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Hormone Changes in Winter

The winter season is upon us and along with colder temperatures come less sunlight during the day. For many, this time of year can become depressing, especially after the holidays. The lack of time outside in the sunshine not only leads to less activity, but can also result in several hormone changes, particularly in women. It’s important to understand some changes are natural in order to not misdiagnose a real imbalance.

Thyroid Changes

A 2013 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism suggested a link between the winter months and a person’s TSH, or Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone, levels. Researchers measured TSH levels every month in over 1,700 people who had been diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism and over 28,000 people with normal thyroid function. The results showed that, in both cases, TSH levels increased in the cold winter through spring months and decreased in the summer and fall seasons.

This is particularly important if you or your doctor feel you may have a thyroid problem. Because your body naturally increases TSH production during the colder months, there is a good chance any issues you may be experiencing, are related to the season. Make sure you’re tested at various points in the year to confirm, or you may be improperly diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.

Melatonin and DHEA

As most people know, melatonin is a hormone that rises in the body during darkness and lowers during daylight. DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is a hormone from the adrenal gland that has shown to affect aggression levels in mammals and birds, and possibly humans which is why professional sports competitions have banned the use of DHEA in athletes.

A new study reveals that melatonin acts directly on the adrenal glands in females to trigger the release of DHEA, without the need for the pituitary hormone ACTH.
DHEA can be converted to androgens and estrogens, which affect aggression in both males and females. In females, DHEA appears to compensate for low levels of estradiol — a form of estrogen — that occurs during the winter.

In the recent study, Indiana University researchers discovered a hormonal mechanism in hamsters that connects short winter days with increased aggression in females, and that it differs from the mechanism that controls this same response in males. The work, which advances basic knowledge on the connection between certain sex hormones and aggression, could go on to advance research on the treatment of inappropriate aggression in humans. Click here to read more about the new study.

Get Yourself Checked

At Victory Weight Loss and Wellness, we can help you better understand your current hormone levels and identify problem areas with a simple blood test. Our Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy programs are customized for your individual goals and needs. If you or someone you know is suffering from hormonal imbalance, contact our office today for more information.