What are Hormones?


Hormones are chemical messengers produced by specific glands within the endocrine system. These glands include, but are not limited to the hypothalamus, pituitary, pineal, pancreas, parathyroid, thyroid, adrenals, ovaries, and testes. Hormones have one primary mission and that is to keep our body in balance; including temperature control, hunger, mood, sleep, energy, metabolism, muscle mass, stress response, reproduction, and more. Although the concept of hormone balance seems to be more focused around women’s health, hormonal imbalances can easily affect both men and women.


Here are 10 Signs of Hormonal Imbalances and How to Start BALANCING Them Today


There is no doubt that hormones are incredibly complex. They have the power to make us all feel like we are going crazy at times. Due to the complexity of hormones, specific symptoms may stem from several different hormonal imbalances. Therefore, each of the following symptoms could be from multiple hormonal imbalances and not just the ones described below. Remember, to always consult with your medical provider regarding your symptoms. Here are 10 of the common symptoms I see in practice.

  1. Abdominal Weight Gain 
    • Insulin Resistance: the cause of this could be too many carbs, processed sugars, lack of exercise, or high stress
    • Recommendations: Limit processed sugars, eat at regular intervals throughout the day, balance stress, and if that doesn’t work try Gymnema Sylvestre 400-500 mg daily.
  2. All Over Weight Gain (Puffy feeling)
    • Sluggish Thyroid: This is typically caused by nutritional deficiencies (iodine, selenium, zinc, b vitamins) or chronically high stress and adrenal dysfunction
    • Recommendations: Nutritionally you can incorporate brazil nuts, seaweed, and kelp to your diet to help with thyroid function and focus on stress reducing activities to keep your cortisol levels in check. Thyroid hormones are something I like to watch closely so make sure to get a full thyroid panel drawn including both T4 and T3. This is something we run on almost every patient at CentreSpring MD. It is important to know your levels to determine whether you can make lifestyle and supplement changes or whether you need medication.
  3. Afternoon Fatigue
    • Adrenal Dysfunction (or sluggish thyroid):  Check out my blog on adrenal fatigue to learn more about this topic.
    • Recommendations: Diffuse lavender essential oils at home or in your office to help balance cortisol levels. Add deep breathing and meditation/prayer to your daily routine to help keep your stress levels in check. One of my favorite herbal blends is by Gaia called Adrenal Health, start with 2 capsules twice a day.
  4. Trouble Sleeping
    • This is a tough one because so many hormonal imbalances can cause insomnia
      • Adrenal Dysfunction (feeling tired, but wired)
      • Low Progesterone (may be worse the second half of your cycle or during menopause)
      • Melatonin Deficiency (may also suffer from low mood since serotonin and melatonin are connected)
    • Recommendations: First make sure you have good sleep hygiene. All electronics should be off 30 minutes before bed (that includes no late night work or checking instagram/facebook). Begin dimming the lights to help your body start producing melatonin. If that does not help, try 1-2 capsules of Luna sleep aid. 
  5. Decreased Libido and Muscle Mass
    • Low Androgens (testosterone or DHEA): This may be caused by high stress, low zinc, or lack of strength training.
    • Recommendations: Make sure you are doing strength training 3x per week and incorporating stress reducing exercises daily. Naturally, you can add in zinc rich foods (spinach, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, oysters, beef) or you can supplement 15-30 mg per day. If that does not help, you may need to add in DHEA. I always recommend getting your levels checked through blood work or saliva first.
  6. Cold All the Time 
    • Sluggish Thyroid (see number 2)
  7. Trouble Focusing 
    • Low Pregnenolone: This is often related to low cholesterol/fat in the body or high stress (am I starting to sound like a broken record?).
    • Recommendations: Eat plenty of healthy fats to help with hormone balance and cognition. Add  daily stress reducing activities. If that does not help, start pregnenolone 10-30 mg daily. Because pregnenolone is the precursor of every hormone in your body it may worsen other conditions such as estrogen dominance. I recommend getting your pregnenolone level checked prior to starting the hormone.
  8. Specifically for Females: Irritability and Cramping Before Your Cycle
    • Low Progesterone: This may be caused by estrogen dominance, low pregnenolone, methylation (genetics), or high stress.
    • Recommendations: Of course stress reducing exercises can help with low progesterone if high cortisol is the cause. Also, to prevent estrogen dominance make sure you know what you are putting in and on your body. Avoid hormones in meats or parabens in beauty products to name a couple. Naturally, you can add chasteberry or vitex at night day 14-28 of your cycle.
  9. Specifically for Females: Hot Flashes/Night Sweats
    • Low Estrogen: Typically I see this most in menopausal women, but it can happen in women that have very low body fat percent.
    • Recommendations: Getting adequate exercise and mind-body work like yoga can help with hot flashes. Also, eating a diet rich in healthy fats may help. I recommend starting with maca root to help naturally balance your hormones. If that does not help, you may need to see your medical provider to get started on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
  10. Hungry All The Time 
    • Ghrelin and Leptin Imbalances: This can occur from dysfunctional eating (not eating at regular intervals or binge eating). It can also happen secondary to being overweight or underweight.
    • Recommendations: Eat protein with each meal, get at least 7 hours of sleep per night, add plenty of fiber to your diet (can try PGX or a prebiotic), eat at regular intervals, add omega 3 rich fatty acids (ground flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, fatty fish, etc) and if that doesn’t help start l-carnitine 1,000 mg 2x per day.


If you made it to this point, I hope there is one common theme among all of these hormonal imbalances. STRESS! All hormones are connected in a negative feedback loop. When we have chronically high stress or cortisol levels, it will lead to hormonal imbalances. Make sure you are taking care of your body-mind-spirit. When trying to balance hormones it is important to start with the basics (getting adequate sleep, exercise, stress reducing activity, and eating at regular intervals).


I look forward to diving deeper and helping you achieve total wellness by helping to balance your hormones.

Talk soon friends!

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