What are Hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers that are produced by the endocrine glands in our bodies. They travel through the bloodstream and work to regulate many of our body's functions, including growth and development, metabolism, and reproductive processes.
Hormones are involved in everything from our moods and emotions to our digestion and sleep patterns. When our hormones are in balance, we feel healthy and energized. However, when they are out of balance, we may experience a range of health problems.
In this article, we'll explore the role that hormones play in our health and well-being, and discuss how lifestyle, including dietary supplements, can help support hormone balance.
What is Hormonal Balance?
Hormone balance refers to the proper functioning and regulation of our body's hormonal system. This means that our hormones are produced and released in the correct amounts at the appropriate times, and that they are able to interact with our cells and tissues as they should.
Hormone balance is essential for good health, as even small imbalances can cause a wide range of symptoms and health problems. These may include mood swings, weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, and many others.
Achieving and maintaining hormone balance can be challenging, as it depends on a variety of factors including age, genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors. However, there are many steps that we can take to support hormone balance, including maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, getting enough sleep, and taking dietary supplements that support hormonal health.
Factors that Impact Hormonal Balance:
Poor Diet - Diet plays a significant role in hormonal balance. Consuming a diet high in processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats can quickly lead to imbalances.
High Stress - Stress is a common factor that can disrupt hormonal balance. When you are under stress, your body produces more cortisol, a stress hormone, which can interfere with other hormones in the body. Chronic stress can also quickly lead to hormonal imbalances among other health problems.
Unhealthy Lifestyle - Lifestyle habits, such as smoking, excess alcohol consumption, and lack of physical activity can also affect hormonal balance. These habits can disrupt the normal functioning of hormones in the body and lead to imbalances.
Age - Age is another factor that can affect hormonal balance. As you age, the production of certain hormones, especially growth & sex hormones such such as estrogen and testosterone, decreases, which can lead to hormonal imbalances if you do not take steps to maintain balance.
Hormonal Imbalance Related Health Challenges:
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by high levels of androgens (male hormones) and insulin in the body, which can lead to irregular periods, weight gain, acne, and excess hair growth. Research shows that insulin resistance is a key factor in the development of PCOS.
Type 2 Diabetes: Hormonal imbalances can also contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance, which is often caused by high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body, can make it difficult for cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. This can lead to high blood sugar levels and, eventually, diabetes. Studies have shown that chronic stress and cortisol dysregulation can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Hypothyroidism: The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism, energy levels, and body temperature. When the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, a condition called hypothyroidism occurs. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, and depression. Research has shown that a common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto's thyroiditis, in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland.
Osteoporosis: Hormonal imbalances can also contribute to the development of osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become weak and brittle. Low levels of estrogen in women and testosterone in men can lead to bone loss and an increased risk of fractures. Studies have shown that hormone replacement therapy can help prevent and treat osteoporosis in both men and women.
Depression and Anxiety: Hormonal imbalances can also affect mental health, leading to conditions such as depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that imbalances in hormones such as cortisol, estrogen, and progesterone can contribute to the development of these disorders.
- Obesity: Hormonal imbalances can contribute to the development of obesity. High levels of insulin, cortisol, and leptin, as well as low levels of thyroid hormone and testosterone, can affect metabolism and increase the risk of weight gain. Research also suggests that imbalances in gut hormones, such as ghrelin and leptin, play a role in appetite regulation and obesity.
How to Maintain & Restore Hormonal Balance
Eat Healthy Foods - Eating a healthy diet is essential for maintaining hormonal balance. Include whole foods such as a variety of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, wild-caught fish and humanely-raised protein in your diet. Avoid processed foods, refined sugars, unhealthy fats such as high-Omega-6 vegetable & seed oils, and excess alcohol.
Relieve Stress - As we discussed above, stress can seriously disrupt hormonal balance. Find ways to manage stress, such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, regular exercise or other relaxation techniques. Adaptogenic herbs like Rhodiola and Ginseng can help the body adapt to stress and may help balance hormones as a result.
- Go to Bed - Sleep is crucial for maintaining hormonal balance as well. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night to ensure proper hormone production and regulation.
- Avoid Toxins - Toxins in the environment, such as pollution and chemicals, disrupt hormonal balance. Avoid exposure to toxins as much as possible by using natural cleaning products, avoiding processed foods, and choosing organic produce when possible.
Supplements to Support Hormone Balance
There are several natural remedies and supplements that can help support hormonal balance in the body, backed by scientific research. One such remedy is maca root, a Peruvian herb that has been used for centuries to boost fertility and improve hormonal balance in both men and women. A study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that maca root can improve sexual function and reduce symptoms of menopause in women by balancing hormone levels.
Another natural remedy that has been shown to support hormonal balance is Vitex, also known as chaste tree berry. Vitex has been traditionally used to regulate menstrual cycles and improve fertility in women by balancing estrogen and progesterone levels. A study published in the Journal of Women's Health & Gender-Based Medicine found that Vitex can improve menstrual regularity and alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that are essential for hormone production and can help manage inflammation in the body, which can contribute to hormonal imbalances. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that omega-3 supplementation can support hormonal balance in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
In addition to the natural remedies mentioned above, there are several other supplements that may can support hormonal balance in women and men:
Magnesium: Magnesium is an essential mineral that is important for the production of various hormones in the body. Research has shown that Magnesium supplementation can help support relief of PMS symptoms, such as cramps and mood swings. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Women's Health found that Magnesium supplementation can significantly reduce PMS symptoms in women. This mineral is essential for a variety of bodily functions, including hormone production and regulation. It also supports sleep quality and stress relief. Pure Thera’s Optimum Magnesium™ contains patented mineral-amino acid chelates with zero fillers. Designed for enhanced absorption, this non-laxative formula features highly bioavailable, well-tolerated TRAACS® Magnesium Lysinate Glycinate (mineral-amino acid chelate) & Magnesium Malate for energy production and mitochondrial health support.
Zinc - Zinc is heavily involved in the production of hormones, especially testosterone, which is important for both men and women, and can help regulate menstrual cycles. It also supports skin health, especially blemished facial skin, and other skin issues associated with hormonal imbalances. Pure Thera’s Zinc Defense™ is a unique bio-enhanced formula containing clinically-backed ingredients designed to support the body’s natural immunity. L-OptiZinc® is a Zinc mineral chelate, which when paired with Quercetin (a Zinc ionophore), increases the absorption of Zinc into cells where it’s needed the most and provides the greatest benefit.
- DIM - Pure TheraPro’s DIM 3+ is formulated with Diindolylmethane (DIM) for estrogen metabolism, Curcumin from Turmeric Root Extract for inflammation balance, and a patented Black Pepper Extract called BioPerine® to boost absorption & bioavailability. DIM has been shown in scientific studies to be extremely effective at supporting healthy estrogen metabolism and reducing unwanted symptoms of PMS and menopause.
Maintaining hormonal balance is critical for maintaining homeostasis in the body. Hormones play a vital role in regulating many physiological processes necessary for optimal health. Several factors can affect hormonal balance, including diet, lifestyle habits, and age. By making healthy lifestyle choices and seeking medical attention when necessary, you can maintain hormonal balance and support overall health throughout your life, no matter what your age.
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