Natural Alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy
Jun 11, 2009 Veronica Timpanelli
Concern over the possible side effects (cancer and cardiovascular disease) of hormone replacement therapy has prompted many to consider natural alternatives.
Petrochemical-based xenoestrogens can be found in many things we come into contact with on a daily basis. They show up in our fuels, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, plastics, clothing, personal care products, and more.
Synthetic estrogens are used to fatten cattle and poultry, and other meat-producing animals, and also to increase milk and egg production.
Many illnesses and diseases have been attributed to hormonal imbalance. Hormone imbalance can cause decreased antibodies and lowered immunity and lead to conditions such as acne, migraines, infertility, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and obesity, among others.
There are a multitude of different hormones in the human body and any number of hormones can become depleted or out of balance in both men and women but the three most commonly noted are estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone.
Estrogen dominance is connected to many conditions such as hair loss, fibrocystic breasts, uterine fibroids, acceleration of the aging process, breast cancer, polycystic ovaries, mood swings, osteoporosis, uterine cancer, memory loss, endometrial cancer, bone loss, PMS, low sex drive, allergies, thyroid dysfunction, water retention, weight gain, irregular periods, high blood pressure, blot clots, and headaches.
Low testosterone can cause fatigue, loss of lean muscle, fat accumulation, increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and possibly prostate cancer.
Testosterone levels can be boosted by adding more omega 3 fatty acids like fish oil, and also adding more zinc (brazil nuts, oysters, oats, peanuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, rye, split peas, organic beef, organic turkey, eggs) and magnesium: green vegetables such as spinach and some beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and whole, unrefined grains. (Refined grains are generally low in magnesium due to the processing. Bread made from whole grain wheat flour provides more magnesium than bread made from white, refined flour. Also note that “hard” water usually contains more magnesium than “soft” water.)
To promote progesterone production it helps to increase Vitamin C (citrus, red chili peppers, red peppers, red cabbage, guava, rose-hips) and zinc (brazil nuts, oysters, oats, peanuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, rye, split peas.)
Estrogen dominance can also cause of hypothyroidism. The crucial nutrient for thyroid hormone synthesis in the body is iodine. Herbal supplements like kelp are a rich source of natural iodine. Natural, unrefined sea salt is also a good source of natural iodine. Peas are also rich in iodine.
Black cohosh is a traditional remedy and was used by Native Americans for various ills from fever and rheumatism to menstrual cramps and snake bites. It has come into wider use worldwide to ease hot flashes and other symptoms of hormonal imbalance. In clinical studies it delivered better results than many conventional therapies such as hormonal drugs and antidepressants in alleviating hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal atrophy, depression, and anxiety.
Red Clover is also used for various conditions as well as to regulate hormones and to reduce hot flashes. Its isoflavones are natural hormones and it is high in nutrients.
Wild yam has been used as a progesterone enhancer. It, too, is nutrient-rich and multi-purposed.
Getting enough natural sunlight and sleeping in total darkness at night helps hormone production. Daily exercise aids in restful sleep. Reducing stress and practicing conscious relaxation techniques, yoga, and meditation also helps to bring hormone levels into balance.