Have you felt irritated lately? Or maybe you have complained about lack of sleep?
Feeling tired from time to time is normal. But if you feel like something is not right, you may be experiencing a hormonal imbalance.
Hormones are important to your overall health, and even slight changes to their levels can affect your well-being. Keep reading to find out what to do to balance your hormones.
The symptoms of your hormonal imbalance will vary depending on which glands or hormones are involved. Hormones work together, which means that if one is underperforming, another may be overperforming.
The most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance can present as fatigue, trouble sleeping, mood swings, or unexplained changes in weight.
Your body has several hormones, including:
Your body requires specific nutrients for optimal function. Thus, hormonal imbalances can be due to an unhealthy diet. Other potential causes of hormonal imbalance can be stress, lack of physical activity, and age.
Your body produces hormones at different levels depending on the stage of your life (e.g. during menstruation, puberty, pregnancy, or menopause). So, it is natural for hormone levels to shift throughout your life.
Consider talking to your doctor and asking for a test to check your hormone levels. You can check your hormone levels through blood, saliva, or urine tests.
Supplements can help make up deficits that occur in your body naturally and restore proper hormonal balance.
The easiest way to prevent hormonal imbalance is through a diet full of healthy fiber and fats. However, your body may not be able to produce certain hormones, so supplementing them can be an option.
Vitamin D3 can promote healthy blood sugar regulation, sleep, and cardiovascular health. Vitamin D acts as a hormone in the body although it is considered a vitamin. Recent studies have shown some vitamin D mediated effects in the testes, mature sperm, and ejaculatory tract, suggesting that vitamin D may also play a role in reproduction and sexual health. In addition, vitamin D helps support bone health and keeps your immune system strong. Read more about the research in our library.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is between 15-20mcg (600-800 IU) daily. You can get Vitamin D from the sun and foods such as fatty fish and egg yolks. However, most people are still deficient in vitamin D. This study identified over 40% of the US population with deficiencies.
Taking a vitamin D supplement can be helpful in maintaining adequate levels, especially during the winter months or if you spend time indoors.
Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is essential for healthy immune function,nervous system function, and normal brain development. Vitamin B6 has also been studied for its potential hormone-balancing effects. For instance, in those with PMS, administration of vitamin B6 at doses of 200-800 mg/day managed estrogen and progesterone levels, which resulted in improved symptoms under double-blind conditions. Vitamin B6 also helps with metabolism of fats, carbs, and protein. Pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP), the biologically active form of vitamin B6, is an important cofactor in amino acid metabolism. Other than serving as a cofactor, this study reports it may also regulate the activities of steroid hormone receptors. Steroid hormones include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B6 ranges between 1.3-1.7mg. You can find vitamin B6 in multiple food sources, such as salmon, chicken, leafy greens, chickpeas, and bananas.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps manage oxidative stress. It has potent antioxidant properties that can help manage stress on a cellular level. In an animal study, scientists researched changes in the uterus and ovaries in mice who were fed a diet deficient in vitamin E. In comparison to the control group the vitamin E deficient mice had smaller reproductive organs in addition to lower levels of estrogen and luteinizing hormone which also resulted in lower enzymes managed by estrogen. Research also shows potential hormone-balancing properties of vitamin E. For instance, those who were supplemented with vitamin E experienced a positive impact on several hormones, including insulin, FSH, LH, testosterone, and progesterone.
Vitamin E may manage menopause symptoms such as night sweats, hot flashes, or vaginal dryness. In this study, daily doses of vitamin E were taken for 4 weeks before menopausal complaints improved. There was a wide range of dosages used between 50-400 IU, so additional studies should be done to determine the most effective dose.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin E is 15mg or 22 IU. Sunflower seeds, almonds, avocados, kiwi fruit, olive oil, and broccoli are all great food sources of vitamin E.
Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is a powerhouse plant that has been celebrated for its therapeutic properties. It is also used as an adaptogen. An adaptogen is defined as an herb meant to enhance the body’s resilience. It can help keep hormones balanced and manage physical and mental stress. One of the main hormones associated with stress is cortisol. Everyone has cortisol in their bodies. Cortisol levels vary depending on the time of day and amount of stress being experienced. In this study, 58 healthy participants had baseline cortisol levels measured and then they were divided into two groups. For eight weeks, half the group was supplemented with Ashwagandha daily while the other half received a placebo.Those who were in the Ashwagandha group saw positive improvements in serum cortisol levels while also reporting improvements in sleep and stress levels.
When looking at supplement options, ashwagandha can be found as a powder or in capsules. The key part of the herb that has the most therapeutic content is the root. The goal is to find a supplement that contains the root only for the most benefit. Care/of Ashwagandha is made from certified organic non-GMO ashwagandha roots, sustainably grown in India.
Omega-3s are essential, meaning they have to be consumed in order to get adequate levels since they cannot be made in the body. Omega-3s can come from fish, nuts, and seeds. Omega 3s can help with hormone formation while also supporting healthy cortisol, insulin, and testosterone levels. Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for the healthy function of cell membranes and their receptors. Research shows the benefit of omega-3 supplementation for hormonal balance. This study reported improvements in testosterone production in men supplementing with fish oil over a 12-week period. Another study had participants measure cortisol levels before and after supplementing with fish oil for 3 weeks. Supplementing with omega-3s managed the cortisol levels from the mental stress participants were exposed to.
Although there is no single agreed-upon recommendation for daily intake of omega-3s, the NIH lists the adequate intake between 1100mg-1600mg, depending on factors like age and gender. Some foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, sardines, mackerel, walnuts, chia, flax and hemp seeds, and egg yolks. If those foods are not in your diet, supplementation may be a great option to consider. Care/of’s fish oil is made from wild caught salmon and is cold-pressed, similar to olive oil, to preserve natural vitamins found in fish oil.
You may benefit from magnesium supplements even if you follow a healthy diet. Magnesium is one of the most important minerals, but most people are magnesium deficient. It plays a major role in your bone, muscle, nerve, and heart health. Research shows several potential ways magnesium can help manage hormones. This systematic review describes the potentially significant role magnesium plays in promoting insulin balance (the blood sugar regulating hormone).
Another study had 23 athletes divided into two groups. The group that supplemented with 500mg of magnesium over 4 weeks noted cortisol and ACTH levels were altered in comparison to the control group. The results suggest that magnesium may also play a role in managing stress levels within the body. In addition, one study saw a correlation between low levels of magnesium and issues with thyroid hormones. This suggests that magnesium may play a role in maintaining healthy thyroid hormones. Additional studies need to be done to confirm the finding.
The recommended daily intake for magnesium is between 310mg-420mg. Dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, legumes, and dark chocolate are all great sources of magnesium to incorporate into your diet. Supplements are also an option if those foods are not in your diet. Care/of makes a highly soluble version of magnesium that is sourced from fresh Irish seawater.
Probiotics are essential for gut health and digestion. They help with nutrient absorption and are vital in the function of the gut-brain axis. The gut–brain axis is the connection between the gut and brain. It is involved in several processes including food intake, feeling satiated, regulating blood sugar, fat and bone metabolism.
The gut microbiome consists of so many different bacteria both friend and foe. Although studies are scarce, initial results seem promising for the future potential probiotics hold. According to this study, supplementing with probiotics over a 12 week period resulted in positive hormone changes in participants. This study notes positive changes in androgens and sex hormone binding gobulin (SHBG) with probiotic supplementation. And this study reported positive FSH changes in those who were supplemented with a probiotic over a 5 week period compared to the control group.
Probiotics are found in sauerkraut, kimchee, kombucha, kefir, yogurt, and miso. If you are not keen on probiotic-rich foods, taking probiotic supplements may be a good option.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin and there are two forms of it: Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 is mainly found in plant-based foods and K2 is made in the gut and found in fermented foods and animal products. Vitamin K is essential for bone health and also plays a pivotal role in the blood clotting cascade. Based on results from studies, it may even modulate hormones. In this study, Vitamin K2 is linked to estrogen function and regulates estrogen levels. Another study reported that a combination of vitamin D and K together enhanced DHEA and testosterone levels. More research needs to be done in order to establish the relationship between vitamin K2 and hormone levels.
The recommended adequate intake for vitamin K is between 90-120mcg. There is no separate recommendation for K2 at the moment.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to promoting hormone balance. Making sure you have a nutrient-dense diet filled with fruits, veggies, healthy fats, fiber, carbs, and protein is important. In addition to a balanced healthy diet, drinking adequate water is essential. Water helps with better nutrient absorption too.
Stress can contribute to hormone imbalances, so learning how to manage stress is key. Some ways you can promote relaxation include meditation, yoga, or taking up a hobby. You can also support your health by exercising regularly and making sure you get adequate sleep.
Consuming a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep your hormones in proper balance. However, if you suspect that you suffer from hormonal imbalance, you may want to consider talking to a healthcare professional who can run some tests and provide further guidance.
It is important to understand your health goals and take the right supplements to enhance your overall health. Take our quiz to learn which supplements can best support you.