Hormones are truly a love or hate relationship for most people. Either they are messed up and putting you and your body on an emotional roller coaster, or they are in perfect harmony and life is going swimmingly. I’d venture to say most people are dealing with the former, and are desperate to improve their hormonal balance.
I’m not here to say balancing your hormones is a simple task, as it is often referred to as the most complicated network of chemical responses in the entire body. They are so intertwined and regulated by so many different areas of the body, it’s nearly impossible to pin hormonal issues onto just one area. This is why a fundamental yet simple approach is often the most successful.
However, there is a strong chance that your hormonal issues have originated from one or even all of the following concerns, and if you can even start improving one of these areas, you may find your hormones will start to give you some peace.
Vitamin D deficiency
First of all, what we refer to as vitamin D is actually not a vitamin, it’s a neuroregulatory HORMONE. So a lack of this essential hormone can cause classic signs of hormonal issues, including stress, anxiety, depression, and mood swings. It’s no secret that most people celebrate days that the sun is shining, and mourn days when it is cloudy, and there is a definite correlation there to think about.
Unfortunately due to location and daily habits, most of us tend to get very little sun over the course of the year. Optimally we would all live in a region that soaks us with 9 months of sun a year, but since that is relatively rare, many of us find our vitamin D levels plummeting over a course of years until symptoms raise their ugly head. Very few would connect these issues to a lack of vitamin D uptake.
There’s a lot of details on getting tested, knowing your levels, and how to increase them if necessary. To get all the relevant information, read Vitamin D: How Much You Need, How To Get It, And Proper Tests To Identify A Deficiency.
Poor food and beverage choices
Let’s be real, there are food and beverage choices we make on a regular basis that we know affects our mood. With the incoming evidence that our gut health is a precursor to many hormones that serve our mental health, it’s no longer a stretch to know that food influences our mood.
Of course, we can blame conventionally grown, processed foods and sugars as both do have a negative impact on your gut and liver, two areas governing your hormonal health, but two other very common choices that wreak the most havoc is coffee (caffeine) and alcohol. Ironically, many health advocates will show their disdain for processed foods and sugar, but have not yet come to terms with cutting out the coffee and the wine.
With coffee, the biggest danger to your hormones is the triggering of stress hormones in your body that milks your adrenals “fight or flight response” on a daily basis, eventually exhausting these important glands, which leaves your ability to adapt to life events in poor shape (cue the hormonal disorders). If you don’t believe coffee is a concern, go without it for 30 days to prove it to yourself, and watch your overall hormonal health improve.
As for alcohol, the harsh effect it has on the gut and the liver make it a prime candidate for hormonal disruption. As stated in 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Alcohol That Will Make You Rethink Your Drinking:
“The kicker here is that alcohol disrupts microbiota balance and increases gut permeability. Because booze feeds harmful yeasts and bacteria, colonies of unfriendly microbes begin to overpower our microbiome, and keep it from performing its many tasks.”
“The latest research on the microbiome has revealed the gut to be the brain’s secret sidekick. Our digestive system is lined with hundreds of trillions of microbes. Yes, they help out with digestion as all yogurt eaters know, but they also receive and even produce signal molecules. Some of these molecules are neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. These “brain chemicals” have a big role in mood and mental well-being, as most of us know, but these good-mood neurotransmitters and hormones aren’t exclusive to the brain. Actually, new research shows that as much as 90% of serotonin could be produced in the gut.”
Bottom line? Any food or beverages destroying your gut and liver, is going to negatively affect your hormones and mental well-being.
Lack of emotional discharge
Think of all the rogue hormonal chemicals as static. As this static builds up, it can ruin your ability to think clearly, feel good, and resonate with your true frequency. Since this static is likely to build up on a daily basis, you need a way to discharge it to clear your mind and set into motion feel good chemicals to override the less desirable ones. Two ways to do this is through grounding and meditation.
Grounding, also known as earthing, is quite simply physically connecting with the highly resonant and loving frequencies of Mother Earth by touching it’s surface with your bare skin. There is also technology that allows you to do this in your own home, which is convenient during the cooler months where physical connection may not be possible.
The reason grounding helps your hormones is due to the fact that it can help discharge and neutralize other chaotic frequencies that can affect your brain (and entire body) like EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies). Doing it regularly can help improve your sleep, your hormonal cycles, and circadian rhythm.
In the same vein, meditation is a simple practice that is meant to shut off your brain and tune into the present moment. All that extra negative and unsupportive chatter going on in your head will build up and eventually express itself in the form of hormonal challenges. Shutting that down, and allowing the natural flow of well-being to come to you, can result in a more relaxed, calm, and satisfied state. Keep in mind that meditation doesn’t have to be sitting in a dark room with candles and chanting “ommmmmmmm”, but could just include you doing something that places you firmly in the present moment (not thinking), in a state of happiness or joy. Think nature hikes, painting, playing with your children, or even watching funny cat videos. 🙂
Poor sleep patterns
You’ve heard it many times before, yet, you still are not treating your sleep as sacred. Sure, you may have your excuses like night shifts and being a new mom (which can legitimately screw up your sleep patterns), but this doesn’t usually last long enough to completely wreck your hormones on its own.
You don’t need science to understand what poor sleep does to the body. The lack of energy and mood swings are obvious and can be linked directly back to inadequate sleep. When you disrupt your normal biological rhythm with poor sleep patterns you can expect abnormal secretions of the hormones melatonin and serotonin, which will lead to erratic biological rhythms and disrupt harmonious function of your body.
Some poor habits that eventually bring on hormonal disorders are going to bed late (anytime after 11 pm), exposure to electronics (unnatural blue light) less than an hour prior to bed, eating less than 3 hours before bed, caffeine or alcohol consumption in the evening, failure to wind down (reading a light book, taking a bath, etc), and chronic stress. Limiting or avoiding these issues will take some pressure off your inability to sleep.
Fortunately, if you follow a digestive friendly diet, get the appropriate nutrients, and follow a few mindset and lifestyle patterns, you can see your hormones start to dramatically improve. This may show up as weight loss, increased energy, and a much better overall mood. This is a common scenario in the THRIVE Online Health Program, where you are not only taught to eat, but also how to manage your mindset and balance your hormones, within 3 of the 8 modules inside the program. Perhaps you’d like to join us and get your happy hormones back for good!Balance Your Hormones With THRIVE