How To Have Healthy Hormones
Mood swings, hot flashes, painful periods and weight gain. These are hard realities for nearly half of women age 30 to 60. According to a recent survey published in the New York Post, 43% of women say that hormones have negatively affected their overall well-being.
The survey of 2,000 American women age 30 to 60 also found that a surprising 72 percent were unaware of the connection between other uncomfortable symptoms like anxiety, depression, brain fog and short term memory loss and their out of whack hormone levels.
What Causes Hormone Imbalance?
Imbalances occur when there is too much or too little of a hormone in the bloodstream. Because of their essential role, even small hormonal imbalances can cause side effects throughout the body. What’s to blame for all this pain and suffering? Well, here are a several contributing causes along with 5 Habits you can adopt today for healthier hormone balance.
Environmental pollutants play a role in creating hormonal imbalance. Around 51 chemicals have been marked as hormonal disruptors. The most common chemicals are pesticides in the food chain. They mimic estrogens and cause symptoms related to excessive estrogen. Similarly, almost all kinds of plastics, inks and paints contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which are again a hormone disruptor.
Petrochemicals contain synthetic estrogens called xeno-estrogens which can displace the natural estrogen from the body resulting in hormonal imbalance. Dioxin is another hormone disrupting chemical that leaches out of plastics when frozen or when heated. I used to think freezing water in plastic water bottles was a great time saving hack. And that re-heating leftovers in plastic containers in the microwave was fine. What we now know is that both of these lifestyle habits release Dioxin into the food or water. Dioxin is also present in dry cleaning fluids, disinfectants and drugs- all products that are commonly used in Western cultures.
Livestock are fed synthetic estrogens to increase the milk yield and to fatten them up to provide more meat. This synthetic estrogen again finds its way into our bodies when we consume commercial dairy and meat.
Too much stress decreases the production of progesterone while increasing the production of corticosteroids, thereby creating a state of hormonal imbalance.
The Gut Microbiome
One major disruptor that most women aren’t aware of and not enough people are talking about is the influence of the gut microbiome on your healthy hormone balance.
The gut microbiome consists of 300 trillion tiny organisms living in and on the permeable surfaces of your body and that participate in creating a stable environment for your gut to make the myriad neurotransmitters responsible for hormone synthesis. When one or more risk factors occur, friendly bacteria are knocked out of the population and opportunistic yeast, mold or fungus take over where the good guys lived. And when these organisms overgrow, they don’t play nice like friendly bacteria do. Instead they vandalize membrane walls, marring and inflaming them with their acidic bodily juices until the fabric on the membrane becomes loose and torn and no longer serves as the barrier it was designed to be.
Overgrown candida yeasts, mold and fungus have a massive impact on the delicate balance of hormones women need, not only for comfortable menstruation but also for proper sleep, clear thinking, motivation and a sense of wellbeing.
How Candida overgrowth and Leaky Gut Upset Your Hormone Balance
There are at least 2 ways your hormones are disrupted by Candida overgrowth and the resulting leaky gut it creates. For one thing, the gut houses trillions of microbiota many of which manufacture the majority of your body's neurotransmitters and hormones like dopamine, serotonin and others.
Not in the brain, but right in the gut.
The gut's been called the "second brain" for its major role in manufacturing proper levels of hormones and neurotransmitters to keep you healthy and happy.
Antibiotic Use and Gut Permeability
When antibiotics wipe out a bacterial infection, all the non-bacterial organisms take over the freed up real estate. They move right in and setup house. Unlike your friendly bacteria, these decomposers do not protect and soothe the gut, but rather their metabolic byproducts (acids and alcohols) burn and inflame the membranes they inhabit and in a matter of a few weeks can alter the strength of tight junctions in the permeable membrane itself. Once this happens, the protective membrane can no longer serve as a barrier to toxins, parasites, allergens and undigested food particles that don’t belong in the bloodstream.
By their very presence, these invasive fermentation organisms interrupt the supply chain of hormones and immune regulators that normally are synthesized right in the gut. When your microbiome gets hijacked by opportunistic candida yeast and fungus, less of what you need to feel like your happy healthy self is being produced.
Ethanol from Yeast/Fungus alters Neurotransmitters & Hormones
The second way Candida Yeast Overgrowth and it’s accompanying Leaky Gut messes with your hormones is by producing high levels of ethanol in the blood. This ethanol wreaks havoc with your hormone levels, chemically altering them so that dopamine is no longer dopamine, and testosterone turns into estrogen.
Habits for Healthy Hormone Balance
Awareness is the first step in creating positive change, so now that you know, do what you comfortably can to reduce your exposure to hormone harming substances.
1. Go Organic: Eat pesticide free vegetables and fruits.
2. Clean Animal Protein: Choose organic, hormone free meat and eggs.
3. Be Dioxin Free: Avoid freezing or heating in plastic, choose reusable metal flasks for water instead. No plastic in the microwave.
4. De-Stress: Adopt a daily ritual of deep breathing or meditation to unplug stress and relax. This will lower cortisol and adrenalin and keep your gut pH favorable for friendly bacteria to thrive.
5. Mind Your Microbiome: Curb candida overgrowth by weeding your microbial garden with 30 Day Reboot.
Your happy hormones are depending on you!
Read about 4 studies that demonstrate how your microbiome can compromise reproductive hormone health.