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