Achieving Hormonal Harmony:
Insights from Gut Philosophy
Hormonal imbalances may manifest in a wide range of symptoms, including mood swings, brain fog, fatigue and low motivation, irregular and painful periods, dry skin, hair and nail, inability to lose or gain weight, acne and facial hair in women, bloating and constipation, and more. In order to address a hormonal imbalance, it is important to take in-depth assessment of medical history, laboratory tests, diet and lifestyle habits.
At Gut Philosophy, we are dedicated to providing you with the information and tools you need to address your hormonal imbalances and the symptoms associated with them. In this informational page, we are covering the basics of hormonal imbalances, common causes, and ways to support your hormonal health.
Understanding Hormonal Imbalances
Hormones are chemical messengers produced by various endocrine glands in the body, such as the pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, pancreas, ovaries, etc. Hormones regulate various bodily functions, including metabolism, mood and behaviour, stress response, growth and reproductive function.
As there are over 50 known hormones in the body, hormonal imbalances could manifest in a wide range of symptoms, including mood swings, brain fog, fatigue and low motivation, irregular and painful periods, dry skin, hair and nails, inability to lose or gain weight, acne and facial hair in women, bloating and constipation, and many more.
The most common hormonal imbalances include:
- Hypothyroidism – or low thyroid function that may manifest in fatigue, inability to lose weight, dry skin and hair, intolerance to cold temperatures, constipation and bloating.
- Female hormonal imbalances – that could manifest in oestrogen driven conditions (i.e. endometriosis, PMS, breast and ovarian cysts, etc), premenstrual symptoms (i.e. mood swings, acne, bloating and digestive symptoms, breast soreness), as well as perimenopausal symptoms (i.e. brain fog, fatigue, poor skin and hair condition, hot flashes and night sweats, insomnia and depression).
- Blood sugar dysregulation – including hypoglycaemia, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and diabetes. The symptoms of blood sugar dysregulation may include the inability to tolerate hunger, low energy levels and fatigue, brain fog and mood swings, feeling dizzy, craving certain foods and more.
- Adrenal imbalances – for example, dysregulated cortisol production affecting energy levels, sleep quality and blood sugar regulation.
If you feel that some of your symptoms could relate to hormonal dysregulation, it is important to assess your hormonal health and support the identified imbalances as soon as possible, as they may increase the risk of various chronic health conditions.
Common Causes of Hormonal Imbalances
Some common causes of hormonal dysregulation include:
- Nutrient deficiencies: diets low in protein and fats may affect hormonal synthesis. In addition, certain nutrients play crucial role as co-factors, for example, zinc, iron, selenium, iodine, B2, B3 and B6 contribute to proper functioning of thyroid hormones.
- Ageing: with age, the production of oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone slow down causing a wide range of symptoms in women, from insomnia, mood swings and headaches, to poor skin and incontinence.
- Chronic stress: the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis is the key system regulating stress response in the body. Experiencing high levels of physical or mental stress over a long period of time would cause elevated levels of cortisol, a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol may affect insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation, disrupt sex hormones, such as oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone and dysregulate thyroid health.
- Inflammation: inflammatory processes from infection, toxins, injury or tissue damage release chemicals capable of dysregulating the HPA axis. Chronic inflammation can impair the action of insulin, which may lead to insulin resistance. It interferes with the production of sex hormones and thyroid hormones.
- Autoimmune conditions: certain autoimmune conditions, such as Type 1 diabetes, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and endometriosis all contribute to ongoing hormonal imbalances.
- Endocrine disrupting chemicals – these are a class of man-made chemicals we are all exposed to daily through numerous sources, such as drinking water and foods, air pollution and exhausts, household goods, furniture, cosmetics and personal care goods, clothing and many more. These compounds are called “endocrine disrupting chemicals”, because they are capable of disrupting our hormonal regulation. They are particularly detrimental to thyroid and sex hormones contributing to metabolic changes, infertility, oestrogen-driven disorders, including certain cancers.
Tips for Improving Hormonal Balance
Improving your hormonal balance starts with making healthier dietary and lifestyle choices. Here are some tips to support your healthy hormonal levels:
- Prioritising healthy fats: steroid hormones, including oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone and cortisol are made from cholesterol, therefore, optimising your fat intake, digestion and absorption is a crucial for optimal hormonal synthesis and sensitivity.
- Eating a nutrient dense diet: a diet rich in nutrients, such as minerals and vitamins could help supporting hormonal synthesis, sensitivity and metabolism. Aim to have at least 5-7 portions of vegetables daily.
- Developing stress resilience: there are many different activities and techniques aimed at reducing your stress levels you could incorporate in your daily routine; from meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to regular walks in nature, massages and enjoying your hobbies and creativity.
- Reducing your exposure to environmental toxins: identifying the key sources of toxic chemicals, limiting the exposure to them, choosing organic produce, where possible are all important strategies for hormonal support.
- Optimising movement and exercise regime: regular exercise regime has anti-inflammatory effect; it was shown to improve insulin and thyroid sensitivity, decrease cortisol and support sex hormonal balance.
How Gut Philosophy Can Help
At Gut Philosophy we approach hormonal imbalances through integrative angle, starting with in-depth assessment of your medical history, recent lab results, evaluation of your diet, sleep, stress levels, exercise and movement, and environmental chemicals exposure.
During your Initial Consultation, your functional medicine practitioner will outline the key imbalances and triggers, will explain the strategy how to address them and support your symptoms.
Following your Initial Consultation you will receive a personalised Health Optimisation Programme based on our findings and analysis.
Your Health Optimisation Programme usually includes:
- Dietary interventions (i.e. functional foods, key nutrients, optimising digestion, fasting schedules)
- Lifestyle interventions (i.e. sleep hygiene, stress coping strategies, exercise & movement strategy, addressing environmental chemicals, and more)
- Personalised supplementation schedule using professional and highly bioavailable supplement range
- GP or specialists referral (if needed)
- Any further testing and therapies (if needed)
Functional and genetic testing could be useful tools in understanding hormonal imbalances. You can read more about Functional Blood Test here and about the Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones (“DUTCH” test) here.
If you have questions about our approach or testing options, you could schedule a complimentary discovery call here.
Expert Answers to Your Hormonal Imbalance Questions
Contact us today to book a free discovery call with one of our functional medicine practitioners.