What is Functional Medicine for Hormones?
Principles of Functional Medicine For Hormones
The realm of functional medicine is increasingly becoming popular, with patients demanding a proactive or preventive approach to common healthcare conditions. Unlike conventional medicine, functional medicine is patient-centered and uses nutrition-based strategies to address the root causes of disease, dysfunction, or medical condition.
That said, if you are battling hormonal imbalance and can’t identify the reasons behind some symptoms, you should consider functional medicine. Common underlying causes of hormonal imbalance include chronic inflammation, nutrient deficiencies, stress, and toxins exposure.
Functional medicine for hormonal imbalance evaluates the patients’ hormone balance and detailed medical history, including genetic predisposition, mental well-being, and immune function. Identifying the root cause of hormonal issues makes it easy to restore system functionality. Below are commonly used functional treatment approaches for hormonal imbalances.
The right diet
A good diet can reset your hormone problems. Poor dieting, which includes excessive sugar, alcohol, and caffeine, contributes to several health issues, including hormonal imbalance. For instance, a diet full of sugars means the body will produce more insulin, estrogen, and testosterone. Dairy and gluten-rich diets also trigger inflammation and hormonal imbalances.
That aside, exposure to environmental chemicals or xenobiotics, such as pesticides and insecticides, can disrupt or trigger hormonal imbalance. Restoring hormonal balance using a functional approach involves identifying and eliminating these causes. You should replace bad food items with a healthy diet. Below are a few food items that can correct your hormonal problems:
- Cruciferous vegetables – you should include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables in your diet.
- Organic fruits and vegetables – play an important role in hormone regulation. Avoid inorganic fruits and vegetables containing pesticides, as they can affect hormonal balance.
- High-fiber carbohydrates – a high-fiber diet helps regulate hormone levels in the body.
On the other hand, you should avoid fried foods, artificial sweeteners, sugar, and less-processed foods.
Take supplements wisely
While a balanced diet promotes hormonal balance, most people don’t get all the essential nutrients from meals. Therefore, taking supplements is the best way to be sure of balanced hormones. You can also control hormonal imbalance symptoms, such as acne and PMS, with supplements.
You should consider the following supplements:
- Magnesium – Magnesium is a crucial regulator of cortisol and estrogen. It is also used in the production of testosterone and increases serotonin and DHEA levels. Taking magnesium supplements can regulate levels of these hormones.
- Vitamin D – surprisingly, more than 40% of U.S. citizens are vitamin D deficient, especially during winter. Vitamin D aids in estrogen production.
- Probiotics – gut bacteria help break down and excrete hormones in the body. Estrobolome is a probiotic that regulates estrogen levels in the body. Probiotics generally improve the estrogen cycle. A healthy gut is also crucial for nutrient absorption. Since nutrient deficiencies can cause hormonal imbalances, you should take probiotic supplements to improve gut health.
- Maca root extract – maca extract is a natural remedy for hormonal issues. Maca root extract relieves menopausal symptoms and regulates the menstrual cycle. It also balances mood, improves fertility, and gives you energy.
Exercise is another effective functional treatment approach for hormonal imbalances. In the current fast-paced work environment, it is important to create an exercise schedule more than ever. Exercising stimulates the production of feel-good hormones, which boost health and overall well-being.
Exercising directly affects dopamine, testosterone, serotonin, and estrogen. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a gym rat to enjoy these benefits. Combining cardio workouts and strength training can improve hormone levels. High-intensity exercises like crunches, squats, and lunges also stimulate hormone release.
There is a direct link between stress and hormonal imbalance. The body releases cortisol and several other stress hormones in stressful situations. Since hormones control every body function, cortisol takes precedence during stressful situations, compromising various body processes.
High cortisol levels impair progesterone production while promoting estrogen dominance. Low progesterone levels and high estrogen affect mood because progesterone is a natural antidepressant. You can lower your stress levels by:
- Following an anti-inflammatory diet
- Spend time outdoors in nature
- Practice good sleeping habits
- Improve your social life
Mindful meditation and light exercises like yoga can also reduce stress.
Get enough sleep
A good night’s sleep is crucial for the production and regulation of several body hormones. Lack of sufficient sleep puts you at risk of developing and increasing hormonal imbalances and other related health issues. Poor sleep quality also reduces immunity, obesity, weight gain, hypertension, and memory loss.
On the other hand, oversleeping can cause daytime sleepiness, reduced metabolism, altered sleeping cycles, and cognitive issues. Adopting a good sleep hygiene can help streamline hormonal levels.
The Bottom Line
Hormone imbalance is often considered a female issue, but it also affects men. Hormones affect several body processes, including metabolism, growth and development, fertility, mood, appetite, and more. If you’ve been diagnosed with hormone spikes, you should combine conventional and functional treatment approaches for better results.