I have bad news for you…..none of us will escape the wrath of hormone fluctuations throughout our lives…its a sad fact, its a true fact, but there are definitely things that we can do to lessen the impact of mood swings, hot sweats, downer days, sleepless nights and all round general craziness!
But what do these mysterious hormones do? How do they impact us & what can we do to flip the switch in our favour and make them work FOR us instead of against us!?
Its our happy hormone, the key player in staving off depression and anxiety & 95% of it lives in our gut environment..the other 5%? In the brain, central nervous system and blood.
So it only makes sense that if our gut environment is happy & healthy that our serotonin levels will be normalised.
Serotonin is found primarily in the body’s stomach & large intestine. It helps control your bowel movements and function and is responsible for stimulating the parts of the brain that control sleep & waking.
Serotonin is also part of the reason why you become nauseated. Production of serotonin rises to push out noxious or upsetting food more quickly in diarreah. Too much information?!
…Nah I know your interested!!!
Serotonin is formed by the protein tryptophan which is found in nuts,pumpkin seeds, meat, buckwheat, eggs, dried dates, and dark chocolate(Just make sure its good quality in small amounts or make your own!).
Its our pleasure and reward centre hormone that boosts our drive, focus, attention and helps us to plan ahead to achieve our goals and helps us to be competitive. It creates a euphoric pleasure response & keeps us coming back for another hit. It can be an addictive response and cause addictive behaviours.
But too little dopamine can leave you unfocused, unmotivated, lethargic, and even depressed.
Other signs of low levels of Dopamine could be:
lack of motivation
inability to feel pleasure
inability to concentrate
Dopamine is formed by the protein tyrosine and can be found in Lamb, pork, fish, chicken, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy, beans, and whole grains. Make sure you are getting these in your diet & add dopamine boosters like tick lists! Write down everything you need to do in a day the night before(even as trivial as drinking 8 glasses of water!) and as you finish each item tick it off.
Also known as the love hormone. Oxytocin is the little sweetie that we get back as we give out. It's the hormone that keeps us connected and makes us feel like we belong, which is vitally important to our emotional wellbeing.
You can get it from a hug, patting an animal and even holding eye contact with someone else will give you a nice little hit of connectedness! As John Donne once wrote “No man is an island….” We all desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and to belong to a community. It is a part of our innate needs system as a human. Something that is wired into our DNA, the most primal need to feel & remain safe in a "herd"..
Lowered levels of Oxytocin released from the pituitary gland can also make us disconnect from others & feel alone, activating one branch of our cranial nerve ten, the dorsal side, which can take us even further into anxiety, depression & depressive thoughts.
So make sure you get your daily dose! Find someone to HUG!
Are our analgesics and stress buster hormone and the easiest way to produce them is with, you guessed it, exercise!
Endorphins lower stress levels in the body & pain response and heighten
our happy! And we could ALL do with some more happy!
When we laugh it creates more endorphins…in fact the old saying “I laughed until it hurt” is literally endorphins working at their capacity. The simple act of laughing should by all means hurt like you are dying!
Think about how much your abdominal muscles contract and release when you escalate into the full on gut busting belly laugh…you know, the one that makes you snort out loud..and then raucously laugh even more! Its like performing 500 core exercises all at once.
Without the analgesic effects of endorphins at this point, you would be in absolute agony!
Oestrogen, Progesterone & Testosterone
Ahhhhh....our reproductive nightmares...I mean hormones!
More often than not these days our delicate balance of the 3 Muskateers is a little skew-if! And if they are out of balance with each other then the ensuing carnage can be a nightmare for you...and the people around you!!
When Oestrogen is dominant & progesterone low, then you may suffer symptoms like these..
Decreased sex drive
Irregular or otherwise abnormal menstrual periods
Bloating (water retention)
Breast swelling and tendernessFibrocystic breastsHeadaches (especially premenstrually)
Mood swings (most often irritability and depression)
Weight and/or fat gain (particularly around the abdomen and hips)
Cold hands and feet (a symptom of thyroid dysfunction)
Foggy thinking, memory loss
PMSEstrogen dominance has also been linked to allergies, autoimmune disorders, breast cancer, uterine cancer, infertility, ovarian cysts, and increased blood clotting, and is also associated with acceleration of the aging process.
So how can we change this? If you think you are too dominant in Oestrogen you can try avoiding all products that will mimic Oestrogen in your body.
Common Xenoestrogens are found in:
Plastics- yes even if they are BPA free