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Olwen Anderson's Blog

How being active can help your hormones

Saturday, January 17, 2015
When you want to get your hormones back into balance (particularly if you have polycystic ovary syndrome - PCOS), one of the best things you can do for yourself is manage your blood glucose levels, because your ovaries are particularly sensitive to sugar. Faced with an abundance of the sweet stuff your ovaries can create the unhatched egg cysts that are a hallmark of PCOS. When you know the connection between glucose, insulin and hormones you can manage your hormones more effectively.

First I’d like you to meet insulin, ‘the glucose salesman’; the hormone that transports glucose to cells. It does this by ‘latching on’ to free glucose molecules, then seeking out cells that actively want to ‘buy’ some glucose. When a cell needs more glucose it displays specific insulin receptors on its membrane; rather like hanging a sign outside your home asking insulin to drop by with some glucose. When the insulin molecule spots a cell with a ‘glucose wanted’ receptor displayed, it carries the glucose molecule over, hands it to the cell, and departs to locate another glucose molecule to ‘sell’. Active cells burning up energy are constantly signalling that they want more glucose.

If the cells don’t need any more glucose right now then they don’t display the ‘glucose wanted’ receptor, and insulin continues on looking for a ‘buyer’ for that glucose molecule. If you keep eating but not moving your bloodstream can become crowded with insulin/glucose molecules looking for that ‘glucose wanted’ receptor sign. If cells aren’t buying then insulin will arrange for the glucose to be converted into fat, and push the glucose molecule into a fat storage cell: They’re always happy to accept another fat donation. One of the hallmarks of insulin resistance is a tendency for these well-fed fat cells to enlarge on your abdomen, promoting the ‘muffin top’ look.

The excess sugar in your bloodstream can over-stimulate your ovaries, which then over-secrete oestrogen, that very helpful but sometimes problematic hormone that in excess contributes to pre-menstrual tension. Too much of this growth hormone can contribute to cystic ovaries, further exacerbating the symptoms of PCOS.

Physical activity is the antidote to insulin resistance, because it uses up glucose, forcing your cells to call for more supplies. This is why being active is such an important step in managing your hormones. As soon as you start moving, your cells begin calling out for more glucose fuel, your blood glucose and insulin levels are better regulated, and your ovaries aren’t so easily over-stimulated, leading to fewer problems with your ovaries. So – which workout are you planning today?

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy 'Natural Treatments For PCOS', here

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