Hormones are a mystery. We never see them. Yet, we feel their effects every single day. This is especially true for women who often experience various symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Think of mood swings, PMS, acne, low energy and adrenal fatigue. Men, however, also go through hormonal cycles. And they increasingly suffer from a number of hormonal issues, including low libido, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety or depression.
The importance of hormonal balance for men and womenThe art of balancing your hormones is not an easy one. But, why would it be important in the first place? Well, hormones regulate practically all chemical processes in our bodies. If out of whack, hormonal levels will affect your health, mood, fertility or even the ability to lose weight. The stress hormone, cortisol, regulates your capability to deal with stress. If out of balance, it will disturb your sleeping patterns. Other hormones, such as thyroid and sex hormones will constantly affect your mood, energy, weight and sex drive. All these chemicals function in synergy with one another. An imbalance of one will have immediate effects on others.
How to balance your hormones?Because you're aiming for balance, the first thing to do to is figure out what causes your hormonal imbalances. For most of us, this includes three main stressors that constantly make harm to our body and endocrine systems. Sugar, stress and nutritional deficiencies, we are looking at you. Here's our 3-step guide to balancing your hormones.
1. Regulate your sugar levelsThe first thing to do if you want to balance your hormonal health is to regulate your sugar levels. Why? Sugar provides major highs and lows in mood and energy. When in excess, sugar will also force the body to produce too much insulin. Insulin is the hormone necessary to turn sugar into a body fuel. For men and women alike, having excess glucose and insulin in your bloodstream can cause inflammation. And then lead to many chronic health issues. Mismanaged blood sugar level is moreover a stressor to the endocrine system, which deals with excess insulin by sending out a lot of cortisol and adrenaline. If your adrenal glands (the organ that produces cortisol) get overworked, the way to fatigue is very easy. The first step towards your fatigue is indeed soaring blood sugar levels. Insulin is also closely connected to estrogen and testosterone, and this is why sugar’s ability to mess up with it so harmful. When insulin spikes, the level of an important protein known as sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) drops. SHBG makes estrogen and testosterone increase when its levels are too low. In addition, insulin increases the production of testosterone. Testosterone is then converted into even more estrogen by fat tissue in the belly. As a result, the ratio of estrogen to progesterone is way too high, leading to irritability, anxiety, hormonal acne, insomnia and more. For women, this can also cause infertility issues due to estrogen excess and related deficiency in progesterone. Yes, contrary to what you might have thought, too much estrogen is really bad to have.
Do I have to quit sugar now?!Don't worry. It’s more about being smart about your intake. The key to managing your blood sugar is not to avoid it completely. But to watch out for sugary snacks and carbohydrate excess in your meals. You should try to balance the carbs out with protein/fats, and focus on getting them from real, whole foods. Eating a source of protein, fiber and healthy fat with all of your meals will help stabilize blood sugar. Especially when you consume carbs, such as as starchy veggies like potatoes, fruit or whole grains. It is also very important not to skip meals and breakfast. That will help avoid sugar crashes. Your breakfast should also be rich in protein. In this way you'll make sure you'll have more energy for the day.
2. Reduce stressAnother step that is absolutely key if you want your hormones happy is to reduce your stress. Stress has a tremendous effect on our health. Stress can have a powerful effect on hormonal balance and fertility. High anxiety can even stop women from ovulating. Adrenal fatigue which results from your adrenals being overworked from constantly dealing with stress is another big issue here. In men’s world, on the other hand, stress is associated with lower testosterone. The natural phenomenon is that if the level of cortisol is elevated, then the level of testosterone hormone is lowered. With elevated cortisol, there is a decrease in muscle mass and strength, greater accumulation of fat and a potential risk of depression. No man wants to have low levels of testosterone, right ? How do you reduce your stress levels? That is the question. We guess it’s different for everyone. A balanced diet void of sugar that already works as a stressor is key. More than anything, however, you need to take time for yourself. Get up and move, connect with your favourite humans, switch off with music and a book. Make a move. The move that suits YOU best. Whatever makes you happy, will do. You can also try some herbal supplements that will help you unplug. One of our favourites include ashwagandha, cordyceps, maca and rhodiola. These herbs are known as adaptogens that help your body with stress response. They have tremendous power to lower cortisol levels, restore adrenal glands, prevent stress and promote hormone balance. You'll find organic cordyceps extract in our Hydration blend, and organic maca in our Energiser.
3. Address deficiencies with supplementsWhile regulating your sugar levels and reducing stress are undoubtedly key to optimal hormonal health, there is one more thing to think of. Food is always first, that’s the rule, and no single supplement will solve all your problems. However, it’s sometimes necessary to supplement in order to fill nutritional voids that can be leading to a hormone imbalance. For most people, deficiencies in magnesium, B vitamins, Omega 3 and D3 vitamins and beneficial probiotic bacteria need to be addressed.
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Why are these particularly important?
- Magnesium. Magnesium is the foundational support for all endocrine functions in your body. This mineral is critical in healing numerous women’s hormonal imbalances, such as PMS, anxiety and adrenal fatigue. Magnesium is also key for men’s hormonal health. It boosts levels of free testosterone as well as aiding better sleep and moods. If you have a lot of stress, like a glass of wine, are caffeine-dependent (who isn't?), then you’re probably deficient in magnesium. Most of us actually are.
- B-complex - A deficiency in B vitamins can cause low energy and fatigue since they’re crucial for many metabolic functions. B6 is particularly important for boosting progesterone production for women who have excess estrogen. B12 is super important for energy, stress reduction, metabolism and normal DNA synthesis (preventing aging!).
- Probiotics – An expanding field of new research shows that your gut health plays a significant role in hormone regulation. If you lack beneficial bacteria in your gut, you’re much more likely to have hormonal problems and increased levels of inflammation. That’s because inflammation usually stems from your gut and then impacts nearly every aspect of your health.
- D3-Omega-3 blend - This blend is absolutely key for both men and women to increase their reproductive health. Studies have shown that 93% of women dealing with infertility issues are vitamin D3 deficient. Another study of 0f 300 men showed a positive correlation between reproductive health and vitamin D levels. Omega-3s has proved key for mood stabilization, preventing aging and for slowing the growth of prostate cancer cells in men.