In my studies of hormones one thing becomes very apparent.
Whether good or bad, these things tend to perpetuate themselves.
In fact, this extends to all areas of health, beyond hormones.
All hormones work in the body via feedback loops.
Ideally, what this means is that if something is too low, say testosterone for example, the body takes that feedback, and then will trigger the creation of more.
If it is too high then production will be stopped, or it will be converted or removed, in order to bring it down to normal.
As I said this would be ideal.
However, you’ll often get trapped in a cycle of too much or too little of certain hormones. And in those cases other interactions in the body work to keep you there.
It’s like the feedback loops get reset for a less than optimal baseline.
Let’s take the example of estrogen dominance. One thing this leads to is the creation of more adipose tissue, i.e. fat. Fat then creates the aromatase enzyme, which converts testosterone into estrogen. The vicious cycle continues…
Another example is with cortisol, the stress hormone. Get too stressed and it becomes harder to relax, throws you sleep off, prevents recovery, and disrupts pretty much all the other hormones too. This in turn leads to more stress and more cortisol. The vicious cycle continues…
Not getting enough growth hormone and you’ll feel the need for sleep decrease (notice many of the elderly sleep less and less). But what is the biggest trigger of growth hormone? Sleep! The vicious cycle continues…
When a person begins to suffer from a chronic disease, if you take the right actions, it can often times be reversed. But at a certain point they are too far gone whether its cancer, heart disease or diabetes. The cycle has continued too long and you can’t get out of it.
But there is good news!
The opposite is also true. This is called the virtuous cycle.
This means that the better things are, in general it is easier to keep them that way.
When you have optimal levels of testosterone you’re more like to be happy, have sex, workout. Guess what? All of these things support testosterone production too!
When you’re entire HPA axis is not off kilter, but is “balanced” and running well, you’re better able to take charge of your life and make it even better.
It’s much easier to take the time to meditate when you’re not stressed the f*ck out!
Eating right helps you to be more active. And being more active helps you to eat right.
With youth, everything is running well typically, and when the “shit hits the fan” you bounce right back. You’re working in a virtuous cycle that keeps the status quo of things running well.
But over time…not from the time itself necessarily, but what occurs during it (as Peter Ragnar says “Time is not toxic”…the cycle slows and eventually can become vicious. Here, when it hits the fan, you drop deeper into a hole.
A hole that can take years to “dig” yourself out of.
Just like being in debt typically becomes more and more debt.
But all is not lost. What does it take to move from vicious to virtuous?
Often times it take massive action. A jumpstart can get you there.
That’s one of the reasons I love herbs. They can act as that jumpstart. With the benefits they bring you’re better able to make lifestyle changes to support you getting into a virtuous cycle.
If you have no energy it’s hard to make any of the necessary changes. But if you get some energy, like can happen with the adaptogen, eleuthero for instance, then you can take action.
Because here is the truth about it. It’s not just a cycle but more of a spiral. Whether it goes up or down is largely up to you.
When you’re in the virtuous cycle, one of my mentors described it as an “upward expanding spiral of greatness.”
Isn’t that where you want to be?