Hormonal Health

If you want to improve your hormones, the first thing to do is to improve your food intake and possibly add nutritional supplements that can support hormone manufacturing. Hormones are made from nutrients with the help of enzymes which require minerals.

So what is the good food?  The food that people ate in the Palaeolithic times before agriculture existed. This includes fresh vegetables, if possible, organic not canned or those with preservatives and pesticides. Pasture raised meat, chicken, wild caught fish cooked at a low temperature.

Estrogens, androgens, progesterone and others of the steroid family all come from the precursor Cholesterol. Although it doesn’t have good press since the mid 80’s, cholesterol is a vital substance. The body produces the needed amounts in the liver. People on low-fat, low-cholesterol diets find their hormonal balance is disturbed.

Eat low sugar-containing fruits, because too much sugar, especially in fruit juice, decreases hormones. It has been shown, for example, that children who received fruit juice every morning, have four times more risk of obesity and they grow two centimeters less, which is almost an inch less per year. In five years, they are five centimeters less, a little more than two inches less in growth just because they took a fruit juice and they didn’t eat the whole fruit.

When you eat the whole fruit, especially at the end of the meal, the sugar gets into your blood stream slower and there’s no peak of sugar that blocks the secretion of hormones.

When agriculture started to exist we invented a lot of foods that actually are not fit for our body and that decreased our hormone levels. When you take those new foods – for example, sugars, sweets, or grains that are not sprouted like bread or pasta – you decrease hormone levels. You decrease about seven hormone levels – seven of the 12 most important hormones in your blood.

Grains that are not sprouted have chemicals that block digestive enzymes and that block metabolic reactions in your body, it’s sort of a natural pesticide, that’s made by the grain to protect itself against predators. We need to sprout the food, so that it’s a food that is digestible and good for our hormones. In sprouted grains, you have plant hormones, which you can use for your health positively.

Alcohol decreases your growth hormone. The most powerful, age-reversing hormone is decreased by 75 percent if you drink a glass or two of alcohol every day. Even coffee increases a hormone (insulin) that makes you fat and decreases two hormones that make you slim, thyroid hormone and growth hormone.

Growth hormone is that hormone that made you tall. If you didn’t have growth hormone, you would be half of your size. You still need to maintain your growth hormone level to maintain your tissues’ tightness. If not your tissues become thinner, atrophied, or sagging. Sagging cheeks, droopy eyelids, thinning hair, increased abdominal fat; cellulite and anxiety are typical physical signs of growth hormone deficiency. When you’re really deficient exhaustion sets in. Even if you sleep 16 hours per night, you won’t recover enough because you need growth hormone to recover. Protein helps you to have higher and more efficient growth hormone activity. When you have a deficiency in sex hormones you have a constant tiredness that is not as severe as in growth hormone deficiency, but is there all the time and increases with physical activity. You become lower in mood and less sexually interested.

The body produces three main types of estrogen: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2) and esrtiol (E3). These are categorized as ether “strong” estrogens (estrone and estradiol) or “weak” estrogens (estriol).

After menopause the adrenal glands produce the hormones testosterone and androstenedione in higher amounts which can be converted to estradiol and estrone in fat cells through the action of the enzyme aromatase.  The more fat the more “in house” estrogen exposure. We can block the aromatase enzyme with ground flaxseed, genistein in soy and zinc.

Estrogen Dominance indicates that the hormones are not metabolizing through the liver therefore not being reduced efficiently. Estrogen dominance will cause breast tenderness, mood swings and an increased risk for cancer. Excess estrogen also inhibits thyroid function while progesterone facilitates the action of thyroid hormones.

Estrogen is metabolized in the liver, during the breakdown of estradiol and estrone. Two metabolites are formed 2 hydroxyesterone (C-2 good estrogen) and 16 hydroxyesterone (C-16 bad estrogen). Indole-3-carbinol (plant chemical) converts estrogen to C-2 and inactivates C-16.

Indole-3-carbinol is found in cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale cauliflower, Bok Choy, kohlrabi, and turnips. Consume raw or slightly cooked. Include sea vegetables if there is a thyroid issue.  High fibre diet is important to discourage the recycling of estrogen from the intestines and improving liver function will increase both C-2 and estriol as well as improving hormone metabolism and efficient elimination.

Estrone is converted to C-2 hydroxyestrone in phase one of liver. This conversion requires vitamin A, B2, B3 vitamin E, copper, zinc, calcium and magnesium.

Foods include soy, turmeric, flaxseed oil, rosemary, limonene, cayenne, calendula and solidago.

The interference of estrone being converted to C16 instead of going C2 is caused by alcohol, cigarettes, bad fats, car exhaust, barbiturates, valium, antihistamines, dioxin, pesticides, paint fumes, and caffeine.

Phase Two liver detoxification is to support the elimination of estrogen through the colon.  Estradiol and Estrone are joined to glucuronic acid through a process called glucuronidation to form a conjugate for excretion from the liver into the bile and then to the intestines and out. This process requires cysteine, methionine, choline Vitamin B3, B6, B12 Vitamin C, Folic acid and molybdenum.

Foods include limonene, flaxseed oil, fish oil, the barassica family, calcium-D-glucart present in oranges and apples and fibre such as Psyllium or ground flaxseeds. Ellagic acid found in red raspberries can increase glucuronidation by 75%!

Substances that interfere with phase two are tartrazine dyes, NSAIDs, birth control pill, cigarettes, phenobarbital and protein deficiency.

Typical signs of a progesterone deficiency or an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone are abdominal obesity, breast and ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids. Eating more protein-rich food like fish meat will improve ovulation, which will improve progesterone secretion. Vitamin A along with other fat-soluble vitamins from eggs and butter helps ovulation that can increase sex hormone secretion. Increase progesterone by consuming yam, soy, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, boron, zinc, selenium and Chaste Tree berry.

Avoiding processed foods is one of the best strategies for preserving your natural hormone function. Refined carbohydrates and damaged fats can elevate your estrogen levels—as much as twice of what is normal. This is a major cause of menopausal symptoms in the first place.

Additional Considerations

  • Phytoestrogens: Consuming plenty of phytoestrogens (plant-estrogens) such as licorice and alfalfa prior to menopause can help moderate your day-to-day estrogen levels so that when menopause arrives, the drop won’t be so dramatic. However, avoid using unfermented soy, as it can wreak havoc on your health in a number of different ways.
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels: This is a must for gene regulation and optimal health.
  • Polyphenols: Certain polyphenols have been shown to have HRT-like benefits without the drawbacks, and are associated with a lowered risk of heart disease. Royal Maca is an excellent adaptogenic herbal solution for menopause that many women have found helpful. Avoid the inexpensive varieties as they typically don’t work—instead, opt for the authentic version from Peru.
  • Animal-based omega-3 fat: You’ll also want to get plenty high-quality animal-based omega-3 fats..
  • Black cohosh: While dismissed by ACOG as having no scientific foundation, Black cohosh may indeed help regulate body temperature and hot flashes in some women.
  • Magnesium:  improves sex hormones. Testosterone, for example, is more in a form that can be absorbed by the cells or in a more bio available form when you take more magnesium. Magnesium also increases the growth hormone levels, the hormone that makes your body firm with a lot of muscles and low in fat. Testosterone does that also. But growth hormone does that in a more major way. It’s easy to know a vegetable that has poor magnesium but should have had a lot of magnesium; it’s light green. A vegetable that is dark green has a lot of magnesium.
  • Complex amino acids: proteins are made from amino acids. If you supplement with an  amino acids formula, you can improve your levels.

Although BHRT (bio-identical hormone replacement therpy) has not been associated with the negative effects (e.g. CVD, breast cancer) found with the use of synthetic and non-identical hormones, it is important to note that large-scale trials of bio-identical hormones have not yet been carried out. Lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements alone are often successful in restoring hormone balance for both men and women.

EXHAUSTED ADRENALS AND A TOXIC CONGESTED LIVER WILL DETERMINE HOW EASILY ONE PROGRESSES THROUGH MENOPAUSE


Hormone Where It’s Produced Primary Functions
I. STEROID HORMONES: Derived from cholesterol, includes sex hormones and adrenal hormones (mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids)
Estrogens Ovaries, placenta, breasts, liver, adrenal glands, fat cells, hypothalamus,8and others Female sexual development, breast development, menstruation, pregnancy, memory, and anti-aging
Progesterone Ovaries, placenta, and CNS Female sexual development, breast development, menstruation, and pregnancy
Testosterone Testes and ovaries Male sexual development, sex drive, sperm production, and muscle and bone mass
DHEA

(Dehydroepiandrosterone)

Adrenals and brain Lean body mass, bone strength, immunity, heart health, and resistance to stress
Pregnenolone Adrenals Memory and resistance to stress
Cortisol Adrenals Resistance to stress, energy production, anti-inflammatory, and mood stability
Vitamin D

(1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D or calcitrol)

Skin, liver, and kidneys Varied, including bone and muscle health, heart health, immunity, metabolism, brain development, cell communication, and more
II. PEPTIDE HORMONES: Often in “pre-hormone” form, requiring further processing to be active
HCG

(human chorionic gonadotropin)

Placenta Helps support the endometrial lining for a developing fetus (and stimulates progesterone)
HGH

 (Human growth hormone, or somatotropin/somatropin)

Pituitary Promotes growth in children and adolescents, and helps regulate body composition, tissue growth, and metabolism in adults
Melatonin Pineal gland Sleep; supports brain health, heart health, immune system, and cancer prevention
Insulin Pancreas Signals glucose to be transferred from your blood into your cells for energy usage; fat body regulation
Glucagon Pancreas Signals liver to release glucose into your blood
Prolactin Pituitary, breasts, uterus, prostate, skin, fat, and immune cells Promotes lactation, bonding, and more than 300 reproductive, metabolic, immune, and other functions10
Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) Pituitary Stimulates cortisol release
Leptin Fat cells Fat regulation
Ghrelin Stomach and pancreas Stimulates hunger
Parathyroid hormone (PTH) Parathyroid gland Controls amount of calcium in your bones and blood
Thyrotrophin-releasing hormone (TRH) Hypothalamus Stimulates the thyroid gland to release TH
Humoral factors (e.g., thymosin) Thymus Development of a healthy immune system
III. AMINO ACID DERIVATIVE HORMONES (AMINES): Derived from tyrosine and tryptophan, includes thyroid hormones and catecholamines
Adrenalin Adrenals “Fight or flight” response: increases heart rate, dilates blood vessels, and releases glucose
Thyroidhormone (TH) Thyroid gland Organ development and metabolism
IV. Eicosanoid hormones: Produced from fatty acids (arachidonic acid); very short-lived in your body and exert effects primarily on local tissues
Prostaglandins Nearly every cell in the human body Varied, including uterine contractions, bronchodilation, inflammation, etc.

Chart source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/09/27/fantastical-world-hormones

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