Hormones are your bodies, chemical messengers. They circulate throughout your whole body and act on receptors on different cells to produce different effects.
What’s important to remember is that your hormones do not act in isolation. In fact, nothing in your body acts in isolation. When I trained at medical school, I looked at the organs in the body separately, but really, everything in our bodies work as one.
Think of your hormones as cogs in a clock… how quickly or slowly one cog moves affects the rest… and so if you have issues with estrogen, for example, you need to look at and address the whole picture and not JUST hyper focus on estrogen.
Some common signs of hormonal imbalance: fatigue, mood swings, problems with blood sugar, sugar cravings, trouble sleeping, infertility, hair loss, irritability, irregular and painful periods, acne, inability to lose weight, migraines, rapid weight loss, anxiety, depression… this list is not exhaustive and also, just because you have the symptoms doesn’t mean your issues are due to hormonal imbalance so please make sure you work with a practitioner to exclude serious medical conditions if you have any symptoms.
If you have hormonal imbalance, it's important to look at the root causes and address those. Here are 5 key pillars that most people forget.
1) Balance your blood sugar
Blood sugar balance is key and can be a symptom of or an underlying factor of many other hormone imbalances. Some signs you may have imbalanced blood sugar or insulin resistance include cravings for sweets, irritability if meals are missed, eating to relieve fatigue, lightheaded if meal is missed, must have sweets after meals, difficulty losing weight, etc.
Some tips to balance your blood sugar:
2) Control inflammation
Inflammation is the cornerstone of every modern-day disease. Consuming an anti-inflammatory diet and avoiding foods that are known to cause inflammation will help to balance your hormones. Inflammation is a double-edged sword. We don’t want too much but we also don’t want too little either. Common causes of inflammation include:
3) Manage stress
Stress impacts your steroid hormones by directly increasing cortisol production, and chronic stress can lead to inflammation in the body. Stress can also have a big impact on your sex and thyroid hormones so it is an important area to address (easier said than done), if you are experiencing fertility issues and thyroid problems, stress and toxin reduction are two important areas to look at.
Tips to ease stress:
4) Support liver detoxification and reduce endocrine disruptors: your liver is a crucial organ for hormone balance. Our liver works overtime in a heavily polluted world to remove toxins that we encounter from the environment. Many hormonal conversions/deactivations take place in our liver so if your liver is overwhelmed, these conversions may be sluggish. In addition, studies have shown that endocrine disruptors like BPA, parabens, phthalates are commonly found in our personal care products, household cleaning products, and even our water supply.
These endocrine disruptors can mimic our own hormones and bind to receptors, affecting our hormonal balance. (line break) Some tips to support your liver:
5) Sleep - sleep is absolutely vital in hormonal regulation because many of our hormones e.g. Growth hormone, testosterone are produced during deep sleep. Also, poor sleep can affect our cortisol level which can have an impact on the rest of our hormones. Poor sleep can also affect our hunger signalling hormones (Ghrelin and leptin), making us more likely to crave high sugar and high-fat foods.
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