Every once in a while clients ask me to recommend some supplements to alleviate their symptoms of hormonal imbalance and help them lose weight. I first insist that they get their lifestyle and diet in check before we discuss any supplements. If diet, sleep, stress, and exercise are not optimized we have not done the most important work. When my client has made progress in these areas I do have a few suggestions for supplements with data to back up possible benefits. Here are some that may result in improvements depending on individual cases, some of these I use myself.
Selecting a fiber blend to add to smoothies or sprinkle on yogurt will help your liver move out excess estrogen, improve digestion and elimination, and create a feeling of bulk in the stomach which may result in some weight loss. We only consume an average of 12 to 14 grams of fiber and we need to bump that up to 35 to 45 grams. Now be warned, you need to do this gradually – maybe adding about 5 grams a day from plant foods and supplements – or your digestive system will complain to you. I’ve linked to the fiber supplement I use because of the combination of different plant fibers it contains.
This peruvian root is a good source of iron, vitamin C, and copper. It has been used to treat anemia and chronic fatigue syndrome, and may enhance energy, stamina so you can beat your personal best in your sport of choice.
An adaptogenic herb that’s used in Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha helps manage stress and anxiety associated with hormonal imbalance by lowering cortisol levels and balancing thyroid hormones. If you are suffering with insulin resistance this supplement may balance blood sugar levels.
Add some ground flaxseed to your diet and you’ll help improve digestion, cardiovascular health, cholesterol, hormone balance, and decrease risk of breast cancer all in one spoonful. These little seeds come in dark brown or golden varieties and are a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Be sure to buy them fresh as whole seeds, store them in the refrigerator, and grind small batches to match your use. The oil in flaxseeds is sensitive to heat and may get rancid if kept on the counter for too long.
DIM supplements have been shown to inhibit the development of some forms of cancer and support healthy estrogen metabolism. 3,3′ diindolylmethane (DIM) is synthesized in the digestive tract from indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a substance that occurs naturally in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Stomach acids convert I3C to diindolylmethane. While you can eat more Brassica vegetables to naturally supplement your diet with DIM, you’d have to consume 2 pounds of vegetables a day to get sufficient doses to experience the beneficial effects.
First of all, get your vitamin D level checked. It may very well be low and that’s not good because vitamin D deficiency is related to so many health concerns – heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, depression, thyroid problems, immune function — even weight loss. If both Vitamin D and estrogen levels are low, as may be the case in perimenopause and menopause, osteoporosis is a big risk. A study by scientists at the University of Massachusetts found that a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can help control some symptoms of hormonal imbalance, such as tearfulness, anxiety, and irritability. There are 3 ways to increase low levels – spend some time outside, eat foods containing vitamin D (there aren’t too many), or take a good quality supplement.