Hormone Evaluation:

As we age, our hormones decline or dysregulate. The adequate amount and balance of several hormones are critically important for optimal function. Many people want to feel and stay young. In that case, hormone optimization (with or without supplementation) can be considered. In most cases, hormones testing is covered by insurance. However, bio-identical hormone therapy which is what I use is not always covered. That being said, most reputable compounding pharmacies offer very reasonable rates. Hormone optimization is one of the most powerful and popular tools when it comes to age management. However, it is not necessarily the panacea. If the underlying foundation in the form of healthy habits and lifestyle are not adopted, we may not see optimal results. 

Below are key components of male and female hormones. Despite common understanding that male and female hormones exist in exclusivity to each gender, there is a considerable amount of overlap and all hormones exist in both genders. The difference is only in terms of amount and ratios. 

Additional hormones not mentioned above are melatonin, pregnenolone and many others. 

When should we consider hormone evaluation?

An imbalance in hormones can result in some of the following symptoms.

  1. Fatigue

  2. Weight gain

  3. Sleep disturbances

  4. Mood disturbances (anxiety, depression etc.)

  5. Difficulty gaining muscle mass

  6. Loss or weakening of bones

  7. Menstrual irregularities (females)

  8. Sexual dysfunction

  9. Infertility or difficulty conceiving

What are the main causes of hormone imbalance?

  1. A lifestyle conducive to less than optimal health

  2. Improper diet

  3. Environmental factors including xenobiotics

  4. Genetic predisposition

A brief description of sex hormones is given below.

 

Estrogens:

Estrone (E1), Estradiol (E2), and Estriol (E3) are types of estrogens which are essential for female sexual function and characteristics. In addition, these participate in hundreds of physiologic reactions in the body. An imbalance can result in a variety of symptoms and pathologies. 

Below are only some of the several health conditions related to estrogen imbalance,

  1. Premenstrual mood disorders

  2. Dysmenorrhea

  3. Polycystic ovary syndrome

  4. Endometriosis

  5. Infertility

 

Progesterone:

Progesterone provides support not only for sexual characteristics and function but is also a key player in several metabolic reactions and protective mechanisms in the body. 

In addition to conditions described under estrogens imbalance, several health conditions are related to progesterone deficiency or excess such as,

  1. Abnormal glucose metabolism

  2. Mood and memory problems

 

Testosterone:

Although considered an essential hormone for male sexual characteristics and function, testosterone provides vital support for both men and women. Deficiency or excess can lead to several symptoms such as,

  1. Fatigue/lack of energy

  2. Loss of libido

  3. Muscle mass loss

  4. High fat to lean mass ratio

  5. Abdominal obesity 

  6. Mood/ behaviour disturbance 

  7. Polycystic ovary syndrome (females)

  8. Facial hair and acne (females)

  9. Baldness (male type if excess)

 

The best way to optimize key sex hormones (estrogens, progesterone and testosterone) is to first test, support with healthy diet and lifestyle and then supplement if necessary. 

 

Diet and lifestyle-related tips to achieve hormone balance:

  1. Incorporate 6-8 servings of green leafy vegetable and fruit in the diet every day. Green leafy and cruciferous vegetables optimize functions of several genes which play a key role in metabolizing and balancing hormones. 

  2. Maintain proper amounts of essential vitamins and minerals in the diet. Zinc deficiency can impair conversion of testosterone to its active form. Iodine and selenium (in addition to many others) are important minerals for thyroid hormone synthesis. And vitamin D is important for optimizing hundreds of metabolic pathways. 

  3. Avoid xenobiotics or endocrine disruptors. These are chemicals or substances which can mimic hormone function in the body and disrupt natural balance. Infamous examples are BPA found in plastic, phthalates, pesticides, organophosphates, several food additives and many more. 

  4. Exercise at least 30-45 minutes a day 5 days a week. Under or (in some situations) over exercise can wreak havoc on hormone balance. It is best to engage in a variety of exercise methods to use most muscle groups and achieve hormone fitness. 

  5. Maintain a healthy BMI (18-25). Extra amount of fat or adipose tissue stores excessive estrogen and lowers testosterone in the body. This can lead to a cascade of metabolic dysregulations including abnormal fat distribution, drop in lean muscle mass and insulin resistance. On the other hand, high levels of progesterone are associated with abnormalities with glucose metabolism. Unfortunately, elevated BMI is a vicious cycle. Extra adipose tissue leads to hormone abnormalities which cause metabolism impairment which in turn makes weight loss extremely difficult. This causes weight loss to become an extremely difficult challenge for a lot of people. 

  6. Sleep well and reduce stress. It is easier said than done. Sleep problems and an excessive amount of stress are not only caused by hormone dysregulation but also lead to a wide array of abnormalities in endocrine function. Proper sleep hygiene and stress management can help achieve balance.

  7. Non-prescription supplements. Some of these include chaste tree berry, chrysin, 3-indole-carbinol, DHEA etc. However, it is recommended to use these supplements only under the guidance of your health care practitioners. Supplementation without appropriate monitoring can lead to abnormally high or low levels which are difficult to correct. 

Examples of hormone test results:

Important Notice:

This website and its contents are for the purposes of general information and education only and are not to be used for diagnosis or treatment without the supervision of a healthcare provider.

Email info@nutrigenmedicine.com for general information

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