Key takeaways
  1. Hormones regulate many important functions in the body, including metabolism, blood pressure, and reproduction, and imbalanced hormones can lead to various health problems.
  2. There are natural ways to balance hormones, including promoting quality sleep, focusing on nutrition (eating foods that promote hormone balance), minimising alcohol intake, reducing exposure to environmental toxins, and including stress reducing techniques.

Hormones are essential for regulating many of the most important functions of the body, including metabolism, blood pressure, and reproduction. When hormones become imbalanced, it can lead to a number of health issues, including weight gain, depression, hormonal acne, and fertility problems.

Levels of reproductive hormones eg, oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone can easily be disturbed by our lifestyle choices.

Luckily, there are a number of natural ways to balance your hormones, such as promoting quality sleep, focusing on nutrition, minimising alcohol intake and reducing your exposure to environmental toxins. Let’s explore each of these in more detail.

How does sleep affect reproductive hormones in women?

One of the primary functions of sleep is to help balance our hormones. When we don't get enough hours of restful sleep each night, it can interrupt this important process, leading to significant hormonal imbalances that can negatively impact our health and well-being. In particular, insufficient sleep has been shown to affect reproductive hormones in women, which can in turn lead to a number of reproductive health issues, including irregular periods and infertility.

The main hormone affected by sleep deprivation is oestrogen. When we don't get enough sleep, our levels of this important hormone can become imbalanced, leading to a risk of irregular cycles, PMS, painful periods, heavy periods, and acne. If progesterone levels are imbalanced, you may experience mood swings and other distressing symptoms associated with menstruation.

Overall, getting adequate sleep is one of the best things you can do to help balance your hormones and maintain a healthy reproductive system. Make sure to get at least 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night.

How does food affect hormones?

Brassica, soy, linseed and fibre can all affect your hormone levels by either increasing or decreasing hormone detoxification and modulation.

  • Brassica vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, contain glucosinolates which have been found to have a positive effect on the thyroid hormone, increasing its level which helps with metabolism. 
  • Soy contains isoflavones that have been shown to reduce levels of oestrogen, a hormone responsible for stimulating the growth and development of breast cancer cells. 
  • Linseed and fibre help improve hormonal balance by regulating bowel movements and therefore detoxifying or expelling hormones.

Beta-glucuronidase is an enzyme that plays a key role in maintaining balanced hormones. Fibre helps to promote the growth of this enzyme, which supports healthy digestion by promoting the growth of friendly bacteria in our digestive tract, and also helps to remove excess oestrogen from the body by binding to it and carrying it out of the body via waste products.

How does alcohol affect reproductive hormones?

Alcohol affects the production of reproductive hormones in both men and women. In males, alcohol can reduce testosterone levels, causing problems with erections, sexual desire and fertility. Meanwhile, in women, it’s been shown to raise oestrogen levels while lowering progesterone. 

How do environmental toxins affect hormones?

Endocrine disruptors are environmental chemicals that can interfere with normal hormone function, altering our body's natural balance and disrupting processes like reproduction, growth, metabolism, and development. Endocrine disruptors can come from many sources, including pesticides, plastics, and other common products. They can interfere with normal hormone function by either mimicking or blocking the effects of our own hormones (like oestrogen and testosterone), tricking the body into producing too much or too little of its own natural hormones, disrupting how hormones are processed in the body. 

Some common endocrine disruptors to avoid include:

  • Bisphenol-A (BPA) - a chemical that can be found in many plastic products, including water bottles and food containers
  • Dioxins
  • Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) - a substance used on non-sick surfaces, such as some cookware
  • Phthalates - used to make plastic products more pliable
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)
  • Triclosan 

How does liver detoxification influence hormone balance?

Liver detoxification refers to the body's ability to properly eliminate waste and toxins from the body through chemical transformations in the liver. When the liver is functioning optimally, it can efficiently metabolise hormones and help regulate their production and release. This helps keep your hormones in balance and prevent issues such as hormonal imbalances, weight gain, fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, and more.

How does chronic stress influence hormone balance?

Chronic stress, is usually accompanied by high and sustained cortisol levels. This can reduce the reserve available to make sex hormones, especially progesterone. It can also interfere with healthy thyroid hormone conversion, which indirectly effects reproductive health.

One important way to maintain healthy hormonal balance is to practice stress-reducing techniques on a regular basis. This can include practices such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that may be related to hormonal imbalances, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider in order to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. There are a number of strategies that can be used to support healthy hormone balance, including stress-reducing techniques, adequate sleep, avoiding environmental chemicals, and maintaining eating foods that promote hormone balance.

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Rebecca Hughes
Rebecca delivers high-quality, results-oriented care, specialising in treating acne, eczema, psoriasis, menstrual issues, thyroid, and IBS with vast clinical experience.
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{ "datePublished": "Feb 07, 2023" }