08 Oct What Vitamins Help Balance Hormones
Hormone imbalances occur throughout a person’s life because of normal processes, diseases, stress and dietary deficiencies. As in many conditions a change in one area of the body affects other areas as well. When discussing the subject of vitamins it is important to know that the best source of the nutrients the body needs is the diet. However, we all know that our diets are not perfect so we often look for supplements to take up the slack.
Vitamins are substances which are required for various functions in the body and cannot be made by the body itself. We need to have them in our diet or in supplement form or our bodies suffer from less than optimal health. The functions these vitamins perform vary greatly and include the production and maintenance of hormones.
There is a documented decrease in the levels of 6 nutrients for women taking oral contraceptives. These include folic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, vitamin B-12, vitamin C and zinc. Most doctors recommend that women taking these Birth Control tablets take a multi-vitamin daily to counteract these deficiencies.
Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) is characterized by various mood and physical issues in menstruating women. The usual cause is that the body stops ovulating at some point and thus stops producing progesterone. Many times the body is still making the estrogen required for the cycle but since there is no ovulation, there is not much progesterone produced. If severe enough the woman can treat the problem with progesterone, but before that is tried, there are multiple vitamin and mineral supplements proven to help. Calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-6 and vitamin E (natural form) have shown good effect in some women.
For true menopause, the B-Vitamins B-12 and B-6, along with Vitamins A and D are helpful. Vitamins A, D and B-12 are involved in bone formation while vitamin B-6 is involved in the making of serotonin in the body. Deficiency could cause lower levels of serotonin and contribute to mood swings and depression which are common at this point of life. Vitamin E as an antioxidant can reduce oxidative stress and could reduce depression. In these cases, the vitamins are not truly balancing hormones, but they can reduce or eliminate some of the symptoms of low estrogen.
For men, deficiencies of some vitamins and minerals can directly contribute to the loss of testosterone production, leading to low testosterone and sometimes to elevated estrogen. Vitamin A is stored (along with other places) in the testes and is required for production of the testosterone. Vitamin D has also been shown to increase testosterone levels. Vitamin B-Complex (which is basically all the known B-vitamins combined) is involved in both the production of testosterone and the regulation of energy production in the body. Vitamin C helps protect the testosterone molecule from destruction. Some of you may know that zinc boosts the immune system but it is also involved in the regulation of the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is responsible for the breakdown of testosterone into the primary human estrogen estradiol, so deficiency could also decrease testosterone and at the same time increase estrogen levels in men.
We see from this information that even though the body can survive without proper levels of vitamins, it will not be at peak efficiency unless those nutrients are available. We are most healthy when the body has vitamins in the proper amounts.