Have you ever wondered if your health problems can be traced back to hormonal imbalances? From acne and PMS to irregular ovulation and difficulty conceiving to the hot flashes and osteoporosis, hormone irregularities can severely hurt women’s health and interfere with their everyday lives.
Taking synthetic hormones, such as those found in birth control or Hormone Replacement Therapy, is, of course, one option for dealing with the problem. But what if you want to work with your body, rather than against it? If that’s the case, you’ll want to consider one of these five supplements.
Sometimes referred to as Agnus Castus, Chastetree Berry, or Vitex Chaste Berry, Vitex is a supplement that has been used for centuries to help improve gynecological and hormonal problems in women.
Vitex is especially helpful for women who have low progesterone. It naturally stimulates the pituitary gland to send proteins to the ovaries, which helps them ovulate more regularly. This, in turn, increases the amount of progesterone your body produces.
For women who are menstruating, it can help with irregular periods, PMS symptoms, cramping, acne, and headaches. It will also help your hormones stabilize when you come off hormonal birth control and regulate your ovulation. However, Vitex may interfere with the effectiveness of some types of hormonal birth control.
For women who are going through menopause, Vitex can help balance levels of estrogen and progesterone. This will reduce uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes, irregular bleeding, and depression. Because it promotes progesterone production, it can also be helpful in managing conditions like endometriosis and uterine fibroids, which are exacerbated by too much estrogen.
DIM is a natural compound found in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, collards, and kale. However, to get the amount found in a single supplement, you would have to eat about two pounds of vegetables per day! DIM is helpful for women who are suffering because of high estrogen levels in comparison to other balance your hormones.
High estrogen levels can either be a naturally occurring imbalance in your body, or they can come from absorbing “false” estrogens from your environment (such as those found in soy or BPA). DIM stimulates your liver and helps you metabolize excess estrogens so that your body is not overwhelmed by them.
DIM is an excellent supplement for women whose high estrogen levels cause severe acne, painful periods, or irritability. It does not interfere with the effectiveness of hormonal birth control, so it is safe to take while you are on the pill. However, studies about its safety during pregnancy are non-conclusive.
For women going through menopause, DIM can help eliminate hot flashes, reduce vaginal dryness and promote a healthy libido. It can also help reduce your risk of developing breast, cervical, and other estrogen-related cancers.
Zinc is one of the key building blocks that your body uses to make balance your hormones. If you are deficient in zinc, that may be part of the reason for your hormonal imbalance. Zinc deficiency can be caused by stress, imbalance in your blood sugar, binge drinking, or taking hormonal birth control. Animal fat has a higher concentration of zinc than plants do, so you may also be zinc deficient if you are a vegetarian or vegan.
Replacing zinc in your body does not, in itself, rebalance your hormones. However, if you are taking either Vitex Berry or DIM to balance your hormones, it is also a good idea to take zinc supplements, as this gives your body the nutrients it needs to produce its own balance your hormones.
Magnesium is another balance your hormones building block, specifically one that your body uses to produce progesterone. When your progesterone levels rise, they deplete your body’s magnesium reserves. If you do not have enough magnesium in your diet to replace those levels, your progesterone levels will drop, leading to an imbalance.
Magnesium is typically lacking in Western diets, so there is a strong chance that your body is magnesium deficient. Taking magnesium supplements will not only help balance your body’s progesterone, but it will also reduce acne, anxiety, irritability, and sleeplessness.
Vitamin D acts within your body more like a hormone than a vitamin. It affects your mood and stress levels the same way hormones do, and Vitamin D deficiencies can cause acne and PMS symptoms.
Vitamin D is a key building block of the hormone calcitriol, which regulates cell growth and bone renewal. It also helps regulate the function of the parathyroid glands in your neck, which secrete hormones into your bloodstream and regulate your calcium levels.
If you have thyroid issues, calcium deficiency, severe acne or seasonal depression related to hormone imbalances, taking Vitamin D supplements may help by regulating both the production and release of balance your hormones in your body. It can also regulate your body’s production of calcitriol, which will reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis and hormone-related cancers during and after menopause.
As with any medical condition, self-diagnosing what type of hormonal imbalance you have is never a good idea. Be sure to talk to your doctor and have a balance your hormones screening done before beginning to take any supplements or making changes to your medication.