Action Steps To Fight Hormonal Imbalance With Food:
2) Nourish your liver. Increase protein to 70-100 grams+ per day based on your weight . Make sure to include eggs, dairy , gelatin, fish, and shellfish to help balance muscle meats . This will help to create the amino acid balance needed to reflect eating the whole animal. In doing this, you empower your livers natural detoxification process to help your body take out the trash, and detoxify estrogen properly.
3) Balance blood sugar by eating protein/fats/carbs together during each meal, and eating frequently to help stabilize blood sugar . Read more blood sugar tips here.
4) Reduce stressors and inflammation factors. This could be a variety of things- lack of sleep, insufficient fuel, or food sensitivities .
Reduce cellular inflammation levels by optimizing your omega fatty acid balance . Then use your results to make dietary changes to support healthier cells and flip the switch on inflammation.
6) Decrease hormone synthesis blockers: this includes unsaturated fats , excess estrogen , ultraviolet light, x-rays, and excess iron .
10) Listen to your body. Its ALWAYS talking to you. Are you listening?
Learn To Manage Stress
Stress can wreak havoc on your hormones. Two major hormones affected by stress are cortisol and adrenaline, which is also called epinephrine.
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone because it helps your body cope with stress over the long term.
Adrenaline is the fight-or-flight hormone that provides your body with a surge of energy to respond to immediate danger.
However, unlike hundreds of years ago when these hormones were mainly triggered by threats from predators, today theyre usually triggered by peoples busy, often overwhelming lifestyles.
Unfortunately, chronic stress causes cortisol levels to remain elevated, which can lead to excessive calorie intake and obesity, including increased belly fat (
A 2005 review of studies found that massage therapy not only reduced cortisol levels by an average of 31%, but also increased levels of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin by 28% and dopamine by 31%, on average .
Try to devote at least 1015 minutes per day to stress-reducing activities, even if you dont feel you have the time.
Engaging in stress-reduction behaviors like meditation, yoga, massage and listening to soothing music can help normalize your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
The Dangers Of Untreated Hormonal Imbalance
Statistics show that hormonal imbalances, especially in women, are much more common than thought previously. You might not be able to see a hormonal imbalance, but its effects can present themselves in all aspects of your life and, left untreated, can be dangerous or even life-threatening. So with the prevalence of a hormone imbalance being so high, why dont more of us seek medical treatment? First, it helps to know what a hormone does, and why left untreated, it can be dangerous.
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Reduce Or Eliminate Sugar And Other Food Sensitivities
Sugar keeps insulin elevated, knocking other hormones out of balance and paving the way for insulin resistance. Food sensitivities, including gluten intolerance can also increase inflammation and contribute to hormonal imbalances, including elevated cortisol. Research shows that a healthy gluten-free diet can reduce inflammation and insulin resistance. Consider working with a chiropractor or other healthcare professional to develop an elimination diet to see if your symptoms improve.
Importance Of Hormonal Balance
The hormone is a chemical substance produced in an endocrine gland and transported in the blood to a certain tissue, on which it exerts a specific effect. Our organs and glands such as thyroid, adrenals, ovaries, pancreas modulate most of our hormone production. Even the slightest of imbalance can cause major health issues. Hormonal balance is crucial to get a healthy body and mind but can be disturbed in many ways.
Puberty, unbalanced diet, pregnancy stress, contraceptive pills and menopause are the predominant factors of hormonal imbalance in women.
Sex Hormones: Estrogen Progesterone Testosterone
A delicate balance of sex hormone production is important for both men and women.
Estrogen is one of the most common hormones we observe in women, but it also plays an important role in men.
On the other hand, testosterone is a hormone we often only relate to men. However, its an essential hormone in women, too.
Estrogen in women is produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands, and in both men and women, by fat cells. While more common in women, men may also experience symptoms related to estrogen dysregulation.
Struggling With Sugar Cravings
In Hormone Harmony Academy I teach my Get Off The Sugar Roller Coaster Protocol where I take you step-by-step through how to create balanced meals that leave you feeling satisfied, full for hours and not experiencing massive dips in energy. I also share my top 6 Tips To Instantly Beat Sugar Cravings when they strike . Ready to get off the sugar roller coaster and stop craving sweets? Find out more about my online course here.
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What Is Hormonal Imbalance
Hormones are secreted from the endocrine glands . They travel through your blood, influencing your organs. Thus, hormones control a few crucial functions, which include body development, reproduction and metabolism.
Hormonal imbalance means either excessive or less secretion of a certain hormone. Even a little change in your hormone secretion can cause adverse effects in your body, including skin.
In women, hormonal imbalance can lead to early menopause, primary ovarian insufficiency, polycystic ovary syndrome and sometimes even ovarian cancer. Among men, it can cause serious issues like prostate cancer. One of the most common risks of hormonal imbalance is also diabetes and thyroid.
If you notice any symptoms of hormonal imbalances, it can be an indicator of bigger issues. Leaving it unattended can cause life-threatening risks.
Signs You Have A Hormonal Imbalance
Your hormones are tiny chemical messengers that travel throughout your body, delivering messages to your organs, tissues and cells to boost metabolism, build muscle, de-stress, lift mood, etc. The food you eat, how much you move , and lifestyle factors like sleep and stress management play fundamental and crucial roles in setting and maintaining ideal hormone balance.
Make the wrong food choices, lack exercise in your daily life, or burn the candle at both ends and it will come at a cost. Some of us can get away with this for a long time without suffering too heavily. For others, it can quickly derail health and performance goals.
While its human nature to look for the exciting and sexy new fixes to hormone imbalance, the truth is, an ancestral approach of tackling the things that impact you the most food, activity, environment are the answer that addresses the root cause of why these imbalances occurred in the first place.
Struggling to lose weight? Unable to focus? Chances are, your hormones are out of whack.
Here is a quick look at 8 common hormone imbalances and how to fix them.
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Thyroid: The Mood & Energy Regulator
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in your lower neck that plays a powerful role in keeping your brain and body healthy. This gland regulates how your body uses energy, and it also has a strong impact on the brain because it controls the production of many neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. Problems occur when thyroid dysfunction causes the gland to produce too little hormone or too much hormone .
Hypothyroidism: Brain SPECT scans of people with hypothyroidism show overall decreased brain activity, which often leads to depression, cognitive impairment, anxiety, and brain fog.
Hyperthyroidism: An overactive thyroid produces too much hormone, making everything in your body work too fast. It can feel like youre in hyper-driveyou feel jittery and edgy, as though youve had way too much caffeine.
Common Symptoms of Thyroid Dysfunction
Pms And Low Sex Drive
Low testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone are all associated with a decreased sex drive in both men and women. This is especially common after age 50 when estrogen and testosterone production declines. Since estrogen is one of the main hormones regulating a womans menstrual cycle a decrease in production can also lead to irregular periods that are too long, too short, unpredictable, heavy, or painful, infertility, hot flashes, mood swings, or painful intercourse.
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What Are The Treatment Options
Hormone replacement therapy is one of the most common treatments of low hormone levels.
For people experiencing menopause, premature menopause, or primary ovarian insufficiency as well as after oophorectomy or chemotherapy estrogen therapy can offer some relief. Estrogen therapy alone is recommended for those who have had a hysterectomy. You can take estrogen in different forms, generally estrogen pills and estrogen patches.
Dangers Of Hormone Imbalance
The most dangerous thing about a hormonal imbalance is not actually the symptom, but what it may represent. Common causes of a hormonal imbalance range from diabetes to thyroid issues, to glandular issues and possible tumors either benign or malignant. If your body is reacting in these ways to changes in your bodys chemicals, it could be sign of a deeper issue, which could be dangerous if left untreated.
Particularly in women, a hormonal imbalance could indicate early onset of menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome, primary ovarian insufficiency and even ovarian cancer, among other conditions. In men, hormone imbalance could indicate any number of conditions, including prostate cancer.
Talk to your doctor about any new or unusual symptoms that are not typical of your personality or body. Many people keep a log to keep track of changes this is helpful when describing to their doctors any concerns or symptoms. Once diagnosed, your doctor will work with you to prescribe medicine, advise life-style changes, conduct additional testing, or refer you to a specialist.
Remember, a hormonal balance can be serious if left untreated, but speaking to your doctor even if youre wrong can only help make the issue better.
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Supplement With Vitamin D
A Vitamin D deficiency is more common than you may think, with over a billion people worldwide suffering from either a deficient or insufficient supply of this critical vitamin. Vitamin D plays an extremely important role in a number of bodily functions, such as immune function, cell differentiation, and inflammatory response. Low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk in colon, prostate, and breast cancer, as well as tuberculosis, influenza, and heart disease. A relationship has also been found between hypothyroidism and a vitamin D deficiency.
Ideally, we would get our daily dose of Vitamin D from 10 to 30 minutes of uninterrupted sun exposure, but this is unrealistic for most. Thats why its important to take a Vitamin D3 supplement and eat foods rich in Vitamin D, such as pastured eggs and wild salmon. Its also important to note that as we age, our production of Vitamin D decreases, so make sure youre monitoring your levels and getting them checked by your primary care provider.
Balanced Hormones And Improved Skin Health
Another client saw dramatic improvements in her skin health just a few days into starting a targeted food and supplement plan.
Over the years, she had tried virtually everything to treat her acne. Feeling overwhelmingly frustrated, she resorted to harsh cleaning routines and covering up.
Simply put, she was at a loss as the reasons for her acne outbreaks, until she was educated about the role food and inflammation play in hormones and acne formation.
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Appetite And Weight Gain
You may gain weight during hormonal shifts, such as menopause. But hormone changes donât directly affect your weight. Instead, it likely happens because of other factors, like aging or lifestyle. For example, when youâre feeling blue or irritated, as you can be when your estrogen levels drop, you may want to eat more. It can also impact your bodyâs levels of leptin, a hunger-revving hormone.
Youre Losing Your Hair
If your increased abdominal weight gain is coinciding with an accelerated rate of hair loss, your hormones might be to blame. Specifically, thyroid hormones help to regulate your body weight as well as your hair growth so an underactive thyroid could be the culprit of hormonal belly if youre experiencing issues with both simultaneously.
Because the relationship between metabolism, thyroid hormones, and weight is complex, the exact mechanism by which thyroid hormones cause weight changes isnt entirely understood. The most simple explanation is that when your thyroid isnt producing enough hormones, your metabolic rate slows down, reducing the number of calories your body burns on a daily basis, and often contributing to weight gain, particularly around your midsection.
However, it isnt thyroid hormones alone that play a role in how much energy your body uses. Thyroid hormones work synergistically with a number of other hormones, proteins, receptors, and chemical messengers in the body making it a layered process with other downstream effects on inadequate thyroid levels such as fatigue, hair loss, constipation, and low libido.
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Ditch All Sources Of Excess Estrogen
To achieve hormone balance, we must identify and eliminate sources of excess estrogen. The Pill contributes to a condition called Estrogen Dominance, where too much circulating estrogen throws all hormones out of whack and creates a hot mess of symptoms. Even women who have not taken the pill can suffer from estrogen dominance, due to the high levels of estrogen in our diet and body care products.
Xenoestrogens are chemicals that look like estrogen. They attached to estrogen receptors, overburdening the body with estrogenic effects. Yes, its scary but true: the products we use on our body can significantly disrupt our hormones. Common sources of xenoestrogens include:
- Plastics that leach chemicals into food
- Conventional body care products
- Conventional cosmetics
Phytoestrogens, found in plant sources, also attach to estrogen receptors. Again, they do not act exactly like our own estrogen. Research is highly variable on the health detriments and benefits of phytoestrogen intake. I do not recommend consuming foods high in phytoestrogens, particularly when struggling with acne. Men, boys, and young girls should use more care to avoid phytoestrogens. Common sources of phytoestrogens include:
- Sesame seeds
To Decoding Your Hormones: How Long Should Your Period Be
Since we only have our own period to compare to, it can be hard to know whether what we experience is normal. Lets run through some normal cycle parameters so that you can determine where you fall:
The length of your periodrefers to the number of days from the first day of your bleed to the last day before your next bleed. A healthy range for your cycle length is anywhere between 21 and 35 days, with the average being around 29 days.
Many of my clients tell me their period is always late because it comes on day 30 . This is a huge misconception: that if your period isnt 28 days, you arent normal. If your period consistently arrives around the same day of your cycle, and it falls within the healthy range of 21 to 35 days, this is your normal, healthy cycle length.
Whether or not you fit this textbook 28 day cycle , the most important factor to consider is whether your normal has changed or not.
Our menstrual cycles are very responsive to stress in our lives and demonstrate this most clearly in the length of our cycles. Stress is not always psychological , but may be physical .
When we are more stressed, our body does not deem our environment to be a safe place to bring a baby in to the world, and can shut down ovulation all together, or delay it until it deems we are safe. The end result of this change in ovulation is a missing period altogether, or longer cycles than your normal. Think this might explain your menstrual cycle problems?
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Hormone Balancing Tip #: Manage Stress
Stress wreaks havoc on our hormones, particularly our production of progesterone. Progesterone is produced from the same building blocks as our stress hormone cortisol . When we are stressed, our body ramps up its cortisol production and slows down on progesterone, contributing to a number of hormonal imbalances.
For many of us, we have little control over the stressors that are thrown on us on a day to day basis. The key then to managing stress is learning how to change your relationship with stress. Shifting your mindset around stress is the cornerstone to changing the way that it affects your body.
How To Test Your Hormone Health
If you are concerned about your hormone health, you can have your hormone levels tested in the following ways:
- Saliva testing: Saliva testing measures your bodys hormones levels at the cellular level. A saliva test can measure your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol and DHEA levels. When you provide and test multiple samples over time, your healthcare provider can formulate charting changes in hormones with saliva testing.
- Blood testing: This type of hormone test requires that your blood is collected at a lab and then measured for hormone levels. A blood test can measure free and total hormone levels, which saliva and urine testing cannot do.
- Urine testing: A urine hormone test requires that you collect every drop of urine for a 24-hour period. Then your urine is tested to identify each hormone that is present and at what levels on that particular day. This is the most extensive hormone health test because it measures your hormone levels throughout the entire day, instead of the levels for a moment in time, which is the case for blood and saliva tests.
- Follicle-stimulating hormone testing: This type of test is commonly used to measure the hormonal status of premenopausal women who are beginning to experience symptoms of menopause.