As mentioned in previous articles, the key players of the endocrine system don’t work alone. When everything is working well, you should feel great as hormones are secreted in response to how much the body needs at any given time. However, a single hormone that is “off” can produce a series of “unideal” events. Toxic exposure, suboptimal nutrition, poor lifestyle habits (such as stress, lack of exercise) can create an imbalance and lead to unpleasant symptoms.
- Minimize toxins in food, environments, body care and cleaning products (i.e. tobacco, xenoestrogens, heavy metals, chemicals).
- Manage stress. Try relaxation and deep breathing techniques. Consider counselling and acupuncture.
- Ensure good quality sleep.
- Take part in regular, moderate exercise and stretching. Maintain a healthy weight.
- Balance blood sugar levels. Consume quality protein, healthy fats and high-fibre ingredients at each meal. Eat regularly and don’t skip breakfast!
- Avoid food sensitivities, artificial sweeteners, processed/refined/hydrogenated foods, sugars, alcohol, excess animal products or caffeine.
- Eat a wholesome diet full of whole, natural, nutrient-rich foods (i.e. fresh produce, fatty fish, raw nuts & seeds, avocado, etc.) and drink plenty of water! Choose organic whenever possible J
- Support digestion by eating slowly and chewing thoroughly in a relaxed state. Also, consider enzymes, HCL and gut repair nutrients (i.e. L-glutamine) if necessary.
- Consider a cleansing program 2-3 times a year and ensure to prevent constipation.
- Get yearly physical checkups and monitor hormone levels.
- Take your daily “Prevention Pack” which includes a Multivitamin + Vitamin D3, essential Omega Fats (i.e. fish oils) and Probiotics. A multivitamin works as an “insurance policy” to cover any nutrients lacking in the diet while Vitamin D helps promote healthy hormone function (especially in those with diabetes and low thyroid!). Probiotics help normalize the gut bacteria balance in order to support digestion, immunity and mental health while preventing toxicity, inflammation and hormone imbalances. Note that they actually improve production and regulation of key hormones! Healthy fats also help to control inflammation, promote hormonal balance and act as building blocks for certain hormones. GLA from borage or evening primrose oil is especially beneficial for PMS cramps, PCOS, bone density, fertility and wrinkled skin after menopause. Omega 3’s from flax, algae and fish oils help support the heart, skin, joints, mood, brain, eyes, etc.
- Target other health conditions and concerns, such as candida overgrowth if necessary.
- Consider supplemental antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support in addition to a healthy diet.
- Adequate protein is essential for building certain hormones, maintaining muscle mass, controlling appetite and blood sugar levels in addition to supporting the immune system. As a general rule, it is suggested that the average person consume roughly half of their ideal body weight (lbs.) in grams of protein per day.
- Fibre helps to bind excess toxins, cholesterol and estrogen in order to remove it from the body. It also slows down absorption of sugars in the blood stream to help support balanced glucose levels and supports weight control and bowel regularity.
Condition Specific Supplements:
- Adrenal Support -> Take Adaptogens. These are ingredients that assist the body in adapting to and coping with stress by supporting the adrenal glands. They have a normalizing effect, helping the body maintain a constant internal state and support immunity, fight fatigue, improve mental ability, increase resistance to and counteract the negative physical and emotional effects of stress. Examples include Ginseng, Suma, Rhodiola, Ashwaghanda, Schizandra, Holy Basil, Medicinal Mushrooms (i.e. Reishi, Cordyceps). In addition, note that Vitamins B, C and Magnesium are depleted by the stress response and essential for healthy adrenal function. For additional support in stress management, look for calming herbs such as valerian, passionflower, lemon balm, hops, skullcap, kava kava, chamomile and lavender. Also, L-theanine or GABA are great for fast-acting stress relief and mental calmness.
- Estrogen Dominance/Andropause -> Certain ingredients are used to maintain a healthy sex hormone ratio, help the body break down harmful estrogens to non-toxic forms, detoxify excess estrogens in the liver and protect against the effects of estrogen dominance. These consist of Indole-3-Carbinol, Calcium D Glucarate, Sulforaphane, Curcumin, DIM, etc. Additional natural recommendations may be made for those suffering from specific issues such as PCOS, menstrual pain, endometriosis, cysts, infertility, etc.
- Menopause -> In addition to supporting the adrenal glands and promoting healthy estrogen levels, certain ingredients can help target menopausal symptoms. These include black cohosh, vitex/chasteberry, dong quai, sage, siberian rhubarb and elk velvet antler. Consider extra support for healthy bones, libido, mood, sleep and skin health if necessary. Key nutrients during this time are magnesium, B-complex, Vitamin D.
- Thyroid -> Certain ingredients may help increase the production of thyroid hormones or support the conversion of T4 to T3. These include L-Tyrosine, Guggal Extract, Iodine, Selenium, Ashwaghanda, Myrrh and Vitamin D3. In addition, choose to steam goitrogenic foods such as cruciferous veggies and consume in moderation.
- Enlarged Prostate -> Certain ingredients will help inhibit inflammation in the prostate, improve symptoms of BPH, increase bladder function and help block the harmful conversion of testosterone to DHT. These include pygeum bark, rye flower pollen, saw palmetto, plant sterols (beta sitosterol), pumpkin seed oil and zinc.
- Diabetes -> Ingredients that help support insulin function include berberine, bitter melon, chirositol, garlic and cinnamon! Note that diabetics have higher requirements of chromium and vanadium, magnesium, B-vitamins, Zinc, and Vitamin E.
This concludes our “All About Hormones” series. If you have any questions or concerns about your hormone health, consult a health care professional for testing and suggestions. Ask your Naturopathic Doctor about hormone analysis, acupuncture and natural supplement options!
- This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach -