Here’s a comprehensive plan to optimize hormones naturally. It’s true, your primary focus after 50 should be on optimizing hormones, not special diets and exercise to lose weight. In other words, you should naturally boost the production of some hormones and naturally control or diminish the effects of others.
I’ve discovered how to naturally optimize my hormones to get the body I want … and to be exceedingly healthy. You can get there with short, frequent exercise (my preference is bodyweight workouts), proper eating (what to eat & when), sleep, supplements, and maybe some sunshine.
How To Optimize Hormones Naturally
Growth hormone and testosterone for men are optimized by brief intense fitness plans. Diets focused on higher fat intake and reduced carbs and sugar could be critical for a better blood profile, reduced risk of diabetes, and optimal hormone production. Your cardiovascular health could be positively impacted by increased nitric oxide production, induced by amino acids as supplements.
Actually, you can consider strength training, diet, and sleep as the 3 keys to natural hormone optimization, superior health, and a great physique.
But first, what are the hormones we want to optimize? Specifically, we are focused on testosterone, growth hormone/IGF-1, estrogen, cortisol, and insulin.
You can boost testosterone naturally and safely, restore your testosterone to estrogen balance, and unleash your free testosterone . . . without drugs and without testosterone boosting side effects. Optimize hormones naturally by starting with testosterone:
* Exercises that increase testosterone
* Testosterone boosting diet
* 7 to 8 hours of sleep
See How To Increase Testosterone Naturally for specifics . . .
Boost Growth Hormone & IGF-1
The production of human growth hormone peaks when we are teenagers. In fact, as young men, HGH is released in pulses occurring every few hours. This release decreases as we age.
HGH production drops quickly after age forty and by age sixty our HGH production has dropped as much as 80%. Keep in mind, HGH is produced by your body throughout your life. And your pituitary gland has the ability to keep producing human growth hormone at the same levels as when you were young. Supplements for natural HGH release …
In fact, growth hormone may be the key to anti aging. Boost growth hormone naturally and safely with:
* HGH releasing exercise
* HGH releasing diet balancing blood sugar levels and reducing insulin spikes
* Quality sleep (HGH production peaks during REM sleep)
* Reducing estrogen, cortisol, and stress
* Supplements that increase HGH naturally
You can also optimize hormones naturally with a focus on reducing estrogen and cortisol. It’s true, estrogen is thought of as a female hormone but it’s also found in men in small amounts. However, consider this, your testosterone level is normally 10 times higher than your estrogen level. And as you get older, this ratio can get out of balance.
The result – too much estrogen can kill your free testosterone levels.
Even more insidious is how estrogen is acquired from the environment. Shampoos, chemicals, water, processed foods, food packaging . . . all may contain estrogen-mimics known as xenoestrogens. The effect is the same – a rising estrogen to testosterone ratio in your body.
What’s Normal Estrogen For Men?
Normal estrogen for men (measured as estradiol) should be in the mid-normal to lower-normal range. If estradiol levels are in the upper one-third of the normal range or above the normal range, you should reduce it.
A reference range for estradiol is 3-50 picogram/ml. For optimal health, estradiol should be in the range of 10-30 picogram/ml for a man of any age.
The fact that most aging men have too much estrogen does not mean it’s good for a man to have low estrogen. Some estrogen is normal and is needed by men to maintain bone density. In fact, abnormally low estrogen levels may actually increase the risk for prostate cancer and osteoporosis.
Normal Estrogen Balance – your objective should be to achieve hormone balance, not to create high testosterone levels without enough estrogen. However, the bigger problem is still too much estrogen.
How does cortisol affect testosterone? Cortisol is a destructive “stress” hormone and you can consider its effects as the opposite of anti aging growth hormone. Cortisol impacts the actions of testosterone by reducing hormone receptor sensitivity. In effect, cortisol lowers testosterone.
Optimize Hormones Naturally and Reduce Cortisol
Here’s how to reduce cortisol and gain better adrenal health:
- Get more deep sleep
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet
- Eat small meals, frequently
- Take supplements to reduce cortisol such as ashwagandha or PS
- Regular, short workouts
- Full recovery between workouts
- Reduce stress . . . which triggers cortisol production
See How To Reduce Cortisol for details and a plan for reducing cortisol.
How Cortisol and Stress Affect Insulin
Insulin is “storage” or “transportation” hormone that moves energy into your cells. When insulin levels are high, your body stores glycogen and fat. Constantly overeating produces too much insulin and can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistant cells struggle to get energy from the blood stream.
Cortisol, on the other hand, mobilizes stored energy into readily available form such as glucose. Interestingly, insulin and cortisol have similar effect on weight gain. In the short term, cortisol and insulin play opposite roles. But in the long term, cortisol actually raises insulin. Here’s how . . .
Modern forms of stress increase cortisol, but there is no intense physical exertion afterwards to lower blood glucose. So, if you’re under constant stress, you’re glucose levels stay elevated.
In fact, your blood glucose can remain elevated for months at a time. And this chronic elevation in glucose has been shown to trigger the release of insulin. Constant stress leads to chronically elevated cortisol levels which leads to increased insulin.
Bottom line, insulin causes obesity and especially concerning, belly fat. So, to optimize hormones naturally, you need to control insulin.
How Insulin Affects hGH
High blood sugar levels and the associated high insulin levels can have a great impact on hGH. Elevated blood sugar limits hGH production by the pituitary and causes the pancreas to release insulin. High insulin level shuts down production of hGH.
And as insulin increases, so does cortisol – see Reducing Cortisol.
By contrast, low blood sugar (such as in a fasting state) stimulates the pituitary to produce hGH which induces fat burning. This typically happens during sleep or in the morning if you postpone your first meal of the day.
Control Insulin and Balance Blood Sugar
Diets focused on higher fat intake and reduced carbs and sugar could be critical for a better blood profile, reduced risk of diabetes, and optimal hormone production.
Intermittent fasting or diets with reduced “feeding times” help avoid spikes in blood sugar level and subsequently, insulin spikes. Keeping insulin low or limiting how often insulin spikes, has a great impact on hormone production.
Mitochondrial Decline and Diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, you either have too little insulin or your cells have grown resistant to insulin. Your body can no longer control blood sugar levels and you cannot convert your food to energy.
Research has shown that treating type 2 diabetes should focus on both blood sugar levels and mitochondrial health. And to support mitochondrial health, you want to stimulate the activity of the enzyme AMPK in your cells. AMPK increases ability of your cells to take up glucose so it will be converted to energy rather than boosting your blood sugar levels or sending it to fat stores.
Sleep plays a critical role to optimize hormones naturally . In fact, some researchers say sleep is more important to hormone health than diet or exercise. Your body produces the greatest amounts of hGH, IGF-1, and testosterone while you sleep.
Insulin and cortisol levels are also low during sleep since you are fasting and you are recovering from stress. You can augment natural GH production by taking hormone boosting supplements at bedtime. Sleep 7 to 8 hours a night. See How To Boost HGH With Better Sleep.