Hormones are not a good thing nor are they a bad thing they simply are. They are a form of communication within the body, in fact they are the most primal form of communication and they regulate much of our function and ultimately how we look, feel and act!
If and when your HORMONES are out of balance, your LIFE is out of balance!
Hormones are made from the proteins and fats that you eat, in other words lipoproteins that are manufactured in the liver (AKA cholesterol).
There is a hormonal hierarchy as depicted below:
As you can see stress hormones are at the top, followed by repair hormones and at the very end are the sex hormones
The hormones we focus on immediately include: Cortisol, DHEA, Progesterone, Testosterone, Esterone, Estrdiol and Melatonin; we give a brief understanding of each below.
Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone, it is a catabolic hormone, that means it is responsible for breakdown and is yang in nature; whenever you are under stress, no matter the cause, the reaction is the same. Cortisol is released. Cortisol serves several purposes, but the simplest way to put it, is it creates and mobilizes energy.
Cortisol measurements are useful and explained below:
Measuring cortisol through a functional saliva test determines Adrenal Response & Responsibility - in short, measuring cortisol in this way shows weather or not the body is able to respond to a stressful situation in a healthy manner.
Measuring cortisol through a functional saliva test highlights circadian rhythm – in short, this is in reference your sleep wake cycles and your overall anabolic to catabolic balance.
- Elevated morning cortisol may commonly reflect a blood sugar issue that could be coming from anywhere from an improper diet to the immune system being triggered.
– Elevated noon, generally points to clues around food sensitivities and/or environmental factors as well as continues to monitor the circadian rhythm.
– Elevated afternoon continues pointing to clues around food sensitivities and/or environmental factors as well as continues to monitor circadian rhythm.
– Elevated/relatively elevated nighttime – Generally points to the immune system being triggered.
Measuring cortisol through a functional saliva test points to HIDDen internal sources of stress – for example when the bodies blood sugar drops to low, cortisol is released to breakdown protein (generally from the thymus gland & muscle tissue, not good). This protein is then converted through a process called gluconeogensis and the body manages to get by, but… AT A PRICE!!
It is important to realize that cortisol is not a bad thing, as a matter of fact you can not live without it. It is only when cortisol is elevated, low or relatively elevated that symptoms occur.
THE REAL QUESTION IS WHY!!!
DHEA is the body’s hormone of regeneration, it is an Anabolic hormone responsible for growth & repair, and is the yin to cortisol’s yang; so a balance between Cortisol and DHEA is an absolute necessity. DHEA counteracts and negates the harmful effects of cortisol. Low DHEA is often the first sign of adrenal dysfunction and is most likely due to chronic stress.
DHEA is the parent hormone to all of the sex hormones, and my personal favorite way to understand this balance issue is by quoting the late comedian George Carlin when he said in a joke that “survival is more important than sex”. I always remember this because when you are being chased by the proverbial tiger AKA when the fight or flight response is in effect the Catecholamine’s: Nerotransmitters called Epi/Norepinephrine (AKA adrenaline) are released and jump-start the body into action from the inside out this triggers the release of cortisol which then does its job of diverting energy away from the viscera (organs) and into the peripheral system (extremities; arms and legs) in order to run or fight which tends to be an ongoing ordeal instead of being limited an acute situation!
This is the way the body is designed to work when stress or danger is around, if it cannot do this, low readings of cortisol tend to show up. When your body is exhibiting readings of low levels of cortisol it is often accompanied by feeling fatigued & lethargic and being unable to get through a day without some help from something external like caffeine.
As far as testing goes we take am averaged between the morning and afternoon measurements, in order to show where you stand overall and first look at the ratio between cortisol and DHEA. An elevation indicates that stress is present and the good news is your body is responding appropriately; but the bad news is if you don’t change something about the stress your body is burdened with it will eventually become overburdened and the body CANNOT & WILL NOT compensate indefinitely!