Balancing Your Hormones Naturally Is Easier Than You Think: From PMS To Menopause

Sam Bock

Middle aged women standing against a backdrop of trees

Women’s hormonal systems experience changes at all stages of life and are often misunderstood. Trying to regulate your hormones can feel complicated, but is in fact much easier than you might think. When we break it down, it’s the balance of estrogen and progesterone that control sexual vitality and hormonal health. Fortunately, you largely control how much of these hormones your body will make. In order to regulate your hormones you just need to know how to reduce, increase, and stimulate them.

Paragon’s years of clinical work show diet and lifestyle habits are often the most important factors controlling hormone levels

One of the largest hormonal changes in a woman’s body is during menopause and for many today this is occurring earlier than ever - primarily due to modern lifestyle factors that didn't exist 50-75 years ago. While it will happen for all women at some point, research indicates that women have more control over how early it occurs than previously thought, and that adopting simple dietary, exercise, and lifestyle habits not only delays onset of menopause, but minimizes your biological aging (because these are linked!), which is beneficial to your overall well-being.

And not only is menopause occurring earlier due to estrogen dominance largely caused by excess estrogen-mimickers in the environment and food chain, but so is puberty and sexual development in young girls.

Further, in 2018 British researchers found that women who ate more fish, beans and other legumes started menopause later (a 3.3-year delay for every daily serving), while women who ate a diet heavy on refined pasta and rice went through the change on average 1.5 years earlier. It is speculated that the antioxidants in legumes, and the omega-3 fatty acids in certain fish might have a protective effect on a woman's eggs, essentially helping to preserve them for longer, delaying the start of menopause.

Refined carbohydrate sources in the diet could also hasten menopause, suggested the study, because these foods boost the risk of insulin resistance, which could interfere with hormone production. This is reaffirmed by Paragon’s metabolic research that clearly shows refined carbohydrates are depleted of antioxidants necessary to support healthy cell metabolism and the synthesis of fatty acids needed for the production of a woman's eggs.

The study also found that a higher intake of vitamin B6 and zinc appears to delay menopause — by 0.6 and 0.3 years, respectively. This can be explained by subsequent research, including that conducted by Paragon, as vitamin B6 and zinc are necessary to convert the plant-based omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids into the healthy oils necessary to produce a woman’s eggs.

The 2018 study also found that vegetarians reached menopause at an earlier age than those that ate meat. Vegetables are higher in copper and lower in zinc, and the two nutrients fight for absorption, often resulting in low zinc levels in vegetarians (requiring zinc supplementation to bring you into balance). Elevations in copper are overly estrogenic, which can lead to estrogen and progesterone imbalances.

Essential nutrients have an impact on your hormones

As identified through Paragon’s metabolic testing, roughly 75% of women have excesses of calcium and copper, and deficiencies of zinc and boron, enhancing estrogen’s effects. And many are missing other minerals essential to detoxification. When you have the data on your current nutrient levels, taking action to bring them into balance is easy.

Here are a few ways to bring these nutrients into the optimal state and rebalance your hormones:

  • Reduce your copper levels: with zinc-rich food, consuming less copper-rich foods, and supplementation based on proper testing (we never recommend self-selection for supplements)
  • Reduce calcium-rich foods and carbohydrates as high calcium intake enhances copper absorption, and vice versa
  • Zinc and vitamin B6 are essential to enzyme function that converts the plant-based essential fatty acids into the more complex fatty acids found in healthy eggs.  Healthy sources of these fatty acids are organic flax, sunflower, borage, and evening primrose oils
    • Tip: When buying organic sunflower oil, check the label to make sure it’s the old-fashioned kind, and not the newer “high-oleic” sunflower oils which have been altered to make it more like olive oil.
  • If overly low, you may need to increase zinc and boron levels as both are important to the formation of progesterone and testosterone
  • Increase your intake of detoxifying nutrients necessary to metabolize estrogens in your liver

 

Before making any changes to your diet, it’s important to do the proper testing to make sure your key minerals are in balance to promote proper hormone function. Our Personal Nutritional Assessment (which includes a hair mineral test and clinical questionnaire) is the only testing that can point to the dietary causes of estrogen dominance (by measuring calcium, copper, sodium, potassium, zinc, and boron). Blood tests give inaccurate readings as mineral levels in blood are usually very different from those levels seen inside your cells.  Further, blood levels are significantly more affected by the food you ate most recently, whereas hair testing provides a read on your average nutrient intake over a 3 month period. The result? You get a much more accurate indicator on your hormone production and metabolism, and you get the specific food and supplement recommendations to get you on track. 

While diet is important, what else plays a role in hormone production?

Most women are aware that menopause is caused in part by a reduction of estrogen as you age. But did you know the most pronounced menopausal symptoms are caused by an even faster drop of progesterone?

In today's world an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone can be made worse by: 

1) an excess of estrogen mimickers (toxic chemicals in the environment and food chain) that keep estrogen levels slightly higher than normal, or

2) various factors that cause progesterone to drop rapidly, such as: a lack of resistance training, absence of certain healthier foods, or excess stress and caffeine.

We live in a busy, hectic, and often stressful world which can negatively impact progesterone levels. Cortisol, which is required for a stress response, is synthesized by consuming available progesterone. This means that too much stress, or anything else that stimulates your adrenal system, like caffeine, can lead to an overly high conversion of progesterone to cortisol, leaving your body low in this essential hormone.

Balancing your hormones is actually quite easy

When affected by estrogen dominance, there are two approaches to bringing your hormones back in balance: reducing ingestion of estrogen mimickers, and increasing your progesterone.

Your ingestion and levels of estrogen mimicking chemicals can be dramatically reduced by following these simple steps:

  • Eat organic foods to eliminate toxic pesticides and other chemicals
  • Use toxin-free cosmetics, body lotions, and home care products
  • Buy and wear clothes made from organic fibres
  • Use furniture and bedding that are made from natural materials
  • Take vitamin and mineral supplements that support liver function required to reduce and estrogen and toxins

 

Similarly, your progesterone levels can significantly increase by following these guidelines:

  • Start or increase your weight training or other resistance exercise. This not only stimulates the desired increase in progesterone, but also lowers blood sugar levels improving all aspects of health
  • Reduce caffeine intake to one cup or less per day
  • Eat more plant-based protein that contains thousands of different plant sterols that are more easily converted to progesterone
  • Adopt meditation, yoga, or any other activity that will reduce stress

 

By adopting these lifestyle changes, combined with balancing essential nutrients in your body, you will begin to see results within just a few weeks. Fewer hormonal swings, and a higher functioning, more toned body and mind...just as seen by one of our happy customers who wrote the following to us:

“I truly want to thank the Paragon Team! After 6 weeks of taking [my] vitamin plan...I saw some definite changes. I have been suffering from adenomyosis (a form of endometriosis) for over 5 years and tried all kinds of medication to decrease the heavy menstrual bleeding, excruciating pain, and related discomfort. During my last period, I was so relieved to see that I didn't experience pain."

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