When it comes to health, hormones and gut bacteria have a much bigger effect than many people realize.
What factor contributes to weight gain during pregnancy? Hormone balance.
What causes weight fluctuations, bloating and other health symptoms throughout the course of a month? Hormones.
What causes men to naturally put on muscle more easily or lose weight more quickly? Hormones.
What is a huge contributing factor of growth in children? Hormones.
What controls ovulation, reproduction, etc.? Hormones.
1. SUPPORT DIGESTIVE HEALTH
The digestive system has much more of an impact on hormones than many of us realize. Not only is the digestive tract the source of many vital neurotransmitters in the body, but an imbalance in the gut can translate to an imbalance in neurotransmitter and hormones. Serotonin, a necessary neurotransmitter for sleep/stress balance is more concentrated in the gut than even in the brain. 70% of the immune system is found in the gut and it is quite literally the motherboard of many functions in the body. Thyroid health may also be linked to gut health.
THOSE WHO STRUGGLE WITH GUT PROBLEMS MAY HAVE TROUBLE EVER ACHIEVING HORMONE BALANCE WITHOUT FIRST ADDRESSING GUT HEALTH.
2. EAT ENOUGH HEALTHY FATS
Most of us are consuming way too many omega-6 fatty acids from polyunsaturated vegetable oils, but we are not consuming enough beneficial Omega-3s and saturated fats. These types of fats are vital for proper cell function and especially for hormone function, as these are literally the building blocks for hormone production. When we don’t give the body adequate amounts of these fats, it must use what is available, relying on lower quality polyunsaturated fats.
For this reason, coconut oil is amazing for hormone health. It provides the necessary building blocks for hormone production, may assist with weight loss, reduce inflammation, and has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Other quality sources of fats include avocados, animal fats, olive oil, grass fed meats, pastured eggs, and raw dairy (for those who can tolerate it). Quality seafood is also very important, as it contains naturally occurring Omega-3s.
Bottom line: Don’t eat fats like vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, margarine, shortening or other chemically altered fats. Choose fats like coconut oil, real butter, olive oil (don’t heat) and animal fats (tallow, lard) from healthy sources instead and eat lots of high Omega-3 fish.
3. LIMIT THE CAFFEINE
I love coffee a lot, but the truth is that too much caffeine can wreak havoc on the endocrine system, especially if there are other hormone stressors involved like pregnancy, presence of toxins, beneficial fat imbalance and/or stress.
4. AVOID HARMFUL CHEMICALS
Harmful chemicals found in pesticides, plastics, household cleaners, cosmetics, lotions and mattresses can contain hormone disrupting chemicals that mimic hormones in the body and keep the body from producing real hormones.
5. PRIORITIZE SLEEP
Without adequate sleep, hormones will not be in balance. While you’re sleeping, your body is active removing toxins, recharging the mind and creating hormones. Skimping on sleep, even for one night, ma have a tremendous impact on hormones. Create a daily routine to help support your natural circadian rhythms. Wake up and go to bed at the same time, even on weekends, to keep your hormone cycle regular.
6. SUPPLEMENT WISELY
Unfortunately, we live in a world where the food supply is often depleted of nutrients due to over-farming, the water is often contaminated with chemicals and even the air we breathe can contain compounds that cause havoc in the body.
Maca - A hormone boosting tuber in the radish family with a long history of use in Peru. Women who use this may see improvements in fertility, reduction in PMS and better skin/hair. It may help men with sperm production, testosterone levels and muscle composition. Maca is a good source of minerals and essential fatty acids, which is one of the ways it supports hormone balance. Maca should be discontinued during pregnancy.
Magnesium - Magnesium is vital for hundreds of functions within the human body and many of us are deficient in this master mineral. There are several different ways to get Magnesium: Powder form (like Natural Calm), ionic liquid form and transdermal by using Magnesium oil applied to the skin.
Vitamin D & Omega-3s - A pre-hormone is supportive of hormone function. Best obtained from the sun if possible or from a D3 supplement or Cod Liver Oil.
Gelatin or Collagen - a great source of minerals and necessary amino acids. Gelatin and collagen powders support hormone production and digestive health in various ways. Gelatin powder can actually “gel” and is useful in recipes like homemade jello and probiotic marshmallows, while collagen protein does not gel but is easily added to soups, smoothies, coffee, tea or any other food.
7. EXERCISE THE RIGHT WAY
For those with hormone imbalance, intense extended exercise can actually make the problem worse in the short term. Sleep is much more important, at least during the balancing phase, so focusing on relaxing exercises like walking or swimming and avoiding the extended running, cardio, and exercise videos, can help the body in the short term.
Short bursts of heavy lifting can be beneficial since they trigger a cascade of beneficial hormone reactions. Aim for a few sets (5-7) at a weight that challenges you, but make sure to get help with form and training if you haven’t done these before because bad form can be harmful.
8. CONSIDER ADDING HERBS
Certain herbs and plants may help the body bring hormones into balance.
Red Raspberry Leaf - A well know fertility herb that is also helpful in reducing PMS and cramping. It has a high nutrient profile and is especially high in calcium and is a uterine tonic.
Adaptogens- Herbs that help the body handle stress and support the adrenals. They are a natural way to work toward hormone balance for many people.
9. FIX YOUR LEPTIN
Leptin is a master hormone, and if it is out of balance or if you are resistant to it, no other hormones may balance well. Fixing leptin may also help boost fertility, make weight loss easier, improve sleep and lower inflammation. Some suggestions are as follows:
The content provided herein is the opinion of the author and for informational purposes only and is not intended to, nor claims to, diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease and should not be used as a substitute for sound medical advice.
Trish Carter, Certified EDS Technician