Whether it’s a viral TikTok video or an Instagram infographic, hormones are a hot topic on the Internet at the moment, and for good reason…
The phrase ‘hormonal attack’ suggests we have the ability to dramatically change both the way we feel and our bodies’ responses to different situations, but what does it really mean when it comes to photos? affect your hormones and is it really possible to change them in the long run?
We spoke with the Doctor of Functional Medicine and the founder Lantern ClinicDr. Margarita Kitova-John, and Marisa Peer, world-renowned therapist, best-selling author and developer of Rapid Transformation Therapy (RTT), to learn more…
What is endocrine?
“Hormones are basically chemical messengers in the body,” says Dr. Margarita.
They move everywhere and affect different organs and tissues, act slowly and over time affect various physiological processes including:
- Growth and development
- Metabolism: how the body gets nutrients and oxygen
- Sexual and reproductive function.
“Hormones are produced by endocrine organs, which are specialized groups of cells located in different locations in the body. The endocrine glands include the pituitary gland, the pineal gland, the thymus, the thyroid gland, the adrenal glands, the pancreas, and sex organs such as the testes in men and the ovaries in women.
“Hormones are powerful substances! Even a small amount of a hormone can cause a massive reaction in cells throughout the body. For example, Insulin, produced by the pancreas as a response to the digestion of food. It facilitates digestive processes and controls the transfer of glucose from the blood into every single human cell that needs it to function.”
So can it really control or change our hormones?
“While it is technically impossible to control the hormones, certain lifestyle choices can strongly influence them,” says Dr.
“For example, intermittent fasting has been scientifically proven to be an effective way to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, by reducing insulin release. A raw diet, higher in protein and lower in processed carbohydrates, is also beneficial for reducing insulin, as well as the stress hormone, cortisol.
“When cortisol and adrenaline are elevated due to stress, their levels can be effectively brought down by deep breathing, cold water immersion, laughter, and meditation. These interventions activate rest and digestion through the parasympathetic nervous system.
“While trying to influence individual hormones with specific foods or activities, we must remember that hormones often rely on and influence each other. Rarely can you individually affect one hormone without affecting the others, because they work in an ordered manner. Imagine the domino effect! ”
While all hormones are necessary and helpful in our human experience, some definitely feel more beautiful than others…
“The survival hormones adrenaline and cortisol are released when we’re scared or in a stressful situation, sending us into ‘fight and flight mode’.” Sweaty arms, rumbling stomach, high blood pressure, pulse, and shallow breathing are all good signs that our bodies are ramping up stress hormones. We have to experience these “motor” symptoms for a short time. In today’s 24/7 society, most of us operate in constant combat and airplane mode, which leads to a multitude of biochemical changes that lead to disease,” said Dr.
A group of hormones are nicknamed the “happy hormones,” because they create a feeling of happiness and sometimes euphoria. Introduce: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins.
Marissa Peer, bestselling author of Tell yourself a better lie and world-renowned relationship and therapist, has spent much of her career exploring ways in which we can personally generate positive emotions by stimulating happiness and chemical love.
So let’s break down what are known as happiness hormones and how long it takes our bodies to make them…
Known as the love hormone, oxytocin is produced when we make physical contact not only with our partners, but also when our skin is stroked or touched, such as during a massage. Oxytocin is also an important hormone involved in childbirth and breastfeeding. We also produce oxytocin when we pet our pets, and it’s responsible for creating that fuzzy feeling of warmth, while also helping to combat stress. It creates a feeling of trust and cohesion.
In addition to helping you sleep well, it also affects your mood, digestion, and ability to learn. If your serotonin levels are low, you may experience anxiety or depression, trouble sleeping or constant fatigue as well as potential problems with your digestion.
Known as the ‘feel good’ hormone, dopamine is associated with your motivation, your reward for that motivation, and self-affirmation. If you’ve promised yourself one last scoop of ice cream after doing the housework only to go to the freezer and find someone hit you, that could lower your dopamine levels. Dopamine plays a role in all sorts of bodily functions from your response to stress, the way you handle pain and even your heart and kidney function.
Endorphins enhance happiness as well as act as a natural pain reliever and deal with stress. They work in a similar way to opioid drugs, and a decrease in endorphins can cause depression.
“You may think you can never have too many good things but like life in general, maintaining balance is always best and the same is true for hormones. “Your body is like a fine-tuned tool, so too little or too much of any hormone can have a negative effect on you,” says Marisa.
“Doing things to support your happiness hormone production and trying to avoid stress or, in fact, learning coping techniques, is a healthy way to approach life.”
So what can you do to actively support your body’s hormone production?
Do exercise Gentle aerobic exercise that gets your heart rate up is a great mood booster, especially if it involves getting in the fresh air and letting Mother Nature lift your mood. Swimming, dancing, group exercise classes, and yoga are all great ways to contribute to feeling healthy.
Eat – add plenty of healthy protein to your diet including oily fish like salmon and mackerel, nuts and white meat. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also good but especially dark green leafy vegetables. Fermented foods that are another good way to boost your body include kombucha, homemade ginger ale, and kimchi.
Laugh Laughter is one of the best ways to produce happy hormones. It lowers your blood pressure, strengthens your abdominal muscles, strengthens special immune cells called T cells, and reduces stress hormones. Swap out the gruesome true-crime shows for something funny and take the time to have a good laugh at work with your co-workers.
Sex – as well as being great aerobic exercise, it will give your body an oxytocin boost. “I call nature orgasmic face cream because it helps women fight aging as well as makes them feel good,” says Marissa. 10/10 advice if we’ve ever seen it.
Sleep When we sleep, our bodies produce less cortisol, the stress hormone. However, our bodies also work in sync with the amount of light we’re exposed to, known as our circadian rhythm, and our functions over a 24-hour period. Our bodies like consistency, so unless we sleep at the same time every night, it can throw our endocrine system out of balance.
Pet – once the stressful period of pet ownership is over (particularly the needs of puppies or kittens), they can support our mental health just by their presence. When we pet an animal or come into contact with them, we produce oxytocin.
Massage – while massage is a great way to relieve aches and pains as well as get our lymphatic system moving, being in touch with others is one of its biggest benefits. It releases oxytocin and endorphins, which is why we feel relaxed after a massage.
Creation – whether it’s listening to music and dancing or trying something new, letting yourself loose or challenging yourself in a different way will see your happiness hormones dancing with you.
Dealing with losers
Focus on breathing – when we feel stressed, a great way to control those feelings is to focus on our breathing. This will help reduce cortisol levels. Box breathing is one of those approaches where you inhale for a count of four, hold for four, exhale for four, and then hold another four before starting the exercise again. Make sure you breathe deeply into your diaphragm but don’t overdo it, or you risk hyperventilation. Breathing like this helps to shift your focus away from the stressor and creates space to let go of the flight or fight your instincts and see things in a more deliberate way.
Natural light Exposure to natural light, especially sunlight, makes us feel good because it helps with dopamine production. Obviously it is important to follow the guidelines when we are exposed to direct sunlight. As fall and winter come, many of us easily notice that our mood changes when there is less sunlight. Going out in any weather will help, but you should also consider a specific type of light to help with SAD.
“There is a lot we can do to affect both the happiness hormones and the hormones that make us feel stressed. However, it’s probably better to try to get the happy hormones to work for you because that way you’ll be less stressed. Having said that, don’t expect miracles if you try something once and it doesn’t work for you – incorporate these positive approaches in your daily life for at least a month until they become a habit. This is definitely going to be the most beneficial,” says Marissa.
“Hormones are involved in every aspect of human health and well-being and the body requires very specific amounts of them to function optimally. Hormonal imbalances can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health conditions. While the factors that affect hormonal balance are beyond our control, there are some steps we can take to help manage hormone levels. Marissa says: “Consuming nutritious foods, exercising regularly and engaging in other health-promoting behaviors like meditation can help improve our hormonal health in the long run.
Happy hormone hacking!