Healthy Hormones: Natural Is Nice

By Ann Vlass Naturopathic Doctor and Medical Scientist

In recent years we have come to realise the risks involved with hormone replacement therapy, oral contraceptive pills, fertility drug treatments and other forms of synthetic hormones and hormonal administration. Because there are so many different hormones circulating about the body, supplementation of just one or two hormones causes an imbalance and side effects do occur.

Consequently, many of us are now looking to so-called “natural” ways to enhance the biochemical pathways that promote the production of hormones in our body.

Ann Vlass gives our RESCU readers an example hormone and how we can NATURALLY increase its levels in the body, without all the harmful side effects.

DHEA

DHEA is produced by the adrenal glands and is a precursor of both testosterone and oestrogen as well as a regulator of our hormone pathway. It is promoted as anti-aging, energy and libido enhancing, fat burning, cancer preventative, improves female vaginal dryness/ tissue atrophy, protects against cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

Synthetic DHEA is not the same as your own endogenous DHEA, and there are many negative side effects associated. This is what the medical profession prescribes. It’s important to note that synthetic DHEA is a combination of synthetic chemicals that are toxic to the body, and these toxins can be stored in the body tissue for long periods.

So what are some alternative ways to improve NATURAL DHEA levels in the body? 

1. Reduce refined carbohydrates in your diet. 

Human studies have shown that a decrease in carbohydrate consumption, which leads to lower blood sugar levels, increases DHEA in the body.

2. Eat good quality fats and calorie restriction.

DHEA, like all our steroidal pathway (sex) hormones, is made from cholesterol and your body uses fat to make cholesterol. So eat plenty of good quality fats from grass fed beef, cod liver oil, flaxseeds, cold water fish, walnuts, wild yam, soy (in forms of tofu and tempeh are healthiest) and extra virgin olive oil.

The increase in good fats in the diet, make us feel less hungry and we will calorie restrict as a consequence. Studies in primates have shown that a restricted diet in calories will actually increase DHEA.

3. Meditate.

Stress increases the hormone cortisol, which decreases blood levels of DHEA. Recent research performed by Dr. Vincent Giampapa, M.D., a prominent anti-aging researcher and past-president of the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine, revealed that regular deep meditation (slower Alpha and Theta brainwave patterns) dramatically affects production of DHEA.

4. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight.

People who maintain a healthy body mass index between 19 and 25 have the highest blood levels of DHEA. Some women, who are overweight, and have the ‘apple-shape’ body, are prone to a hormonal endocrine disturbance known as polycystic ovarian syndrome, which can be associated with elevated DHEA.

5. Sleep. 

Schedule downtime in your life; something we have to learn to do these days with the age of technology and information ‘overload’. The aim is to get between 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night, and get adequate levels of sunlight during the day to engage our body’s natural day-night biorhythms. Interestingly, an increase in plasma concentrations of DHEA can be seen during the winter months.

6. Exercise at least 3 x weekly.

We all know the benefits of exercise. Exercise regularly, as exercise has been show to increase DHEA levels in men and women, and will elevate moods while you are at it. How good is that!

To find a complementary healthcare practitioner and learn more about good hormone health visit www.tellmeabouthormones.com.au  

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