Hormones regulate most bodily functions, controlling within specific ranges how the body performs. These levels sometimes fluctuate because of normal physiologic changes such as pregnancy or ovulation, and will increase or decrease when the body is in a diseased state. Hormones also fluctuate because of the foods we eat.
Our body is efficient at maintaining homeostasis, and has the means to counteract most of what can potentially disturb the delicate balance of our hormones. Although this is the case, air pollutants, toxins, and daily stressors can throw your hormones out of whack.
Diseases, on the other hand, are known to produce unwanted effects, and are usually something we don’t worry about as long as we are feeling healthy. Some may be surprised to learn that the food we eat can have detrimental effects on our hormones.
Everything we eat affects our body in some way, but how it affects us depends on the inherent nature of the food we eat. Much of the food that we eat has been studied extensively, and is known to have certain effects on the body, including on our hormones.
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Naturally, we expect that a healthy diet will have healthy effects on our bodies. So, does this mean that the high fat, low carbohydrate diet, that we espouse for its extensive health benefits, also affects our hormones? Of course it does, but it affects your hormones for the better. Aside from the nootropic benefits, we will detail other benefits of a high fat, low carbohydrate diet.
Your Thyroid Hormones When in Balance Maintain Optimal Metabolism
Your thyroid has many functions, and one of its most important is related to growth and metabolism. The body produces just enough hormones to maintain your growth, within the optimum levels, and to allow your body to maintain your metabolism, which provides you with just the right amount of energy. The thyroid hormones T3 and T4 are the main players here, and they also regulate your heart rate and body temperature.
A diet low in carbohydrates will decrease your T3 levels. T3 has been linked to cellular metabolism, and controlling its amount restricts cellular basal metabolic activity. This is considered a benefit as opposed to a negative effect. Energy is conserved by limiting T3, which increases the lifespan on a cellular level. This also reduces free-radical formation, which is known to have destructive effects.
Does this decrease in T3 levels mean that you’ll end up with thyroid dysfunction or hypothyroidism? Definitely not. Hypothyroidism is the condition wherein your thyroid produces low levels of thyroid hormones. The body regulates this low level by producing more thyroid stimulating hormone, or TSH. Thus, your thyroid will produce more hormones when T3 levels drop. Hypothyroidism will not make your thyroid produce more hormones, even when your body makes more TSH. Your low carbohydrate diet is not a cause of hormonal imbalance.
Your body maintains a euthyroid state, which is normal for your thyroid, and although T3 is reduced, a euthyroid state is still achieved.
The Endocrine System Maintains Blood Hormone Levels
The production of endocrine hormones is a closely regulated processes. The hypothalamic-pituitary axis, or HPA, is the system responsible for this. Your adrenal glands are the glands that are primarily responsible for producing most of your endocrine hormones. The process by which they are produced starts with a signal coming from a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. This creates signals detected by the pituitary gland, which in turn, produces signals that tell the adrenal glands to produce the hormones.
Your high fat, low carbohydrate nootropic diet helps with better hypothalamic stimulation, and does not negatively affect your endocrine system. The way that your body processes a nootropic diet will not have any adverse effect on how your endocrine system functions.
In the hypothalamus, there are neuropeptides that are stimulatory mechanisms, which become elevated on a nootropic diet. Certain nootropics elevate naturally existing chemicals within your brain and body, which then act as signaling molecules recognized by a mechanism present in the hypothalamus, thus improving its activity and function.
During stressful moments, your body produces cortisol, one of the endpoints of the HPA. Cortisol allows your body to adapt to stressful events and face challenges. Some may think that having a high level of cortisol is a good thing, but in actuality, a high cortisol level will put your body in a state of constant stress, which can leave you physically and mentally fatigued. Your body also produces high levels of sugar, which can lead to dreadful effects later on.
Your nootropic diet will either improve the function of your HPA axis, or keep it functioning as it is.
But, what if your hormones do get out of whack when you go on a diet? Here are a few things that could possibly be the cause.
Stress Exacerbates Hormonal Problems and Contributes to Mental & Physical Decline
There are many forms of stress, and you may be putting your brain through more than what it is capable of handling in a healthy way. Your brain may already be going through some type of stress, and making additional changes could further exacerbate hormonal problems.
Stress can also lead to changes changes in your menstrual cycle such as a decrease in the flow of menses, or variations in the intervals between each menstruation. It is possible to experience episodes of depression, and your thyroid levels may decrease as a direct or indirect result of your cortisol levels. Your thyroid levels may also decrease, as a direct or indirect effect of your cortisol levels. This may cause a general feeling of fatigue, causing you to tire easily.
Not Getting Enough Food Isn't The Answer
Going on a diet does not mean not eating. Maintaining a healthy diet simply means controlling the amount of food and the types of food that you consume. As with any good diet, the focus should be placed on eating the right amount and type of foods to maintain your health.
If you starve yourself, you are only putting stress on your body. Your body will go into survival mode, and all types of changes will occur, including the release of hormones that will put your body in a state ready for low food supply. When in this state, your body will feel terrible.
An Underlying Disease
If things feel off from the get-go, it might be best to consult an expert before engaging in any type of diet. If one day you were feeling fine, and suddenly your periods become erratic, or you suddenly start having strange sensations or a pains that don’t seem to go away, consult with your physician. It is possible that you might need some form of medical attention. Your hormones might have been off to begin with, before you even had the chance to improve them through proper diet.
Any diet you undertake should be done under the guidance of a professional. See your doctor for anything that might not feel right. In fact, you should consult with a medical professional even if you are feeling well. By consulting with a medical professional before beginning your diet, you can make yourself aware of any underlying medical conditions, or at the very least, get a greater picture of the state of your health before you begin. You can use the doctor’s findings as a starting reference point for your health journey, or even use the findings to determine if the diet is causing health problems, once you get started.
Should You Start a High Fat, Low Carbohydrate Diet Now?
Once you have completed the basics, you are ready to begin exploring this diet, which is really more of a lifestyle. Eating high fat, low carb really isn’t a diet. It’s merely a matter of substituting the bulk of calories you were getting from carbs for mostly fat and a moderate amount of lean protein. High fat, low carbohydrate nootropic diets do not negatively affect women’s hormones, and any imbalance that you are experiencing is likely caused by other underlying conditions that you may not be aware of.
Don’t stress out about constantly making healthy food choices. Your cortisol levels could increase significantly, causing you more trouble. Start small, and at least give up the foods that are extremely detrimental. We’ve covered good and bad carbs, as well as fats to be explored and fats to be avoided, and healthy nootropic snacks.
Always eat the right amount of healthy foods. Too high a quantity of even healthy food can lead to weight gain. So try not to ingest more than what you burn in a day.
Fasting and caloric restriction does not ruin your metabolism and can be very helpful resets that your brain and body desperately need. That being said, if you are overweight you are definitely eating more than your body needs. Does this mean that you need to be model skinny? Absolutely not.
Be fit and in shape for your shape no matter what that is. Depending on activity level and eating habits your brain and body have a set point, and for most people it’s a weight that is achieved in their early twenties as youthful metabolism has waned, and unnecessary weight gain has not yet taken place.
There are plenty of reasons your hormones could get out of sync. The opinion and advice of an expert is always necessary when you’re not feeling right. While studies have shown that a high fat, low carbohydrate diet produces excellent effects on your body, be sure to consult your physician to rule out other causes for your decline, and to ensure that your current diet is right for you.
Stop Dieting and Start Making Healthy Choices For Your Diet, Got it?
Always make sure that your diet goals are healthy. While most want to lose weight for the purpose of looking good, having a healthy goal incorporates looking good. Being fit and strong for your personal shape is the best approach. While being thin has always been popular, there has been a great shift in mentality, with the belief that too low of weight may not necessarily be good. Being healthy is the new trend, and proper diet and weight are key.
Always seek the guidance of an expert when going on a diet. Have yourself checked out prior to starting your diet to determine your level of fitness. A diet may cause a great deal of stress as you go from one way of eating to another that is drastically different.
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Consult your physician immediately if you experience any negative symptoms, or have any concerns. It’s possible that what you are feeling is normal for the stage of the diet you are in. These diets are not meant to be harsh, but a certain level of adjustment should be expected. With this new way of eating, your body may be experiencing changes it hasn’t experienced previously.
There is no reason not to begin benefitting from a nootropic diet. A healthy mind and body are a great benefit, and there is no better way to achieve this than through a high fat, low carbohydrate diet. Plan it out the right way, and stick to it, and you’ll see its positive effects in no time.