Hormones are important chemical messengers that influence your health in numerous ways. Your hormones play an intricate role in maintaining a healthy weight, balancing your mood, appetite, stress levels, sex drive, and more.
Hormones differ in men and women, in minor and major ways depending on the hormone. We are going to examine your different hormones, how they influence you, how you can influence them, and what can be done to make sure they are optimized for your health.
Hormones are critical to achieving a high-quality of life. Knowing when to see your doctor to test your levels and potentially correct them could end up being one of the best things you ever do for your health.
There’s a reason hormones are becoming such a hot health topic – they control tens of thousands of functions in your body.
When your hormones are off balance, you’re off balance.
In this two part series, we are going to examine the inner workings of male and female hormones. In part one, together we’ll cover:
- Male hormones 101 – everything you need to know about your hormones
- 5 Ways to naturally balance your hormones
- Are bioidentical treatments right for you?
Even a slight imbalance in your hormones can leave you feeling off and eventually compound into widespread health problems.
Male Hormones 101
Hormones are created in the endocrine system and used as messengers throughout your body. Though men and women have similar hormones, their levels vary. Hormones often associated with men and their wellbeing include:
- Testosterone – Most commonly associated with men’s health. Testosterone plays a role in sexual health, energy, mood, motivation, and body weight regulation.
- Estrogen – Men have estrogen too, but they need it to remain at much lower levels than women.
- Luteinizing hormone – Prompts the production of testosterone.
- Cortisol – Often called your stress hormone, cortisol is part of your fight-or-flight reaction but you also need it to wake up in the morning. When your cortisol levels remain high you can disrupt your metabolism, which causes your body to store fat.
- Thyroxine – Many think thyroid issues are mostly found in women, but it’s very possible for a man’s thyroid hormone balance to be thrown off. When your thyroid hormones are abnormal it can cause all sorts of health conditions such as hypothyroidism – characterized by fatigue, muscle weakness, thinning hair, sexual dysfunction, and cold intolerance.
Unlike nutrients where you’d take more of something you had low levels of, with hormones it’s all about finding the right balance.
For example, you wouldn’t want to start taking as much testosterone as possible if you find out your levels are low. It’s important to know what your cortisol levels are first. For example, high cortisol levels block your testosterone from working at the cell’s receptor site. High cortisol levels also lower your pregnenolone hormone which is a building block for testosterone .
When your hormones aren’t balanced, it can cause several issues, including:
- Unintended weight gain (a “beer belly” is more likely caused by lowered testosterone levels than food)
- Decreased motivation
- Increased irritability and moodiness
- Reduced ability to deal with stress
- Reduced sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Muscle loss
- Chronic fatigue
Both men and women have the same hormones but in different balances.
5 Ways to naturally balance your hormones
There are several, relatively easy lifestyle changes you can make to help your body balance its own hormones naturally.
- Increase healthy fat intake – Fat restriction lowers testosterone levels. Increase your healthy fat intake to help your body naturally balance its hormone levels.
- Avoid estrogen mimicking chemicals – BPA in plastics, atrazine, and phthalates (common in personal care products) are chemicals that mimic estrogen. Foods high in phytoestrogens include soy, chickpeas, sesame seeds, and flaxseeds.
- Build muscle – Building muscle is one of the best things you can do for your testosterone levels. Estrogen is created in men when their testosterone breaks down. Fat converts testosterone to estrogen. Aromatase is an important enzyme that causes this break down. Aromatase is stored in body fat, therefore if you have more body fat your body will produce higher levels of aromatase, which fuels this breakdown. Also, when you’re building muscle, your body is more sensitive to insulin, which pushes more glucose into your muscles. This creates a cycle that burns more fat and increases energy all around.
- Get high-quality sleep – You need high-quality sleep for optimal testosterone production. Don’t skimp on sleep as it’s critical to your overall health!
- Use adaptogen herbs – Adaptogen herbs are a class of ancient healing plants known to promote hormone balance. Three that are particularly good for men include Ashwagandha, holy basil, and rhodiola. Ashwagandha raises testosterone levels, boosts the immune system, increases strength and stamina, reduces anxiety, and improves stress management. Holy basil is an ancient herb often used to increase testosterone in men. Rhodiola has been shown to improve mental and physical stamina, increase testosterone, and boost sex drive.
While everyone should incorporate as many of these lifestyle changes as possible for improved hormone balance, some people will need bioidentical hormone treatments to achieve a balance that returns their vitality and youthful vigor.
Are bioidentical hormone treatments right for you?
Many men go years without realizing their hormones are imbalanced . It is important because this can create underlying issues leading to an array of illnesses and health conditions. At Dynamic Life Health Center, we measure all of your hormones including cortisol, thyroid, DHEA, pregnenolone, insulin, estradiol and testosterone . Our expertise and Board certification in Anti-Aging and Functional Medicine ensures you receive the highest quality of care .
Bioidentical hormones are a treatment that allows you to find hormone balance. Bioidentical hormones are identical in molecular structure to your hormones and therefore are more easily absorbed and put to use by your body.
I can’t tell you the number of times my patients were amazed to see many of their symptoms and issues disappear after we balanced their hormone levels.
All hormones are important to both men and women. Hormone balance varies from person to person, depending on lifestyle and genetics, which is why seeing a hormone specialist is crucial in finding the perfect levels that help you to feel your very best!
In part two of this series, we will look at women’s hormones and which are important for optimal health.