Hormones play a crucial role in our bodies, so we spoke to Forth's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Nicky Keay who has extensive clinical and research experience in the fields of endocrinology, to learn more about hormones and hormone imbalance.
What Role Do Hormones Play In Our Bodies?
- Menstrual cycles
- Growth and development
- Sexual function and reproduction
- Body composition
- Bone health
- Mood and cognitive function
- Sleep and wake cycles
- Response to exercise
- Blood sugar control
Some of the hormones produced by the endocrine system include:
- Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
- Luteinising Hormone (LH)
- Oestrogen (oestradiol)
- Thyroid Hormones (TSH, T4, and T3)
What Causes Hormone Imbalance?
Functional Hormone Imbalance
The above chart shows the impact of training load, nutrition and recovery on the endocrine system and therefore your hormones. Keeping training loads, recovery time and nutrition in balance will help support your endocrine system and in turn bodily functions key to health and sports performance.
As Dr Nicky Keay explains, "Why is having an optimal balance of lifestyle factors of exercise, food, and recovery crucial to health? These are key factors in maintaining healthy hormones. Hormones are internal chemical messengers that underpin all the crucial life processes that occur in the human body. Imbalances in this hormone networks result in suboptimal health and performance. Monitoring hormones empowers you to focus on aspects of lifestyle that can rebalance hormones to ensure health and performance."
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
- Reduced libido
- Weight gain and/or change in body composition e.g. difficulty in building muscle mass
- Response to exercise training and slower recovery times post-exercise
- Mood changes such as anxiety, depression, or irritability
One way to gain a deeper insight into your hormones is through a finger prick blood test.
Our female hormone blood test measures the key female hormones FSH, LH and oestrogen, along with other endocrine system hormones such as prolactin, testosterone, and thyroid hormones. The test will show whether you have a hormone imbalance that may be affecting your health.
Our male hormone blood test measures testosterone - which is the main male hormone measured in blood and affects multiple functions in the body - along with the hormones that control testosterone production. These are LH and prolactin both of which can reduce the amount of testosterone being produced.
It's key to understand the importance of hormones for health and performance and that any hormone imbalance will impact both. A hormone imbalance can be caused by lifestyle or medical conditions. Finally, understanding your body from the inside will help you make the right changes to achieve your health goals.