Marla Ahlgrimm on Four Hormones You Can Control

Marla AhlgrimmThe endocrine system is tasked with keeping our hormones in check. However, there are a few hormones that everyone can control. Here, Marla Ahlgrimm takes a look at four of these.


According to Marla Ahlgrimm, epinephrine is best known as the “fight-or-flight” hormone.  You may know it by its common name, adrenaline. Epinephrine/adrenaline is released in response to danger. For example, you are driving down the road when an oncoming vehicle suddenly swerves into your lane. They correct their position and you continue driving unharmed. But your heart is racing, your body tingling, and you experience a surge of energy and heightened awareness of the road around you. This is epinephrine at work. Controlled breathing is the best way to regulate secretion of this hormone and help you regain control of your body.


The stress hormone cortisol is linked to epinephrine but can also be triggered by stress. Cortisol is important during times of crisis and may have helped our hunter-gatherer ancestors survive. Chronic stress and and overexposure to cortisol can affect the body, however, and lower your ability to fight infection. Cortisol is also linked to midsection weight gain. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that cortisol production may be lowered by participating in relaxing activities, such as petting a dog, taking a warm bath, listening to music, or reading a favorite book.


Marla Ahlgrimm notes that insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that affects the way each cell absorbs glucose. People with diabetes have an insulin problem. Obesity and chronic consumption of high-sugar foods leaves the pancreas unable to keep up with the body’s insulin needs. Exercise and diet comprised of mostly whole and healthy foods can lower insulin levels and therefore have a positive effect on blood sugar.


If you ever felt a warm feeling flow over your body when receiving special hugs from your favorite children, you seen oxytocin at work. Oxytocin, which Marla Ahlgrimm affectionately calls the cuddle hormone, is released by the pituitary gland in response to physical contact. Infants and their mothers produce elevated levels of oxytocin with physical contact. Oxytocin makes you feel good and can be released through physical affection with a spouse, partner, or child.

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