If you’re like most people, when the word hormone is mentioned, their attention goes toward sexual hormones such as progesterone, estrogen and testosterone. Your body has a myriad of other hormones that aid in the body functioning properly. In fact, there’s a huge link between the right balance of hormones and your health. Hormones influence all bodily functions from how much energy you have to how much fat you store. Even your brain health depends on the right balance of hormones.
HGH—human growth hormone—is often considered the antiaging hormone.
When you’re younger, HGH is responsible for those growth spurts and muscle development. As you age, it’s production can slow. It’s responsible for body fluids, bone growth, fat metabolism, regulating body composition, sugar metabolism and even heart function. It’s made in the pituitary gland. It’s produced synthetically for a number of conditions, including chronic kidney disease and muscle wasting that occurs with AIDS. However, even though shots are available, there’s no evidence it helps to slow aging or even if its safe. Oral HGH is useless since the stomach digests it. One way to increase HGH naturally is with exercise. Intense exercise, such as HIIT—high intensity interval training—and a healthy diet can boost your body’s HGH and act like a fountain of youth.
Insulin is an important hormone.
Insulin plays a role in both diabetes and metabolism. It helps the body create complex molecules. It opens the cells to take in glucose—blood sugar—that’s in your bloodstream. That keeps your cells healthy and nourished while keeping your blood sugar levels normal. When too much insulin is released, over time, the cells become insulin resistant, which means they don’t open, leaving sugar in the blood. At which point the body releases even more insulin and eventually the vicious cycle causes Type II diabetes. Luckily, regular exercise and healthy eating habits can prevent insulin resistance and ultimately diabetes.
Cortisol is associated with both abdominal fat and stress.
Which came first, the stress or the abdominal fat. Fat can cause stress and that stress produces hormones like cortisol to prepare your body for the flight or fight response. Too much cortisol is associated with abdominal fat and can create heart problems, too. While exercising regularly can burn off the cortisol and get your body back to normalcy, overtraining can cause stress and create more stress hormones. Make sure you keep hard workouts more infrequent and alternate days of exercising with days of light or no workout. To keep stress at bay, meditation is also good.
- Testosterone is a male hormone that women also have in much smaller amounts. It helps build muscle tissue. If you need to boost your levels, interval training and healthy fats in moderation can do the trick.
- Estrogen, another sex hormone, is also found in both men and women. It boosts sex drive and has many of the functions, including brain health and muscle recovery. Exercise and a healthy diet can boost its production. So can consuming soy products.
- Serotonin is a hormone that helps with mood regulation, sleep cycles, memory, appetite and specific muscular functions. Low levels can cause weight gain, depression and insomnia. Foods containing tryptophane and regular exercise can regulate the levels of serotonin.
- Melatonin is a sleep-promoting hormone. It only works in total darkness. It not only counteracts stress, it also is an antioxidant. Lower levels are linked to cancer, obesity and diabetes. Keep the bedroom dark and avoid restrictive clothing when sleeping. Restrictive nightwear can reduce melatonin levels by as much as 60%.