In most cases of hormonal imbalances over my 25-year career, I’ve seen inflammation as the common denominator in my clinical practice and my own personal experience after our infertility issues and hypothyroidism.
Dealing with inflammation first has a powerful knock-on effect on the entire endocrine systems. It sets clients free of hormone-related health challenges like menopause, irregular periods, infertility, thyroid problems, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or Hashimoto’s.
Inflammation of the thyroid can often be the main driver behind overall hormone imbalances and infertility.
The Overzealous Cytokines
All parts of thyroid hormone synthesis, from iodine uptake to thyroid hormone circulation, is affected by cytokines. Cytokines are small proteins vital in controlling other immune system cells and blood cells’ growth and activity.
When an injury occurs, cytokines are beneficial, as in acute inflammation. In chronic inflammation, however, cytokines become overzealous and lead to inflammation imbalances such as autoimmune, thyroid issues and even infertility.
Inflammation is, therefore, a genuine issue that you need to address if you desire optimum health. The more we research the effects of inflammation, the more we realise how inflammation is one of the most common links in most chronic disease, with thyroid disease & hormonal imbalance no exception.
According to a study published in PubMed in 2006 by Alley et al., 1 in 3 people in the USA has chronic inflammation. Your diet, gut health, infections, and stress levels will produce inflammation-causing you to age faster, reduce your energy levels & derail your thyroid function affecting your entire endocrine system, including your fertility.
Delayed Family Intentions
With many couples trying to conceive later in life, this is key as you need to keep your biological age as young as possible compared to your chronological age. By this, you keep your internal health young and push back age-related imbalances and diseases.
You don’t have to fall prey to doctors telling you it’s due to your age as to why your hormones are out or the reason why you have reduced fertility, egg reserve, AMH etc. Of course, age plays a role, but only if you invite a high inflammatory lifestyle, which has both mental and physical consequences.
Thyroid Testing Range
Over the years, I have seen many clients, myself included, with Euthyroid Sick Syndrome (EST), where the person presents with a ‘normal’ thyroid due to lab work, but the patent has many of the thyroid symptoms. This is because the thyroid testing range is pretty much testing for a dead or alive thyroid – do you need drugs or not – and not a wellness range for optimum health.
When inflammation goes up from poor diet, reduced gut health, infections and high stress, this causes problems with the conversion of T4 into T3. Conventional testing usually misses these problems, for T3 is rarely tested, presuming if TSH & T3 are good, then the whole thyroid is in balance.
I now love finding clients like these. Why? Because I know how to restore their thyroid and hormonal imbalances before they ever need synthetic drugs. Doctors often say you need thyroxine for life, but if I could wean myself and many other clients off this drug to have a healthy thyroid function, then it’s worth investigating your case too.
The Hormonal Team Work
The endocrine (hormonal) system works as a team, so if the thyroid is out due to the above, stress goes up, adrenals get fatigued, sleep is out due to this stress which affects your pituitary gland. Hence, you produce less growth hormone, and your body cannot repair effectively during your sleep, and your pineal gland cannot produce the correct ratios of serration, so your mood is also suppressed. Not to mention, your pancreas may also be affected by stress and comfort eating of high carb, sugar, fatty foods and alcohol. This is far from excellent health when you are looking to resolve hormonal imbalances and boost your fertility.
The endocrine system is composed of the following main eight glands; the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroids, adrenals, pineal body, and the reproductive organs (ovaries and testes). The pancreas is also a part of this system due to its role in hormone production and indigestion.
The endocrine hormones help control mood, growth, development, the way your organs work, metabolism, and reproduction/fertility. So if you have inflammation and your health is out of balance, the majority of these eight glands will be out of balance.
8 Ways to Support Your Hormonal System & Resolve Hormonal Imbalance
So how can you support your endocrine system, reduce inflammation, resolve hormonal imbalances, support your thyroid and boost your fertility?
1. Clean Up Your Diet
You have heard me say this a lot – eat more plants, less animal protein, cut dairy and go more pesca vegan for three months to combat your inflammation and hormonal imbalances.
Up your Omega 3’s from oily fish, avocados and coconut oil for research show that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help regulate ovulation, improve egg quality and even delay ageing the ovaries. Just be mindful of reducing fish high in mercury. If you don’t like to eat fish, add good Omega 3 supplements like our Omega 3 and Krill Oil Capsules.
Foods naturally rich in folate are also great, including green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, and beans (if your gut can tolerate them).
Do your best to opt for organic foods with lots of green vegetables as pesticides can affect estrogen and other hormones and worsen your hormonal imbalances.
2. Increase Your Iodine
Seaweed is an excellent source of iodine, and you can buy dulse and seaweed flakes to add to any diet. You can also make yummy homemade sushi rolls with fish and avocado and swap the rice for quinoa or opt for black or brown rice to keep your GI index down. If this all seems a little tricky,
I invented our Sea & Soil Super Green Capsules, which I used to wean off my thyroxine and heal my thyroid. If you have thyroid issues, contact us so we can support you on your thyroid healing protocol.
3. Avoid Plastics to Reduce Hormonal Imbalances
Plastics are hormonal disruptors, so increase your green and cruciferous vegetables in particular and get off plastics – from water bottles, storage containers, especially if you use plastics when serving or warming food.
Broccoli, cabbage and Brussel sprouts are cruciferous vegetables that contain Indole-3-Carbinol, which helps the liver metabolise estrogen. It’s best to steam cruciferous vegetables, avoiding the goitrogens present in their raw state.
Please never heat plastic or use a microwave oven, particularly in microwave-safe plastic, to cook your food, for this as been linked to cancer. Never leave your water bottles in the car, expose them to heat, come back another day, and drink the water! It’s easy to get glass bottles, a home water filter and glass storage containers too.
4. Use Herbs to Adjust Hormonal Imbalance
I love Chinese & ayurvedic herbs, and I have been using them for most of my career with great success to balance hormones. Traditionally taken as a tea, these herbs can be pretty arduous for the taste buds and tough to endure, not to mention the many hours to boil them up.
For this reason, I formulated my Female Hormonal Balance Capsules to fast track hormonal balancing without strong herbal tea flavours. Our popular Blood Sugar Support Capsules have wondrous herbal ingredients to adjust insulin levels having a direct balancing effect on hormones.
5. Get More Sleep
Low quality or limited amount of regular sleep is linked to poor immune function. It can reduce the body’s ability to heal overnight, leading to excessive stress, a natural enemy of fertility and optimum health.
Over many years, I have seen sleep as a significant catalyst in reducing the endocrine system’s entire function. So how much is enough? We are all different, but the classic 8 hours is a great start.
Ultimately you need to wake up feeling refreshed, and you need to work out for you what is your optimum, but most need 6-10 hours a night to feel well. Serotonin to melatonin ratios more hours before midnight is the goal for as the saying goes, one hour before midnight is like 2 hours after midnight, so early to bed and early to rise is ideal.
I love wind-down rituals like an Epsom salt bath, essential oil and the sleep tea I formulated for Welleco, available in our online shop, to support deep restorative sleep. I’ve also composed the Rejuv Moon Milk – a free recipe you can use with your ingredients.
6. Increase Foods High in Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps trigger ovulation in women and can increase sperm in men. Vitamin C foods also help your body absorb iron, an essential nutrient for women who become pregnant. Grapefruits and other citrus fruits, kiwis, guava, cherries, berries, and kale are excellent sources. Pumpkin Seeds are also high in vitamin C, and as a bonus, they are anti-parasitic and even high in zinc, an essential nutrient for reproduction in both men and women.
If you want to add a vitamin C supplement, be very careful not to buy synthetic vitamin C, which flushes out of the body. Opt for a whole food vitamin C as found in our Immune Support, and Immune restore vegan, organic capsules.
[ UPDATE: Learn about vitamin C and your skin in the KORA Organics edition of this blog post ]
7. Reduce Your Inflammation Drivers
High fat, processed meats and grains increase cortisol. Refined sugar reduces immune function and may cause nutrient depletion. A high intake of refined sugar also contributes to obesity, a significant risk factor for infertility and hormone issues. Excessive alcohol increases inflammation and reduces immune function, and has a knock-on effect on your endocrine system.
For women, heavy drinking increases the risk of ovulation disorders. For men, it lowers testosterone levels, causes erectile dysfunction and decreases sperm production, so stick to a few glasses of organic red wine a week. Caffeine can cause hormonal imbalances, dehydration and lead to mineral deficiencies. High consumption of caffeine can also interfere with fertility.
Lowering your caffeine to one cup per day, or giving it up entirely, is a good idea when you’re trying to get pregnant.
8. Decrease Stress
Research has shown that stress has a direct impact on a woman’s risk for infertility. One study measured the levels of an enzyme-linked with stress in the saliva of women who were trying to get pregnant over one year. The enzyme is alpha-amylase, an enzyme that helps the body digest carbohydrates linked to the fight-or-flight stress response.
The researchers found that out of about 400 couples who completed the study, 87% of the women were able to get pregnant. The researchers found that the women with the highest amylase levels had a 29% lower likelihood of pregnancy than the women who had the lowest enzyme levels.
Our Adrenal Complex Capsules are great if you need help with your stress levels, for I combined adaptogenic herbs to support your nervous system, so you don’t automatically jump into fight or flight. By defaulting into fight or flight, your body cannot be in a place of healing and restoration, for the body is so busy fighting fires. The human body has 11 systems, and 2 out of those are key for fertility and reproduction, but since the body is built for survival, the first two systems to get out of balance are these two. This is why getting your stress under control is absolutely vital to get your hormones balanced and your head in the game to shift you into optimum fertility.
Lack of mindfulness was a huge issue for my husband and me 15 years ago. We were newly married. We had our small clinic on Harley Street, London, not many staff and worked all the hours doing so many roles on top of treating clients. Mindfulness was a game-changer, for we had no work-life balance, and I have seen this to be a massive key for fertility and hormonal imbalances over the years.
As mentioned above, due to our fight or flight survival mechanism, if your body feels like it is in constant life-threatening danger, how can it possibly have enough energy to consider bringing forth another life into the world.
In 2006, we read a book called The Biology of Belief by Dr Bruce Lipton, which changed our lives. This book is why we are now doing a Masters in Neuroscience. We have seen Dr Lipton’s principles fundamentally change peoples health over the last 15 years from disease, hormone imbalances and fertility.
Exercise is also crucial. Get into nature, get your barefoot on the earth, breath and choose to respond rather than react to your environment and triggers.
Don’t Lose Hope – Take Action
As you can see, there are many things you can do through diet, lifestyle and supplementation to calm down your endocrine system, reduce inflammation, get out of fight or flight and reduce hormonal imbalances at any age.
Supporting your endocrine system will boost fertility in both men and women and turn back the internal biological clock, regardless of your age in years. As Dani Parkinson said in our recent Instagram live, “don’t lose hope” even after your long struggle with hormonal imbalance or fertility issues, there is a way to balance your health and create the life you love.