If our hormones are not balanced, our fertility is affected on every level. Our hormones are chemical communicators that deliver messages to our body. They are produced by our glands and tissues. They are then released into our blood, where they travel to other tissues and send signals initiating various activities within our body and brain.
Hormones affect how we think and feel.
Blood sugar imbalances, a toxic liver, folic acid deficiency, inflammation in the ovaries, breast and joints, and unhealthy gut flora can all be a result of unbalanced hormones. Other symptoms of a hormonal imbalance can include insomnia, headaches, migraines, anxiety, foggy thinking, hot flashes, mood swings, thinning hair, bloating, rapid heartbeat, and allergies. Our hormones are impacted by stress, fluid changes in the body, vitamin and mineral levels, infection and exposure to environmental toxins and body fat.
Hormones are coordinated by our endocrine system, which includes the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, adrenal gland, thyroid, the parathyroid, pancreas, pineal gland, thymus and ovaries. Your goal should be to do whatever you can to support and strengthen your endocrine system, because of its impact and role in our hormonal system. The foods you eat, the stress levels you experience, the chemicals in your foods and environment, your level of body fat, all impact the endocrine system, and in turn, your hormones.
Progesterone is a key hormone in fertility and you want to do whatever you can to make sure you have adequate progesterone levels in your body. Progesterone plays an important role in conception and maintaining a healthy pregnancy, because it works to balance the effects of estrogen.
Progesterone helps maintain the lining of the uterus, which makes it possible for a fertilized egg to attach and survive. It also makes cervical mucous accessible to sperm, preventing immune rejection of the developing baby and normalizes blood clotting. Progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum in the ovaries and by the adrenal glands.
One of the main causes of a progesterone deficieny is too much estrogen in the body. Estrogen dominance, which is extremely dangerous to one’s fertility, can result from eating a lot of commercially raised meat and dairy products that contain large amounts of estrogen. Chemicals called xenoestrogens are often in these food sources and they mimic the hormone estrogen and disrupt the delicate balance between estrogen and progesterone. Other excess hormones and hormone-like substances can be found in our environment, food and water, that impact progesterone levels in the body. Pollution, stress, processed foods, soy products, and endometriosis, can also cause an overload of estrogen. Allergies like asthma, hives, dry eyes, weight gain, irregular periods, and foggy thinking are symptoms of estrogen dominance.
A low thyroid, recurrent early miscarriages, sleep disturbances, and heart palpitations, are all symptoms of progesterone deficiency.
Other hormones important to fertility include estradiol, or estrogen, that are produced by the follicles and corpus luteum, also known as the remnant egg sac in the ovaries. The luteinizing hormone, or LH surge, produced in the anterior pituitary gland, triggers ovulation and the development of the corpus luteum. It works in conjunction with the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), that is also released and synthesized by the anterior pituitary gland. The FSH hormone regulates the reproductive process and signals the follicles in the ovary to begin maturing in preparation for ovulation.
Some tests that track your hormone levels include progesterone, estradiol, FSH, LH, prolactin, testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin, glucose tolerance test, thyroid panel and a blood lipid panel.
Here are some ways to balance and maintain healthy fertility hormone levels in your body:
- Reduce your exposure to xenohormones, which can be found in car exhaust, plastics, solvents, adhesives. pesticides, emulsifiers found in soap and cosmetics and PCD’s from industrial waste.
- Consider the herb chaste tree berry, also known as Vitex Extract, that can balance hormones and strengthen the pituitary and ovary glands. This herb can correct hormonal communication in the body and correct hormonal problems at their source.
- Progesterone shots. You may want to talk to your doctor about progesterone shots if you have had recurrent miscarriages or want help maintaining your pregnancy. This is something to consider requesting if your doctor has not initiated it and if you exhibit the symptoms of a progesterone deficiency.
- Natural progesterone cream. You can check with your doctor about this, and discuss the amount to use.
- Make sure you are taking Vitamin B6, which is key to progesterone production. B6 helps maintain optimal levels of progesterone. Vitamin B also helps the liver break down estrogen. Food sources of Vitamin B6 can be found in walnuts, lean red meat, poultry, bananas, spinach, and potatoes.
- Turmeric, thyme and oregano are all considered helpful in raising progesterone levels.
- Vitamin C is known to considerably increase progesterone production.
- Zinc is key for producing adequate levels of progesterone in the body. That is because Zinc is a mineral that prompts the pituitary gland to release follicle stimulating hormones, which in turn promote ovulation and stimulate the ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone. Along with a zinc supplement, natural sources of zinc include lean red meats, wheat germ, chickpeas, pumpkin and squash seeds, watermelon and dark chocolate.
- Practice stress-reduction techniques, as stress can considerably reduce progesterone levels in the body.
- Do you have low cholesterol? This can mean you are not making enough pregnenolone, which is used to make progesterone.
- Are your adrenals healthy? They house DHEA that is essential in the production of progesterone. One way to improve your adrenal health is to improve your natural circadian rhythm and get more sleep.
- You also need to be sure you are getting sufficient amounts of quality protein and healthy fats in your diet.
- Maintain a healthy digestive tract. If you have a damaged digestive tract, you won’t have the raw materials within your body to absorb nutrients in your food that helps the body produce hormones.
- You may want to consider testing for parasites, candida, or pathogens which can impact your hormonal balance.
- Maca, a root vegetable in the radish family often available in powder form or capsules, can balance hormones and nourish and balance the endocrine system. It protects the body from stress damage. Maca is a nutritionally dense super food that contains high amounts of minerals, vitamins, enzymes and all of the essential amino acids. Maca also stimulates and nourishes the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, which are the “master glands” of the body.
- Coconut oil helps stimulate the thyroid and provides omega-3 to help balance hormones.
- Healthy fats are essential to hormone health. These include coconut oil, flax oil, evening primrose oil and olive oil.
- Magnesium is known to break down excessive estrogens in the system and assist in balancing hormones. Kelp and cashews are rich in magnesium. Other sources of magnesium include black beans, spinach, okra, watermelon seeds, sunflower, pumpkin seeds and squash seeds.
- Garlic is an important endocrine system nutrient.
- Ginkgo and ginseng help regulate hormones
- Consider supplements such as Vitamin C and Vitamin B.
- Get more sleep which helps balance hormones.
- Flaxseed contains lignans and fiber, which help remove excess estrogen from the body.
- Hormone imbalances can be a result of obesity. Fat cells can create hormonal imbalances. If you think you are overweight, consider trying to lose some of the weight to help your hormonal system.
- Red Clover, an herb, protects the body from xenohormones.
- Black Cohosh, an herb, is well-known for its effect on hormone functioning.
- Do a liver cleanse. The liver plays a key role in to hormonal balance. Milk thistle, dandelion leaf and burdock root are all potent liver cleansers.
- Royal jelly is rich in amino acids and contains acetylcholine, which is needed to transmit nerve messages from cell to cell.
- Ashwagandha root supports endocrine system function and regulates hormones.
- Be aware of chemicals in your diet, water, and environment that can throw your hormones out of balance.
- Drink only filtered water. Avoid water with fluoride. Fluoride is known to weaken the thyroid, one of the key organs responsible for your hormones.
- Be aware of products that may contain aluminium, including deodorants, anti-perspirants, and cosmetics.
- Be careful of meats coated with nitrate salts.
- Do not eat foods from plastic containers. Whenever possible, use glass and stainless steel.
- Avoid vegetable oil, canola oil, soybean oil, margarine, shortening and other chemically altered fats.
- Drink whole milk, not skim milk
- Licorice is a hormone balancer.
- Natural sources of iodine, rather than supplements, which include kelp, cranberries and strawberries.
- Improve indoor quality with plants.
- Limit caffeine.
- Other supplements to consider for hormonal balance include calcium, Vitamin E and grapeseed extract.
- Address your hormonal imbalance on the emotional level. Are you feeling trapped? Unloved? Stuck? Angry? Are you living in a way that is true to who you are? Let your body tell you why your hormones are imbalanced.
Foods To Help Balance Hormones:
- Pumpkin seeds and brazil nuts.
- Avocados and acai
- Spinach, kale, parsley, broccoli, asparagus and other leafy greens.
- Sweet peppers.
- Pears and peaches are known to help regulate hormones. They are used often in traditional Chinese medicine.
- Shiitake mushroom and reishi mushrooms, chia seeds, seaweed and spirulina.
- Avocados block estrogen absorption and promote progesterone production