April Showers Bring Hormonal Shifts
April is a month of regrowth. The emerging energy of life springing into action all around is palpable. This awakening doesn’t stop with the world around you, but also guides the ebb and flow of your own systems. Mood and hormones have been shown to fluctuate with the seasons which is why you should look inward during times of change.
THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM
With an intricate network of glands communicating through the bloodstream, the endocrine system is responsible for keeping an equilibrium between your body systems. This includes those systems in charge of metabolism, mood, tissue function, sexual function, growth and development, and more.
As the command center of hormone regulation in your body, the endocrine system is influenced by many factors. Some of these factors are out of our control, like aging, certain diseases and genetics. But others, like diet, stress, and our environment, can be enhanced to support healthy endocrine function.
A quick internet search for hormonal imbalances will show you a slew of information on female hormonal imbalance, but achieving a balance in endocrine functionality is vital for the health of both sexes. This balance looks different for everyone, not just between men and women, but from person to person.
SYMPTOMS OF HORMONAL IMBALANCE
A hormonal imbalance is sometimes tricky to pinpoint. Because your endocrine system influences such an array of systems, the list of symptoms is quite long and vague. It can range from weight gain and fatigue to anxiety and even blurred vision. An imbalance can affect fertility in both sexes. Women’s symptoms can also include heavy and irregular periods while for men’s symptoms can include loss of muscle and bone mass.
Don’t wait until symptoms pop up to start caring for your endocrine system. Take steps each day through diet, lifestyle and your wellness routine to support the balance to equilibrium. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite products that do just that.
We’ve talked a lot about the idea of balance so far, so it seems only natural to start the conversation of naturally supporting our hormones with our tincture, Balance. The star of our Balance blend is Passion flower. Passion flower has been shown to reduce anxiety, stress, and insomnia (R) in multiple studies. It has been used as a medicine for hundreds of years across the globe. Most research has indicated that flavonoids in the Passion flower are responsible for the hormonal stabilizing activity (R). Nettle Root works by blocking DHT sites on the prostate and scalp preventing abnormal growth and degeneration. DHT is strongly associated with male pattern baldness and may even help women experiencing hair loss. It pairs very well with Passion flower. Passion flower keeps hormones in their correct form, and Nettle Root minimizes the damage they can do in the body when converted to a negative, volatile form like DHT.
Balance should be your first line of defense in building up your hormonal health. It will work to stop the breakdown of androgens like testosterone in the first place. Next, add in hormone boosters like Mucuna Tribulus, Cistanche, and Gelatinized Maca to support the function of Balance.
Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory powerhouses. They have been studied for their effects on a myriad of conditions, including hormone health. Our new algal oil source is incredibly high quality with more DHA. DHA is essential in the growth, development and lifetime function of your brain. Not only has the inclusion of DHA in your diet has been directly linked to increased learning ability, but it has also been shown to have a positive effect on depression (R). Studies have also shown that women struggling with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have seen significant improvements in symptoms with a low carbohydrate diet rich in omega-3.
Building on the fat-is-your-friend message, coconut delivers a healthy dose of medium chain triglycerides, an incredibly efficient energy source and hormone precursor. They go directly to the liver to be used as energy. The have been studied intensively for their unique profile and have been found to reduce insulin resistance (R).
This Ayurvedic herb is central to revitalizing and restoring body systems. It is an adaptogen, meaning it naturally helps the body respond to stress and encourages balance within the systems. Additionally, it has calming, anti-stress properties. It has also been studied for its ability to increase physical endurance (R). Ashwagandha can benefit both men and women in emotional swings, but in our experience, is especially helpful to women with heavy menstrual bleeding, high estrogen, and low progesterone.
Another adaptogen, maca is actually a member of the cruciferous family of plants. As an adaptogen, it is known for the ability to strengthen and balance the body systems. Our maca is gelatinized through an extrusion process that breaks down the starch. This delivers a more potent product. This process also eliminates the goitrogens that are present in raw maca, making it easier to digest and more suitable for everyday use. Goitrogens are plant toxins that can interfere with iodine uptake and thyroid function.
Maca has been shown to help balance hormonal secretion, stimulate body metabolism, increase energy and vitality. At the same time, studies have shown that maca reduces stress, has antidepressant activity, improves memory, and enhances sex drive (R). Generally maca is sought out as a treatment for men, but can be equally helpful for women as well. Women seeking to support fertility, maca is a good choice.
As an abundant source of l-dopa, a precursor to dopamine, it’s no wonder that Mucuna tribulus has been turned to for hormonal balance support. It has been studied for its supportive potential on the nervous system, adrenal system, hormones, immunity, and sleep, to name a few. It has also gained notoriety for its support of sexual health (R). Cistanche is most commonly used as a sexual tonic for men but it has more recently been turned to for its neuroprotective, anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory activity. The main bioactive compound in cistanche has been shown to combat a wide range of nervous system conditions. It may even have potential as a treatment for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases (R). It can support a healthy immune system, memory, optimize kidney function, fight free radicals and prevention of lipid peroxidation. These herbs are best for boosting androgen hormones like testosterone.
Super Woman is a blend made with female hormonal health in mind. It is a daily tonic for women at all stages of life designed to support healthy menstrual cycles, menopause transition, immunity, energy, mood, and weight regulation. It includes Shatavari, which is the central herb for women in Ayurvedic medicine. If you are suffering with hot flashes and stress-induced issues, Shatavari can help regulate those responses. Our Super Woman blend also contains Mucuna, which supports brain health. It can help with lack of drive, focus, and even weight gain. The aloe in this tonic supports GI and reproductive health while Schisandra regulates stress responses and eases hormonal transitions. The Shilajit restores energetic balance and has shown potential to prevent diseases (R).
Like any wellness plan, cast a wide net for to achieve your goals. Adding the above supplements to an increasingly healthy diet will double your chances of success in your path to wellness. A diet rich in clean proteins, healthy fats, and fiber will support hormonal health. Be sure to moderate your sugar intake and eat mindfully. Hormones dictate our hungry and full signals, so pay close attention to the messages your body is sending regarding food. Plastics contain hormone disrupting chemicals which leach into our food and water. Always choose glass or ceramic for your leftovers and try to limit bottled water intake.
The last piece of the puzzle is projecting your healthy lifestyle into reality. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine in any way you can. Exercise positively affects energy-regulating hormones and appetite hormones in both men and women (R). While inviting more exercise into your life, try to declutter your mind of undue stress. Modify your surroundings as much as you can to prevent stress. Find helpful, empowering ways of dealing with stress like meditation. Make mental health as much of a part of your journey as physical health.