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It’s not unusual for cold weather, dark evenings and financial worries to combine in a cocktail of stress and low mood. So it’s no wonder the third Monday of January has been nicknamed Blue Monday. The date itself was first conceived as part of a marketing campaign, but it does provide an opportunity to highlight the importance of talking about mental health.
If lack of motivation, broken resolutions and low mood feel familiar, you might be surprised to learn that the key to supporting a healthy mood could lie in balancing your hormones. Read on to find out more.
Chemicals produced in your brain, called neurotransmitters, regulate your mood. They pass messages from one brain cell to another. One chemical particularly important for positive and stable mood is serotonin. Low levels of serotonin are common in people suffering from depression 1.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released after pleasurable experiences and provides feelings of reward. If you don’t have enough dopamine, you might feel your get up and go has left the room. GABA, on the other hand, helps to regulate mood by affecting how your body reacts to feelings of stress and anxiety.
Ideally, all these brain chemicals should be kept in balance.a
Hormones are chemicals which pass messages around your body, instructing your cells to carry our certain tasks. If they’re out of kilter, both your physical and mental health can suffer and your mood-regulating brain chemicals may become unbalanced.
Several different hormones affect your mood, so here’s a brief round-up.
If your thyroid hormones are low, you might suffer from depression and feel apathetic. If their levels are too high, you may feel anxious and overwhelmed.
Your adrenal glands produce hormones to help you deal with stress. Cortisol allows you to react to dangerous situations, while adrenaline is known as the ‘fight or flight’ hormone. Imbalances of adrenal hormones are associated with anxiety and depression.
Low levels of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone (and bear in mind women need testosterone, while men produce oestrogen and progesterone too) can all contribute to low mood. If you’ve ever suffered from PMS or experienced fluctuating hormones around the menopause, you’ll understand the dramatic effect hormones can have on mood. Both oestrogen and progesterone influence the amount of serotonin in your brain, while progesterone appears to increase the effectiveness of GABA, producing feelings of calm.
Your pancreas releases insulin, helping to maintain a steady blood sugar level. If your blood glucose level crashes, you’ll typically feel irritable and anxious.
Although your mood is affected by hormones, you’re not at their mercy. Implementing some natural strategies can help support a healthy hormone balance and work wonders for your mood.
The above suggestions are general guidelines only, but if you would like personalised actionable strategies to balance your hormones and support your mood, we’re here to help.
Your practitioner will work with you and may recommend appropriate functional tests to assess any hormone imbalances and nutrient deficiencies disrupting your hormones and impacting your mood. Book a consultation to start your journey to better balance and improved health.
Not sure if Functional Medicine can help you with your hormone balance? Then book a free 15-minute discovery call to see if Functional Medicine is for you.
Please enter your details below and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
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