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Title: Hormonal%20Balance%20The%20Impact%20of%20Diet%20and%20Exercise

Hormonal BalanceThe Impact of Diet and Exercise
  • Robyn W. Jacobs, MD
  • 24 January 2007

The What, Why and How of Hormones
What are Hormones?
  • Hormones are Chemical Messengers
  • They direct the biochemical reactions which
    happen inside of our body (our metabolism)
  • These reactions can be Building
  • i.e. making enzymes, building muscle, repairing
  • Or Using
  • Breaking down fat, protein and carbohydrate
    stores for energy

What are Hormones?
  • Chemical Messengers
  • Our hormones translate our environment into
    chemical messages which tell our bodies whether
    they should be in building mode or using mode
  • We spend most of our waking hours in using mode
  • Building mode generally feels uncomfortable

Why are Hormones Important?
  • Our hormones allow us to move between using and
    building modes
  • We cant keep our metabolism constant because our
    environment is always changing
  • Sometimes its hot, sometimes its cold
  • Sometimes food is plentiful, sometimes its scarce
  • Sometimes we are under stress, sometimes we are
  • Without hormonal balance we lose the ability to
    adapt to our environment

How do our hormones regulate our metabolism?
  • Hormones work by a variety of mechanisms
  • Direct the creation/destruction of certain
  • Control the rate of action of enzymes
  • Control the ratio of activity of enzymes
  • i.e. which direction the enzyme moves our energy

How do our Hormones control our Metabolism?
  • Many hormones throughout our body interact with
    one another to send messages to our cells
  • The ratio of one hormone to another plays a role
    in cellular function
  • The amount of one hormone can up or down regulate
    the amount of another hormone

The Major Hormones
  • Major Hormones are those which are immediately
    necessary for life
  • We would not be able to survive if any one of
    these hormones was missing.
  • INSULIN Building, Our digesting hormone
  • ADRENALINE Using, Our saber tooth tiger
  • CORTISOL Mostly using (builds fat), Our
    chronic stress hormone.

The Minor Hormones
  • These hormones are not immediately essential for
    life but work to help keep the metabolism
    balanced for our health
  • Examples
  • Human Growth Hormone, Estradiol, Testosterone,
    DHEAS, Thyroid Hormone

Because our hormones keep us responsive to our
environment, our hormonal balance changes based
upon our environment. Therefore, we can utilize
our environment to control our hormonal balance
and subsequently our health.Diet and Exercise
are two environmental inputs which significantly
effect our hormonal balance.
The Dual Role of Food
  • Building Blocks/ Nutrients
  • Chemical messengers

Food as Building Blocks
  • Macronutrients
  • CHO immediate energy, only energy source for
    the brain
  • Proteins lean body mass, enzymes, energy
  • Fats cell membrane, steroid hormones, energy,
    nerve conduction

Food as Building Blocks
  • Micronutrients
  • Vitamins important in generation of energy and
    production of enzymes
  • Minerals necessary for many enzymes and carrier
    proteins to function properly
  • Phytochemicals compounds which interact with
    our hormonal receptors

Food as Chemical Messengers
  • Total and relative amount of macronutrients
    signals body as to availability and quality of
    food in our environment.
  • Macronutrient balance has significant effect on
  • Total and relative amount of micronutrients
    determines which enzymes are functioning
    optimally and which are not
  • Lack of adequate micronutrients prevents body
    from going into building mode or impairs
    efficiency of building mode.

How we eat effects our metabolism
  • Consuming food too low in CHO robs our body of
    energy and forces us into a using mode even
    when we are trying to build
  • This is the premise of ultra-low carbohydrate
    diets which do cause weight loss but cause loss
    of lean body mass as well as fat mass. INSULIN
    is necessary to build muscle.

How we eat affects our metabolism
  • Consuming food to which we are sensitive causes
    inflammation in the GI tract and stimulates
    ADRENALINE release
  • Consuming foods high in refined CHO causes sudden
    steep rises in INSULIN
  • Chronic fluctuations in INSULIN or repeatedly
    elevated ADRENALINE lead to excess CORTISOL

The Hormonally Balanced Diet
  • Frequent Small Meals
  • Ideally 3 meals and 2 snacks each day
  • Each meal/snack should have CHO and Protein in an
    approximately 21 ratio
  • Each meal/snack should have healthy fat
  • Each meal/snack should have a non-starchy
  • One ounce of pure water for each Kg of Body
    Weight (dehydration increases stress hormones)

When we eat correctly
  • We use carbohydrates for brain fuel
  • We use protein to build hormones,
    neurotransmitters and enzymes
  • We use fat to build hormones, cellular structures
    and nerve sheaths
  • We rebuild and restore (building side of
    metabolism) the biochemicals which were utilized
    (using side of metabolism) during the day.

Additional Tips
  • Avoid food allergens to minimize adrenaline
    spikes and inflammation.
  • Chew food thoroughly to prevent partially
    digested food particles from causing irritation
    to the GI tract and to maximize nutrient
  • SIT while you eat eating is a building phase
    activity. We confuse our metabolism when we try
    to use and build simultaneously.

Additional Tips
  • Never skip a meal metabolism becomes unbalanced
    if we fail to nourish ourselves adequately.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners and preservatives
    our body wasnt designed to break these down
  • Eat organic or natural as much as possible
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Shop the periphery of the food store

Hormonally Balanced Exercise
  • What is exercise
  • The American Heritage Dictionary, 1985
  • 1. An act of employing or putting in to play use
  • 3. Activity that requires physical or mental
    exertion, esp. when performed to develop or
    maintain fitness
  • Exercise using our bodies
  • What side of our metabolism are we on here?

Three General Categories of Exercise
  • Aerobic/Endurance/Cardiovascular
  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • See Table

Potential Benefits of Aerobic Exercise
  • Decreases risk of all-cause mortality by 30
  • Improves Cardiovascular Function
  • Improves Endocrine Function
  • Improves Immune Function
  • Reduces Stress
  • Improves Sleep
  • Reduces risk of colon, breast and prostate cancers

Potential Benefits of Resistance Exercise
  • Builds more lean body mass
  • Improves metabolic rate
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Decreases risk of falls and injuries
  • Improves balance

Potential Benefits of Stretching Exercises
  • Helps to Maintain Range of Motion
  • Helps to Maintain Strength
  • Lowers Adrenaline

Impact of Exercise on Hormonal Balance
  • A focus on the Major Hormones
  • Insulin
  • Adrenaline
  • Cortisol

Impact of Exercise on Insulin
  • Light to moderate exercise
  • Insulin levels unaffected
  • Prolonged (gt40 minutes) or intense exercise
  • Insulin levels decline
  • Does not impact blood sugar levels in the short
    term due to alteration in counter-regulatory

Impact of Exercise on Insulin
  • Training leads to decreased basal insulin levels
  • Training leads to increased sensitivity to
    insulin increasing V02 by 15-20 can increase
    insulin sensitivity by 20-30
  • Increased tissue binding of insulin
  • Rapidly reversed when exercise is stopped even
    for a few days
  • Not modified by acute exercise
  • May not be seen in obese men with high
    triglycerides and insulin resistance

Impact of Exercise on Adrenaline
  • Adrenaline increases with the onset of exercise
    and (with noradrenaline) is responsible for
  • Increase in heart rate (E)
  • Redistribution of blood flow (NE)
  • Glycogenolysis/lipolysis (breaking down fat and
    glycogen for energy) (E)

Impact of Exercise on Adrenaline
  • Mild Exercise
  • Little or no Adrenaline response
  • Moderate Exercise
  • Signficant noradrenaline response (hemodynamics)
  • Minimal adrenaline response
  • Intense or prolonged exercise
  • Adrenaline increases significantly

Impact of Exercise on Adrenaline
  • Exercise induced changes in adrenaline levels
    persist for 24 hours
  • After the anaerobic threshold is reached
    adrenaline increases out of proportion to
    additional work load

Impact of Exercise on Cortisol
  • Low intensity exercise (lt50 VO2 max) decreases
    Cortisol levels
  • Prolonged or high intensity exercise increases
  • Ultra endurance exercises abolish the normal
    circadian rhythm of Cortisol
  • Cortisol can increase in ANTICIPATION of exercise

Impact of Exercise on Cortisol
  • For Women, Cortisol changes which occur during
    training will persist for some time after
    training stops (ie post season for seasonal
  • For Men, changes in Cortisol response to regular
    exercise return to baseline at the completion of
    the training season.
  • Training blunts the Cortisol response to exercise

Why are you working out?
  • Exercise fitness, health, well being
  • Training competition, goal oriented

  • When we train we are choosing to stress (use) our
    bodies in order to reach a goal. This is OK but
    we must be sensitive to our bodies need to
    rebuild. Impeccable attention to diet and
    sleep/stress management is essential in order to
    keep our metabolism balanced while training.

  • Exercising for fitness, health and well-being is
    important for all of us. In order to reap the
    benefits, without allowing our exercise to become
    an additional stressor we must remain cognizant
    of how exercise impacts our metabolism. Focus
    should be on low intensity exercise most of the
    time with moderate intensity exercise a few times
    a week. There is really NO ROLE for high
    intensity exercise in a wellness oriented routine.

  • Our Hormones are critical to our health and
  • Hormonal Balance allows us to remain responsive
    to our environment
  • We can control our environment to maximize our
    hormonal balance and therefore our physiologic

Eat well, sleep peacefully, play joyfully
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