Hormones aren’t just something for teens and menopausal women to worry about. Good hormonal balance is essential for everyone, at every stage of life.
If someone is feeling terrible, it’s almost always due to a hormonal imbalance, which can be caused by a variety of factors. Hormones are like a symphony. If your hormones are out of balance, it will cause the whole symphony to sound out of tune.
Hormones help cells communicate
There are hundreds of different hormones in the human body. Hormones allow each person’s approximately 100 trillion cells to communicate with one another. (The one exception is in the brain, whose electrical communication works a little bit differently).
Most communication between cells comes from hormones, which are generally produced by the body’s various glands– such as the thyroid, thymus, adrenals, pancreas and gonads (testicles/ovaries). Different areas of the brain, such as the hypothalamus, parathyroid, pituitary and pineal, also act like glands. All glands have the ability to detect and regulate levels of certain hormones and release their own hormones accordingly.
Most hormones run on a feedback loop. If something goes wrong with the process, it will lead to hormonal imbalance or hormonal abnormalities.
The most common hormonal imbalance results from a high demand for stress transmitters, called amines, which are simple communication molecules. Two of the most well known are adrenaline and noradrenaline, also known as epinephrine and noreprinephrine. When these feedback loops are disrupted due to the chronic release of these stress transmitters, it will cause the release of cortisol (a steroid hormone, which is another group of hormones derived from cholesterol).
Cortisol is perfectly fine in the short term. It’s a survival response that’s intended to help you handle short term stressors – but cortisol levels shouldn’t remain high in the long term. Ongoing release of cortisol causes a whole range of problems with immune, gut and brain function: it means the body has gone into a chronic state of fight or flight. In turn, this will disrupt the body’s secondary hormones, estrogen and testosterone. It can even disrupt peptide hormones from being released from the brain, which are very important in balancing everything out.
Are your hormones out of balance?
The right hormonal balance will be different for each person, depending on age and other factors.
Some of the main symptoms of hormone imbalance include fatigue, anxiety, depression, weight gain, insomnia and other sleep issues, chronic pain, muscle breakdown, poor wound healing, brittle hair or nails, hair loss and poor immune function.
If you’ve been experiencing these types of symptoms and haven’t found a solution, it’s very important to look at the full range of factors and to get your hormonal balance tested. If your doctor is unable to do complete testing, come see us at Neurvana Health.
How to balance your hormones
Reduce stress; and make use of therapies such as diaphragmatic breathing, proper treatment of trauma and concussions, bioidentical hormone replacement (which differs from synthetic hormone replacement), amino acids, diet, nutrition, herbs, extracts and essential oils.
If you’ve been suffering from fatigue, pain, anxiety, depression, memory or sleep issues, the culprit could be a hormonal imbalance.
All hormones need to be in balance, in what’s called a hormonal symphony. If something is out of balance, or if the body isn’t metabolizing and detoxifying all of its hormones properly, then the entire symphony doesn’t sound quite right and there can be all kinds of issues.
Steroid hormones – made up of stress hormones and sex hormones – are produced from LDL cholesterol, which the body then converts into pregnenolone, a hormone that acts as a neurosteroid, allowing the brain and nervous system to build new cells. Pregnenolone goes on to create all of the body’s sex hormones, including progesterone, DHEA, testosterone and three types of estrogen – E1, estrone, E2, estradiol and E3, estrial.
The other hormones that make up part of this system are cortisol, cortisone and aldosterone, which are all produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, while cortisone, which has anti-inflammatory properties, is also released in response to stress. Aldosterone is a mineral O corticoid hormone whose role is to reabsorb minerals at the kidney.
When cortisol and cortisone are too high, it can lead to immune system challenges, and when cortisol and cortisone are too low, it can result in inflammatory issues. And if aldosterone is out of balance, people usually get salt cravings or experience low blood pressure.
After age 40, DHEA and testosterone levels start dropping. To rebalance hormones, both men and women can turn to hormone replacement therapy. The most natural way to do this is through bioidentical hormonal replacement therapy (BHRT), which uses wild yam extract, applied orally or topically; or vaginally for females. What makes BHRT different than synthetic HRT, is that it sends full signals to the cells. Because the body recognizes synthetic versions – synthesized from pregnant mare urine – as foreign, synthetic HRT won’t work in the same way and tends to cause side effects.
Who could benefit from having their hormones tested? Everyone from women who’ve used hormonal birth control or been pregnant, to women who are perimenopausal or postmenopausal; anyone, male or female, who’s had a head injury or experienced emotional trauma; anyone who’s done body building; anyone who’s gained and lost a lot of weight quickly; serial dieters; and anyone who’s used pharmaceutical or illicit drugs.
If you need to find out what’s really going on with your hormones, make sure you’re talking to your doctor and advocating for yourself to get your hormones tested.
There are three ways to test hormones: through the blood, saliva and urine. It’s important to test using all three ways, especially for women. Blood will show total hormone levels, saliva shows free (bioavailable) hormone levels, and urine shows how well the body is metabolizing and detoxifying hormones.