Your endocrine system is a powerful, complex network of glands that work together to secrete hormones that regulate specific body functions. It is this dance of these hormones that power our femininity, sex drive and fertility. But did you know, it is these hormones that can influence our mental clarity, mood, muscle strength, metabolism, energy, stamina, immunity and digestive health.
- Estrogen: Produced primarily by the ovaries and in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands and fat cells. During your reproductive cycle, estrogen participates in ovulation and thickens the uterine lining, anticipating pregnancy. Estrogen also protects you from dementia, bone density loss, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
- Progesterone: Production increases as ovulation occurs, controlling and maintaining the buildup of the uterine lining, anticipating pregnancy. If an egg isn’t fertilized, progesterone levels fall, and the lining is shed through menstruation. Progesterone also counterbalances estrogen, promoting relaxation, improving sleep, and enhancing your mood.
- Testosterone: Produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands. Often associated with libido, it gets a slight surge during ovulation— making you feel more sexual at the time you’re most likely to get pregnant. But it’s more than sex drive, it’s libido and drive for enjoying life.
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): Released by the pituitary gland in the brain, FSH stimulates eggs to mature. FSH imbalances can lead to infertility. FSH levels slowly rise during pre-menopause, to a level that signals the ovary to stop releasing eggs.
- Luteinizing hormone (LH): Released by the pituitary gland in the brain at ovulation, LH triggers the release of a mature egg from an ovary. Abnormal LH levels can create fertility issues and PCOS (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome).
- Cortisol: The body’s primary stress hormone, regulated by the body’s hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Small doses of cortisol are a good thing and they should rise for short periods to assist the body to handle a stressful event. Chronically high levels can disrupt ovulation, decrease progesterone levels, diminish sex drive, and cause fertility problems.
And what happens when these hormones aren’t dancing in harmony??? You would expect to hear; irregular or missing periods, heavy periods, PMS symptoms, PCOS and infertility issues, all of which are true. Frequent illnesses, brain fog, mood disorders, fatigue, low energy, weight gain, digestive complaints and disrupted sleep cycles can be a result of these imbalances.
You have the POWER to bring your hormones back into balance and rid yourself of your symptoms. First step is to test the hormonal levels. The DUTCH Plus, shows us the hormonal levels, and how they are being metabolized by the body (how the body breaks down the hormones once they have done their job). This helps us see if a hormone is elevated is it because the body is producing a lot of it, or not breaking it down efficiently. From that food, supplements and lifestyle changes can help you to bring the hormone dance back into harmony!