What Do Hormones Do?
Hormones are chemical messengers and without them, proper functioning in our body does not occur. They control everything from reproduction, digestion, metabolism, emotions and even hunger and satiety. Who knew?!
When our hormones function properly, we feel great! We have lots of energy, few mood swings, no PMS or yucky monthly symptoms and overall life seems good.
BUT, when our hormones aren’t happy, we can have health issues that make us miserable, sad and leave us feeling like we don’t know what our body is doing, why we feel like this, or how to change it.
Let’s look a few key hormones systems and you will get the picture as to how important they are.
Hypothalamus: It signals the production of other hormones and in doing so, helps regulate things like hunger, moods, sleep, body temperature and sex drive.
Thymus: It produces the hormone thymosin, which help regulate the immune system. The thymus shrinks as we age but scientists are not sure it is supposed to, which means that, perhaps, good nutrition could help maintain immune function as we age.
Pancreas: Insulin produced in the pancreas is a key hormone and its sole function is to help blood sugar get into the cells so we have the energy we need for our cells to function. However, too much insulin has been implicated in many health issues, including weight gain, diabetes, and many more.
Thyroid: Hormones produced by our thyroid are associated with metabolism and heart rate. If you have trouble losing weight – your thyroid may not be functioning optimally.
Adrenals: There are many hormones produced by the adrenal glands but their main function is to help us cope with stress, both physical and mental. Because of this, the adrenals rule the roost in the body. This is because protecting us from danger is considered to be one of the most significant systems in the body and because of that, when we are stressed, the adrenals can cause all kinds of havoc with all of your other systems and hormones.
Pituitary: This is a master endocrine gland that produces hormones that tell other glands and organs to produce more hormones. However, hormones from the adrenals like cortisol or insulin from the pancreas can exert pressure on the pituitary and interfere with other hormones relationships where the pituitary is involved.
Of course, the hormones that often concern most people are the reproductive hormones.
In women, the ovaries produce estrogen, progesterone and small amounts of testosterone before menopause. After menopause, it is the adrenals that produce these hormones to keep women healthy (this is why reducing stress and loving on your adrenal glands is so important in helping to prevent menopausal symptoms).
For men, the testes produce testosterone and small amounts of estrogen and progesterone.
These are just a few hormonal relationships – it really is complex and often hormone problems are a result of several hormones exerting influence in a way that causes more than one issue.
Food and lifestyle can help immensely to feed the various body parts so they work in a more balanced way. A holistic nutrition professional can help you do this.
Balanced hormones are the key to a having a body in balance. Even small imbalances can cause an issue. Getting a proper diagnosis Is key and from there decisions can be made to help correct the issues.
The important thing to know is that it IS possible to create (and keep) happy hormones, which will help you have a much happier life!