5 Steps to Balancing Hormones Naturally
Your weight issues are not your fault, even if it’s been a lifelong struggle. Hormone imbalance is one of the primary reasons for weight gain or weight loss and is one of the reasons you may be experiencing common symptoms and conditions such as fatigue, blood sugar problems, anxiety, or depression. The link between hormone imbalance and these conditions is so strong that you would think we would all be fluent in how our hormones function, but it remains a mystery to most of us. Unraveling the complexities of hormone imbalance may seem like a challenge at first but understanding them, however, is paramount in balancing your body and unleashing your true health potential. Let’s start by understanding the endocrine system which is responsible for hormone function.
Where Do Hormones Come From?
Hormones are actually chemical messengers that are created by your endocrine glands. Your endocrine system is a combination of organs that are in charge of sexual function, stress, and anxiety, just to name a few. Over time, due to our stressful lifestyle, habits and nutrient deficiencies, these organs become stressed out, tired, sick, and injured.
Are Your Hormones Communicating?
Have you ever talked to someone who couldn’t hear you because they had earbuds (headphones) in? Your endocrine glands (hormone producers) experience the same thing! Your glands will over or underproduce hormones when they cannot receive the signals. This is typically because the hormone-producing glands are tired, sick, or injured, and hormone receptors cannot receive or interpret signals. Here is a list of the top 12 hormone symptoms.
The Hormone Symptom Patterns
Your symptom patterns are the key to understanding which glands are malfunctioning and need support. This support can be in the form of functional foods, herbs, enzymes, minerals, and/or vitamins. Symptom patterns tend to be physical in nature like skin problems, weight gain, weight loss, lines on neck, hair loss, PMS, ED along with emotional symptoms such as anger, anxiety, sorrow, or depression. You may also have cravings for caffeine, salt, fat, or sugar. Here are the five hormone types:
Hormone-Body Composition Connection
Hormone types are classified by a combination of body composition (overweight / underweight) and hormone symptom patterns (physical, emotional, or food cravings). There are 5 main hormone types: Pituitary, Adrenal, Thyroid, Ovary (female reproductive organs), Gonadal (male reproductive organs), and Liver. Since we are all so different physically and chemically, we each have our own hormone imbalance pattern. Though you may have many performance gaps in many hormone glands, there is usually one dominant dysfunctional gland.
Once you understand your symptom patterns, it can be difficult to know where to start. This is where health questionnaires and lab testing is very helpful in understanding where your specific hormones are imbalanced. We have a free hormone health questionnaire along with a personalized report that will help you to not only understand what hormone body type you are, but also which lab tests would be most useful in re-balancing your body.
Hormone Lab Testing Overview
There are many test choices and laboratory companies to choose from in order to analyze your hormone levels once you get a better understanding of your hormone body type. This can be very helpful to pinpoint which gland you should support first. Our office uses a combination of either urine, saliva, and/or blood to understand how to best support your body’s specific hormone function and which glands to rest and nourish first.
Urine Hormone Testing
The new kid on the block (since the 1980’s) is looking at hormones through the urine. You still get to see the free hormones, but you also get to see their metabolites. This can be very useful when putting together a dietary and supplement plan to support the underlying organs. According to an article published in the Townsend Letter, “It is well-established that certain estrogen metabolites are ‘good’ estrogens, having a protective effect on estrogen-sensitive tissues. Other metabolites are known to have more carcinogenic effects.” Urine is also pretty easy to collect. This has become the hormone test of choice for a majority of cases.
Saliva Hormone Testing
Saliva, up to a few years ago, was the gold standard in hormone testing. It is still excellent because it measures the free hormone levels and is very accurate. We still like to use the 11 sample saliva test for our fertility cases because of the usefulness of the graphs to represent the entire cycle, but it falls short for two big reasons. First, you can get a thing called occult blood in the sample that can ruin the test. This is when the gums bleed (typically from brushing your teeth or flossing and you have a Vitamin C deficiency) and when you spit into the plastic vial it will invalidate your test. The second shortcoming of this test is it does not measure the metabolites.
Blood Hormone Testing
We like to start everyone with a basic wellness panel to understand blood sugar issues (Hemoglobin A1c) and Fasting Blood Glucose. We also like to get some baseline numbers on how your liver is doing by looking at AST and ALT. General thyroid markers (T3, T4, rT3, and rT4) are also looked at in our basic wellness panel . Blood is not the best way to get a look at all the hormones because blood TYPICALLY looks at the bound hormone (to a protein) and not the free hormone (what your body uses). You can get free hormone values, but it is not as cost efficient and accurate. It is up to the lab of choice to understand thyroid function. We use an 11 sample blood test to dig deeper into thyroid function.
Learning how hormones function can be a lot of fun and make life more enjoyable. Your next step, if you are ready, is to take a health questionnaire to learn how your symptom patterns are tied directly to your underlying endocrine gland function. After you take the Hormone Type Quiz you will receive an email with a general education report. You can schedule a time to review your report with us and receive the appropriate testing to better understand your situation.
If you’re ready to get help with your health, contact us at the Bright Life Regenerative Medical Clinic today to schedule an appointment.