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The 7 Hormones You Need to Know About

News about the widespread effects of hormones on our bodies is everywhere. They control our mood, weight and so much more. Read on to learn all about the main hormones your body produces.
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Have you heard the buzz about hormones?

Hormones are responsible for how fast we burn calories, how our hair grows, how hot or cold we are and so much more. These are the top hormones worth knowing about to help you look and and feel your best.

Estrogen
The female sex hormone, estrogen is needed by women for menstruation and reproduction. Estrogen levels increase during puberty and while a woman is fertile and then decreases with age, leading to the physical changes of menopause. The symptoms of menopause include weight gain, mood swings and night sweats. However, having too much estrogen isn't good either. Excess estrogen can lead to weight gain, particularly in the lower body, like the hips.

To support proper estrogen balance, try an DIM supplement. DIM is a compound found within certain cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli. An indole phytochemical, DIM promotes estrogen production to keep hormones in balance and support breast health, weight management and more.

Testosterone
The male sex hormone, testosterone supports male development and sexual health. Sufficient testosterone is needed for the development of the sexual organs and sperm. However, women also need testosterone for the ovaries and adrenals. An excess of testosterone (especially in women) can result in acne and excess hair growth. Testosterone also decreases with age, and can lead to poor muscle mass, low libido and changes in mood and energy.

If you're looking to increase testosterone production, several herbal extracts have shown promise. Among these are Tribulus terrestris, tongkat ali and fenugreek. The mineral zinc can also be beneficial. You can find these extracts on their own or in blends.

DHEA
This naturally occurring hormone produced by the adrenal glands is best known for its support cognitive development and health, making it an important hormone to get enough of throughout life. Having enough DHEA can help keep the mind sharp. It can also support energy and stamina as well as strength. Lastly, DHEA can help you manage your weight by boosting a slowing metabolism, something that is common with age.

You can increase your DHEA, you can find supplements made from both soy and yams. Your doctor can help you determine how much you need to take, typically beginning with a low dose around 25 mg/day.

Melatonin
Whether you're a deep, sound sleeper or you toss and turn all night long, your sleep patterns are regulated by melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland. This hormone recognizes changes in light and helps regulate your sleep cycle. When your body is lacking in melatonin, you may feel like you can't "turn off" your mind and go to sleep, or you may wake throughout the night.

Taking melatonin supplements should be a short-term practice. Look for a supplement that has a 1 mg dosage or less and take it daily for two weeks. This will help you reset your sleep cycle while preventing tolerance that can lead to overuse. You can also drink a glass of tart cherry juice, which supplies about 0.5 mg of naturally occurring melatonin.

Cortisol
Also produced by the adrenal glands, not many people are fans of cortisol. That's because cortisol is known as "the stress hormone." When you're feeling anxious or nervous, cortisol is released as a response. However, having too much cortisol can have negative side effects like weight gain (especially in the abdomen), a weakened immune system, poor sleep and high blood pressure. Keeping it under control is essential.

Regulating cortisol is possible with natural supplements that reduce its production while also supporting the production of serotonin to counteract it. One of these supplements is satiereal saffron, which can prevent you from coping with stress by eating.

Serotonin
Also known as "the happy hormone," serotonin is a hormone produced within the brain that helps you maintain a positive mood and relaxed feeling. When we're deficient in serotonin, we can become stressed and even depressed. This can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms like smoking or overeating. It also supports sexual desire and controls the appetite (going back to the stress eating point).

In order to boost your own serotonin production, you can try supplements like St. John's Wort and 5-HTP. These natural products can help you feel the benefits of serotonin, like balanced mood and a better controlled appetite.

Insulin
Produced within the pancreas, the insulin is a hormone that the body needs to keep levels of sugar within the blood in line. This hormone helps the body properly digest sugar, or glucose, from the foods we eat. Individuals with diabetes are deficient in this hormone, which results in very dramatic spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, and requires medication.

You can assist your body in producing the insulin you need with natural supplements like free form amino acids, zinc and chromium picolinate. These products assists the body in insulin production while also mimicking the action of insulin.

Before beginning any supplement to support hormone production, speak with your doctor, especially if you've been diagnosed with a medical condition and take prescription or over-the-counter medications on a regular basis. You should also speak with your doctor first if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.

You can find the supplements mentioned in this post and more at eVitamins. Check them out today and let us know how they work for you!

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