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Our Toronto Functional Medicine Clinic Explains The Link Between Chronic Stress And Hormones


If you’re struggling with gathering optimal health, functional medicine from our Toronto clinic might improve your hormonal balance. 

Hormones are chemicals that carry “messages” to different body sites, such as your skin, organs, muscles, etc. They’re essential because they inform your body what and when to do tasks. When there are slight changes to these levels though, this can affect the body by lowering energy levels, injuring cellular health, and more. 

Our patients are aware of how chronic stress can influence hormonal issues. This is because research has shown that stress can dysregulate these chemicals, which can cause an imbalance! So, for this blog post, the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre (TFMC) uncovers how chronic, long-lasting daily pressures can take a toll on your hormones. We also discuss how personalized treatment plans can help manage stress and hormones, as well as details about our health services. 

Understanding the chronic stress-hormone connection 

The body is hard-wired to respond to stress. When you come across a “threat”, your hypothalamus triggers a motion of events. This includes the adrenal glands emitting additional amounts of stress-related hormones, such as cortisol.

When this “threat” is gone, your cortisol levels should return to normal. But when stressors are frequent (i.e. workplace, debt, family caregiving, etc.), you become overexposed to cortisol and other stress hormones, as they keep getting pumped out.

New Research Behind Chronic Stress
According to Columbia University, a new study shows that when you frequently mull over stress,”…more time spent mentally stewing in our problems may be associated with higher nlood pressure,” confirmed the university in a press statemnet.

This can disturb your overall hormonal balance and bodily processes, leading to anxiety, sleep, weight, digestive issues, chronic pain, and amplified risks for heart disease. It can even impede your production of the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone; this means chronic stress can hinder other aspects of health. 

Keep in mind though that everyone has a different response to chronic stress. There are various factors at play, such as genetics (family histories) and lifestyle factors. This is why functional medicine practitioners consider your individuality and comprehensive health history for diagnoses and treatments.

Recommended Reading: Functional Medicine Toronto Approach: Key Nutrients to Help Endometriosis Symptoms

Applying functional medicine therapies

If chronic stress is behind your hormone imbalance, a personalized approach may be applied. As we explained, everyone has distinct health experiences, so by individualizing your health plan, you focus on the root of your clinical symptoms.  

At the TFMC, we may discuss the following if you were to visit our health providers for hormone and chronic stress issues:

  • Functional tests: To confirm your hormone levels, we may recommend functional medicine testing, such as the DUTCH test. This is a dried urine test that takes snapshots of your adrenal and sex hormones. A personalized nutritional assessment may also be recommended to see if nutrient deficiencies are contributing to adrenal dysfunction. 
  • Supplements: Depending on lab results, we may discuss oral or intravenous supplements. In our past post, “Adrenal Fatigue Can Hinder Optimal Wellness,” we explained that vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) supplements may be advised for fostering adrenal functioning. Magnesium may also be suggested, as it can contribute to improving both mood and sleep. 
  • Acupuncture: This modality could help cut down your stress levels, thereby contributing to hormone homeostasis. “Acupuncture has been proposed to treat autonomic nerve-related diseases through modulating the imbalance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic activities,” confirms a journal piece from Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
  • Lifestyle interventions: Lifestyle changes are required to tackle chronic stress. This includes augmenting your physical activity. For instance, dancing, walking or any aerobic exercise can boost your heart rate; this triggers additional oxygen levels to reach your body’s cells, lessening strains on the muscles and cardiovascular system. 

Bear in mind that we practice personalized integrative medicine services – the components mentioned above may or may not apply to your unique biology. If you’re concerned about stress and hormone levels, please request a consultation with our clinic. 

About our functional and integrative medicine services

At the TFMC, we care about your clinical experience. We adhere to the integrative functional medicine model to individualize your health plan. 

A customized, proactive, long-term health plan can help with preventing or delaying a chronic illness. By targeting your unique biology and health goals, we can tailor and integrate therapies for your needs. Some of our functional medicine therapies include naturopathic medicine, Western medicine, hormone optimization programs, bio-identical thyroid hormone therapy, herbal medicine, intravenous therapy, acupuncture, and more. 

To adhere to your health plan, you may require education and a touch of inspiration! Our practitioners can offer health coaching while encouraging you to take control of your condition. When you become a new patient, you’ll notice that we may ask you, the patient, to collaborate with us on building your health plan. Each person has a unique expression of health, and we respect this. Our team has experience with an array of health issues, such as chronic disease conditions, autoimmune illness, inflammatory conditions, body aches, menopausal symptoms (i.e. night sweats), infertility, brain health concerns, acid reflux, and more.  

Let’s tackle your current health issue with a comprehensive treatment plan! Fill in our contact form to request a session with our health providers, who currently practice functional medicine in the Toronto area.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. Consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.



American Psychological Association. (2023, March 8). Stress effects on the body.

Chronic Stress Can Hurt Your Overall Health” by Jeffrey Birk, PhD, from Columbia University Irving Medical Center, posted May 19, 2023, vieed on July 13, 2023. 

Chronic stress puts your health at risk” from the Mayo Clinic, posted July 8, 2021, viewed on July 12, 2023. 

Huang W, Kutner N, Bliwise DL. Autonomic activation in insomnia: the case for acupuncture. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 2011;7(1):95–102.

Li QQ, Shi GX, Xu Q, Wang J, Liu CZ, Wang LP. Acupuncture effect and central autonomic regulation. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:267959. doi: 10.1155/2013/267959. Epub 2013 May 26. PMID: 23762116; PMCID: PMC3677642.

Ranabir, Salam; Reetu, K. Stress and hormones. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism 15(1):p 18-22, Jan–Mar 2011. | DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.77573

Stress and Health” from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, The Nutrition Source, reviewed October 2021, viewed on July 13, 2023. 

Uwaifo GI, Hura DE. Hypercortisolism. [Updated 2023 Jan 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:

Vita, R., Lapa, D., Trimarchi, F. et al. Stress triggers the onset and the recurrences of hyperthyroidism in patients with Graves’ disease. Endocrine 48, 254–263 (2015).


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