Why your hormones are out of balance
What factors influence Hormone Balance?
Let’s look at some of the main factors that cause our hormones to get out of balance so you can make sure that you have your bases covered when it comes to getting back into balance.
The health of your liver is crucial for balanced hormones. During phase II of liver detoxification, along with general toxins, our used hormones are removed from the body. The problem is that many people have sluggish phase II and overactive phase I. Phase I is an important part of the process, but some substances are made more volatile (like estrogen) so if phase II is sluggish, they can recirculate in that volatile form causing a lot of dysfunction.
For adequate phase II liver detox you need to ensure you are getting adequate protein in your diet. I know right! Here we are being sold juice fasts that remove a lot of protein and are not a great idea for anyone insulin resistant! You can read more here about getting more protein into your diet (plus fibre which helps the final phase of liver detox – removal of the wastes from the body via the bowel). You can read more about insulin resistance here – this is particularly important during Perimenopause as many symptoms (and weight gain) are linked to insulin resistance.
I also recommend that you get enough B vitamins because these are important for methylation which is another important part of phase II liver detox.
Also – one of the most potent activators of phase II is sulforaphane which is found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower etc, and is highest in broccoli spouts so eat more of all of these for hormone balance. Sulforaphane is also the base supplement in the G.E.M.M protocol and the G.E.M.M supplement yields much more sulforaphane then you would be get in your diet – the supplement I use is the highest yielding sulforaphane supplement in the world. So while G.E.M.M is my favourite gut restoral protocol it goes far beyond the gut. Read more about G.E.M.M and how it restores cellular function here.
Don’t forget if you haven’t already you can download the balanced meal formula to your right which will give you the suggested serving sizes for protein and how to put together your own balanced meals.
Our gut health is crucial for hormone balance. Gut health and the gut microbiome play important roles in hormone regulation. Dysbiosis (too much non beneficial bacteria) can cause a pro-inflammatory response and this is a huge factor in Inflammatory conditions like Endometriosis, skin conditions like eczema and other inflammatory conditions. Our digestive system also provides Phase III in hormone detoxification – the removal of the by-products of Phase II – via bowel motions so regular bowel motions are essential for hormone balance. Because the gut is where we absorb nutrients, everything else is downstream – your thyroid, ovaries and all your other organs, glands and body systems. These are not going to get what they need to function optimally if you ignore any digestive issues.
Get honest with yourself as to whether your gut function is optimal. Do you have a history of iron deficiency? Do you have gut symptoms like bloating, reflux and digestive discomfort? Do you feel overfull after eating? Are you having daily bowel motions that are easy to pass but well formed? Do you have a bunch of food intolerances? Do you have skin conditions? Have you recently had a course or more of antibiotics? Do you avoid some foods as they make you feel sick? Are you reactive to probiotics or fermented foods? Do you rely on supplements or medications for bowel regularity?
Don’t skip the lifestyle factors! Stress is a huge factor in hormone balance and in my experience, one that many Women will do their best to ignore. The truth is you need to get on top of stress or the amazing dietary changes you make and the investments you make in good quality supplements will not give you the results you want.
I will often look at a client’s tests results (like the DUTCH test that also looks at cortisol patterns) and see that stress is the main factor in their hormone imbalance.
I always explain to my clients that our bodies perceive stress the same, no matter the cause. If you are constantly stressed your body may get the message you are in danger and your intelligent, amazing body in its quest to help you – will take energy away from your reproductive system. You need the energy to run from danger, right? The last thing your body needs if you are in danger is to get pregnant. You might think this is far fetched, but this is the message your body is getting if you are chronically stressed.
Even if you don’t want to get pregnant you without a doubt need a healthy ovulatory cycle for balanced hormones.
I can suggest some links and supplements to help with building physical resilience to stress but you really need to take an audit of your lifestyle to know what the personal drivers of stress are in your life.
You may need to make some changes or the sake of your health, especially during perimenopause as it is such a crucial window and stress is going to affect us more than ever at this time. You can read about Stress and Perimenopause here and get some info on my favourite baseline nutritional support magnesium for proven stress relief here.
Our hormone balance is delicate, we really are finely tuned as Women. There are a range of both manmade (exogenous) or human made (endogenous) endocrine disruptors that can cause our delicate systems to get out of balance. Our endocrine system is our hormone system. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may mimic or interfere with the body’s endocrine system.
Human made includes what I talked about under liver health – our used hormones that are able to recirculate if our body is unable to effectively remove them. Estrogen is always going to be the main example as it is a huge factor in hormone balance.
Exogenous tend to be human made and exogenous means they come from outside of the body. Endocrine disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, can imitate hormones and interfere with their signaling, contributing to an increasing number of health issues. This group of chemicals includes bisphenol A or BPA, pesticides, mercury and lead. It may be impossible to live an entirely EDC-free life but we need awareness as they can be found in a surprising number of products we use every day.
So while plastic bottles may seem obvious we also need to think about personal care products, perfume, laundry detergent, cleaning products, makeup and sunscreen.
Back when I first embarked on my mission to improve my own health (you can read my story here) I also set out to clean up my environment for myself and family. Instead of letting it overwhelm me I committed to simply replacing each item that ran out with a ‘cleaner item’ from a health store instead of a supermarket. Now days the good news is that you can buy cleaner household and personal care items from the supermarket.
Find a brand you trust, look for phthalate free, fragrance free, paraben free etc. Buy organic when you can and reduce the amount of plastic in your home.
Genetics play a part especially with conditions like endometriosis or thyroid disease. Our ability to detox can also be hindered by genetics. If you are one of these people (like me) it is important to address all of these other influences and take your health and wellness seriously to ensure you have a good quality of life. You need to think long term.
Like I tell these clients, We are lifers, we don’t do this for a hobby we commit today for a better future. We may not be able to change our genes but we can control our environment and work toward healthy gene expression.
Do you need help identifying your root cause and coming up with an action plan that will actually work for you and your lifestyle?
It can be really hard to look at our health objectively and see the big picture. Sometimes it takes chatting to a practitioner like myself, that works daily in the realm of Women’s health to help you identify where you need extra support. You may benefit from testing, nutritional changes or supplements but you may also just need someone to help you make it work. Some coaching and support so you feel like it is manageable and you are not alone.
The Health and Hormone audit is a fabulous starting point for Women who want to know if their symptoms are a sign of hormone dysfunction and how to get on the path to balance. It is quick, easy and affordable. I will give you my top recommendations for your symptoms and let you know if you would benefit from a deeper dive or coaching to get you to your goals. You can read more here