Physical activity is important to hormone balance, not to mention overall health and a good mental state. Exercise helps to keep cortisol levels low and also helps maintain hormone balance by reducing the level of cortisol in the body and sustaining serum insulin levels. Cortisol levels can become significantly high when the body is experiencing stress, either real or imagined.17 Exercise helps counter the effects of stress and regular moderate exercise can lower cortisol levels.18-20 Moderate exercise for 30 to 60 minutes each day can have a profound effect on hormone balance.21-23
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Cut down the coffee if you can, or replace with beneficial herbal teas (here are my ten favorite DIY recipes). If you can’t or won’t cut the coffee, use it as a way to sneak in your beneficial fats by adding 1 tablespoon coconut oil to each cup and blending in the blender to emulsify. It is like a latte but with healthy fats! Here is the recipe I use and the only way I drink coffee.
The Labs: Mainstream medicine typically just runs TSH and T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to determine thyroid hormone dosage. A functional medicine thyroid panel involves looking at many other labs such as Free and Total T3 (active thyroid hormone), Reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies to rule out autoimmune thyroid problems. For a full list of thyroid labs and how to interpret them, read my previous article here.
The digestive system has much more of an impact on hormones than many of us realize. Not only is the digestive tract the source of many vital neurotransmitters in the body, but an imbalance in the gut can translate to an imbalance in neurotransmitter and hormones. Serotonin, a necessary neurotransmitter for sleep/stress balance is more concentrated in the gut than even in the brain! 70% of the immune system is found in the gut and it is quite literally the motherboard of many functions in the body. Even thyroid health has been linked to gut health.
Experts say that mood swings and other symptoms do not necessarily indicate abnormal hormone levels. "Every study done on women with PMS shows their circulating levels of hormones are normal," says Nanette Santoro, MD. Santoro is director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. "But some researchers believe that certain hormone metabolites in the brain cause the mood changes - or that some women just metabolize hormones differently. No one knows for sure."
In addition, Goldstein recommends that women increase intake of vitamin B6 - either by taking supplements or by adding more beans, nuts, legumes, and fortified bread and cereals to your diet. Northrup suggests increasing levels of zinc (try poultry, seafood, nuts, and whole grains), and magnesium (found in legumes, nuts, whole grains, and vegetables).
Hormone imbalance is becoming increasingly common in modern Americans, but what many who have these disorders don’t realize is the fact that hormone imbalance is not “normal.” In a healthy, functioning person, hormones should be in balance to support the functions of the body. When hormones are out of balance, it’s because something in the body is also not functioning properly.
You might never know this from conventional medicine, which seems to subscribe to the idea that women are destined to suffer throughout their reproductive life. Women suffer from mood and behavior swings resulting from the three P’s: Puberty, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and peri-menopause (the years leading up to and just after their final period), or the three M’s: menstrual cramps, menopause and mental anxiety!
Typically, when ghosts become visible, it is always scary news. When we become aware of hormonal imbalance, when we finally catch on and feel that something is off, hormones as commanded by the brain have already made us feel vulnerable, weak, anxious, sad, dulled our memories, debilitated our thinking process, truncated our life and dissolved our relationships- sounds familiar?
Because all the systems in the body are interconnected, if you have one hormone problem, you might have other ones as well. In other words, to say you have only one of these seven issues might be oversimplification – it could be all of these issues or a combination of some of these. It’s important to work with your health care provider to find out what hormone issues might actually be at play.
Food allergies and gut issues: An expanding field of new research shows that your gut health plays a significant role in hormone regulation. If you have leaky gut syndrome or a lack of beneficial probiotic bacteria lining your intestinal wall, you’re more susceptible to hormonal problems, including diabetes and obesity. That’s because inflammation usually stems from your gut and then impacts nearly every aspect of your health. (1b)
First off, thanks for this article. That part at the end made me tear up, I’m sort of having a bad moment. I ran across this because I searched google “if my hormones are imbalanced will it age me” long story short.. family history of endometriosis and hormone issues related to diet. . I follow a strict lifestyle of no meat, absolutely no preservatives, I go back and forth with allowing fish and dairy into my life when I’m feeling particularly gaunt.. I drink water or plain almond milk. I basically avoid refined sugars or anything processed at all. Anyway, my Ob/gyn who specializes in fertility and hormones started me on this charting thing to track my cycles and ovulation in order to begin me on a regimen of the “bio-identical” hormones. After doing a hormone panel at peak+3,5,7,9 he saw that my estrogen and progesterone dropped very low, so he prescribed estradiol and progesterone. I ended up refusing to take these because I don’t like to mess with my natural chemistry and I’m so anti- anything unnatural. But tonight looking at my face which seems to be aging, my disrupted sleep pattern and some minor depression.. I thought, could these pills help? Am I doing myself a disservice by NOT taking them? Most importantly at that moment, is it AGING me not to take them? Lol. Silly I know. If you could offer some advice I would heed it after reading what you’ve said. Thanks and thanks again, 🙂
Feeling bloated, irritable, or just not your best? A hormone imbalance could be to blame. Hormones are chemical “messengers” that impact the way your cells and organs function. It’s normal for your levels to shift at different times of your life, such as before and during your period or a pregnancy, or during menopause. But some medications and health issues can cause them to go up or down, too.