For the body to function, nerves and organs must be able talk both among themselves and to each other. Our hormonal system is one of the body’s main means of communication. Hormones are signaling substances that travel through us and instruct organs what to do. Humans make a large number of different hormones. These affect everything from our metabolism, our mental state, our energy levels, wakefulness and sleep, growth and fertility ‒ our entire well-being! Endocrinology (the medical field of hormones) is highly complex. The body's different hormonal systems constantly talk to and modify one another, and continuously respond to things that we do and are exposed to in our everyday lives.
Lifestyle factors that can affect hormone levels are stress, obesity and insulin resistance as well as a lack of specific nutrients needed for hormone production. Autoimmunity and genetic heredity are also potential contributing causes of hormonal disorders. How our intestinal flora influences hormonal health is an expanding and intriguing research field, and there is even talk of an “oestrogen-gut microbiome axis”.
Sex hormones, stress hormones, thyroid hormones, sleep hormones and metabolic hormones often come into focus in functional medicine. At Nordic Clinic, we regularly use tests that can point to abnormalities in hormone production and/or hormone breakdown. We can map how female sex hormones fluctuate over the menstrual cycle and look at hormone levels in women suffering from perimenopause. Measuring testosterone in men can indicate whether a lack of the hormone may be contributing to low well-being.
Examples of hormones we can test:
Cortisol and cortisone
Cortisol awakening response
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
Luteinizing hormone (LH)
Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG)
We all carry genes coding for enzymes that are responsible for converting hormones into other hormones, and for breaking down and secreting hormones from the body. We can use research-based DNA tests to investigate which gene variants our patients carry, and whether they influence their ability to convert and metabolise hormones. Also, did you know that our gut bacteria can produce an enzyme that modifies reabsorption of secreted oestrogen in the intestine, and thus affect hormone balance? We’re able to test the levels of this enzyme in our patients and link them to findings made from hormone testing.
So, how would one know whether one’s health issues are of hormonal origin? It’s difficult to list specific symptoms that indicate a hormonal cause. Symptoms that might motivate looking into hormones are hair loss, listlessness and depression, morning fatigue, loss of motivation, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, infertility, stress sensitivity, palpitations, breast cancer, involuntary weight gain or weight loss, PMS and PMDD. If symptoms vary with the menstrual cycle, that may be an indication to look into sex hormones, specifically. Note, however, that the listed symptoms may have other root causes, unrelated to hormones. We’re happy to welcome you at the clinic for a thorough health investigation to kick off your healing journey.