Fighting back against chronic pain with a simple, creative, & healthy lifestyle. Inspiring others to become warriors.

Monday, March 5, 2018

6 Ways to Balance Your Hormones

A couple of weeks ago I talked about the 5 side effects of chronic pain and illness that no one talks about. Hormones were number two on that list. Last week I talked about my hormone imbalance journey and 9 signs something is wrong with your hormones.

This week, I want to talk about natural ways to help your hormones realign to healthy levels with 6 ways to balance your hormones.

1. Stop Eating Refined Carbs and Increase Your Healthy Fats

I know I talk about Paleo eating all the time.  I've mentioned giving up sugar to reduce inflammation and helping you to lose weight. Now I'm also telling you to give up refined carbs.

What is a refined carb? Anything that is a processed food starch or sweet. Think pasta, Goldfish, and Chips Ahoy.

Healthy fats include coconut oil, avocados, ghee from grass-fed butter, and olive oil. Fill up
on rich sources of natural omega-3s instead of refined carbs like wild fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, macadamias, and grass-fed animal products.
Your body needs various types of fats to create hormones, including saturated fat and cholesterol. Not only are these essential fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they keep inflammation levels low, boost your metabolism and promote weight loss.

Healthy fats have the opposite effect of refined carbs, which lead to inflammation and can mess with your hormones.

Also, not all fats are the same. Make sure you stay away from oils high in omega-6 fats which include but are not limited to safflower, sunflower, corn, cottonseed, canola, soybean and peanut oil.

2. Adaptogens

I recently became aware of the class of herbs known as adaptogens even though I've been taking ashwagandha for over a year now.

Adaptogen herbs are a unique class of healing plants that promote hormone balance and protect the body from a wide variety of diseases, including those caused by excess stress.
Ashwagandha, in particular, can be extremely effective at balancing hormones. It benefits thyroid function because it promotes the scavenging of free radicals that cause cellular damage. Ashwagandha can be used to support a sluggish or overactive thyroid, and it can also help to overcome adrenal fatigue.

Holy basil, which is also known as tulsi, helps to regulate cortisol levels, thereby working as a natural remedy for anxiety and emotional stress. Studies show that holy basil can also protect your organs and tissues against chemical stress from pollutants and heavy metals, which are other factors that can lead to hormone imbalance.

More and more paleo products are being released with adaptogens in them.  Like Four Sigmatic Coffee and Tea.  They are using adaptogen mushrooms Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, and Lion's Mane.

If you are taking anti-depressants do not take cordyceps as the two can have major drug interactions.

3. Self Care, Meditation, and Therapy

A major component of balancing hormones is addressing emotional issues.

You can do this by reducing stress levels, engaging in motivational practices like journaling, reading self-empowerment books, and self-care.

This is a good time to start meditation (check out how meditations helped me with chronic pain) or to start therapy, even join a support group.

Look into habit making books or books that help you simplify your life. Heck, re-read Harry Potter or chainsaw some Aliens in Gears of War. You do you.
While my Xbox addiction is great, practicing meditation or prayer is more beneficial, and so can 4•7•8 breathing, spending time outdoors and exercising.

Your emotions and hormones are connected, so by working to balance one, you are impacting the other.

4. DIY Body Care Products

I recently ordered several organic bath products. When they came in I was saddened to see that they all contained 'fragrance.' Fragrance is a great word to cover up potential toxins laying in everyday products.

I definitely threw a hissy fit over my treat yo self purchase and then resolved to look up essential oils to help with hormone balancing.

Check back with me next Monday for some DIY skincare treat yo self recipes with essential oils to help with hormone balancing.

For now, to balance your hormones naturally, it’s important that you eliminate toxins in your body by avoiding conventional body care products that are made with potentially-harmful chemicals including DEA, parabens, perfume (fragrance), propylene glycol and sodium lauryl sulfate.

A better alternative is to use natural products made with ingredients like essential oils, coconut oil, shea butter and castor oil.
Disappointed these had 'fragrance.' After looking them up on Skin Deep,
they had a score of 4 but had a strong warning of unknown ingredients.

The EWG, Environmental Working Group, evaluated over 72,000 products and ranked them in Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, an easy-to-understand guide to make sure you have a resource to keep your family safe.

5. Supplements

Always check with your doctor first before beginning any new supplement.

Evening Primrose Oil: GLA, gamma-linolenic acid, is a type of omega-6 fat that you want. It can be taken as a supplement, evening primrose oil. GLA can support healthy progesterone levels if you are deficient.

I actually have .04 progesterone as of my last hormone test.  In my case, I actually need medication, evening primrose would not be enough and is not advised by my functional medicine doctor since I am so progesterone deficient.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D almost acts like a hormone inside the body and has important implications for keeping inflammation levels low.

This is why people can suffer from seasonal depression and other health problems unless they supplement with vitamin D.

Sunshine is really the best way to optimize vitamin D levels because your bare skin actually makes vitamin D on its own when exposed to even small amounts of direct sunlight.

I live in Texas and believe me I get enough sun.  Fluffy Alarm Clock gets two walks a day and we sometimes just like to hang out outside.

I am always vitamin D deficient. Every test. Every time. So even if you do 'get enough sun' you may still be deficient. Get your levels checked, and if a chronic pain or illness patient, get them checked often.

Collagen: I think my biggest turnaround and gains in my health came when I started drinking collagen in my morning coffee.
If you’re looking to detox your body of harmful substances, improve blood flow and keep your heart young, collagen is extremely helpful. It reduces joint pains and degeneration, helps heal leaky gut, boosts metabolism, increases muscle mass and energy output which will overall help your hormones.

Probiotics: Probiotics can aid in repairing your gut lining, which in turn can balance your hormones. When undigested food particles, like gluten, for example, leak through your gut into your bloodstream, it causes disease-causing inflammation that impacts the entire body — especially glands like the thyroid that is very susceptible to heightened inflammation.

Most people with leaky gut have a deficiency of probiotics in their guts. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can actually improve your production and regulation of key hormones like insulin, ghrelin, and leptin.

6. Medications

Are you aware of your medication’s side effects? Some can disrupt your hormone balance, leading to side effects like fatigue, appetite changes, altered sleeping patterns, low libido, sadness and even depression.

Some medications that can mess with your hormone balance include corticosteroids, stimulants, statins, dopamine agonists, rexinoids, and glucocorticoids.

Beware of your medications, talk to your doctor about the side effects and research natural alternatives whenever possible.

Advice, Caution, and Warnings

In some cases, medication is necessary to treat a hormonal imbalance. For people with diagnosed hormonal disorders, it’s always important to speak with your doctor before starting any supplements or altering medication use.

Hormone imbalances vary so widely in terms of severity of symptoms, always keep track of how you’re feeling in your bullet journal, research, research, research and start only one new thing at a time.

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