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Three tips for hormonal balance - Hormonal health and its function

hormonell obalans - hormonhälsa

Our hormones basically control everything in our body. So that the interest in hormone health has increased so much in recent years is not so strange, and it really is about time. We have so much to learn and so much knowledge to gain that can help us balance our hormones, support the body to heal itself and give us tools for better well-being.

The hormonal system in the body is incredibly extensive and complex, so we will break it down to an understandable level, where you will gain insight into what the hormones do, how the system works and how you can best support your body so that the hormones can perform their tasks .

How do hormones work?

Hormones are substances in your body that your organs and glands in the body produce in order to communicate with other organs and control the work of the cells. For example, the pituitary gland produces a hormone called LH that communicates with the ovaries and tells them that it is time to ovulate. As I said, the hormones control most things in our body, among other things it controls our digestion, our growth, how we deal with stress, reproduction and even diseases. The glands and organs that are part of the hormonal system are the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, adrenal glands, thymus, pineal gland, pancreas, ovaries and testicles, as well as cells in the kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract.

The hormones are sent around via the bloodstream in your body to their recipients, who in turn react to the communication and act on it. It is here that several challenges can arise that give us hormonal imbalances, it can be too little hormones, too much hormones, too few receptors or, for example, reduced circulation which means that the hormones do not come through. As soon as a hormone is used and has done its job, it is broken down in your liver or in your kidneys. Here, too, imbalances can occur if you have a liver or kidneys that do not function optimally and can break down the hormones as they should.

Everything you think and feel affects your hormones

To further understand our hormonal system and its function, we need to delve a little into our nervous system, because these two systems dance together in the body.

These two systems affect the same functions in our body and they affect each other, in both directions. If you have an overly active nervous system, it will affect your hormonal system, but if you have a harmonious nervous system, it will help the hormonal system. The nervous system also reacts to information and conveys information in the body, electrical signals are sent along the nerve fibers through the body. Here, as you may know, we have both an autonomous system and a somatic system - i.e. a non-will-controlled and a will-controlled one. We can also divide the non-volitional into the sympathetic (active) and parasympathetic (calm) nervous systems.

These two parts of the nervous system can never be active at the same time, but work much like a seesaw, it is either the sympathetic or the parasympathetic that dominates. The sympathetic system is what is activated when we need to protect ourselves from danger, when we need to be on our guard, alert and ready to flee or fight. Here, certain functions in the body such as digestion and reproduction are paused, instead stress hormones are activated and the degree of inflammation is increased, all to protect the body. A protective mechanism that we could not survive without, however, we live a life that constantly activates this protective mechanism and sets off the stress response in our body. It's high sugar intake, negative and worrying thoughts, a lot to do at work, poor self-esteem and a constantly busy schedule.

On the other side of the seesaw sits the parasympathetic system, which handles our detoxification, healing and digestion. We get here when we give the body recovery, slow and deep breaths and positive thoughts. Depending on which of the systems is active, different hormones and signaling substances are produced in the body - which in turn will affect how you and your body feel. Having said that, I want to clarify that the sympathetic nervous system is not a bad thing, it is vital to us, it is the lack of the parasympathetic/recovery that is harmful to our body and our health. It's all about balance - homeostasis in the body.

Now we tie the sack together

Before we check the connection, we need to know that the managers of all our hormones in the body are the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, which are both located in the brain. The hypothalamus checks that we have a balance, i.e. neither too much nor too little of any hormone, and in turn relays this to the pituitary gland, which controls our glands and tells which hormones to produce.

There are 2 important axes in our body which is one of the explanations for how our hormonal system and nervous system work together and influence each other.

These are:

The OAT axis - The ovaries, adrenals and thyroid

HPA Axis - Hypothalamus, Pituitary and Adrenal Glands.

The HPA axis

If we start by looking at the HPA axis, it describes how the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands affect each other, this system is the body's stress response and involves both the nervous system and the hormonal system, when you experience any kind of stress, this axis is activated. All stress begins in the brain as it is the hypothalamus that reacts first and sends out signals to the pituitary gland, which in turn secretes ACTH hormone, when it spreads in the bloodstream the adrenal glands receive information to release stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. Activity now increases throughout the body and the stress reactions are on. The problem here is that the adrenal glands also produce your sex hormones to some extent, and no, they will not be prioritized as long as your body is fighting for survival and sending stress hormones into the bloodstream to protect you.

The OAT axis

If we now go over to the OAT - the axis where we have the ovaries, adrenal glands and thyroid gland working together, we understand that overloaded and exhausted adrenal glands will affect both the thyroid gland and the ovaries - here we can get e.g. underfunctioning of the thyroid gland or reduced hormone levels which can result in PMS, infertility or missed ovulation for example. Everything belongs together. It can never be said too many times when it comes to the body.

The same applies if we have an underfunctioning thyroid gland, the function of the ovaries and adrenal glands will also be affected. That is why it is so important to work with the whole to approach the problems. The body always strives for balance and well-being.

Three tips for hormonal balance

1. Reduce stress and increase recovery.
Perhaps not so unusual after the information above - but we need to reduce our stress, we need to review which factors in our lifestyle stress our body. Maybe we have a job we don't enjoy, high demands on ourselves, a lot of anxiety or relationships that affect our well-being. We need to get in restorative activities such as quiet walks, yoga or reading books. We know even now that stress starts in the brain, therefore meditation is a fantastic tool for working with our stress, to calm the mind and reduce the pressure on our hypothalamus and pituitary gland - which in turn should regulate the hormonal balance. Review how you can bring more recovery, deep breathing and mindfulness into your everyday life - your hormones will thank you!

2. Optimize the diet.
Our body needs building blocks to function and we get that through our diet. Much of the food we eat today, which is sold in shops and served in restaurants, is unfortunately not good building blocks for our body, We take in far too much processed food, toxins, chemicals and sugar among other things. This puts a strain on our cells and their environment, and causes the function to decrease. We want to reduce e-substances, processed food, inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, sugar and hard fried food. We want to increase the amount of vegetables, berries and fruit - here we have amounts of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, carbohydrates and antioxidants. We need to get complete proteins, which we find in quinoa, buckwheat, chia, hemp and animal protein, for example. And last but not least - our sex hormones are built from cholesterol, so we need good fat sources to be able to build hormones. Good fatty acids can be found in coconut oil/milk, olive oil, omega 3 supplements, nuts, chia, avocado, eggs, etc. A good yardstick is to cook varied, natural and organic food from scratch - then we get good sources of building blocks for the body. If you also choose to eat regularly and at fixed times to balance your blood sugar, you have a very good starting point for hormonal balance.

3. Reduce chemicals and toxins.
Our hormones are very sensitive and are affected by a strained system that cannot get rid of toxins, waste and chemicals in the body. We will absorb this regardless of lifestyle today, but there is much we can reduce and review. Check your skin care products, hair products, cleaning products, etc., here we find a lot of chemicals and hormone-disrupting substances that will burden the system further and disrupt hormone signals. Eat organic food without e-substances and spend more time in nature to reduce pollution from the air.

The article is written by Mimmi Palmgren, who works to help women with hormonal imbalances. Do you also want to write an article for our platform? Email us!

Hormone health "In my work, I work partly with 1:1 coaching, where I help women review their lifestyle to deal with hormonal imbalances. I also help many women who wish to become pregnant and want to give their bodies the right conditions. In addition to coaching, I also work as a hormone yoga teacher and has various classes and programs, as well as several new developments in holistic health/women's health.''
- Mimmi Palmgren

You can find more about Mimmi here on her instagram!

Tip! Want to learn more about hormone health? Listen to this episode of the Holy Crap podcast with Doctor Diamantis on how to balance your hormones.

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