Your well-being relies on a complex balance of many hormones, including testosterone, estrogen, adrenaline, insulin, and thyroid hormone. Each of these plays an important role in supporting your body’s functions, but even a slight imbalance in hormone levels can wreak havoc – often in unexpected ways.
Our hormones often become imbalanced in response to problems within the body. An effective approach addresses any issues that trigger imbalances. This holistic framework restores hormonal balance naturally, without side effects.
A Natural Approach to Hormone Balance
A natural approach to hormonal balance involves taking a close look at all facets of your lifestyle. The activities you perform, the attitude you have, and the things you consume all impact hormonal levels.
Here are some proven steps to restore hormonal balance the natural way!
Prioritize protein and healthy fats in your diet.
A Mediterranean-style diet, with its emphasis on healthy fats, fresh produce, lean protein, and seafood has been proven to be more effective for hormone regulation than the standard Western diet.
Instead of heavily processed carbs, choose foods high in healthy fats, especially those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, to reduce inflammation and stabilize blood sugar. Good sources of omega-3 include salmon, flaxseeds, cod liver oil, and walnuts.
Avoiding sugar is also an important dietary consideration. Excess sugar consumption disrupts the balance between hormones that control your appetite, ghrelin, and leptin.
Supplement for healthy hormones.
It’s not always possible to meet your body’s needs through diet alone. Carefully selected and high-quality nutraceuticals can help ensure your body is receiving what it needs. As always, work with a healthcare practitioner when it comes to making informed supplement choices.
Some effective herbs and nutrients for hormonal balance include:
- Vitamin D: Many people who live in the northern hemisphere experience low levels of vitamin D, which plays an essential role in balancing estrogen and progesterone, as well as helping to stabilize insulin levels.
- Evening primrose oil: This is particularly effective in regulating hormones that contribute to premenstrual or menopausal symptoms.
- Probiotics: A healthy gut is essential for healthy hormone production. Maintain a good balance of bacteria in the gut microbiome by eating fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut, and adding probiotics supplements when needed.
- Ashwagandha: This adaptogenic herb helps control the stress hormone cortisol, as well as maintains insulin levels. It can also boost testosterone production.
- Holy basil: Another adaptogenic herb, holy basil is particularly effective in balancing stress hormones.
- Functional mushrooms: Note that these aren’t hallucinogenic mushrooms, but rather specific types of mushrooms with adaptogenic properties, which means they help your body’s response to stress, among other benefits. Functional mushrooms include chaga, lion’s mane, and turkey tail. Be sure to work with a practitioner to discuss which ones would be of benefit to you.
Integrate stress relief techniques.
Chronic stress impacts hormone production by putting your body into “fight or flight” mode. The elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol can then increase cravings for carb-heavy processed foods, triggering a harmful dietary cycle. Estrogen and insulin levels are also affected by stress, which can then throw off the production of other hormones.
Gaining control of stress can help regulate these patterns. Try clearing a few minutes a day specifically for something relaxing, like meditation, yoga, or listening to music. Every little bit of time specifically focused on relaxation will help your health.
Get enough sleep.
If you’re not getting from seven to nine hours of sleep at night, your body’s hormone production can be dysregulated. Sleep is when your body restores itself, a process that affects stress and hormones related to appetite in particular.
If you’re chronically sleep deprived, focus on creating a restful, regular nighttime routine. Sleep in a cool, quiet room and avoid stimulating activities, including time on any electronic devices as you wind down.
Take a close look at your prescription medications.
Many commonly prescribed medications can have inadvertent side effects when it comes to your hormones, including statins, painkillers, and some anti-depressants. Talk with your pharmacist about the risk of any medications you take.
Birth control pills rely on disruptions to your natural hormonal cycles to be effective. However, those disruptions can put women at risk of complications from imbalances, including mood swings, bloating, spotting, and acne.
Replace toxic body care products.
An often-overlooked source of hormone disruption comes from the beauty and body care industry. Many common ingredients in skin care products and makeup contain ingredients such as parabens and phthalates that have been shown to affect levels of certain hormones.
Instead, you can use essential oils. Many of these have the added benefit of supporting hormonal health. For example:
- Clary sage oil can ease menstrual symptoms.
- Sandalwood oil helps treat anxiety and stress.
- Thyme oil contains a substance called carvacrol that helps produce serotonin and dopamine, two hormones that play a big role in your mood.
Don’t take any unnecessary risks with artificial hormone therapy. Natural interventions can restore hormonal balance for a healthier you.
Lepretti M, Martucciello S, Burgos Aceves MA, Putti R, Lionetti L. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Insulin Resistance: Focus on the Regulation of Mitochondria and Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress. Nutrients. 2018 Mar 14;10(3):350. doi: 10.3390/nu10030350. PMID: 29538286; PMCID: PMC5872768.
DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH. Good Fats versus Bad Fats: A Comparison of Fatty Acids in the Promotion of Insulin Resistance, Inflammation, and Obesity. Mo Med. 2017 Jul-Aug;114(4):303-307. PMID: 30228616; PMCID: PMC6140086.
Wiggs AG, Chandler JK, Aktas A, Sumner SJ, Stewart DA. The Effects of Diet and Exercise on Endogenous Estrogens and Subsequent Breast Cancer Risk in Postmenopausal Women. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2021 Sep 20;12:732255. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2021.732255. PMID: 34616366; PMCID: PMC8489575.
Horrobin DF. The role of essential fatty acids and prostaglandins in the premenstrual syndrome. J Reprod Med. 1983 Jul;28(7):465-8. PMID: 6350579.
Saad MJ, Santos A, Prada PO. Linking Gut Microbiota and Inflammation to Obesity and Insulin Resistance. Physiology (Bethesda). 2016 Jul;31(4):283-93. doi: 10.1152/physiol.00041.2015. PMID: 27252163.
Durg S, Bavage S, Shivaram SB. Withania somnifera (Indian ginseng) in diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis of scientific evidence from experimental research to clinical application. Phytother Res. 2020 May;34(5):1041-1059. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6589. Epub 2020 Jan 23. PMID: 31975514.
Salve J, Pate S, Debnath K, Langade D. Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study. Cureus. 2019 Dec 25;11(12):e6466. doi: 10.7759/cureus.6466. PMID: 32021735; PMCID: PMC6979308.
Stanhope KL. Sugar consumption, metabolic disease and obesity: The state of the controversy. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2016;53(1):52-67. doi: 10.3109/10408363.2015.1084990. Epub 2015 Sep 17. PMID: 26376619; PMCID: PMC4822166.
Linnemann A, Ditzen B, Strahler J, Doerr JM, Nater UM. Music listening as a means of stress reduction in daily life. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2015 Oct;60:82-90. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.06.008. Epub 2015 Jun 21. PMID: 26142566.
Ma RC, Kong AP, Chan N, Tong PC, Chan JC. Drug-induced endocrine and metabolic disorders. Drug Saf. 2007;30(3):215-45. doi: 10.2165/00002018-200730030-00005. PMID: 17343430.
Costa JR, Campos MS, Lima RF, Gomes LS, Marques MR, Taboga SR, Biancardi MF, Brito PVA, Santos FCA. Endocrine-disrupting effects of methylparaben on the adult gerbil prostate. Environ Toxicol. 2017 Jun;32(6):1801-1812. doi: 10.1002/tox.22403. Epub 2017 Feb 9. PMID: 28181406.
Lee KB, Cho E, Kang YS. Changes in 5-hydroxytryptamine and cortisol plasma levels in menopausal women after inhalation of clary sage oil. Phytother Res. 2014 Nov;28(11):1599-605. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5163. Epub 2014 May 7. Erratum in: Phytother Res. 2014 Dec;28(12):1897. PMID: 24802524.
Trambert R, Kowalski MO, Wu B, Mehta N, Friedman P. A Randomized Controlled Trial Provides Evidence to Support Aromatherapy to Minimize Anxiety in Women Undergoing Breast Biopsy. Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2017 Oct;14(5):394-402. doi: 10.1111/wvn.12229. Epub 2017 Apr 10. PMID: 28395396.
Zotti M, Colaianna M, Morgese MG, Tucci P, Schiavone S, Avato P, Trabace L. Carvacrol: from ancient flavoring to neuromodulatory agent. Molecules. 2013 May 24;18(6):6161-72. doi: 10.3390/molecules18066161. PMID: 23708230; PMCID: PMC6270539.