Hormonal problems are becoming more common in the U.K. in both men and women. Sperm count is at an all-time low, many couples are struggling with fertility, and some hormone-related cancers are also on the increase.
All these factors suggest that something in our lifestyle and diet is interfering with good, natural hormone function and balance. This can lead not only to diseases and diagnosed health conditions such as endometriosis and PCOS, but also to more day-today problems with the female cycle, such as bad PMS or PMT, or irregular, heavy or especially painful periods.
A nutritional assessment can help in very many cases: for example, a study showed an 85% success rate for nutrition where infertility is concerned. Specific nutrients such as zinc and vitamin B6 are vital for both male and female hormones, but often these are low in the modern diet or poorly absorbed through a bad digestive process. In the case of zinc, for example, an imbalance with the mineral copper can reduce the effectiveness of the zinc, which is vital also for prostate function. Tests can detect such imbalances.
Many people are eating a diet which contains too many “hormone-bending” chemicals from the pesticides in non-organic food, excess sugar or insufficient soluble fibre. In women, this can lead to the very common phenomenon known as “Oestrogen Dominance”, where oestrogen is too high relative to progesterone, affecting the female cycle, fertility and miscarriage risk.
Acute or chronic stress, or simply a very busy lifestyle, can produce too much of the adrenal hormone cortisol, which can have a knock-on effect on female hormones, testosterone and thyroid function. The hormones for stress, sex, thyroid and blood sugar are all linked through the hypothalamic pituitary axis (HPA), which is why the hormonal problem Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) starts with blood sugar issues.
Thankfully, there are often easy steps that can be taken to correct things through a shift in dietary intake, and if necessary tests that can highlight specific underlying causes of individual problems.