A hormone imbalance is when there is too little or too much of a particular hormone in one's body. Hormones are the chemical messengers in the body that travel the bloodstream to the organs and tissues. They slowly work and affect many of the body's processes over time. Endocrine glands, which are special groups of cells, make hormones.
There are many endocrine glands in the body with the main ones being the pituitary gland, thyroid, thymus, adrenal glands, and the pancreas. It only requires a small amount of hormones to be out of balance to cause significant changes throughout the body. Both men and women produce hormones in the same areas with one exception, the sexual organs. Additional male hormones are produced in the testes while women's are produced in the ovaries.
If hormone imbalance is left untreated it can result in serious medical conditions like diabetes. If the imbalance is taking place in the pituitary glands, growth disorders are possible. There are approximately 6,000 endocrine disorders that result because of hormone imbalance. An imbalance of hormones is experienced at different times during life. As the body changes from childhood to adulthood, puberty is experienced by both male and females. Women will then again experience a change later in life after their childbearing years have been passed. Hormonal imbalance is defined as chemical messengers which regulate our body's systems and that are no longer functioning properly. This disfunction can be an overproduction or an underproduction of specific hormones.
Some of the symptoms experienced during hormone imbalance are shared by male and female, while some are more specific to each gender. Some of the most commonly shared symptoms include fatigue, skin problems or acne, mood swings, weight problems, diminished sex drive, and poor memory. If the reactions become more severe then we run into a group of more serious disorders. The disorders include arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and anxiety attacks. The following symptoms can be experienced by women in menopause, urinary tract infections, increased dryness in the mouth, eyes, genitalia, or abnormal heartbeat.
The two most important glands involved in the most common chronic health disorders are the Thyroid and Adrenal glands.
These produce the hormones thyroxin, triiodothyronine and calcitonin, which stimulate metabolism, body heat production and bone growth. A large percentage of the population suffer from sub-clinical hypo-thyroidism. See the Iodine article linked at the end of this article for details of a self administered test (Barnes Basal Test) to determine hypo-thyroidism.
This under functioning of the thyroid can cause a multitude of symptoms including low physical and mental energy, accumulation of mucous and other toxins, contribute to a low immune system and arteriosclerosis. There is grossly incorrect information about the role and safety or Iodine in resolving these issues that has paralysed the medical profession in adequately dealing with this problem. Whether you suffer from immune problems or just low energy, the thyroid function is usually one aspect that must be put right for resolution of these and related health issues.
These are possibly the most complex glands in the body as they are responsible for a multitude or hormones providing a diverse range of effects on the body and nervous system.
Common issues with the Adrenals include low blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, arteriosclerosis and chronic insufficiency.
Low Blood Pressure: Especially when standing up quickly or standing for long periods has been found to be due to excess salts being excreted into the urine. One of the many functions of the adrenals is to control the amount of mineral salts excreted so as to maintain the correct balance of salts in the body. This function can be impaired. More details of this are given in the article on ME/CFS (chronic fatigue) linked at the bottom of this article. In fact, the overall feeling of energy and ability to expend energy is determined partly by the adrenal and thyroid glands. Adrenal fatigue is a very common condition, adrenals are effected by stress whether it be lifestyle stress or electromagnetic stress and eventually they drop down to a lower level of functioning.
Autoimmune Disorders: A failure to produce enough natural steroid hormones can disrupt the immune system and cause inflammation. In this situation the nutritional supplementation of sterols and sterolins can be very helpful, please see the remedy list below.
Arteriosclerosis: The adrenals are also related to hardening and congestion of the arteries, a major cause of death. Chronic stress causes excess release of cortisol and this tends to cause the clogging of the arteries. Vitamin C on a regular basis can help mitigate or prevent this congestion from occurring.
Chronic Adrenal Insufficiency: In some cases the adrenal glands have become so weak that they are over-sensitive to change. This means that any remedial input has to be held back to a slow pace (low doses/gentle remedies). For example if a person with chronic adrenal insufficiency takes a normal adult dose of Peruvian Maca, their energy could return quickly only to soon crash again. In these situations one has to proceed slowly and not use the most stimulating remedies early in therapy. Pollen is recommended as not only does it support the adrenals it is a balanced remedy of complete nutrition and does not specifically have hormone pre-cursors to boost the adrenals, never the less it really does help their recovery and in some cases may be all that is needed. The more advanced the adrenal insufficiency is the lower doses should be taken at first eg ¼ teaspoon a day (adult dose around one dessertspoon a day)
Estrogen and Progesterone in Women
A hormonal imbalance occurs as a reaction to the elevated level of estrogen and lowered level of progesterone within a woman's body. Estrogen is naturally produced by the ovaries and is the female hormone necessary for normal sexual development. It also works to regulate the menstrual cycle to prepare and maintain the body during childbearing years. Estrogen is dominant during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. Progesterone is dominant during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle by the corpus luteum, and is needed for implantation of the fertilized egg. Later in life, the ovaries begin to decrease their production of estrogen and progesterone, causing symptoms of hormone imbalance to develop. Estrogen dominance, in which there is too much estrogen relative to progesterone, can cause infertility, PMS, menstrual problems, abdominal weight gain, and possibly increased risk of breast cancer.
There are multiple causes for hormone imbalance, but the majority of cases are experienced due to estrogen dominance or increased amounts of estrogen in the body and not enough of progesterone. Common causes include birth control pills, stress, overuse of cosmetics, and non organic animal products. Other medical causes include genetics, obesity, and tumors. Other causes include lack of exercise, pregnancy, lactation, autoantibody production, and a sedentary lifestyle. Of all of these causes, obesity is the number one medical cause for hormone imbalance while pregnancy is the number one lifestyle change that causes the condition.
Menopause is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility, defined as occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period. It is the time in a woman's life when the ovaries stop producing eggs and the body doesn't produce the same amount of progesterone or estrogen. Menstruation is less frequent and eventually stops altogether. It is a biological process that is natural and is not a medical illness. Hormonal imbalance is the cause for the physical and emotional experiences associated with menopause. These symptoms include hot flushes, broken sleep patterns or insomnia, and changes in sexual response. There is no need for prevention of menopause, but there are steps that can be taken to prevent specific side effects.
Treatment for menopausal Hormone Imbalance
It is important to understand all the risks/side effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). We believe it is in all womens best interest to try natural supplementation before resorting to HRT, especially if the woman has a history of active or past breast cancer, blood clots, liver disease, pregnancy, or endometrial cancer. There are two main types of HRT. The first is estrogen replacement. It is available in tablet form, cream, or a patch. It is administered alone and is given in the lowest dose possible to relieve symptoms. The second type of therapy is a combination of estrogen and progesterone. It is commonly known as HRT combination therapy. These two hormones are given continuously for the shortest time possible to reduce the risk for possible side effects. Side effects of treatment include irregular spotting, breast tenderness, fluid retention, headaches, dizziness, and blood clots or stroke.
Alternatives to HRT
We advocate the use of natural products over HRT. Diet and exercise have also been proven effective against the symptoms of menopause. As the body goes through these changes, adjusting diet and a person's level of activity will promote healthy bones and reduce the risk of heart disease as well. To that end we provide a two step, implementation of supplements, plan below.
RN's Two Step Plan
Step One - Iodine & Vitamin D3
Whilst the introduction above focuses mainly on female hormonal imbalance, this two step plan is suitable for both sexes.
One of the most universal nutrient deficiencies is Iodine. A deficiency of Iodine effects not only the thyroid gland but also the adrenals, ovaries and testes. It is therefore a major factor in fertility and other hormonal problems. One of the most common reasons for fertility problems, such as failure to get pregnant and miscarriage, is simply a chronic Iodine deficiency. Merely by taking Seagreens (high Iodine seaweed) fertility problems may be resolved.
Note: Some people have high Iodine needs that are better resolved with Lugol's Iodine for a few weeks or months before moving on to the more holistic supplementation with Seagreens. Selenium may also be needed when supplementing with Iodine. We recommend reading the article, Iodine: Why we need it, linked at the end of this article.
Vitamin D3 supplementation is important in all programmes where adequate sunlight for natural Vitamin D production in the body is not available year round. Please refer to the full article linked at the end of this article for full details.
We suggest that 2-4 weeks of step one should be adherred to before starting with a selection from the supplements from step two
Step Two - Introduction of other supplements
Not all of the supplements in Step Two are needed. A selection of the two most personally suitable are usually enough, in addition to the supplements that are called for in Step One, which should be continued through step two.
The following supplements can all be useful in helping to normalise and balance the complex hormonal system.
All of the above are suitable for both sexes.
Brief lists of the benefits of each of the above supplements follow. We would recommend reading the full article about any of the products you are interested in. Links for each follow at the end of this article
Wild Mexican Yam: A wonderful herbal root. Calming, grounding. Good for nervous system. Very good for PMT and stress in pre-menstrual women. Relief can be felt within minutes of taking a few capsules. Helps DHEA production, a "master" hormone precursor. Yam has been traditionally used as a fertility tonic, but paradoxically large doses prior to the fertile time of the month may prevent conception, but don't rely on it ! Also used for menopausal problems. Yam helps to reduce excess oestrogen by stimulating the balancing hormone progesterone, and this is what is needed more frequently than oestrogen boost for menopausal and post menopausal imbalances. The Trobiand islanders, who attribute much of their radiant health to its regular consumption, regard it with reverence. Yam, like all super-foods, has a broad potential range of action, its sphere of action has a unique character, which differentiates it from other super-foods. Its main area of action is hormonal
Note: Wild Yam Helps to maintain a balance of hormones in the body and is beneficial for weak nervous systems, whereas the more stimulating Maca is often more suitable for the more robust.
Peruvian Maca: Treats male impotence & female infertility, Corrects female hormonal imbalances including menopause. The Indians who first used Maca believed it to be a significant fertility aid for both animals and humans; this explains why Maca is often described as an aphrodisiac. Maca offers a natural solution to symptoms to both PMS and menopause. European doctors have prescribed Peruvian Maca for more than a decade and have found it a more helpful remedy than synthetic western medicines. Peruvian Maca is growing in world popularity due to its energizing effects, fertility enhancement and aphrodisiac qualities.
Note: See Wild Yam note above
Liquorice Extract: Surprisingly one of the most important medicinal herbs on the planet. Liquorice acts on the adrenal glands to help restore the natural secretion of steroid hormones. The nutrients in Liquorice that aid in the restoration of adrenal gland function of natural steroid production are sterols and sterolins, nutritional precursors to steroids. Cautions for some people before using Liquorice (pregnancy or exceptionally high blood pressure) See article for full details.
Natur-Leaf: An alternative to Liquorice as a source of Sterols & Sterolins, although in some cases it may be less effective and in some cases more effective depending on the individual, this is a good source of Sterols and Sterolins for those who do not get on with Liquorice. Helps to balance the hormone system, Helps reduce the Cortisol/stress pathway, DHEA precursor.
Sterols and Sterolins help to normalise estrogen production (as a nutrient they will not contribute to excess estrogen, and studies indicate they have a tendency to help the immune system to help fight breast cancer). They may also, like Wild Yam, help to produce DHEA. Maintaining adequate DHEA levels is associated with general health and well-being into old age. Also, like Wild Yam, Sterols and Sterolins tend to reduce cortisol led stress reactions. In practice this can have the effect of helping to provide a calm state and lower stress levels, and improved sleep.
Wild Spanish Pollen: Possibly the finest plant substance in existence. A useful natural remedy for all deficient conditions, a prime rejuvenating agent, promotes longevity, restores the reproductive organs and promotes estrogen production. Pollen is a fine adrenal tonic, one of the reasons is it's Vitamin B5 content. It also tends to improve the health of male sperm, and has a general sexual re-vitalising effect.
Mistletoe Leaf: A calming tonic for the endocrine system that aids proper pancreas function, also provides menopausal and post menopausal help at the same time as calming the nerves. Useful for period problems too. Has a systemic action on the glandular system, helping to redress hormonal imbalances.
Noni Maui: Our primary reason for including Noni Maui in our range is for it's hormonal benefits with relation to disease prevention and body deterioration due to aging. We feel these are the strong points of this supplement. Noni is an outstanding 'medicinal food' and can play an important role in any regenerative programme. Noni acts, almost uniquely, on stimulating the endocrine glands to produce the secretions that are required for normalisation of health and metabolic function. One of the most important of these is the continued production of melatonin to ensure good sleep and repair into old age. Research reveals that Noni stimulates the pineal gland to release two crucially important hormones; serotonin and melatonin. The pineal gland can be viewed as the master gland that controls the five other glands below it. Therefore, by stimulating the pineal into seratonin and melatonin production there is a resultant benefit to all of the endocrine glands and their functions in the body. Noni also mimics the secretion coming from the pineal gland as well as acting as a precursor to it, so building it up and allowing it to function fully. Extracts of Noni have been shown to contain a naturally occurring component which activates serotonin receptors in the brain and throughout the body. Serotonin is a neuroendocrine compound which along with its receptors is found in high levels in the brain. Serotonin deficiency has been implicated in a number of pathological conditions including migraine headaches, obesity, depression and Alzheimer's disease.
Note: Noni may often be experienced as stimulating especially during any adaptation phase, whereas Mistletoe is more calming. So if the nervous system needs help and you are considering a choice between Mistletoe and Noni, then Mistletoe may be more appropriate, at least at first. Noni can be quite difficult to integrate into ones regime in the sense that it's energising qualities may lead to intermittent disturbed sleep and strong detoxification symptoms during the adaptation phase which may last one or two weeks. Initially, it may be better to limit intake to just one capsule daily, 5 days per week.
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