13 Research-Backed Supplements for Hormone Balance

Hormonal imbalance is a common health concern that affects millions of people worldwide. It can manifest in various ways, from mood swings and weight gain to more severe conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid disorders. These imbalances often lead to symptoms such as fatigue, skin issues, irregular menstrual cycles, and fertility problems.

While lifestyle changes and medical treatments are crucial, dietary supplements also significantly regulate hormones. This article will delve into the top research-backed supplements that can help balance your hormones, addressing conditions ranging from PCOS to menopausal symptoms. We’ll explore the scientific evidence behind each supplement’s efficacy and how it can contribute to hormonal harmony.

Understanding Hormonal Imbalance

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers, controlling numerous bodily functions such as growth, metabolism, mental health, and reproduction. A hormonal imbalance occurs when there’s too much or too little hormone in the bloodstream. Common causes include stress, poor diet, lack of physical activity, certain medications, and genetics.

These imbalances can have wide-ranging effects on the body, leading to symptoms like weight changes, mood swings, fatigue, and fertility issues. Diagnosis typically involves blood tests to check hormone levels. Maintaining a balanced diet, regular physical activity, managing stress, and addressing genetic factors can all contribute to better hormonal health.

How can I balance my hormones naturally?

Balancing hormones naturally involves adopting healthy lifestyle habits. A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats can support hormonal health. Regular physical activity can also help regulate hormone levels.

Stress management through meditation or yoga is another crucial aspect, as chronic stress can disrupt hormonal balance. Additionally, specific herbal remedies and natural supplements can also aid in maintaining hormonal harmony.

Can Supplements Fix Hormonal Imbalance?

From a scientific standpoint, leveraging natural supplements can effectively restore hormonal balance, alleviate symptoms, and enhance overall quality of life. Extensive research supports the benefits of probiotics, B vitamins, and herbal formulas, offering valuable assistance in realigning your hormones for optimal well-being.

However, it’s critical to understand that hormone balance supplements are not magic bullets, and their effectiveness can vary between individuals based on numerous factors. There’s a common misconception that supplements alone can rectify a hormonal imbalance, but this often isn’t the case.

Supplements should be part of a broader, personalized treatment plan encompassing lifestyle changes and potentially other medical treatments. Consult with healthcare providers before incorporating supplements into your regime, as they can provide guidance based on your unique health profile.

Which are the Best Supplements to Balance Hormones?

Magnesium

Magnesium is essential for energy production, nervous system function, blood pressure regulation, and blood sugar control. Research shows that combining magnesium with zinc can benefit women with PCOS. [1] Additionally, studies suggest that magnesium may help reduce anxiety symptoms in individuals with anxiety disorders, PMS, and hypertension. These findings highlight the importance of considering magnesium supplementation for overall well-being. [2]

B Vitamins (B12, B6, B3)

The versatility of B Vitamins is truly remarkable, given their numerous functions in the body. Research suggests that combining amino acid supplements with B vitamins can effectively alleviate symptoms of skin aging and menopause, offering potential relief. [3]

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D supplementation can improve PMS symptoms and is vital for women’s health, including estrogen regulation. [4] Studies indicate that Vitamin D influences the enzyme aromatase, which converts androgens to estrogens, via calcium metabolism. This suggests Vitamin D has a prominent role in managing serum estrogen levels. [5]

Zinc

Zinc supplements have been found to influence the metabolism of thyroid hormones, and are beneficial for women with PCOS, helping to reduce excess hair growth, lower blood sugar, and combat insulin resistance. Research indicates that daily zinc doses can improve metabolism, alleviate symptoms like alopecia and hirsutism, lower plasma MDA levels, and potentially enhance fertility.[6][7].

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is known for reducing anxiety and stress, improving sleep quality, and enhancing hormonal balance, including sexual function. Research suggests it can benefit menopausal women by increasing estrogen levels and reducing certain hormones, thus improving their overall quality of life. [8]

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea, a herb containing the compound Salidroside, helps balance cortisol levels and reduce anxiety. It’s known to alleviate fatigue, stress, and depression symptoms, and has the ability to lower cortisol during high-stress periods. Research also suggests its potential anti-estrogenic properties. [9][10]

Probiotics

Probiotics, the beneficial gut bacteria, are vital for a healthy body and overall well-being. They are essential for optimal endocrine health as an imbalance can disrupt hormone regulation, including estrogen levels. Research shows that altering gut bacteria composition can influence metabolism and alleviate estrogen-related diseases. [11]

Fish Oil (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)

Fish oil’s fatty acids can affect neurotransmitters, possibly impacting menopausal symptoms. Research shows that soybean and fish oil improve these symptoms without altering triglycerides, total cholesterol, or TSH levels. [12] Omega-3 supplements can help alleviate premenstrual symptoms and enhance women’s quality of life. [13] However, the effectiveness depends on the quality of the fish oil product, as many available on the market are of poor quality and may be rancid.

Selenium

Selenium, an essential mineral, is crucial for thyroid hormone production, antioxidant activity, and immune function. Studies have shown that selenium supplementation can reduce thyroid antibody levels, increase serum selenium and selenoproteins, and potentially improve fertility in women with low selenium levels. [14][15]

Fenugreek

Fenugreek has been found to positively impact PCOS patients, enhancing aspects such as body weight, ovary size, hormone balance, menstrual regularity, and hair growth. [16] It can also boost free testosterone, estrogen levels, and sexual arousal. [17]

Maca

Maca is a proven natural remedy that enhances libido and sexual function. [18] It also effectively helps alleviate menopausal symptoms such as anxiety and depression, as shown in a study that demonstrated a decrease in hot flash frequency and intensity. Maca offers an appealing alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy for early-postmenopausal women, reducing the need for hormonal therapy programs. [19][20]

Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is a well-regarded supplement in North America for women experiencing menopause, PMS, period cramps, and irregular periods. It has been proven to relieve hot flashes and night sweats effectively. Contrary to previous beliefs, this supplement is not estrogenic but works on the brain through serotonin, dopamine, and opioids. [21]

Chaste Tree (Chaste Berry, Vitex)

Chaste Tree, a flowering plant, offers relief for premenstrual syndrome. Scientific studies have revealed that its active ingredient, Vitex agnus-castus, can effectively alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes, irritability, bloating, sleep disruptions, mood disorders, depression, and cramping. By acting on the pituitary gland, Chaste Tree increases luteinizing hormone (LH) production, stimulating ovulation and boosting progesterone levels. [22]

Conclusion

Millions of people worldwide deal with hormonal imbalances, which can lead to a range of health concerns. While changes in lifestyle and medical treatments are primary approaches, dietary supplements also play an essential role in maintaining hormonal balance. While these evidence-backed supplements benefit hormone regulation, always consult your healthcare provider before introducing any new supplement into your regimen to ensure it’s appropriate for your unique health needs.

REFERENCES:

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[7] Jamilian M, Foroozanfard F, Bahmani F, Talaee R, Monavari M, Asemi Z. Effects of Zinc Supplementation on Endocrine Outcomes in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2016 Apr;170(2):271-8. doi: 10.1007/s12011-015-0480-7. Epub 2015 Aug 28. PMID: 26315303.

[8] Gopal S, Ajgaonkar A, Kanchi P, Kaundinya A, Thakare V, Chauhan S, Langade D. Effect of an ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) root extract on climacteric symptoms in women during perimenopause: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2021 Dec;47(12):4414-4425. doi: 10.1111/jog.15030. Epub 2021 Sep 22. PMID: 34553463.

[9] Payman Hanifi Moghaddam, Leen J. Blok, F. Heidy Van Wijk, Helenius J. Kloosterboer, Curt W. Burger; Effects of tibolone treatment on human endometrial cell lines and tissues. Cancer Res 1 April 2004; 64 (7_Supplement): 663.

[10] Ivanova Stojcheva E, Quintela JC. The Effectiveness of Rhodiola rosea L. Preparations in Alleviating Various Aspects of Life-Stress Symptoms and Stress-Induced Conditions-Encouraging Clinical Evidence. Molecules. 2022 Jun 17;27(12):3902. doi: 10.3390/molecules27123902. PMID: 35745023; PMCID: PMC9228580.

[11] Baker JM, Al-Nakkash L, Herbst-Kralovetz MM. Estrogen-gut microbiome axis: Physiological and clinical implications. Maturitas. 2017 Sep;103:45-53. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2017.06.025. Epub 2017 Jun 23. PMID: 28778332.

[12] Purzand B, Rokhgireh S, Shabani Zanjani M, Eshraghi N, Mohamadianamiri M, Esmailzadeh A, Alkatout I, Gitas G, Allahqoli L. The comparison of the effect of soybean and fish oil on supplementation on menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2020 Nov;41:101239. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2020.101239. Epub 2020 Sep 18. PMID: 32979708.

[13] Behboudi-Gandevani S, Hariri FZ, Moghaddam-Banaem L. The effect of omega 3 fatty acid supplementation on premenstrual syndrome and health-related quality of life: a randomized clinical trial. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2018 Dec;39(4):266-272. doi: 10.1080/0167482X.2017.1348496. Epub 2017 Jul 14. PMID: 28707491.

[14] Hu Y, Feng W, Chen H, Shi H, Jiang L, Zheng X, Liu X, Zhang W, Ge Y, Liu Y, Cui D. Effect of selenium on thyroid autoimmunity and regulatory T cells in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: A prospective randomized-controlled trial. Clin Transl Sci. 2021 Jul;14(4):1390-1402. doi: 10.1111/cts.12993. Epub 2021 Apr 9. PMID: 33650299; PMCID: PMC8301566.

[15] Lima LG, Santos AAMD, Gueiber TD, Gomes RZ, Martins CM, Chaikoski AC. Relation between Selenium and Female Fertility: A Systematic Review. Rev Bras Ginecol Obstet. 2022 Jul;44(7):701-709. English. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-1744288. Epub 2022 Jun 3. PMID: 35668679.

[16] Singh A, Gainder S, Banerjee P, Goel A, Kumar P, Mondal B, Banik SP, Bagchi D. Efficacy of a Proprietary Fenugreek Seed Extract (Trigonella foenum-graecum, Furocyst®) in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. J Am Nutr Assoc. 2022 Oct 11:1-9. doi: 10.1080/27697061.2022.2126410. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36219198.

[17] Rao A, Steels E, Beccaria G, Inder WJ, Vitetta L. Influence of a Specialized Trigonella foenum-graecum Seed Extract (Libifem), on Testosterone, Estradiol and Sexual Function in Healthy Menstruating Women, a Randomised Placebo Controlled Study. Phytother Res. 2015 Aug;29(8):1123-30. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5355. Epub 2015 Apr 24. PMID: 25914334.

[18] Gonzales GF, Córdova A, Vega K, Chung A, Villena A, Góñez C, Castillo S. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Andrologia. 2002 Dec;34(6):367-72. doi: 10.1046/j.1439-0272.2002.00519.x. PMID: 12472620.

[19] Meissner HO, Mscisz A, Reich-Bilinska H, Kapczynski W, Mrozikiewicz P, Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska T, Kedzia B, Lowicka A, Barchia I. Hormone-Balancing Effect of Pre-Gelatinized Organic Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon): (II) Physiological and Symptomatic Responses of Early-Postmenopausal Women to Standardized doses of Maca in Double Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Multi-Centre Clinical Study. Int J Biomed Sci. 2006 Dec;2(4):360-74. PMID: 23675005; PMCID: PMC3614647.

[20] Meissner HO, Mscisz A, Reich-Bilinska H, Mrozikiewicz P, Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska T, Kedzia B, Lowicka A, Barchia I. Hormone-Balancing Effect of Pre-Gelatinized Organic Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon): (III) Clinical responses of early-postmenopausal women to Maca in double blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled, crossover configuration, outpatient study. Int J Biomed Sci. 2006 Dec;2(4):375-94. PMID: 23675006; PMCID: PMC3614644.

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[22] Ibrahim NA, Shalaby AS, Farag RS, Elbaroty GS, Nofal SM, Hassan EM. Gynecological efficacy and chemical investigation of Vitex agnus-castus L. fruits growing in Egypt. Nat Prod Res. 2008 Apr 15;22(6):537-46. doi: 10.1080/14786410701592612. PMID: 18415863.

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Dr. Linnea Passaler

Dr. Linnea Passaler

Dr. Linnea Passaler has dedicated 20+ years to serving patients, first to a small number of individuals as a successful surgeon and then to thousands of people worldwide as the CEO of a digital health startup. After overcoming her own struggles with a dysregulated nervous system, she created Heal Your Nervous System (HYNS) to empower others in their healing journey. Her combination of neuroscience and somatic work helps those struggling with overwhelm, trauma, burnout, and anxiety to heal their dysregulated nervous systems and thrive.