Medically reviewed on March 8, 2022 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
The human endocrine system produces and secretes more than 50 different hormones. These chemicals control and regulate just about every basic function in the human body. Your hormones play an integral role in your everyday existence, from motor functions to breathing.
Hormones also tend to be highly sensitive. Maintaining a careful hormonal balance is one of the keys to supporting your overall health and wellbeing. You can make some changes in your lifestyle to keep balanced hormone levels. Learn more about balancing hormones below, along with the Evelywell hormone test.
The human stress response is designed to help you survive in moments of crisis. Cortisol is the primary hormone involved with the stress response. When you encounter trauma or a moment of crisis, a flood of cortisol increases your heart rate and breathing, strengthens your muscle tension, and shuts down any bodily systems that are not immediately necessary. This is also known as your fight-or-flight response, designed to help you survive by preparing you to fight or run away .
Your fight-or-flight response is essentially a good thing, but problems arise when it becomes an ongoing, long-term issue. It’s OK to be ready to fight or run if you’re being attacked, but it’s much less so when you are simply sitting at home or trying to enjoy time with your friends .
Chronic stress results in a constant flood of cortisol, which can contribute to:
Unsurprisingly, chronic stress can also lead to hormonal imbalance. Cortisol can prevent or inhibit the production of estrogen, testosterone, and other hormones, which can lead to even more problems down the line—including joint pain and stiffness . An imbalance in cortisol levels can be detected with an at-home cortisol test.
Note, however, that cortisol has many necessary biological functions, and it's important to have the right level of this hormone instead of levels that are too high or too low.
To keep your stress levels under control:
Sleep rejuvenates and revitalizes your body, and it is essential to every aspect of your physical and mental health. Sleep is your body’s opportunity to repair tissue .
During sleep, your body releases several hormones that control everything from your appetite to your physical growth and development. Without enough consistent sleep, your body has trouble regulating your hormones. Your stress hormone grows out of control, contributing to high blood pressure and all of the other problems associated with high-stress levels. Without enough sleep, your body has trouble maintaining the levels of hormones involved in appetite, hunger, and blood sugar levels, resulting in an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular issues .
Make sure you get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, and remember that quality is just as important as quantity. Those nine hours won’t matter if the night is full of interruptions or tossing and turning. Try to maintain a quiet and relaxed atmosphere in the bedroom. Avoid anything with a screen at least an hour before bed, as screens can disrupt your melatonin production, the hormone that induces sleep .
Some vitamins can potentially support your hormone production, but you should consult your healthcare provider about any symptoms you are experiencing to ensure that vitamins help with your situation.
Vitamin D is best known for its relationship with calcium. It helps to metabolize calcium, allowing for strong, healthy bones. Vitamin D is also the only vitamin that your body can technically synthesize on its own when your skin is exposed to the sun’s UV rays. Supplementing with vitamin D may regulate insulin (the hormone that helps your cells absorb glucose), adrenaline, and dopamine .
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant vitamin. It may help reduce stress, and supplementing with this vitamin may also alleviate some menopausal symptoms. This includes hot flashes, sleeping problems, night sweats, and vaginal dryness . Keep in mind that it's possible to take too much vitamin E: vitamin E is fat-soluble, so it can accumulate to dangerous levels in the body and lead to hypervitaminosis. Ask your healthcare provider for their recommendation on vitamin E intake.
Vitamin B6 is involved with immune function, protein metabolism, and glucose production. B6 dietary intake and/or taking a daily vitamin B6 supplement may help relieve irritability, mood swings, cramping, and other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome .
Magnesium is a mineral that supports the immune system, keeps your blood pressure under control, and helps with general nerve and muscle function. Magnesium plays a role in over 300 enzyme reactions throughout the body, including numerous hormones. Magnesium may help to balance everything from estrogen to thyroid hormones to serotonin [7, 8, 9].
Your hormones can become imbalanced for a wide range of reasons. You may have an underlying health issue affecting your hormonal production, which is why it’s a good idea to see your healthcare provider if you notice any problems or changes in your health.
Also consider using the Everlywell at-home hormone test, which lets you look at key hormones involved with your overall health.
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8. Magnesium and major depression. Magnesium in the Central Nervous System [Internet]. URL. Accessed March 8, 2022.
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