When I talk to ladies from around the world and hear their stories about the hormone imbalance issues they're facing, I'm always surprised to hear that either their doctor or endocrinologist never asked (or told them) about the raw materials that their body needs to make hormones and how to support overcoming hormone imbalance with food! Doesn't it just make sense to ensure that you are giving your body what it needs first, before exploring supplemental (and synthetic) hormone options?
In today's post, I want to communicate the nutritional factors that can contribute to inadequate hormone production, which leads to hormone imbalance.
1) Your body needs certain raw materials to make hormones, namely:
- Cholesterol, from animal foods, but also manufactured in the body
- Adequate thyroid hormone (T3), that you get from having a health liver function and a healthy thyroid function (good thyroid function is instrumental and controls the rate at which your body MAKES hormones via T3 -thyroid hormone).
- Other vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C
2) In addition, there are certain dietary and lifestyle factors that can promote this hormonal conversion and certain things that block this conversion, such as:
Conversion promoters (get MORE of these):
- Sunlight/light therapy
- Vitamin E (think avocados and nuts, not supplements)
- Good liver health from a healthy gut and detoxification system
Conversion blockers (get LESS of these):
- PUFA fats
- Excess iron (fortified foods, iron supplements)
- Excess estrogen
- X-Rays/ultraviolet light
There are other factors that affect hormone production as well, such as inflammation, stress, blood sugar imbalance, not eating enough, diets of all kind (keto, carnivore, low carb, vegetarian, vegan, etc.), over exercising. These issues must be addressed or hormone status in unlikely to change.
I hope today you learned something important about what you can do with food to help support your body's ability to overcome hormone imbalance by making sure that you're doing all that's needed to back up hormonal production through diet and lifestyle.
Just like you can't bake a cake without the right ingredients and the right oven temperature, your body can't make hormones without the right raw materials and the right conditions!
Ready to combat your hormonal issues by understanding your body?
Do you struggle with hormone imbalance? Please share in the comments!
Recommended reading to learn more about:
Birth control pills
Peat, Ray. Nutrition for Women. 1993.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.com/valuavitaly
What about us women that have had a total hysterectomy? My doctor wants me to give up my half a milligram of bio identical estradiol which keeps me from having hot flashes. My previous doctor said it was absolutely fine and not to go off of it ever because I had my surgery at a young age. I tried to go off and got so sick from the hot flashes I went right back on. I am not living that way and I cannot afford a natural doctor anymore. I was on a great mix of estradiol, dhea and testosterone and felt like a million bucks. it was mixed at a compound pharmacy. Help! I live in Michigan.
Heal for Happiness
This is absolutely true! I'm in Australia and most doctors won't even tell you how your body works and they'll just prescribe medications.
I was thought that our bodies make up 75-80% of our cholesterol needs. Why then do we need cholesterol from food?
Thanks for this post! What are your favorite sources of Vitamin E?
Great post! I love it. And don't forget we also need lots of salt and Vitamin C to balance our stress hormone production.
Do you mean lots of iodine?
I have low Dha
Hi, again, what about dairy in all this. We don't need any more oestrogen so avoiding dairy is a necessity for hormonal health surely?
Hello Catherine, thank you for broaching this topic. Frankly, these are insane times when it comes to health and healthcare. So, introducing common sense and education into the morass is desperately needed. I've gone through the healthcare wringer with thyroid challenges myself. Most recently, my "primary care" physician had me start on the lowest dose of Levothyroxine (as I haven't been able to take Synthroid for years). Within a week I had an UTI. Two days later I suffered another. The only way I was able to cope with and cure them was by drinking organic unsweetened cranberry juice, as much as I could realistically consume throughout the day (they each took one to two days to clear up).. When I contacted my physician's office about the second UTI, I told them I was off the Levothyroxine indefinitely as a result. One of the nurses returned my message instructing me to stay on the prescription, that there was no known link between it and UTIs. First of all, they did not offer any empathy for my plight. Secondly, I was able to tell them I had done my homework, that indeed there are links between the two in some cases. I even forwarded a link to one such study.
Where I am today is this. I have not had a reoccurrence of UTI since I left that prescription behind, back in September. I have returned to my daily dose of Iosol iodine, working to find the magic balance between one and two drops a day. I continually look to improve the ingredients we use for cooking and baking; continually eliminating processed foods and ingredients; reducing sugar and dairy.
Both my husband and I have learned the hard way that we know our bodies best, that we are the curators of our health. We take the responsibility seriously and expect no less from healthcare professionals.
Thank you, Catherine, for continually bringing such topics to light and for recommendations on how we all can better manage our wellbeing.
I have high testosterone and low thyroid hormone. I am on Synthroid and not sure how to balance the high testosterone. My level was 86. For a female like myself, it should be 2-45. On one thing you're right; I need to be eating more protein, as I average 40-60 g a day. I cannot digest the sugar in dairy, lactose, so I get bloated, cramping, diarrhea, and gassy when I eat dairy. I am not sure if I am estrogen dominant, as it was never tested. I do exhibit 7 out 16 signs according to drnorthrup.com. I eat carrot salad daily and am working at changing my diet. Do you have suggestions on what i can do with my diet to lower my high testosterone?
I had gone to the doctor last year August, did some blood work and had an appointment with a gyno. Turns out I am borderline polycystic, blood level is at 12 and testosterone is at 16. And unfortunately, this runs in the female side of my mothers family. Now since August of last year I have changed my diet to pescatarian and eat a lot more veggies and fruits, due to the fact that I used to have nephrotic syndrome minimal change, I wasn't allowed to eat red meat due to the fact that my kidneys could not digest it properly and its only now that whenever I eat red meat its painful for my kidneys. I am also a premie.
I didn't even know what I needed: Cholesterol, Vitamin a, Adequate thyroid hormone. Thank you for opening my eyes... I did not even think that they affect the body.