Many people understand that weight loss goes beyond calories, calories. Although, of course, energy balance does matter, our basic physiology dictates the success of weight loss – including our hormones. Even if losing pounds is not your primary goal, our sex hormones affect our sense of vitality, strength, sexual health, fertility, healthy bones, skin, and even mood and cognitive functions.
I find that more and more of our members are beginning to doubt that hormones inhibit their efforts and, therefore, are looking for a more detailed assessment of hormones. If they do detect a hormonal imbalance, many quickly assume that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a reliable solution for relief.
Don't get me wrong – I had a lot of clients using bioidentical HRT, and I have the time and place for this kind of support. However, it is often not so easy. If root problems are not yet assessed and solved, we risk adding fuel to the fire. For example, if the body already prefers a metabolic pathway that converts one hormone to another, it will probably do the same when given exogenous hormones. Result? Symptoms worsen, weight gain accelerates, and we can even increase long-term health risks.
Thus, although the assessment of the state of hormones is a good start, the solution is WHY hormones are first of all disabled. We must evaluate the health of hormones in the context of other areas of health that strongly affect the metabolism of hormones. Nutritional status, digestion, detoxification, glucose regulation, inflammation, stress and adrenal health are central to the list.
Read on for a quick lesson on hormones and how to start maintaining a better balance today.
Goldilocks Principle: Too Much or Little Good
While it is true that hormonal changes are a natural part of the aging process, overt symptoms that we too often perceive as “normal” can be a sign of latent dysfunction. This delicate balance of hormones affects the way we look, think and feel. This is like the Goldilocks principle – we don’t want too much or too little good. It should be just right for optimum health.
So, how do you know if you should continue the investigation? Tune in to your body and think about how many common symptoms below you have experienced in the past few months.
Take responsibility for your hormones.
If you find yourself nodding your head at many of the above symptoms, it's time to take action. Any level of hormonal dysfunction can disrupt the results you get even from the best nutrition programs and exercises. The first step is to search for additional evaluation. Your metabolism is unique to you, and your approach should be the same. With the help of laboratory testing, we can create a strategic game plan to solve what is the root of the problem.
Then, start by setting the following five basic habits. These important methods form the basis for the balance of hormones and are crucial for increasing the effectiveness of your individual plan. To be honest, without this foundation, more specialized dietary changes, supplements, or even hormone replacement therapy are likely to be unsuccessful.
1. Optimize the state of nutrients.
For the production and optimal functioning of hormones, we need an adequate amount of essential nutrients. For example, our thyroid needs nutrients. For the production of thyroid hormones, we need iodine, zinc, selenium, iron, tyrosine, vitamin D, vitamins of group B. In addition to the function of the thyroid gland, zinc is necessary for testosterone production and helps control levels when they are too high in women. One third of the population is deficient in zinc, and, most likely, its level is insufficient.one Your ovaries are also zinc fans, along with other nutrients such as vitamin D, selenium and iodine. Magnesium is extremely important for the health of testosterone, the thyroid gland and the adrenal glands and is my means for detecting PMS symptoms. Of course, the optimization of nutrient status begins with the daily consumption of a large number of colorful products. But active and tense people (i.e. all of us) have increased needs for trace elements and need additional support. Not sure if you really need a multivitamin? Read here.
Non-current: Add high-quality multivitamins (female or male) with the most digestible forms of these key nutrients.
Additional credit: Add extra magnesium before bedtime.
2 Support digestion and detoxification.
We live in a world full of toxins, from the food we eat to the air we breathe. This toxin overload affects our ability to maintain metabolism and produce hormones, which we may have too much. Moreover, if digestion and liver health are not in the best shape, we will struggle with the toxic burden of our modern lifestyle. We can reduce this burden by controlling alcohol consumption, choosing organic products, when possible, limiting the use of plastic and choosing natural products for personal care. Our healthy intestinal bacteria also play a huge role in the metabolism and detoxification of hormones, so be friendly to your intestinal bugs, eliminating sugar and artificial sweeteners and increasing fiber intake.
Non-current: Gradually increase the vegetable to 9-11 servings per day. Evaluate how many servings you currently have, then increase by 1 serving every couple of days so that you have time to get used to the increase in fiber. Sufficient water intake is needed here – aim for half the body weight in ounces.
Additional credit: Do seasonal D.TOX every 3-4 months to maintain healthy detoxification and hormonal balance.
3. Stabilize blood sugar levels.
Insulin resistance can help reduce testosterone levels in men, but in women, on the contrary, potentially raising the level of androgens to unhealthy levels. This is bad news for Americans, as 12.2% of adults have diabetes and almost 35% have pre-diabetes. However, high glucose and insulin resistance are not the only culprits. Low blood sugar trends and sharp fluctuations in glucose levels also create dysfunction. If you think that low carbohydrate diets are a solution for everyone, too low carbohydrate content for a long time can aggravate thyroid dysfunction and adrenal problems in some.
Non-current: Since you are working on increasing vegetables to cover half of your plate during most meals, add all these vegetables with at least 1 palm of protein for women and 2 palms for men. Carbohydrate requirements are highly individualized, but many concentrate well on carbohydrate intake around workouts.
Additional credit: Try to exercise at least 2-3 days a week and focus on contractions of large muscle groups to get the most benefit for regulating glucose levels.
4. Priority management of sleep and stress.
The metabolic effects of chronic stress are widespread, and the sex and hormones of the thyroid gland get the biggest hit. In chronic stress, the body gives priority to the functions necessary for survival, which excludes reproductive health and hormone production. Sleep is also not negotiable for hormonal balance, and in this respect, weight loss in general. Our circadian rhythm affects the production of certain hormones, such as growth hormone, testosterone and cortisol. Thus, going to bed late or having a wrong sleep schedule is a sure way to stop the results.
Non-current: Set a consistent time of sleep and wakefulness, including weekends, and try at least 7-8 hours. Most people best go to bed around 10 in the evening. and wake up around 6 am, but remember to set realistic goals for your schedule.
Additional credit: Revise your daily routine to maintain sleep. Click here for practical strategies for improving sleep quality.
5. Fight against inflammation and reduce stress.
Chronic inflammation largely disrupts the health of hormones, including signals that stimulate hormone production, receptor function, and ovulation. Decreasing the level of certain hormones also reduces our ability to restrain inflammation. In addition, chronic inflammation causes us to excrete cortisol, disrupting hormonal balance and regulation of glucose.
Non-current: Reduce the amount of processed foods and oils and increase the intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating fatty fish 2-3 times a week and adding fish oil to it.
Additional credit: Do an experiment and remove sugar, gluten or dairy products (or all three) for one month and see how you feel. Or, better yet, complete a complete elimination diet. If you are interested in this, then our GUT.FIX program is a great place to start.
Start by focusing on only one of the above habits. How to choose? Think of five areas: where are you already doing well? Which one needs the most attention? Most importantly, what changes are you most willing and ready to make? Conquer one habit at a time and aim for 80% of the sequence.
Working on these fundamental habits, I urge you to show curiosity about your health and, if you are determined to successfully achieve your goals. Do you feel energetic most of the time or do you just worry? Do you think your age justifies your feelings?
Get rid of the existing state of affairs, considering yourself mediocre and restore your health. Finish it Symptom Questionnaire to understand the best next step. We also have a whole team of nutritionists who specialize in using metabolic biomarkers to determine dietary recommendations, lifestyles, exercises and supplements.
Contact us at [email protected] and tell us more about yourself: what are your goals? Are you struggling with obstinate symptoms? We are happy to help!
– Mandy Rother RD, LD, IFMNT Nutritionist, NASM-CPT – Life Time Assistant Program Manager, Laboratory Testing
This article is not intended to treat or prevent disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. The use of recommendations in this and other articles on the choice and the risk of the reader.