Nerd Alert: Hormone Class is in Session
It’s time to get schooled in a really important subject: hormones. Erma Bombeck once said “I don’t understand this generation. They have adjusted the timetable for childbearing so that menopause and teaching a sixteen-year-old to drive will occur in the same week.” (Good point, Erma!) We can laugh about them, but hormones are a very complicated business. When it comes to chronic health problems, about 80% of the time a hormone imbalance is at the core. Hormones impact everything from skin, mood and energy, to sleep, joints, and weight.
Why is this?
Why do these little power-tripping compounds get all the say? Hormones are the main communicators of our bodies. They are made in one cell, released into circulation, and travel to other cells where they exert their power and tell those cells how to behave. It’s like grade school all over again—when in balance, hormones are our BFFs. When out of balance, they feel like lunchroom bullies. And, as if this isn’t enough, they all influence each other. It’s peer pressure at the cellular level. Your adrenals (stress hormones) influence your thyroid (metabolic hormones), which influences your ovaries (reproductive hormones), which influence your adrenals again. It’s as if they’re playing tag on the playground.
What can you do about it?
Your body’s hormonal system loves rhythm! The easiest way to create rhythm (drum roll, please) is to make SLEEP a routine. Start by choosing a bedtime well before midnight. Try to keep to this bedtime and arise about the same time each morning. And, please, please, please make sure you are getting enough sleep. Most people need the full 8 hours to give their hormones time to balance themselves at night. It sounds so basic, but it is SO important to hormonal health.
Eat for healthy hormones.
Food and digestive health have a HUGE impact on hormones. Eating a nutritious, anti-inflammatory diet plays a direct role in helping the body sort out hormone challenges. (Read my Nerd Alert: Gut Check) For instance, a healthy diet supports a robust and diverse microbiome that directly assists in the gut to balance hormones. In addition, fiber is like a mop that sops up excess hormones in the gut and carries them out. One more important tip: Sugar is not so good for hormones. It negatively impacts our stress hormones both directly and indirectly, which in turn impacts your whole body. Limit it as much as you can… ideally less than 50 grams a day.
We all experience it and it’s hard to get away from. But, let’s commit to a few simple things to reduce its influence so our stress hormones don’t wreak havoc on our metabolic and reproductive hormones. There are lots of ways to reduce stress— let me give you a couple of ideas. First, body posture is oddly powerful in reducing our stress hormone called cortisol. Watch the fascinating TedTalk by Dr. Amy Cuddy in which she talks about this phenomenon. SO interesting! Second, movement is a huge stress reducer. Whatever your fitness level, start incorporating movement into your life at an appropriate intensity for you. (It should feel good to move.) Third, green and white tea, passionflower and hawthorn berry each have the ability to calm and soothe the nervous system, while vitamin C is nourishing to tired, stressed out adrenal glands. Guess where you can find all of these? That’s right… SkinTē.
As I said before, hormones are complicated. If you feel your hormones are still acting like little punks (and nobody likes a punk), it may be worth a visit to a licensed naturopathic doctor to get help sorting it all out. Taking the time and making the effort to get this right is important for your overall health and wellbeing. So, take the time and make the effort. Your hormones will thank you. (And, if your hormones make you grumpy, EVERYONE will thank you.)
As always, if you have questions, ideas, or comments don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love your feedback and am here for you.