Unless you’re a medical professional, when hormones are brought up in conversation, most people initially think of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and sometimes thyroid, which are typically associated with puberty, common medical conditions. , menopause and hypothyroidism. However, there are many other hormones that play a key role in the body’s daily metabolic functions .

While the hormones listed above are clearly crucial to our health, there are many other hormones that, when out of balance, can make it much more difficult to achieve physical goals, whether you want to lose weight, improve muscle quality or increase endurance .

Hormones that can affect our health

Therefore, and because not all hormones can be mentioned and referenced in one article, we will focus on three hormones that can easily interfere with our progress.

1. Insulin

Yes, insulin is a hormone, a very powerful and important hormone. If it is not well regulated, it can have devastating effects on our body. Insulin secretion is regulated by food.

Foods with higher amounts of simple sugars have a greater stimulating effect on insulin secretion, while foods that contain more complex carbohydrates and are higher in protein produce lower levels of insulin secretion.

Why is this so important?

Insulin promotes the storage of glucose as glycogen, increasing the synthesis or production of triglycerides while at the same time inhibiting the conversion of fatty acids to keto acids and preventing the formation of glucose from amino acids. In other words, the job of insulin is to store fuel, be it sugars in glycogen or fats in adipose tissue.

2. Cortisol

Unless you’ve discovered the key to inner peace and quiet, at some point in your life, you’ve dealt with elevated cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone secreted during times of stress or duress as part of your fight or flight response.

Cortisol spikes can be triggered by a job, a relationship, a stressful situation, or simply a lack of sleep. Not only is it a highly inflammatory hormone, but cortisol also aims to increase blood glucose levels during fasting states by using muscle-derived amino acids to create glucose. In other words, it consumes muscle for fuel. This can significantly affect metabolic activity, as metabolic rate is dependent on lean muscle mass.

3. Glucagon

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Glucagon is the insulin antagonist. If the function of insulin is to store energy, the function of glucagon is to use our own energy stores as the main source of fuel. This means that when you eat foods high in protein and lower amounts of sugar, which promote glucagon release, you are more likely to use stored fat and glycogen as your primary source of energy, thus promoting a healthy weight and preserving amino acids and proteins, which will allow you to maintain your metabolism and energy.

10 ways to achieve hormonal balance and promote good health

  1. Minimize all insulin-stimulating foods, including white sugar, processed flour, and excess alcohol.
  2. Increase your intake of glucagon-stimulating foods, including proteins such as chicken, fish, turkey, cottage cheese, yogurt, lean red beef, and eggs.
  3. Support your hormonal health with essential fatty acids. In addition to cold-water fish, nuts and seeds, it is advisable to supplement with a supplement of distilled fish oil every day.
  4. Keep hydrated. Drinking 2 liters of water a day is essential for energy, vitality and overall health. There are no excuses and you should make it your habit.
  5. Drink green tea. In addition to stimulating metabolism, green tea secretes an amino acid called L-theanine, which tends to have a calming effect.
  6. Exercise, there is no way around it. Exercise is by far one of the most effective ways to reduce the response to cortisol.
  7. Sleep well. A good night’s sleep can do wonders for proper cortisol secretion and weight loss. In fact, research has shown that poor quality sleep is associated with increased cravings and hunger, leading to weight gain.
  8. Hug someone you love, be it your child, husband, friend, or parents. Hugging naturally lowers your cortisol response.
  9. Meditate and carry out activities that allow you to be in contact with yourself, indulge yourself and pamper yourself, this has a very effective response to decrease cortisol.
  10. Take some time for yourself. Whatever you like to do (walk, paint, spend time with your friends), try to take at least 15 to 30 minutes a day for yourself.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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