Can your hormones affect your energy and mood? ABSOLUTELY! Your hormones affect everything, so when there’s an imbalance, whether low hormone output or an excess, you’ll present with symptoms.
Written by Guest Blogger: Claudia Petrilli, a Functional Health Coach, Integrative Nutrition Coach & Health Educator
If you experience fatigue or struggle with low mood, it can be due to HPA Axis dysfunction. This occurs when an activated stress response disrupts adrenal hormone output. Cortisol may be too high or too low and your diurnal cortisol pattern can become disrupted. For example, your cortisol may be low when it should be high (in the morning hours) and high when it should be low (at night). This can also suppress melatonin, your sleep hormone. Ever get that “tired, but wired feeling?” You’re not a night owl – you likely have a cortisol issue. And it becomes a vicious cycle: disrupted sleep = no energy.
Other fluctuations in hormones such as DHEA, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone also play a large role, affecting mood, energy and much more. They typically become imbalanced due to stress on the body. Let’s break down some different types of stressors.
Women are often under eating and/or eating foods that are processed, high in sugar, and inflammatory oils. Prioritizing healthy fats and ample animal protein is key. This will support hormone production in the steroidal pathway and keep your blood sugar regulated – versus a blood sugar rollercoaster that creates a cortisol imbalance.
Your body doesn’t know the difference between physical or emotional stress. When you’re in a state of “fight or flight”, constant worry, or high anxiety, your body will prioritize keeping you alive by producing stress hormones, before sex hormones, such as progesterone.
Exposure to toxins.
The harsh reality is that we are living in a toxic world. Between our water, air, food, personal care items, cleaning products, flame retardant furniture, non-stick cookware, medications, and mold (more common than you think!), we are bombarded with toxins. Many are xenoestrogens, which mimic estrogen in the body, creating an excess.
Your gut produces, regulates and eliminates hormones from the body. Poor eating habits, lifestyle, stress, use of medications, and overuse of antibiotics creates an imbalance in the gut. This can lead to pathogens, gut infections and digestive dysfunction, as well as low neurotransmitter output, directly affecting your mood.
On the topic of mood, you may find it dips drastically before your period. This can be due to the dip in estrogen, which affects your serotonin or “happy” chemical. The week or so before your period is a time to slow down, calm your nervous system, do more restorative movement, get more sleep, and eat more quality food to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients. I also find that a quality B-Complex and/or ample B6, magnesium and an adaptogen like Ashwagandha or Maca tend to help my clients with their mood during this time. If mood fluctuations are debilitating, amino acid support can also be very helpful. Please work with a practitioner for guidance on this.
By now you’ve learned how much stress (whether physical or emotional) plays a large role in your hormone health and cycle. It’s imperative to calm your nervous system on a daily. Most of us are burning the candle at both ends, working, running errands, taking care of family, pets, and leaving little time for ourselves.
While I love meditation and yoga, those practices can feel overwhelming to some women who are crunched for time. So here are a few simple things to start incorporating to mitigate daily stress:
- Swap your intense workouts for morning walks, exposing your eyes and skin to natural light. Even if it’s only 10 minutes, use this time to self-reflect, connect with nature, and just BE. No devices allowed 😉
- Practice 4-4-7 breathing. This can be done any time, any place. Find a comfortable spot and if you can, close your eyes. From your diaphragm, slowly breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, hold for 4, and breathe out through your mouth for a count of 7. Repeat this several times until you feel a sense of calm. If you get light headed, tilt your head down, pressing your chin to your chest and resume normal breathing.
- Write in a gratitude journal. Whether you do it in the morning or evening, practicing gratitude can improve your mood and create a calm state of mind.
Claudia Petrilli is a Functional Health Coach, Integrative Nutrition Coach, Health Educator and creator of The Hormone Rescue and Ignite Your Libido transformational programs.
Claudia has spent a decade educating women on hormone health and foundational wellness. Through group and private coaching, masterclasses and wellness collaborations with other practitioners, she’s been able to grow her reach far and wide.
Claudia specializes in women’s hormone health, including Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Dysmenorrhea (painful periods), Amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods) and thyroid health. She practices a functional approach to health, by utilizing leading-edge functional testing like the DUTCH (dried urine test for comprehensive hormones) and the GI-MAP (comprehensive PCR DNA stool analysis), as well as functional blood work analysis. She works with clients to support diet, movement, sleep, detoxification, digestion, nervous system, and more, optimizing health and teaching tools for life. Learn more at www.claudiapetrilli.com.