Assistant Professor Dr. Pansak Sugkraroek, Medical Director at the Vitallife Wellness Center at Bumrungrad International Hospital, has one piece of advice of all of his patients. “A balanced life leads to balanced hormones. When our hormone levels are in balance, we enjoy optimal health.”
Dr. Pansak describes hormones as powerful super-connectors for the body. He says hormones, like testosterone, melatonin, serotonin, estrogen, are chemical messengers for the body. They travel through the bloodstream to stimulate growth, metabolism, sex drive and fertility, as well as influence immune function, delay the aging process, and regulate mood and behaviours.”
Given the vital role played by hormones, balance is a priority to achieve optimal health. “Hormones are a barometer,” says Dr. Pansak, “too much or too little of some will profoundly impact health and happiness. This is why as we age, it’s important to have regular hormone tests to identify hormone gaps and ways to get the balance right.”
Dr. Pansak says an all-round healthy lifestyle provides the best foundation to ongoing wellness and hormone balance. Getting more sleep and exercise, eating healthier, making time to relax and having a positive mind set are the biggest drivers of good hormone health, says Dr. Pansak. “While supplements and other treatments are available, a healthy lifestyle provides the strongest base for ongoing hormone balance.”
Dr. Pansak’s four-part lifestyle plan for good hormone health includes:
Good Night, Sleep Tight
Sleep hygiene is one of the underrated drivers of hormone balance says Dr. Pansak. “A lot of people underestimate sleep, but following the Circadian rhythms of our body is vitally important. We should be in deep sleep by 11.30 pm or midnight when hormone reproduction begins and is at maximum capacity.“ He recommends a pre-sleep routine or hygiene. One, turn off all smartphones and other devices and avoid looking at a screen for at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light from devices can trick us into thinking it is day time and dirupt our natural rest patterns. Two, ensure the bedroom is dark and cool. Three, relax by taking a warm bath or shower, or meditate or listen to quiet, soothing music to ease you into sleep.
Eat Clean and Vary Your Diet
“What we eat and drink has a huge influence on hormone balance,” warns Dr. Pansak. “Alcohol decreases the human growth hormone, and too much fructose (sugar) significantly decreases the key hormone levels.” He recommends to eat more at breakfast and lunch, and lightly in the evening as the body slows down. For breakfast, a fruit smoothie, a boiled egg and a slice of toast offers a nice mix of protein, vitamins and carbohydrates. If you have high cholesterol, you can also take a spoonful of cold pressed olive or coconut oil and lime juice to maintain high levels of HDL cholesterol or ‘good cholesterol’. He also recommends eating a variety of foods and flavours to get a full range of vitamins and nutrients into our bodies. If we eat the same things every day, the body gets bored and imbalances occur.
Dr. Pansak recommends up to 200 minutes of exercise per week or five sessions of 45 minute workouts. This, he says, is the right amount of exercise to maximize growth hormone production. “Any activity is good so long as it works the muscles, says Dr. Pansak. “Like diet, it’s good to have variety so the body does not get used to repetition. He recommends a balance of exercises that build strength, stamina and cardiovascular function. The key is working the whole body, not just a part of the body, and appropriate exercises include walking, jogging, yoga, swimming, cycling, lifting weights and tennis. He strongly counsels that people who do not exercise regularly should ease into an exercise program designed by a professional and rest on alternative days.
Relax and Recharge
“Making time to mediate, focusing on breathing, and focusing the mind on positive life-affirming thoughts is the most underappreciated but most effective lifestyle strategy available,” says Dr. Pansak. “We life in a busy world surrounded by distraction and the mind needs time to rest. Just 10 minutes of focused relaxation at the start and end of the day has incredible restorative properties.” If lifestyle changes are not enough to bring your hormones in balance, there are options including natural hormone therapy using FDA approved bioidentical hormones as well as supplements and medications. But as with many things in life, “natural is best” says Dr. Pansak. “Natural hormone treatment is and science working together and always best achieved under the guidance of a trained and experienced professional.”
The VitalLife Scientific Wellness Center located on the campus of Bumrungrad International Hospital is a global leader in the provision of scientifically-based integrated medicine. Its programs are managed and run by US Board Certified doctors specializing in the center’s Future Health concept, covering predictive, preventive, regenerative, and revitalizing health care.
It is the first medical wellness center in Asia to be accredited by the World Council on Clinical Accreditation (awarded in November 2007). It is also the first compounding pharmacy in Southeast Asia.
Vitallife is the first wellness center in the world to be accredited to DNV.GL’s International Accreditation Standard for Outpatient Specialist Centers. DNV.GL is a globally respected quality accreditation organization renowned for integrity in certification, standards development and risk management in many sectors including healthcare. DNV.GL International Healthcare Accreditation is based on standards approved by the U.S. Government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
Vitallife is a 100% owned subsidiary of the publicly traded Bumrungrad International Hospital since 2001.
For more information please contact:
VitalLife Scientific Wellness Center
68 Bumrungrad International Tower Building 10th Floor,
Soi Sukhumvit 1, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana,
Tel : +66 2066 8899
Monday to Friday : 08.00 – 19.00 hrs.
Saturday to Sunday: 08.00 – 16.00 hrs.
Nearest BTS: Phloen Chit