1. Heal Leaky Gut
Leaky gut is a condition that not only affects your digestive tract, but also causes hormone issues and can more specifically target your thyroid. When undigested food particles like gluten leak through your gut into your bloodstream, it causes disease-causing inflammation of the entire body and more specific organs like the thyroid.
Most people with leaky gut experience digestive symptoms like, indigestion, burping or passing gas excessively, acid reflux or constipation or diarrhea. These people clearly have a deficiency of probiotics in their guts. Probiotics actually help your body produce certain vitamins and assist with digestion which can affect hormone levels like insulin, so having inadequate healthy gut bacteria can lead to more serious problems like insulin resistance, IBS and autoimmune disorders.
Over consumption of certain foods can create inflammation in the gut which can contribute to the destruction of healthy bacteria balance and production of digestive enzymes. These include processed foods, gluten, hydrogenated oils.
In my practice, the first step for helping any patient balance hormone issues is to ensure that their digestion is working properly so that they can absorb nutrients from foods or supplements into their system. I work with my patients to change gradually change their diet by removing irritating foods and replacing them with healthier options. Then by adding supplements like digestive enzymes and probiotics to their daily diets, they can aid in repairing your gut lining, which in turn can balance your hormones.
2. Manage Stress
Chronic Stress changes your physiology in so many detrimental ways. It down-regulates (slows down) your digestion. It up-regulates your cardiac output raising blood pressure, which puts even more stress on the heart muscle. It causes increased production of cortisol, a stress hormone which can affect blood sugar balance, sleep, and greatly impacts all other hormones. Stress can be a bad habit, and learning how to change that habit could be the best thing you ever do for your body. I manage stress by incorporating yoga into my work outs, taking quiet walks or just doing something I enjoy like reading a good book. Everyone has different ways to manage stress and I encourage my patients to try different techniques like: meditation, guided imagery, coloring, yoga and gentle exercise, or enjoying a long lost hobby.
3. Supplement with Adaptogen Herbs
Adaptogen herbs are a unique class of healing plants that promote hormone balance and protect the body from a wide variety of diseases. These types of herbs can boost immune function, and combat stress by supporting adrenal function, improving thyroid function, lower cholesterol, reduce anxiety and depression, and stabilize blood sugar
Based on hormone test results, I can prescribe the correct herbal supplements to help reset your hormone levels.
4. Balance Omega-3/6 Ratio & Eat Healthy Fats
Since the early 20th century, the use of vegetable oil in our diets has skyrocketed. Coincidently, because people didn’t boost their omega-3 foods intake to balance out the elevated omega-6s they consumed, I’ve seen an onslaught of chronic diseases and inflammatory processes literally take over our society.
Research from Pennsylvania State University suggests that jumping from the 1:1 omega-3/6 ratio our hunter-gather ancestors enjoyed to the astronomical 20:1 ratio most people take in today is the primary dietary factor of most diseases in America!
Rule of thumb: Be sure to limit oils high in omega-6s (safflower, sunflower, corn, cottonseed, canola, soybean and peanut), and load up on rich sources of natural omega-3s (wild fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts and grass-fed animal products). But there is an exception to this rule: there is a type of omega-6 fat you want to try and get in your diet called GLA. GLA (gamma-linoleic acid) can be taken in supplement form by using evening primrose oil or borage oil, and it’s also found in hemp seeds. Studies show supplementing with GLA can support healthy progesterone levels.
Eating a variety of foods high in short-, medium- and long-chain fatty acids is key to keeping your hormones in check. Not only are these essential fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they boost your metabolism and promote weight loss.
My four favorite foods packed with healthy fats include: coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed butter and wild-caught salmon.
5. Interval Exercise
One of the best all-around activities you can do for your health is burst training. If there is a silver bullet out there, this is it! Exercising opens the hormone faucet to release the right amount of hormones that your body NEEDS!
Whether endorphins, testosterone, growth hormone or insulin, burst training helps reduce stress levels, enhance your immune system, regulate metabolic function and keep you at the body weight your body was designed for.
But don’t overdo it — bursting 20 minutes three times a week is plenty, and if you want to add in more exercise try classes like Barre and Pilates or Yogalates.
6. Get More Sleep
Unless you get seven–eight hours of sleep every night, you’re doing your body no favors. Lack of sleep and sleeping at the wrong time actually may be the worst habits people have that disturb hormone balance.
Why? Because hormones work on a schedule or circadian rhythm. Case in point: Cortisol, the stress hormone, is regulated at midnight. Therefore, people who go to bed late never truly get a break from the sympathetic flight/fight stress response, which has led to widespread stress-related health disorders in our country, not to mention insomnia.
To maximize hormone function, get to bed by 10 p.m. Endocrinologists (hormone experts) claim that one hour of sleep between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. is equal to two hours of sleep before or after these time slots!
7. Limit Caffeine
OK, don’t kill the messenger! Drinking too much caffeine is almost as bad as not getting enough sleep. It elevates your cortisol levels, lowers your thyroid hormone levels and basically creates havoc throughout your entire body.
If you need a little boost, try not to drink more than one–two cups of matcha green tea or tulsi tea. You’ll keep your hormones in check and enjoy the weight loss and cancer-killing benefits as well!
8. Supplement with Vitamin D3
According to an article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vitamin D3’s role in promoting human life is more profound than previously suspected.
“These physiologic arenas are the adaptive immune system, the innate immune system, insulin secretion by the pancreatic β cell, multifactorial heart functioning and blood pressure regulation, and brain and fetal development.”
This is why people who live in dark areas suffer from significant depression and health disorders unless they supplement adequately.
Most people should supplement with around 5,000 IU daily of vitamin D3 on days they’re not in the sun or if they use sunscreen, as sunscreen blocks UV rays and your body’s ability to produce Vit D.
9. Give More Hugs
Never discount the healing power of touch! Hug your spouse, hug your kids, hug your friends. They type of human contact you get from a hug actually increases the production of a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin is a feel-good hormone that brings with it general feelings of calm, inclusion and love. There are lots of studies to show how hugs make you healthy!
One way to ensure that you are making the most of your time and fitting in the healthy activities you know you need to do is by turning off the TV, I pad, and cell phone. The blue light emitted from the TV and other electronic devices has been shown to hamper proper sleep and hormone production especially when using these devices after dark. Instead, read a book or magazine or just sit and listen to some soft music with the lights turned down low. This is a great bed-time routine and can help you fall asleep faster and overtime, reduce wakefulness in the night.
11. Get Your Spine Adjusted
Chiropractic uniquely restores muscle flexibility, joint motion and most profoundly, nervous system integration to the entire body, helping the body to heal and function better from head to toe and from the inside – out. While chiropractors adjust the spine to access the nervous system, we aren’t simply back doctors. I have had the honor and privilege to help infants who before chiropractic failed to thrive, were constipated or had colic and reflux. And, I have helped adults with hormonal issues, migraines, headaches, tendonitis, fatigue, insomnia, infertility, sciatica, shoulder problems and, yes, perhaps even back pain. You see, your spine is like the breaker box for your entire body, and as simple as it sounds, sometimes you just need a chiropractor to turn your power back on.