There is a vast network of intelligence within our hormone system, shimmering below the surface of our awareness.
You probably haven’t thought much about them, but they are there with you through everything. Hormones are our allies, dutifully giving us feedback about our health through very sophisticated neurological, immunological and cephalic sensory systems. According to the American Gynaecological Association in 2012, a woman’s menstrual cycle is now recognised as a vital sign. Just like our blood pressure, pulse and heart rate our period tells us about our state of health.
Hormones operate at the deepest level of communication, influencing everything from viruses, our own genes, body weight, immune function and everything in between.
When it comes to the quest for longevity and health, hormones are now considered the missing link by many health scientists. Which is why it’s so important to learn to listen to what they are saying. We need to learn the language. And honestly, once you do, you will be in awe.
Here’s some basic hormone information to start with. The endocrine system consists of a range of hormones produced by different glands. They include 3 types of commonly known hormones. 1) Sex hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and 2) stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline along with 3) metabolic hormones such as thyroxine and insulin. This trifecta are the emissaries of the body, and they have a wildly important job – to sense what is happening and adjust constantly. They regulate the response to triggers, flow and balance of the whole organism – YOU. Working to deliver information from the brain to all areas of the body, hormones are highly influential and have strong ‘family’ ties, they synchronise with their close cousins, neurotransmitters – you may have heard of dopamine and GABA? These are some of your brain’s most powerful chemicals. They regulate your mood, memory, energy and reaction to stress.
Paying attention to how we feel, and getting to know what is at the root cause of the associated hormone imbalance, is the key to better understanding our bodies.
Diving into the the sex hormone cycle alone there are over 150 different systems they are part of. This is vast. And so are the clues. Your mood, weight, period (there are surprisingly not 1, but 5 types of periods which you can learn more about in my Hormone Education available here) and sex drive are all a barometer.
What we learn leads us to investigate the holistic connection with things like diet, lifestyle, sleep, inflammation, changes in gut bacteria, stress and nutrient deficiencies. A cascade of impact will occur if even one area is speaking – just as with 3D glasses you simply cannot be imbalanced in one area without it impacting the whole.
And remember, you will always feel the rumble (or hear the whisper) within you, even if you can’t see it.
Symptoms Don’t Lie.
Here are 3 clues to tune into.
Clue # 1
Intense Cravings – hunger and satiety are controlled by more than what food delicious is on offer, or will power. It’s a hormone regulated response, and what you eat more than how much is the key. Leptin is our satiety hormone and it is stimulated by eating protein and fats. High cravings are an indication that leptin is down, and another hormone Grehlin (think growling tummy for hunger), is up. Balancing blood sugar is therefore essential to stabilising this part of our hormone system, which will then domino out.
Low Libido – everyone has a different amount of sexual energy, so it’s not that we have to all aim to feel all the same level of desire all the time, but having a particularly low libido can really impact us emotionally and physically. Connection and closeness help us form healthy relationships and produce feel good neurotransmitters that boost our health, so when we’re not experiencing that – it’s a form of love deficit. It’s a figurative and literal message that we are missing that essential spark. Just remember; it’s not you, it’s your chemistry. Don’t blame yourself, look to rebalance your body.
Uncomfortable Periods – women are commonly taught that periods are a nuisance, are often painful, at the very least uncomfortable, and even for many debilitating. And of course that this sheer wildness can only be controlled by correcting our inherent fault with ‘the pill’. But this isn’t even close to the truth. An uncomfortable period is telling you something is off. This is nature’s wisdom.
You (I’m talking specifically to the women readers when I say this) are the canary in the coal mine. You were built to be more sensitive, emotional and tuned in, and you have the BLESSING of a monthly barometer. This is no accident ladies.
When we dive deeper into this intensely intricate language of the body, and ponder the meanings behind the signs, a world of wisdom opens up that we need to start embracing, and stop rejecting – Fear of female power starts right there, when we all stop listening. The body has so much to tell us, and it’s language of discomfort is not a design fault. It is wisdom.
Start the work from what you feel. And remember. Your body is smart.
As its ally, your job is to learn what it’s telling you- and with a wide open heart- trust it.
Sita Huber, BHSc (Nutritional Medicine)
Functional Medicine Nutritionist
Are you struggling with symptoms you don’t understand? Come learn with me. I am now excited to be offering a NEW Private Intensive Program: The Hormone Reset