Hormones. This has become such a loaded word in our modern culture. It’s even been weaponized to use against women. Truth is, hormones are the unsung hero of health and to be human (actually, to be any mammal) is to have a sophisticated hormone system. We should be celebrating them and the work they do to keep our bodies running like well-oiled machines.
We’re hormonal and proud.
To understand the heavy-lift our hormones do and why keeping them balanced is so important, we need to first understand the Endocrine System.
Our Endocrine system is a network consisting of many glands throughout the body that create and release hormones into the bloodstream. The hormones travel to our cells and basically power nearly every function of our body. Too much or too little of these hormones can harm the body and create issues.
Our hormones power:
- Reproductive system
- Sensory production
- Sexual development
- Growth and development
- And more…
There are 8 major interrelated glands in the Endocrine system and they each control different hormones that serve different functions.
- Pituitary Gland and Hypothalamus: this powerhouse duo is located in the brain and is the master control center for the hormone system. At a very high level, the hypothalamus makes hormones and regulates the function of the Pituitary gland which also makes several different hormones and sends them to the rest of the body’s organs.
- Thyroid: controls your metabolism function through two different hormones.
- Parathyroids: 4 small glands working together to control your overall bone health and calcium levels.
- Adrenals: Adrenals have two parts, an inner and an outer. The outer control your water levels, stress, metabolism, and immunity levels through the hormone cortisol. The inner part controls your heart rate and blood pressure when your body is under stress through adrenaline and epinephrine.
- Pineal: The pineal gland is in your brain and secretes melatonin to help regulate your sleep and wake windows.
- Ovaries: Female sex glands that create estrogen and progesterone that tell the body when it’s time to go through puberty, regulate the menstrual cycle and get pregnant.
- Testes: Male sex glands that made testosterone to tell the body when it’s time to go through puberty and make sperm.
When the Endocrine system makes too little or too much of any hormone it creates an imbalance. Even small amounts of imbalance can lead to issues in the body including early onset menopause, mood swings, bloating, trouble concentrating, infertility, weight management, and more.
To help keep our hormones balanced there are some preventative care measures we can take. Three major focuses are diet, exercise, and sleep.
- Get adequate protein daily. Protein gives the body essential amino acids and helps the body produce protein-derived hormones that help control your appetite and energy levels.
- Include good bacteria in your diet. The bacteria in your gut regulate hormones by modulating insulin resistance and feelings of fullness
- Watch your sugar intake. Long-term fructose intake has been linked to disruptions of gut bacteria, which may lead to hormonal imbalances. Fructose can interfere with the production of leptin which impacts how your body feels full, burns calories, and manages weight.
- Consume healthy fats (like coconut oil and MCT oil) to reduce inflammation and help regulate cortisol levels, and throw in some fiber to stimulate hormones that help you feel full.
- Physical exercise is super important for overall hormonal health. Not only does it increase blood flow to muscles and helps lower cortisol levels, but It increases your hormone receptor sensitivities. It is recommended that we get at least 30 minutes of rigorous exercise 4-5 times per week.
- Resting your body is just as critical as moving your body. When your body rests it restores its hormone levels and repairs anything that needs it. Poor sleep is linked to imbalances in many hormones, including insulin, cortisol, leptin, ghrelin, and HGH. Plus at night our body releases the growth hormone while sleeping so we need to make sure we’re clocking in at least 7 hours so the brain can cycle through all 5 stages of sleep.
Use the power of nature.
In addition to diet, exercise, and sleep, we can turn to Mother Earth to provide powerful adaptogens that help our body balance hormones and keep the endocrine system running optimally. These four super herbs and adaptogens are some of the big players for women’s hormonal health.
- Ashwagandha: Regulates hormones and the immune system. Lowers stress, anxiety, cortisol levels, and food cravings. Improves energy levels, cognitive function, and concentration. Enhances sexual performance health.
- Black Cohosh: Balances hormones because it is a phytoestrogen, which can help to lower elevated estrogen or raise low estrogen. Used to treat menopause symptoms, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and dysmenorrhea (or painful periods).
- Chasteberry (Vitex Agnus-astus): Decreases levels of prolactin, which in return balances out estrogen and progesterone. Reduces PMS and menopausal symptoms, heavy periods, migraines, and acne. Also used as an infertility treatment for women. Studies of over 5,000 women have found it effective.
- Shatavari: Helps regulate cycles, relieve menstrual cramps, balance hormones, and addresses polycystic ovarian syndrome, oocyte quality, follicular growth/development and infertility
We recommend Ladywell’s Daily Hormone Balance as your daily supplementation for hormone health. Its comprehensive formula contains the most powerful natural ingredients to relieve symptoms of PMS, reduce the effects of hormonal stressors, combat cravings, improve overall egg health and balance hormones to help your body run optimally.
Plants are powerful! Always consult your doctor before taking any herbal supplement with medication, hormone therapy, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.