Hormonal balance is a fundamental component of human health and functionality.
Hormones allow communication between the various parts of the body and regulate numerous functions that allow growth, metabolic function , reproduction and many aspects of our behavior and psychological reactions.
However, hormone production is not stable over the years and tends to vary with aging. According to some theories, the decline in hormone production is even at the basis of senescence itself as it compromises the optimal functionality of our body.
In some cases these alterations are particularly evident, universal and permanent as for menopause in women. In other conditions the alterations are much more nuanced and more subjective as for example in the so-called male andropause (better defined as hypogonadism).
We can say that the body’s endocrine regulation becomes less effective over time, in most cases with a decrease in hormone production, in some cases (such as insulin and cortisol) with an increase.
Then there are pathological situations such as those related to autoimmune diseases which, by damaging the gland, reduce the production of hormones, as in the case of autoimmune hypothyroidism. In the conditions in which an underlying disease exists, a clinical evaluation and possibly a therapy is necessary.
If, on the other hand, hormone production is altered by the aging process or by an incorrect lifestyle, then a series of changes can be set that help restore a correct endocrine balance.
With the term hormonal imbalance we mean a situation is not pathological but dysfunctional when certain hormones are not produced in the amount or timing right. Often these alterations are part of the aging process and are the subject of intervention in antiaging medicine.
Theoretically, a hormonal imbalance can affect any gland but there are some that are more frequent and characteristic of both sexes:
- Menopause in women: The condition in which the fertility guaranteed by the cyclic production of oocytes ceases and the production of estrogen and progesterone.This produces a worsening of the quality of life with hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, decreased libido but also an increased risk of diseases such as osteoporosis, heart attack and even neurodegenerative diseases.
In many cases it is possible to resort to hormone replacement therapy with bioidentical hormones, ie similar to human hormones. In some cases, however, there are contraindications to the use of hormones or the woman herself is not inclined to undergo a specific therapy. In these cases, intervening on lifestyle becomes essential to rebalance female hormones .
- Hypogondasm in men : although less pronounced than in women, there is also a process in men of progressive reduction in the production of testosterone and other hormones.Also in this the phenomenon produces a worsening of the quality of life with a decrease in mood, sexual desire, erection, reduction of strength and muscle mass , increase in adipose tissue and increased risk of diseases such as heart attack, prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Sometimes it is possible to replace these hormones with an ad hoc therapy, other times it is necessary to intervene indirectly on lifestyle.
Hormonal imbalances find fertile ground in a unregulated lifestyle , with an incorrect diet and insufficient levels of physical activity. Reversing this way of life does not always mean fully recovering hormone production but in any case it represents a useful intervention for health in general.
What to eat when imbalanced
Daily nutrition is a way to intervene on the metabolism of our body and from there also on hormonal balance. We talked about two hormones that tend to increase with age: insulin and cortisol.
Both are hormones that are sensitive to nutrition but in the opposite way. To contain the natural tendency of insulin to increase, we must limit sugars and refined grains, while to prevent cortisol from rising excessively, we must avoid reducing carbohydrates too much.
It may seem counterintuitive but it isn’t: you need to consume carbohydrates regularly in the form of vegetables, fruit and whole grains and avoid sugars and refined grains instead.
For postmenopausal women it is also useful to include the intake of isoflavones derived from soy as they have similar estrogen actions that can help compensate for the hormonal decline.
Obviously at this stage of life it is important to ensure an adequate intake of calcium, vitamin K2 and vitamin D, a combination of fundamental factors for reducing bone decalcification .
In males it is very important to avoid metabolic syndrome which negatively affects testosterone production. So once again it is necessary to pay close attention to sugars and whole grains .
To rebalance: it is necessary to adopt a long-term healthy diet that favors vegetables, legumes, fruit, whole grains, nuts, EVO oil, noble proteins such as eggs, fish and lean meats
Regulating hormones with training and physical activity
Finally, in conditions of reduced hormone production it may be useful to evaluate the type of physical activity performed. For both men and women it becomes important to include strength activities such as weights or machines in the gym.
In the case of women, it will not help to recover the hormone production lost with menopause but will directly help keep the bone intact. Muscle contraction is in fact the main factor that regulates the synthesis of bone tissue and therefore can counteract the bone loss typical of the post-menopausal age.
In humans, on the other hand, strength physical activity can even promote the recovery of testosterone production , as this hormone is directly involved in the adaptation processes to intense effort.
These are just a few things to start from.
If you want to definitely your hormones you need to train yourself in a much more thorough and guided way. very enlightening video on nutrition entitled: The timing of nutrition .
You will also understand how important hormones like andriol insulin are regulated when you feed yourself.