Anyone going through menopause or dealing with a hormonal imbalance will tell you: there are few things that make you feel quite as powerless as your body changing seemingly of its own accord.
Hormonal imbalances like high estrogen levels can come with a world of frustrating symptoms, but eating the right diet and taking supplements to balance hormones is the easiest way to give your body the tools it needs to function at its best.
How Hormonal Imbalances Can Affect You
Hormones are chemical messengers in your body that help your body do what it does best - stay alive. This means that they help do things like signal to your cells to store or use sugar for energy, detect and regulate your body temperature, and manage your reproductive system - among many other things!
But because they’re such key players in your health, a hormonal imbalance can wreak havoc on a huge variety of different systems in your body.
Some negative side effects of hormone imbalance include:
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Decreased sex drive
- Dry or thinning hair
Estrogen, a hormone responsible for the reproductive cycle in females, plays an especially big role for women. We can see imbalances of estrogen for a number of reasons - for example, when you become perimenopausal, your estrogen starts to decrease. The resulting symptoms of perimenopause can range from mild to severe and can really affect your quality of life.
However, you can also have too much estrogen, a condition which is commonly called “estrogen dominance.” You can experience estrogen dominance even in situations like menopause, where your estrogen levels are decreasing overall. This is because your other sex hormone, progesterone, is also decreasing during this time. If it decreases at a much faster rate than estrogen, it means that the two hormones are out of balance, with estrogen being “dominant.”
And it is not uncommon for women in perimenopause to swing between both, one minute estrogen is high and progesterone low- in the next minute it can be the reverse, leaving you feeling like you’re on a hormonal roller coaster. These fluctuations are the cause of nearly all the symptoms women experience in perimenopause.
If you are concerned that you may have a hormone imbalance, it’s important to check in with a physician. They can test your hormone levels to find which, if any, are imbalanced, so you have a clear path of treatment going forward.
How To Lower Estrogen Levels With Supplements
The easiest way to relieve the symptoms of hormonal imbalance is to get your hormones back to normal levels. You can also find a little more hormone balance at home with a combination of food and supplementation.
The relationship between hormones and your diet is complex. The building blocks for hormones come from your diet, and certain foods can also determine how your body releases hormones.
Estrogen is no exception. The production, activation, and secretion of estrogen can all be dependent on the quality of your diet and the nutrients that it includes.
If you can’t get all the nutrients that your body needs from your diet alone, that’s where supplements come into play. The right dietary supplements can provide the nutrients that you need daily to balance your hormones.
The best part is that, unlike some other treatments, natural supplements come with very few, if any side effects. However, it’s still important to check in with a doctor to determine the right course of action for you.
Supplements To Balance Hormones
Estrogen production and secretion can be influenced by a number of different nutrients. You can help level estrogen levels with the following supplements and herbs :
- B Vitamins: B vitamins, especially B6, B12 and folate, play various roles in supporting your hormones. They’re used in the production of estrogen and can also help to increase your progesterone levels to bring some balance in the case of estrogen dominance.
- Probiotics: Surprising as it may sound, your gut health and estrogen production are closely linked. This system even has a name: the estrobolome. Your gut is populated by beneficial bacteria, but can also include “bad” bacteria that can cause elevated estrogen levels. Probiotics repopulate your gut with more of the “good” bacteria so that there’s less room for the bad stuff.
- Fiber: Similarly, fiber also helps to keep your gut microbiome operating smoothly. Special fibers called probiotics “feed” the good bacteria in your gut to keep them thriving.
- Omega-3s: Omega-3s are a very popular supplement, and they’re good for more than just your heart health. They can also minimize the effects of fluctuating estrogen.
- Diindolylmethane (DIM): This compound, which is normally found in cruciferous veggies like broccoli and is thought to help balance estrogen levels from a couple of different angles.
- Maca Powder: Maca root is an adaptogen: in other words, it is an herb that can help your body deal with stress. It has also been shown to positively affect the endocrine system (the system responsible for secreting hormones) to help bring some balance to your estrogen levels.
- Chaste Tree Berry: Also known as Vitex, this berry can help balance estrogen levels by stimulating the production of progesterone, minimizing estrogen dominance.
Following a healthy, balanced diet is one of the easiest ways that you can gain some control over your estrogen levels and maintain balance. When you can’t get the nutrients from your diet alone, dietary supplements that include the vitamins, minerals, and herbs listed above can bring some much-needed relief from the symptoms of fluctuating estrogen and prevent further health issues down the road.