By: Bridgit Danner
You don’t have to suffer from PMS or irregular menstrual cycles. There are natural ways you can boost hormonal health!
For you to have a healthy cycle, that is timely, fertile, painless, and PMS-free, you need to nourish the glands of your endocrine system, which make your female hormones.
Your adrenal glands make DHEA, a precursor to estrogen. Your ovaries are the main producer of estrogen, at the signal of the hypothalamus/pituitary gland. Progesterone is made mainly by the corpus luteum, which arises in the ovary after ovulation.
In this article, I’ll discuss some of my favorite supplements for hormonal health, some of which can be safely purchased over the counter, and others which you could consider under care of an herbalist, naturopath, functional medicine practitioner or acupuncturist.
Adaptogens are an amazing class of herbs that help you literally adapt to mental or physical stress. They include maca, ashwagandha, rhodiola, schisandra, tulsi (holy basil), panax ginseng and eleuthero.
They can help you adapt to stresses such as a change of climate, but can also help you face life’s daily changes without your body taking a hit. (1)
In the hormone world, they can really raise DHEA, the precursor hormones to testosterone and estrogen. I have seen this in the results of labs I’ve run, and clinically with women feeling better more energy, a greater sex drive and increased fertility.
Adaptogens often come mixed together in a tincture or capsule. Tulsi is pretty easy to find in tea from, and has a nice, mild taste. You can even grow it in your garden.
Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids
The lowly vitamin C is actually a power player for our adrenal glands. It is needed to make all our steroid hormones (including progesterone, estrogen and testosterone.)
Sufficient vitamin C helps give you a healthy stress response(2). If you have too little vitamin C, you can release excess cortisol, and then you may make less sex hormones. That high cortisol hanging around can also interfere with your sex hormones attaching correctly to their receptor sites.
I love squeezing a whole or half lemon into water and optionally adding a little liquid stevia as an afternoon pick-me-up. Peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts are other great sources.
In a supplement form, it’s important to choose a vitamin C that includes bioflavonoids (3). (compounds naturally found in plants, fruits and flowers.) You may see ‘bioflavonoids’ listed or quercitin, or sometimes I see rosehips added for a whole food bioflavonoid option.
When bioflavonoids are included, this allows your body see the vitamin C supplement as more of a food and assimilate it better.
You can ask your practitioner if taking 1,000 – 3,000 mg per day is safe for you.