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Today's topic is all about hormones and how they work in the body.

Hormones are chemical messengers that carry information from one part of the body to another, either turning on or off certain protein production or certain cellular functions.

All hormone release starts in the brain, specifically in the hypothalamus, which sends releasing hormones to the pituitary gland in the middle of the brain. The pituitary gland acts as the master gland, sending signaling hormones to all the other glands in the body to release the hormones they produce. While there are hundreds of hormones in the body, we're only able to check and influence a handful.

The Four Main Hormone Systems

There are four main hormone systems that I like to talk about with my patients. The first is the thyroid system, which makes hormones responsible for baseline energy and metabolism in the body. It's important to note that every cell in the body has receptors for every hormone, so thyroid hormones affect not only energy and metabolism, but also gut and brain cells.

The second system is the adrenal glands, responsible for our stress response. Cortisol, one of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands, helps our body manage stress and sustain energy levels throughout the day. It also makes other hormones like pregnenolone, DHEA, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, which help balance male and female hormones, affect the brain, and even contribute to stamina, endurance, and anti-aging.

The third system is the ovaries in women and the testes in men. In women, the ovaries produce estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in a cyclic fashion over the course of a menstrual cycle. These hormones have a significant impact on women's reproductive health, while testosterone plays a critical role in men's health and well-being.

Lastly, the insulin and blood sugar system, which regulates blood sugar levels by taking sugar out of the blood, is also crucial for hormone support and balance. Over time, highly refined sugars, carbohydrates, and processed diets can cause insulin resistance and negatively impact hormonal balance.

It's important to remember that these hormone systems are interconnected, and rarely do people have just one hormonal imbalance. For example, when cortisol levels from the adrenal glands are high, it can block the conversion of T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3, the active form of thyroid hormone, and encourage conversion to a different T3 called reverse T3, which negatively impacts thyroid function.

Furthermore, abnormal adrenal function with elevated cortisol can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance, which results in an inability to get sugar out of the blood. Additionally, when estrogen is too high, it can decrease thyroid function and contribute to insulin resistance. All these systems need to be evaluated and addressed simultaneously to determine where abnormalities lie and how they interact.

I hope this information gives you a better understanding of how hormone support works in the body. Remember, taking care of your hormonal balance is crucial for maintaining your health and well-being.

Supplements Dr. Loya recommends for brain health: 

Go to myproviva.com.  When checking out, if you are a Hormone Center Patient, use your provider code. 

If you don’t have a provider code, use lloya.

Women prior to menopause:

Women after menopause:


Lauren Loya, M.D. is the Medical Director of The Hormone Center. The Hormone Center is an integrative medical practice specializing in thyroid treatment, adrenal gland support and Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At The Hormone Center, we prescribe thorough saliva and blood testing to get a comprehensive analysis of your sex hormones, thyroid hormones and adrenal hormones. Our providers then utilize these test results to establish a treatment plan to address any dysfunction or imbalance as well as nutritional deficiencies. Our treatment plans consist of a combination of traditional medicine, integrative medicine, high-quality nutraceuticals, and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy through cream, capsules, or pellet therapy.