The Love Hormone OXYTOCIN and How To Boost Yours

THE LOVE HORMONE OXYTOCIN AND HOW TO BOOST YOURS.

Ooh it’s nearly Valentines Day as I type and my thoughts have turned to lurrrrve!

At Valentines, many people feel relaxed, positive, open and connected to their honey and it’s not just the flowers, chocolates and champagne!  Honestly.

Of course, when we’re in a happy couple, that’s how we feel that about each other. In lurrvvvve.

Which made me think about how many people spend a lot of life feeling stressed, afraid and angry. When we could feel calm and peaceful. Loved and loving.

And it’s ALL related to hormones, don’t you know?

 

The Stress Hormone (Kinda Opposite to The Love Hormone)

When we’re stressed, we respond – mostly – by striking out or running away. Fight or flight.

We get scared or irritable or both. Our blood pressure rockets. Digestion slows down. Reactions sharpen. We become less sensitive to pain. Our body defends us against the “threat”.

In fact, under threat we can have superhero powers.  Recall those news stories of people moving really heavy objects to get to loved ones trapped underneath and that sort of thing?

At times of stress we release The Stress Homone,  Cortisol. High cortisol leads to all kinds of health issues – mental and physical – including haywire hormones that can affect female sex hormones and fertility. Bummer.

It made me wonder… is the opposite of stress and fight or flight, actually LOVE?

When we feel connected and calm, we are more friendly and trusting.

Our hearts and circulation slow down. Digestion fires up. Our defences go down and are more open and sensitive to other people.

We grow. We heal. And we love.

 

The Love Hormone

The key hormone here is Oxytocin. The Love Hormone. Or the Cuddle Hormone.

You may have heard of it? It’s the hormone that speeds up the birth process and is linked to breastfeeding. It’s the hormone of loving touch and close relationships.

Oxytocin also stimulates Dopamine (The Job Well Done Hormone) and Serotonin (The Happy Hormone). AND reduces anxiety. It sets a chain reaction of warm, fuzzy loveliness.   Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

The modern world is stressful and broken. Sorry, if that sounds a bit bleak.

Some traditional cultures still promote peace and calm and practice “arts” that are peaceful and calming – meditation, yoga, t’ai chi, massage …

Often, we find other ways to “self-soothe”.

 

  • Junk food.
  • Binge eating.
  • Booze.
  • Recreational drugs (Ecstasy and other party drugs release oxytocin!).
  • Prescribed meds… and more.

 

So is the cliched pursuit of happiness easier than we think? Our brains and bodies are complex systems of amazing processes. We can influence the processes by our daily actions. I say, let’s start triggering more harmony where we can.

To get your hit of oxytocin without popping party pills…

 

  • Give someone you love a cuddle.
  • Hold hands.
  • Kiss.
  • Have sex.
  • Dance.
  • Even stroking a pet releases oxytocin.
  • Start practising those “arts” and therapies that give a sense of peace and calm like meditation, massage, yoga and t’ai chi.

 

Let’s spread the love bug  every day, week, month,  year.  Be a lover not a “fighter or flighter”.

 

Love,

HOW TO LOVE YOUR LIVER TO BOOST FERTILITY

how-to-love-your-liver-to-boost-fertility

HOW TO LOVE YOUR LIVER TO BOOST FERTILITY.

 

Your liver is amazing!  I want you to love your liver.  To protect health. And fertility. Here’s why and how…

 

Toxic Chemicals Are Everywhere…

There are toxic chemicals every flippin’ where.

In the food that we eat.

In the soils that grow that food.

In the water we drink.

In the air we breathe in.

In the cosmetics and toiletries,  we use on our hair, skin, nails, bodies.

 

Those chemicals can collect in our bods. They can disrupt hormone health.  They can be nutrient stealers – taking from us the nutrients key to fertility.

It’s the liver that help process those nasty chemicals.

 

Toxic Chemicals and Fertility

There is growing evidence that some chemicals rob us of nutrition. And harm hormone health.

So, it makes loads of sense to reduce exposure when you’re trying to fall pregnant.

Now I know some of you want to know exactly what the risk is, right? The answer is I don’t know. I’m not sure anyone has the big picture yet. It’s hard to say exactly what the impact is on fertility.  Here’s a fab website with lots of great info, though.

But I think every little helps. Especially, if you’re finding it hard to conceive or carry a baby full term. Or you’re trying to have the healthiest baby possible by being as healthy as you can be.

 

Every little helps to boost natural fertility.

Every little helps people get pregnant faster.

Every little helps boost the chances of successful IVF.

Every little helps towards a happy, healthy pregnancy.

Every little helps for the healthiest baby you possible.

 

It’s tough to remove ALL toxins.  Even if you tried to go off grid. BUT it IS possible to reduce exposure. And by some pretty simple actions.

 

So where do you start? You start by loving your liver.

 

Love Your Liver To Boost Fertility

Your liver and kidneys are organs that remove toxic nasties from your body. It makes sense to keep them in tip top condition. Whether you’re trying to get pregnant or not.

 

Your liver IS a chemical processing plant!

It cleans our blood, neutralises toxic waste and removes old/excess hormones from the blood. So it helps to balance hormones.  Who knew?

Your liver helps metabolise fats, proteins and carbs and balance blood sugar levels.

When our livers are a bit meh, toxins clog it, old hormones aren’t cleared out and blood sugar goes haywire.

You are left with toxins in your blood, hormone imbalance and riding the energy rollercoaster.

 

An overloaded liver forces your kidneys and adrenals (glands on top of kidneys) to work harder.

That means pressure on adrenals, which risks high cortisol – The Stress Hormone – and more reproductive hormone havoc.

 

Anyone hear that Diana Ross song Chain Reaction playing in their head?

Not good for fertility.  The hormone havoc I meant: nothing to do with Diana Ross, you understand.

 

Tips for Loving Your Liver

So how DO you love your liver?

NO extreme measures, please.  Just simple steps.

 

  • Eat a nutrient dense, healthy diet.  Choose as much food as you can that is organic. Avoid packaged and processed and GMO food.
  • Eat lots of antioxidants.  Antioxidants are like Pac Man mopping up the “free radicals”.  Free radicals are damaged atoms searching for electrons. They cause cell damage. Eat goji berries, blueberries, organic dark chocolate, pecans, artichoke, elderberries, kidney beans, cranberries, blackberries, coriander, grapes, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, brazil nuts to boost your antioxidant intake.
  • Eat plenty of fibre to prevent absorbing chemicals into the bloodstream to be handled by the liver.
  • Drink plenty of filtered water. Avoid bottles of water with BPA plastic. Another hormone harmer.
  • Avoid alcohol… it puts a strain on the liver.
  • Avoid or reduce caffeine as well.

 

Love your liver. Then you can make a start on detoxing your life.   A subject of another blog.  Keep your eyes peeled.

Love,

 

Insomnia – are your hormones to blame, ladies?

insomnia- are your hormones to blame, ladies?

Can’t sleep?

What would you do for a good night’s sleep?

Counted millions of sheep and still can’t nod off?  Wakeful and weary?  The alarm goes off and you want to hurl it through the window to hide under the duvet?

You’ve blamed sleepless nights on the stress of life, busy brain, last night’s sirloin steak and Shiraz, it’s too hot/cold/light …delete as appropriate.

You’ve even become resigned to your insomnia.

Have you ever stopped to think that it could be hormones?  Don’t face-palm and think there’s no hope left for The Land of Nod.

Haywire hormones can be the result of insomnia, as well as the cause of insomnia.  No really, still no need to face-palm. There are some simple steps you can take to help get some restful sleep.

5 Ways Hormones Can Cause Insomnia

#1 Light and Melatonin

As the sun sets, the pineal gland in your brain starts to release the sleep hormone, Melatonin. It needs darkness to work.  That means natural and artificial light affects it’s release. Result? It could mean another no-kip night for you.

 

#2 Adrenal Fatigue

Those little glands above your kidneys are responsible for blood sugar levels and sexual development BUT are best known for producing adrenaline and cortisol, the STRESS hormones. Eek.

When your poor old adrenals are under constant pressure from life stress, they can become overworked and tired.  You might have heard it called  “adrenal fatigue”? One of the many symptoms is insomnia.

Adrenal over-drive isn’t so common. It’s when your adrenals pump out cortisol at a constant level all day – result? Insomnia.  Usually adrenals release less cortisol as the day goes on.

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#3 Premenstrual Insomnia

Premenstrual insomnia is linked with a drop in the hormone progesterone just before your period. It’s a sedative hormone.

If the drop is gradual, your sleep might be a troubled. If it drops dramatically, you’ll be wide awake at 3am staring at the ceiling.

 

#4 Perimenopause

Perimenopause usually starts around age 40 but can be later. Your ovaries start slowing down production of oestrogen and progesterone, and both promote sleep. Whoopy do. And so falling asleep can seem like the impossible dream …pardon the pun.

 

#5 Menopause

Menopause naturally occurs between 40 and 55 usually. Haywire oestrogen and progesterone levels can start waking you up at night. AND you can also get nasty night sweats that keep you awake. Double whammy.

And if you thought things must get better post menopause, think again. Some suffer low thyroid function after menopause. Low thyroid leads to weight gain. Weight gain can lead to snoring and disrupted breathing in sleep called “sleep apnea”.

 

So now you’re wondering, what the heck can I do to get some sleep with haywire hormones?  Here’s my 8 top tips.

8 Tips for Better Sleep and Hormonal Harmony

1. Switch off all your gadgets and geekery AT LEAST one hour before bedtime. The lights from your TV, computer, tablet and smart phone affect melatonin production.

2. Make your bedroom an oasis of calm – dark curtains or blinds to block out light, not too hot or cold, natural fibre bed linen, de-cluttered and inviting. Wear light, natural fibre sleep wear.

3. Create a healthy bedtime routine – they’re not just for kids! Perhaps include a warm bath with relaxing essential oils like Lavender and Chamomile?

4. Choose sleep inducing foods in the evening. Don’t put pressure on your digestive system with heavy or rich foods too near bedtime.

Include sleep-promoting foods in your bedtime routine.  Foods with the sleep-promoting amino acid Tryptophan can help sleep. Carbs make Tryptophan more available to the brain which is why you want to nod off at work after you’ve snarfed a big, old sandwich and crisps or a pasta salad.

A good snack would contain good quality i.e unrefined carbs and protein e.g. an oat cake with almond nut butter. Tryptophan rich foods include chia seeds, turkey, sunflower seeds.

5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine makes you wired not tired, Alcohol is a sleep thief not a sedative. Chucking back Chardonnay might help you relax, but it interferes with sleep patterns.

A better night-time drink would be my Chamomile Milk

6. Eat a hormone-helping diet – basically plenty of plant-based foods, high fibre, good fats, high quality protein, unprocessed and “clean”.  Don’t leave it until the M word (Menopause) hits; start your hormone friendly diet as early as you can.

7. Take regular, gentle exercise for weight management, strength and flexibility and for tiring out your body. BUT not in the evenings just before bed – being “pumped” won’t promote sleep. Choose an activity that promotes rest and relaxation too, such a yoga, pilates or qi gong to beat some of the strain of modern living.

8. Find stress-busting techniques to balance your busy life.  Find time for yourself to relax and unwind and breathe easily. Choose activities that you will really enjoy – a nice bath, reading, gentle exercise, meditation, walking in nature… ommmmmmmm.

Of course, if your symptoms worsen, carry on or worry you, see a Doctor for diagnosis.

So hormones can cause insomnia – who knew?

Love,