Hormones are chemical messengers that are produced in the endocrine glands to fulfill numerous functions in the body. They are involved in all processes occurring within the human body, from development and metabolism to mood and reproduction.
Arguably, the main hormones for women's health are the reproductive hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. However, there are over 200 other hormones and hormone-like substances, each of which are also key for women's well-being.1
Hormonal imbalance is a physiological state when the body makes too much or too little of a given hormone.
Throughout women's lives, hormonal imbalance can occur due to natural causes - such as menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause - or abnormal causes that require treatment, including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, or endometriosis, among others.
Lifestyle Changes for Balancing Hormone Levels
When seeking solutions for how to balance hormones naturally, taking a closer look at one's lifestyle practices is a great place to start. Implementing wholesome habits does take strong will, but can be effective in regulating hormones and boosting overall health. Consider the following:
The food we eat is important for the proper functioning of the body, including the production of hormones.2 It can also help maintain a normal weight, which is key for stable hormone levels.
Regulating hormones naturally through diet can consist of regular meals made from wholesome sources of lean protein (fish, beans); complex carbohydrates (quinoa, brown rice); and healthy fats (avocado, nuts). Adding phytoestrogenic foods, like soy or oats, can also help fill in the hormonal gap and relieve symptoms of an imbalance.3
Besides helping women stay in shape, maintaining good mood, and warding off obesity-related diseases, keeping up with regular physical activity is also a great solution to how to balance hormones naturally, especially cortisol.
Healthy adult women are recommended to get about 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous workouts per week.4 Combining aerobics – like jogging or swimming – with muscle-strengthening exercises – like yoga or weights – can be beneficial for women at all life stages.
Besides nourishing the body with healthy food and exercise, there are a number of wholesome habits women can implement to balance hormones naturally.
Women can start by quitting smoking and drinking excess alcohol, both of which are known to wreak hormonal havoc in the body.5,6 Since disturbed sleep and prolonged stress contribute to hormonal imbalance, sleeping enough and relieving stress through mediation or yoga can help regulate hormones naturally.
Supplements for Balancing Hormone Levels
While lifestyle adjustments provide a great foundation for achieving natural hormone balance, they do not directly address hormonal disarray per se. This can be easily and safely achieved with a variety of supplements, including nutritional, phytoestrogenic, and hormone-regulating supplements.
Although a well-balanced diet is the best way to obtain all of the nutrients the body needs to produce hormones, certain nutritional deficiencies behind hormonal imbalance may need to be treated with supplements.
Most common deficiencies associated with imbalanced hormones are those involving zinc, calcium, and vitamin D.7,8 Studies have also shown that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids can also help women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and insulin sensitivity regulate hormones naturally.9
Taking phytoestrogenic supplements - which contain stronger concentrations of phytoestrogens than food - are another natural way to regulate hormones and relieve unpleasant symptoms.
Some of the best options for phytoestrogenic supplements are those made from black cohosh, red clover, and dong quai. However, while they can naturally balance estrogen and progesterone, they can have the opposite effect when used long-term. As such, they are best when used shot-term.3
Hormone-regulating supplements do not supply the body with outside hormones. Instead, they nourish the endocrine glands and help them produce sufficient amounts of their own hormones to alleviate symptoms.
One of the most effective herbal supplements to regulate hormone naturally is Macafem, which contains ample micronutrients and beneficial alkaloids that act directly on the endocrine glands to optimize their function.10 Accordingly, they are safe to use long-term for lasting hormonal equilibrium.
Hormonal imbalance can take a toll on women's well-being. While there are numerous hormonal imbalance treatments available, many of them consist of pharmacological options that may have side effects. As such, women are encouraged to opt for balancing hormones naturally. It can consist of making small lifestyle adjustments, including their diets, exercise, and daily habits, as well as taking supplements. Options include nutritional supplements to resolve underlying deficiencies; phytoestrogenic supplements, like red clover, for short-term, hormonal imbalance relief; or hormone-regulating supplements, like Macafem, for long-term hormonal equilibrium. For many, a combination of both approaches is the best path to wellness.
- Better Health Channel. (2014). Hormonal (endocrine) system. Retrieved April 15, 2020 from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/hormonal-endocrine-system
- Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. (2011). Stress and hormones. Retrieved April 15, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079864/
- Medline Plus. (2020). Hormones. Retrieved April 15, 2020 from https://medlineplus.gov/hormones.html
- Women in Balance. (n.d.). Hormone Imbalance and Restoration. Retrieved April 15, 2020 from https://womeninbalance.org/about-hormone-imbalance/hormone-imbalance-restoration/
- The Pituitary Foundation. (n.d.). Your Hormones. Retrieved April 15, 2020 from https://www.pituitary.org.uk/information/hormones/
- Science. (2014). Food as a Hormone. Retrieved April 15, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4240228/
- Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology. (2011). The pros and cons of phytoestrogens. Retrieved April 15, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3074428/
- Heart Association. (2018). American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids. Retrieved April 15, 2020 from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults
- Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America. (2014). Effects of Alcohol on the Endocrine System. Retrieved April 23, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3767933/
- Environmental Health Perspectives. (2005). Cigarette Smoking and effects on Hormone Function in Premenopausal Women. Retrieved April 15, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1281267/
- Obstetrics & Gynecology Science. (2019). A systematic review of the role of vitamin D and calcium in premenstrual syndrome. Retrieved April 15, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6422848/
- The Australian & New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics &Gynaecology. (2015). A randomized controlled trial of oral zinc sulphate for primary dysmenorrhea in adolescent females. Retrieved April 15, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26132140
- Journal of American College of Nutrition. (2012). Omega-3 fatty acids improve glucose metabolism without effects on obesity values and serum visfatin levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Retrieved April 15, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23529993
- International Journal of Biomedical Science. (2006). Hormone-Balancing Effect of Pre-Gelatinized Organic Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon): (I) Biochemical and Pharmacodynamic Study on Maca using Clinical Laboratory Model on Ovariectomized Rats. Retrieved April 15, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614604/