HORMONES START AND REGULATE THE MOST DIFFERENT PROCESSES – from cell growth and digestion to reproductive function and sex drive. With age, the production of some hormones gradually decreases, while others increase, and the balance between them may be disturbed. Stress, illness, unhealthy diet affect the level of these substances – and the temptation to “blame” hormones for feeling unwell becomes too high. We have collected popular myths about these substances in order to dispel them together with experts: Candidate of Medical Sciences, endocrinologist at GMS Clinic Alevtina Oranskaya, gynecologist-reproductologist of the Stolitsa clinic chain Denis Titov and certified FPA trainer Vladimir Kuksov.
Insulin release is only associated with sweets
An increase in blood glucose is a natural reaction of the body to food. In response, the pancreas secretes insulin, the amount of which depends on what you eat. The main problem with this hormone is that under certain conditions the cells’ sensitivity to it decreases and more insulin is required to return the glucose level to normal – so-called insulin resistance occurs. The pancreas ceases to cope, and the concentration of glucose in the blood rises rapidly; gradually this can lead to diabetes mellitus.
Alevtina Oranskaya notes that such a state can be accompanied by a constant feeling of hunger, when you want to eat even after a heavy meal, and the glucose level on an empty stomach is above 5.5 mmol / l. The release of large amounts of insulin occurs with a sharp increase in glucose levels – and this happens not only after a sweet meal, but also after foods with a high glycemic index, which may even be seemingly harmless vegetables .
Cortisol does not affect your ability to get pregnant
Stress is the main negative factor causing fertility problems in women. In the event of a potential threat, a signal is sent to the brain that it is necessary to release adrenaline – a hormone that puts the body in a “fight or flight” mode. At such moments, the body begins to accumulate strength to repel a blow or flight, and therefore can temporarily “disable” the ability to reproduce. Doctor Denis Titov notes that excess cortisol – a hormone that helps to cope with stress – increases insulin resistance. Insulin, in turn, is toxic to the ovaries and increases testosterone levels, and this is one of the main factors in polycystic ovary syndrome , which causes infertility.
High cortisol levels can also slow down the thyroid gland, promoting non-ovulating menstrual cycles and the developmental phase of the corpus luteum. We talked about what to do to effectively deal with stress. For this, it is also important to get enough sleep – sleep at least 6-8 hours a day. In his book The Cortisol Connection, Dr. Sean Talbot writes that one night of insomnia leads to an excess of cortisol (sleep deprivation is also stressful for the body), and not getting enough sleep for only two hours three nights in a row increases the hormone content by almost 50%.
Workout Raises Testosterone Levels To Male
With physical exertion, the body also experiences stress. The latter encourages to prepare for fight or flight, making muscles stronger, strengthening blood vessels and the heart – and testosterone production increases. However, according to personal trainer Vladimir Kuksov, even after a hard workout, the concentration of testosterone in the blood of women is almost fifteen times lower than that of men.
Therefore, without the intake of hormonal doping from the outside, significant muscle growth in women does not occur – and also the voice does not change and additional hair does not grow on the face and body.
When the function of the thyroid gland is reduced, a person gains weight.
The thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) really affect the metabolism, and when they are in excess, people lose a lot of weight. But hypothyroidism (a decrease in the function of the thyroid gland) can proceed for a long time without external changes: due to the fact that not enough thyroxine is produced, the pituitary gland releases more TSH – a hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland – which makes it work for two. At the same time, in the results of a blood test, thyroid hormones will be normal, but TSH is increased. The diagnosis of hypothyroidism is made precisely on the basis of the latest data, while the weight may not change or even decrease.
Nevertheless, this condition, although it does not manifest externally, requires treatment, which consists in taking thyroid hormones to compensate for their deficiency. According to the doctor Alevtina Oranskaya, if a person is forced to drink these hormones temporarily or constantly, the treatment will also contribute to weight loss.
The release of estrogen accelerates aging
Any physical activity, whether it be training in the gym, outdoor activities or having sex, increases the level of estrogen in the blood – and this contributes to the processes that are not associated with aging, but, on the contrary, the work of a young body; estrogens can improve the condition of the skin and hair. It is impossible to get estrogens from food (another popular myth), according to Denis Titov, in contrast to phytoestrogens – plant compounds that have estrogen properties in the body or can have an antiestrogenic effect. They are found in some foods , such as nuts, legumes, flax seeds, and beer.
Phytoestrogens can also be found in dietary supplements, the effectiveness of which has not been proven. But the use of these elements in cosmetics for problem skin and anti-baldness products can give a positive result . With all the need for estrogen, excess in the body does not bode well: sudden mood swings, painful menstruation, swelling, and headache usually signal a problem.