You’ve heard Sarah talk a lot about blood sugar—a measurement of the concentration of glucose (the fuel your body gets from carbohydrates) in your blood. Our blood sugar levels change based on many factors, including the foods we eat, exercise, and stress. When our blood sugar is balanced, we experience better energy, weight maintenance, increased focus, and improved mood.
Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps to balance blood sugar levels by stimulating glucose storage by the liver as glycogen. High insulin levels can wreak havoc on many different hormones in the body, and high levels of different hormones can actually raise your insulin levels! We’ll break it down for you here.
Testosterone: When insulin levels are elevated, they can tell the ovaries to make an excess of testosterone. High levels of testosterone can cause acne and facial hair.
Estrogen: Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) is also affected by excess insulin. When insulin is high, SHBG is lowered, causing excess estrogen and symptoms like sore breasts, fibroids, and heavy menses.
The reverse can also happen—there are several hormones that can affect your blood sugar levels, too:
Cortisol: When we are under stress, our body stimulates the release of cortisol, and high blood sugar levels can be a result.
Thyroxine: Thyroid hormones, like TSH, can affect the body’s sensitivity to insulin. High TSH levels, which are seen in those with hypothyroidism, are associated with elevated blood sugar and insulin resistance.
Growth hormone: Growth hormone helps our bodies maintain stable blood sugar. When our blood sugar levels are low, growth hormone is secreted to help our blood sugar levels rise. When growth hormone levels are too high, they can cause insulin resistance.
As you can see, the relationship between blood sugar balance and hormones is one that is especially complex. By understanding how to balance our blood sugar and keep our stress levels stable, we can simultaneously keep our hormones in check.