by Dr. Will Cole
The most important fact we need to know about the body is that every part is connected. Your hormones are responsible for weaving every system together in order to function optimally. They act as messengers sending instructions to different areas of your body and this hormonal dance regulates everything from your weight, digestion, mood, and more.
Your brain starts by telling each piece of your endocrine system how to work:
- Gastrointestinal tract
- Ovaries or testicles
Just like with most every other part of your body, balance is key when it comes to happy hormones. When they are too high or too low you can experience a wide range of symptoms such as:
- Weight gain
- Digestive problems
- Low libido
- Hair loss
- Skin problems
- Hot flashes
- Trouble staying warm
In mainstream medicine there are standard labs that are run for hormone health. If your results are outside of the “normal” range you are usually given either a pill or hormone cream. If you are still experiencing symptoms but your results are in what they deem as the “normal” range you are sent on your way. Their advice? “Just lose weight” or “you’re just getting older.”
Needless to say it can be frustrating to know how to start treating these symptoms. Here’s the bad news: I have rarely, if ever, seen hormone imbalances solved by a pill. This is because there are so many different factors that can contribute to imbalances:
- Methylation impairments like MTHFR and COMT
- The gut-brain axis
- Toxin overload
- Nutrient deficiencies
- High levels of inflammation
- Chronic stress
It’s easy to want to turn to Dr. Google for answers but we all know he is a fickle man. Since it is difficult to know what advice is actually useful I will give you one easy action step to start bringing balance to your hormones. My secret weapon? Adaptogens.
These plant and herbal medicines have a balancing effect on every system of your body including your brain, inflammation levels, and hormones. Research has shown that adaptogens can help to:
- Lower cortisol levels
- Alleviate depression and anxiety
- Regenerate brain cells
- Protect the liver
- Balance the immune system
- Decrease fatigue
This super easy change is easy to integrate into your life and are like a shot of zen to your thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormones. Some of my favorites include shisandra, ashwaghanda, maca, holy basil (tulsi), chaga, and lion’s mane. These are some of the ways I include them into my daily life:
1. Add them to your favorite recipes
Adaptogens can be found in powdered form making it easy to add to your favorite soup recipes. Add them to baked goods or toss alongside other seasonings when roasting veggies.
2. Make adaptogenic elixirs and tonics.
The powders are easily dissolvable in smoothies and can be combined to make powerful healing teas.
3. Eat them whole.
Adaptogenic mushrooms can be eaten whole. I like to sauté them with onions and garlic and serve alongside a piece of grass-fed steak.
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