Hormones play a key role in controlling many of our bodily functions and they are vital when it comes to energy.
Do you experience energy slumps, struggle to get out of bed, or just can’t bear going out to dinner with friends because you’ll be too tired for work the next day?
It’s time to get a little more specific about what could really be going on when you have low energy.
Hormones essentially tell your cells what to do, by upregulating ATP production, which is the form of energy used within our cells.
Every single cell and organ in our body uses ATP to function, from things such as waking up in the morning to our immune system being able to fight a bug.
The Hormone and Energy Relationship
Ultimately, you want all of your hormones to be balanced in a perfect symphony with one another. Let’s take a closer look at two key hormones that are essential for energy production.
The thyroid is responsible for creating thyroid hormones including thyroxine. Every cell in the body has thyroxine receptors found on its DNA, making it one very important hormone for energy production. It essentially controls our ability to produce energy.
Cortisol, our daytime hormone is important to keep us energized throughout the day. This is the hormone that gets us out of bed in the morning! Having optimal levels of cortisol means we have a good amount of ‘stress’ each day. However, in the modern world prolonged stress has become increasingly more common, leaving us with depleted energy to live the life we want.
This is because cortisol is made in our adrenal glands which also happens to produce the precursors for our sex hormones. So when we experience stress, our body prioritizes cortisol production over sex hormones, essentially prioritizing survival over reproduction. This is known as the ‘flight or fight response.
Bear in mind that any form of stress is perceived by the body the same way. This could be emotional, nutritional, physical, physiological, and psychological stress.
How do unbalanced hormones impact energy?
1. Thyroid Dysfunction
When our thyroid hormones are unbalanced, we are either producing too many thyroid hormones or too few. If we have too few thyroid hormones or the wrong form, it makes it much harder for our body to use fuel to create energy. Think of a car full of petrol but with a broken motor, even with the appropriate fuel, it still can’t get to where it needs to go unless the motor is working.
2. Adrenal Fatigue
If we constantly push the adrenal glands into overdrive with the demands of stress, eventually this will lead to adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is when the adrenal glands can no longer keep up with the amount of cortisol required to cope with stress, which leaves us feeling tired, sluggish, and unmotivated.
The most common sign that your lack of energy is at a hormonal level, is if you still feel tired even after a good night’s sleep.
3. Estrogen Dominance
We often see estrogen dominance as another sign that hormonal imbalance is impacting energy.
Estrogen dominance is when we have excess estrogen, largely due to environmental factors. This is because in the modern world there are estrogen-mimicking chemicals we are exposed to, and our body just isn’t able to deal with estrogen. These mimic-estrogens are called xenoestrogens.
One of the main signs of estrogen dominance is a lack of energy, but we also see things like menstrual cycle issues and weight that won’t budge.
Estrogen dominance, especially the type from the environment, creates hormonal noise which exhausts our energy at a cellular level. An excess of hormones, also means more work for our liver, as the liver needs to detoxify all the hormones that we don’t need.