Hormones are the most potent chemical messengers in our bodies, telling your body what to do and when. That’s why when your hormones are out of balance, you may be able to feel the effects, whether it be via insomnia, fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, or mood swings. But usually these imbalances are reversible—learn how to balance hormones naturally and turn your hormonal imbalance around.
Many of the symptoms that people deal with have a hormonal or endocrine imbalance at its core. People can literally spend years of their lives chasing symptoms without dealing with the root cause problem. Depending on the extent of the symptoms, a lot can be done just by making dietary changes and smart supplementation to your daily routine. There are also some nasties that we should avoid.
What are the most common signs of hormone imbalance?
Symptoms of hormonal imbalances can vary drastically depending on what type of disorder or illness they cause. Some specific problems associated with hormonal imbalances include:
- Oestrogen dominance: changes in sleep patterns, changes in weight and appetite, higher perceived stress, and slowed metabolism
- Adrenal fatigue: fatigue, muscle aches and pains, anxiety and depression, trouble sleeping, brain fog, and reproductive problems
- Hypothyroidism: slowed metabolism, weight gain, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, digestive issues, and irregular periods
- Testosterone: development of breast tissue, breast tenderness, erectile dysfunction, loss of muscle mass, decreased sex drive, infertility, decrease in beard and body hair growth, osteoporosis, the loss of bone mass, difficulty concentrating, hot flashes
- Diabetes: Excessive thirst, Frequent urination, Fatigue, Losing weight without trying to, Blurred vision, Slow-healing sores, Frequent infections, Tingling in your hands or feet, Red, swollen, or tender gums, Chronically dry, itchy skin, Patches of darkened skin in the folds and creases of your body.
What is the endocrine system?
The endocrine system includes the areas in the body that regulate and produce hormones. Hormones are the messengers that allow our organs and cells to communicate to create a coordinated effect. Without our endocrine system, various parts of the body would work independently from one another.
Some of the organs that produce hormones include:
- the pineal gland (which sets the circadian rhythm)
- the thyroid (which sets cellular metabolism)
- the pancreas (which is involved in digestion and blood sugar control)
- the ovaries and testes (which produce the sex hormones oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone)
- the adrenal glands (which produce cortisol that balances emotional and physiological stress to maintain homeostasis).
The hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day and are released in a pulsatile manner throughout the hour, day, or month. This pulsatile release is set by the circadian rhythm. Melatonin can be considered the re-set button for the circadian rhythm, and it allows the body to recover and repair from work done during the day.
The 6 top factors that ruin the endocrine system and how to fix them
- Inadequate sleep. Proper restful sleep is critical to restore endocrine function. Melatonin is produced during deep sleep, making good healthy sleep critical for balancing the endocrine system.
- Environmental pollutants such as exhaust fumes, pesticides, heavy metals, plastics, unfiltered drinking water, smoking, and oestrogen found in water bottles and makeup. Switch to natural, organic, chemical free products. Learn to read labels and remember, don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth – your skin allows all these these chemical to be absorbed into your body
- A lack of Vitamin D from staying in the office too long and not getting out in the sun. Vitamin D is a potent modulator of the endocrine system, especially with the sex hormones. You need at least 20 minutes of sun exposure to 40% of your skin surface without sunscreen between 10am and 2pm at least 3 times a week.
- Emotions – Our neurotransmitters (GABA, serotonin, dopamine, etc.) are linked with the endocrine hormones. An imbalance in one system, whether it’s insufficient production of a neurotransmitter like serotonin, can throw off balance.
- Stress – whether emotional or physical such as from chronic pain like endometriosis will cause a consistent rise in cortisol from the adrenals. It will alter neurotransmitter production, and so your emotions will deplete nutrients needed to produce other hormones and neurotransmitters. It will steal the production line away from other hormones and shunt the production supplies to making cortisol. It burns through critical nutrients such as the B vitamins, zinc, and Vitamin C. Stress is more than just emotional stress, it can also be from physical stress such as from persistent low blood sugar, chronic pain, chronic disease, inflammation, food allergies, and imbalances in the gut.
- Poor Nutrition – A diet high in carbohydrates and empty calories are terrible for the endocrine system. You can start to heal your endocrine system through nutrition. The phrase “you are what you eat” is vital. The dietary approach reflects the understanding that all hormones are made from cholesterol, so avoid low fat diets and consume healthy fats that are rich in omegas.It is well studied that eating food rich in varied, colourful veggies will give your body the nutrients that it needs to function correctly and to prevent cancer.
- Dark green leafy vegetables are packed full of B vitamins, essential nutrients when you are under stress.
- Your body also needs Vitamin C, which is found in the green leafy, oranges, mango, parsley, broccoli, and cabbage. Vitamin C prevents free radical damage, strengthens, and maintains healthy cell integrity, improves wound healing, enhances immune function, inhibits cancer formation, and lower inflammation.
- Natural carotenes, the orange pigment found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and spanspek aid balance by promoting the normal differentiation of cells, is a potent antioxidant and enhances the immune system.
- The constituent in green tea, Catechins, stop free radical damage and lower inflammation.
Wow, all of that just from good food! There is even more food that is crucial to the endocrine system, but I would turn this post into a book.
Smart Supplementation can also support a properly functioning endocrine system
- Probiotics. There is an essential link between gut health and hormone balance. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can improve the production and regulation of critical hormones. If you can’t commit to a daily probiotic supplement, then probiotic-rich foods are also right—raw sauerkraut, tempeh, kefir, kombucha, or kimchi are all excellent options.
- Magnesium: Many people are magnesium-deficient because our cells dump magnesium during stress. You push minerals out of the body just to deal with everyday life. Magnesium is dropped, and the central nervous system is supercharged. But, you need to replenish magnesium to keep calming your central nervous system and prevent the overabundance of cortisol. When these things are regulated, all your other hormones will also be better controlled. Magnesium also helps you sleep better and reduces inflammation, both of which are needed for hormone balance.
- Omega 3’s: The body constructs hormones out of omega-3s, and it is a commonly recommended supplement for individuals with hormone disorders. Omega-3s also reduce the inflammatory damage that interferes with hormone balance.
- Vitamin D3. Research shows that when taken, vitamin D3 acts like a hormone inside the body and can help to reduce inflammation levels. Sunshine is the best way to supplement this, but not all of us can get enough of it. If you can’t, taking 5000 IU of vitamin D3 daily is a general recommendation.
- Adaptogenic Herbs. Adaptogenic herbs promote balance in the body. In particular adaptogenic herbs help the body deal with stress and boosts immune function. I recommend several adaptogens—Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, and Reishi Mushroom are my favourites.
Maca. This hormone booster, from the tuber root of a Peruvian radish, helps balance hormones by stimulating and nourishing the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. Maca works as an adaptogen, responding to your body’s needs. If you’re producing too much of a hormone, it can regulate the production downward. If you’re not producing enough hormones, adaptogens can regulate output upward. Maca has been used for fertility, better hair, skin, and nails, and treating PMS.
- NOTE: Check with your doctor or health care professional before taking any new supplements.
As always C Beyond Health is here to serve you as far as:
• The highest quality supplements,
• Personal recommendations,
• Live blood analysis,
• Organic- non-GMO-, vegan-friendly, gluten-free foods
• Life coaching to guide you through these tough times for and even more health and wellness.
Come see your health differently. Visit our website or come and see us in the Hemel and Aarde Village call 028 316 2848 or Eastcliff Village 028 312 4299.
Here is a great smoothie recipe to help balance your endocrine system:
2 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 – 2 tsp maca powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp raw protein powder,
1 tsp vanilla extract
360 ml (1 1/2 cups) dairy-free milk
Approx 5 ice cubes
2 Medjool dates pitted
Simply add everything to a blender and mix until smooth.
Taste and adjust flavours, if necessary.
Serve and enjoy!