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Hormones are special chemical messengers that travel, via our blood, to every organ and tissue in our body. These messengers control most major bodily functions, from simple basic needs like hunger to complex systems like reproduction, and even the emotions and mood.
Most men produce 6-8 mg of the male hormone testosterone per day. Most women produce 0.5 mg daily.
Male Hypogonadism is a condition whereby the testicles don’t produce enough testosterone. It can be caused by a problem in the testicles, limiting the production of the hormone and causing deficiency. It can also indicate a problem at the top end, the brain. The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland are responsible for triggering production of the hormone in the testicles, so if they don’t work. there’s a problem. Other causes of Hypogonadism can be cancer treatment, obesity, mumps, injury to the testicles, abnormal chromosomes (Klinefelter syndrome), an oversupply of iron, pituitary disorders, HIV/AIDS, medications and or concurrent illness.
Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR), refers to the rise in cortisol levels observed at 30 minutes post-awakening, (approximately 35-60% above the waking value) followed by an expected decline in the following hour. The behaviour of cortisol is an important physiological response to anticipation of the day ahead and is a key indicator of Adrenal reactivity. The waking, 30 minute, and 60 minute cortisol results comprise something of a “mini stress test.”
Testosterone controls the development of typical male features (e.g., deep voice, face and body hair, muscle bulk) and male fertility. Abnormally low levels of testosterone can decrease sexual performance, muscle and bone strength, and increase fatigue and depression.
(Also known as “Oestradiol”) Although considered a female sex hormone, estradiol – the predominant form of estrogen – plays a critical role in regulating male libido, erectile function and sperm maturation. Estradiol imbalance can cause depression, increased body fat, decreased bone density and sexual dysfunction.
Progesterone is involved in the production of other adrenal hormones, including cortisol, testosterone and estrogen. Progesterone regulates ovulation in females, and sperm production and sexual behaviour in males. Progesterone imbalances can cause infertility, weight gain, low sex drive and depressive symptoms.
Dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S) is the major precursor of sex hormones in males and females. Low DHEA-S levels will lead to reduced levels of other sex hormones and also can cause depression, loss of bone and muscle strength, and low sexual function.
Cortisol is a broad-acting hormone involved in regulating metabolism and managing stress. Cortisol regulates blood pressure and immune function, and controls inflammation. Because it has such wide ranging effects, a cortisol imbalance can produce a wide variety of health problems.
High levels of oestrone have been linked with existing diabetes and the increased risk of incident diabetes in both men and woman. In pre-menopausal women, high estrone levels increase breast and endometrial cancer risk, while low levels can cause osteoporosis, fatigue, loss of libido and depression. In post-menopausal women, low levels of estrone can worsen menopause symptoms, especially osteoporosis.
Estriol is mainly produced in the placenta during pregnancy. Estriol levels indicate the health of the unborn baby, but estriol has no significant biological role in non-pregnant, premenopausal women. Estriol may have a role in hormone replacement therapy to reduce symptoms associated with menopause.
Melatonin forms part of the system that regulates the sleep-wake cycle by chemically causing drowsiness and lowering the body temperature. Secretion of Melatonin, as well as its level in the blood, peaks in the middle of the night and gradually falls during the second half of the night, with normal variations in timing according to an individual’s chronotype. [note: A person’s chronotype is the propensity for the individual to sleep at a particular time during a 24-hour period.] Melatonin is also important for its ability to scavenge free radicals and to regulate the activity and expression of antioxidant and pro-oxidant enzymes.
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