WelleCo formulator Dr. Simone Laubscher Ph.D, a Clinical Nutritionist and Naturopath, shares 8 ways to support your hormonal health
Q: I’ve been feeling like my hormones are out of sorts lately. How can I bring them back into balance?
A: In most cases of hormonal imbalances over my 25-year career, I’ve seen inflammation as the common denominator in my clinical practice and my own personal experience after our infertility issues and hypothyroidism.
Dealing with inflammation first has a powerful knock-on effect on the entire endocrine systems. It sets clients free of hormone-related health challenges like menopause, irregular periods, infertility, thyroid problems, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or Hashimoto’s.
So how can you support your endocrine system, reduce inflammation, resolve hormonal imbalances, support your thyroid and boost your fertility?
1. Clean Up Your Diet
Eat more plants, less animal protein, cut dairy and go more pesca-vegan for three months to combat your inflammation and hormonal imbalances. Up your Omega 3’s from oily fish, avocados and coconut oil – research shows that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help regulate ovulation, improve egg quality and even delay ageing the ovaries. Just be mindful of reducing fish high in mercury. If you don’t like to eat fish, add good Omega 3 supplements.
Foods naturally rich in folate are also great, including green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, and beans (if your gut can tolerate them). Do your best to opt for organic foods with lots of green vegetables, as pesticides can affect estrogen and other hormones and worsen your hormonal imbalances.
2. Increase your Iodine
Seaweed is an excellent source of iodine, and you can buy dulse and seaweed flakes to add to any diet. You can also make yummy homemade sushi rolls with fish and avocado and swap the rice for quinoa or opt for black or brown rice to keep your GI index down.
3. Avoid Plastics to Reduce Hormonal Imbalances
Plastics are hormonal disruptors, so increase your green and cruciferous vegetables in particular and get off plastics from water bottles and storage containers, especially if you use plastics when serving or warming food.
Broccoli, cabbage and Brussel sprouts are cruciferous vegetables that contain Indole-3-Carbinol, which helps the liver metabolise estrogen. It’s best to steam cruciferous vegetables, avoiding the goitrogens present in their raw state.
Please never heat plastic or use a microwave oven, particularly in microwave-safe plastic, to cook your food, for this as been linked to cancer. Never leave your water bottles in the car, exposing them to heat, then come back another day and drink the water! It’s easy to get glass bottles, a home water filter and glass storage containers too.
4. Use Herbs to Adjust Hormonal Imbalance
I love Chinese and ayurvedic herbs, and I have been using them for most of my career with great success to balance hormones. Traditionally taken as a tea, these herbs can be pretty arduous for the taste buds and tough to endure, not to mention the many hours to boil them up.
For this reason, I formulated my Rejuv Wellness Female Hormonal Balance Capsules to fast track hormonal balancing without strong herbal tea flavours. Our popular Blood Sugar Support Capsules have wondrous herbal ingredients to adjust insulin levels having a direct balancing effect on hormones.
5. Get More Sleep
Low quality or limited amount of regular sleep is linked to poor immune function. It can reduce the body’s ability to heal overnight, leading to excessive stress, which is a natural enemy of fertility and optimum health.
Over many years, I have seen sleep as a significant catalyst in reducing the endocrine system’s entire function. So how much is enough? We are all different, but the classic 8 hours is a great start. Ultimately you need to wake up feeling refreshed, and you need to work out for you what is your optimum, but most need 6-10 hours a night to feel well.
Serotonin to melatonin ratios more hours before midnight is the goal for as the saying goes, one hour before midnight is like 2 hours after midnight, so early to bed and early to rise is ideal.
I love wind-down rituals, like an Epsom salt bath, essential oil and the Sleep Welle Calming Tea I formulated for WelleCo, to support deep restorative sleep.
6. Increase Foods High in Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps trigger ovulation in women and can increase sperm in men. Vitamin C foods also help your body absorb iron, an essential nutrient for women who become pregnant.
Grapefruits and other citrus fruits, kiwis, guava, cherries, berries, and kale are excellent sources. Pumpkin Seeds are also high in vitamin C, and as a bonus, they are anti-parasitic and even high in zinc, an essential nutrient for reproduction in both men and women.
If you want to add a vitamin C supplement, be very careful not to buy synthetic vitamin C, which flushes out of the body. Opt for a whole food vitamin C such as WelleCo’s The Skin Elixir, which contains a natural vitamin C from acerola cherry.
7. Reduce Your Inflammation Drivers
High fat, processed meats and grains increase cortisol. Refined sugar reduces immune function and may cause nutrient depletion. A high intake of refined sugar also contributes to obesity, a significant risk factor for infertility and hormone issues. Excessive alcohol increases inflammation and reduces immune function, and has a knock-on effect on your endocrine system.
For women, heavy drinking increases the risk of ovulation disorders. For men, it lowers testosterone levels, causes erectile dysfunction and decreases sperm production, so stick to a few glasses of organic red wine a week. Caffeine can cause hormonal imbalances, dehydration and lead to mineral deficiencies. High consumption of caffeine can also interfere with fertility.
Lowering your caffeine to one cup per day, or giving it up entirely, is a good idea when you’re trying to get pregnant.
8. Decrease Stress
Research has shown that stress has a direct impact on a woman’s risk for infertility. One study measured the levels of an enzyme-linked with stress in the saliva of women who were trying to get pregnant over one year. The enzyme is alpha-amylase, an enzyme that helps the body digest carbohydrates linked to the fight-or-flight stress response.
The researchers found that out of about 400 couples who completed the study, 87 per cent of the women were able to get pregnant. The researchers found that the women with the highest amylase levels had a 29% lower likelihood of pregnancy than the women who had the lowest enzyme levels.
By defaulting into fight or flight, your body cannot be in a place of healing and restoration, for the body is so busy fighting fires. The human body has 11 systems, and 2 out of those are key for fertility and reproduction, but since the body is built for survival, the first two systems to get out of balance are these two. This is why getting your stress under control is absolutely vital to get your hormones balanced and your head in the game to shift you into optimum fertility.
Exercise is also crucial. Get into nature, get your barefoot on the earth, breath and choose to respond rather than react to your environment and triggers.