Hormones! We give them a bad rap and are commonly associated with crazy irrational behaviour. However, these little chemical messengers are incredibly important and have the complex job of maintaining proper body function such as metabolism, growth development, reproduction, sleep and mood.
Fact: Most hormones are formed from fat and cholesterol!
With the glands located all over your body there are over 70 hormones acting on their individual target receptors on organs and enacting change so that your body is kept in balance. The endocrine system is tightly regulated and when there is too much or not enough of a specific hormone it can cause numerous issues.
Common signs of hormonal imbalance are not limited to but include:
Elevated blood pressure
Weight gain/unintentional weight loss
You're thinking, I have all of those symptoms.... Don't worry, that's what I'm here for. here are 5 simple ways to bring some balance back to your endocrine system.
1. Get enough protein
Most people I see in the clinic are not getting enough protein in their diet. This is essential in balancing the metabolic hormones such as insulin and leptin. These hormones are involved in appetite, energy expenditure, fat storage, Make sure you are getting a minimum of 20-30 g of protein per meal. (1,2)
This is what 20 g of protein per meal actually looks like!
2. Get moving
Exercise is good for you. Duh. It has endless health benefits and affects a whole bunch of hormones including releasing endorphins, regulating estrogen, and regulating cortisol. Studies have shown it improve metabolism through modulating insulin sensitivity and levels. In addition it has been shown to boost hormones that decline naturally with age. For those exercise-phobes good news is that studies have shown that you can reap the benefits from as little as 20 mins of exercise a day So get moving! (3,4)
3. Get enough rest
I speak about sleep in most of my articles but it really is paramount in good health. Sleep can influence your cortisol, insulin, leptin and growth hormones affecting your stress response, metabolism and musculoskeletal growth and recovery. So the less sleep you get you more your body will struggle to effectively manage stress, recover and repair itself from each day. It is a vicious cycle my friend.
Prioritise sleep and set up good bed time habits to ensure you get at least 8 hrs of quality sleep. (5,6,7)
4. Get out of your head
Stress is pervasive and in our society can lead to our bodies being constantly in the state of stress. This leads to our stress hormone, cortisol, being elevated which can lead to weight retention around the belly, and obesity. (8)
Make it a habit to set aside 10-15 mins of your day to do some yoga, meditation, or mindful walking.
5. Get acupuncture and herbs
Finally, acupuncture and herbs can help kickstart, reinforce and sustain the good habits you implement. Research has shown the many effects on regulating the endocrine system, reducing stress, improving sleep and metabolism. Through a course of sessions I work with each patient by looking at their lifestyle and environment and making the necessary changes. Most of my patients see positive changes in their sleep, digestion, metabolism and menses within a few weeks of treatment. (9,10,11,12)
Sick and tired of your hormones wreaking havoc? Book in for a session. We can work to gain control over your hormones and wellbeing.
1. Layman D.K. et al. “Defining meal requirements for protein to optimize metabolic roles of amino acids.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jun;101(6):1330S-1338S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.084053. Epub 2015 Apr 29.
2. Blom W.A. et al. “Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Feb;83(2):211-20.
3. Borghouts L.B., Keizer H.A. “Exercise and insulin sensitivity: a review.” Int J Sports Med. 2000 Jan;21(1):1-12.
4. Yamada M et al. “Mail-Based Intervention for Sarcopenia Prevention Increased Anabolic Hormone and Skeletal Muscle Mass in Community-Dwelling Japanese Older Adults: The INE (Intervention by Nutrition and Exercise) Study.” J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2015 Aug 1;16(8):654-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2015.02.017. Epub 2015 Apr 7
5. Spiegel K. et al. “Prolonged Sleep Restriction Affects Glucose Metabolism in Healthy Young Men” Lancet. 1999 Oct 23;354(9188):1435-9.
6. Wessel M.A. van Leeuwen et al. “Prolonged Sleep Restriction Affects Glucose Metabolism in Healthy Young Men” Int J Endocrinol. 2010; 2010: 108641.
7. Takahashi Y et al. “Growth hormone secretion during sleep” J Clin Invest. 1968 Sep; 47(9): 2079–2090.
8. Epel E. et al. “Stress may add bite to appetite in women: a laboratory study of stress-induced cortisol and eating behavior.” Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2001 Jan;26(1):37-49.
9. Wang S.J. et al “Acupuncture Relieves the Excessive Excitation of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Cortex Axis Function and Correlates with the Regulatory Mechanism of GR, CRH, and ACTHR” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 495379
10. Ni X.J. et al. “Updated clinical evidence of Chinese herbal medicine for insomnia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” Sleep Medicine
Volume 16, Issue 12, December 2015, Pages 1462-1481
11. Ding S.S. et al “Acupuncture modulates the neuro–endocrine–immune network” QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, Volume 107, Issue 5, 1 May 2014, Pages 341–345
12. Stener-Victorin E et al. “Acupuncture in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Current Experimental and Clinical Evidence” J Neuroendocrinology Volume20, Issue3 March 2008,Pages 290-298