Hormone balancing can seem like a tricky affair however achieving hormone balance really comes down to having a healthy body and addressing the key foundations to health. This of course must include a healthy diet.
The way we are living, what we are eating, and what we are putting on our bodies and exposing ourselves to in our environment will impact our hormone levels and whether we experience symptoms or not. Often times we don't realize that certain factors impact our hormones such as gut health, liver health, blood sugar levels, stress, and movement. This is why it is essential to adopt a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet centered around nutritious foods, alongside supplementation to help balance female sex hormones.
Hormonal imbalances can result in weight gain, cravings, irritability, fatigue, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, hormonal acne, estrogen dominance, cognitive function, digestive issues, facial hair growth, hair loss, and emotional symptoms.
Fortunately there is a lot you can do about it!
Natural treatment options may include regular exercise, acupuncture, stress management, nutrition, and herbs and vitamins for hormone balance.
Supplements for hormonal balance
High stress is hard on our hormones and can make hormonal imbalances much worse. Magnesium is a natural relaxing mineral that can help to calm the nervous system and regulate stress hormones.
It is an essential mineral that is involved in over 500 body processes and the truth is most of us are deficient in our modern society.
Magnesium is used to treat many hormone-related issues such as PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, adrenal fatigue, menopause, and thyroid conditions. Because magnesium is so influential in hormone balancing and such a common deficiency most people would benefit from a magnesium supplement as it is becoming challenging to obtain all of the magnesium you need from diet alone.
B vitamins play a variety of roles when it comes to balancing hormones.
The B vitamins are involved in metabolism, cognitive function, detoxification, adrenal gland function, and the production of hormones and neurotransmitters.
As a result, they can induce quite noticeable changes in energy, brain function, and mood. The B vitamins can also help to reduce stress levels and support the nervous system on coping better with stress.
B-Complex vitamins can help to provide a boost of all of the B vitamins without having to take a handful of supplements every day. Always look for a supplement that provides the active form of the vitamins for increased bio-availability.
Probably one of the most underrated organs when it comes to balancing hormones, the liver is a key player. It is pretty common knowledge that the liver processes toxins but it also metabolizes excess hormones like excess estrogen.
A state of estrogen dominance is associated with many conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS, PMS, breast and uterine cancers, and fibroids.
Lack of nutrients can cause the liver to become sluggish and not do its job to its full capacity which can result in a buildup of toxins and the reabsorption of hormones into the body. The liver is also involved in the process of balancing blood sugar, metabolizing food, storing vitamins and minerals, and converting hormones into their active state.
A poor functioning liver can contribute to estrogen dominance, low progesterone, insulin resistance, fluctuating blood sugar levels, and increased inflammation.
In addition, there are many liver-supporting herbs that can help to protect the liver and promote cleansing such as milk thistle, dandelion, and turmeric. Of course, adopting a nutritious and balanced whole foods diet is an important part of supporting the liver and reducing its toxic load. Go on and give your liver some love!
Omega-3 fatty acids
Fats are the building blocks to our hormones, but it's important to consume the right ones!
Research is finding there are many benefits to supplementing omega 3 fats such as reduced inflammation and autoimmune activity, improved stress response, and decreased menopausal and PMS related symptoms (1).
Dysmenorrhea is characterized by an imbalance between anti-inflammatory and inflammatory compounds and this ratio can be set out of balance by the overconsumption of omega 6 fats and a lack of omega 3 fats in the diet. Increased intake of omega 3's has been shown to reduce and reverse symptoms associated with dysmenorrhea by decreasing omega 6 levels in cell membranes and also improving pregnancy outcomes (2).
Vitamin D is actually known as a pro-hormone as it converts into the hormone, calcitriol, also known as the active form of vitamin D. This vitamin slash hormone appears to play an important role in regards to reproductive hormones and fertility.
Vitamin D deficiency is common among women of reproductive age and has been associated with many hormone-related issues such as mood imbalances, insulin resistance, low estrogen, obesity, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and adverse pregnancy outcomes (3).
When choosing a vitamin D supplement look for the D3 form which has been shown to be most effective at raising vitamin D levels.
Adaptogens are herbs that support the body in coping with environmental and emotional stressors, becoming more resilient, and modulating stress levels. More simply put, they support homeostasis or a state of equilibrium in the body (4).
These herbs have been used for centuries and are well known for their protective actions against the toxic effects of stress.
Stress has a detrimental effect on our sex hormones and reproductive health. When the stress response is chronically activated and cortisol is repeatedly secreted it can wreak havoc on other hormones.
Adaptogenic herbs can help to manage the stress system and inflammation which can help to re-establish hormonal balance.
The beauty of adaptogens is that they are not limited to just one function, they can provide many body-wide benefits and support a variety of systems in the body. Research has shown adaptogens may exhibit neuroprotective, anti-fatigue, antidepressive, antiinflammatory, anti-anxiety, and nootropic effects while also improving stamina, endurance, strength, sleep, and overall vitality (3).
The specific uses that it can provide will depend on the herb you choose as there are many herbal adaptogens that all work a little differently in the body.
About the Author