Often when we speak of hormone imbalances, we think of menstruation and menopause in women. This bias has led many to forgetting that men have hormones too, and that they affect them profoundly when they are out of balance.
The Endocrine System
As human beings, our endocrine system requires a range of hormones with which to function properly. The hypothalamus and pituitary glands are the primary control areas for what goes on in the rest of the body, with the adrenal glands, thyroid, pancreas, and in the case of men, the testes as other major parts of the hormonal system.
When Out of Balance…
When our hormones are out of balance, many body functions begin to break down. Storing fat becomes difficult, as does the ability to fight stress. Metabolic imbalances that affect sex and sleep can cause erratic function whereby it is difficult for men to maintain an erection or one’s sleep cycles become difficult to manage.
The Hormonal Alarm System
Imbalances will often affect cortisol and epinephrine levels, hormones that are akin to an alarm system. When off, the heart can beat faster and bronchial tubes can dilate, obstructing oxygen to the brain. Too much stress is often responsible for elevating cortisol levels, whereby excess fat and glucose will be released into the bloodstream.
The Production of Testosterone
Testosterone is an extremely important hormone for sexual function, as well as for maintaining proper function of neurological system, helping to avert depression, and reducing body weight. Restoring testosterone levels will help reduce cholesterol, fat mass, and inflammatory conditions associated with many diseases. Correct amounts of testosterone will help improve erectile function and greater ease in performing activities in general.
When to Eat, When to Stop
Many hormones tell you when to eat and when to stop. Ghrelin prompts neurons in the hypothalamus to make you feel hungry and cholecystokinin suppresses the appetite when you’ve had enough. Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells that also informs the hypothalamus that you are full by releasing an appetite-suppressing hormone.
Controlling Testosterone and Estrogen Levels
DHEA is a hormone produced from cholesterol that helps control testosterone and estrogen levels. Aromatase assists in creating a balanced ratio between testosterone and estrogen, converting testosterone to estrogen, which can also deplete levels as estrogen levels get higher. Keeping this in check is key to optimum metabolic function.
Staying in Balance
There are several things you can do to help keep yourself in balance. Daily exercise will regulate your cortisol levels along with other hormones. Steering clear of foods treated with pesticides are another important way to maintain optimal health. In a study by the National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, the pesticide “atrazine” produced extreme increase in stress hormone levels in rats. Try to eat as organically as possible to keep your system free of potentially harmful toxins.
Putting on extra weight can be due to the secretion of too much leptin, leading to insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, and other adverse conditions. By reducing or eliminating your sugar intake, your chances for a healthful and balanced system are greatly increased. Avoid high fructose corn syrup, table sugar, and flavored fruit juice. Read the labels of your foods and beverages and again, opt for organic or natural whenever you can.
For more information on healthful practices, please contact us via our online form or scheduling tool at www.livewellholistichealth.com, or call: 610 896 1554.