When it comes to hormones, women have it hard. Not only do hormones fluctuate monthly during reproductive years, but hormones also fluctuate wildly during puberty, post-partum, perimenopause and take a deep dive during menopause.
Changes in hormone levels can have many different effects.
Contrary to popular thinking, sex hormones affect much more than reproduction.
Estradiol, the main estrogen produced during the reproductive years is critical for reproductive function. Did you know that it also influences appetite and how much you eat? Many women have experienced cravings during their periods and tend to eat more. This change is due to estradiol, which acts directly upon nerves in the brain and other weight controlling molecules. Estradiol decreases food intake and increases energy expenditure.1
That is why women in menopause gain weight! In lab studies, giving estradiol normalized food intake.
Also, when estradiol levels decline, it affects insulin sensitivity in the brain. This can cause cerebral insulin resistance, which contributes to the development of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. Estrogen can also regulate binge eating.1
Estrogen Plays a Role
Estrogen regulates metabolism in the brain and body. It regulates glucose transport which is the main source of energy for brain cells. It also regulates energy production by the mitochondria and protects against weight gain, insulin resistance, and type II diabetes. 2
Estrogen has a strong effect on brain function such as learning and memory, excitability and seizures, protecting nerves, addictions, cardiovascular regulation, pain sensitivity, migraines, fine motor skills, coordination, and reaction time. 3 Estrogen also protects women from many forms of neurological injury and degeneration such as seizures stroke and Alzheimer’s.3,4 In men, androgens are protective.
It is no wonder that women who have cycling levels of hormones during the reproductive years, wildly erratic hormones in puberty and perimenopause and low hormone levels during menopause have issues with weight, mood, and many other things.
Having the right amount and balance of hormones in all stages of life can have a profound effect on your mood, energy, weight and protect you against neurological and cardiovascular conditions. Your hormones are a symphony and to function at your peak they must be at the right level, in balance with their counter hormones and your body must be able to process them properly.
Are you in balance? If you need help, apply for a free, no obligation clarity call to see if we are a good fit. We can dispel many of the myths about hormones and help you have boundless energy, ideal weight, a clear sharp mind and balanced hormones so you can live a life you love.
Vigil P, Meléndez J, Petkovic G, Del Río JP. The importance of estradiol for body weight regulation in women. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2022;13:951186. doi:10.3389/fendo.2022.951186
Rettberg JR, Yao J, Brinton RD. Estrogen: A master regulator of bioenergetic systems in the brain and body. Front Neuroendocrinol. 2014;35(1):8-30. doi:10.1016/j.yfrne.2013.08.001
McEwen BS, Milner TA. Understanding the Broad Influence of Sex Hormones and Sex Differences in the Brain. J Neurosci Res. 2017;95(1-2):24-39. doi:10.1002/jnr.23809
McCullough LD, Blizzard K, Simpson ER, Oz OK, Hurn PD. Aromatase cytochrome P450 and extragonadal estrogen play a role in ischemic neuroprotection. J Neurosci. 2003;23(25):8701-8705. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.23-25-08701.2003