Feb 17, 2023
Life can certainly be a wild ride, and a hormone imbalance can make it a Roller coaster ride! Water retention, heavy periods, irregular menstrual cycles, hot flashes, mood swings and many other symptoms of a hormone imbalance, can leave you on the edge of your seat, gripping on for dear life! However, you can step off of that hormonal Roller coaster ride and find your balance again. Through lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments and supplementation, you can be well on your way to better hormonal health. Here are some suggestions, to help you get better control over your hormones.
Here are 5 Superstars for helping you to get your balance back again:
Adaptogens – Ashwagandha, Maca, Rhodiola Rosea and Red Clover are just some of the many adaptogens that can help with some of the symptoms of a hormone imbalance. Ashwagandha can help to reduce cortisol levels, support thyroid health, and also to help stabilize your mood. Maca is a Peruvian root vegetable that has been used for centuries in women that are going through menopause. It has been shown to balance hormones (1), increase energy levels, improve libido, and ease hot flashes! Rhodiola Rosea is a gem for helping to reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is a friend and not a foe, but when placed under constant stress, this can cause continuously high cortisol levels that can wreak havoc on the body. High cortisol can throw a monkey wrench in your delicate hormone balance, as the body will prioritize making cortisol over estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. This is where Rhodiola saves the day by reducing cortisol levels. This will help with balancing hormones, improve focus and clarity, it can also help reduce anxiety and has also been shown to reduce depressive symptoms due to chronic stress (2). Last but not least, we have Red Clover! Red Clover helps to reduce hot flashes and night sweats. Researchers think that this may be due to its high isoflavone content. It may also help prevent bone loss, reduce vaginal atrophy, and has been shown to increase collagen production (3).
Magnesium - Known as the “Calming Mineral”, Magnesium is truly a wonder mineral! What doesn't it do? Magnesium regulates the HPA axis, which helps promote hormone balance. Speaking of hormones, magnesium also aids in the manufacturing of estrogen and progesterone. Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system (4). It helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and reduce cortisol levels. Magnesium can help you sleep better, as it is involved in the production of melatonin. Better sleep = healthier hormones. Magnesium with the addition of vitamin B6 has also been shown to reduce PMS symptoms and alleviate menstrual cramps during your period (5).
Indole 3 Carbinol (I-3-C) - Indole 3 Carbinol is a phytochemical that is derived from cruciferous vegetables from the breakdown of glucosinolate. I-3-C is a true superstar for helping to reduce the “bad” form of estrogen in the body, therefore; can be helpful for people who are dealing with symptoms related to estrogen dominance. It may be a phytochemical, but it can masquerade as a phytoestrogen in the body, binding to estrogen receptor sites. So sneaky! I-3-C also enhances phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification enzymes, helping your liver to metabolize estrogen better. It's also acts as a potent antioxidant, helping to reduce oxidative stress throughout the body.
There is some debate whether DIM, a by-product of I-3-C, is better than I-3-C, as I-3-C is less stable in the stomach. DIM is poorly absorbed on its own, and is produced in a much more absorbable form from I-3-C's instability in the stomach, so it's better to take I-3-C. This is one case where instability is a benefit!
Vitex - If you find yourself struggling with PCOS, irregular cycles, PMS or infertility issues, Vitex may be just what you are looking for. Vitex is a herb that works directly on the pituitary gland, to help produce luteinizing hormone (the hormone that triggers ovulation). It has also been shown to increase progesterone, balance testosterone levels, and reduce prolactin levels (6). You may need to take Vitex for at least 3 months before noticing a difference, so try to be patient!
B-Complex – The underrated, but oh so important B-Vitamins! Many people don’t realize how helpful B vitamins can be for hormone balance and for improving energy levels. B6 can help to increase progesterone, which may help those who are dealing with estrogen dominance gain some balance with their hormones (7). B6 can also be helpful for improving mood, as it can help to increase serotonin production. B6, B12 and folate can also help to support the detoxification pathways in the liver that detoxifies estrogen. All of the B vitamins play a role in the detoxification process, so it is ideal to take supplement that includes them all to help balance hormones.
Lifestyle and diet tips for balancing hormones
Although supplements can be a huge benefit for balancing hormones, it is only a small part of the solution. In fact, it's always better to address an imbalanced lifestyle and diet before reaching for supplements. Here are some tips on what you can change to improve your hormone balance.
Sleep more! If you are getting less than 7 hours of sleep each night, you may want to strongly consider improving your sleep habits and get more rest. 7-9 hours of rest is ideal for hormone imbalance and overall better health. Sleeping less than 7 hours a night has been shown to decrease insulin sensitivity (8), lead to increased cortisol levels throughout the day, negatively affect leptin levels (important for ovulation and regular menstrual cycles) and increases ghrelin, all which negatively affect health and hormone balance. Managing stress is also important for balancing cortisol levels and getting better sleep, eat a whole food diet that contains plenty of organic fruit and vegetables, lots of fibre, healthy fats and ample protein. Also, getting more exercise is crucial for improving hormone balance, increased mental well-being, and improving insulin sensitivity (9).
There are so many factors that contribute to our hormonal health. Try to make small consistent changes to improve your health each day, and you will reap the benefits for years to come!
Article by: Jennifer Fraser, Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant
All information is for educational and Informational purposes only. Any nutrition, lifestyle and product recommendations are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Before starting any new supplements, please check with your doctor or practitioner.
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