Dr. Brooke Leverone N.D.

Understanding Hormones

A Hormone Guide From San Diego Naturopathic Doctor Brooke Leverone

You may know that hormones play an important role in your overall health, but figuring out exactly how they work in your body and which hormones are responsible for what can be confusing. San Diego hormone expert Dr. Brooke Leverone is a California-licensed Naturopathic Doctor who has dedicated her practice in La Jolla to helping patients find better health through hormone balancing. Keep reading to learn more about how your hormones work.

What Are Hormones?

The human body is an amazing symphony of different biological systems working together to keep you moving, breathing, circulating blood, processing nutrients, and functioning in hundreds of different ways. The endocrine system can be seen as the conductor of this masterpiece. Your endocrine system consists of a variety of glands that produce substances called hormones. Each hormone has a specific job and they all travel through the bloodstream to get to work. 

Impact of Hormones on Health

Hormones send messages to tissues and organs to tell them what to do. For example, you may have heard of melatonin because synthetic melatonin is a widely available supplement to support sleep. Melatonin is created naturally in your body by the pineal gland, which is located in your brain, and its job is to signal to the body when it is time to sleep and when it is time to wake. 

Dr. Leverone specializes in Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) for individuals who need hormonal support to get relief from symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, hot flashes, and digestive issues. BHRT often focuses on these key hormones:

Estrogen

Estrogen is considered a female sex hormone, but it plays a critical role in maintaining healthy bones and joints, as well as youthful hair and skin. It also supports brain function, influences moods, and helps control cholesterol.1 Men can benefit from balanced amounts of estrogen. Low estrogen can cause low libido, insomnia, hot flashes, mood swings, and dry skin. 

Testosterone

Testosterone is a sex hormone that is found in both sexes, although in much higher amounts for men. Testosterone is important for libido, sexual function, bone density, and muscle strength; low testosterone can lead to hair loss, infertility, fatigue, and low libido.2 

Progesterone

Progesterone is essential for a woman’s reproductive function and a healthy menstrual cycle. It also plays a part in balancing estrogen and regulating moods and sleep. Low levels of progesterone can cause low libido, painful menstrual cycles, weight gain, and gallbladder issues.3 Restoring progesterone balance can significantly improve overall energy and well-being. 

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

DHEA is the highest circulating steroid that is naturally produced by the human body.4 As a precursor hormone, DHEA helps the body create other hormones. Since DHEA production gradually slows with age, some experts believe that DHEA supplementation can be the key to looking and feeling more youthful. Low levels of DHEA may cause fatigue, weight gain, and mood swings.  

What is a Hormonal Imbalance?

A hormonal imbalance can occur when your body produces too much or too little of one or more hormones. There are over 50 different types of hormones in the body, which can be influenced by stress, illness, medication, and lifestyle changes. A temporary hormone imbalance may have mild or short-lived symptoms, but a systemic hormone imbalance can have a negative effect on your overall quality of life. Chronic hormonal imbalance can be caused by genetics, menopause, aging, or environmental pollution with endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs)

Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance

  • Fatigue
1Endocrine Society | Hormone Health Network. What is Estrogen? Available: https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/estrogen Accessed June 17, 2020.

2Endocrine Society | Hormone Health Network. Testosterone and androgens.  Available: https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/testosterone Accessed June 17, 2020.

3Endocrine Society | Hormone Health Network. Progesterone and Progestins. Available:https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/progesterone  Accessed June 17, 2020.

4Endocrine Society | Hormone Health Network. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Available: https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/dehydroepiandrosterone-dhea Accessed June 17, 2020.

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