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How To Overcome Hormonal Imbalance & Fix Thryoid Dysfunction

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 29 January 2015
Hits: 6974

There is so much confusion in the health & fitness industry these days especially when it relates to losing weight. Possibly the most frustrating and irritating philosophy that annoys me to no end is the belief that if you are skinny you are automatically healthy. There is an abundance of online apps, fitness centres, personal training studios, and gyms that market body transformation contests and challenges with a specific purpose to make you lose weight in a matter of weeks. The assumption is that once you have lost weight you are automatically healthy and the faster you do it the better. They do this by using a variety of fitness methods along with some form of calorie restriction diet. Often these methods are at the expense of your health. Let me ask you this question, what you would rather have? "A great body on the outside that is about to explode on the inside, or a body that is great on the outside and even better on the inside"? Once people realize that being skinny does not necessarily guarantee great health and that they need to apply a complete health model that tackles many of the deep rooted problems such as stress, sleep disorders, movement dysfunctions, lack of muscle mass, and most importantly the hormonal imbalances that result from this, will we see a dramatic reduction in chronic health problems. One of the biggest obstacles to tackle with weight loss is hormone dysfunction and in this article I will show you some important facts you need to know to get this under control.

What Is The Thyroid Gland & Why Is It So Important To Assess

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland found inside your neck, right under your larynx or voice box. A two-inch long, brownish red, highly vascular gland, it has two lobes located on each side of the windpipe that are both connected by a tissue called the isthmus. Your thyroid is responsible for producing the master metabolism hormones that control every function in your body.

It produces three types of hormones:

  • Triiodothyronine (T3)
  • Thyroxine (T4)
  • Diiodothyronine (T2)
  • Hormones secreted by your thyroid interact with all your other hormones
  1. Insulin
  2. Cortisol
  3. Sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.



The fact that these hormones are all tied together and are in constant communication explains why a less-than-optimal thyroid status is associated with so many widespread symptoms and diseases and weight gain for hypo-thyroid. Almost 90 percent of the hormone produced by your thyroid is in the form of T4, the inactive form. Your liver then converts the T4 into T3, the active form, with the help of an enzyme. T2, however, is currently the least-understood component of thyroid function and the subject of a number of ongoing studies. If everything is working properly, you will make what you need and have the correct amounts of T3 and T4, which control the metabolism of every cell in your body.

If your T3 is inadequate, either by scarce production or not converting properly from T4, your whole system suffers. T3 is critically important because it tells the nucleus of your cells to send messages to your DNA to rev up your metabolism by burning fat. This is how T3 lowers cholesterol levels, regrows hair, and helps keep you lean. Your T3 levels can be disrupted by nutritional imbalances, toxins, allergens, infections, and stress, and this lead to a series of complications, including thyroid cancer, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism, which today are three of the most prevalent thyroid-related diseases.

You must get this assessed and know what foods and nutritional deficiencies are present in order to correct this.

What Can You Do To Control These Hormones?

This is such a difficult question to answer as there is so many things at play here. This is because hormones control much of what you feel, hungry, thirsty, tired, sick, energetic, hot or cold. On a basic level your hormones are like your body’s messengers, they are produced in one area of the body such as the thyroid, pass into your bloodstream where they can be sent to organs and tissues to modify structures and functions.

They act like traffic signals telling your body what to do and when to do it so it can run effectively. They are as much a part of your respiratory, cardiovascular, skeletal, immune and digestive system as they are a part of your reproductive system. Can you see now how if there is an imbalance left unchecked how much damage this can cause to your health and why weight loss seems so insignificant to your body in terms of what is more important.

There is no good or bad hormones, there is only good balance or bad imbalances of them. Too little or too much of certain hormones can lead to obesity, and obesity can create changes to hormones and their levels.

Here is where you should start for trying to correct an imbalance.

1. Diagnosis

If you suspect that you have a hormonal imbalance it is very important to get an assessment from a well respected and qualified Doctor or Therapist in order to know for sure what your current status is so you are not guessing as to your condition.

2. Stress

 

Stress is needed to prepare us for survival and this is called "Fight of flight" response. In a stressful situation the body secretes stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol to our arms and legs in order to help us either run away fast, or, stay and fight. This is good in life and death situations as these hormones will possibly save your life. But it is not good if this system is turned on all the time.

An unchecked stress response can cause repeated spikes in blood pressure increasing the chances of a stroke. You will begin to stockpile fat around the abdomen due to the high levels of the stress hormone cortisol being activated lowering IGF-1 and maintaining high levels of glucose in the bloodstream. This endless supply of cortisol greatly weakens the immune system and exposes the body to deadly diseases like diabetes and cancer.

You must reduce your Stress levels by incorporating meditation, Tai Chi, goal setting etc. Too much stress is without doubt the fastest way to ruin any health campaign, create weight gain and sabotage your efforts. This is a very complex topic and could take up the entire page here. The main thing to understand is that it does not matter where stress comes from, the reaction to it is exactly the same. Meaning that if you have a lot of stress from work, home, nutrition, lack of sleep, lack of exercise you will accumulate a mass of stress hormones that will now start to create havoc with your other hormones controlling metabolism, repair etc. Once you have established where your stress is coming from you can now go about trying to reduce it using various strategies.

You will find a ton of ideas of how to combat stress in the articles provided in the links below

3. Sleep

Many people with severe weight problems this is one area that over 90% struggle with on a regular basis. People who are excessively overweight bordering on obese usually struggle to sleep well due to the amount of inflammation in their body. Breathing problems will arise, sleep apnea for example. This person will usually find diets and exercise programs very difficult to do and often give up after a few months. Not because they are lazy, lacking desire or motivation but because their body does not have enough reserves to cope with the massive changes being forced onto it. Many people think we shut down at night but it is the exact opposite. The body's digestive system is in hyper-drive at night as is all of the cells to repair damages caused in the day.

Lack of sleep will create enormous problems for your hormonal system as all of your body's repair is done at night. Without good sleep you cannot allow the body to heal itself correctly. Our bodies are designed to follow the movement of the sun, moon and the earth. This is called circadian rhythm. When light stimulates our skin or eyes our hormonal system thinks it is daylight and releases a stress hormone called cortisol which is activated to prepare our body for movement, work and whatever we need to do in daily life. Basically cortisol is needed to wake you up, and is meant to decrease as the sun goes down so your body can prepare for activation of the growth hormones called melatonin to be released to allow the body to repair.

The cycle for physical repair is between 10pm and 2am, psychological repair between 2am and 6am. The person who chooses to stay up late watching TV, playing video games or doing work on the computer late and go to bed at midnight will now have only 2 hours of your physical repair time! 

This over production of cortisol, and not enough time to repair the damage from the day, is really bad for anybody trying to overcome injury or chronic pain. The body needs as much repair time as it can get to reduce the inflammation.

Read this article here to see more about this. Why Lack Of Sleep Is Making People Fat

4. Add Muscle

Most people believe that the key to losing fat and getting in shape is to spend lots of time doing long slow cardio sessions. If you don’t get a sweat then it is not a good workout! But what I will show you here will change your idea on weight loss completely and begin to explain why you have never found a program that works for you before. You see it is at this point where most programs begin to fail, and in particular with obese and people who have had weight problems all their life because there is already a great deal of inflammation present along with dysfunctional hormones and sleep problems as we have already discussed. These, long, slow and boring cardio sessions will actually train your body to store fat. When you spend 30, 40 or even 50 minutes grinding out cardio sessions, you send your body a powerful signal to start storing fat instead of burning it.

Why?

It’s all in your hormones. Remember T3 is the hormone produced by your thyroid to burn fat. When you do cardio, your body reacts to the stress by suppressing this fat burning hormone. This means your body starts gaining fat immediately. Why? Because your body needs the fat to function. People who performed intense cardio suffered from decreased T3 hormone production.

However by using exercise that has an intention of adding muscle is one of the best natural methods for balancing out your hormones as the extra muscle increases your body's production of human growth hormone (HGH) which is essential to speed up metabolism, regulate blood sugars and glucose levels and effectively burn excessive fat. Can you see why so many fitness programs are doomed for failure, especially with the person who has an issue with hormonal imbalance and excessive stress hormones in control of their body.

Read the articles below to see more about exercise for hormone control

5. Avoid Sugar & Grains

 

If we all stopped eating so much of these 2 foods today we would be so much healthier and there would be hardly any obesity in the world. From a nutrition point of view these two foods cause so much trouble to not only people's waistlines but the overall health of their system. If you eat a diet that is high in sugar and grains, the sugar gets metabolized to fat (and is stored as fat in your fat cells), which in turn releases surges in leptin. Over time, if your body is exposed to too much leptin, it will become resistant to it (just as your body can become resistant to insulin).

And when you become leptin-resistant, your body can no longer "hear" the messages telling it to stop eating, burn fat, -- so you remain hungry, you crave sweets, and your body stores more fat. Leptin-resistance also causes an increase in belly fat, sending you on a vicious cycle of hunger, fat storage and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, etc.

Read these articles to see more on this.

6. Eat More Vegetables

It is safe to say most of us do not get anywhere near the amount of vegetables in our diet as we should, especially the green leafy type and finding ways to get more into your diet for some people can be tricky as they don't like the taste or are very limited with ideas on how to make vegetables interesting and fun.

Vegetables contain an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get anywhere else. Plant chemicals called phyto-chemicals can reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens, while others regulate the rate at which your cells reproduce, get rid of old cells and maintain DNA. 

Studies have repeatedly shown that people with higher vegetable intake have:

  • Lower risks of stroke & type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer's disease and heart disease      
  • Lower risks of certain types of cancer, eye diseases and digestive problems       
  • Reduced risk of kidney stones and bone loss
  • Higher scores on cognitive tests               
  • Higher antioxidant levels             
  • Lower biomarkers for oxidative stress

When we fail to take in enough antioxidants our body undergoes a greater degree of damaging oxidative stress. When we live in a constant state of oxidative stress it can lead to chronic inflammation and eventually disease.

One of the easiest ways I have found to get a massive shot of vitamins and minerals quickly is with juicing. And if you are not a big veggie fan this is one easy way to ensure your diet is loaded with them!

Read the articles below to see moer

7. Drink More Water

Most people are not drinking anywhere near enough water throughout the day, some are not even drinking a single cup!! This means their body is in a constant state of dehydration and ultimately stress. And as we have already discussed the result of too much stress is the release of stress hormones whose side effect is tired, lethargy, weight gain, headaches. The body's hormonal reaction to not drinking enough water is the same as if someone was trying to kill you. WATER is as ESSENTIAL as BREATHING. Without it you will DIE!

Water makes up more than two thirds of human body weight, and without water, we would die in a few days. The human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%. A mere 2% drop in our body's water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic problem solving, and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. Mild dehydration is also one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue. An estimated seventy-five percent of people have mild, chronic dehydration. Pretty scary statistic for a developed country where water is readily available through the tap or bottle water.

The human body is made up of 60% water and only 2% carbohydrate! Water serves as a lubricant and forms the base for saliva, a key indicator of stress is a dry mouth! Water forms the fluids that surround the joints. Water regulates the body temperature, as the cooling and heating is distributed through perspiration. Water helps to alleviate constipation by moving food through the intestinal tract and thereby eliminating waste - the best detox agent and helps to regulate metabolism.

Do You Need More Help?

To help you put together everything we have discussed in this article I have created a detailed PDF report that provides with everything you need to know about exercise and nutrition to prevent diabetes. This is one of the most comprehensive reports I have put together and due to the health problems we have witnessed in 2020 this is undoubtedly a must read for anyone who feels vulnerable with their health right now. Given the heart's never-ending workload, it can easily be brought down by a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and illness caused by neglect to other parts of our body. This report explains everything you need to know about improving not just your heart health but your overall health.

   

Click here to get your copy.

Summary

These are some of our best tips on helping to overcome hormonal imbalance and be able to improve your overall health and vitality. Each person is a bit different with the way we respond to exercise, stress, foods and various lifestyle factors making it difficult to prescribe a one size fits all solution. You need to identify the areas in your life that are out of balance and begin the process of restoring this back to normal. It may take a bit of time and several mistakes before you eventually find the answers you are looking for. I hope this article gives you some of those answers and helps you to improve your health.

If you would like to know more or request a Free Consultation where we can discuss your specific goals and situation click the image below to schedule a time.

About The Author

Nick Jack is owner of No Regrets Personal Training and has over 15 years’ experience as a qualified Personal Trainer, Level 2 Rehabilitation trainer, CHEK practitioner, and Level 2 Sports conditioning Coach. Based in Melbourne Australia he specialises in providing solutions to injury and health problems for people of all ages using the latest methods of assessing movement and corrective exercise.

References:

  • Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute 
  • Movement - By Gray Cook
  • Functional Training for Sports - By Mike Boyle
  • Corrective Exercise Solutions - by Evan Osar
  • How To Eat, Move & Be Healthy by Paul Chek
  • Precision Nutrition 
  • Nutrition & Physical Degeneration - By Weston A Price
  • Big Fat Lies - By David Gillespie