What are Hormones?
Hormones are regulatory substances produced in your body and transported to stimulate specific cells or tissues into action. Keeping hormones balanced is essential to good health and well-being.
In women, several sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone have very strong effects throughout life. Knowing what these hormones are and how they help you stay healthy is essential for optimal quality of life.
Why You Should Care
You may be thinking- why do I need to care about this stuff? Short answer: Hormones run your body.Almost every action and reaction in your body is involved with hormones in some way. There are also hormones that tell other hormones what to do. There is a dizzying amount of steps involved in every hormonal action and small changes in hormone levels can have you feeling way out of whack.
Do you get hot flashes, night sweats or insomnia? Blame hormones!
Do you have unexplained weight gain or loss and excessive hunger? It’s your hormones!
Are you moody, irritable or just plain down in the dumps? Hormones, baby, hormones!
Once you know the hormone basics, you will be able to enjoy life without those crazy mood swings, bloating and menstrual cramps that have been plaguing you. You can choose the natural solutions that are best for YOUR body.
Basic Hormones to Know
There are 3 major types of estrogen: estradiol, estrone and estriol. All of these estrogens when balanced help us feel sexy, stay lubricated, sleep well and remember where we put the car keys!The main estrogen produced in the body is estradiol. This estrogen is made by the ovaries, adrenal glands and fat cells. If we become pregnant, estriol takes the lead. Once we become of menopausal age, estrone takes the lead. More about estrone in my What is Menopause blog!
Progesterone is a hormone that often gets put out of balance due to excess estrogen. This hormone, made primarily by the ovaries, enhances insulin sensitivity, calms us down and helps keep that time-of-the-month bloating at bay! Progesterone helps our eggs mature and implant correctly in the uterus when we are pregnant. It is an essential hormone (let’s be real- they ALL are!) and making sure it is in harmony with estrogen and testosterone will keep your weight down and your moods HAPPY!
Testosterone is a hormone in a group known as androgens. Usually thought of as only a male sex hormone, testosterone is essential for women’s health as well!! Made by the ovaries and adrenals, it helps you maintain lean muscle mass and bone health. It also stimulates our libido and assists us in feeling confident and assertive. All things women need- not just men!
Cortisol is often known as the “stress hormone”. Cortisol is made when our body senses stress and puts us in the “fight or flight” response. Cortisol should be highest in the morning because it helps wake us up! Throughout the day, cortisol gradually declines and allows us to have sweet dreams.
When in action, cortisol regulates our immune system, and helps our bodies react to stress by regulating heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Cortisol is made in the adrenal glands as well- these tiny little hat-shaped glands have a lot of work to do! Keep your stress under control to help give these little glands a hug.
Melatonin- one of the nutritional supplements The Divas get asked most about. Why? It helps you sleep! But melatonin isn’t just a nutritional supplement. It’s actually a hormone made by the pineal gland in the brain. It regulates our circadian rhythm- or sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin production gradually declines as we get older so many women may find their sleep quality declines as well. If this is a problem, try some tart cherry concentrate in water before bed.
Well ladies- you’re all set! You now have a working knowledge of the major hormones that run our lives everyday Did learning this bring you to the realization you need help with your hormones?