Balance Your Hormone Levels With Food.
In today’s world, we’re inundated with “fake” hormones that mimic the ones our bodies produce naturally. When your hormones are too high or too low, you can feel like a stranger in your own skin. Maintaining a balance of hormone levels is critical to health and well-being.
The hormones in your body are chemical compounds manufactured by an endocrine gland. They have a specific effect on how other organs perform. These helpers travel the bloodstream, making necessary alterations to bodily functions and regulating many of your vital systems.
Many people don’t realize that men and women produce the same hormones. For instance, both men and women produce estrogen (considered a “female” hormone) as well as testosterone (considered a “male” hormone). The amounts are quite different, with men producing far more testosterone and women producing far more estrogen.1
The human body regulates these hormones naturally but outside forces can disrupt this natural system. Chronic stress, drug interactions, poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle choices, a buildup of toxic substances, or malfunctions in the pituitary gland or ovaries can cause the body to create too many hormones or suppress their production.
Without them, your body can feel “off” but you might be unable to explain why. The symptoms of low hormone levels are similar to many unrelated conditions.
As a result, hormone deficiency is often misdiagnosed and left untreated. These side effects of too few hormones are extremely common. Here are some of the most-reported symptoms for both men and women making too little of their primary hormones.
Effects of Low Hormone Levels
- Lack of quality sleep
- Fatigue or general lack of energy
- Thyroid dysfunction and metabolic disorders
- Weight gain
- Decrease in bone mass and lean muscle tissue
- Infertility and increased risk of miscarriage
- Dryness of the eyes, skin, and vagina
- Unexplained pain in joints, headaches, and migraines
- Low sex drive
- Problems getting or maintaining an erection
- Increased risk of infections
- Inability to focus
- Depression and mood swings
- Symptoms similar to PMS such as bloating, hot flashes, chills, or sweats
- Abnormal menstruation such as heavy bleeding or irregular cycles
- Endometriosis, fibroids, and fibrous breast tissue 2, 3
Too many hormones in the body can cause side effects that are embarrassing as well as dangerous to your health. This may be caused by a physical or clinical malfunction or by foods or habits that throw your body’s production out of balance.
Effects of High Hormone Levels
- Lack of quality sleep
- Fatigue or general lack of energy
- Weight gain or fluid retention
- Changes in appetite or digestive problems
- Low sex drive
- Acne, psoriasis, eczema, or other skin conditions
- Sudden hair growth in uncommon areas or pattern baldness
- Increased muscle mass or change in overall body shape
- Skin texture becomes thicker or darker in places
- Abnormal menstruation such as irregular cycles or absent cycle
- Changes to voice tone and depth
- Mood swings, depression, or irritability
- Increase in risk-taking behaviors
- Dangerous fluctuations in blood sugar levels
- Breasts that are tender or fibrous
- Increased risk of heart disease due to high blood pressure
- Increased risk of cancer (specifically in the reproductive organs)4, 5
The foods you eat can mean the difference between overwhelming symptoms or a peaceful existence that is safe and trauma-free. Maintaining adequate hormone levels is crucial throughout every stage of life and becomes increasingly important as we age.
The key is balance.
Hormonal birth control and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may help women with standard menstrual disorders, perimenopause, and menopause. However, the side effects can be detrimental to long-term health and increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.6
If you’re taking these prescriptions and also getting unknown compounds in your diet or environment that mimic female hormones, your body might be getting too much. There are more than 3,000 compounds added to our food supply and a large majority of those are not good for the human body or hormone balance.
Dr. Holly Lucille is a naturopathic doctor who says rampant hormone imbalances – known as cases of “estrogen dominance” – are behind many of our most common health conditions like cancer. She explains, “Estrogen’s message is to tell cells to grow and proliferate. That's great when it’s initiating puberty in a young girl [but not] if you've got proliferating tissue like uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, breast cancer, or prostate cancer.” 7
She adds, “In the estrogen dominant situation, cruciferous vegetables are full of compounds that can actually help the liver detoxify estrogen appropriately.” Her recipe for hormone health includes an organic diet, removal of processed foods, and avoidance of common chemical toxins.
Nine Best Foods to Eat to Naturally Balance Hormone Levels
- Grass-fed beef, turkey, chicken, and eggs
- Nuts and seeds
- Wild caught fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
- Coconut oil, avocado, raw butter, and other healthy fats
- Garlic, ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon
- Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts
- Fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, yogurt with active cultures, and cottage cheese
- Brightly colored fruits and veggies
- Citrus such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit
Just as there are foods that balance hormones, your exposure to too many hormone-mimicking substances such as estrogenic foods must also be curbed.
- Soy is a phytoestrogen and despite the health benefits linked to soy in the diet, it has been shown to contribute to early-onset puberty in children, breast cancer, and fibroids.
In the United States, more than 90% of the soy produced is genetically modified (GMO) and there have been no long-term studies conducted on the dangers of GMO foods.
Soy is found in everything from baby formula to a filler in junk food. It could be contributing to hormone levels that are well outside the safe zone for you.
- Processed foods contain high levels of unhealthy saturated fats and simple carbohydrates. These have been linked to higher inflammation levels and unnatural estrogen levels.
Additionally, the consumption of too many processed grains may not have as much fiber as you’ve been told. Stick to natural, organic sources of fiber that have not been refined.
- Many hormone-disrupting chemicals in the home such as BPA (found in plastics and the lining of canned goods), fire and stain resistant fabrics, herbicides, pesticides, toxins detected at high levels in soil and water (such as lead and arsenic), additives to cosmetics and other personal care items, and fumes from non-stick cookware or household cleansers are so common that you may have no idea how much exposure you’re actually getting.
Increased consumption of foods rich in vitamin C has been proven to fight cancer and improve overall health. When molecules become unstable due to damage or mutation, vitamin C is considered a “universal donor” – able to contribute molecules to reestablish molecule stability.
In one study conducted published in Radiation Physics and Chemistry journal, researchers found that vitamin C stimulated almost 100% regeneration of estrone (estrogen), more than 50% of progesterone, and almost 60% of testosterone. 8
Those involved in the study are hopeful that this will lead them to an alternative treatment to hormone replacement therapy, synthetic hormones that increase cancer risk after just a few years of use. HRTs are also implicated in a higher risk of stroke and sudden death.
Vitamin C can be taken at high doses safely and is beneficial in many ways to overall human health, including strengthened immunity, preserved vision, anti-aging, and protection against heart disease.9
You don’t have to feel like a stranger in your own body anymore. Strange symptoms you can’t explain may be due to hormone imbalance. Talk to your doctor about testing. If your hormone levels are off, there are natural ways to bring them back into balance.
1 How Stuff Works: Estrogen and Testosterone Hormones
2 Healthline: 9 Signs of Low Testosterone
3 Healthline: What Are the Symptoms of Low Estrogen in Women and How Are They Treated?
4 Healthline: High Testosterone Levels in Women
5 MedicineNet: High and Low Testosterone Levels in Men
6 MedicineNet: Hormone Therapy (Estrogen Therapy, Estrogen/Progestin Therapy)
7 NewsMax Health: 5 Foods That Balance Women's Hormones
8 Radiation Physics & Chemistry: Photo-induced regeneration of hormones by electron transfer processes: Potential biological and medical consequences
9 Life Extension Magazine: Newly Discovered Health Benefits of Vitamin C