Our lifestyle choices can greatly impact our hormone production.
I frequently see male patients in my office with hormone imbalances that are the result of poor diets, sedentary lifestyles, high-stress levels and poor sleep patterns.
For hormone balance we must start with our diet. The right food choices can ramp-up Testosterone (T) and Growth Hormone (GH) production. The wrong food choices will dampen down T and GH production.
Fortunately it is straight forward. High-carbohydrate diets will elevate your blood sugar and insulin levels and lower your T and GH levels. Low-fat and low-protein diets will hamper both T and GH production. The common diet choice of high-carb and low-fat is disastrous for optimal hormone balance.
Paleo supplies the body with the protein and fat required for T and GH production. For most meals eat high-quality proteins (grass-fed beef, free-range poultry/eggs, wild-seafood, wild-game), high-quality fats (fats in our protein sources, avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut, organic butter, olive oil), and low-glycemic carbohydrates (non-starchy vegetables and limited amounts of fruits.)
Paleo-type diets give the body the required nutrients to make hormones while simultaneously lowering blood sugar and insulin levels to avoid T and GH suppression.
Testosterone is converted into estrogen by an enzyme located in our fat cells. When we have high body-fat levels we convert too much of our T into estrogen. When this happens our ratio of T to estrogen is lowered resulting in an imbalance that depletes energy and increases body fat storage.
Periodically limit your food intake to an 8-hour interval during the day. For example, on a few days each week eat your meals between noon and 8 pm. This can be easily accomplished by skipping breakfast and having your first meal at noon and finishing your last meal that day at 8 pm. Continue to drink plenty of water and non-carb drinks to stay hydrated.
Intermittent fasting can greatly boost the T and GH levels and increase fat-burning metabolism.
A sedentary lifestyle will lower T and GH levels. Ironically, excessive exercise can lower T and GH production.
The proper exercise type and duration to enhance hormone optimization is best achieved with short-bursts of intense exercise. Instead of long-duration, low-intensity exercise such as jogging; do short-duration, high-intensity exercise such as weight-training, cross-training or interval training. A few days a week of high-intensity, short-duration exercises gives the proper stimulus to induce T and GH production.
High stress levels increase our cortisol levels. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol result in low T and GH production. Additionally, elevated cortisol levels contribute to weight-gain and estrogen elevation. Periodically de-stress with stress reduction techniques you enjoy such as meditation, walking, exercise, deep-breathing, or your favorite hobbies. We are all exposed to stress everyday but if we periodically do something relaxing our cortisol levels will be controlled.
During deep-sleep your body maximizes GH production and release. Sleep-disorders, night-shifts, late-nights out, are common causes of low GH levels. Do what you can to get in a routine of high-quality sleep each night. Do what Mama said: avoid caffeinated beverages late in the day, minimize alcohol consumption, and get to bed at a decent time each night.
Try all of these strategies for optimal hormone balance. When your hormone levels are optimized you will notice enhanced energy, mood and body composition.