How to: Balance hormones naturally

Ever know someone with hormone problems?  Were they irritable, hot, depressed, always hungry, never hungry, low sex-drive? Hormone imbalance can cause huge frustrations to life and health. Often, there are highly effective non-drug solutions to balancing hormones.

Hormones are powerful chemical signals that travels from an organ to a target cell. Some hormones are specifically designed to make a second hormone release. So they only work on one target cell. Since hormones are so powerful not much needs to be made.  It only takes a little hormone blocking chemical to counteract our natural rhythm. With upwards of 80 known human hormones interacting, it can be complicated to track their function, especially when multiple are out of balance.

Take a look at some of the most well-known hormones, followed by the most common hormone blockers

 Basic hormones

Hormone Function Made in
Testosterone Sex drive, muscle mass, male development Testes and ovaries
Estrogens Memory, anti-aging, female development Ovaries, fat cells, adrenal glands, liver
Cortisol Resistance to stress, anti-inflammatory, energy production Adrenal glands
Melatonin Sleep, immune and brain health Pineal gland
Insulin Cell glucose uptake Pancreas
Leptin Fat metabolism Fat cells
Ghrelin Hunger sensation Stomach
Human growth hormone Growth & metabolism Pituitary

 

Top 12 most common hormone interrupters.

Lead Mercury Arsenic Glycol ethers
Phthalates Atrazine BPA Dioxin
Fire retardants Organophosphate pesticides Perfluorinated chemicals Perchlorate

Most folks know mercury, lead, and arsenic are poisonous to us.  They also interfere with hormone pathways.  You might not have heard of many of the others.

Glycol ethers are used in cleaning products, pharmaceuticals, and dyes.  Atrazine is an herbicide used commercial and residentially.  There are controversial debates over its safety.  It is a suspected to be a teratogen, affect sexual development, and cause organ developmental issues.  These affects are due to large hormonal imbalances and nervous system issues.  BPA stands for bisphenol- A, a known endocrine organ interuptor.  There are actually many other named bisphenol variants from A to Z, just as bad.  Dioxins block hormones and are found in tampons and pads.  Dioxins accumulate in fatty tissues—meaning they are stored and accumulate in your body for really long periods of time, and when released can be dangerous.  EPA states there are no “safe” levels of exposure.  Check out our previous blog for more information on the dangers of fire retardantsOrganophosphates used as pesticides are neurotoxins to humans and are also stored in body fat.  Perflorated chemicals (PFCs) are found in non-stick cookware, food packaging, and clothing.  PFCs have big impact on hormones – thyroid disease, infertility, and reproductive problems. Perchlorates are known to disrupt thyroid function by preventing iodine uptake. Perchlorate infiltrates the water supply and is found in virtually all humans.  It works up through the food chain.  Since humans are on top, we get the most concentrated doses.

Parabens didn’t make the list but they also cause hormone issues, and are often found in body care and makeup.  Research has shown that women absorb around 5 pounds of chemicals per year from makeup.  Links have been found from antiperspirant use to breast cancer development nearby the armpits.

Tips to avoid these hormone interrupters

  • Use glass to store food
  • Eat organic produce & free range organic meats
    • Look for rBGH or rBST-free—they are hormones that will disrupt yours
  • Filtered water – reverse osmosis is best
  • Use organic care and bath products
  • Natural cleaning products
  • Use natural furniture

 

Revenge of the Phthalates

Phthalates are back!  Not only do they cause damage to lungs, liver, reproductive system, and direct insulin resistance.  Phthalates are also found everywhere–in fast food wrappers, lids, cups, and straws that will leach into the food.  Studies have shown that eating fast food substantially increases levels of phthalates.

Why are they so vicious? First, Phthalates mimic natural sex hormones so closely, that they confuse the body hormonal. They can hormonally gender-bend us,  causing males to become more female.  Phthalates affect deer, whales, and humans in similar ways.  They also reduce IQ in children by blocking brain development.  Cause early or delayed puberty, and numerous hormonal disruptions and metabolic disease.

Most Americans have multiple interactions daily with phthalates due to their heavy use in our society.  These interactions add up over time and increase exposure levels, raising the toxicity inside your body. Avoiding plastic containers, straws, and lids as well as fast food can be a giant step in the right direction.

 

 

Ghrelin, my stomach is a growlin’

Ever wonder what actually makes you feel hungry?  Meet the hormone Ghrelin.  It actually makes your stomach growl with hunger for food.  Ghrelin is primarily produced by the stomach with the kidneys and intestines playing a smaller role.  If you skip out on sleep, levels of ghrelin increase and lead you to overeat.  Ghrelin works closely with two other hormones; Insulin and Leptin.

Insulin is the hormone that lowers blood sugar by feeding sugar to body cells to be burnt as fuel.  When insulin levels fall in the blood stream, ghrelin starts to rise to get more blood sugars in your body.  Leptin releases fat from cells to burn as energy.  Leptin also starts to rise in the blood as insulin decreases.  Both leptin and ghrelin are designed to get energy into the blood.  One good tactic to help regulate this trio of hormones are to avoid sugars.  Sugars and sweeteners overwhelm this delicate balance and cause over production.  Eating fat is a better source of energy—it is easier for Leptin to turn it into energy than for other hormones to have to handle the high amount of energy in sugars.

Mellow-tone-in (melatonin)

Melatonin, made in your brain’s pineal gland, is another powerful hormone. Most commonly known for its sleep inducing and relaxing qualities, it has many other star qualities.  It is an antioxidant and lowers damaging free radicals.  It strengthens the immune system by keeping the thymus gland (part of immune system) big and strong.  Melatonin also crosses the blood-brain barrier and promotes brain health.  It also has been shown to help with depression, bone density, and blood pressure issues. And of course–our circadian (sleep/awake) rhythms are strongly controlled by melatonin concentrations.  Melatonin supplements are commonly used as sleep aids, but these steps can optimize your natural production:

  • Avoid T.V. 1 hour before bed
  • Sleep in complete darkness
  • Have a hot bath before bed
  • Keep cellphones and electronics away from your head

Big Kahuna of Hormones

The biggest hormone blocker is everywhere in your body, effects every hormone and their source, and we haven’t even discussed it yet. The nervous system is king in the body. The authoritative text on anatomy has this to say.

“The nervous system controls and coordinates all other body systems and functions” – Gray’s Anatomy

Much of hormone production is located in the brain, but they need the nervous system to regulate their production and distribution throughout the body. The nervous system, flowing through the spinal cord, tells the organs outside the brain when and how much hormones to make. The spinal cord—filled full of nerves, is packed tightly inside your spine. From inside your spine, the spinal cord sends off branches of nerves that travel to all the organs, muscles, and glands.

We know nerves are very fragile, which makes their vital messages very susceptible to being blocked, especially by the spine.  The most common blocker of these vital sexual-, mood, sleep, digestive signals occurs in the spine when there’s a mis-alignment of the back bones (a “subluxation”).  When the spine is misaligned, it pinches the nerves, and disrupts their messages meant to regulate the body, which disrupts organ function.  When organs don’t function properly we develop hormonal imbalances that lead to disorders and major problems.

That’s why, as a Chiropractor, I care so much about hormones—we are the only doctor in the world trained to detect, analyze, and correct spinal mis-alignments or subluxations.  When nerves are effected, it can sometimes take years for our organs and hormones to show dysfunction, but your Chiropractor can tell long before that happens through x-rays and other assessments, and make a quick and easy, drug-free adjustment to correct the issue before it becomes one. Please reach out to us for questions about your health, and to get your spinal alignment checked.

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