Read about how nutrition influences your hormones

Your hormones are made up of proteins or peptides (small chains of amino acids). Your body uses them to regulate many different processes including growth, metabolism, reproduction, and mood.

Updated on Jul 31, 2022 11:44 AM IST  |  52.2K
Nutrition can influence hormones in several ways. The most important is by altering the types and amounts of nutrients that your body needs.
Read about how nutrition influences your hormones

Nutrition can influence hormones in several ways. The most important is by altering the types and amounts of nutrients that your body needs. This can affect the amount of hormones your body produces, and it can also affect how long they remain active in your system, says Dr. Rohini Patil, MBBS and a Nutritionist.

Your hormones are made up of proteins or peptides (small chains of amino acids). Your body uses them to regulate many different processes including growth, metabolism, reproduction, and mood. Some hormones are produced by glands in your body, while others are produced by specialised cells called endocrine glands.

Nutrients can influence hormone production by affecting the levels of amino acids that make up these proteins. For example, if you don't get enough protein in your diet, you may be less likely to make enough thyroid hormones for optimal health.

The role of nutrition in hormones is complex. Some nutrients, like calcium and vitamin D, are required for healthy bones. Others, like iron and selenium, play a role in the formation of red blood cells. Still others, like vitamin C and carotenoids, help with immune function.

Here are few nutrients which influences hormones –

1. Iron

Hormones that increase during puberty help us grow by increasing our blood volume and protein synthesis. Iron deficiency during childhood can result in delayed growth and bone maturation, which can affect bone health later in life.

2. Selenium 

Selenium is an essential mineral that plays a role in thyroid function. It also helps to maintain healthy skin, bones, and connective tissue. Testosterone levels are regulated by testosterone-binding protein (TBP) which binds free testosterone to form testosterone-binder complex. Selenium is an essential cofactor for this protein. When you don't get enough selenium in your diet, your body produces less insulin and consequently, less sugar is transported into cells. This causes the pancreas to work overtime in order to increase its production of insulin. As this happens, your body tries to store as much sugar as possible by increasing its stores of fat (adipose tissue).

3. Vitamin D 

Vitamin D is a key nutrient for bone health, but it also has an effect on the hormones that regulate metabolism and appetite. In addition to providing your body with calcium and phosphorus, vitamin D supplements may also help maintain hormone balance in your body. Vitamin D is required for the production of sex hormones. It is a fat-soluble vitamin and it has been found that it is essential to the conversion of cholesterol into sex hormones. The hormone testosterone is associated with masculine traits such as aggression and libido. It is also responsible for the development of male characteristics such as a deep voice and facial hair, as well as for muscle mass. Vitamin D is a necessary nutrient for the body to maintain healthy levels of testosterone.

4. Calcium  

Calcium is a mineral that plays an important role in our bodies. It's needed for the proper functioning of many organs, including the heart, muscles and nerves. It also helps maintain normal blood pressure and blood clotting. The body absorbs calcium from food through the digestive system. Calcium is needed by the body to produce hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. In men, testosterone helps maintain lean muscle mass. Estrogen helps with fertility and sexual function in women.

5. Zinc 

The hormone insulin is responsible for regulating blood sugar. When the body senses that you are in a fasted state, it sends out an emergency signal to the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin then travels through the bloodstream and binds to receptors on the surface of cells, signalling them to take up glucose from your bloodstream. Zinc is an essential mineral that helps regulate hormonal activity within the body. Zinc plays an important role in maintaining normal insulin levels and has been shown to improve glucose control in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

6. Omega-3 fatty acids 

There are many hormones involved in regulating your body's internal workings, including insulin, testosterone and cortisol. These hormones play a role in how you look and how healthy you feel. Omega 3 fatty acids can help regulate the production of these hormones. The most important effect is on insulin regulation, which is tightly regulated by the pancreas. Insulin helps convert sugar into energy for cells throughout the body; if there is too little insulin or too much sugar in the blood, this can lead to diabetes. Omega 3s also help regulate testosterone production and prevent it from becoming too high or too low during times of stress or illness.

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