We women are unbelievably amazing creatures. The ability to conceive and grow a little person is nothing short of miraculous. However, this ability results in an unbelievably complicated system. We typically only think about our hormones when it comes to our monthly cycles or when we are trying to conceive. Truth is our hormones are responsible for far more than just reproduction. If you only focus on one thing this year let it be hormone balance. Properly balanced hormones will pay endless dividends for your health from increased energy to weight loss to clearer skin, not to mention the obvious of easier conception and healthier pregnancies.
Modern medicine does a great disservice to women dealing with hormone issues. Often the proposed solution is taking some form of hormone (birth control, hormone replacement therapy, hormone injections for conception, etc.). While occasionally this is warranted, most of the time it just masks the real issue and many times leads to much worse problems down the road. There are much simpler, less expensive, and safer options to overcome hormone imbalance.
Why is hormone balance so important?
Hormones control much more than just reproduction. These chemicals are critical to the proper function of just about every system in the body. It does not matter if you are young and just starting your menstrual cycle or older and in menopause, properly balanced hormones are crucial to optimal health and wellness. Here are a few important functions of hormones outside of reproduction:
- Hormones play a major role in mood, will power, and motivation.
- Both estrogen and progesterone are critical for a strong immune system. Too high or too low levels of either can lead to a weakened immune system.
- Optimal levels of progesterone help your thyroid hormone (which is your metabolism hormone) work well.
- Excessive estrogen can suppress the thyroid and decrease the size of the thymus gland.
- Estrogen is cardioprotective in women, meaning optimal levels will help keep your heart healthy.
- Estrogen and progesterone have known neuroprotective effects; improving brain function, increasing cognitive function, and even preventing Alzheimer’s.
- Progesterone protects against breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer
A Major Cause of Hormone Imbalance
An increasing number of women are suffering from hormone imbalance due to our lifestyle and diet. Proper hormone balance hinges on the body’s ability to clear the hormones out of our system at the end of each month. Without this, the body is unable to reset and restart the cycle over properly. When this happens month after month we end up with a pretty severe hormone imbalance. This leads to the symptoms we commonly see and feel like weight gain, lack of energy, depressed mood, decreased sex drive, irregular periods, hormonal acne, and trouble conceiving. There are three main reasons your body may not be able to clear hormones adequately:
- A congested liver. These hormones are metabolized through the liver. If your liver is sluggish then it cannot rid your body of them at the end of the month.
- Less than optimal gall bladder function. Once metabolized by the liver, bile produced by the gall bladder moves the waste to the digestive system for excretion.
- Gut health (dysbiosis, constipation, and digestive health). Dysbiosis (you will hear this term from us often) simply means your good and bad bacteria within your digestive track are out of whack. This can lead to a number of health problems, one of which is hormone imbalance. Any stagnation in the digestive track (not pooping often enough) stops hormones from being excreted efficiently and results in a breakdown of the naturally occurring hormone cycle.
What can you do to rebalance your hormones?
Diet is arguably one of the top, if not the top, cause of hormone imbalance. Getting away from processed foods and moving to a whole foods based diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats is the most important move you can make to getting your hormones back in check. As Hippocrates so famously said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
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