Three Steps to Hormonal Balance: A Guide to Balancing Estrogen in the Female Body

As a woman, balancing the estrogen levels in your body is key to living a healthy, happy life.  An overabundance of estrogen in the female body can lead to a host of complications and conditions including: premenstrual syndrome (PMS), endometriosis, abnormal Papanicolaou (PAP) tests, ovarian cysts, uterine fybriods, cystic breasts, heavy periods, hormonal acne, severe menopausal symptoms, and can lead to cancer in some cases.  There are several steps we can take in order to maintain healthy and safe levels of estrogen. 

1. Support your liver, ovaries and adrenal glands

The ovaries and the adrenal glands create estrogen and the liver detoxifies excess estrogen.  To ensure the liver and adrenals are working at their most efficient levels it is best to limit your consumption of refined oils, sugars, artificial sweeteners, fried foods, alcohol and caffeine.  It is also advisable to reduce stress in your life and ensure that you are getting adequate amounts of sleep.  There are several foods to eat to support these organs.  Try leafy greens, citrus, or cilantro to support the liver and herbs like ashwagandha and tulsi (holy basil) for the adrenals. 

2. Eat foods that balance hormones

Certain foods have been shown to aide in hormonal balance.  Lignans, compounds found in high-fiber foods such as flax, “bind to estrogen receptors and can interfere with the cancer-promoting effects of estrogen" (Murray, 2005).  Lignans can also be found in other seeds, grains and legumes in lower concentration. 

3. Avoid Environmental Estrogen

It is important to protect yourself from environmental sources of estrogen.  Many products contain parabens, plastics and bisphenol A (BPA).  Non-organic dairy and meat contain synthetic hormones as well.  Some pesticides in our food sources have also been shown to act as estrogen once they enters our bodies.  Eating organic foods, using paraben-free cosmetics and limiting the contact our foods have with plastic can all help to keep our hormones in balance. 

Adrenal Fatigue and Hormonal Imbalance

Adrenal fatigue can cause hormonal imbalances as well as insomnia, lack of energy, difficulty handling stress and weight gain.  There are several herbs that can be taken to reverse symptoms of adrenal fatigue.  Rhodiola helps the body resist stress, suma root supports the nervous, reproductive and digestive systems and ashwagandha has proven to have powerful anti-stress effects.

Sources:

Hall, D. C. (2002). Nutritional Influences on Estrogen Metabolism. www.meta-ehealth.com. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from http://www.meta-ehealth.com/site/office/article.jsp?path=\ch_wellness_center\nutrition\illness_and_prevention&fileName=Estrogen.xml
Murray, M. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Food.  New York: Atria Books.
Vanderhaeghe, L. (2014, May/June). Nutrients for Balancing Hormones and Reversing Estrogen Dominance. Well Being Journal, 15-18.