Hormones are magical chemical substances that act like messengers in the body. After being made in one part of the body, they travel to other areas where they help control how cells and organs do their work. For example, steroid hormones are fat-soluble molecules made from cholesterol.
Among these are estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. Males and females make all three, but in different amounts. Ideal hormone balance occurs when the body has just the right amount of each hormone available to operate at peak health. Research studies are discovering factors that can create hormone imbalances, as well as offering solutions to balance hormones and remedy symptoms.
One chemical substance famous for disrupting hormone balance is Bisphenol A (BPA). It is a chemical found in hard plastics and the coatings of food and drink cans which can behave in a similar way to estrogen and other hormones in the human body. It is also used to make water bottles, baby bottles, eyeglass lenses, DVD’s and more.
One study from the UK found that BPA reduces testosterone levels in men. Another study from Massachusetts found a link between BPA and infertility in women. It has also been linked to diabetes and heart disease. A few key ways to avoid exposure to BPA is to not eat or drink foods or beverages from cans, and to avoid drinking water from plastic water bottles — unless the labeling (on the can or bottle) says it is BPA free.
Research from the University of Chicago has found that sleep deprivation can have a pronounced effect on one’s hormonal health. The pituitary gland in the brain is known as the “master gland” as its hormones control the thyroid gland, adrenals, ovaries and testes. The pituitary is markedly influenced by sleep. During sleep, beneficial hormonal factors are activated, but these are greatly reduced by sleep deprivation. On a positive note, the alterations that occur during a sleepless night can be completely reversed during recovery sleep.
A study from the journal “Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey” shared the many beneficial effects that omega 3 fats can have on women’s hormones. These healthy fats are found in salmon, sardines, fish oil capsules, olive oil and fresh vegetables. Omega 3’s can reverse PMS and increase fertility in women. The researchers also mention evidence showing omega 3’s can prevent menopause symptoms, postmenopausal osteoporosis and heart disease.
According to Dalene Barton-Schuster Senior Herbalist, studies have shown that extreme exercise results in hormonal disruption. She says “Regular, moderate exercise has been shown to strengthen muscles, build stamina, increase flexibility, increase circulation, reduce stress and prevent depression and anxiety — while also promoting regular detoxification of excess hormones and toxins in the body.”
Make good use of these tips to keep your hormones in top shape.