By Stephanie Berube
So often in practice we are asked “what can I eat” or “what supplements can I take to balance my hormones?” I wish there was an easy answer for this question, unfortunately it is a loaded question with a not so simple answer.
Hormones are a chemical messenger that run through our bloodstream to help control our metabolism, growth, reproduction and sexual health. There are over 50 hormones that run through our bloodstream at any given time. To say “just eat goji berries it will help balance your hormones” would be a lie. In order to truly balance your hormones you have to understand what affects them.
The two of the biggest influences on our hormones are stress and diet. Hippocrates was the first to say that “all diseases start in the gut” and it still holds true today. The liver and the gut work together to detoxify excess amounts of hormones and then eliminate them. Digestive issues, like constipation, can prevent the elimination of hormones and cause them to re-circulate throughout the body. This is why it’s so important to nourish our bodies with the correct foods and keep our gut healthy.
It’s also important to take a break from the world we live in so that our body can relax. Unfortunately in today’s life we have stress everywhere. As soon as we wake up in the morning we are stressed whether it be our jobs, the news, our family. There is always stress and we need to put self care at the top of your list when it comes to balancing your hormones.
Acupuncture is a great way to help balance hormones. Acupuncture helps balance hormones by redirecting the flow of energy so that your body can heal itself. It also promotes relaxation, reduces stress, anxiety and muscle tension. Chinese herbs can be very beneficial to balance hormones. Since men and women are physically different the herbs for men and women are different as well.
Herbs for Women
- Gou Qi Zi (Goji Berries) – builds and nourishes blood and is vital for the endocrine system.
- Dang Gui (Angelica root or female ginseng) – phyto-estrogen rich to help regulate hormone receptors.
- Shan Yao (Chinese yams) – helps increase progesterone levels and strengthen the digestive system.
- Bai Shao (White peony root) – nourishes blood, regulates menstruation and calms the nervous system.
- He Shou Wu (Fo-ti) – nourishes blood, acts as adaptogen, helps the immune system fight illness.
Herbs for Men
- Rou Cong Rong (Cintanche) – stimulates endocrine to increase hormone secretions of hypothalamus, pituitary gland and reproductive glands.
- Ren Shen (Chinese Ginseng) – helps nervous system and tonifies digestive system.
- Yin Yang Hou (Horny Goat Weed) – increase sperm productions, increases sexual desire, stimulates the sensory nerves. Aids in recreation of endogenous hormones.
- Tu Si Zi (Chinese Dodder Seed) – helps with impotence, nocturnal emissions, premature ejaculations, tinnitus, urinary frequency, and back pain. It also strengthens the digestive system.
Some Supplements you can consider taking to help hormone balance are Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, magnesium and zinc. A blood test would be a great way to see if you are deficient in any of these vitamins. Prebiotics and Probiotics are a great way to help your metabolism, balance your hormones and improve overall gut health.
Another way you can help to balance your hormones through your diet is to increase your daily protein intake by 20 to 30 grams each meal. This can help improve hormone health and boost metabolism (think weight loss). Include non starchy vegetables to meals such as leafy greens, peppers, tomatoes, green beans). Healthy fats such as avocado, nut butters, flaxseed, olive oil are also very good for hormone balance. Having 2 tbsp of flaxseed everyday will help balance your hormones and get rid of waste products and excess hormones. Lastly, avoiding processed and junk foods can be beneficial to your overall health, not just your hormonal health.