Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava
From making you feel happy & energetic to increasing your ability to deal with stressful situations, hormones play a key role in maintaining your overall well-being.
Like any other condition, complications with hormone production can often go unrecognised.
This increases the risk of several illnesses and can even affect your physical appearance.
To help maintain adequate hormone levels, this article brings you five essential hormones and their functions.
You’ll also learn about symptoms you can experience due to an imbalance in their levels, and a few steps to help keep hormone secretion in range.
Have you ever thought about what causes a change in your mood?
How does your brain help you react to a fearful situation? And how do you get the motivation to accomplish a goal?
These emotions are triggered by a hormone called cortisol.
The production of this hormone largely depends on three interrelated body parts, namely:
- Hypothalamus – Controls the hormone system
- Pituitary gland – Regulates cortisol production
- Adrenal gland – Produces cortisol
Cortisol is responsible for several bodily functions, including:
- Controlling inflammation & sleep-wake cycle
- Maintaining blood glucose levels
- Boosting energy to handle stress
- Managing blood pressure & usage of carbohydrate, protein, & fat
Complications with the pituitary gland can lead to excessive or low production of cortisol.
If the condition continues for a prolonged duration, it can cause the following:
- Osteoporosis & high blood pressure
- Unintentional & rapid weight gain in the face, chest, & abdomen
- Bruise & purple stretch marks on the skin
- Increase in willingness to drink fluids and urination
- Muscle weakness, tiredness, dizziness, & unintentional weight loss
- Mood changes such as depression, anxiety, & irritability
Maintaining cortisol levels is not a tough task. It involves simple changes in the day-to-day activities, such as:
- Have a sleep routine (between 7 to 8hours every night)
- Exercise moderately and regularly
- Take measures to avoid stress triggers
- Practice breathing exercises
- Indulge in activities that make you happy
- Have nutritious meals
To send and receive messages between nerve cells, the body secretes a neurotransmitter hormone, called dopamine.
Dopamine plays a vital role in making you feel pleasure, and it also influences your ability to think, plan, involve in different activities, and increase your focus.
The hormone releases from several areas of the brain and directly impacts behavioural and physical functions such as:
- Learning & motivation
- Cardiovascular & kidney health
- Sleep, mood, & attention
- Pain processing
- Lactation in women
Too much or too little production of this hormone can give rise to conditions like:
- ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
- Parkinson’s disease
The nervous system performs efficiently to maintain healthy dopamine levels. Yet, a few things can help keep this chemical messenger at the appropriate level. These include:
- Have more protein-rich foods
- Reduce the intake of saturated fats
- Consume probiotics
- Exercise regularly
- Get sufficient sleep
- Increase sunlight exposure
Serotonin is a natural mood stabiliser. It is a chemical found in the digestive system and is also in abundance in blood platelets and the central nervous system.
It is the major hormone that helps stabilise mood, feelings, happiness, and also aid in the following:
- Sleeping, eating, & digestion
- Reducing depression
- Regulating anxiety
- Healing wounds
- Managing nausea
- Maintaining bone health
Progesterone is a female sex hormone that plays a vital role in preparing the uterus to receive, implant, and support a fertilised egg during pregnancy.
The hormone is produced in the ovaries after ovulation and helps in regulating the menstrual cycle.
Here are a few signs that can indicate low progesterone levels:
- Abdominal pain
- Sore breasts
- Spotting between periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Depression, anxiety, & mood swings
- Low libido
- Low blood sugar levels
- Frequent headache & migraine
A few foods that can help improve progesterone levels include:
- Beans, broccoli, cabbage, & cauliflower
- Whole grains
The below tips can help you maintain healthy serotonin levels:
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a balanced & healthy diet
- Get sufficient sunlight (around 30 minutes between 10 AM to 3 PM)
- Practice meditation
- Foods rich in tryptophan (an amino acid that increases serotonin production)
Adrenaline hormone is an essential part of how you respond in a fight-or-flight situation.
The adrenal gland secretes this hormone within two to three minutes of experiencing any stressful event.
Overproduction of adrenaline is common, and its symptoms include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Weight loss
- Excessive sweating
To control the adrenaline rush, try the following:
- Deep breathing & meditation
- Talking to a person you trust
- Eating healthy meals & exercising regularly
- Limiting caffeine & alcohol
- Avoiding cell phones, laptops, & watching TV before bedtime
The above-mentioned are five hormones that are essential for your health.
Taking necessary measures to keep their levels in check can help minimise the risk of several ailments help you lead a healthy life.
Furthermore, you should also opt for preventive health checkups.
These health checks provide you with a comprehensive insight into your health, allowing you to take necessary precautions to stay at the top of your health.