Eat To Evolve is my platform to spread holistic nutrition to as many people as possible, especially those outside of my home town of Portland Oregon. As a former teacher I love to educate those who have an interest in nutrition.
Hormones are the chemical messengers that trigger changes to take place in your body and are responsible for your:
Hunger and satiety
Losing body fat
Bone health and structure
And much much more
Hormones are released from tissues and circulate until they reach the target cells which receive the message to change.
The organs of the endocrine system are what primarily releases hormones to make the necessary changes around the body.
Something may surprise you is that men and women have relatively speaking many of the same hormones, but the levels differ immensely.
Hormones interact with each other and are required to be in the proper ratios respective to other hormones in the body. When a hormone is deficient or dysfunctional it can negatively impact others associated hormones as well.
When we’re discussing all the following hormones I encourage you to start thinking of the body as a system that works together, not just a bunch of parts.
Hormones are incredibly complex, and control so many functions in the body that explaining them to the degree that they deserve goes beyond the span of this blog, and if you do have any real hormonal concerns I'd highly advise you seek out a medical professional who specializes in hormones.
I should note that the information contained in this blog is not medical advice, and should not be used as a way to diagnose or treat any health problems.
Because I know that people love cheat sheets and bullet points, after each hormone explanation I am including a short list of the top ways to optimize that specific hormone.
Because there are so many important hormones in the body this is going to be split into a multi part blog series revolving around different classes of hormones.
This is the main male sex hormone, and while women still have testosterone it’s nowhere near the level that men have. With sex hormones absolute values matter, but so do ratios as well.
An interesting caveat here is that women who have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome have much higher levels of testosterone than most other women, and along with PCOS they have much lower insulin sensitivity which makes for less efficient use of denser carbs and sugars.
Testosterone in men is responsible for:
Recovery from workouts
Facial and body hair
Bone structure Energy throughout the day
Ability to build muscle.
With testosterone deficiency in a man they can notice:
Sex drive decreases
Erectile problems can occur
Lack of energy and fatigue
Difficultly building muscle mass
Cognitive function can also suffer
Bone density decreases
Rates of depression and anxiety increase
Losing body fat is one of the best things a man can do to help with testosterone production.Body fat contains the enzyme aromatase which converts testosterone into estrogen.
This is why some of the testosterone replacement gels that men use never actually improve their testosterone numbers.
If a man has a lot of body fat that testosterone from a cream will be converted into estrogen only making the ratio of testosterone to estrogen worse.
If you want to learn more about how to optimize testosterone and all the hormones associated with it I wrote a book you can get HERE.
Testosterone cheat sheet:
Strength train 3-4 times per week (deadlift, squat, lunges, press, bench, power cleans, pull ups, dips)
Eat enough carbohydrates to fuel and recover from exercise
Consume adequate protein ( 0.6-1 gram per pound of bodyweight)
Have sex (Don't really need an explanation here do I ? haha)
Don't overtrain, and really prioritize recovery
Reduce your stress ( develop a stress management practice: walks, meditation, yoga)
Just because the Notebook is your favorite movie doesn’t automatically mean that you have high estrogen, but it could be a sign...
While estrogen is the primary female sex hormone it is also present in men’s bodies and you need it, but in the proper ratio to testosterone.
Estrogen is the predominant hormone in women that triggers puberty and causes the growth of breasts, hair in the pubic area and regulates menstruation.
Estrogen helps women to:
Have a regular menstrual cycle
Promotes bone health in both men and women
Maintains muscle mass
Aids in recovery from exercise
Increases insulin sensitivity
Reduce food cravings
Just like all other hormones that ratio of estrogen in the body is important. For women who are low in estrogen it can lead to:
Excessively high levels of estrogen are no good either and can lead to:
Impaired thyroid and metabolic function
More severe PMS symptoms
I just released a free seven part mini video series that discusses why fat loss is more difficult for women that men and a lot of it pertains to hormones and menstruation. You can watch that HERE.
Estrogen Cheat Sheet:
Don’t under eat for extended periods of time
Get enough sleep ( 7-9 hours)
Eat adequate fiber (shoot for 25-30 grams of fiber per day)
Eat enough carbohydrates to support activity and thyroid function
Incorporate higher calorie and carbohydrate days when dieting
Consume calcium and magnesium rich foods (leafy greens, dairy, nuts and seeds, liver, oysters)
Eat adequate protein
Get adequate Omega-3 fatty acids and saturated fat (fatty fish, coconut, butter, full fat dairy)
Consume colorful vegetables and greens
Eat cruciferous vegetables
Testosterone and growth hormone are powerful on their own, but they pack a much stronger hormonal punch when they are working together.
With optimized growth hormone levels you be able to build more muscle because it increases protein synthesis, allowing you to use more dietary protein along with adequate strength training to increase muscle mass.
GH helps provide restful sleep that allows us to recover from stressful days and tough workouts.
Sleep is one of the most important steps in boosting overall hormonal function and growth hormone is no exception.
Some of the benefits of optimal growth hormone levels include:
Reduced liver burden
Increased bone strength and healing
Increased ability to build muscle mass and
Protects and improve the immune function
Reduced Cardiovascular disease risk
Better Sleep quality
One of the biggest roles of growth hormone and why it has become popular in the anti aging community is that is promotes healing and regeneration of damaged tissues.
Growth Hormone Cheat Sheet:
Intermittent Fasting ( this can take a few forms but a popular 16/8 works for most)
Sleep more (7-9 hours in a pitch dark room, you are going to hear this alot)
Improve sleep hygiene for better quality sleep (Click HERE to learn more)
Eat enough carbohydrates to fuel and recover from exercise.
Strength train 3-4 times per week (a la testosterone recommendations)
Sprint and do metabolic conditioning
As always I appreciate you taking the time to read, and stay tuned for next week when we discuss the hormones ghrelin, leptin and insulin to discover how to maximize them naturally.