The Androgen See-Saw and Women
This article has been researched and written by Arelang Naturals® in-house writers.
Wanting to pull your hair out, screaming at the world, and random whirlwinds of emotions might seem more common than grains of sand on the beach. But these are not as common as you think and are caused by androgen levels in the female body. We've spoken much about estrogen and how it impacts the woman's body, but we know little about androgens and their impact.
What are androgens?
Androgen is a group of sex hormones found in all genders. Responsible for secondary sexual characteristics like a deeper voice, facial hair, and increased muscle mass, they are generally associated with men (like most things in this world ;) ). However, androgens are also present in females and play a significant role in their health and wellness. A better understanding of androgens in females can help identify and manage a range of medical conditions and more.
While testosterone is the most predominant one there are others like the following that affect the human body:
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).
- DHEA sulfate (DHEA-S).
- Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
But why is androgen important? Isn't it enough that we women know all about estrogen? The answer is that you cannot know all about estrogen without knowledge about androgen. So let's dive in deeper.
Like every smooth-functioning machine, our body needs the support of multiple hormones to run adroitly. While estrogen is an important sex hormone for reproduction and maturation in women, androgens are precursors for estrogen synthesis, amongst other functions.
How do androgens affect females?
While androgens help with bone and muscle development, puberty, sexual function, and desire in both genders, in women, they also help with estrogen production, regulate menstruation, aid reproduction, and stimulate hair growth. Androgens are produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands, and adipocytes in females. They may be too much or too little, which is one of the more common hormonal disorders in females.
Hyperandrogenism: An excess of anything, good or bad, is generally bad for you. Just like an excess of androgens in the women's bodies. Women generally have lower androgen levels in their bodies than men, but sometimes androgen levels can be out of wack. Excess androgen levels in the body can present as increased hair growth in random places like the chin and lip, thinning hair, male pattern baldness, acne, obesity, and PCOS. A large percentage of women with hyperandrogenism have PCOS leading to irregular menstrual cycles, excess acne, difficulty conceiving, infertility and blood sugar disorders, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Since androgens are also secreted by the adrenal glands, an excess of the hormone can also cause congenital adrenal hyperplasia and adrenal and ovarian tumors. Sounds scary right? Hold on though, we have more!
Hypoandrogenism: As you all know, a dearth of things can also be bad for you. Just like that, lowering androgen levels in the female body can affect sexual desire, tiredness, low stamina, hot flashes, reduce bone density and increase the chances of fractures, While androgen levels start dwindling in women by the mid-20s, in late menopause, ovarian androgens decline 50 percent or more from their peak.
While both are difficult to assess, they can be diagnosed with tests. They are also manageable with some good TLC. Like most issues with our bodies, quality nutrition fixes a lot more than you think. Androgen levels in males and females need to be in a state of balance at all times. The following are a few things foods you should add to your refrigerators and tables:
- Nuts: Nuts are loaded with monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Almonds and walnuts, research suggests, help reduce testosterone levels in women thereby tackling the ill effects of increased androgen levels.
- Omega-3-rich foods: Fish like tuna and salmon that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids help lower testosterone levels and also help manage PCOS symptoms.
- Flaxseed: One of the world's oldest crops, flax has many benefits. It is rich in lignans that act as phytoestrogens that help boost natural estrogen levels in the body. They are also a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce testosterone levels in the body.
- Cocoa Products: Dark chocolate and other cocoa products are rich sources of magnesium and flavonoids that help balance testosterone levels. For women suffering from hyper or hypoandrogenism, chocolate is actually a yummy savior.
- Rekindle For Women: Dark chocolate bites from Arelang Naturals, with natural plant-based ingredients, Rekindle For Women are candyceuticals that help boost natural estrogen levels in the body while balancing androgen levels. With extracts from flaxseed, Shatavari, ginseng, and black cohosh, these chocolates are delicious natural hormone balancers and help deal with PCOS and PMS discomforts. A must-have on your next grocery list!
While good foods always help, it is also important to look into your everyday lifestyles. Exercise, yoga, prebiotics, and a good sleep-wake routine can help balance more than just androgens in the body. It's never too late to take back control of your life and hormones. Get healthier, get supplementing (naturally), get up, and get running!
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