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  • Writer's pictureZina Turner

Wired and Tired?

What does it look like when hormones are out of balance? Hormones work together in delicate harmony. A great analogy for hormone balance is an orchestra, think of just one player being out of tune, and how that would diminish the whole performance of the orchestra. The endocrine system works in the same way, when just one hormone is out of balance, it can throw off your entire system. The good news is there are several natural ways to get your hormones back on track.

Common hormone imbalances

High cortisol (the body's main stress hormone) - over production of this hormone is quite common. Every time the body experiences stress, either big or small, the adrenal glands pump out cortisol to help the body deal with what it thinks is a life-threatening event. It can be a little to overprotective sometimes, and this can backfire in the long run. For example, whether you are sitting in traffic or if a lion is chasing you, your body is experiencing the same response. For many women, the alarm bells never shut off, and they get caught in a perpetual state of alarm. This is especially true for those type A personalities.

Other causes of high cortisol include food allergies. The most common offenders are wheat and other gluten containing products, dairy, corn, soy, and sugar. Often, the foods people tend to crave the most are the ones that most commonly cause negative reactions. Many people find their mood and health improve when they cut wheat or gluten, even though they don't have food allergies or celiac disease. The body can have an inflammatory response to just about any food. Over exercising, extreme dieting, and eating disorders also raise cortisol. Just like those nightly Oreo's can impact the body, on the other side of the coin, starving the body of essential nutrients can also be detrimental on blood sugar balance that triggers cortisol release, and triggers the adrenal glands. Also, the body can interpret too much or high intensity exercise as stress, because the body cannot tell the difference between a marathon or running away form a pack of wolves.

Most common symptoms of high cortisol

Feeling tired and wired

Difficulty falling or staying asleep

Increased belly fat

Sugar cravings

Difficulty concentrating

Anxiety or nervousness

High blood pressure

High blood sugar

Decreased fertility

Low cortisol (The flip side of high cortisol) - This commonly happens in people who have run the course of high cortisol for so long, that their adrenal glands respond by producing less cortisol. The adrenal glands simply can't keep up with the overproduction of cortisol anymore. It's like trying to run a race, and after many miles, there is simply no end in sight. Eventually, you would have to slow down or take a break, or just plain give up because you are so worn out. Low cortisol happens when your adrenal glands are just simply exhausted. Low cortisol is also common in people who have experienced trauma, disease, autoimmune, or certain genetics

Common symptoms of low cortisol

Fatigue (from low level to crippling)

Difficulty staying asleep

Feeling unrested, even after a good night's sleep


Low blood pressure

Decreased stress tolerance

Crying for no apparent reason

Feelings of depression or negativity

Inability to cope

Some hormone imbalances can take the form of too much or too little cortisol production. Too much cortisol can occur as a result of too much mental, emotional, or physical stress, or food allergies. Too little cortisol is a long term effect of chronic stress. Low cortisol can also occur as a result of trauma or disease.

Thyroid issues are one of the most common hormonal disorders, effecting millions of people in the U.S. alone. According to the American Thyroid Association, 20 million people have some form of thyroid disorder, and up to 60 percent of these people are unaware of their condition. Women are 5 to 8 times more likely to have thyroid issues. It's estimated that 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid disorder in her lifetime.

The most common of these issues is low thyroid. There are two ways this can happen, the thyroid doesn't produce enough hormone, both low and high cortisol will slow down the production of thyroid hormones. Secondly, the thyroid is pumping out the inactive form of thyroid hormone, and cannot convert it to the necessary active form.

Common causes of Low Thyroid

Hashimoto's disease


Endocrine disrupting chemicals (commonly found in personal care products and plastic)

Nutrient deficiencies (selenium, vitamin D, amino acids)

Symptoms of Low Thyroid

Dry skin and hair

Hair loss

Brittle nails

Cold hands and feet

Sensitivity to cold

Fatigue and depression

Stubborn fat or unexplained weight gain

Heavy periods

Low sex drive

Infertility or missed periods

Low thyroid is one of the most common hormone imbalances, and is particularly prevalent in women. Stress, disease, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and nutritional deficiencies can all lead to low thyroid which has a variety of unpleasant physical and mental symptoms.

Cortisol and thyroid imbalances can both be brought on by a variety of stressors. This means that interventions to help manage stress and nutritional deficiencies can be really helpful in restoring balance. As a health coach, these hormone imbalances are some of the health issues, I help clients overcome. I would love to hear from you, if you are experiencing any of these common issues. Contact me


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