and lower body temperature. Don’t supplement this one. Every now and then, it is okay to, but for the most part, you want your body to make it's own melatonin so that you are not having to always supplement with it and eventually make your body dependent on supplementation.


Progesterone

Secreted from: Ovaries


It is a steroid hormone released by the corpus luteum after ovulation. It preps body for pregnancy and supports pregnancy. Considered the hormone that keeps us youthful by helping with skin elasticity, hair, etc. This is a hormone that most menopausal or PCOS women are low in. If you have estrogen dominance, this can also be naturally lower in the body. Here are some foods that help with production of this hormone.


Foods that Support Progesterone:

Citrus

Pumpkins Seeds

Dark Chocolate

Leafy Green

Bell Peppers


Estrogen

Secreted from: Ovaries


Estrogen is sooo important. This is why many women who have gone through menopause and/or have gotten their ovaries removed, usually supplement with estrogen hormone replacement therapy. It is involved in the urinary tract, cardiovascular system, bones, muscle, breasts, skin, hair, mucus membranes, brain, fertility, reproduction, etc. Too much estrogen can be a bad thing. Most of the time when someone has estrogen dominance, their detoxification pathways are not being supported and they are unable to get rid of estrogen efficiently in the body.


Foods that Support Estrogen:

Flaxseeds

Dandelion root

Berries

Raw Cruciferous Vegetables

Raw Carrots

Salmon


Testosterone

Secreted from: Ovaries and Adrenal Glands


Affects red blood cell production, increases zeal for life, fertility, sex drive, menstruation, tissue and bone mass, etc

Food that Support Testosterone:

Shellfish

Turmeric

Avocado

Cinnamon

Almonds

Chickpeas


Thyroid Hormones

Secreted from: Thyroid Gland


Responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism. Regulates how the body uses energy, produces heat, and consumes oxygen. Thyroid hormones are extremely important. T3 and T4 are examples of these hormones and their production can tell whether or not you have hypo- or hyperthyroid. Thyroid issues are increasing in prevalence. The best ways to know what your thyroid is doing is the get tested for thyroid hormone production levels. From there, you can know what foods are best for you. Many of those with thyroid issues have some sort of mineral deficiency. I offer functional lab testing for mineral and heavy metals that can have a direct effect on hormone, especially thyroid.


SHBG

Secreted from: Liver


Binds estrogen and testosterone together to carry them throughout the body. Controls how much testosterone body tissue uses.


Cortisol

Secreted from: Adrenal Gland

Prepares body for “fight or flight” by raises heart rate and blood glucose. Also influences mood! I have a more in-depth post about cortisol levels here. Many weight related issues, mood issues, or hormone imbalances start with cortisol levels being abnormal.


Foods that Support Cortisol

Slow Carbs

Protein

Healthy Fats

Caffeine After Breakfast

Variety to colors in your fruits and vegetables


Adrenaline

Secreted from: Adrenal Gland


Prepares the body’s stress response by elevating the heart rate and raising blood glucose levels.


Insulin

Secreted from: Pancreas


Regulates blood sugar by storing excess glucose for energy either in muscle or fat cells. Of course, foods that do not have carbohydrates or simple sugars help to regulate insulin. Especially high protein, healthy fats, and fiber.





Other Hormones that are excreted by the body include:


Prolactin

Pituitary Gland

Hormone that enables the production of breastmilk after birth. Oats are a great way to produce more prolactin for breastmilk production


FSH

Pituitary Gland

Promotes the growth of ovarian follicles during the follicular phase. Eating a balanced diet will help regulate these levels.


LH

Pituitary Gland

Stimulates the release of an eggs from the ovaries during ovulation.


Active Vitamin D (calcitriol)

Kidneys

Steroid hormone produced when the kidneys synthesize Vitamin D. Regulated the body’s calcium + phosphorus levels essential to bone health. Making sure you have enough of these nutrients to thrive will be best when controlling calcitriol levels.








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