The Hormone Imbalance Epidemic
Hormones regulate the body's most important functions and processes, which means that the consequences of an imbalance can be severe. Hormones manage, for example, weight fluctuations, bloating, growth in children, ovulation, reproduction and pregnancy. Additionally, hormones actively interact and impact each other, so when one becomes unstable, others quickly follow.
Addressing hormonal issues is vital for recovery for those affected by fatigue, skin issues, weight gain, weight around the middle, trouble sleeping, always sleeping, PMS, endometriosis, infertility, and PCOS. In fact, a hormonal imbalance has been linked to countless issues:
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Women
- Breast tenderness
- Unexplained weight gain
- Vaginal dryness
- Foggy thinking
- Hot flashes
- Cold hands and feet
- Mood swings
- Thinning hair
- Facial or body hair
- Thin or dry skin
- Intolerance to hot or cold
- Sluggish metabolism
- Fat gain around stomach area
- Allergy symptoms; hives, asthma
- Decreased sex drive
- Irregular periods
- Increased blood clotting
- Recurrent miscarriage
- Not ovulating
- Breast swelling
- Water retention
- Heart palpitations
- Rapid heartbeat
- Poor egg health
- Premature Ovarian Failure
- Fluid discharge from breasts
- Cravings for carbs, sugar, salt later in day
- Frequent illness/long recovery time
- Caffeine dependence
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Men
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Loss of muscle mass
- Enlarged breasts
- Loss of libido
- Softer erections
- Erectile dysfunction
- Lowered stamina
- Gallbladder problems
- Hair loss
- Prostate enlargement
Although hormonal imbalance should be consulted with a medical professional, the good news is that there are many things you can do to balance hormones naturally
What Causes Hormonal Imbalance
Research reveals that stress increases levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for inhibiting the body’s important sex hormones GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone), suppressing ovulation and sperm count. Chronic stress may cause adrenal fatigue, thyroid problem, lack of libido as well as a decrease in fertility. There's also evidence that stress and elevated cortisol levels contribute to choosing foods that are high in sugar and fat.
Many imbalances in your hormones are triggered by improper nutrition. For example, eating sugar will result in producing more insulin, more estrogen, and more testosterone. Xenobiotics and pesticides in our food can act as powerful hormone disruptors, too.
Additionally, dairy and gluten are common triggers for inflammation and hormonal imbalances. Dairy is one of the most common triggers of hormonal imbalances, as it's naturally high in hormones (not to mention antibiotics added to milk). In total, dairy has over 60 hormones that can cause imbalances.
Balancing Hormones Naturally
Eating Right for Hormonal Imbalances
After eliminating problematic food groups from your diet, it's time to replace them with foods that can help your body heal. Every case and condition are different, but you can expect to eat a real, whole, unprocessed, organic and overwhelmingly plant-based diet. Focusing on this type of diet, you'll automatically minimize intake of hormones, xenoestrogens, and antibiotics. Even simple switches such as choosing organic food and filtering your water can have a huge positive impact on hormone balance.
To rebalance female hormones, you'll want to focus on particular hormone-balancing balancing foods, especially flaxseeds, cruciferous veggies and good fats.
is astoundingly beneficial for hormone health. Provides the essential building blocks for hormone production, coconut oil can support weight loss and reduce inflammation, not to mention antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Blending it into coffee or tea is one of the easiest ways to boost your consumption.
Exercise was found to reduce PMS. However, some experts warn that chronic cardio, such as jogging, running or cross fit, place body under too much stress, causing free radical damage and a spike in stress hormones.
One safe physical activity that's always recommended is walking in nature - a gently invigorating, yet restorative exercise that has been shown to boost the immune system and reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone, which when over-produced, causes inflammation and hormonal imbalance. Besides, vigorous walking helps flush toxins from the body and stimulates the lymphatic system, without causing undue stress.
In addition to dietary and lifestyle changes, supplementation can amplify your efforts, too. A good multivitamin with calcium and magnesium is a good start. Adding a fish oil supplement and D and B vitamins are recommended for balancing estrogen.
To balance sex hormones, choose supplements containing probiotics, phytonutrients (vitamin E, resveratrol, curcumin, n-actetyl cysteine, green tea, selenium), and the anti-inflammatory omega-6 fat.
You should also look into boosting your Omega-3s and saturated fats intake. These fats are the building blocks for hormone production, crucial for proper cell function and hormone function.
As discussed above, chronic stress can cause or intensify hormonal imbalances. That's why finding a relaxation practice that works for you is a major step on your journey to balancing hormones. You might want to turn to meditation, yoga, tapping, therapy, or artistic pursuits to melt away anxiety and tension.
Make Sleep a Priority
Research shows that failing to get enough sleep can negatively impact menopause, PMS, and other hormone-related conditions.
Sleeping is an opportunity for your body to remove toxins, recharge the mind, and create hormones. Even one night of missed sleep can have severe consequences on hormonal balance, and even create the hormone levels of a pre-diabetic (source).
Herbal Remedies for Hormonal Imbalance
Consider adding herbs to the mix.
It's worth to get a doctor's opinion or consult a natural health practitioner before introducing new herbs to your routine. Some herbs that positively impact hormonal balance include:
- Red Raspberry Leaf is helpful in reducing PMS, cramps and boosting fertility. It's high in calcium and has been traditionally used as a uterine tonic.
- Chaste Tree Berry can be taken to lower prolactin and raise progesterone.
- Adaptogens. Herbs that aid the adrenals and support the body's stress response. One notable adaptogen is Ashwagandha, used in Ayurvedic practices for reducing stress. Ashwagandha has been proven to decrease anxiety, stress, c-reactive protein and cortisol.
Restoring Hormonal Balance for Improved Fertility
Hormonal balance is essential to get pregnant, ensure of a healthy pregnancy and have a healthy baby. Problems with fertility are often directly connected to a hormonal imbalance., which in turn are a result of long-term lifestyle choices. This means that to bring their bodies back to a fertile state, women must be ready for serious changes and modify how they view their lives.