Hormones are our body's chemical messenger affecting such diverse processes as growth and development, reproduction, and nutrient metabolisms, among many others. These are found in men and women in various quantities and have a profound impact on our longevity, vitality and fertility.
The 2 dominant and well-known sex hormones are testosterone and oestrogen. Most people think that testosterone is a male hormone and oestrogen is a female one, and technically they are not wrong. The general consensus is that high levels of testosterone mean high levels of libido, but if oestrogen levels are too low in men, they will completely lose their libido. Even though testosterone is what makes us seek sex, it is oestrogen that is important for our libido.
Among all the other hormones we share, oestrogen and testosterone are present in both male and female, it's their ratios that determine their effects as they have a profound influence on feelings of well-being, reproduction and on sexual behaviour.
How to optimise your sex hormones:
Nowadays, there are many tools and supplements that promise optimal virility and fertility easily available to most of us.
However, they often overlook key aspects that will have a fundamental impact on your hormonal health.
Sleep will adjust testosterone and oestrogen levels by modifying cortisol. This in turn will convert cholesterol into testosterone and oestrogen. However, this cycle is broken when stress levels are running too high for too long. Now the body creates more cortisol from the cholesterol instead of converting it to testosterone and oestrogen. Make sure you sleep 7-8 hours a night in a dark room.
Nose breathing compared to mouth breathing improves gas exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the body. This in turn modifies levels of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators which can positively impact your hormones. Proper breathing through the nose during the day and night will provide better sleep, which, as we have seen above, has a strong impact on testosterone and oestrogen levels. Mouth taping has become a popular tool to address this issue and shows great improvements.
Early exposure to sunlight has a direct effect on hormone levels and fertility as well as libido.
So besides healthy breathing through the nose and improved sleep, it is important to get sufficient amounts of light in your eyes. Anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes of bright light exposure in your eyes early in the day or 15 to 30 minutes on overcast days. Be mindful to avoid screens early in the morning as well as late at night as the artificial light will disturb the dopamine impact. Try to avoid screens during these hours or wear blue blocking glasses if unavoidable.
A recent study from 2020 speaks about how the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-Axis) and through it sex steroid hormones, are negatively impacted by sleep disturbances, obesity, mental and oxidative stress, as well as nutritional deficiencies.
Specifically, nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, vitamin D and polyphenols will have a big impact. But others as well as a healthy digestion system will also play their part.
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