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Hormones..the 6 big ones

Social media pushes the “cut calories, and workout” to lose weight.  But there’s a whole lot of other stuff at play.  If your hormones are out of whack then you have no hope of getting results.  

There are over 40 different hormones at play in your body at once.  Today we are going only look a 6.

Let’s start with food hormones.

Whats a hormone?

Hormones are chemical messengers that are secreted directly into the blood, which carries them to organs and tissues of the body to exert their functions.

THE HORMONES RELATED TO FOOD:

INSULIN

The sales guy

insulin.jpg

  • The pancreas produces insulin, its number 1 focus is to regulate blood sugar

  • When we ingest “slow carbs”, the pancreas barely needs to react to regulate blood sugar

  • Fast carbs however are a different story

  • Sudden spike in calories/glucose etc causes pancreas to work overtime to produce insulin to regulate blood sugar

  • Overtime the fat storing mode is on constant all day – blood sugar and insulin production is high all the time

  • The cells responsible for receiving insulin messages get so bombarded that they “stop listening’  

  • So pancreas sends out more insulin because it’s not being “listened to”, blood sugar isn’t dropping so send outs more

  • Vicious cycle – more insulin = higher fat storing mode= cells allow tiny amount of insulin in, creating higher volume produced = pancreas gives up = diabetes

PANCREAS LOVES  –

Slow carbs, protein , good fats (eggs, coconut oil, grass fed meat)

  • Grass fed meats as opposed to grain fed

  • Grain fed instead of pasture now affects the milk they produce for butter and milk, passing it on to humans

PANCREAS HATES  –

Fast carbs, bad fats – sugar, starchy foods,

LEPTIN

The angry guy

leptin.jpg

  • Follows insulins leads

  • Instruction comes from fat cells,

  • Tells you when to stop eating  – fat cells sends msg to brain that they are full

  • However insulin shouts louder than leptin so keeps producing insulin

  • This can lead to leptin resistance where the brain shuts out the shouting from leptin, choosing more feel good messages, so messages that the body is full are ignored.  

  • In cases of elevated cortisol levels, cortisol can turn off leptin signals to the brain. So the more stressed you are, the higher cortisol levels, so less likely to tell you to stop eating

GHRELIN

The cheerleader

ghrelin.png

  • Direct competition with Leptin

  • Tells you when you’re hungry.  

  • Ultimate in fooling you –  DOPE ADDICT

  • Waits 20mins until after you are completely full to send that message to your brain

  • Loves dopamine  – the hormone produced when you eat foods that give a “reward” or good feeling

  • Dopamine is the number 1 most addictive chemical known to man

  • Shouts even louder than leptin because it’s the “cheerleader”, sends out the good messages

THE MOOD CONTROLLERS

DOPAMINE

Everyone’s favourite drunk guy

dopamine.png

  • The most addictive chemical known to man.  We will do anything to feel the effects of dopamine.  Especially when we are in trouble.  

  • ALL THE FEEL GOOD STUFF

  • The hormone released when you are “rewarding” yourself

  • All drugs have the dopamine effect

  • Is great if everything in order.

  • Disaster if other hormones  – cortisol etc are up, become dopamine dependant.

SEROTONIN

The buddhist

serotonin.jpg

  • Is a neurotransmitter- regulating messages between neurons

  • Interesting fact- it’s responsible for the reaction we have during food poisoning! As is found mostly in brain and gastrointestinal tract, as soon as something toxic enters, there’s an increased level of serotonin to make the body feel better.  Hence the rapid movement of toxins through the bowel with diarrhea or vomiting.

  • Serotonin affects almost all of the 40 billion brain cells.   

  • Difference between dopamine and serotonin – dopamine is responsible for reinforcing behaviours that make you feel good.  Serotonin acts to encourage calmness and wellbeing.

CORTISOL

The devil in disguise

cortisol.jpg

  • For the positive – shunts blood to muscles when running away – high stress situations

  • Also helps with muscle recovery, cortisol levels rise slightly when asleep to aid muscle recovery.

  • For the negative – Cortisol causes elevated blood sugar and the body needs to find a way to get rid of excess glucose so it doesn’t damage vital organs.  

  • Only “safe” place to store it is in fat cells (belly)

  • If cortisol levels are elevated -can be eating relatively healthy, but will still store fat

  • Undereating also increases cortisol levels  – body under stress of starvation mode or “flight or fight”.  

  • Undereating + elevated cortisol can lead to more hormonal issues  – irregular cycles, heightened emotions, insulin resistance, impaired sleep, anxiety.

We are constantly operating under a heightened state of stress

  • Don’t get a break

  • Vicious cycle  – use dopamine effects to ease cortisol levels, but that can increase insulin levels, leptin signals ignored, etc etc

  • We are almost encouraged to have constantly elevated cortisol levels, which is why fast food chains are multi billion $ industries now….they rely on the dopamine effect.  

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Signs and symptoms of chronically elevated insulin

  • Fatty liver

  • Abdominal obesity. As the waist grows larger, insulin becomes increasingly ineffective in your body, therefore levels of this hormone rise.

  • Hunger and cravings for sugar or carbohydrate rich foods. People with high blood insulin are hungry and nothing will satisfy their appetite like carbs!

  • Elevated blood sugar. A fasting blood sugar level greater than 97 mg/dL (5.4mmol/L) indicates insulin resistance.

  • Acne and large pores on the face. Insulin and its cousin insulin-like growth factor 1 promote higher levels of the male hormone testosterone and increase the sensitivity of your face to testosterone. That means you’re more likely to experience acne and greasy skin.

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome

  • Scalp hair loss in women in the male pattern (front and sides).

  • Skin tags.

  • Increased risk of gout. People who are insulin resistant are sensitive to fructose and convert too much of it into uric acid. Elevated uric acid can raise the risk of gout and kidney stones.

  • Acanthosis nigricans  – “fake tan lines”

  • High blood pressure

  • Swollen ankles. Insulin tells your kidneys to hang on to sodium and water, therefore you will look more puffy. You can experience fluid retention anywhere on your body, such as your fingers, face and abdomen.

10 Signs You Have WAY Too Much Cortisol

So how do you know if you’re a stress addict? Here are 10 signs that you’ve made cortisol your drug of choice.

1. You’re not sleeping well.

Cortisol levels are supposed to drop at night time, allowing your body to relax and recharge. But if your cortisol levels are too high, you might notice that, even if you’ve been tired all day, you get a second wind right around bedtime. Then you toss and turn all night – and feel tired again the next day.

2. Even when you sleep well, you’re still tired.

Over time, high levels of cortisol deplete the adrenal glands and predispose you to chronic fatigue. So if you feel like your get up and go got up and went, you’re probably stressed.

3. You’re gaining weight, especially around your abdomen, even when you eat well and exercise.

Cortisol tends to make you thick around the middle, even when you’re doing everything “right.”

4. You catch colds and other infections easily.

Cortisol deactivates your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms, which means that your immune system which is perfectly designed by nature to keep you healthy goes caput, leaving you vulnerable to every cootie you encounter.

5. You crave unhealthy foods.

Cortisol raises your blood sugar, putting you at risk of diabetes. High glucose levels then bump up your insulin levels, which then drop your blood sugar – and all of a sudden – yes, you guessed it – you’re struck with wild cravings for Twinkies.

6. You experience backaches and headaches.

When your cortisol levels are high over a long period of time, your adrenal glands start to get depleted. This raises prolactin levels, increasing the body’s sensitivity to pain, such as backaches and muscle aches. Excessive cortisol also hyper sensitizes the brain to pain, such that even the slightest twinge can excite the nerves of the brain, causing headaches.

7. Your sex drive is in the crapper.

Consider cortisol the anti-Viagra.  When stress hormones are high, libido-inducing hormones like testosterone drop and voila… nothing.

8. Your gut acts up.

Your gastrointestinal system is very sensitive to stress hormones like cortisol.  You might experience nausea, heartburn, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, or constipation as a result of too many stress hormones.

9. You feel anxious.

Cortisol and epinephrine can lead to jitters, nervous stomach, feelings of panic, even paranoia.

10. You feel blue.

High levels of cortisol suppress production of serotonin, and next thing you know, you’re awash in doom and gloom.

WAYS TO BOOST SERATONIN

  • Eat high protein foods

7 foods that amazing for boosting seratonin

Salmon, nuts, pineapple, tofu, eggs, cheese, turkey

  • Vitamin B – found in loads of veggies, or as a supplement

  • Take a probiotic (seratonin is partly produced in gastrointestinal region, so gut health is important)

  • Exercise

  • Get out in the sun

  • Massage

  • Deal with stress and focus on emotional healing

WAYS TO BALANCE HORMONES  –

  • Eat well

  • Active recovery plans

  • Meditation

  • Time out

  • Reduce stimulants

HOW HORMONE IMBALANCES EFFECT PERFORMANCE IN THE GYM

  • Lack of results

  • Lack of cncentration

  • Confusion

  • Rushing through workouts

  • Emotional upheaval

  • Decreased energy levels (some cases, other can be increased but display erratic behaviour)

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