We have reached the final installment in my hormone series! Today, we are talking all about testosterone, which may seem like a male hormone, but is extremely important for women too.
Testosterone is the androgen hormone that is important in protecting our bones, brain, mood, and motivation. Without enough of it, we start to notice huge changes in our energy and motivation. With too much of it though, we start to notice symptoms like oily skin, acne, hair on the face/chest/abdomen, or loss of hair on the head. This is often linked with PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Functions of Testosterone:
Maintains stamina and energy
Decreases insulin sensitivity
Protects against breast cancer
Improves physical endurance
Promotes bone function and strength
Helps maintain a sense of well-being and mood
Lowers blood pressure
Promotes muscle development and tone
Involved in red blood cell production
Decreases body fat
Protects against the negative effects of excess cortisol
Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency:
Decreased stamina and energy
Generalized feeling of weakness
Weakened, osteoporotic bones
Decreased sense of well-being
Poor muscle tone
Trouble with balance and coordination
Symptoms of Testosterone Excess:
Acne, oily skin
Excess facial/body hair
Loss of head hair
Mood disturbances, excessive aggressiveness, irritability
Testosterone in women tends to stay relatively stable throughout the cycle, not falling and rising like estrogen and progesterone. It is converted from DHEA, another steroid hormone further up the chain, so if there is any hint of adrenal issues (i.e. chronic stress), you might be low in testosterone, although it is much more common to have too much testosterone.
With all hormones, it's important to remember that we need to support the body from the inside out when working to get them back into balance. Typically, we want to address the following areas:
1. Digestion - if we aren't digesting our food properly, we will not be absorbing all the nutrients we need to function
2. Hydration - every single cell in our body needs water, and without it, the long term impacts of dehydration can add up quickly (migraines, back pain, joint pain, depression, etc)
3. Adequate dietary fats - fats are the building blocks for hormones, especially real, whole fats from foods like eggs, avocado, walnuts, and flax seeds
4. Blood sugar management - this is important when looking at any aspect of our health. Keeping inflammation down by supporting healthy blood sugar management through a PFC balanced diet is important for sex hormone function and beyond!
5. Optimal adrenal function - when we are under a lot of stress, our adrenals take the extra load, which they are not meant to do long term (short term and in acute situations? Yes most definitely!). This chronic stress builds up over time and can drastically impact our adrenal health, leading to all sorts of hormone imbalances.
6. SLEEP - we must be sleeping in order to allow our bodies to heal from the inside out
So, there you have it. The three major sex hormones in the body and how they function. It's fascinating how much control our hormones really have on our bodies and health! If you are interested in getting your hormones tests, please let me know! There are lots of options to consider depending on your specific needs.