Let’s talk about hormones. I’m going to dive into a couple of clinical pearls that I see in my practice from working with hundreds of female patients and male patients which have a major effect on modulating and supporting hormonal balance.
These are my top 5 hormonal balancing strategies:
- One of the first things in regards to hormones that’s very important, and this may be common sense but I try to give a lot of knowledge guided by experience, is nutritional building blocks for your hormones. Healthy cholesterol from animal products are very essential. Fat soluble vitamins like A, D, K are very important. Lots of good protein are also very important. We have steroid-based hormones that are going to be more cholesterol-based and we have peptide-based hormones that will also be protein-based. So, a lot of these protein, fat-soluble vitamins, and cholesterol especially healthy animal cholesterol are very helpful for hormonal building blocks. If you have a vegan-vegetarian diet or if it’s very nutritionally poor or there’s a lot of processed food, that may set you up with a deficit out of the gates for just hormonal issues. Remember: Make sure the food is nutritionally dense, anti-inflammatory, and low in toxins. That’s vital.
- Now, if you’re having a lot of good nutrition in there, the next thing is we have to make sure we’re able to digest it and break it down. So, if we have a lot of chronic acid reflux, poor digestion, constipation, or bloating, we know we’re not quite breaking down our food and our nutritional building blocks. That could tell us that we may have hormonal issues because we’re not breaking that down. Therefore, those nutrients can’t get into our body or get in our bloodstream and be taken throughout the body to be used as building blocks. So, if we have a bottleneck in the nutritional side, that could be a big factor.
- Stress, whether it’s emotional or chemical stress. If we’re eating foods that are inflammatory or we’re nutritionally deficient and we have a lot of emotional stress, what tends to happen is our hormones kind of go on two sides. We have an anabolic side which are the growth hormones — testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone — that kind of help deal with growing. Then we have anti-inflammatory hormones which would be cortisol and are catabolic. I always put progesterone in that category because progesterone can be used to make more cortisol. So, we have our anti-inflammatory and then our anabolic. In some, they kind of cross over. Insulin, growth hormones, and testosterone are anabolic. The more inflamed we get, we could have high amounts of testosterone because of PCOS and because of inflammation. So, some of these hormones kind of interact and cross over. With men for instance, the more inflamed men get and the more stressed they get, that can actually cause an upregulation of aromatase and could increase their estrogen. So, see how these things kind of cross react. Your hormones are going to be either pro-building or anti-inflammatory to reduce stress. So, for chronically and stressed out state, cortisol is going to rip up your protein and kind of decrease your muscle mass. As a woman, you’ll see your progesterone level start to drop and that will start putting you into an estrogen-dominant state because if we normally got 20 to 25 times estrogen than progesterone, that ratio starts to drop. Even if you still have more progesterone than estrogen, that ratios is going to throw you off and that can create breast tenderness, cramping, mood issues, excessive bleeding/menorrhagia, infertility, a lot of mood issues, back pain, and fluid retention. All those are possible situations.
- Xenoestrogens from the environment and foreign estrogens. They can come from plastic components, pesticides, herbicides or rodenticides, mold toxins, and heavy metals. They are going to disrupt our hormones. The easiest thing is eat organic, avoid plastics, and avoid a lot of the chemicals in the water because a lot of times you can get pesticide runoff or hormone runoff in the water. So, clean water and clean food, and then make sure it’s organic avoid the plastics as well. That’s a big, big thing. Plastics are probably okay if they are in a refrigerator or in a cold environment but ideally if you’re heating stuff up or it’s going to get exposed to light, you want some kind of a Pyrex or a glass container. It’s much better and really important.
- Last but not the least would be just making sure our detoxification pathways are running well. So, if we have good hormonal balance but we can’t detoxify it, then a lot of times we can reabsorb it. So, if we don’t have good sulfur, good glutathione precursors, good B vitamins, good methylation, N-acetylation and glucuronidation, we may have a hard time eliminating. Hence, we are re-absorbing a lot of our hormones. So, being able to break down your proteins, break down your amino acid and your B vitamins is going to help with your body’s ability to eliminate a lot of these toxins.
Blood sugar, digestion, stress, xenoestrogens, and toxicity are really big. Those are the big 5 across the board. Try to apply at least one of these things.