Hormones are incredible chemical messengers in our body that affect our brain, heart, bones, muscles, and reproductive organs and are an essential part of the workings of every cell in the human body. Hormones work best when balanced. However, hormones can become imbalanced.
Hormone imbalances are caused by:
- Higher than average levels of stress
- Poor food choices
- Inadequate sleep
- Taking synthetic hormones
- Sedentary lifestyle (lack of movement or exercise)
Some of the most common side effects of hormone imbalance in women include:
- Weight Gain
- Hair Loss & Thinning Hair
- Low Libido
- Hot Flashes
- Night Sweats
- High Blood Pressure
- Excessive Facial Hair
Chronic insomnia is one of the most debilitating symptoms of a hormone imbalance, and is one of the symptoms that is typically overlooked. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol can contribute significantly. Cortisol is released by the adrenal glands during the “fight or flight” response, and is a powerful chemical.
Some of the most common hormonal imbalances in men include:
- Andropause: Known as the male menopause, and occurs as men grow older and testosterone levels decline.
- Adrenal Fatigue: If stress levels remain high for a prolonged period of time, the adrenal glands can’t produce enough of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Hypothyroidism: When the thyroid gland is underactive, it doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones.
- Hyperthyroidism: An overactive thyroid gland results in high levels of thyroid hormones and an increased metabolism.
Many of the symptoms of male hormonal imbalances come on very gradually. You may not notice them at first, but as more symptoms appear and become worse over time, they do become apparent. These symptoms of male hormone imbalance are some of the most common:
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Low Libido
- Muscle Loss or Weakness
- Depression or Anxiety
- Gynecomastia (development of breasts)
- Mood Swings or Irritability
- Hair Loss
- Memory Loss
- Sleep Apnea or Insomnia
- Night Sweats or Hot Flashes
- Increased Body Fat
- Heart Palpitations
- Constipation or Increased Bowel Movements
People often mistake the symptoms of imbalanced hormones in men with signs of aging. The good news is that these hormone losses and imbalances are easily correctable, and can be balanced naturally. Through proper treatment, these symptoms will often disappear, but the bad news is that most people turn to synthetic treatments (hormone replacement therapy), that can make people dependent on prescription drugs for the rest of their lives. These treatments can also cause serious side effects by increasing the risk of stroke, osteoporosis and cancer, and simply mask the symptoms while the disease develops in other areas of the body.
How to Balance Hormones Naturally
If you don’t want negative side effects but want to naturally balance your hormones, here are the top ways to heal your body.
- Consume Foods Rich In Fatty Acids
Eating a variety of foods high in short, medium and long-chain fatty acids is excellent for keeping hormones in check. Not only are these essential fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they boost your metabolism and promote weight loss. Foods packed with healthy fats include coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed butter, walnuts, flax, chia and hemp seeds, non-gmo tofu, sardines and wild-caught salmon.
- Balance Omega-3/6 Ratio
Since the early 20th century, the use of vegetable oil in our diets has skyrocketed, and these items are full of Omega -6s. Because people didn’t boost their omega-3 foods intake to balance out this elevated omega-6s consumption, there has been an onslaught of chronic diseases and inflammatory processes that have literally taken over our society.
Avoid this pitfall by steering clear from oils high in omega-6s like safflower, sunflower, corn, cottonseed, canola, soybean and peanut, and load up on rich sources of natural omega-3s from wild fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts and grass-fed animal products.
- Heal Leaky Gut
Leaky gut is a condition that doesn’t just affect the digestive tract, but also causes hormone issues and can target the thyroid. When undigested food particles like gluten leak through your gut lining into the bloodstream, it causes disease-causing inflammation of the entire body and more specific organs like the thyroid.
Most people with leaky gut have an a deficiency of probiotics in their guts that actually help your body make vitamins that affect hormone levels like insulin. The top foods that support healing leaky gut include items like bone broth, kefir, miso, tempeh, fermented vegetables, and foods rich in fiber like vegetables and sprouted seeds. Supplements like digestive enzymes can also aid in repairing your gut lining, which will then help balance your hormones. Some of the main things that damage your digestive health include processed foods, gluten, hydrogenated oils and emotional stress.
- Get More Sleep
Unless you are getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night, you’re doing your body no favors. Lack of sleep and sleeping at the wrong time is actually one of the worst habits people have that disturb hormone balance. This is because hormones work on a schedule, and cortisol, the stress hormone, is regulated at midnight. Therefore, people who go to bed late never truly get a break from the sympathetic flight/fight stress response, which has led to widespread stress-related health disorders. To maximize hormone function, get to bed by 10 p.m. Endocrinologists (hormone experts) claim that one hour of sleep between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. is equal to two hours of sleep before or after these time slots!
- Limit Caffeine
Drinking too much caffeine is almost as bad as not getting enough sleep. It elevates your cortisol levels, lowers your thyroid hormone levels and basically creates havoc throughout your entire body. If you need a little boost, try not to drink more than one or two cups of green tea or coffee. You’ll keep your hormones in check and enjoy the weight loss and cancer-killing benefits as well!
- Perform Interval Exercise (Burst Training)
Burst (or interval) training isn’t necessarily new, as elite athletes and Olympians have known this secret to exercising and have been doing interval training for years. An example of burst training would be like going to a track and walking the curves, then sprinting the straightaways. Another possibility is getting on a spin bike and cycling hard for 20 seconds, then going easy for 20 seconds, then repeating that cycle for between 10 to 40 minutes.
- Supplement with Vitamin D3
According to an article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vitamin D3’s role in promoting health is more profound than previously thought. This is why people who live in dark areas suffer from significant depression and health disorders unless they find a way to supplement. Most people should supplement with around 2,000 IU to 5,000 IU daily of vitamin D3 on days they’re not in the sun.