Oxidative Cellular Stress & Hormones
Do you experience any one (or more) of the following symptoms, or have you been diagnosed with any one of the following conditions?
Thyroid dysfunction (hypothyroid/hyperthyroid/autoimmune thyroid)
HPA axis dysfunction (not waking up rested in the morning, second wind of energy at night, always on-the-go etc.)
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Menopause/Perimenopause weight & mood changes
Cervical dysplasia (pre-cancerous cell growth on cervix)
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
History of any female reproductive cancer?
Do you have a family history of?
All of the above conditions can occur as a result of family history/genetics, lifestyle habits and of course - hormone imbalance! Our environment can also affect levels of inflammation, which in turn, can affect hormones.
Our hormones change throughout our lives. We cannot change that. But there are some important facts that we should know. Our hormones are produced in relation to other hormones in the body: cortisol, T4, T3, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, insulin, and more. This is where the term Hormone Balancing comes from. This is what we want to achieve, so that the changes brought about our body don’t affect the quality of our lives and can be well managed. This does NOT mean that hormones should never change! Nor does it mean that your hormones should be "perfect". Our bodies are constantly in a state to try and achieve "equilibrium", so if one part is out of "balance" another will compensate to help out. THIS IS OKAY. This is what we want to be able to maintain. When certain pathways or systems are overly active or under active consistently, that is when disease may (and sometimes may not) occur.
Hormone balancing is not black and white. There is no one protocol that can be applied.
We need to consider relativity of hormones from case to case - there is no quick fix. But, the good thing is, that there is a lot that we can do to help!
Hormone imbalance is very common. If you look at the first set of conditions listed above, you probably know a number of individuals experiencing that. For example, PMS is so common that we often deem it to be a "normal" or "expected" part of our cycle, but if it were supposed to be that way, we would not have labelled it as Premenstrual Syndrome.
There are so many factors that play a role in hormone balancing:
1. We have our thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing our thyroid hormones upon signaling from our brain.
2. We have our reproductive hormones: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone
3. We have our adrenal glands that produce cortisol.
4. We also have insulin, a hormone that responds to all of the above and especially, stress (cortisol) and diet, made in the pancreas.
The above are only to name a few big players. All of our hormones have metabolites and all of those metabolites contribute to the bigger picture of hormone imbalance.
The short of it, is that what we do in our daily lives really matters. You will need to see your Naturopathic Doctor for more individualized information regarding your hormones, but here are some general points to consider in preventing oxidative damage to hormones:
1) Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption. Both are a source of reactive oxygen species but also affect the organs in the bodies that produce and transmit signals for hormone regulation.
2) Eat good quality meats - organic, grass-fed, hormone free to reduce toxic burden in the body overall.
3) Physical activity is a great way to keep your cortisol in check. Restorative exercises such as Yoga, Tai chi and Pilates are beneficial in stress management.
4) Eat a wholesome diet! As 'they' say, “eat the rainbow”. Nourish your cells and your body. Avoid high sugar foods which spike insulin (another hormone), which can then affect cortisol, which can then affect the thyroid and reproductive hormones.
5) Avoid BPA containers and other toxins- Bisphenols are toxic. In general, avoid heating up plastic. Use glass to avoid toxic chemicals form leaching into foods!
All of these (and so much more) can help get rid of the oxidative damage and promote support of healthy hormones. Prevention really is key.
Interested in learning more? Feel free to book in for a Complimentary Introductory 15-minute Consult.