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How to Optimize Your Hormones Naturally



Ladies, are you feeling off balance? Your mood is all over the place, you have anxiety, skin breakout, insomnia, and maybe even trouble getting pregnant. So many women struggle with hormone imbalances, which can throw EVERYTHING out of whack. Unfortunately, most women go to their primary care doctor and get handed over the birth control pill or other meds to cover up these symptoms. But that’s just a quick fix, ladies. 


As a Functional Nutritionist, I'm here to offer science-backed advice on how to optimize your hormones naturally. I'm obsessed with helping you understand and optimize your hormones so you can feel EMPOWERED in your health journey.


Recognizing Symptoms of Hormone Imbalances

Symptoms that come with hormone imbalances can differ from person to person. Some common symptoms might include: 

  • Feeling persistently tired and drained - and not the usual "I stayed up too late watching reruns" kind of tired. 

  • Or, you might notice that you're gaining weight unexpectedly, and it's not related to any changes in your diet or exercise routine. 

  • Some of us may even experience mood swings that are more intense and unpredictable than usual, or difficulties in conceiving. 


These are just a few signs that your hormones might be playing up. If any of these sound familiar to you, it might be that your body is simply out of balance and you need to learn how to optimize your hormones with the guidance of an expert (not from a TikTok trend).


Understanding the Causes of Hormone Imbalances

So what causes your hormones to get out of balance in the first place? Everyday lifestyle habits can significantly upset the balance of hormones in our bodies.

Maybe you can relate to these common scenarios: 

  • constantly operating on insufficient sleep

  • juggling high-stress situations at work and home

  • or falling into the convenience of unhealthy eating habits


For instance, you might find yourself staying up late to finish a project or watch another episode of your favorite show, resulting in merely 4 to 5 hours of sleep each night. Or, you might be dealing with high-stakes projects at work while also managing household chores and family responsibilities, leaving you in a chronic state of stress. And when it comes to food, the easy availability of fast food and processed snacks often tempts us into making poor dietary choices.


But why do these seemingly ordinary lifestyle choices wreak such havoc on your hormonal balance? 


When you consistently get less sleep than your body needs, your cortisol levels (the stress hormone) can spike, leading to a hormonal imbalance. Similarly, chronic stress can dysregulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in your body, disrupting your hormone production. And when it comes to diet, consuming high quantities of processed foods can lead to insulin resistance, another form of hormonal imbalance.


These factors can disturb the natural rhythm of hormone production in our bodies, leading to significant imbalances. These imbalances can then ripple out, affecting our overall health and wellbeing. 


For example, elevated cortisol levels can result in weight gain, mood swings, and even problems with digestion. Dysregulated HPA axis can cause symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, and depression. And insulin resistance can lead to weight gain, frequent urination, and even the development of type 2 diabetes.


So, it's essential to understand these effects and consider how you can tweak your daily routines to better support your body's natural hormone production and maintain a healthier balance. 


  • Imagine swapping that late-night Netflix binge for a good night's sleep, which can help lower your cortisol levels and restore normal HPA axis function. 

  • Or choosing a stress-reducing yoga session over that extra hour of work, which can help manage your stress levels and support healthier hormone production. 

  • And when it comes to food, opting for wholesome, unprocessed foods over fast food and snacks can help maintain insulin sensitivity and avoid insulin resistance. 


By making these small but significant changes, we can support our body's natural hormone production and create a healthier, more balanced life.

Underlying ROOT Contributors to Address to Optimize Your Hormones


While your hormone imbalances could be due to a whole bunch of things, like your diet it could even be from things you might not know is occurring on a cellular level. But knowing YOUR underlying contributors can help you understand how to optimize YOUR hormones. 


Leaky Gut

One KEY aspect that might be affecting your hormonal balance is your gut, especially if you are dealing with something known as Leaky Gut Syndrome. 


This condition occurs when the lining of your small intestine becomes damaged, leading to undigested food particles, toxic waste products and bacteria to "leak" through the intestines and flood the bloodstream – a direct hit to your hormones. 


The gut and the endocrine system, which regulates hormone production, are closely linked. When your gut health is compromised, it can disrupt the balance of hormones in your body, leading to a cascade of health issues.


Low Mineral Levels

Another essential factor to consider is whether your body is receiving enough of the essential minerals it needs. Minerals like magnesium, zinc, and selenium play a vital role in the production and regulation of hormones. 


For example, magnesium is involved in the creation of hormones like insulin and thyroid, and deficiency can lead to hormonal imbalances. Similarly, zinc is essential for the production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone, and a lack of it can lead to hormonal imbalances. Making sure that your diet is rich in these minerals is crucial for maintaining hormonal balance.


Gut Infections

Gut infections too can have a significant impact on your hormonal health. These invaders, which could be bacteria, viruses, or fungi, can disrupt the delicate balance of your gut microbiota, affecting your gut health and, consequently, your hormone regulation. 


For instance, an overgrowth of certain harmful bacteria can lead to an increase in the production of an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase, which interferes with the body's ability to excrete excess estrogen. This can lead to a condition known as estrogen dominance, causing hormonal imbalances.


Inflammation

Inflammation is another critical factor to consider. While acute inflammation is your body's natural response to injury or infection, chronic inflammation, which persists over time, can have damaging effects on your body, including your hormonal balance. 


Chronic inflammation can lead to the overproduction of stress hormones like cortisol, which can throw other hormones like insulin and thyroid hormones out of whack.


Chronic Stress/ Trauma

Finally, we must address the significant impact of chronic stress or trauma. Stress triggers the release of cortisol, known as the stress hormone. When stress becomes chronic, your body's cortisol levels are consistently high, which can disrupt the balance of other hormones in your body, leading to a myriad of health issues.


You can see how these root causes of hormonal imbalances are interconnected and complex, weaving a web of interactions that can significantly impact your health. 


It might seem overwhelming, but remember, you're not alone in this journey. There are numerous resources and support (hi, I’m Taryn, a Functional Nutritionist!)  available to aid you in understanding and managing these issues.


7 Tips on How to Optimize Your Hormones

Now for the part you've been waiting for – how to optimize your hormones. Here are seven tips that I, as a functional nutritionist, swear by:


1. Eat a balanced diet

To optimize your hormone production, you need to ensure that your body gets the necessary nutrients. This can be achieved by consuming a variety of foods. 


For instance, proteins provide essential amino acids that play a vital role in the structure of hormones, while healthy fats contribute to hormone synthesis. 


Consider including lean meats such as chicken or turkey, ORGANIC dairy products like yogurt or cottage cheese, legumes such as lentils or chickpeas, and whole grains like brown rice or quinoa in your meals. 


Also, certain nutrients like zinc and vitamin B6 are directly involved in the production of hormones like progesterone. Therefore, foods rich in these nutrients, such as seafood, nuts, and bananas, should be part of your diet.


2. Get regular exercise

Regular physical activity helps regulate several hormones, including insulin, growth hormone, and endorphins. When we exercise, our insulin sensitivity is improved, enabling our cells to use available insulin to absorb glucose and use it for energy more effectively. 


Regular workouts also stimulate endorphin release, which can elevate your mood. You don't have to go to the gym for a strenuous workout; simple activities like a quick walk in the park, a yoga session, or even dancing to your favorite tunes at home can count as exercise!


3. Manage stress

Chronic stress can lead to an overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in symptoms like weight gain, anxiety, and sleep problems. 


Thankfully, there are several ways to manage stress. Practicing mindfulness through meditation, engaging in deep-breathing exercises, and participating in yoga can all help lower cortisol levels and promote a more balanced hormonal state. Even taking a few minutes to relax and enjoy a soothing cup of tea or read a book can help manage your stress levels.


4. Sleep well

Good quality sleep is vital for hormone production. Growth hormone, which is crucial for cell regeneration and growth, is primarily secreted during sleep.

 

Aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep per night. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, limit exposure to screens before bedtime, and create a calm and comfortable sleeping environment to enhance the quality of your sleep.


5. Stay hydrated

Water is crucial for hormone production. Dehydration can lead to hormonal imbalances as it disrupts the production of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which regulates our body's water balance. And it impacts daily bowel movements which can mess up hormones by not allowing toxins to get OUT of your body, slowly building up unwanted toxins and excess hormones. It's essential to drink water regularly throughout the day. Carrying a water bottle with you can serve as a visual reminder to stay hydrated.


6. Limit caffeine

High caffeine intake can disrupt your hormone balance, particularly cortisol and insulin. Try to limit your coffee intake and explore decaffeinated alternatives like herbal teas. You might consider trying green tea, which has lower caffeine levels compared to coffee, or caffeine-free herbal blends like chamomile or peppermint tea.


7. Consider natural herbs for hormone balance

Certain herbs can support your body's hormone production. Adaptogens, like Ashwagandha and Rhodiola, can help your body adapt to stress and regulate cortisol levels.


Similarly, Chaste Tree Berry (also known as Vitex) can help balance progesterone and estrogen levels, particularly in women. However, always consult with a healthcare professional, (like me!) before incorporating new herbs into your regimen.


As a functional and natural nutritionist, I've dedicated my career to women's holistic health. I believe in seeing the whole picture, not just the symptoms you're experiencing. I like to understand every aspect of your life, from your physical state to your emotions and environment. By doing this, I can really get to know your unique health journey.


My approach is all about promoting natural ways to heal. This might mean suggesting changes to your diet and lifestyle that suit your unique body. These small shifts can help balance your hormones, and can also lead to a big boost in your general health and wellbeing. Plus, this approach provides a long-term solution to health issues, rather than a quick fix that might not last.


Ready to Balance Your Hormones?

If you're ready to learn how to optimize your hormones naturally and take control of your health to start feeling like yourself again, APPLY for my Functional Nutrition Coaching. This is an opportunity to work directly with me and together, we can develop a personalized plan to help you balance your hormones and achieve your health goals. Don't wait, apply now!

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A tablet showing the cover to 5 Strategies to Boost Your Energy Today guide from Taryn Mattern, functional nutritionist, in a cozy scene with a plant and cup of coffee

5 Simple Strategies to Boost Your Energy

Try these simple and proven quick-win tactics to end your fatigue and start feeling like yourself again. 

 

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