If you want to discover the best hormone-balancing supplements for weight loss that I recommend as a Registered Dietitian, then you are in the right place! In this post, you will understand different hormones and their functions, causes, and signs of hormonal imbalance and the best hormone-balancing supplements if you are trying to lose weight.
- What are hormones and what is hormone imbalance?
- Natural ways to help balance your hormones
- Hormone Balance Tips for Optimal Weight Loss
- Boosting Your Metabolism for Weight Loss
- The Best Hormone-Balancing Supplements for Weight Loss
- Bottom Line
- FAQ: Best Hormone-Balancing Supplements for Weight Loss
What are hormones and what is hormone imbalance?
Hormones are chemical messengers produced by the endocrine system that regulate and coordinate various physiological processes including your metabolism and reproductive system.
Hormonal imbalance is a common condition that affects many women and it occurs when the delicate balance of hormones in the body is disrupted. It can lead to a variety of symptoms and health issues, including body weight gain, mood swings, low energy levels, and more.
The good news is you can test for hormonal imbalance. Some common tests used to assess hormonal balance include testing the thyroid hormones (TSH, T3, T4), reproductive hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone), adrenal hormones (like cortisol), and others depending on the suspected imbalance and your specific symptoms. Of course, speaking to your doctor first is a great place to start to determine which test is best for you.
Causes of Hormonal Imbalance
- Age and life stages: Hormonal fluctuations commonly occur during pivotal life stages like puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause, menopause, and in postmenopausal women. These natural transitions can significantly impact hormone levels and trigger imbalances.
- Medications and treatments: Certain medications, including hormonal contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, and specific cancer treatments, can interfere with normal hormone levels and cause imbalances.
- Chronic stress: Prolonged stress disrupts the balance of hormones in the body, particularly cortisol, the primary stress hormone.
- Lack of sleep: Inadequate sleep or poor sleep quality interferes with the production and regulation of hormones, including those involved in appetite control, metabolism, and stress response.
- Poor diet choices: Consuming a diet high in ultra-processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and lacking essential nutrients contributes to hormonal imbalances. Nutritional deficiencies impact hormone production and function.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Physical inactivity and a lack of regular exercise affect hormone levels, including insulin and cortisol. Insufficient physical activity may lead to weight gain and metabolic disturbances.
- Excessive body fat: Scientific evidence has shown that carrying excessive body fat increases the production of certain hormones from fat cells, leading to disruptions in appetite regulation, metabolism, and insulin sensitivity.
- Estrogen dominance: Estrogen dominance is the condition of increased estrogen levels relative to progesterone levels in the body. Estrogen dominance may be the result of the overproduction of estrogen by the body, changes in estrogen metabolism and excretion, or an imbalance in the estrogen-to-progesterone ratio. There are health conditions that are thought to be associated with or exacerbated by estrogen dominance, including breast and uterine cancers, fibroids, endometriosis, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Part of the treatment may be hormone therapy.
Signs of Hormonal Imbalance
Recognizing the signs of hormone fluctuations is crucial for optimizing your health. Here are some common signs that may indicate hormonal imbalances:
- Irregular menstrual cycle: Hormonal imbalances can cause irregular, heavy, or painful periods, affecting women’s health.
- Mood swings and irritability: Fluctuating hormones can lead to sudden changes in mood, intense PMS symptoms, and hot flashes resulting in irritability, anxiety, or depression.
- Vaginal dryness: Vaginal dryness is a common symptom associated with hormonal imbalance, particularly a decrease in estrogen levels. Estrogen plays a vital role in maintaining the health and lubrication of vaginal tissues. Menopausal symptoms include vaginal dryness.
- Fatigue and low energy levels: Persistent fatigue and low energy, despite sufficient rest, may be indicative of hormonal imbalances.
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight: Hormonal imbalances can disrupt metabolism, leading to unexplained weight gain or difficulties in shedding excess weight.
- Low libido: Hormonal fluctuations can impact sexual desire and performance, affecting one’s libido.
- Skin problems: Hormonal imbalances may contribute to skin issues like acne breakouts, excessive oiliness, or dryness.
- Hair loss or excessive hair growth: Hormonal disruptions can result in hair thinning or loss, as well as unwanted hair growth in certain areas.
- Sleep disturbances: Hormonal imbalances can disrupt sleep patterns, causing insomnia, restless nights, and night sweats.
- Digestive issues: Hormones play a role in digestion, and imbalances can contribute to symptoms such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.
- Changes in appetite: Hormonal imbalances may trigger fluctuations in appetite, leading to changes in eating patterns.
Natural ways to help balance your hormones
Before we discuss dietary supplements that may help balance hormones, let’s quickly talk about some lifestyle changes you can prioritize first.
- Evaluate your lifestyle. It all starts here. Assess factors like your diet, stress levels, sleep quality, and physical activity. Making positive changes to maintain a healthy lifestyle can have a significant impact on hormonal balance.
- Adopt a balanced diet. Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods that support hormone production and regulation. Include a variety of fruits, leafy greens, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats in your meals.
- Manage stress. Adopt stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or engaging in hobbies that promote relaxation. Reducing stress levels can positively influence healthy hormone levels.
- Regular exercise. Engage in regular physical activity to promote hormone balance. Incorporate a mix of cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and flexibility exercises into your routine for optimal results.
- Sleep 7-9 hours. When you’re sleeping, the body produces and releases growth hormone. This is essential for tissue repair, muscle growth, and overall development. Sleep also regulates the balance between the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which control hunger and satiety. This in turn influences appetite and weight management.
Hormone Balance Tips for Optimal Weight Loss
When it comes to achieving optimal weight loss, maintaining hormone balance is crucial for the best results. Here are some top tips to promote hormone balance and support your weight loss journey:
- Prioritize a nutrient-rich diet.Focus on consuming whole, unprocessed foods that provide essential nutrients for hormonal health. Include plenty of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains in your meals. Read more here: The Best Macros for Weight Loss Female: Healthy Fat Loss
- Manage stress levels: Chronic stress can disrupt hormone balance and hinder weight loss efforts. Incorporate stress management techniques such as reading, exercise, meditation, deep breathing.
- Get quality sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Sufficient sleep plays a vital role in hormone regulation, metabolism, and appetite control.
- Incorporate regular exercise: Engage in a combination of cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Regular physical activity helps optimize hormone levels and supports weight loss efforts.
- Limit ultra-processed foods and sugars: ultra-processed foods and excessive sugar intake can disrupt hormone balance and contribute to weight gain. Opt for whole, nutrient-dense foods and minimize your consumption of sugary and highly processed foods.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking an adequate amount of water helps support overall health, including hormone balance. Aim to drink enough water throughout the day to stay properly hydrated.
Boosting Your Metabolism for Weight Loss
Let me start by saying that there is A LOT of misinformation on the internet about boosting your metabolism. However, there are a handful of things you can do to help increase your resting metabolic rate. In other words, burn more calories while you’re at rest.
- Prioritize strength training: Incorporate strength training exercises into your routine. Building lean muscle mass helps increase your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This allows you to burn more fat cells even at rest.
- Increase protein intake: the body uses more energy to break down and absorb protein compared to the other macronutrients. This is known as the thermic effect of food. Protein has a thermic effect of about 20-30%, while carbs have 5-10% and fat has 0-3%. Additionally, protein is made up of amino acids that play an important role in muscle building and maintenance.
- Stay active throughout the day: Incorporate movement into your daily routine. You can do this by taking frequent breaks to stretch, walk, or do light exercises.
- Don’t skip meals: Making sure you are eating enough (especially whole foods) throughout the day helps keep your metabolism active. However, it is important to focus on overall healthy eating including protein, fiber, and healthy fats to fuel your body effectively.
- Get enough sleep: Sufficient and high-quality sleep is crucial for regulating hunger and fullness hormones. Inadequate sleep has been linked to increased appetite.
- Eat earlier in the day: Studies suggest that consuming more calories earlier in the day can potentially improve metabolism. This is because our metabolic rate appears to be more active in the morning and early afternoon. Eating earlier in the day has been associated with better blood sugar control, lipid levels, weight loss, and overall regulation of appetite and metabolism.
The Best Hormone-Balancing Supplements for Weight Loss
If you feel like your diet may be lacking in certain nutrients, then choosing some “natural supplements” may have a positive impact. I say “natural supplements” because the supplements listed below are naturally occurring in foods. However, they are ones that are commonly deficient even when following a generally healthy diet. Reminder to speak to your health care provider before taking any supplements.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s help reduce chronic inflammation, regulate hormone production, and support a healthy metabolism. Incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into your diet can contribute to improved insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for maintaining stable blood sugar levels and preventing hormonal imbalances that can lead to weight gain. Additionally, omega-3s have been associated with increased feelings of fullness and reduced appetite, which can support weight management efforts.
To obtain omega-3 fatty acids, you have several options. One way is to consume fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout, which are rich sources of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), two important types of Omega-3 fatty acids. Alternatively, you can incorporate plant-based sources of omega-3s into your diet, such as olive oil, flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts.
The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with improved heart health, reduced inflammation, enhanced brain function, and decreased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Magnesium is crucial for hormone balance and weight loss due to its essential role in numerous bodily functions. This mineral helps regulate hormone production, including insulin and thyroid hormones in the pituitary gland. These are involved in metabolism and weight management. Adequate magnesium levels can enhance insulin sensitivity, supporting stable blood sugar levels and preventing insulin resistance, a common factor in weight gain and hormonal imbalances.
To increase your magnesium intake, you can incorporate magnesium-rich foods into your diet and take a supplement. Excellent dietary sources include dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Another option is to consider magnesium supplements, which are available in various forms such as magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate. My favorite way to take it is in powder form from Moon Juice.
In addition to hormone balance and weight loss, magnesium has other beneficial effects including improving bone health, muscle function, and relaxation, alleviating stress, and improving sleep quality. Magnesium also plays a role in energy production and aids in the synthesis of DNA and proteins.
Vitamin B plays a crucial role in hormone balance and weight loss due to their involvement in energy metabolism and hormone synthesis. They help convert food into energy, which is vital for maintaining a healthy metabolism and supporting weight management. B vitamins, such as B6, B12, and folate, are particularly important for hormone production and regulation. They help maintain optimal levels of hormones involved in metabolism, such as insulin and thyroid hormones.
Good dietary sources of B vitamins include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, leafy greens, and whole grains. Fortified breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast are also good sources of B vitamins. If needed, you can consider B vitamin supplements, which are available in various forms like capsules or tablets.
Apart from hormone balance and weight loss, B vitamins offer several benefits. They support brain function, help maintain a healthy nervous system, and contribute to red blood cell production. B vitamins also play a role in DNA synthesis and repair. By incorporating B vitamin-rich foods and/or supplements into your routine, you can promote hormone balance, support weight management efforts, and enjoy the overall health benefits these vitamins provide.
This fat-soluble vitamin is involved in regulating several hormones that impact metabolism, including insulin, leptin, and cortisol. Adequate levels of vitamin D support insulin sensitivity, helping to maintain stable blood sugar levels and prevent hormonal imbalances that can lead to weight gain. Vitamin D also aids in regulating leptin, a hormone that influences appetite, food cravings, and metabolism, thereby supporting weight management efforts. Additionally, vitamin D3 contributes to the modulation of cortisol, a stress hormone that, when imbalanced, can contribute to weight gain.
The best way to obtain vitamin D is sunlight. Spending time outdoors in sunlight helps the body synthesize vitamin D. However, it may be challenging to get sufficient sun exposure, especially in certain climates, during the winter months or if you’re like me and you drench yourself in sunscreen. Therefore, incorporating vitamin D-rich foods like salmon, mackerel, sardines, egg yolks, fortified dairy products, and fortified plant-based milk alternatives is important. If you are deficient, then definitely start taking vitamin D3 supplements. They are available in various forms, such as capsules or liquid drops.
Zinc plays a crucial role in the production and regulation of a variety of hormones, including insulin, thyroid gland hormones, and key sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen. It supports the balance of these hormones, ensuring optimal testosterone levels in males and estrogen levels in females. Adequate zinc levels promote the synthesis and regulation of these sex hormones, contributing to overall hormone balance and supporting various physiological processes related to reproductive health, metabolism, weight management and your immune system.
Additionally, zinc plays a role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, contributing to a healthy metabolism and weight management. It also helps regulate appetite, supporting a balanced and controlled approach to food intake.
Rich food sources of zinc include oysters, red meat, poultry, seafood, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Additionally, dairy products like milk and cheese can contribute to your zinc intake.
Probiotics are beneficial for hormone balance and weight loss due to their impact on the gut microbiota, which plays a crucial role in hormonal regulation, metabolism, and overall health. These beneficial bacteria can help maintain a healthy balance of hormones, including insulin, cortisol, and leptin, which are involved in metabolism and appetite control. By supporting a healthy gut microbiome, probiotics can contribute to improved hormonal balance, which is essential for weight management.
Incorporate probiotic-rich foods into your diet like fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. These foods contain live strains of beneficial bacteria that can support your gut health.
Taking probiotic supplements may also be beneficial. I personally take one every morning. My favorite is the Synbiotic+ from Ritual. Use code Use code AYAT20 for 20% off your first month. When choosing a probiotic supplement, look for one that contains a variety of strains and has a high number of live cultures.
Vitamin C is beneficial for hormone balance and weight loss due to its role in supporting adrenal gland function and reducing oxidative stress. The adrenal glands produce hormones like cortisol, which play a crucial role in stress response and metabolism. Vitamin C helps regulate cortisol levels, promoting hormone balance and preventing imbalances that can contribute to weight gain. Additionally, vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from damage caused by oxidative stress.
Excellent dietary sources include citrus fruits (such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons), berries (such as strawberries and blueberries), kiwi, papaya, pineapple, cruciferous vegetables, and bell peppers. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C. It’s important to note that vitamin C is sensitive to heat, so consuming raw or lightly cooked foods preserves its content. Most multivitamins will also contain adequate levels of vitamin C.
Even though we discussed the best hormone-balancing supplements for weight loss, it is important to remember that it is one part of a healthy lifestyle. Optimizing hormone balance, eating a healthy diet, exercising, managing stress, and sleeping well are all important aspects of living a healthy life and achieving your weight loss goals. Adding specific supplements, such as magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin D3, zinc, probiotics, vitamin K, and omega-3 fatty acids, can help fill in gaps in your diet and help your body function properly. I do believe in a food-first approach before reaching for supplements. As always, if you believe you have a hormonal imbalance, speak to your doctor first to get tested and treated.
FAQ: Best Hormone-Balancing Supplements for Weight Loss
Vitamins play a crucial role in supporting hormonal balance. Certain vitamins, such as vitamin D, vitamin B6, and vitamin E, have been shown to have positive effects on hormone regulation. These vitamins aid in the production, synthesis, and metabolism of hormones, contributing to overall hormonal balance in the body.
Combining supplements can be beneficial, but it is important to exercise caution and consult with a healthcare professional before doing so. Certain supplements, when taken together, may interact or have cumulative effects. It is advisable to seek guidance from a healthcare professional who can assess your individual needs, existing health conditions, and medication regimen to determine the appropriate combination of supplements for you.
It is highly recommended to speak with a doctor or healthcare professional before using any supplements, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications. A healthcare professional can evaluate your specific situation, provide personalized advice, and ensure that the supplements are safe and appropriate for you. They can also consider potential interactions with your current medications and help you determine the correct dosage and duration of use for optimal results and safety.
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