Improve Your Mood With These Feel-Good Hormones
“How are you?”
You probably hear this at least a few times a day…maybe more often if you’re a little down or out of sorts.
What you may not know is that hormones have a lot to do with your emotional state. In fact, hormones control whether you feel upbeat and happy…versus sad and depressed.
So which hormones are we talking about? And what do they do?
Keep reading to learn more about the hormones that can improve your mood…and how to keep them in balance.
Serotonin is often referred to as the “feel-good hormone”. But it’s also an important neurotransmitter.
In its role as a neurotransmitter, serotonin helps to regulate your mood, sleep, brain function, digestion, and circadian rhythm (i.e. your sleep/wake cycle).
Serotonin is produced by the bacteria in your gut biome from tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in many dairy products, whole grains, fish, beef, and eggs. Pre-biotic foods that promote gut health also play a role in maintaining healthy serotonin levels.
Like serotonin, dopamine is produced in your gut, and is involved in important processes like motor control, cognition, and memory.
Beyond those functions, dopamine controls your brain’s motivation and reward response. When you think about doing something you like, your brain releases dopamine in anticipation of that thing. This can be anything from drinking a glass of wine to eating a good meal or having a piece of chocolate cake after a hard day of work.
However, dopamine release has also been linked to addictive behavior…so choose your pleasures and rewards wisely.
You know that good feeling you get after a workout or a run? That’s your endorphins in action.
Endorphins act like natural pain-relievers by attaching to opioid receptors in your body to block pain signals. Simultaneously, they encourage the release of dopamine in your brain.
The release of large amounts of endorphins when you engage in a strenuous physical activity…whether it’s a long run, a gym workout, or sex…causes your body to release large amounts of endorphins.
This doesn’t just mask pain as your body repairs damage…it also leaves you with an intensely good feeling.
This massive release of endorphins and dopamine is what causes the “runner’s high” that long-distance runners experience…not to mention the “afterglow” people experience after sex.
Known as the “cuddle hormone”, oxytocin is best known for enhancing the mother-child bond, and for promoting intimacy between sexual partners. Oxytocin also has an anti-anxiety effect, and it counteracts the negative effects of cortisol during times of stress.
One important feature of oxytocin is the way it fosters bonding and trust between people. Some studies have shown that higher oxytocin levels are linked more satisfying sex, and to greater perceived love within couples.
Thyroid hormone controls energy production and metabolism for every cell in your body. And…it significantly affects mood.
Low thyroid levels (also known as hypothyroidism) are notorious for causing depression, anxiety, and irritability. Alternatively, thyroid levels that are too high can leave you feeling nervous and restless.
The sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone…can have a powerful effect on mood.
Women can experience depression and/or anxiety when estrogen and progesterone levels are low, or when these two hormones are out of balance relative to each other. Men can suffer from depression when estrogen levels are too low or too high. For both sexes, estrogen is protective when it comes to preserving cognition.
Testosterone is mood stabilizing for both men and women when present at optimal levels. Irritability is particularly common in men when testosterone levels are low.
What Should You Do?
Healthy aging has as much to do with your mental health as it does with your physical health…and both depend on properly balanced hormones.
Here are a few suggestions for keeping the hormones mentioned above at healthy levels:
- Good gut health
- Get your hormone levels checked
Many mood-elevating hormones (such as serotonin) are produced from amino acids. Make sure you consume the appropriate amount of protein to maintain your supply of these key chemical building-blocks.
Your intestinal tract is responsible for producing many of the hormones that support good mental health. A healthy diet and supplementing probiotics can help to ensure your gut biome functions optimally.
Balanced hormones are essential for your emotional health. However… hormone production declines with age. Depression, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings are all symptoms that one or more hormones may be deficient or out of balance.
At Renew Youth, we know the importance of balanced hormones relative to your mental and physical well-being. And we can provide the testing and bioidentical hormone therapy you need for better aging.
Want to learn more? Give us a call at 800-850-7511 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free consultation.