We’re all familiar with the importance of maintaining healthy levels of hormones, insulin, and cholesterol, but did you know that there is a close relationship between all three of these?
As a holistic doctor, when there is an imbalance in hormones, I look at the hormone levels of the organs of the endocrine system as well as the cholesterol and blood sugar health.
The Endocrine System
The endocrine system is comprised of glands that regulate the body by secreting hormones directly into the bloodstream. The classic endocrine glands include the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreatic islets, adrenals, and gonads (ovaries and testes). The endocrine system plays a huge role in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, sexual function, and reproductive processes.
Cholesterol and Hormones
Cholesterol is needed to make both sex and adrenal hormones. Hormones are the messengers of the endocrine system, and cholesterol is key to transporting hormones to the correct receptor sites on the cells. If you have low cholesterol, your body isn’t able to transport hormones efficiently, and if you have high cholesterol you may not have enough hormones getting into your cells. Low hormonal levels caused by cholesterol imbalance can result in symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, hot flashes, and low sex drive.
Insulin and Hormones
The Standard American Diet (SAD) has a huge impact on overall health, especially in regards to insulin over-production. Because of a poor diet consisting mostly of simple carbs (soda and fast food), cells become resistant to insulin. The simple carbs convert into an excessive amount of glucose, and the glucose turns into more insulin than the body wants. Too much insulin floating around in your body is a huge problem. It can result in hormone resistance, inflammatory response, anxiety, and mostly commonly, weight gain. Increased insulin levels can also increase the adrenal hormone cortisol (the stress hormone) leading to weight gain, chronic anxiety, PCOS, and other health issues.
Steps you can take to balance hormone levels by supporting healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels:
- Incorporate protein, complex carbs and good fats into your meals and snacks.
- Include 6-8 servings of a wide variety of vegetables in your meals, especially those that are bright in color.
- Consume 25 grams or more of fiber daily
- Go lightly on fruits and avoid high glycemic fruits such as bananas, figs, raisins, dates, oranges and grapefruits.
- To stabilize blood sugar throughout the day, eat breakfast before 10am, lunch before Noon, a snack between 2-3pm, with dinner between 5-6pm.
- Manage stress: yoga, meditation, do something that gives you joy
- Sleep 8 hours a night
It’s always a good idea to check your hormone, cholesterol, and insulin levels every year to ensure you are balanced.
Dr. Melanie’s experience in the natural health field ranges from working with individuals on various health issues — such as stress, fatigue, insomnia, weight loss, hormone imbalances, and digestive issues. Call (317) 344-9840 or request an appointment.