Sometimes it seems like you are doing all the right things to take care of yourself: staying hydrated, making smart food choices, exercising regularly, and getting the appropriate amount of sleep. But at the same time, something is still off, and you can’t quite pinpoint the issue. Maybe you’re experiencing issues like acne, dry skin, depression, hyperpigmentation and melasma, hair loss, or general fatigue. Whatever it is, the root of the problem may be a hormone imbalance.
It’s no secret: our bodies are very complex. Makes sense given that it’s made up of 11 systems, including the lymphatic system, digestive system, nervous system, and many more. It’s very important for overall health that they are all working together. Just like we have to do certain things to promote the health of our immune system (eat our greens!) and cardiovascular system (regular workouts!) — we have to ensure our hormones are balanced and pay attention to any signs that may tell us otherwise. That means we need to pay attention to the system that’s solely responsible for the production and release of hormones: the endocrine system.
When it comes to hormone levels, balance is key. And though the human body produces more than 50 different types of hormones, there are a handful that tend to be problematic. Let’s walk through these common culprits:
Thyroid hormones are responsible for metabolism and energy levels. If your thyroid gland isn’t functioning properly, you may have a hard time losing weight (no matter how hard you go at the gym and how good you are in the kitchen!).
This hormone is typically produced in larger amounts in males. However, women produce testosterone as well, and if you struggle with rapid weight gain, acne and dark facial hair growth, there’s a chance your testosterone levels are higher than they should be.
Melatonin aids in healthy sleep cycles, hence the reason someone might take a melatonin supplement just before bed. If it’s off, it has effects on how restful your sleep is.
Cortisol, AKA your “stress hormone,” is one to really keep in check. If you have high stress levels and are somewhat irritable on a regular basis, it may help to engage in calming practices, like exercise and meditation, to help lower your cortisol and reduce stress in your life.
This hormone regulates our blood sugar. If we consume too much sugar or carbohydrates, we may experience a spike in insulin levels. It also has a relationship to cortisol: in order to lower cortisol (that stress hormone!) levels, the human body requires a healthy amount of minimally processed sugars and carbs. To avoid rises in insulin and cortisol levels, it’s best to eat a variety of whole foods on a regular basis.
If you’re experiencing issues that could potentially be linked to a hormonal imbalance, now might be the perfect time to take a deeper dive into your health by visiting your doctor for a hormone test. Blood samples are the best and most accurate way to find out if you have any hormonal imbalances. Your doctor will send a sample of your blood to a lab for testing, where they can detect most hormones and determine if there are any deficiencies or overproduction. Whether you have a minor imbalance or a significant one, this valuable information you’ll gain from a test can allow you to make any lifestyle changes necessary to balance your hormones. And once you make those, you will likely notice a major improvement in your overall health. In this case, knowledge really is power!