3) Targeted Supplementation
Sometimes even after changing our eating habits and learning to de-stress, our bodies need a little extra TLC to get them back into balance. We mentioned it briefly, but here are a few of the most common hormonal imbalances that women experience today:
Adrenal Fatigue and Hypothyroidism
I put these together, because they are so closely linked and many women suffer from both. These are characterized by a sluggish thyroid, weight gain, extreme fatigue, cold hands and feet, and hair loss. Adrenal fatigue, which we talked about in Part 2, is one of the main contributors to thyroid problems. In other words, if you nourish and heal your adrenals, you’ll nourish and strengthen your thyroid gland as well. If you’ve been under a lot of stress lately, it’s a good idea to nourish both of these glands! Here are some supplements and food suggestions that can help to strengthen both your adrenal and thyroid glands:
- Ashwaghanda – This is an adaptogenic herb (meaning it adapts to your body’s particular needs) and has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. Studies show it helps to lower cortisol levels and balance thyroid hormones. It also helps to reduce the effects of stress on the body and helps to balance blood sugar. Based on our series, that’s a win-win-win! If you want to take the ashwaghanda by itself, I recommend the Himalaya Herbal Healthcare. This is a pure and potent brand for the single herb. If you are interested in a combination of ashwaghanda with other vitamins, minerals, and herbs designed specifically to strengthen the thyroid and adrenals, I recommend ThyroFem from Vitanica.
- Coconut Oil – More studies are being released showing coconut oil as a healthy fat that nourishes the thyroid by revving metabolism and boosting energy production. These studies suggest adding 1 – 2 tablespoons to your daily diet. Try adding coconut oil to yogurt, smoothies, or a bowl of oatmeal.
This is also known as Estrogen Dominance, and it occurs when the body has too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. There are a number of factors that contribute to this condition including poor diet, exposure to environmental toxins (through plastics, pesticides, and other chemicals like BPA), and digestive issues. Symptoms range from irregular periods and weight gain to decreased sex drive and hair loss. Here are some suggestions and supplements to help get estrogen levels back to normal:
- Limit your exposure to environmental toxins as much as possible – Most plastic and canned goods (unless otherwise stated) are full of xenoestrogens. These are typically synthetic substances that function like estrogen in the body but without the benefits of the naturally occurring hormone that our body really needs. To avoid these, try not to reheat food in the microwave in plastic containers or eat from canned foods that are not labeled BPA-free. Use organic, non-toxic cleaners in your home, organic bug sprays that contain essential oils, and non-toxic weed killers in your yard. Also, make the switch to organic and all-natural body care products. Our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs all of the products we put on it every day. Conventional beauty products are full of toxic chemicals, and study after study shows that these chemicals are disrupting our hormones and contributing to certain kinds of cancers.
- Love your Liver – Our liver is our primary organ for detoxifying the body of harmful substances, including too much estrogen. When we strengthen our liver through healthy eating and targeted supplements, we help it do its job better and eliminate those toxic substances more quickly. Focus on eating fresh fruit and vegetables, including leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage). I also recommend a liver formula supplement with a combination of herbs. I like Nature’s Way Super Thisilyn, which contains a combination of cleansing herbs and whole food extracts to help detox and strengthen the liver.
There are other hormonal imbalances, but these are some of the most common. To find out what your specific needs are, I suggest starting with the Recommended Resources from our series. These books provide an excellent starting place for educating yourself on hormonal health at any age.
You can experience vibrant health, energy, and balance one step at a time. Be patient. Give your body time to adjust to new healthy choices and time to heal. In time, you will begin to experience the payoff of healthy living!
The Core Balance Diet: 28 Days to Boost Your Metabolism and Lose Weight for Good
This is another helpful book on a balanced approach to eating by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP. It focuses on balancing blood sugar and easing inflammation in the body. This book has customized eating plans, targeted supplement recommendations, and delicious recipes. Very helpful!
Are You Tired and Wired?: Your Proven 30-Day Program for Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue and Feeling Fantastic
Also by Marcelle Pick, this book specifically addresses Adrenal Fatigue and how to overcome it. She offers a holistic approach to dealing with Adrenal Fatigue and includes a 30-day eating plan, supplement plan, and exercise and lifestyle plan.
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