How to Restore Hormonal Balance for Improved Fertility
Research conducted by Trost (1) and associates suggested that approximately 15% of all the couples experience some form of difficulty in conception. In about 50% cases, the deficit is treatable and preventable with merely lifestyle modification and dietary regulation. Research indicates that factors like exposure to oxidative stress, obesity, dietary deficiencies and other factors can lead to fertility problems in both males and females due hormonal irregularities (1)
What are Hormones?
Hormones are special biological chemical messengers that are responsible for the regulation of vital functions such as growth, metabolism, sexual behavior, maintenance of balance in electrolytes and nutrition. Hormones are produced in small quantities in the blood stream and an excess or deficiency can lead to disorders of severe nature. Fertility and reproductive functions are controlled by a wide variety of hormones such as thyroid, insulin, growth hormones, epinephrine in addition to sex hormones (estrogen, LH, FSH and progesterone in females or testosterone, GnRH and LH in males)
Hormones play a crucial role in the optimal regulation as well as maintenance of physical health. Any imbalance in the serum level of endocrine hormones can lead to serious biological irregularities such as impaired immunity, acne, hirsutism, kidney dysfunction, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, endometriosis and impaired fertility. It has been observed that lifestyle and dietary changes can greatly influence hormonal secretion or metabolism.
Tips to Help Keep Hormones in Natural Balance
- Watch your fat intake: fats are the building blocks of cell and nuclear membranes. In addition, fatty acids also serve as the raw material for the synthesis of enzymes and neurotransmitters to conduct important activities in the cell. Healthy quantities of fats are required for normal growth or metabolism. However, it is very important to avoid unhealthy fats such as polyunsaturated fats (usually found in synthetic oils such as vegetable oil, peanut oil and soya bean oil). These oils provide the unhealthy variety of fats to the tissues for biological activities leading to diseases and disorders culminating in PCO’s, endometriosis and cancers. This is mainly because our body is made up of monounsaturated and unsaturated fats. Good sources of fats include fish oil, olive oil and untreated butter.
- Limit your Caffeine intake: Caffeine provides a boost to certain hormones in our body that instantly release energy and makes you feel active and vibrant. It does this by activating your brain through the stimulation of certain receptors. However, too much consumption of caffeine can result in the disruption of biochemical balance of hormones and can lead to acute or chronic health issues that may eventually alter hormonal secretion or activity. It is imperative to keep in mind that there are many healthy alternates to caffeine such as green tea, uncaffeinated/decaffeinated tea. Likewise, limiting the coffee intake to no more than 2 cups per days is also helpful in restoring hormonal balance.
- Pollutants: Pollutants such as pesticides, detergents and other synthetic chemicals can lead to hormonal imbalance upon chronic exposures. These chemicals are also incorporated in your diet with the use of ‘wrong utensils’ such as plastics, metal coated pans and other forms of coating. Using glassware cookeries and incorporating organic meat in diet are healthy alternatives that can play a vital role in decreasing the exposure to toxins and restoring hormonal health (3).
- Adequate sleep: Healthcare providers recommend that 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is extremely important in keeping the biological system in balance. Your body runs on a natural system that dictates the wake and sleep cycle, (also known as ‘biological clock’, which works in a close synchronization with the hormonal system). Any disturbance in the sleep pattern will subsequently disturb the hormonal balance that can compromise your sexual function and/ or fertility.
- Dietary supplements: Apart from a healthy diet, it is necessary to add certain supplements that help your body function efficiently and smoothly. The sexual function boosting supplements include calcium, magnesium, omega-3-fatty acids, vitamin D and other fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, K and E. They micronutrients serves as co-factors that are helpful in removing the toxins from your body and enhance the cellular functions.
Study published in peer reviewed journal Male Infertility (1) suggested that several other micronutrients can influence male fertility; such as:
“Nutrients demonstrating potential benefits with male fertility include alpha-lipoic acid, anthocyanins, l-arginine, astaxanthin, beta-carotene, biotin, l-acetyl carnitine, l-carnitine, cobalamin, co-enzyme Q10, ethylcysteine, folic acid, glutathione, inositol, lycopene, magnesium, N-acetyl cysteine, pentoxifylline, phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors, polyunsaturated fatty acids, selenium, Vitamins A, C, D, and E, and zinc, among others”
- Exercise: Healthy exercise or workout regimens are required to maintain normal blood circulation across all segments and tissues of your body. In addition, research suggests that exercise potentiates the release of growth hormone and growth factors that consequently stimulate reproductive hormones to enhance fertility. Various experimental studies have proved that exercise stimulate the production of reproductive hormones by increasing the blood flow to gonads. Last but not the least, exercise reduces the physical and emotional stress which directly boost sexual activities and fertility.
- Stimulating the body to release good hormones: It is extremely important for aging or obese individuals to keep their metabolic system stimulated. With physiological aging, the natural biological activities slows down and thus you may require much stronger stimulation to release essential growth factors and hormones to maintain steady reproductive functions. Most efficient strategies include weight lifting, swimming and long distance running. It is however, necessary to seek professional help and gradually build on to a routine.
- Incorporate coconut oil in your diet: Coconut oil is perhaps one of the best sources of healthy fats that are required for the synthesis of steroids (sex hormones).
- Leptins: Also known as, the satiety hormone is responsible for cholesterol distribution in the body. It alters your hunger and energy consumption to maintain fat regulation and consumption in your body. It is important to keep your leptins under strict control.
- Trost, L. W., Gudeloglu, A., Ko, E. Y., & Parekattil, S. J. (2014). The Importance of Diet, Vitamins, Malnutrition, and Nutrient Deficiencies in Male Fertility. InMale Infertility(pp. 61-82). Springer New York.
- Delimaris, I., & Piperakis, S. M. (2014). The Importance of Nutritional Factors on Human Male Fertility: A Toxicological Approach. Journal of Translational Toxicology, 1(1), 52-59.
- Nieuwenhuijsen, M. J., Basagaña, X., Dadvand, P., Martinez, D., Cirach, M., Beelen, R., & Jacquemin, B. (2014). Air pollution and human fertility rates. Environment International, 70, 9-14.