Best Supplements to Balance Hormones – Based on Scientific Evidence

Hormones are a topic that come up often as my clients try to get fit, lose weight, clear their complexion, or start their journey toward overall better health. As it turns out, hormones play a crucial role in all of these aspects of our health and their functions go far beyond these as well. But unfortunately, an estimated 80% of women suffer from hormonal imbalances while 43% of women say that their hormones have negatively impacted aspects of their life.

Even more alarmingly, an estimated 70% of women who have a hormonal imbalance are not aware that they do which can lead to the manifestation of more severe conditions such as PCOS.

Whether you have some of the common signs of hormonal imbalances (more on this later) or you just want to go the extra mile to make sure everything remains in check, this is the article for you. We will discuss how your hormones work, common imbalances and their symptoms, and the best supplements to balance hormones—based on clinical evidence.

In this article:

How our hormones work

Hormones are chemical messengers produced by the endocrine glands that travel through the bloodstream to various parts of the body. They play a vital role in regulating many bodily functions, including growth and development, metabolism, sexual function, and mood.

The endocrine system is made up of several glands, including the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, adrenal glands, pancreas, and gonads (ovaries or testes). Each gland produces specific hormones that target specific organs or tissues in the body.

Hormone production is regulated by a complex feedback system. The hypothalamus, a small region of the brain, produces certain hormones that stimulate or inhibit the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland, in turn, releases hormones that stimulate or inhibit the production of hormones by other endocrine glands.

For example, when blood sugar levels are low, the pancreas releases insulin to help cells take up glucose and bring blood sugar levels back to normal. When blood sugar levels are high, the pancreas releases glucagon to stimulate the liver to release stored glucose

The importance of balanced hormones

Hormone balance is important for overall health and well-being. Hormones play a crucial role in regulating many bodily functions, including growth and development, metabolism, sexual function, and mood.

When hormones are in balance, the body functions smoothly and effectively. However, when hormones become imbalanced, it can lead to a variety of health problems.

For example, an imbalance in thyroid hormones can lead to weight gain or weight loss, fatigue, and depression. An imbalance in estrogen and progesterone can lead to menstrual irregularities, infertility, and an increased risk of certain types of cancer. An imbalance in testosterone can lead to decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and osteoporosis.

Hormone imbalances can also affect mental health. For example, imbalances in serotonin, a hormone that regulates mood, can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.

Hormones interact with each other and work together in a complex feedback system to maintain balance in the body. When one hormone is out of balance, it can affect the production and function of other hormones.

For example, an imbalance in thyroid hormones can cause a cascade of changes in the body, including changes in metabolism, energy levels, and body temperature regulation. This can lead to imbalances in other hormones, such as cortisol, which is involved in the stress response.

Additionally, imbalances in one hormone can also cause imbalances in other hormones through indirect pathways, such as changes in the nervous or immune systems. For example, an imbalance in testosterone can lead to changes in sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and osteoporosis, but it can also cause an imbalance in other hormones such as growth hormone or insulin, which play a role in muscle mass, body composition and blood sugar regulation.

That’s why it’s important to address hormone imbalances as soon as possible to prevent them from causing further imbalances and complications.

What causes hormonal imbalance

here are several factors that can contribute to hormonal imbalances. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Aging: As we age, the endocrine glands may not produce as much of certain hormones, leading to imbalances. For example, estrogen and testosterone production decreases as we get older, which can lead to symptoms such as hot flashes and decreased sex drive.
  • Stress: Chronic stress can lead to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which can affect the production of other hormones.
  • Poor diet: A diet high in processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats can lead to imbalances in hormones such as insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels, and leptin, which regulates appetite.
  • Lack of sleep: Sleep deprivation can lead to imbalances in hormones such as melatonin, which regulates sleep, and cortisol, which regulates the stress response.
  • Environmental toxins: Exposure to environmental toxins, such as pesticides, heavy metals, and plastic chemicals, can disrupt the endocrine system and lead to hormonal imbalances.
  • Certain medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid disorders, can lead to hormonal imbalances.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as birth control pills, can affect hormone levels.

How to tell if you have a hormonal imbalance

There are a variety of symptoms that may indicate a hormone imbalance. However, some symptoms can be caused by other conditions, so it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Some common symptoms of hormonal imbalances in women include:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Heavy or light periods
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Hair loss
  • Acne

Some common symptoms of hormonal imbalances in men include:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Low sex drive
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Difficulty gaining muscle
  • Hair loss
  • Enlarged breast tissue (gynecomastia)

Some common symptoms of hormonal imbalances that can affect both men and women include:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Difficulty gaining weight
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Dry skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss

Most common hormonal imbalances in women

There are several hormonal imbalances that are common in women. Some of the most common include:

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): This is a condition in which the ovaries produce too much androgen, a male hormone. It can lead to irregular periods, acne, weight gain, and difficulty becoming pregnant.
  • Thyroid disorders: The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can lead to weight loss, anxiety, and a rapid heartbeat. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and depression.
  • Menopause: As women age, the ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone, which can lead to hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS): This is a group of symptoms that occur before a woman’s period. It can include bloating, breast tenderness, mood swings, and headaches.
  • Estrogen dominance: This condition occurs when there is an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone. It can lead to heavy periods, breast tenderness, and mood swings.
  • Adrenal fatigue: The adrenal glands produce hormones that help the body cope with stress. When the adrenal glands become fatigued, it can lead to fatigue, difficulty losing weight, and a decreased sex drive.

Most common hormonal imbalances in men

There are several hormonal imbalances that are common in men. Some of the most common include:

  • Testosterone deficiency: This is a condition in which the body doesn’t produce enough testosterone, which can lead to decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depression, and osteoporosis.
  • Hypogonadism: This is a condition in which the testes don’t produce enough testosterone. It can lead to infertility, decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and muscle weakness.
  • Thyroid disorders: The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can lead to weight loss, anxiety, and a rapid heartbeat. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and depression.
  • Adrenal fatigue: The adrenal glands produce hormones that help the body cope with stress. When the adrenal glands become fatigued, it can lead to fatigue, difficulty losing weight, and a decreased sex drive.
  • Pituitary disorders: The pituitary gland produces hormones that regulate the production of other hormones. When the pituitary gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, it can lead to a decrease in testosterone production, which can cause symptoms such as decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction.

Best supplements to balance hormones

There are several supplements that have been studied for their potential to help balance hormones. While these supplements may be beneficial for hormone balance in some individuals, more research is needed to confirm their effectiveness for hormone balance in a general population and to establish the optimal dosage and duration of treatment. Also, supplements may interact with some medications and have potential side effects.

The best hormone balance supplements also depend on the type of hormonal imbalance. Additionally, certain vitamins (those that are fat-soluble) can accumulate in the body and lead to toxicity. While daily supplementation of these supplements are considered safe, it’s best to consult with a medical professional before introducing any new supplement to your diet.

Magnesium

some individuals. Magnesium plays a role in the production of hormones and also in the metabolism of hormones and their receptors. The studies suggest that magnesium may help balance hormones by:

  • Improving insulin sensitivity: Magnesium plays a role in insulin signaling, and studies have found that magnesium deficiency is associated with insulin resistance, which can contribute to imbalances in hormones such as insulin.
  • Regulating the menstrual cycle: Magnesium has been found to be involved in the regulation of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that play a role in the menstrual cycle. Studies have found that magnesium supplementation may help reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and regulate menstrual cycles in women with heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • Improving testosterone levels: Studies have suggested that magnesium supplementation may help improve testosterone levels in men with low levels of the hormone.
  • Reducing inflammation: Magnesium plays a role in the regulation of inflammation, and studies have found that magnesium deficiency is associated with increased inflammation. Inflammation can affect hormone balance by altering the production of hormones and their receptors.

Probiotics

Clinical research has found that probiotics may be beneficial for hormonal balance in some individuals. Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that can help regulate the gut microbiome, which plays a role in the production and metabolism of hormones. A probiotic supplement can be taken as supplements or be found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi and kombucha. Consuming them in small amounts can also be beneficial for gut health.Studies suggest that probiotics may help balance hormones by:

  • Regulating estrogen levels: Some studies have found that probiotics may help regulate estrogen levels in the body, which can help balance hormones and prevent imbalances.
  • Improving insulin sensitivity: Probiotics have been found to improve gut health, which in turn can improve insulin sensitivity, which can help balance hormones such as insulin.
  • Regulating stress response: Probiotics have been found to modulate the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis, which is involved in the stress response and the production of stress hormones such as cortisol.
  • Improving thyroid function: Some studies have found that probiotics may help improve thyroid function by regulating the gut microbiome, which can help balance hormones such as thyroid hormones.

Vitamin D

Clinical research has found that vitamin D may be beneficial for hormonal balance in some individuals. Vitamin D plays a role in the regulation of hormones and their receptors. The studies suggest that vitamin D may help balance hormones by:

  • Regulating estrogen and testosterone levels: Studies have found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with imbalances in estrogen and testosterone levels, and that vitamin D supplementation may help improve these levels.
  • Improving insulin sensitivity: Studies have found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with insulin resistance, and that vitamin D supplementation may help improve insulin sensitivity and balance hormones such as insulin.
  • Regulating the menstrual cycle: Vitamin D has been found to be involved in the regulation of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that play a role in the menstrual cycle. Studies have found that vitamin D supplementation may help regulate menstrual cycles in women with heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • Reducing inflammation: Vitamin D plays a role in the regulation of inflammation, and studies have found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased inflammation. Inflammation can affect hormone balance by altering the production of hormones and their receptors.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Clinical research has found that omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial for regulating hormone levels in some individuals. Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties and can modulate the production of hormones and their receptors. Some studies suggest that omega-3s may help regulate hormone levels by:

  • Reducing inflammation: Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties and have been found to modulate the production of hormones involved in inflammation such as prostaglandins.
  • Improving insulin sensitivity: Omega-3s have been found to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, which can help regulate hormones such as insulin.
  • Regulating the menstrual cycle: Omega-3s have been found to modulate the production of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that play a role in the menstrual cycle. Studies have found that omega-3 supplementation may help regulate menstrual cycles in women with heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • Improving mental health: Omega-3s have been found to modulate the production of hormones involved in mental health such as serotonin, which can help regulate mood and prevent imbalances.

Ashwaganda

Clinical research has found that ashwagandha, an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine, may be beneficial for regulating hormones in some individuals. Ashwagandha is known to have adaptogenic properties and can help the body adapt to stress. Some studies suggest that ashwagandha may help regulate hormones by:

  • Regulating cortisol levels: Ashwagandha has been found to reduce the production of cortisol, a hormone involved in the stress response. High levels of cortisol can disrupt other hormone levels, so reducing cortisol levels can help regulate hormone balance.
  • Improving thyroid function: Ashwagandha has been found to improve the function of the thyroid gland, which produces hormones that regulate metabolism.
  • Improving sperm quality: Ashwagandha has been found to improve sperm quality and testosterone levels in men with infertility.
  • Improving insulin sensitivity: Ashwagandha has been found to improve insulin sensitivity, which can help regulate hormones such as insulin.

Zinc

Clinical research has found that zinc may be beneficial for hormone regulation in some individuals. Zinc is a mineral that plays a role in the production, metabolism, and action of hormones. Some studies suggest that zinc may help regulate hormones by:

  • Regulating testosterone levels: Zinc is required for the production of testosterone, and studies have found that zinc deficiency is associated with low testosterone levels. Zinc supplementation has been found to improve testosterone levels in men with low levels of the hormone.
  • Regulating insulin levels: Zinc plays a role in insulin metabolism and studies have found that zinc supplementation may help improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, which can help regulate hormones such as insulin.
  • Regulating the menstrual cycle: Zinc plays a role in the regulation of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that play a role in the menstrual cycle. Studies have found that zinc supplementation may help regulate menstrual cycles in women with heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • Regulating growth hormone: Zinc plays a role in the regulation of growth hormone, and studies have found that zinc supplementation may help improve growth hormone levels in children with growth disorders.

Maca

Maca, also known as Lepidium meyenii, is a root vegetable that is commonly used to improve hormone balance and overall wellness. Maca has been traditionally used in Peruvian medicine for centuries, and scientific research has been conducted to evaluate its effectiveness for hormone balance.

Some studies suggest that Maca may help balance hormones by:

  • Regulating estrogen levels: A few studies have found that Maca may help regulate estrogen levels in women, which can help balance hormones and prevent imbalances.
  • Improving sexual function: Some studies have found that Maca may help improve sexual function in men and women, which may be related to its effects on hormone balance.
  • Improving mood: Some studies suggest that Maca may have an effect on the levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which can help improve mood and prevent imbalances.

B Vitamins

Clinical research has found that B vitamins may be beneficial for hormone balance in some individuals. Vitmain B play a role in the production, metabolism, and action of hormones. Some studies suggest that B vitamins may help regulate hormones by:

  • Regulating estrogen levels: B vitamins, especially B6, B12 and folate, may help regulate estrogen levels, which can help balance hormones and prevent imbalances.
  • Improving insulin sensitivity: B vitamins, especially B1, B3, and B6, may help improve insulin sensitivity, which can help regulate hormones such as insulin.
  • Regulating mood: B vitamins, especially B12, B6, and folate, may help regulate mood by modulating the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which can help prevent imbalances.
  • Regulating the menstrual cycle: B vitamins, especially B6 and folate, may help regulate the menstrual cycle by modulating the levels of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone.

Iodine

Clinical research has found that iodine may be beneficial for hormone regulation in some individuals. Iodine is a mineral that plays a role in the production of hormones by the thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism. Some studies suggest that iodine may help regulate hormones by:

  • Regulating thyroid function: Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism. Iodine deficiency can lead to an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) and an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) which can disrupt other hormone levels.
  • Improving insulin sensitivity: Iodine plays a role in insulin metabolism, and studies have found that iodine supplementation may help improve insulin sensitivity, which can help regulate hormones such as insulin.
  • Regulating the menstrual cycle: Iodine plays a role in the regulation of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that play a role in the menstrual cycle. Studies have found that iodine supplementation may help regulate menstrual cycles in women with heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • Regulating growth hormone: Iodine plays a role in the regulation of growth hormone, and studies have found that iodine supplementation may help improve growth hormone levels in children with growth disorders.

Disclaimer: I am a certified nutrition coach and personal trainer, not a registered dietician or physician. The information in this post are meant to be for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Please consult a licensed professional for specific dietary guidance

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