What Are Hormones?
Your endocrine system makes chemicals called hormones. A healthy body regulates the production and balance of its hormones, but some conditions can cause hormonal imbalances. Glands that produce the major hormones in your body include:
Your pituitary gland is considered the “master gland” because it controls the function of all of the other glands in your body. Many people are familiar with the role of hormones in sexual development and reproductive health, but hormones can control many other endocrine functions like growth, heart rate, blood sugar control, the immune system, sleep, and the sensations of hunger and thirst.
You can see why hormonal imbalances can cause major problems!
Providing the proper environment for your endocrine system is essential for good health. Here are seven ways in which you can support your endocrine system.
7 steps to good endocrine health, plus one bonus!
Change the fats in your diet.
Fat has gotten a bad rap. It’s important to remember that not all fats are created equal. There are good fats and bad fats. By substituting good fats for bad ones in your diet, you can give your endocrine system a major boost. You can find “good fats” in avocados, butter from grass-fed cows, chia seeds, coconut oil, flax seeds, herring, mackerel, olive oil, oysters, sardines and wild-caught salmon, among other sources. Omega-3 fatty acids are very good for you. Omega-6 fatty acids (found in safflower oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil and vegetable oil) can cause inflammation in the body or aggravate inflammatory conditions.
Use adaptogenic herbs.
Adaptogenic herbs have natural pharmaceutical properties, and can relieve the effects of stress. Stress can cause very real damage to your endocrine system, so avoiding it or reducing its impact is key to balancing your hormones. Adaptogenic herbs can help combat fatigue, depression and neurological changes associated with stress. They can also enhance your focus and clear your thinking. Ashwaganda and Asian ginseng are particularly good at reducing long-term stress. For short term stress conditions and anxiety, adaptogens like rhodiola, Siberian ginseng and schisandra can help mellow fight-or-flight stress reactions. Holy basil (also called tulsi) has been used in India for thousands of years to treat respiratory problems like colds and the flu. Holy basil oil is also a strong antiseptic. In addition, holy basil has anti-depressive properties and can be used to treat acne, inflammation and respiratory problems.
Address emotional imbalances.
While emotions may seem wild and unpredictable, negative emotions can often be traced to hormonal imbalances. In addition, emotional responses often trigger reactions in the endocrine system, which can dump large doses of stress hormones into your body. By learning to control and calm reactive behaviors, you can reduce stress on your body and improve your overall hormonal balance.
Use essential oils.
Essential oils offer exceptional, natural benefits. Using essential oils can help you detoxify your body, calm your mind and relieve physical ailments. Consult with your wellness professional about the range of options available, and which oils can help you support your endocrine health. The Environmental Working Group website is a great resource for finding news, research, and consumer information. It is the go-to site for people who want to live a healthier life.
Use dietary supplements.
Ideally, you get the majority of your nutrition from the good, healthy foods you eat. Even with a healthy diet, you can sometimes encounter nutritional voids that make supplementation necessary. Whether you suffer from a chronic nutritional deficit or a temporary one, adding supplements to your diet can help boost your endocrine system and restore your hormonal balance. Consult with your wellness provider to help you determine where and how you might benefit from supplementation.
Ditch your birth control pills.
Birth control pills contain synthetic hormones designed to suppress your reproductive system. While that may be one outcome of using them, they can also wreak havoc on your body. In addition to suppressing ovulation, they can also raise your blood pressure, cause nausea, headaches and migraines, acne, weight gain, breakthrough bleeding and other unpleasant or unhealthy side effects. There are many non-pharmaceutical ways to prevent pregnancy, and control other reproductive system ailments without resorting to birth control pills.
Get more sleep!
There are no two ways about it – sleep does a body good! Committing to providing yourself 7-8 hours of restful sleep every night can do wonders for your health. In addition to helping your body recover naturally from the stresses of the day, a full 8 hours of restful sleep can help you lose weight, restore endocrine function, improve mental alertness and boost your immune system.
Attend to your nervous system.
This means receiving regular chiropractic care, including adjustments that enable your endocrine system to function like it was designed to. Relieving painful conditions and maladjustment can also enable your body to heal itself, and correct unaddressed damage that decreases your quality of life.
Another key ingredient – and this applies to any approach toward regaining your health – is to have a plan and work on it consistently. A trained wellness provider can work with you to identify conditions that prevent you from living a full, healthy and happy life. If you’re ready to commit to working to improve your life and health, call us at (509) 737-9355 to set up a consultation.