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Nutrition and Sex Hormone Balance


Written by Dr. Chris Smith, Updated on November 21st, 2020
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Smart Eating and healthy nutrition are crucial to maintaining optimal sex hormone balance. Both men and women rely on specific hormones to maintain a healthy physical, mental, and sexual vitality.

Testosterone is associated with men. Estrogen and Progesterone are associated with women. While each sex depends on higher concentrations of their dominant hormones, they also rely on smaller concentrations of the hormones related to the opposite sex.

Primary Sex Hormones

Sex hormones are usually built out of cholesterol molecules. The endocrine cascade which revolves around these hormones is quite complex and involves several contributing peptides and hormones.

DHEA is a precursor hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, which leads to the production of Estrogen and Testosterone. Scientists are still learning more about the various other functions of DHEA.

Testosterone is the prototypical male hormone produced by the testes. In women, the hormone is produced in small amounts by the ovaries. It helps modulate muscle mass, bone mineral density, body fat, and libido.

In men, Testosterone contributes to sperm production. In women, Testosterone plays a contributory role in ovarian function.

Estrogen is released by the ovaries in women. In men, estrogen is produced by fat cells and the adrenal glands.

Estrogen is critical to the menstrual cycle and contributes to bone health and lactation. For men, Estrogen contributes to sperm production and erectile function.

Progesterone is produced by both sexes, but in higher concentrations in women. Progesterone works with Estrogen to control menstruation. The central function of the hormone is to ready the uterus for a healthy pregnancy.

In men, Progesterone helps prevent feminization associated with circulating Estrogen. Both sexes produce some Progesterone from the adrenal glands and the rest from their respective sex organs.

Nutrition that Promotes Estrogen Balance

For feminine hormones, phytonutrients are the name of the game. Phytonutrients are associated with fruits and veggies with bright and vibrant colors.

Some key vitamins are B12, B6, and Folate. Furthermore, these foods should also get you the selenium, magnesium, and zinc that you need.

Broccoli, collards, cauliflower, and green tea are also excellent options that are phytonutrient-rich. Sulfur is also essential and is available in exceptional concentrations in legumes, beans, shallots, and onions.

It's also important to get lots of healthy fats and proteins from seafood, turkey, chicken, or responsible consumption of beef. There's some evidence that certain botanical supplements can be beneficial, including ginseng, black cohosh, and vitex.

Nutrition that Promotes Testosterone Balance

Lean protein and healthy fats are effective at helping men sustain healthy Testosterone Levels. Omega-3 Fatty Acids provide the building blocks for Testosterone in abundance. Coldwater fish like sardines, mackerel, and salmon provide high Omega-3 concentrations.

Other good sources include plant oils, nuts, and seeds. Flax Seed, in particular, is excellent. Flavonoid compounds also offer stellar support, along with green tea.

Men should also focus on getting plenty of fiber from both soluble and insoluble sources. Other nutrients that play an influential role in male hormone balance include Vitamin E, D, and A, along with Selenium and Zinc.

Be Conscious of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals to Protect Hormone Balance

There are a number of chemicals that negatively impact hormone production and balance. Conscientious choices can limit exposure to these chemicals.

Prioritize non-toxic cleaning products. BPA is a particularly common Endocrine Disrupting Chemical that folks should be aware of, especially parents. Canned foods often use BPA in their inner coating, and heat can cause BPA to leach into food/drink.

There are several other EDCs that can lead to issues in aggregate, including phthalates, pesticides, phytoestrogens, and dioxins.

It's impossible to avoid these chemicals completely, but just a bit of forethought can dramatically decrease the risks associated with them.

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