California Center of Longevity Medicine
Office: 818-346-1440 | Fax: 818-346-9356
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Los Angeles Longevity & Functional Medicine Doctor

Dr. Allan Kurtz

Board Certified Internal Medicine
Fellowship in Functional Medicine

Heart Attack and Stroke
Prevention Center of Southern California

Health Tips Blog

Can My Sweet Tooth be Caused by a Hormonal Imbalance?

By: California Center of Longevity & Functional Medicine on November 20, 2014

Why Are You Craving Sweets?

The maintenance of blood sugar balance and healthy sleeping patterns are intrinsically linked to your hormone levels. The hormone cortisol, which is produced by your adrenal glands, has an impact on your blood sugar levels, your heart rate, your blood pressure and even your metabolism.

An ideal cortisol production pattern would have your body producing elevated levels of cortisol in the morning, with a tapering off throughout the day and into the night. Unfortunately, cortisol is not always produced in this manner. Instead, over the course of a day, various stressors will upset the balance of hormones in your body, so that cortisol may be produced in unfavorable patterns. When this occurs, you’re liable to experience:
  • Cravings For Sweets
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Grogginess in the Afternoon
  • Stress that won’t subside
How Do Hormone Imbalances Affect Your Body?

Cortisol plays a vital role in regulating blood pressure, immune function, inflammatory response, insulin release and glucose metabolism. As such, it is often regarded as the "stress hormone."

Most patients at the California Center of Longevity & Functional Medicine have healthy cortisol patterns. However, when a stressful event occurs, you may experience a spike in cortisol production as it attempts to help your body to properly relax. Generally after the stressful event has passed, cortisol levels will level out. Unfortunately for people who experience ongoing stress, cortisol is produced continuously, as your body never receives the signal to reduce production. When cortisol patterns and production are irregular, they tend to push other hormones out of balance as well.

Working long hours and not sleeping well put stress on your body. That stress causes your body to try to fight it with cortisol, and ongoing stress will lead to fat storage. We may live in a 24/7 world but our bodies are not attuned to the changes in our world. Because our bodies are stressed, they store fat in order to be prepared for an emergency in the future.

Ongoing stress will ultimately lead the adrenal glands to produce less cortisol, as it can't keep up. If the stress continues, there will not be enough cortisol to combat it. As such, your body tires out and begins to crave sweets and stimulants including caffeine as a way to raise energy levels. So if you find yourself craving sweet foods, it probably time to have your hormones tested.

Testing Hormone Levels at our Center

At the California Center of Longevity & Functional Medicine, we will be happy to offer you a painless salivary hormone test to confirm that your hormones are in balance, in the event that you find yourself regularly craving sweets. We can also provide a full hormone panel which will confirm that hormones are functioning properly. This panel will test multiple hormone functions to help determine the cause of your cravings, difficulty sleeping, and ultimately allow us to prescribe a lifestyle that will result in greater vitality.

Please contact Dr. Kurtz at California Center of Longevity & Functional Medicine today to schedule an appointment by visiting our contact page or calling us at 818-346-1440 to find out if you have a hormone imbalance.