Fatigue, weight gain, declining sex drive, decreasing muscle strength, irritability – all can be unwelcome signs of aging or stress for both men and women.
Some doctors, however, think those symptoms often are rooted in a deeper problem: insufﬁcient hormone levels. Studies show a gradual decline in testosterone begins for most men after age 30, and women can start struggling with hormonal imbalance between 35 and 40.
Hormonal issues are associated with long-term, serious health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure. But before those arise, there are do-it-yourself ways to boost hormones or bring them back in balance, says Dr. Don Colbert (www.drcolbert. com), author of Dr. Colbert’s Hormone Health Zone.
“The foundational, do-it-yourself plan is really the best place for most people, regardless of age or gender, to begin their hormone therapy,” Colbert says. “It is the basis of good health.
“Millions of patients have been told their symptoms were due to aging, stress, or depression, and were probably prescribed an antidepressant. But what they probably need is, ﬁrst, a blood test, and then to get on track to optimizing their hormones. When that happens, most of these symptoms can be relieved.”
Dr. Colbert summarizes what people can do to restore hormonal equilibrium and enjoy better health and vitality:
- Use the Keto Zone diet. Dr. Colbert suggests this nutritional approach in which 70 percent of the daily food intake comes from fat (ﬁ sh oil, seeds, nuts), 15 percent is protein (grass-fed meats, ﬁsh), and the remaining 15 percent is carbohydrates (salads, vegetables, herbs). “The Keto Zone diet is one of the best lifestyle diets you can be on because it is anti-inﬂammatory and burns fat,” Dr. Colbert says. “You lower inflammation by choosing anti-inﬂammatory foods and lowering sugars, carbs, and starches dramatically.”
- Increase exercise. Physical activity can strongly inﬂuence hormonal health. Two major benefits are lowering insulin levels and increasing testosterone. “Incorporating weight-lifting and some cardio like bike riding or walking on a regular basis make a big difference,” Dr. Colbert says.
- Find ways to relax. “Stress affects us in every conceivable way,” Dr. Colbert says. “Reducing it is a must for hormonal health. There’s a certain amount we endure, but developing ways to combat stress is key, lowering cortisol levels. When cortisol levels rise, it triggers calorie intake and even obesity. Try soothing music on a long commute, doing things you enjoy, cutting back on caffeine and electronics, turning the noise down in your life – in general taking more time for yourself.”
- Get more sleep. About one-third of adults don’t get enough sleep. Research shows those who fail to get enough sleep increase their risk of chronic disease. You should aim for seven hours nightly. “Increased sleep boosts the adrenal gland reserve by decreasing the amount of cortisol that the body produces when under extreme stress,” Dr. Colbert says. “Cortisol lowers testosterone levels, so ﬁxing this one area would have a compound beneﬁcial effect on the body.”
“Can you boost all your different hormones by improving your lifestyle – changing your diet, exercising, having less stress, getting more sleep?” Dr. Colbert asks. “The answer is a resounding yes.”
[Don Colbert, M.D. (www. drcolbert.com), is the author of Dr. Colbert’s Hormone Health Zone. He has been a board-certiﬁed family practice doctor for more than 25 years and has ofﬁces in Orlando, Fla., and Dallas. The author of over 40 books, he wrote two New York Times best-sellers – The Seven Pillars of Health and Dr. Colbert’s “I Can Do This” Diet – has sold more than 10 million books and treated 50,000-plus patients. Dr. Colbert is a frequent show guest of Christian leaders Joyce Meyer, John Hagee, and Kenneth Copeland and has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, Fox News, ABC World News Tonight, and in periodicals such as Newsweek and Reader’s Digest.]