HAYWIRE HORMONES, HEALTH AND HOMEOPATHY
An overview by Penny Bedggood
When we think of haywire hormones we often think only of the hormones associated with the female reproductive system. Hormones affect all of the major organs of the body, however this article will concentrate mainly on the balance of oestrogen and progesterone. It will also answer the question “Does homeopathy help with hormones?” and give you some tips about homeopathy for balancing hormones used alongside nutrition.
What are hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers of the body. They travel in the blood to tissues and organs to affect specific change. They influence bodily functions through growth and development; digestion; metabolism and energy production; moods and stress; reproduction and sexual function. Hormones are very powerful and often require a small amount to effect a significant change. This is why it is important to maintain a healthy balance.
Which organs secrete hormones?
When considering organs related to hormones it is often the reproductive organs that are identified, as well as the thyroid and pituitary glands. It is interesting to note that the pancreas, heart, kidneys, and digestive tract all secrete hormones. The hypothalamus is a tiny pea-sized part of the brain (less than 1% of the brain) but has enormous influence on the hormonal system via the pituitary glands.
Metabolism and also excretion of oestrogen is necessary in order to prevent the presence of excessive oestrogen in the body in relation to progesterone. Progesterone is the only hormone produced by the body in large amounts, especially during pregnancy. After the mid-thirties women tend to produce less progesterone as they begin to ovulate less. Symptoms of oestrogen dominance can include weight gain, sugar cravings, allergies, breast tenderness, depression, fatigue, infertility, irritability, low libido, miscarriage. Oestrogen dominance is linked to polycystic ovaries, endometrial growths, hypothyroidism, erratic blood sugar levels, as well as breast cancer. A progesterone deficiency can also add insomnia, irregular periods and menstrual cramps to the mix.
Nutrition is very important to balance hormones
- A high fibre diet is essential for good elimination. Hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone are deactivated in the liver and then eliminated via the bowels. 1-2 litres of filtered water daily will assist elimination
- Magnesium helps the liver metabolise oestrogen and can reduce the pain of cramping. Dark green leafy vegetables contain magnesium which helps the liver metabolise oestrogen. Other good food sources include bran (all bran, oat bran), brown rice, almonds, and cooked spinach
- Sulphur-containing foods such as cruciferous vegetables (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy), and vegetables from the onion family (onions, garlic, leek, spring onions) support the detoxifying action of the liver. The vegetables are high in fibre thus assisting the elimination of excess oestrogen metabolites.
- B Vitamins are utilised in almost every energy-producing pathways in the body. Vitamins B2, B6, B12, and folate are also involved in detoxification of oestrogen and its metabolites. Various B vitamins are found in meat products, eggs, legumes, cereals, nuts and vegetables. It is important to eat a wide variety of food to get a broad range of nutrients
- Zinc is an essential nutrient needed in the treatment of fertility. Zinc is known for its role in male therapeutics (testosterone, prostate health, libido) however it is also required for the balance of prolactin: a hormone that helps regulate the menstrual cycle and produce breast milk. Zinc is required for healthy ovulation and has been found to reduce symptoms of PMS such as depression and aggression. Oysters are a rich source, as well as good quality meat, eg beef, turkey, chicken and pork. Wholegrains, cashews, almonds, and pumpkin seeds provide a less bioavailable form of zinc
- About fats – Progesterone is made from cholesterol. Good quality fats are essential for absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamin D. Avocado, raw nuts and seeds, tahini, oily fish, oils (extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed flaxseed oil, virgin coconut oil) all contribute to healthy cell membranes, as well as reducing inflammation
Other tips to help balance hormones
- Herbal teas such as dandelion root will assist liver health. Peppermint tea or Rooibos tea provide a caffeine-free alternative that can be mildly stimulating
- Get moving! Exercise lowers oestrogen levels. Weight bearing exercise will also support strong bones
- Minimise stress which can have an adverse effect on hormonal balance
- Avoid smoking
- Reduce sugar, alcohol and refined foods
- Reduce intake of dairy and red meat
- Use organic foods where possible and ensure you wash non-organic produce effectively
- Limit caffeine
Homeopathy for balancing hormones
The use of homeopathy for balancing hormones and related symptoms can be very effective, especially after the use of contraception (eg the pill OCP) or post-pregnancy. Sepia is a popular homeopathic remedy for the woman who is feeling weighed down, overwhelmed with family responsibility or despondent after childbirth. Lachesis is a remedy that is often useful for menstrual irregularities, and symptoms of menopause. A consultation is required for a constitutional remedy which works deeply to help restore hormonal balance, and mental well-being.
If you have a homeopathic first aid kit Arnica is always useful for excessive bleeding and dull, achy pain. Mag Phos minimises cramping pain associated with menstruation. Arsenicum and Rescue Remedy are staples for management of stress.
Calc phos and Ferr phos are tissue salts that can be effective for menstrual irregularities and heavy bleeding.
Summary of ‘Does Homeopathy Help With hormones?’
This is a brief overview of balancing hormones, especially oestrogen and progesterone
A well balanced diet and exercise will help maintain a healthy balance of hormones and should be adopted from an early age. Using homeopathy for balancing hormones and using supplements can help fine-tune the adverse effect of hormonal excess.