A crucial, but often overlooked factor in learning ability is sex hormone balance which is why better learning can be sexy. Most people would be quite surprised to learn the extent to which our reproductive chemicals are involved in cognitive function and learning.
The mental apparatus is not simply a large number of neurons electrically connected to each other, similar to the wiring of a computer. Oh, no. In actuality, living brain tissue is under as much hormonal control as any other tissue of the body.
Mental processes related to memory and intellectual capacity are stimulated by the sex steroids, which include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. It has long been known that abnormal levels of these hormones are associated with mood alterations such as dementia, anxiety, and depression.
Sex hormone balance and learning
Less well known is that sex hormone imbalances are frequently related to difficulties with fuzzy thinking and poor learning. This really should not be so surprising. Ask any young woman how good she is at work or school during a bad PMS time. Ask an older woman what her memory was like going through a difficult menopause.
The reproductive hormones are responsible for one's sharpness or edge. They control mental spark in general and one's mating behavior in particular.
Perhaps there is good reason for this connection. To mate well requires a presence of mind, a certain sharpness, a focus of desire. This might be why the reproductive hormones are so connected with intellectual capacity and learning ability.
Whatever the reason, it is this intellectual ability that often suffers first when the reproductive hormones are slightly off-balance. Nor is it just estrogen that is a big player here. Abnormal. testosterone levels are associated with unfocused thinking in men. Low levels of progesterone are associated with anxiety and foggy thinking in women.
These regulatory hormones also affect a great many other activities throughout the body. Your intellectual function might be a barometer of this balance, and therefore restoring balance when it is a bit off frequently leads to less fuzziness in the head.
Sex hormone balance
So let's bring this spark more alive. Let's create more of this edge, sharpness, and focus for learning. Balancing the sex hormones is like turning on the car's ignition. It’s the spark that ignites the fuel. As we improve the brains ability to be lit up and humming along, this will greatly help cognition and learning.
So, how does one know if their hormones are fine or a bit off balance? Simple. You can now easily check your own levels with a inexpensive home test kit. Order online a basic saliva panel for estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Saliva technology is much more accurate for hormone levels than are the older blood tests. It also involves much less pain, hassle, or expense. Moreover, this kind of testing can now be self-ordered from anywhere, without a doctor’s involvement.
Simply go to Canaryclub.org and order the basic hormone panel. A home test kit from a highly certified lab will arrive at your door through the mail. Follow the easy directions for collecting a saliva sample and sending it back to the lab for careful analysis.
In a matter of days a color-coded printout of your results will be emailed to you. A handy interpretation guide accompanies your results sheet.
Once you know the levels of your respective hormones, and if they are at all abnormal, you can then do something good about it,.
You may elect to find a practitioner who will help you with this kind of mild hormone rebalancing. Or, you may decide to take some corrective action yourself with over-the-counter remedies, such as vitamins, minerals, herbal medicines, or glandular products.
A great many very useful guidebooks are available to help you in this process. As a prevention-oriented medical doctor, I strongly encourage this kind of self-care, especially when you or a loved one wants to sharpen your learning power.
Richard L. Shames, M.D. is a Harvard trained thirty-year practicing physician who offers hormone health telephone coaching via his website, ThyroidPower.com. Particularly helpful for understanding sex hormone connections to learning and memory would be his recent book, Feeling Fat, Fuzzy, or Frazzled? (Hudson Street/Penguin). Dr Shames is an expert on why better learning can be sexy.
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