We find out if circadian fasting plays a positive role in hormone regulation
As we know, circadian fasting is a form of time-restricted eating plan where we eat in sync with our body’s internal clock.But did you know that the circadian clock plays a crucial role in many biological processes, including hormone secretion and brain function?
The hypothalamus in our brain is responsible for regulating how awake and/or tired we feel during the course of a day. When our hypothalamus is exposed to light, it sends out signals to the rest of our body telling it that it's time to wake up. On the other hand, when it gets dark, our hypothalamus signals to our body that it's time to wind down. This is where circadian fasting comes into play: It encourages timing our meals with the rise and fall of the sun, and also helps us stay active and charged during the day and sleep better at night.
Our intrinsic body clock that signals the wake and sleep cycle, is largely controlled by hormonal feedback. In other words, the regulation and metabolism of several hormones (like melatonin, cortisol, leptin and ghrelin) are influenced by interactions between the sleep cycle and circadian system. GnRH pulses regulate hormone production by stimulating the secretion of the hormones LH and FSH from the pituitary gland, which in turn encourages ovulation in females. When circadian rhythms are off, the GnRG pulses are affected as they are highly sensitive to our circadian rhythms, hence the importance of following a strict schedule to keep them aligned.
- The blue light of the sun activates cortisol from the adrenal gland, which helps to power the body to get up and go in the morning.
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone is also activated during the day to propel activity.
- Conversely, as the sun goes down, the absence of light triggers melatonin from the pineal gland, which suppresses cortisol and promotes sleep.
- The so-called nutrient-sensitive hormones, namely insulin, leptin, ghrelin and adiponectin also oscillate on a circadian basis, and their release is, at least in part, regulated by environmental stimuli, such as feeding time and light–dark cycles.
Following a strict circadian fasting enables the proper functioning of these hormones as it also controls our sleep/wake cycle. When the body is in balance with circadian rhythm, brain wave connection is improved, gut bacteria is well maintained, hormone production is optimized and cells are regenerated as needed. Hormone response, however, is sensitive, therefore chronic disturbances in the sleep/wake cycle can cause issues such as chronic inflammation, impaired cognition, leaky gut, metabolic dysfunction, and disturbances to the menstrual cycle.
A number of ingredients help keep our body’s natural hormones in check. Include the following ingredients in your circadian fasting meal plans to enhance the overall beneficial effect of circadian fasting:
Vitamin D helps play a part in regulating insulin and the thyroid hormone. Research shows that a deficiency of vitamin D is associated with a high risk of thyroid antibodies, which are found in individuals suffering from autoimmune thyroid disorders. A vitamin D supplement can help with the regulation of insulin flow and balance blood sugar, allowing the body's natural hormone cycles to function more effectively.
Sufficient amounts of B6 heightens serotonin production. It binds to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, helping to detoxify excess amounts of these steroid hormones, which in turn, help to reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers. B12 is important in detoxifying the liver and allows for a free flow of neurotransmitters. It also helps the body release and keep in check melatonin. Folate has mood elevating properties and helps with the production of serotonin. It also helps lower ACTH, which is an adrenal hormone that leads to increased blood pressure.
A highly potent and medicinal Ayurvedic plant, amla is reputed for its healing and balancing properties. It is a powerhouse of antioxidants and is loaded with nutrients and vitamins that significantly help keep the hormones in check, especially in women.
A staple of traditional Ayurvedic medicines for centuries, ashwagandha has a wide range of benefits. It is especially effective in balancing the hormones and alleviating the harmful effects of stress. The main active plant compounds in ashwagandha are called withanolides. Withanolides can act as hormone precursors in the body, converting into human hormones as needed to help regulate physiological processes. This, along with its stress-reducing effects, helps explain how ashwagandha keeps the hormonal balance in our body in check.
Phosphatidylserine supplements can block certain negative effects of increased cortisol levels for a long time. By reducing and stabilizing cortisol levels, phosphatidylserine also helps regulate metabolism, strengthen memory, improve mood, and reduce inflammation.
Including all these essential ingredients individually into our meals can be quite a strenuous task. To make things easier, I offer the Balance + Restore Supplement, which is ideal for helping hormonal imbalances. It includes all your nutritional vitamins and minerals, including ancient Ayurvedic staples like ashwagandha, the modern powerhouse vitamin D and adaptogenic herbs that balance the body’s hormones naturally. It will help elevate your energy, clear brain fog, balance hormone levels and enhance your overall well being. To know more, book a face-to-face virtual consultation with me here.
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