What is hormonal imbalance?
Think of your hormones as telephone operators. They travel through your body relaying information to your tissues and organs letting them know how to perform. And it turns out, they’re responsible for many of your body’s major functions, including metabolism and reproduction.
Too much or too little of a hormone is known as an imbalance, and even the slightest imbalance can have an impact on your overall well being.
Hormonal imbalance in men
With increasing age, the testosterone level in men decreases naturally. A pathological deficiency can be caused by heavy alcohol consumption or obesity. Genetic causes can also lead to a deficiency or lower effectiveness of male hormones. Also disorders of other endocrine organs can cause a testosterone deficiency. There can also be an excess of testosterone in men, mostly in the context of doping in competitive sports. Similar to women, a hormonal imbalance in men can manifest by a multitude of symptoms such as fatigue, depression, increased sweating, insomnia and weight changes as well as loss of muscle mass, erectile dysfunction and impotence.
Hormonal imbalance in women
The most common hormonal imbalance among women is having too much estrogen or an estrogen dominance which means having higher estrogen levels in relation to progesterone levels. This can be a result of diet, too much stress, lack of sleep, and much more. Research shows that 80 percent of women suffer from hormonal imbalance.
10 hormonal imbalance symptoms for women
Many women oftentimes aren’t even aware that a hormonal imbalance might be the cause of their suffering. The truth is, when your hormones are off balance, your body sends you signals to alert you something’s off but these signals can come in many different forms. Here are some red flags to look out for.
- Sudden weight gain
- Hot Flashes & night sweats
- Irregular periods
- Mood swings
- Low libido
5 natural ways to support your hormones
Making a few lifestyle changes is the best way to naturally support your hormones and prevent any disruptors that may cause hormonal imbalance. If you experience any of the above symptoms on a regular basis, here’s what you should do.
1. Vitamin supplements
The effect of vitamin supplements for hormonal balance is controversial, but some of them might help to support the body in a more natural way. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E as well as magnesium can help the body prevent strong hormonal fluctuations. Monk's pepper has also proven to be an effective remedy. The herb has been shown to help regulate women’s hormone levels and reduce PMS symptoms. However as with any sort of higher dosage or medication, you should consult your doctor, endocrinologist or gynecologist before taking them. Due to their potency they should not be taken with the pill or during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
2. Hormone-balancing superfoods
Superfoods are an even more natural way to nourish your body with easily absorbed nutrients. There are a few superstars in the plant world that have been shown to ease hormonal fluctuations and help with symptoms such as PMS. One of them is the blue-green algae spirulina, which contains a lot of calcium, magnesium and potassium. These hormone-balancing nutrients reduce cramps before or during menstruation, mood swings, breast pain and inflammation. Spirulina also reduces blood sugar levels. You can find spirulina in the Super Green mix.
A better known hormone helper is the maca root. You can find it in a lot of our mixes, for example the Moon Balance mix, which was especially designed for women. Maca is an endocrine adaptogen, balances hormones and promotes fertility. It contains no hormones, but nutrients that promote hormone production. Another great superfood for hormonal balance is shatavari. It supports the female body through all phases in life: From menstruation to menopause. Shatavari contains phytoestrogen and phyto progesterone, so called plant hormones, which help level women's hormone levels. Naturally occurring phytosteroids act at a very low level, especially immediately before, during and after the menopause. Shatavari is also said to strengthen the uterus during pregnancy and support lactation during breastfeeding.
3. Nutrient-rich diet
One of the easiest (and healthiest!) ways to support your hormones is by eating a nutrient-rich diet. Leafy greens, organic whole foods, and prebiotic foods can help keep hormones in balance and support a healthy gut.
Research shows that your diet is key in maintaining hormonal balance. But if you’re anything like me, there’s nothing you crave more than a pint of ice cream during that time of the month. However, that pint is doing a lot more harm to your hormones than you think. Sugar and carbs are the main food offenders disrupting your hormones. The more sugar and carbs you eat, the more fat cells you create. These fat cells secrete estrogen, which can lead to estrogen dominance.
Regular exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on hormone-related health issues like stress, depression, and mood swings. Thanks to a boost in serotonin, exercise releases feel-good transmitters that can help relieve symptoms of PMS and menopause. But its benefits don’t stop there. Exercise increases your heart rate, which helps boost estrogen levels.
Women’s health expert and founder of FLO Living, Alisa Vitti, says that tailoring your workout to your period cycle is the best way to support your mind and body. For instance, in your menstrual cycle, you’d focus more on light movements, such as stretching or practicing yoga. In your follicular phase, your hormones are low, so light cardio is best. High-intensity exercises are recommended for ovulation, and in your luteal phase, you’ll want to engage in light to medium exercise.
5. Limited caffeine intake
Studies show that if you suffer from symptoms of PMS, infertility, or other hormone-related health issues, caffeine is only making things worse. Especially coffee. Not only does coffee increase your cortisol levels and stress your adrenals, but it depletes your body of essential nutrients and minerals. This makes it more difficult for your endocrine system to balance your hormones. Caffeine is also metabolized slower in postmenopausal women and women taking oral contraceptives.
Although quitting coffee may seem like an impossible feat, there are steps you can take to reduce your consumption and wean yourself off caffeine. Try for example to progressively replace your cup of joe by something else that is less caffeine-heavy - your body will slowly detox off caffeine, and you will not be craving coffee the same way.