Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone produced in the pituitary gland that is responsible for the development of follicles, the sacs within the ovary that contain eggs. As you age and near menopause your FSH level naturally elevates. That being said, elevated FSH does not automatically equal menopause, contrary to traditional medical thought.
Normal FSH levels
FSH levels vary throughout your monthly cycle, peaking right before ovulation. According to the Center for Human Reproduction, normal age based FSH levels are as follows:
- <33 Years old – <7.0 mlU/mL
- 33-37 Years old – <7.9 mIU/mL
- 38-40 Years old – <8.4 mIU/mL
- 41 Years or older – <8.5 mIU/mL
Causes of abnormal FSH
Traditional thought says that if FSH levels are high than it indicates you are nearing menopause or experiencing premature ovarian failure. This however, is an overly simplistic view. Since FSH levels rely on a feedback loop between the pituitary gland and the ovary, a breakdown anywhere along the way can cause fluctuations in levels that do not necessarily mean you are running out of eggs.
From a holistic viewpoint, it is often the endocrine (hormone) system as a whole that needs to be addressed rather than looking at one abnormal lab value, such as FSH. The endocrine system is one of the most complicated systems in the body and regulating hormones is always a delicate balancing act.
High FSH levels may indicate polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), poor ovarian function, or that you are nearing menopause. Low FSH levels may indicate an imbalance within the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. This is often seen with extremely high stress levels, for instance.
Either way, high or low FSH level, is a sign that your body is out of balance and needs some TLC.
Natural treatment for FSH levels
Traditional fertility medicine tends to throw more hormones at the problem. If a hormone is low they usually try to raise the level by giving you a synthetic of that hormone. Sounds easy enough, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. As you start to artificially manipulate hormone levels, it often impacts other (equally important) hormones. Because our endocrine system relies on such a delicate balance it’s nearly impossible to treat one hormone without affecting the others.
That’s why natural remedies can be so successful when it comes to fertility. Not only are natural treatments safer, but they also support and address the root cause, hormone imbalance, rather than trying to change one specific hormone level only to cause issues with the others.
Nutrition for FSH
Omega 3 Fatty Acids are the building blocks of hormones and getting enough is crucial for hormone balance. Unfortunately, we tend to get more omega 6 fatty acids than omega 3’s. This leads to hormone imbalance and problems with inflammation. Increasing your omega 3 intake while decreasing your omega 6 can go a long way for your fertility as well as your overall health.
Leafy Green Vegetables are high in fiber and are literally BURSTING with nutrients that support your endocrine system. Most importantly, greens keep things moving. And as we often talk about, the better we eliminate, the more toxins and excess hormones we move out. This results in better hormone balance.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is is a complete protein and contains high levels of important vitamins and minerals. Vitamins B1, B2, B3, magnesium, potassium, and iron are just a few of the endocrine boosting nutrients you’ll get from spirulina. Click here for our spirulina recommendation.
Honey is a well known ovary stimulator. So if your FSH is off and ovaries aren’t functioning properly honey may be just what you need. As a bonus, it’s also LOADED with fertility nutrients.
Herbs for FSH
Maca is a powerhouse when it comes to both male and female hormones. For females, maca is one of the foods that increase ovulation rate. It does so by balancing estrogen and progesterone levels and reducing estrogen dominance, all of which are important for proper hormone balance (including FSH & AMH levels). In addition, maca is full of fertility nutrients such as B vitamins, calcium, iron, selenium, and zinc. Maca also provides energy and helps the body deal with stress. Click here for our maca recommendation.
Want a delicious way to get your maca on? Check out this smoothie!
Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus fruit) is a powerful female hormone balancer. This herb helps to regulate and balance luteinizing hormone (LH), FSH, and progesterone making it highly beneficial when trying to get and stay pregnant. Click here for our Vitex recommendation.