It wasn’t until I was 30 years old that my doctors decided to work on my hormones – naturally – NOT with drugs. NOT with pills. Naturally. When I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 30 – it came as a shock. I had lost my menses from my undiagnosed Lyme disease and my entire body became estrogen dominant – it was crazy. My progesterone and testosterone were ‘0’ and I worked with my Integrative M.D., Dr. Alan Warshowsky of Rye, NY who is beyond incredible. He GETS it – he’s by far one of the smartest doctors I have EVER worked with and I was so beyond impressed at his manner and his knowledge of Integrative Medicine that I sent my mother, father and sister to him – and they don’t even have hormone issues. Yes, he’s pretty much a genius and fabulous.
I started to learn about balancing my estrogen and increasing my progesterone with numerous supplements and let me tell you… I instantly felt better. YES it was crazy – it’s amazing how much of our bodies are driven by hormones, isn’t it? Along the road to building back my hormones to the fabulousness that they are today, I learned a few tricks along the way and I’m happy to share them with all of you because I know so many men and women are suffering from hormone issues and yet their conventional doctors don’t run the correct tests and don’t know what to test for – therefore they’re told, “NOTHING is wrong with you” and “It’s all in your head.” Story of my life before I discovered Integrative Medicine.
What I found fascinating is that even if your diet is perfect and you are taking perfect supplements and you live a low stress life, your health can still be destroyed by hormones and your gut bacteria (bacteria in your stomach, small intestine and large intestine). I’ve been working on building back the health of my gut for many years and now that I’ve mastered the hormones, I’m a very happy camper.
The power of hormones is quite extraordinary… they affect everything from your weight to your mood to your bowls. I’m sure you remember the teenage years or the pregnancy years or the menopause years. Yup – those were all hormonal periods of our lives.
If you are dealing with symptoms such as weight gain, skin issues, sleeping trouble, PMS, fatigue, infertility, PCOS, endometriosis or other issue, the chances are pretty good that your hormones are off balance.
Our hormones are produced by eating good quality fats and cholesterol so without these in your lifestyle – hormonal problems will probably occur because the body doesn’t have any building blocks to make them. Toxins containing chemicals, which I have talked about on other pages of my site, mimic these building blocks or mimic our hormones. Gross, right? Yup. That’s what happens.
Here are a few tips to get you started. I highly suggest working with an Integrative M.D. for your personal health because we are all VERY different and many of us have certain issues that need to be addressed before others.
I was never a coffee drinker, but I did drink green tea and when my adrenals failed and cortisol went through the roof- I went cold turkey off caffeine. Too much caffeine can wreak havoc on our endocrine system, especially if we have hormonal stressors in our bodies such as stress, toxins and pregnancy. Try to cut down on your caffeine intake and replace your regular cup of joe with herbal teas. I enjoy organic roasted dandelion tea, which is a great alternative to coffee.
Toxins are found in places you may not even know. They’re pretty much hiding everywhere: your plastic containers, your food, your fertilizer on your lawn, your household cleaners and your mattress. Yup; oh ya and don’t forget your plastic shower curtain, too. These toxins contain hormone disrupting chemicals that mimic hormones in our bodies and keep our bodies from producing real hormones. Avoiding these toxins is incredibly important; I cook and store my food in glass containers and only use glass in my home – no more plastic here. I eat 100% organic and don’t use chemical cleaners or pesticides for plants or anything else in my home.
Choose HIGH Quality Supplements
There are a TON of gaps we all need to fill that our bodies aren’t getting everyday such as vitamin D in the winter and magnesium (two of my favorites). Some doctors like to use Maca powder, which is high in minerals and essential fatty acids. I was taking Maca for awhile but no longer taking it. I do take a lot of magnesium, which is pretty much the power pill in my opinion… it supports hundreds of reactions in our bodies and actually helps our sleep (by helping us relax and relaxing our muscles). There are several forms of magnesium – but make sure you are absorbing it. I wasn’t absorbing it for awhile so that can be quite a tricky issue to fix. Vitamin D – another miracle worker. You’ve heard enough about how wonderful this is; it supports hormone function and is best from the sun, but in the winter months in Manhattan, I take a quality Vitamin D supplement.
We all know this but I bet half of you don’t get enough sleep. Am I right? Thought so. If you’re not sleeping enough – well then your hormones surely won’t be balanced. End of story. Try an eye mask when you sleep to keep your room dark, take an epsom salt bath or reed a book in bed with dim lights an hour before you are ready to hit the hay.
Engage in Light Exercise & Weights
I quit my gym membership. I’m done with cardio – I played sports my entire life and once I hit 29 my body said, “Please stop,” so I listened and I did. Intense exercise can actually make your hormone problems worse. I focus on relaxing ways of moving my body such as light yoga, walking and stretching. Lifting light weights can be helpful so every once in awhile I’ll do a few squats and lunges.
Eat Omega 3’s and Avoid Omega 6 Fatty Acids
One of the saddest things about all of the processed foods popping up in our food stores is that 99% of them are made from man-made fats from vegetable oils. Gross! It’s not real, people. It’s fake and your body doesn’t know what it is -hence INFLAMMATION. Stay away from peanut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, shortening, margarine and any other chemically formed fats. Eat fats from olive oil, organic butter and coconut oil along with organic sources of animal protein.
Eat Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is incredible for hormone health (and gut health, too). It provides all of the necessary building blocks for hormone production and can actually HELP, yes HELP with weight loss. Coconut oil is known for reducing inflammation and I’ve learned that it has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Talk about a wonder oil; this is it! Use it in everything from your herbal tea to your stir-fry, baked goods and melt it for dressings and smoothies, too!
It is essential to work with a nutritionist and an Integrative M.D. because I am sharing general information that is not intended to be medical advice. This information is only given for informational purposes.