Guest Post: Hormonal BalanceBy
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It’s not a secret that most women today suffer from some type of hormone imbalance. Whether it’s PMS, menopause, menstrual irregularity, PCOS and problems with fertility, not to mention adrenal and thyroid dysfunction, it seems that just about every woman 25 and up deals with hormone imbalance to some degree or another. All of these conditions stem from a variety of causes, however, most often by simply addressing foundational aspects of one’s health they can be resolved. Improving one’s diet is a good first step toward improving hormone balance in relation to a woman’s cycle. Let’s discuss the endocrine system a bit and see what the foundations to a healthy hormone balance are.
The endocrine system is a system of complex relationships, it’s a system of glands that each secrete certain hormones into the bloodstream, lymph or surrounding tissue in order to regulate the function of the entire body. The endocrine system helps the body maintain homeostasis, it is one of the three control mechanisms in the body that does this. It helps to manage and influence growth and repair, as well as modulate the body’s response to stress. The endocrine organs include; the pituitary gland, pineal gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal, pancreas (Islets of Langerhans) and the gonads (ovaries and testes). Then there is the part the hypothalamus plays, it produces releasing hormones that cause an effect on the production of hormones releases from the pituitary. It’s far more in depth, this is just an overview for those who many not be clear on the main endocrine glands.
Each hormone is created by nutrients. It is critical therefore, to take in the appropriate nutrients to support hormone production. However, it’s important to make sure that one is actually able to process the nutrients taken in so they actually get to make the hormones. For optimal endocrine balance it’s important to consume a diet sufficient in good fats, proteins and other vitamins and minerals. When considering conditions where the endocrine glands are not properly functioning, it’s important to address and balance certain foundations of health first. It is possible to correct some endocrine conditions simply by dealing with foundational issues first. Such as; digestion, elimination, fatty acid balance, adequate protein consumption and assimilation, balancing blood sugar (getting off of sugar/caffeine) and mineral balance.
Many of us have grown up consuming the Standard American Diet of processed lifeless foods devoid of nutrients. We’ve been taught that the very nutrients in which we need for healthy hormone function are bad for us, and therefore we’ve been stripped of any chance at having an optimally healthy endocrine system. Not to mention we are bombarded with toxins at every turn that add to the distress we are already under, thereby exacerbating our symptoms and health. It’s no wonder we are in such a mess with our hormones. Often, in an attempt to find out what is wrong, women will end up in their doctors office desperate only to leave with a bandaid prescription or exogenous hormone of some sort of other to deal with the problem. This is not the answer, obviously, and it often only exacerbates the condition of the individual. It is critical to look at the big picture of overall health rather than treat one part of the body over the whole. When there is a dietary imbalance, or an inability to digest and absorb proteins, fats or minerals the hormone system truly suffers. To add exogenous hormones/drugs, or even medicinal herbs, when nutritional deficiencies are present, indicates a poor protocol and certainly does not take the science of anatomy/physiology & nutrition into account.
Questions to Ask
- Is my digestion working optimally? Can I actually absorb the nutrients I am taking in?
- Is there any candida or other fungal problems stealing the nutrients I am taking in?
- Do I have parasites stealing the nutrients I am consuming?
- Do I consume too much sugar and caffeine? Is my blood sugar in balance?
- Am I eating the right foods? Avoiding processed/artificial/refined foods?
These are key question to ask and further address if they are not working properly or if one is not consuming the right foods. This is where you may want to look for further support to help you balance all of these factors, as it can be a dauntingly overwhelming task. By all means, contact me and I can help you to sort through these foundations while simultaneously supporting deeper hormonal issues.
Further, let’s take a look at certain predisposing factors that can contribute to endocrine dysfunction and hormone imbalance;
- Chronic psychological stress
- Toxin accumulation in the body
- Deficiencies of critical nutrients
- Over-use of drugs, including hormones, stimulants, NSAIDS, anti-depressants, pain pills and recreational drugs
- Essential Fatty Acid deficiency
For those of you who want to take immediate steps to work on your hormonal issues, I recommend focusing on the following;
- avoid or eliminate artificial and insulinogenic foods, stimulants, and intoxicants.
- adopt a healthy hormone diet
- take essential fatty acids
- restore proper digestive function
- eliminate parasites and dysbiosis
- balance minerals
- get sufficient rest
- get regular moderate exercise
- drink half of your body weight in ounces of water per day, plus electrolytes. (a pinch of good quality sea salt in each glass works great)
[Sources: Wikipedia, Michael Owen's Protocol Manual, Signs & Symptoms Analysis From a Functional Perspective, 2nd Edition, Dicken Weatherby]
Again, if this all feels overwhelming to you, I can help. I offer 3 & 6 month packages and will work with you to sort all of these foundations out. I am currently hosting a month long Blood Sugar Control Challenge, feel free to jump in any time. This is a great place to start as getting blood sugar under control helps to support the entire endocrine system. I also have a support package to work with folks who have deeper health issues that need the guidance/coaching.
Lydia Joy Shatney is certified as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association. Additionally, she is a co-chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation in Delaware County, Pa. (Find the group here on Facebook). Lydia is also a member of the Nourished Living Network. Lydia founded Divine Health in March of 2010. You can find Lydia on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.
Lydia offers specialized one-on-one counseling for those that are looking to transform their health through dietary advice (both food and supplements), learning cooking techniques, shopping guidance, as well as fitness inspiration and self-empowerment. These personal consultations are tailored to suit your specific needs and can be done over the phone, Skype or in person. Lydia will work with you in person locally or long distance across the globe. Lydia currently offer 3 & 6 month packages. In these packages you will receive phone consultations, email support, food journal evaluations, a thorough nutritional assessment, lots of handouts, supplement recommendations for your specific needs, information, recipes, tips, cooking ‘how to’s’ and more. Contact Lydia to sign up for your free initial consult call today!