Hormone Testing As A Tool For Optimizing Health and Fitness

Hormone Testing As A Tool For Optimizing Health and Fitness

Optimizing Health and Fitness

Reaching great levels of health and fitness is something many adults strive to accomplish and often spend many hours in the gym, meal planning, and aiming for more steps throughout the day.

Why Adults Consider Hormone Testing

While striving to eat a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables and aiming for 150 minutes of physical activity every week is something all adults should attempt, it is important to account for some of the variables that your body performs to accomplish these health and fitness goals.

The human body produces and regulates various hormones in the body. Hormones are generated by proteins and serve highly specific functions in the body. Without hormones, the body would not be able to regulate the most basic functions of life, let alone survive in a steady state, which is why adults should consider hormone testing.

Listed below are some major and common functions of hormones.

How Do Hormones Affect Health and Wellness?

1. Blood Pressure and Heart Rate.  The body contains many receptors that control and regulate many functions.  Heart rate and blood pressure are both affected by the number of stress hormones in the body.

For some people, excess stress hormones can cause increased heart rate, and blood pressure, and essentially ready the body for a fight-or-flight situation.  This is essential for life and some stress hormones are important for wellness.

2. Sleep Wellness.  One of the most basic functions the body performs is sleep.  Proper sleep is a way for the body to repair itself, grow tissue, and refresh the mind for the next day.  When sleep patterns are properly in tune, overall health and wellness can greatly benefit. However, when sleep quality and duration are diminished, it could derail any fitness program.

3. Mood Control.  Another important element hormones play is with daily mood and affect.  Hormones, such as serotonin, serve the body to increase pleasure and happiness in the mind, which could boost overall mood.  This might be why some days you feel down while others you feel on top of the world.

4. Health and Fitness.  Hormones play a wide role in the balance of a proper health and fitness program.  As described more in detail ahead, hormones can affect how efficiently you burn calories, and fat, and build muscle mass.  In addition, if you ever feel like dieting is a challenge or that you eat too much, perhaps your hormones are to blame.

5. Movement and Nerve Function.  The body is made up of an enormous network of muscle fibers, which are controlled by nerves.  These nerves are driven by hormones circulating in the blood and control how the muscles contract.  Without hormones, the muscles would not be able to communicate with the body and human movement would be out of sync and uncoordinated.

How do Hormones Affect Metabolism?Hormone Testing As A Tool For Optimizing Health and Fitness 2

One of the most critical aspects of a healthy lifestyle is how the metabolism is functioning. When metabolism is working effectively, weight loss and maintenance are easier to accomplish, plus fat burn is at its most optimal level.

The primary hormones involved with metabolism include insulin, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), cortisol, and testosterone. Let’s take a closer look at these specific hormones.

• Insulin.  While insulin does not directly affect metabolism, it is more responsible for taking glucose and storing it in muscle cells.  However, many adults develop insulin resistance, which is when the body secretes excess amounts of insulin to decrease blood sugar; however, too much insulin in the blood can lead to fat generation.  This is a major cause of fat gain in adults despite ample diet and exercise.

• T3 and T4.  These thyroid hormones are greatly responsible for controlling heart rate, body temperature, and metabolism. TSH is a hormone produced in your brain to regulate the production of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4).

TSH will increase or decrease the production of T3 and T4 depending on the circulating levels of these hormones in the body: it will signal the thyroid to increase production when it senses that levels are low and decrease production when levels are high.

If you have high levels of TSH it means your thyroid is most likely underproducing T3 and T4, leading to weight gain and cold intolerance. On the contrary, if your TSH is low and your T3 and T4 are over the normal level, this means your thyroid is overactive which can lead to unintentional weight loss and intolerance to hot temperatures.

• Cortisol.  This is a common stress hormone that is present in various amounts each day depending on daily stress.  This is one of the easiest hormones to test for in the body, but when levels are too high, your body will likely increase heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, and slow hunger response.  However, cortisol is known to increase abdominal fat.

• Testosterone.  Both men and women rely on testosterone to aid in muscle building and maintenance.  With too much testosterone, weight gain could come in the form of excess fat and muscle mass.  Too little testosterone and it could be especially difficult to build muscle.

How Do Hormones Affect Weight Management?

Weight loss plans are common for many adults because, throughout the years and aging process, metabolism tends to decrease. However, hormones can play a role in how much or little you eat and when to signal you’ve had enough.

Ever go back for seconds or thirds for that comfort food at night? This could be due to the hormone leptin. Leptin signals to the brain that you have consumed enough calories and to stop eating. If you feel hungry throughout the day or have the urge to eat, despite your body not needing more food then it could be due to the hormone ghrelin.

Ghrelin signals to the brain that you are hungry, and that it is time for the next meal. These two hormones play a big role in weight management, and proper hormone testing can be a game changer in any healthy lifestyle.

Can Hormone Testing Help your Health and Fitness Plan?

A hormone test is a simple way to assess how your body is producing many of these valuable chemicals in your body. After all, whenever you spend a large portion of your time dieting and exercising, you want the results to show sooner rather than later. Obtaining hormone testing is often easy to do, typically involves a lab draw, and should give results in a timely manner.

Who Should Consider Hormone Testing?

In a general sense, anyone can obtain a hormone test. Especially people who are trying to lose weight and are having difficulty achieving results, women who are having fertility problems, and people who are gaining weight despite a balanced diet.

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Photo by Pavel Danilyuk

Hormone Testing As A Tool For Optimizing Health and Fitness