Hormonal balance is necessary for us to feel and function our best. As we age, our bodies become less responsive to the hormones we produce, plus some hormone levels drop, others increase, and yet others stay the same.
The endocrine (hormonal) system is made up of organs and tissues that produce hormones; natural chemicals produced, released into the bloodstream, then used by other target organs and systems. Hormones control the target organs.
Regardless of age, hormone levels can change based on diet, stress and exercise.
I’m pretty much an expert on stress and stress management. It’s true that I’m very well educated in many different types of therapeutic massage and bodywork, but recent highlights of the stress I experience include:
For the past 3-1/2 years, I’ve been the primary care-giver to an old friend who’s been a life-long smoker and drinker. During the past six months, his health has deteriorated rapidly and my responsibilities have grown exponentially.
Prior to this adventure, a back injury completely side-lined me for several years – not by itself, but as the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak.
Because hormones affect so many different aspects of how our bodies operate, the outward symptoms tend to be varied and nonspecific. It may feel as though you are simply tired or upset after an unusually stressful or busy week. With a hormonal imbalance, a person may suffer from anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, and poor concentration. Irritability and mood swings are also quite common. Hormonal balance is critical for our emotional well-being, so radical changes in the way we feel about ourselves and interact with others may indicate a problem.
The best way to think about the human body when it comes to food is to think of it as a machine. In fact, it is probably the finest machine ever designed and created. It has amazing and bewildering powers and capabilities. In general and in a simplistic sense, it actually requires little maintenance and is not very demanding in terms of upkeep. All it needs is water, fuel (food), rest or stress management and exercise.
A good way to think of food is that it is actually a drug for the body; think of cause and effect.
The endocrine system is in charge of body processes that happen slowly, such as cell growth. Faster processes like breathing and body movement are controlled by the nervous system. But even though the nervous system and endocrine system are separate systems, they often work together to help the body function properly.
The foundations of the endocrine system are the hormones and glands. As the body's chemical messengers, hormones transfer information and instructions from one set of cells to another.