Now that we know about biochemicals and that hormones play an important role in keeping the biochemicals balanced, let’s learn more about these specific hormones.
Cortisol’s many functions include preventing blood sugar from falling too low, aiding the liver in energy storage and new sugar production for energy, mobilizing energy to the brain so we can think and act more efficiently, and fighting inflammation throughout the body. All good things! However, too much cortisol can lead to a serious imbalance within the body. Cortisol production can become out of balance as a result of STRESS: emotional stress, nutritional stress, chemical stress, physiological stress, or hormonal stress. When we have excess cortisol production, we use up our structural and functional biochemicals very quickly and become depleted. This leads to symptoms such as depression, memory loss, loss of lean body tissue, bone loss, type II diabetes, high cholesterol and triglycerides, redistribution of fat to midsection, high blood pressure, weakened immunity, and inflammation throughout the body.
Adrenaline is also known as the “fight or flight” hormone, which I write about every now and then. It is secreted in large amounts when we are under any type of stress, and is secreted in smaller, more regularized amounts constantly to help the body do things like maintain heart beat, access biochemicals, break down food for energy, and break down old cells to rebuild new ones. High adrenaline levels can be addicting in the short-term, because they demand the use of all of our biochemicals which leads to a false sense of optimal health. This is why people may experience a “high” or energy burst when they are under tight deadlines or when they are in a dangerous situation and must act quickly and smartly. However, over time too much adrenaline production can lead to the body using up its storage of biochemicals faster than it can rebuild them. This leads to any of the following symptoms: agitation, anxiety, nervousness, bladder urgency, blurred vision, emotional intensity, excessive sweating, heart palpitations, inability to fall or stay asleep, loose bowels, headaches, mental exhaustion, and flulike symptoms.
I write about insulin often in relation to blood sugar imbalances. Insulin is another very useful hormone, as it helps keep the body from using up too many biochemicals and is a major rebuilding hormone (assuming one is eating the proper nutrients). However, lifestyle-based insulin disorders are caused by the under- or over-secretion of insulin due to daily poor nutrition and/or lifestyle habits. These can include a diet too high in refined carbohydrates or processed foods; over-exercising OR not enough exercise; over-consumption of alcohol; smoking or drug use; and more. High levels of insulin lead to oxidation, which is the forming of free radicals inside the body. Eventually one will become insulin-resistant, which causes chronic high insulin levels. The following are symptoms of insulin-resistance: fatigue, brain fog, heart palpitations, difficulty sleeping, irritability, anxiety, loose bowels or constipation, panic attacks, severe sugar cravings, acne, depression, infertility and/or irregular menstrual cycles, and weight gain. If left untreated, insulin resistance will eventually lead to poor health and disease, including things like high cholesterol, high triglycerides, hypertension, type II diabetes, coronary and cerebral atherosclerosis, and even cancer.
Now that we know a little more about these three important hormones, we need to know how to rebalance them! On Friday, I will address this issue, including nutritional protocols for rebalancing the hormones.