Can hormones affect autoimmune disease?
There is a strong connection between the state of our Hormones and Autoimmune Disease. When we think of hormones we generally think of female reproductive issues which may explain why women are 10 times more likely than men to develop an autoimmune disease.
So just what are hormones? They are chemical messengers, made in our endocrine glands and carried in our blood and they control things like metabolism (thyroid), stress (cortisol), hunger (leptin, insulin), reproduction (oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone) and sleep (melatonin) just to name a few.
Testosterone (and DHEA) are usually low in men who have autoimmune conditions whereas oestrogen is usually high (oestrogen dominance) in women with autoimmune conditions. Oestrogen is known to stimulate the immune system during the child bearing years, thus women have a more robust immune system than men which can lead to autoimmune conditions.
So what can be done? Diet and nutrition can greatly influence the production of hormones and just as importantly, the clearance of excess oestrogen metabolites from the body. Liver health is critical in this process. Additionally there are excellent herbs and supplements that can modulate specific hormones such as the thyroid, stress and sex hormones.