Thanks to glands of the endocrine system like the ovaries, testes, thyroid and hypothalamus, special chemical messengers known as hormones influence the health of our minds and bodies every day — whether it’s basic needs like hunger and movement to more complex systems such as puberty and reproduction. Hormones can also influence our emotions and moods.

Typically, the endocrine glands produce the exact amount of each hormone required for our numerous bodily functions. But it’s possible to experience hormone imbalances because of aging and certain diet and lifestyle behaviors.

Also, hormones don’t play favorites. Both men and women can suffer myriad adverse effects to their hormones, says Dr. Don Colbert, author of Dr. Colbert’s Hormone Health Zone, who’s based in Dallas and Orlando, Florida. And many of these hormone hazards are avoidable, he says. Learn how you can improve your hormonal health and feel and perform at your best.

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