To be fit and healthy, the right hormone balance is essential. Hormones control numerous aspects of our wellbeing, affecting our energy levels, mood, sleeping patterns, metabolism, bone and muscle strength and overall fitness.
The sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen, are produced in both sexes and have essential roles for fertility and sexual function, as well as other key functions that keep the body ticking over.
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is an androgen made in the adrenal gland and is the starting material or ‘building blocks’ of the sex hormones. Therefore, optimal DHEA levels are required to sustain normal levels of testosterone and estrogen.
Testosterone is the powerhouse hormone needed for fitness and strength. It is also important for motivation and as such, depression is sometimes linked to low testosterone levels.
Testosterone is responsible for building body mass in the form of lean muscle, and for burning excess fat. Exercise can boost testosterone levels in the short-term, but levels are also dependent on factors such as age and obesity. The reduction in bone and muscle strength due to the age-related decline in testosterone can be improved by exercise, particularly in men.
Estrogen is an important hormone in both men and women and is needed to boost bone mineral density. Estradiol is a product of testosterone, and so both these sex hormones play a part in keeping bones and muscles healthy.
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Over-exercising can actually reduce testosterone levels, and lead to physical stress. This can trigger production of the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol, which is made in the adrenal gland. This has a negative effect on energy levels, and the metabolism of fats and sugars. Heightened stress can also make falling asleep difficult, and lead to disrupted sleep/wake patterns. This results in daytime tiredness, reduces the ability for muscles to repair, and over time will lead to sub-optimal training.
Single or multi-hormone saliva test kits offered by TestoChecker can help understand current levels of hormones that are connected with fitness and general health:
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