A Balancing Act

Good Health LifestylesFeatures

Do you ever feel like your hormones run your life? From PMS to menopause, they can affect everything from your mood to your weight to your cardiovascular health. But when your hormones are out of balance, they can make you feel out of control while triggering an annoyingly long list of uncomfortable symptoms. This lack of balance occurs when estrogen remains in the body for too long and converts to toxic forms. It can also be caused by a buildup of xenoestrogens—environmental compounds, found in plastics and pesticides, that act like the harmful forms of estrogen. Luckily, you can regain control by naturally rebalancing your hormones and detoxifying unhealthy forms of estrogen and xenoestrogens.

Hormone Imbalances Take a Toll

Whatever life stage you’re in, hormone imbalances can bring on frustrating, uncomfortable, even painful symptoms including:

  • Mood swings
  • Cramps
  • Hot flashes
  • Insomnia
  • Brain fog
  • Low energy
  • Weight gain

On top of these symptoms, prolonged imbalances can put you at greater risk for serious health problems such as heart disease and some types of cancer. That’s why it’s so important to make hormonal balance a part of your everyday routine.

5 Ways to Rebalance Your Hormones and Keep Them in Healthy Balance

You don’t have to suffer with the many symptoms of hormone imbalances or turn to potentially dangerous hormone replacement treatments. Safe, natural, time-tested lifestyle changes and effective hormone-balancing supplements can bring you welcome relief.

  1. Meditative movement. Mindfulness exercises such as yoga and tai chi trigger your body’s relaxation response, which helps keep hormones in healthy balance. Meditative movement has been shown to help improve physical and emotional quality of life during PMS and menopause, as well as improving sleep quality.
  1. Get plenty of restful sleep. Sleep deprivation can affect your hormone levels, leading to greater imbalances. To give yourself the best chance of a good night’s sleep, it’s important to practice good sleep hygiene. For instance, set a consistent bedtime and stick to it. It’s also important to make your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. And keep devices like your phone and TV out of the bedroom.
  1. Minimize caffeine, salt, and sugar. Hormone imbalances can promote cravings for caffeine, salt, and sugar—the very things you want to avoid to minimize PMS or menopausal symptoms. Each of these culprits interacts with your hormones and can intensify symptoms, especially cramping and hot flashes. But avoiding these food additives can help reduce your symptoms’ severity and keep your hormones in healthy balance.
  1. Add more antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to your diet. Research shows that antioxidant levels drop during PMS and menopause. But ramping up your intake of nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables helps your body maintain healthy hormonal balance. As a bonus, replacing these crucial compounds can help reduce symptom severity.
  1. Take proven hormone-supportive supplements. Safe, natural herbs and nutrients offer effective symptom relief thanks to their hormone-balancing and detoxifying actions. Look for high-quality supplements that contain clinically proven dosages for the most effective support.

Black Cohosh. For generations, black cohosh has been the go-to herb for dealing with menopausal symptoms. Black cohosh works as a selective estrogen receptor modulator, allowing estrogens to bind to receptors that need it while blocking it from those that don’t. Unfortunately for many women, black cohosh hasn’t worked as well as they expected, even at high doses. As it turns out, taking more of the herb isn’t better. Research shows that pairing low daily doses of a high-quality black cohosh extract with the adaptogen rhodiola effectively relieves symptoms for the long haul. In a 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial published in Pharmaceuticals (Basel), women taking a combination of black cohosh and rhodiola saw a 71 percent decrease in menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia. But to get these benefits, check the Supplement Facts label for clinically studied forms of black cohosh (listed as EP40) and rhodiola (listed as EPR-7), which have been shown to support a healthy hormonal balance.

DIM (3,3′-Diindolylmethane). DIM, a compound naturally found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale, works double duty to keep your hormones in balance so you don’t suffer frustrating symptoms. Many hormone-related symptoms are triggered by estrogen dominance—a condition in which the body has too much estrogen in comparison to other hormones such as progesterone. This can also be caused or intensified by unhealthy forms of estrogen or excess exposure to xenoestrogens. DIM helps keep estrogen in its healthiest form and promotes the detoxification of xenoestrogens. This two-pronged approach helps keep hormones in balance and reduces your chances of suffering from severe PMS or menopausal symptoms.

Curcumin. This powerful compound from the curry spice turmeric helps eliminate excess estrogen and xenoestrogens by offering powerful antioxidant support to your liver, which is your body’s primary detoxification organ. Plus, curcumin’s well-known anti-inflammatory properties contribute to its ability to reduce PMS symptom severity and even reduce hot flashes in postmenopausal women. But since curcumin isn’t readily absorbed by the body, look for a supplement with a bioavailable form like BCM-95.

Rhodiola. As an adaptogen, rhodiola helps improve the way your body responds to stress, which can be heightened during PMS and menopause. Rhodiola not only helps to balance mood, it also increases energy levels without causing the jittery feeling you get from caffeine. This herb also possesses antidepressant, anti-anxiety, and anti-inflammatory properties, all of which can help ease hormone-related symptoms.

Grape Seed Extract. Packed with supportive compounds called OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins), grape seed extract helps to inhibit the enzyme that transforms androgen into estrogen. This effectively prevents the production of excess estrogen and thus reduces hormone-related symptoms, including hot flashes, insomnia, and anxiety. It can also help normalize blood sugar levels, which is important for ongoing hormone balance. For the best absorption and effectiveness, look for tannin-free grape seed extract (listed on Supplement Facts labels as VX1) that contains low molecular weight OPCs.

Download this article as a PDF