4 Easy Ways to Balance Hormones (Naturally)
When Dr. Lantelme, my partner at Health As It Ought To Be and the founder of our clinic Robinhood Integrative Health, first opened his practice the primary focus of the practice was to help patients balance hormones.
Since we opened we’ve expanded the services we offer to patients, but have never strayed from helping them keep their hormone levels in balance.
The reason why we focus on hormone balance is because hormones play an integral role in how our bodies function. These chemical messengers tell your body what to do. For example, estrogen provides signals for women to menstruate and human growth hormone does the obvious, and informs your body to grow.
The health of your endocrine system (the system that manages the glands that produce hormones) is paramount to your entire health.
Now, if you were to visit a general practitioner, or even an endocrinologist, and ask them how they’d like to treat hormone issues they’re going to recommend treatments like birth control pills, insulin injections, thyroid medications and more.
In some cases, those types of medications are necessary.
However, I don’t believe the average person wishing to balance their hormones needs to rely on synthetic options to balance hormones.
That’s why I want to show you 4 natural ways you can improve your hormone levels.
Boost Hormone Function With These 4 Easy Tips
When I talk about balancing hormones naturally, I’m not offering you “bio-hacks” that restore hormone levels.
These tips are really about treating your body in such a way that it will function the way it’s meant to.
Best of all, none of these are complicated OR expensive.
And when you keep your hormone levels in check, the chances you’re going to feel like a million bucks for the next million years are 0. Because you won’t live a million years.
But, the chances you’ll feel like a million bucks for the rest of your life are quite high.
So, let me show you what you can do to balance your hormone levels.
1 - Sleep Well and Sleep Long:
Hormone levels depend on the amount and the quality of sleep you get.
While you’re asleep your body is constantly sending signals for both growth and repair. Sleep is incredibly important for hormone balance.
Especially the hormones related to stress control, the chief being cortisol.
There’s a good reason to balance cortisol levels. If they’re too high, it may lead to adrenal fatigue, and adrenal fatigue often leads to disrupted levels of adrenaline, insulin, melatonin, and more.
Here’s what my colleague in natural medicine Dr. Josh Axe wrote about sleep helping with hormone levels:
“Cortisol, the primary ‘stress hormone,’ is regulated at midnight. Therefore, people who go to bed late never truly get a break from their sympathetic fight/flight stress response.
A lack of sleep, long-term use of corticosteroids and chronic stress are three of the biggest contributors to high cortisol levels. A report published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism stated that “Stress can lead to changes in the serum level of many hormones including glucocorticoids, catecholamines, growth hormone and prolactin.”
Sleep helps keep stress hormones balanced, builds energy and allows the body to recover properly. Excessive stress and poor sleep are linked with higher levels of morning cortisol, decreased immunity, trouble with work performance, and a higher susceptibility to anxiety, weight gain and depression. To maximize hormone function, ideally try to get to bed by 10 p.m. and stick with a regular sleep-wake-cycle as much as possible.”
2 - Eat More Fat and Fewer Carbs:
Guess what? Healthy fat intake and a reduction in carbohydrates will help balance hormones.
When you think about hormones being “chemical messengers” you’re probably not thinking much about what a hormone is made of.
The truth is, many hormones are actually made of fats and cholesterol.
That’s right, two of the most demonized nutrients are actually essential for making hormones.
So, if you’re not eating enough of these foods, you’re not able to make the hormones you need.
Additionally, if you’re eating too few healthy fats and eating too many carbohydrates then you’re actually sending other hormones (ghrelin leptin and insulin) into the stratosphere. If these hormones remain elevated you may run in to blood sugar issues, weight gain, cardiovascular problems, and more.
For that reason, a ketogenic diet filled with healthy fats like mono-unsaturated fats, omega-3s and omega-7s is one of the best types for hormone control.
By consuming healthy fats you don’t just balance hormones either.
Skewing your diet towards a higher amount of healthy fats and fewer carbs helps to lower chronic inflammation while also helping you lose weight and promote brain and heart health.
For more on ketogenic diets take a look at some of these articles that I’ve written on the subject.
3 - Consume More Herbs (but not just any kind will do):
Diet is obviously a key component of hormone regulation.
Not just because hormones are made from the food you eat, but the foods you eat aid in protecting your body from stress and toxins that could interfere with hormone production and regulation.
By adding in a few herbs to your diet, either in meals, or supplements, you can help enhance your body’s ability to keep hormone levels healthy and balanced.
Now, not just any herbs will do.
You need adaptogenic herbs.
Adaptogens keep your sympathetic nervous system in top shape by keeping your cells protected from damage that could interfere with how your hormones function or are produced.
Here’s an analogy that serves to illustrate how adaptogenic herbs works. They’re essentially body armor for your cells. Taking adaptogens helps to keep your cells safe from stray bullets that free radicals, toxins, and stress can cause.
Because adaptogens protect cells associated with hormone production and hormone utilization the more you include in your life, the better it could be for hormone control.
I took this image from drinkmetta.com that has a list of some of the more accessible adaptogens around.
4 - Exercise More:
If you exercise less than 2 times a week (or not at all) you’ll find increasing the amount of time you exercise, and changing how you exercise, could help balance hormone levels.
Hormone production and hormone regulation depend on stress.
While you may believe stress is inherently bad, in reality you need stress in order to grow (and thrive).
Working out adds stress to your body that helps with hormone balance.
In fact, a few of the hormones you need to feel your best are directly affected by exercise.
Check out this list of hormones affected by exercise:
Dopamine. Dopamine affects how you deal with stress and has an influence on mood. When you exercise it may lead to the release of extra dopamine which promotes a feeling of well-being while simultaneously helps to mute the negative effects of elevated stress hormones.
- Serotonin. When you work out your body will help improve serotonin levels. This can help enhance your mood and aid in social behavior. In addition to that, serotonin will influence a healthy appetite, helps with memory and will even make sex better.
- Testosterone. One of the most important hormones for male health (and definitely needed for womens’ health is testosterone. Normal physical activity can help boost testosterone levels. If you’re a man over 50, this is good news, since testosterone levels are some of the first to fall as you age.
Exercise won’t just keep hormone levels in balance, it will also do a great number of other things for your health.
This Isn’t a Complete List on Naturally Balancing Hormones
The truth is there are a number of other things you can do to balance hormones.
Here’s a list of other practices you may consider.
- Religious practices
- Cultivating friendships
- Eliminating toxins
- Getting exposure to sunlight
Along with at least a dozen other practices.
The critical thing is if you suspect hormone imbalance is a problem (or you have lab tests to prove they are) these tips certainly could help reverse imbalances.