Covid-19 has brought about unprecedented times. Some people are left feeling uncertain if their job still exists, others are confined to working from home, while the rest are deemed essential and experiencing an increased workload. Parents are now confined to their home and responsible for teaching their children while also maintaining some sense of structure and order. Coping with the new and evolving situation can be difficult, and many Americans are doing so with alcohol. However, this is not the healthiest coping mechanism available, as alcohol negatively impacts your body’s hormones.
Hormones do a lot more than many people realize. Hormones serve as the body’s messengers, communicating with the body’s various organs and tissues. When the body’s hormone system is working properly, your body knows when to release the exact amount of hormone necessary. However, drinking alcohol impairs your body’s hormone system, and thus negatively impacts your body’s blood sugar and glucose levels, reproductive functions, as well as your body’s calcium metabolism and bone structure.
Alcohol’s Effect on Regulation of Blood Sugar and Glucose Levels
Your body’s tissue receives energy from sugar glucose, and your body’s blood sugar levels are controlled by insulin and glucagon, hormones produced by the pancreas. To keep your blood sugar at healthy levels, insulin is produced to lower your glucose levels, and glucagon is produced to raise your glucose levels.
The consumption of alcohol, however, negatively impacts all sources of glucose and interrupts the production of insulin and glucagon. Your body’s glucose production is put on halt while your body metabolizes alcohol, and your body amplifies insulin secretion. This leads to temporary hypoglycemia, which the body cannot correct due to the alcohol impairing the body’s hormonal response to combat hypoglycemia.
Alcohol’s Effect on Reproductive Functions
Consuming alcohol may create fleeting feel good sensations; however, the negative effects tend to be long-lasting. While there are many hormones in the body that are responsible for regulating the reproductive system, the two main hormones are androgens (testosterone), and estrogens. Chronic drinking can disrupt the functions of estrogens and androgens and impair the functioning of the testes and ovaries. This hormone imbalance can result in sexual dysfunction and infertility.
For men, alcohol consumption can lead to a hormone imbalance that reduces the body’s testosterone levels, alters normal sperm structure, and leads to male breast enlargement. For women, heavy drinking can lead to early menopause, irregular menstrual cycles, and menstrual cycles without ovulation.
Alcohol’s Impact on Your Body’s Calcium Metabolism and Bone Structure
Your body relies on several hormones, such as parathyroid hormone, vitamin D-derived hormones, and calcitonin to maintain healthy calcium levels. Healthy calcium levels are important to keep your bones and teeth strong, and maintaining a healthy hormone balance allows for communication between cells and the body. Chronic alcohol consumption can interfere with these hormones regulating calcium absorption, excretion, and distribution between bones and body fluids.
Consuming alcohol can cause a deficiency in parathyroid hormone, upset vitamin D metabolism, inhibit activity of bone-forming cells, and more. Upsetting this hormone distribution and becoming deficient in calcium can also lead to bone diseases, such as osteoporosis.
Stress Management and Hormone Balance
While drinking alcohol can be tempting during stressful times, try regular exercise and develop a meditation practice instead. Exercising three times a week can boost your serotonin levels, helping to lift your mood and feeling of happiness. Get outside for a walk, jog, or hike, or take advantage of free fitness apps such as the free YouTube channel Yoga With Adrienne, or the free Android and iPhone app, FitOn. In addition to exercising the body, don’t neglect your mind. Meditating for 10 minutes a day can help ease anxiety, calm your mind, and boost your overall feeling of well-being. This can be the first 10 minutes after you wake up, over your lunch break, or before you settle down for bed.
If you find that your hormones seem out of balance, don’t fret! Visit Renewed Vitality, and we’ll help you get back on track. We provide natural hormone replacement therapy to get your body back in balance and help you feel your best!