Sugar Cravings and Sex Hormones
Okay, I know…we have been talking about sugar cravings and hormones these past few weeks. Thyroid and adrenals produce hormones in our body, and if there is a dysfunction with either of those, we could have sugar cravings, and, therefore, difficulty losing weight. An imbalance in one, can affect another, AND can eventually affect all hormones if it goes unchecked. When taken to the doctor, you can be diagnosed with something else other than what it is. It can be complicated, hence the importance of getting blood work done is critical, so you know exactly what is going on.
But, I want to discuss one more type of hormone (s) that can wreck havoc on our weight issues and sugar cravings. That is the male and female reproductive system, or sex hormones. Now, there is much to be said here, but I want to focus on sex hormones and sugar cravings today. I do plan to go into more detail about each of these topics at a later date. So bear with me if you feel like I am not touching on everything or on specifically what you want to know.
Women and Hormone Imbalance
Low estrogen, low progesterone and low testosterone can all cause sugar cravings, and all three hormones are present in both men and women. But let’s start with the role these hormones have in women.
Like estrogen, progesterone plays a very crucial role in our lives. It is present in both men and women but is more dominate in women. Progesterone gives us a natural calming effect promoting healthy sleep, and is a natural diuretic and antidepressant. When levels drop, also goes our good night’s sleep and happy moods. During menopause and mid-life in men, these hormones stop production, giving way to sugar cravings, the expanding middle, hot flashes, loss of libido, as well as a good night’s sleep.
Estrogen plays other crucial roles other than sexual purposes in the body, contrary to popular belief. Estrogen helps fight depression, increases GABA, boosting the quality of sleep, increases the good mood in women, and increases the ‘feel good’ endorphins. When estrogen levels go down, along come the feelings of sadness and helplessness, which can create extreme stress, thus leading to adrenal fatigue (see last week’s article http://veronicashealthyliving.com/blog/sugar-cravings-and-the-adrenals/ ). The estrogen hormone also plays a huge role in blood clotting, vaginal lubrication, bone formation and strengthening, as well as a host of other bodily functions. Hair, skin, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles, as well as the brain are all affected by this hormone. Estrogen levels tend to drop naturally right before and during a woman’s monthly cycle, as well. Estrogen literally rules a woman’s life. So, no wonder women feel so unhappy, and unwell during this time of premenstrual and peri-menopause and menopausal time. Just understanding what is going on is the first step to relief.
Signs of Hormone Imbalance in Women
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of hormone imbalance include:
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Sugar cravings
- Infertility and irregular periods
- Low libido
- Digestive issues
- Depression and anxiety
- Changes in appetite
- Hair loss and hair thinning
Men and Hormone Imbalance
Hormone imbalances in women are commonly discussed conditions that produce several mental, physical and emotional symptoms. What many people don’t realize however, is that men suffer from hormonal imbalances too; in fact, it’s relatively common. As men age, they experience decline in testosterone, better know as andropause, or male menopause. Testosterone deficiency associated with andropause, as well as progesterone and estrogen deficiency can cause sugar cravings along with other severe problems in men.
Both testosterone and estrogen need be kept in balance in women and in men. Although estrogen is considered a female hormone, it can also affect men if levels get out of balance. Estrogen is produced from testosterone already prevalent in the body. As men age, estrogen is increased while testosterone production is decreased; this imbalance leads to all sorts of issues.
For example, estrogen dominance can lead to prostrate problems, “man boobs”, depressions, cardiovascular issues, obesity and insulin resistance.
So, men, if you are having any of the following symptoms, is it a sign that you need to have your hormone levels checked, and take some action to balance them out.
- Low libido, erectile dysfunction
- Sugar cravings
- Increased fat (especially around the middle)
- Muscle loss or weakness
- Depression or anxiety
- Hair loss (especially around the forehead)
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Memory loss, mood swings or irritability
- Constipation or increased bowel movements
- Heart palpation
- Sleep apnea of insomnia
Be of good cheer. You can naturally raise (or lower) and balance your hormones without the use of surgery or synthetic hormones. Here are the top four ways to balance your hormones naturally, men and women!
- Get tested so you know exactly what you are dealing with.
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods rich in anti-antioxidants, such as brightly colored, fresh fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens, raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fatty fish such as salmon, grass-fed, hormone-free meat, healthy oils
- Eliminate all processed, white starchy foods, sugar, trans-fats; reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption.
- Remove all xenoestrogens – harmful chemicals in the environment that mimic hormones in the body and prevent it from producing real hormones (think plastic water bottles and BPA lined cans of food)
Functional Doctor I recommend:
I highly recommend the following doctor as he sees patients from all over the United States. Please tell him you heard about him from me!
Dr Michael Brown
Functional Medicine Doctor
Defeat Autism Now! Certified Doctor (DAN)
7300 W. 110th St – Commerce Plaza I
Overland Park, Ks 66210
913-693-4515 – fax