The sex hormones are also tied into metabolic overdrive and the next two weeks will focus on them. We all know that the fountain of youth does not exist but if you feel the need to turn back the hands of time consider balancing sex hormones. Hormone levels begin to change by age 30-35.
As each of these hormones reach “out-of-whack” status, additional hormones like insulin and cortisol are negatively affected compounding metabolic overdrive (MO) for weight and health.
Hormonal overdrive or MO, through the involvement of insulin and cortisol, is linked with metabolic disorders: obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome (in normal weight people too) and heart disease.
Ask yourself some of these general questions if you think hormones are at the root of your (MO).
1. Are you tired during the day?
2. Do you have a low sex drive/libido (lower than in the past or than what you’d like)?
3. Do you have difficulty sleeping (it takes you longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep, and you wake more than once at night)?
4. Have you gained weight, despite following a weight loss plan or trying to reduce calories or portions?
5. Are you depressed?
1. Is your hair thinning?
2. Do you have facial hair?
3. Do you retain water?
4. Do you skip periods, have periods more frequently than once a month, or menstruate irregularly, even though you are not peri-menopausal or post-menopausal?
5. Do you bleed heavily during your periods (soaking through a tampon or pad within an hour)?
6. Do you feel irritable, bloated, or fatigued in the days leading up to your period?
7. Do you have hot f lashes or night sweats, even though you are not peri-menopausal?
1. Are you developing breasts?
2. Do you have impotence or erectile dysfunction?
3. Have you been diagnosed with a low sperm count?
If you have answered yes to two or more questions, your hormones may be out of balance and need adjusting.
The goal is to balance testosterone, progesterone and estrogen for both men and women.
When in excess, estrogen promotes fat gain, and the enlarged fat tissue produces more estrogen within its cells, which then promotes more fat gain, and so on.
Specific factors contributing to this include:
- Medications, ask your doctor or pharmacist about medicine that may increase estrogen, such as the pill, steroids, antifungals, antibiotics etc…
- Drugs like cocaine and marijuana
- Weight, fat cells store and secrete estrogen, the heavier you are the greater risk for higher levels of estrogen
- Hormone disrupting chemicals and xenoestrogens, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3443608/, “cleaning products, air fresheners, hair dyes, cosmetics, and sunscreens. Many observations suggesting that endocrine disruptors do contribute to cancer, diabetes, obesity, the metabolic syndrome, and infertility”. Others that top the list are BPA stands for bisphenol A), pesticides, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1241915/ and even hormone laden meats and foods.
- Certain diseases effecting the liver, thyroid, adrenal glands or kidney
Men may have symptoms including: man boobs, abdominal obesity, loss of lean body mass and lack of energy. There are more symptoms listed here, http://www.newhealthguide.org/High-Estrogen-In-Men.html.
Women gain weight all over; the stomach, arms, hips and thighs and the butt, more details here, http://www.drnorthrup.com/womenshealth/healthcenter/topic_details.php?topic_id=118.
Low T (Low Testosterone)
Low T can cause changes in weight by converting lean body mass into fat. It can also lower libido and cause brain fog, anxiety and fatigue. For women, low T also contributes to hot flashes and vaginal dryness fatigue. When estrogen is high, there is a good chance testosterone is low.
Medications that may lower T include antidepressants, statins, blood pressure pills and many more, check this out, http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/sexandrelationships/medicinessex.htm.
It is possible to raise testosterone naturally, here is one of my favorite articles on the topic, http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2012/07/27/increase-testosterone-levels.aspx.
This is not the whole story, there is another important sex hormone, progesterone. Next week I will add progesterone to the mix and wrap it all up so you can take steps to bring hormone levels back in good working order.