GYM VLOG #17
Author: Julia Dulgerova
The teenage years are a period of time that is full of transformation and remarkable changes, physically and emotionally. And a big component of this transformation is caused by hormones. Hormones are messengers that communicate with each other and lead to various processes in our bodies. It’s normal for teens to experience changes in their behavior as well as grow and develop from the impact of hormones. Understanding the changes teens go through and the relationship between hormones and teenagers is crucial for being able to decipher the mysteries of young adulthood. But at the same time, it offers insight that can help others support the teens they’re surrounded by. Teenage years are very transformative, and we deserve to know about the impact of hormones during these years and how they change us.
The first big impact on hormones is diet. The types and amount of food you consume can impact hormone production, release, and function in many ways.
This hormone is released by the pancreas in response to sugar levels that rise. Diets that are high in carbohydrates and sugars can lead to spikes in blood sugar pretty often, which leads to higher insulin levels. And over time this can contribute to insulin resistance which is when cells are less responsive to insulin signals and consequently causes type 2 diabetes.
This is often called the “stress hormone”, cortisol is released in response to stress. Chronic stress and bad diet choices (especially sugary foods) can lead to elevated cortisol levels which can cause weight gain.
The thyroid gland produces hormones T3 and T4 that regulate metabolism. Diets that lack essential nutrients like iodine, selenium, and zinc (which are important for thyroid function) can lead to imbalances and even potential thyroid disorders.
Estrogen and Testosterone
These are sex hormones that play a crucial role in reproductive health and other bodily functions. Certain foods like soy products contain phytoestrogens, which can mimic estrogen in the body. Also, excessive body fat, particularly around the abdomen, can lead to higher levels of estrogen in both men and women which disrupts hormone balance.
This hormone is important for regulating the menstrual cycle and supporting pregnancy. A balanced diet, particularly one rich in nutrients like B vitamins, can support healthy progesterone levels.
This hormone regulates sleep-wake cycles. Foods that are rich in tryptophan, like turkey and nuts, can support the production of melatonin, potentially improving sleep quality.
Known as the “feel-good” hormone, serotonin levels can be influenced by diet. Foods rich in tryptophan like i talked about above can contribute to serotonin production which can improve mood.
Everyone has a different response to diet and there are many factors like genetics, exercise, and overall lifestyle that also play significant roles in hormone regulation.
Adolescence is a time of rapid change, and sleep is a crucial factor that is often overlooked. Hormones cause many important processes that shape physical and emotional development. Understanding the link between sleep and hormones is essential for the well-being of all teenagers.
Testosterone is a crucial hormone for both men and women, though its more commonly associated with male reproductive health. It plays a very vital role in muscle mass, bone density, and overall well-being. Inadequate sleep and especially sleep deprivation can lead to decreases in testosterone production. Studies have even shown that one single night of poor sleep can lead to a decline in testosterone levels. Disruptions in sleep-wake cycle can interfere with the body’s circadian rhythm. This affects the production and release of hormones.
Regular high-quality sleep is important for overall health and well-being, and it can help support hormonal balance. If you’re constantly struggling with sleep issues, it’s important to spend time and talk to professionals that can give you advice and recommend strategies to improve your sleep quality.
Exercise is very important for healthy hormone production and balance. But, when you engage in excessive exercise without consuming enough calories to support your activist level, your body can go into a state of energy deficiency. This means that it doesn’t have enough energy reserves to support normal bodily functions, including reproductive processes.
Over exercising can also lead to low body fat percentage. This is significant because fat cells play a role in the production and regulation of hormones, including those involved in the menstrual cycle.
The menstrual cycle is regulated by very complex combinations of hormones. When the body is in a state of energy deficiency, it can throw off the production of these hormones. This can disrupt the menstrual cycle, leading to missed periods or even a complete stop to menstruation.
Our bodies see over-exercising as a form of stress on the body. In response to this stress, the body can activate the “fight or flight” response, which can further disrupt hormonal balance.
I think we can all agree that one of the most common issues teens experiences in regard to hormones, is acne. All over our body we have glands that produce an oily substance called sebum, these glands are called sebaceous glands. Androgens, which are a group of hormones including testosterone, stimulate these glands. When there’s an excess of androgens, the sebaceous glands can produce more sebum than the skin needs. This excess sebum can mix with dead skin cells and block hair follicles, which creates an environment ideal for bacteria growth. When these bacteria begin to thrive, they can lead to inflammation and the formation of acne. The body’s immune response to excess sebum and bacteria in the hair follicle results in inflammation, redness, and swelling. This is why acne looks the way it does.
Hormonal changes, such as those occurring during puberty, menstruation, and more can lead to increased androgen levels. This is why acne is common during adolescence and can also affect women around their menstrual cycle.
Stress can release hormones like cortisol, which can directly affect androgen levels. Elevated stress levels may increase acne for some people.
The GAPS Diet focuses on getting rid of processed foods, sugars, and other inflammatory foods. Instead, it emphasizes nutrient-dense, whole foods that support a healthy gut microbiome. A balanced and diverse gut biome is crucial for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients, which supports hormonal health.
By eliminating inflammatory foods like processed foods, and supporting gut healing, the GAPS Diet helps reduce overall inflammation. A healthy gut lining is necessary for proper absorption of essential nutrients, including those that play a role in hormone production and regulation. The GAPS Diet heals and seals the gut lining, which enhances nutrient absorption.
The gut plays a very crucial role in the detoxification process. By promoting a healthy gut environment, the GAPS Diet supports the body’s ability to process and eliminate hormones effectively.
When you eliminate processed foods, refined sugars, and carbohydrates, you can stabilize blood sugar levels which is important for hormonal balance especially for hormones like insulin.
Another factor of the GAPS Diet is its emphasis on relaxation techniques, like meditation and deep breathing exercises which can help reduce chronic stress. Chronic stress is terrible and damaging to hormone balance so good diet and relaxation techniques are great for balance.
Balanced hormones during your teen years are not just a temporary concern, but it’s crucial investment in long-term well-being. They form the foundation of optimal growth, cognitive function, and emotional stability. This foundation extends beyond youth, reducing the risk of hormonal disorders in adulthood. By prioritizing hormonal health when you’re young, we empower young people to step into adulthood with confidence, setting the stage for a great and bright future!