Declining hormone levels is a natural process as we age that may lead to fatigue, weight gain, insulin resistance, elevated cholesterol and reduced quality of life. We’re familiar with the importance of maintaining healthy levels of hormones, insulin, and cholesterol, but did you know that there is a close relationship between all three of these?
Time and time again I see perimenopausal and postmenopausal women that suddenly find their insulin and cholesterol levels elevated, creating an inflammatory response.
Cholesterol and Hormones:
Cholesterol is needed to make both sex and adrenal hormones. If you have low cholesterol, your body isn’t able to transport hormones efficiently. and as hormones decline, the body produces more cholesterol to help produce more hormones. Therefore cholesterol levels increase as hormones decrease.
Insulin and Hormones:
Having a balance of hormones helps lower insulin. Excess estrogen can increase cortisol and therefore insulin. In addition, having too little progesterone can have the same effect. Too much cortisol and insulin floating around in your body is a huge problem. It can result in hormone resistance, inflammation, anxiety, and mostly commonly, weight gain.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) can be used to treat men and women as their hormone levels decline or become unbalanced. Bioidentical progesterone, estrogen and testosterone are some of the hormones that are often used in treatment and are chemically identical to hormones the human body produces. By balancing these levels, insulin and cholesterol levels will stabilize, lowering inflammation and improving quality of life.
BHRT can ease menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms such as:
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Low sex drive
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Memory loss
- Loss of muscle mass
BHRT has been shown in research to not only improve quality of life but also the following:
- Protect your heart
- Protect your bones
- Promote lean muscle mass
- Decrease visceral fat
- Promote healthy skin
A few dietary and habitual steps you can take to balance hormone levels are:
- Incorporate protein, complex carbs and good fats into your meals and snacks.
- Include 6-8 servings of a wide variety of vegetables in your meals, especially those that are bright in color.
- Consume 25 grams or more of fiber daily
- Go lightly on fruits and avoid high glycemic fruits such as bananas, figs, raisins, dates, oranges and grapefruits.
- To stabilize blood sugar throughout the day, eat breakfast before 10am, lunch before Noon, a snack between 2-3pm, with dinner between 5-6pm.
- Manage stress: yoga, meditation, do something that gives you joy
- Sleep 8 hours a nightThe Standard American Diet (SAD) has a huge impact on overall health, especially in regards to insulin over-production. Because of a poor diet consisting mostly of simple carbs (soda and fast food), cells become resistant to insulin. The simple carbs convert into an excessive amount of glucose, and the glucose turns into more insulin than the body wants.
It’s always a good idea to check your hormone, cholesterol, and insulin levels every year to ensure you are balanced.
Dr. Melanie MacLaren, ND and her supervising doctor, Dr. Scott Nall use a combination of a healthy diet, supplementation and if a good fit, bioidentical hormones. Contact us to start balancing your hormones today.