Ask the Practitioner: 3 Habits That Can Mess With Women’s Hormones–and how to better balance them

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Courtney Jonson L.Ac., FM Practitioner

What do TSH, vitamin D (yup) and estrogen have in common? These hormones and many others play an important role in how you function and go about your day. Did you know that an imbalance of hormones could impact your weight loss, longevity, sleep, and even mood? We asked WellnessFX practitioner, Functional Medicine Practitioner, and Licensed Acupuncturist, Courtney Jonson to weigh in.

Courtney Jonson is a preventative healthcare practitioner and is available for WellnessFX consults in California.

FAQ: What are some common lifestyle and nutrition habits that you’ve seen have a negative impact on women’s hormones?

1. Poor blood sugar control.

When we don’t manage our blood sugar, our adrenal glands compensate by secreting cortisol. Cortisol is the body’s back-up plan when sugar is needed to keep the brain and organ systems working. Unfortunately, cortisol demands contribute to something called the “pregnenolone steal.”  Under stress (blood sugar spiking up and down), the body prefers cortisol production at the expense of making hormones.”

related reading: “Your Ultimate Cheat Sheet to Understanding Blood Sugar”

2. Poor detoxification of hormones.

“There is no escaping the burden of absorbing exogenous hormones from our environment. If we don’t pay attention to the foods we eat, the products we put on our skin, and the cleaning supplies we use in our homes and workplaces, we will undoubtedly be augmenting the amount of hormones we are asking our bodies to clear. Minimizing exposure to unhealthy hormones in our conventional meat supply, in our skincare and make-up, and in other household products is our first line of defense. Check out the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) for more information on how to reduce your exposure.”

3. Not eating enough fat.

“We, as women, have been freaked out about fat since the 1980’s. In truth, we get our hormones from fat!  If we don’t continually offer ourselves healthy nourishing fats, we lack the building blocks of hormones.  To make matters worse, fat offers us a sense of satiety.  When we skip the fat or go low-fat, we are often left “still hungry” which can lead to over-eating protein and carbohydrates.”

FAQ: “How Can I Balance My Hormones Better?”

“The most critical step in balancing hormones is managing your carbohydrate tolerance.  You should not feel hungry between meals nor should you crave sugar after you eat. A higher fat/ lower carbohydrate diet is a good strategy to help improve your carbohydrate tolerance. How low your carbohydrate levels need to be will vary from person to person and depend on a variety of things including your genetics, exercise levels and current weight.”

Consider this formula for building carbohydrate tolerance:

Meal = Pick a clean protein, a healthy fat, an above-ground vegetable, and a spice.

  • Clean proteins include:  fish, chicken, grass-fed beef, lamb, turkey, eggs
  • Healthy fats include:  grass-fed butter, ghee, olive oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, flaxseed oil, avocados, raw nuts & seeds
  • Vegetables:  cruciferous vegetables (great for balancing hormones!), green leafy vegetables, asparagus, squash, zucchini, artichokes, yams, sweet potatoes

Related reading: 6 Important Truths About Carbs & Which Ones You Should Eat

About Courtney Jonson, L.Ac., FM Practitioner
Practice & Philosophy
I practice a new model of medicine, sometimes referred to as “functional” or “systems” medicine. Functional medicine is neither conventional nor alternative medicine. It’s a combination of the best elements of both, and it represents the future of medicine. Functional Medicine is “investigative” and treats symptoms by addressing the underlying cause of the problem which leads to more profound and longer lasting results. I believe strongly that the body works in concert, with one system affecting the rest. Understanding how to treat the body as an interconnected whole and recognizing the importance of these connections in health and disease are my priorities. Treatment often includes nutritional medicine, dietary strategies, and lifestyle therapies.

How WellnessFX Can Help

WellnessFX provides personalized advice from health professionals, via 1-on-1 consultations done over the phone. After you review your lab results as a WellnessFX member, you have access to our network of licensed health practitioners for an in-depth interpretation of your biomarkers. From women’s health to endurance training to weight loss, a consultation is an opportunity to leverage the data that’s now in your back pocket and identify potential health risks or areas of improvement.

The benefits of a consultation with any of our nutritionists, registered dietitians or physicians, are getting recommendations based on your unique biomarkers.

Consultations can be purchased as part of select bundled packages or on their own. If you’re not sure if you want one, you can always wait until you get your results to decide. Still overwhelmed? Don’t forget, we understand it can be hard to make changes, so our practitioners work with you to create realistic recommendations that fit your lifestyle.

To see all the bells and whistles that come with a WellnessFX consultation + tips on getting the most out of your consult, check out 5 Tips For Getting the Most Out of Your WellnessFX Consultation.

Regular blood screening is crucial for understanding your hormones, tracking progress, and measuring your associated risk, to hopefully stop a problem before it becomes a problem. Once you have the information, you can make educated, informed choices that fit your body’s specific and unique needs, from nutrition and lifestyle changes to hormone and risk monitoring.

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The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.