Why Hormonal Balance is Highly Important for Human Health
What Are Hormones? How Do They Work?
Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. They travel around through the body via the bloodstream to impart their unique signals on their targeted receptors. There are roughly 60 different types of hormones in the body. Each one has its own function. Some have many different roles to play, and their receptors can be found in a variety of places. A hormone will not impact the receptor cells of another hormone. These equally unique cells only respond to their correlating hormones.
The endocrine system is home to the creation of these vital chemicals. A variety of glands assist in this process. The main glands that produce these crucial hormones include:
- Adrenal – cortisol (the stress hormone) and sex hormones (to a lesser degree)
- Hypothalamus – stimulates the release of many other hormones, and also helps control hunger, thirst, sleep, moods, body temperature, and sex drive
- Ovaries – estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone
- Pancreas – insulin for the control of blood sugar
- Parathyroid – regulates calcium levels in the body
- Pineal (Thalamus) – produces serotonin (a derivative of melatonin) for sleep
- Pituitary – this master gland secretes hormones that affect other glands – also responsible for growth hormone, one of the most important hormones in the body
- Testes – testosterone and sperm production
- Thymus – aids in immune functions and produces T-cells
- Thyroid – its hormones help with heart rate regulation and calorie burning
Hormones affect us throughout our lives. They aid in puberty and growth, reproduction, metabolism, and can even influence a person’s mood. The brain is the control center for hormone production, and it also responds to signals from some of these very same chemical messengers. Upon receipt of these crucial brain signals, the corresponding glands will secrete their hormones into the bloodstream which carries them throughout the body to their targeted cells. Although the multitude of hormones in the bloodstream come into contact with a variety of receptor cells, only those designed for that particular chemical will react and “accept” the message. The binding of the hormone to its receptor creates a biological response within the target cell. This signal provides the impulse for the reaction, and the effect does not end until the hormone breaks down and is excreted from the body. Some chemical messengers, such as growth hormone, do this at a rapid pace, while other hormones, such as testosterone and insulin growth factor 1 can always be found in the bloodstream.
At times, some chemicals interfere with this process, and they are called endocrine disruptors. Some disruptors block the action of the hormone by preventing the binding to the receptor cell while others physically bind to the receptor, providing a false signal and halting the delivery process. Endocrine disruptors can affect how much of a hormone is secreted into the bloodstream, how quickly it degrades, and even the way the receptor cells respond.
Some endocrine disruptors are found in the many toxic chemicals in our environment. From the soaps we use on our bodies to the cleaning supplies we spray in the shower, these substances have been known to interfere with human health.
What Exactly is Hormonal Imbalance?
We already know that endocrine disruptors affect how hormones deliver their messages. It is obvious that this can cause an imbalance in the delicate levels of hormones in the body. A hormonal imbalance occurs when one or more hormones are not at their ideal level. Since we already know that some glands, such as the pituitary and hypothalamus secrete chemicals that can stimulate other glands to produce and release their hormones, the effects of one single chemical being out of balance can have far-reaching consequences.
With each additional hormone that increases or decreases unexpectedly, further adverse responses in the body are possible. This frequently triggers a series of potentially dangerous symptoms that can lead to other health concerns.
Hormonal imbalance can happen in many different ways, including the following:
- High levels of stress will increase the degree of cortisol in the blood. Cortisol is a natural inhibitor of growth hormone and testosterone. It prevents adequate rest and increases the release of Ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
- Poor dietary choices can impact hormone production. Processed chemicals, fried and fatty foods, and pesticides are all possible hormone disruptors.
Lack of sleep prevents the secretion of some crucial chemicals, including growth hormone and testosterone. It makes a person tired during the day and causes an increase in Ghrelin which stimulates the need for food intake for energy. Unfortunately, this also leads to weight gain and increased estrogen levels, leading to estrogen dominance and further belly fat retention.
- Lack of exercise reduces the targeted bursts of some crucial hormones.
- The use of certain medications and synthetic hormones can interfere with natural hormone production.
- Brain injury and tumors can affect the various glands that control hormone release.
- Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery may also affect hormonal balance.
Here are websites where you can learn more about hormones.
Which Diseases Can Be Caused By Hormonal Imbalance?
Hormonal imbalance can lead to a variety of medical diseases and conditions if not corrected. This can have a detrimental impact on a person’s life and future. Some of the issues can destroy the ability to live independently in subsequent years.
Here are some of the diseases that can result from hormonal imbalance:
- Alzheimer’s and dementia – low levels of testosterone, growth hormone, and progesterone can all decrease brain functions and memory
- Breast cancer – the use of synthetic progestin during menopause has been linked to a few different types of cancer – only natural progesterone should be used
- Type 2 diabetes – a variety of hormones affect insulin and glucose, and imbalances can lead to diabetes
- Breast cysts – often caused by an oestrogen and progesterone imbalance
- Heart disease and heart attacks – a number of hormones can contribute to these concerns, including growth hormone, oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone
- Osteoporosis – bone weakening can be a result of low testosterone, growth hormone, and/or progesterone
- Thyroid problems – often caused by estrogen dominance
- Obesity – imbalanced growth hormone, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone can all lead to belly fat retention
- Hyperthyroidism – excess secretion of thyroid hormone can cause heat intolerance, diarrhea, weight loss, muscle weakness, nervousness, and other problems
- Hypothyroidism – too little thyroid hormone can lead to fatigue, oversleep, constipation, low heart rate, decreased cardiac output, and skin and hair problems
- Depression – severe mood changes are a result of many long-term hormonal imbalances and can lead to a loss of sociability, employment, and relationships
These are just a few of the many medical concerns resulting from imbalanced hormone levels in the body. Remember, one hormone imbalance can lead to others, and in a spiraling effect, health and well-being can take a drastic downward slide. It is never too late to seek help for hormonal imbalances, and doctors specializing in this form of treatment are the best option for superior results.