Blood Sugar- Insulin - Hormone Health: How Imbalance Happens
- It starts with consuming foods and drinks (think alcohol and juice) that cause a big spike in your blood sugar. Sugary treats, too much bread, pasta, and even some high sugar fruit like mango and pineapple can cause this spike. ( NOTE: It's not to say these things are inherently bad, but if you eat too much of them, it's a problem).
- Your blood sugar goes up and your pancreas responds by releasing insulin to move that sugar into your cells so you have energy to do all you do.
- If you eat like this too often, it leads to a consistent excess of insulin in your body, and this is where the problems begin. Insulin is a powerful hormone that’s not to be messed with, and if it is out of whack, other hormones will be out of whack too.
- When insulin levels go up, so do cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. Cortisol competes with progesterone for the same receptors. Unfortunately cortisol always wins this fight. So, progesterone often goes down, eventually leaving you in a state of progesterone deficiency or estrogen dominance which can lead to PMS, PCOS, Endometriosis, Fibroids, heavy and painful periods, migraines, depression, anxiety, acne...and the list goes on.
- As if that’s not bad enough, there are insulin receptors on the ovaries so excess insulin causes the ovaries to produce more testosterone rather than the normal estradiol and estrone they usually make.
- This excess testosterone can cause your ovaries to malfunction, which can lead to sporadic ovulation or lack of ovulation. Think PCOS and all the symptoms that come with it, irregular periods, and Amenorrhea (no period for three or more months).
- High insulin also lowers Sex Hormone Binding Globulin. SHBG binds up testosterone so that it’s not all available at once. When SHBG goes down, it allows more free testosterone into the bloodstream and this can trigger even more issues.
So as you can see, just about every cell in your body is affected by too much insulin. This link between too much insulin and your sex hormones, is why hormonal imbalances always improve when you eat to stabilize your blood sugar.
By the way, it’s not just your hormones, but your overall health too!
This article is adapted from an article by Nicole Jardim, Certified Women's Health Coach & author of Fix Your Period.
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