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The Essential Guide For Your Hormones

Have better stamina, success, strength, and sex by taking control of your hormone balance.

There are a few universal goals we all share. Count having great energy, health, passion, and fulfillment among them. Beneath those aims rest a web of influences, and at the heart of it all are your hormones. These little chemical couriers have huge effects on the body. Traveling through your bloodstream from the eight major endocrine glands, your hormones power you up (or down) and drive growth, reproduction, sex drive, mood, muscle tone, and more. So how can you optimize your hormone balance to improve your life on all fronts? We’ve got answers. Here, the definitive guide to better stamina, success, strength, sex, and sleep. 

FOSTER STAMINA & SUCCESS 

When your hormones are in balance, your energy is high and mind is clear, your muscles respond to training, and you don’t sweat the small stuff. But tip the scales in any direction and you won’t feel like yourself. “Your hormones are like an orchestra,” says Prudence Hall, M.D., founder and medical director of the Hall Center, in Santa Monica, CA. “If one is too high, the others are off.” Yet there are simple ways to bounce back, especially when it comes to stamina and success. 

Monitor Your Happiness Hormones. 

“The hormones that affect energy the most for younger women are thyroid, adrenals, and estrogen. For menopau­sal women, the focus is estrogen,” Hall says. First, get your hormone levels checked if you’re always fatigued or sad, Hall says. The most common red flag is low levels of vitamin D. Deficiency in this hormone (not actually a vitamin) is linked to depression, according to research in Molecular Psychiatry. Hall recommends supple­menting with 2,000 to 5,000 milligrams daily. 

Tap Into Your Workouts.

That euphoric “runner’s high” that occurs after a great workout comes from norepinephrine and epinephrine. These hormones assist in creating energy during cardio workouts. A study published by Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that epinephrine and norepinephrine levels were greatly elevated after a session of HIIT, too. But don’t overdo it, warns Hall. The older you get, the more rest you need. Aim for two days’ rest after HIIT sessions to give your body time to recover. 

Find Food For (Clearer Thought).

Happiness may lie in a happy gut, in no small part because your gut health influences hormone production. That means avoiding triggers that can cause inflammation and GI distress. “Food intol­ erance is huge,” Hall adds. “Most grains (corn, gluten, sprouted wheat, oatmeal) are not actually high quality,” which makes them harder to digest and can disrupt nutrient absorption and hormone production. THE FIX: Ferment it. Although the exact mechanisms by which probiotics in fermented foods can balance your gut and enhance your mood are unclear, research in the Journal of Applied Microbiology outlines how probiotic fermented sources (like kimchi, pickles, and sauerkraut) can help maintain health. Try swapping in alter­ native proteins like hemp and pea for whey and soy, which are common allergens. 

SEE ALSO: Your Hunger Hormones Guide

Settle Yourself With Supps.

Try a supplement like DHEA (a naturally occurring hormone that is also manufactured from wild yam and soy and can affect mood). Other supps to try: ashwagandha (aka Indian ginseng) and iodine, a key supplement for women, Hall says. Aim for 10 to 12mg of iodine per day. 

Cool It Down. 

Cortisol, or the stress hormone, gets a bad rap, but it helps regulate immune response and glucose production and helps the body deal with stress. Yet too much can cause problems. To mitigate, try research­ backed stress busters such as meditation and massage. 

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