Hormones And Your Health
Hormones are chemical messengers that help your cells communicate and trigger various actions. Theyre the bedrock of your bodys endocrine system, which regulates growth, reproduction, metabolism, temperature, and even your mood.
Hormones and the endocrine system keep your body in a balanced state of homeostasis. Therefore, having a hormonal imbalance too little or too much of a certain hormone can have harmful side effects.
Oxidative stress, infertility, and endocrine disorders like thyroid disease are just a few conditions that can result from hormonal imbalances (
Whats more, Nigella sativa extract exhibits estrogenic activity, meaning it acts similarly to the hormone estrogen in your body .
In fact, some studies in rats are exploring whether nigella seed extracts could be an alternative to hormone replacement therapy during menopause, a time when the body typically produces less estrogen than it used to .
Concentrated Nigella sativa supplements are becoming increasingly popular and sometimes marketed as black seed or black cumin seed. Whole nigella seeds have an herby aroma and are easy to add to bread, salads, and other dishes .
Still, keep in mind that most studies on nigella seeds and hormones were conducted in animals and used concentrated extracts or isolated thymoquinone. Thus, while using whole seeds in cooking can be healthy and delicious, it may not confer the same benefits.
Changing Your Diet To Promote Hormonal Balance
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Top Five Tips For Rebalancing Hormones
Maintain a healthy diet. Incorporate fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, plus raw nuts and seeds into your diet. Avoid high fatty foods, processed carbohydrates, fried foods, soft drinks, enriched flour, and processed vegetable oil. Avoid non-organic dairy products, which may contain harmful bovine growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics.
Add more Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. These fats create healthy cell membranes, allowing hormones to bind to the cell more easily. Omega-3 fatty acids also repair receptor sites and keep it in optimal condition. Consider eating more foods with omega-3s or taking a high quality organic oil, such as hempseed or flaxseed.
Keep stress levels down. Studies show that women who mediate daily or practice yoga experience less hormonal swings than those who dont. Rest is important. Many women lead such hectic lives with many demands placed on them that they have little time to let their bodies re-adjust. Find small ways and time to relax. A massage can be a wonderful way to relax and remove the aches and pains caused by a busy lifestyle.
Get enough good quality sleep. Try to get at least 8 hours every night. During sleep the body recuperates and restores. Insufficient sleep is now recognised as a major cause heart disease, stroke, metabolic dysfunction and impaired mental health.
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What Is A Hormone Imbalance
Are you irritable, moody, and exhausted all the time, yet have trouble sleeping? Gaining weight despite diet and exercise? You are not alone. Up to 75% of women report suffering from symptoms that could be attributed to a hormone imbalance!
Hormones are important chemical messengers in our bodies such as Estrogen, Testosterone, Progesterone, Cortisol, Thyroid, DHEA, and Vitamin D. They are produced in one type of tissue and then move through the bloodstream to other parts of the body delivering messages for that part of the body to do something specific. When the messages get disrupted, it can have significant downstream implications.
Estrogen dominance is one of the most common hormone imbalance problems for women and that is a big deal because it has literally hundreds of functions in a womans body. It is a common condition that can develop from a variety of causes such as excess body fat, environmental estrogens , poor digestion, chronic stress, and adrenal issues.
Avoid Plastic Containers And Bottled Water
When plastic freezes, it tends to break down into smaller particles that become toxins, our bodies inadvertently consume them when they seep into water or food they contain. The body takes these compounds as xenoestrogen, and it adds to the hormonal imbalance, not to mention the strain on your liver for detox.
Xenoestrogens also make it hard to lose weight. Learn more about the female hormone weight lossconnection.
Our Tip: Balance hormones naturally by simply ditching plastic! Switch to a reusable glass or metal water bottle.
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Learn How Your Hormones Work Together
The first half of the menstrual cycle is called the follicular phase and is where you experience a rise in follicle stimulating hormone as several of your follicles begin their final race to ovulation. These growing follicles release the hormone estrogen in higher and higher amounts. Luteinising hormone then triggers ovulation the bursting open of a dominant follicle.
Following ovulation, there is a steep decline in estrogen. The sack which contained the egg begins to secrete another hormone: progesterone which increases and becomes our dominant hormone in the second half of the menstrual cycle which is known as the luteal phase.
Each of these two phases last roughly two weeks in a typical cycle. If your cycle is longer than 28 days, the first half of the cycle will be longer, with the second half usually remaining around two weeks. After this second two-week phase, if your egg is not fertilised, the lining which has grown to support a potential pregnancy will be shed in the form of your period. The is accompanied by a sharp drop in all hormone levels as you return to baseline. This bleed becomes day 1 of your new cycle, and the process begins again.
The Functional Medicine Prescription For Hormone Imbalance
Stress Reduction to Eliminate Estrogen Dominance
The vast majority of us have a fairly fast-paced life these days and that can lead to chronic stress. It is difficult to remove the stress, but there are some tried and true methods for helping your body respond differently to it. For example, if you learn to perceive a situation as an opportunity rather than a threat, it can change the chemical response in your body so you are no longer constantly in fight or flight and trying to produce cortisol. For some women, adrenal support supplements can help their bodys hormonal stress response in addition to lifestyle practices. Check out our article on managing Anxiety and Stress for more detailed techniques and supports.
Sleep is also essential to your body handling stress and repairs itself overnight. If youre struggling with sleep, it is recommended you work with a provider to also address the root cause. It could be that your hormones are causing the sleep disturbance!
Read our article on how to Finally Get Some Rejuvenating Sleep!
Support Your Liver and Gut
- Eat quality protein
- Eat a minimum of 3 cups of cruciferous vegetables weekly
- Consider a supplement with, DIM , a nutrient that supports the liver in processing estrogen
- Detoxing the liver can help bring down estrogen. Glutathione, milk thistle, dandelion root can all be helpful
Eat Foods that Support Hormone Balance:
- Broccoli and broccoli sprouts
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What Are Female Hormones
The female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone are hugely important. These hormones are responsible for kick-starting puberty, and give us a menstrual cycle for the rest of our lives, allowing us to successfully reproduce. However, these hormones are thought to exert effects around the whole body not only in and around the womb. We know that oestrogen receptors are located all over the body, which isnt necessarily a bad thing.
Oestrogen is thought to be important for supporting the health of our skin,digestive system,joints and much more. However, this also means if our hormones slip out of balance, we can be left feeling the effects.
Understanding your period and the symptoms of hormone imbalance is really important. If you think that you could be affected, why not click the link to watch our video blog on this topic as our Womens Health Advisor Emma explains all.
How Are Hormonal Imbalances Treated
Treatment for a hormonal imbalance will depend on whats causing it.
If you have lower-than-normal hormone levels, the main treatment is hormone replacement therapy. Depending on which hormone is deficient, you may take oral medication or injection medication.
For example, if you have low thyroid hormone levels , your provider can prescribe synthetic thyroid hormone pills. If you have growth hormone deficiency, youll likely have to take injections of synthetic growth hormone.
If you have higher-than-normal hormone levels, there are many treatment options depending on the cause. Options include medication, surgery, radiation therapy or a combination of any of these.
For example, if you have a prolactinoma, a benign tumor that causes excess prolactin , your provider may prescribe a medication to shrink the tumor or you may need surgery to remove it.
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When Does Bloating Happen
Most people who menstruate can experience bloating one or two days before their period begins. For some, it starts as much as five days before, and can affect everyday activities. One study done in 2011 found that people whose bodies retained the most water experienced worse bloating on the first day of their period. Once you start your period, bloating tends to dissipate and you may find some relief.
Does It Allow For Dietary Restrictions Or Preferences
Vegetarians and vegans: The diet includes protein sources that would work for you.
Gluten-free: You give up gluten for the first 2 weeks of this diet. After that, gluten isnât completely off-limits. Turner does advise readers to avoid some processed carbs, like white flour and white rice, and to steer clear of any foods that they felt they had a bad reaction to after the detox phase.
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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.
What Conditions Are Caused By Hormonal Imbalances
Dozens of medical conditions are caused by hormone issues. For most hormones, having too much or too little of them causes symptoms and issues with your health. While many of these imbalances require treatment, some can be temporary and may go away on their own. Some of the most common hormone-related conditions include:
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Can Hormone Imbalance Cause Anxiety
Yes, certain hormonal imbalances can cause anxiety, including:
- Hyperthyroidism: If you have hyperthyroidism, it means your body has too much thyroid hormone. Excess thyroid hormone speeds up your metabolism. This can cause anxiety, in addition to unusual nervousness, restlessness and irritability.
- Cushings syndrome: While its not as common of a symptom, Cushings syndrome can cause anxiety, as well as depression and irritability.
- Adult-onset growth hormone deficiency: Adults with growth hormone deficiency often report having anxiety and/or depression.
Several other conditions and factors can cause anxiety. Its important to talk to your healthcare provider if youre experiencing anxiety.
What Causes Estrogen Dominance
Typically, Estrogen Dominance is due to a combination of one or more of the following:
Environmental toxins known as xenoestrogens.
Lack of ovulation or low progesterone during luteal phase.
Stress and Estrogen Dominance
Our modern fast-paced society is one of the most impactful, because stress causes our Adrenal Glands to produce a lot of Cortisol to keep us going. When we are under chronic stress it can lead to what is called Adrenal Fatigue. This is when our body uses up our Cortisol and begins to steal sex hormones, especially progesterone, to produce it. This leads to an estrogen dominant state because there isn’t enough progesterone on-board. This is one reason that we see women going through menopause earlier.
How Your Gut & Liver Health Can Cause Estrogen Dominance
Your liver is responsible for metabolizing estrogen and it needs certain co-factors and enzymes to do this effectively. If you have insufficiencies in these liver supports, you may not be able to effectively metabolize Estrogen.
When there is dysbiosis or an imbalance of gut flora (too many bad ones or too few good ones, you can end up with beta-glucaronidase, an enzyme that can lead to higher levels of estrogen in the body.
Xenoestrogens Are All Around Us
Lack of Ovulation or Low Progesterone During Luteal Phase
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Take Care Of Yourself
One of the best ways to treat hormonal acne is by caring for yourself.
Your mental and physical health should always be a priority so that you dont increase stress. Drinking more water, sleeping, and exercising can help you manage hormones that keep bringing acne to the surface.
When your brain and body cant function properly, your hormones can become imbalanced and create many types of skin problems. Try to control your stress and as the tension disappears, so will the acne and spots.
Ways To Boost Human Growth Hormone Naturally
Human growth hormone is an important hormone produced by your pituitary gland.
Also known as growth hormone , it plays a key role in growth, body composition, cell repair, and metabolism .
HGH also boosts muscle growth, strength, and exercise performance, while helping you recover from injury and disease .
Low HGH levels may decrease your quality of life, increase your risk of disease, and make you gain fat (
Those with higher levels of belly fat will likely have impaired HGH production and an increased risk of disease.
One study observed that those with three times the amount of belly fat as the control group had less than half their amount of HGH .
Another study monitored the 24-hour release of HGH and found a large decline in those with more abdominal fat.
Interestingly, research suggests that excess body fat affects HGH levels more in men. However, lowering body fat is still key for both genders .
Whats more, a study found that people with obesity had lower levels of HGH and IGF-1 a growth-related protein. After losing a significant amount of weight, their levels returned to normal .
Belly fat is the most dangerous type of stored fat and linked to many diseases. Losing belly fat will help optimize your HGH levels and other aspects of your health.
Get rid of excess body fat especially around your belly to optimize your HGH levels and improve your health.
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Help Your Friendly Gut Bacteria
The other really interesting thing here is that there’s a lot of research coming out, looking about how our friendly bacteria can also play a big part in hormonal balance.1
The level of friendly bacteria in your digestive tract can help if they’re in good condition, can help to extract the phytoestrogens from your food, so this ties in with what I mentioned above in point one.If you have a good diet with lots of phytoestrogen-rich foods, then you need plenty of good, friendly bacteria in the digestive tract to extract them so you can make good use of them.
So if you have digestive problems, if you tend to bloat, if you have a bit of constipation or if you’ve had antibiotics even several years ago, all of these can affect the level of friendly bacteria and that can also impact on your hormonal balance as well.
Find out how you can help your friendly bacteria in my blog: ‘Friendly bacteria and how they help the menopause‘.
So I hope you found this one interesting. It’s just a few, little, simple tips that you can do regularly, which can have quite a big impact on your hormonal balance during the peri-menopause.
If any of you have got any great tips out there, things that you have found have helped your hormones during the peri-menopause, we would love to hear them, so please share.
Include Healthy Fats In Your Diet
Fat plays an essential role in balancing those hormones associated with metabolism, appetite, and satiety.
For instance, studies show that consuming monounsaturated fats in olive oil can increase insulin sensitivity in both healthy individuals and those with conditions such as high triglycerides, fatty liver, prediabetes, and diabetes.
Medium-chain triglycerides such as coconut oil and pure MCT oil may also help increase insulin sensitivity in diabetes, overweight and obese individuals.
Further research shows that consuming healthy fats with food will stimulate the release of satiety hormones, which helps you feel full and satisfied, thus preventing overeating.
Other healthy sources of fat include avocado, nuts, and seeds.
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What You Can Eat
Turner calls her food plan Glyci-Med,â since itâs a mix of foods low on the glycemic index and a traditional Mediterranean diet.
Foods you can eat include lean protein vegetables and most fruit chia seeds, flaxseeds, and most nuts olive oil and some other unsaturated oils and fats, like canola oil and whole grains like buckwheat, brown rice, and quinoa.
On this plan, youâll avoid or minimize caffeine, alcohol, fried foods, processed meat, peanuts, saturated fat, full-fat dairy, artificial sweeteners, and simple high-GI carbs like white bread.
Youâll eat often â every 3-4 hours â making healthy food choices at least 80% of the time. But you do get one to two cheat meals a week.
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