Hormones – the body’s own youth-makers?

Nothing works in the body without them: hormones. As protein-like messengers, they ensure that all cells in the body can communicate smoothly with each other. They control growth, keep watch over our sleep, make us want to feel good, conjure up beautiful, plump skin (but unfortunately also wrinkles and blemishes) and influence our emotions.

Hormones are a highly potent doping for every organ – and the guardians of a very fragile system. Even a small deficiency or overproduction can upset the entire metabolism. The most important messenger substances and what they can do for Body & Soul:

Hormones for smooth skin: estrogen

Estrogen is the hormone of femininity. It is produced in the ovaries. Whereby it the estrogen does not exist. More than 30 different estrogens circulate in our body, estradiol (also estradiol) being the most important. Estrogens stimulate bone maturation, thus also protecting against osteoporosis (loss of bone mass) and padding the connective tissue by increasing water retention – this ensures smooth, firm skin. The production of estrogens already starts to decrease in the early 30s, and declines significantly from the age of 40. Estrogens also ensure permeable arteries and thus protect against heart attacks. Women before menopause are therefore hardly ever affected, but after the menopause cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of death in women – far ahead of cancer, by the way. In addition to estrogen’s natural protective function, the hormone also ensures good sleep and prevents depression.

Therapy: Via the skin with estrogen gel or patches, dosage individual.

Alternative: daily 80 to 120 mg phytoestrogens from soy in capsule form, 500 ml soy milk or 200 g tofu.

Soul balanced: progesterone

Progesterone is the second important hormone for the female cycle. It comes on the scene especially in the phase after ovulation. Its name means “for pregnancy” – and is program. Together with estrogen, progesterone ensures that a fertilized egg can implant optimally in the lining of the uterus. Progesterone also ensures that the body temperature increases by a quarter to half a degree after implantation until the end of the cycle. By the way, progesterone has a decisive influence on well-being, because it stimulates the formation of pain-relieving and balancing messenger substances in the brain, coats the nerve fibers with a kind of protective sheath and also has a positive effect on sleep. Progesterone also protects against vascular dilatation such as couperose, spider veins and varicose veins. It is also said to be involved in the phenomenon that some women suddenly snore during menopause. Experts believe that the progesterone, which is no longer produced, impairs breathing.

Therapy: Natural progesterone in the form of capsules for swallowing or through the skin as a gel or intravaginally. Dosage individual.

Love Lust: Androgens

Androgens such as the men’s hormone testosterone are also found in smaller quantities in the female body – and, like all hormones, have decisive functions there. Tetosterone boosts the desire for love, promotes the development of muscles, has a firming effect on the skin and prevents cellulite. It provides assertiveness, determination, courage, and in excess can also lead to aggression.

Testosterone protects the immune system, is important for the formation of red blood cells and bones, acts against depression and protects against Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease.

Therapy: Testosterone gel, depot injections or patches, dosage individual.

Alternative: daily 80 to 120 mg phytoestrogens from soy in capsule form, 500 ml soy milk or 200 g tofu.

Good mood hormone: serotonin

In the course of a lifetime, one in five people suffers from depression – regardless of culture and standard of living. A lack of serotonin is often to blame. The messenger substance is therefore often referred to as the happy hormone. It is the counterpart of the stress hormone cortisol, which weakens the immune system, attacks cells and – in the case of chronic stress – can even trigger depression, anxiety and aggression. Serotonin is also important for the sleep rhythm, appetite, memory and learning ability. However, addictive behaviors (alcohol/tablets), stress, obesity, migraines and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are also often associated with low levels of the happiness messenger. The most common sign of a serotonin deficiency: cravings for sweets.

Incidentally, the body produces serotonin from the amino acid tryptophan. The process can be supported by carbohydrates in the diet. This is because the body obtains glucose from carbohydrates, which additionally supports the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin.

Therapy: Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (antidepressants), dosage individualized.

Alternative: 900 mg of St. John’s wort extract or 100 mg of 5-hydroxytryptophan daily. Tryptophan is also found in lean poultry, beef, tuna, salmon and mackerel, as well as in milk and hard cheeses such as Emmental, Gruy√®re or Parmesan, legumes, peanuts and hazelnuts, dates and bananas.


Cover photo: Les Anderson

Photos: Tyler Nix, Ivana Cajina