This blog is from Liv HEALTH, our partner in personalized wellness, reprinted here with their permission. To explore options for working with Liv HEALTH and its team of integrative and functional medicine doctors, click here and use the code WHOLELIFE to get your first month on us.
Remember last week when you struggled to get through your day because you were so fatigued? Or when your partner wanted to be intimate but you couldn’t be less interested?
You’re not alone, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Let’s not chalk it up to “I’m just getting older, guess I have to deal with it,” something I am sure you’ve heard from your PCP. I can tell you from personal experience that you do not have to suffer for the next 30 years, and neither does your partner. Let’s take a closer look at what is happening in your body.
It’s all about your hormones.
The main female hormones we’ll focus on today include:
- Estrogen: regulates body temperature, sleep, decreases risk for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, increases metabolic rate, improves insulin sensitivity, maintains muscle and bone density, improves memory and concentration, enhances energy and libido, and is essential for neurotransmitter development in the brain.
- Testosterone: In women, testosterone has been shown to increase libido, emotional well-being, muscle mass, pain tolerance, and neurotransmitter production. Additionally, it aids in memory retention, keeps skin from sagging, reduces body fat, and maintains bone density.
- Progesterone: A steroid sex hormone prominently produced by the ovaries. It promotes overall wellness of the reproductive tract, produces calming effects in the brain, helps retain bone density, supports cardiovascular health, assists liver and kidney function, and prevents anxiety/mood swings.
Levels of these hormones begin to gradually decline after the age of 30.
All your hormones work together to control every function in your body. They regulate physiology and behavior. You know that nervous feeling you get in your stomach before a presentation, or going out with someone new, and all of a sudden you feel anxious? That’s your hormones talking. Or when you feel like you’ve gained weight for no reason? Hormones – loud and clear. Or when you’re sitting at your desk and all of a sudden feel a hot flash come on? Hormones once again.
As most women can attest to, hormonal imbalance can make us feel pretty grim. Hello to every little thing annoying you, right?
I like to think about women’s hormones as a curated Broadway show. Every part of the show is planned out. You and your colleagues all work together to make the show run smoothly; every person has their part! But every so often, one of you might miss a step in the dance, or forget a line in the song, or maybe one of you forgot to set a reminder and you miss the show all together. Any one of these would cause a hiccup in the flow of the show, right?
But what if you are unsure whether you have a hormonal imbalance, or if it’s just from being busy, running a household, and long hours at work? Let’s look at the symptoms you may be experiencing if the “show” is interrupted, so you can determine if your hormones are nonfunctional.
- Hair loss/dry skin
- Hot flashes/night sweats
- Chronic fatigue
- Loss of muscle mass
- Severe or persistent acne
- Irregular periods /heavy
- Ovarian cysts/fibroids
- Excessive weight gain/can’t lose it despite your efforts.
- Decreased libido
- Sugar cravings
- Irritability/short fuse
- Difficulty concentrating or poor memory (Forgetting why you walked into the other room)
- Hard time falling and staying asleep
If you’re sitting there nodding your head to any of these, let’s look at what you can do to start balancing your hormones, so you can feel like yourself again (and actually want to say “YES” to intimacy!).
Here are some of our top contenders!
Swap refined carbohydrates for healthy fats. Carbohydrates are fine, however, if you can cut back on the processed ones (think candy, baked goods, breads) and increase healthy fats, you’re doing your hormones a huge favor. Healthy fats are the backbone for hormone production, and without saturated fat and cholesterol (yes, you need cholesterol) your body won’t create them. Biggest bang for your buck:
- Coconut oil: eat a tbsp of it, cook your eggs in it, throw some in your coffee. It has many anti-bacterial and fat-burning effects.
- Avocado: Shmeer it on a slice of toast, add it to a smoothie for a creamy texture, eat it right out of the peel! It helps reduce inflammation in your reproductive system. It also has a positive effect on estrogen and progesterone; the female hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle. It contains beta-sitosterol which can help manage cortisol.
- Wild salmon: It’s high omega 3 content will help lower inflammation, improve cognitive function, and brain health.
- Flax seeds: in the ground form, throw them into your yogurt, smoothie or sprinkle into a salad. They contain lignans which are a type of phytoestrogens that have both an estrogenic and antiestrogenic effect. These omega 3’s also help with reproductive health.
- GLA (gamma-linoleic acid): I don’t normally suggest you eat too much omega 6, however, GLA supports healthy progesterone levels, and can be found in hemp seeds.
In order to get maximum benefit from these foods, you would have to eat large amounts, which is why I always recommend supplementing. Liv Health supplements are third party tested, medical grade, and recommended by our physicians. Start with the essentials:
Meditation, awareness, and focus decrease stress and cortisol, slow the aging process, and increase energy, which is why mindfulness is part of the Liv Health family protocol. You can practice mindfulness by meditating, going for a walk with music while allowing yourself to be in the present moment, or you can try deep breathing for as little as 3 minutes per day. Find what works for you and do it daily to help balance your hormones.
Exercise boosts the hormones testosterone, progesterone, and growth hormone. It also drives insulin down while keeping cortisol balanced. All of these combined helps prevent cellular aging by boosting mitochondria, helping you to stay lean and slow the aging process.
When it comes to optimizing your health and wellness, it’s important to know what’s going to work for you and your body, not what’s working for your next door neighbor.
You are unique, and that is why Liv Health takes a 360 degree approach by looking at all parts of you. We provide ongoing care focused on optimizing your health, which includes a dedicated Liv Physician and Integrative Health Concierge to treat, educate, and support you. A required diagnostic panel sets a baseline for your health goals and allows our physician team to assess your individual needs and come up with a treatment protocol specifically for you and your body.
Liv Health can optimize your hormones, weight, skin, sexual function, aging, cognitive function, muscle building, and immune health. All of these are connected, which is why we address ALL of it!
So if you’re ready to optimize your health, we are ready for you to join the Liv Health family. Click here to schedule a call with one of our health concierges, to see if we’re a good match!