Hormone Balance for Weight Loss - What You Need to Know
You eat right. You exercise. You get 8 hours of sleep. But you can’t lose those few extra pounds no matter how hard you try.
Have you ever thought your hormones might be to blame for not getting the desired results?
Yes, hormonal imbalance sabotages your weight loss efforts.
But you can get your hormones back on your side by developing healthy habits and taking natural supplements that will help you bring balance back in your life.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about your hormone balance, including:
- Hormone balance for weight loss - what you need to know
- The 5 hormones that affect weight loss
- How to get your hormones in check?
- 13 best hormone balance supplements
Let’s dive in!
Hormone Balance for Weight Loss - What You Need to Know
Before we dig into the whole hormone balance and weight loss cause-effect relationship, let’s see what hormones are and what role they play in your bodily functions.
What are hormones?
Hormones are chemicals that regulate all functions inside your body. They’re responsible for how fast your metabolism is.
So, when it comes to weight loss, they can be your biggest helpers or worst enemies.
That’s because hormones regulate fat burning, appetite, converting food into energy, moods, sex drive, and many other functions.
So, how do you know if your hormones are to blame for your inability to lose weight?
If you fall into one of these categories, you most probably have hormonal imbalance issues:
- You eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, but you just can’t lose that extra weight no matter how hard you try.
- You lose weight, and then you regain it. Or even worse, you gain even more weight than you lost.
- You feel that with age, your metabolism slows down, and you’re gaining more and more weight.
These are some good indicators that your hormones are not balanced and stand between you and your end goal to lose weight.
However, keep in mind that sometimes hormone imbalance symptoms might be an indicator of more serious medical conditions. In this case, natural remedies and changes in your lifestyle won’t help, and you should consult a doctor.
But, if you experience milder symptoms, you can fix these with some natural remedies. Also, start noticing your everyday habits.
Are there some unhealthy and stressful aspects of your life that prevent you from feeling at your best?
Stress is a very common aspect of modern life, but you should find a healthy way of coping with it.
For example, you can try to reduce or share some of the stressful responsibilities you have in your everyday life, take some time for yourself, and you’ll start feeling better.
What causes your hormones to get out of balance?
There are a few major hormone balance blocks that come from unhealthy habits, and these are:
- Stress. If you’re always stressed, that causes cortisol, your stress hormone, to be high. And cortisol affects how your other hormones behave. So stress results in overall hormonal imbalance.
- Age. Your hormones behave differently through the different stages of your life. It’s very common to experience hormone imbalance during pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause. Also, different hormonal pills you might be taking for these conditions can knock your hormones off balance.
- Poor sleep. Another trick to reduce the stress hormone cortisol is to get enough sleep. If you have a poor night’s sleep, you might crave more calories the next day, be irritable, and feel tired. Usually, 7-8 hours of sleep are what your body needs to recover from tiredness and stress and reduce your food cravings significantly.
- Not enough/too much exercise. Exercise can boost your metabolism and help you lose weight faster. Additionally, exercise reduces stress and protects you from hypertension and diabetes. However, too much exercise might get your cortisol levels too high. So, it’s essential to get a balanced dose of daily action.
- Bad diet. You are not getting enough nutrients and vitamins, eating unhealthy, abusing alcohol, and caffeine…Well, that messes up with your body’s chemistry and it gives you a lot of empty calories. Unhealthy food habits can also change your hormone levels, causing you to gain instead of losing weight.
5 Hormones That Affect Weight Loss
So, what are the main culprits of hormone imbalance?
Here are the most common hormones that might be messing with your weight:
Estrogen is the female sex hormone, even though men also have it in much smaller amounts. The ovaries, adrenal glands, and fat cells produce estrogen.
The problem: Excessive estrogen in your body means it’s harder to lose weight, you experience more severe PMS symptoms, and have mood swings.
How to fix it? To lower your estrogen levels, make sure you get enough fiber. This way, you can get rid of excess estrogen through digestion.
About 35-45 grams of fiber daily will be enough to balance this hormone. But increase your fiber intake gradually to avoid bloating.
In the meantime, try to avoid foods that will raise your estrogen levels. These are sugary snacks, soy, and non-organic meats and dairy products.
Insulin is produced in the pancreas and helps to regulate blood sugar levels in your body.
It redirects the glucose to your cells as a source of energy and stores any extra glucose as fat.
The problem: Eating a high carb diet, or/and being overweight means that your body becomes insulin-resistant.
This means your insulin is not working properly. The sugar levels in your blood become too high while the extra energy can’t get to your cells.
So, more glucose is stored as fat instead. And you still get intense sugar cravings because your cells don’t get access to that energy source. The result? You end up in a vicious cycle of gaining more weight.
How to fix it? As long as your insulin increase doesn’t indicate more severe problems like diabetes, you can normalize its levels through the food you eat.
Avoid high carb foods, refined grains, and sugary drinks. Instead, eat whole grains, more protein, fiber, and exercise regularly.
Cortisol is a stress hormone produced in your adrenal glands. It’s responsible for your “fight or flight” reaction and regulates your metabolism and blood sugar levels.
So, it’s natural that when cortisol goes up, your insulin follows it.
The problem: Cortisol is excellent for coping with acute stress, but when you experience chronic stress, you tend to reach out for foods high in calories. Your food cravings result in higher blood sugar levels and gaining more weight.
How to fix it? Reduce your caffeine intake gradually, make sure you’re getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep, and get enough exercise.
However, if you’re a fan of more intense workouts, keep them short. Cortisol production is stimulated during high-intensity sports. Instead, you can try more light and low-intensity yoga and pilates programs, or regularly go for a relaxing walk.
The thyroid hormone is produced by your thyroid gland and is responsible for the speed of your metabolism. It also controls your heart rate, temperature, muscle strength, and breathing.
The problem: If your body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, then losing weight can be painful. That might be the reason why you’re not losing the last 5-10 pounds. Other symptoms of low thyroid levels are tiredness and brain fog.
How to fix it? There are some thyroid-stimulating foods like fish oil, coconut oil, fruits, vegetables, and beans. And make sure you get enough iodine. This mineral is essential for the proper functioning of your thyroid gland.
Leptin also called “the fat hormone”, is produced by your fat cells, and it tells your body when you’ve had enough to eat. So, leptin is responsible for regulating the amount of food you eat, the rate at which you burn energy, and exercise.
The problem: Your body might not register the leptin signals in which case you can’t tell when you’re full and when to stop eating. So, you end up eating more than your body needs, and you gain weight.
How to fix it? The reason you’re resistant to leptin’s signals is most probably your diet. Highly-processed foods, sugary snacks, and foods that contain trans fats prevent your body to tune in with its natural signals. So, removing them from your diet can significantly help you receive the leptin signals and feel when you’re full.
How to Get Your Hormones in Check
There are a few tips and tricks that can get you on the right track of reaching your hormone balance back. Try to:
- Improve your diet. Proteins, fibers, and healthy fats are essential for your normal hormonal functions. Such foods provide you with essential nutrients, vitamins, and amino acids that are directly involved in the production of your hormones. And try to eat regularly without overeating or undereating, so you don’t get your metabolism off balance.
- Stay hydrated. Don’t forget to drink enough water. Around 2 liters a day will keep your energy levels and vitality up.
- Drink green tea. Green tea is a powerful antioxidant and can help you cleanse your body from all the toxins that might be messing with your hormone levels.
- De-stress. Make sure you have time for yourself, away from all chores and work that make you stressed. Up to 30 minutes a day of self-care can do a lot for you. Try to do something you love during this time. You can journal, meditate, or do some peaceful yoga.
- Exercise. Staying active is crucial for your hormones to be balanced. You don’t have to be working out for hours, but up to an hour of light exercise can go a long way.
And to achieve the best results and optimize your hormone balance, you can try taking natural hormone supplements. They can give you an extra push in the right direction so you feel better and lose weight easier.
13 Best Hormone Balance Supplements
Finding the right natural supplement can be overwhelming since there are so many options out there.
To make things easier for you, we’ve assembled a list of our top 15 natural supplements that can help you balance your hormones and lose weight faster.
#1. Go With The Flow
Go With The Flow is a natural supplement that combines 4 powerful herbs (Maca, Chasteberry, Dong Quai, and Black Cohosh).
The herbs are known to balance your hormones and soothe any PMS and menopause symptoms. You can also expect reduced bloating, acne, and tenderness. With this supplement powered entirely by nature, you will have a better mood and achieve emotional balance.
This product is 100% vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free. For optimal results, take two capsules a day. In case you experience severe menstrual or menopause symptoms, you can increase your dose to 4 capsules a day to get faster relief.
#2. Ashwagandha Root
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to soothe symptoms of anxiety and improve the overall hormone balance.
Adaptogens are great for balancing hormones.
For example, your hormones are too high? Adaptogen herbs like Ashwagandha will lower them.
Too low? The adaptogen will naturally increase them.
Ashwagandha is most helpful for regulating the functions of the adrenal glands. That's why it’s a good supplement to take if your cortisol levels are high and you feel tense and stressed all the time.
Additionally, Ashwagandha will increase your metabolism since it is a great thyroid hormone stimulant. And it also helps to maintain female reproductive health.
#3. Organic Maca
Maca originates from the Andes in Peru. It’s most popular for giving you long-lasting energy and mental clarity and improving the hormonal balance in your body.
Maca is an adaptogen that helps you lower your cortisol levels. Cortisol affects all other hormones in your body which means you also stabilize your estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
It also relieves menopause symptoms and promotes fertility, a healthy reproductive system, and increased libido.
On top of that, Maca is a source of antioxidants, fiber, iron, magnesium, and calcium. All these help for the proper functioning of your body and immune system, enhance your mood and have anti-inflammatory effects.
Vitex, or also known as Chasteberry, is a tree native to the Mediterranean region. It is a great natural supplement to get your hormones in balance.
It’s mainly used for relieving PMS and menopause symptoms, infertility issues, and other reproductive system problems.
Vitex is also a great solution if you suffer from migraines. Research shows that after taking this supplement for 3 months, the number of migraine attacks you experience will reduce.
However, if you’re using any sort of birth control, consult your doctor before taking this supplement since it might interact with your medications.
Fenugreek is an herb that helps women fight off painful menstruation symptoms. It is also famous for stimulating the milk flow in breastfeeding women.
This herbal supplement can also help your body to produce more insulin and process glucose better. So, if you have any glucose metabolic disorder which leads to weight gain, fenugreek might help you to normalize this condition.
You can take fenugreek as a tea, but you can also just take it as a supplement that comes in the form of easy to take capsules.
#6. Dandelion root
Dandelion root extract can help you balance your blood sugar levels, detoxify your body from excess hormones, and improve your digestion.
Dandelion also reduces water retention which is very common at that time of the month. This herb can also help you absorb more nutrients from your food. And it acts as a probiotic so it’s a good solution for different digestive problems.
Apart from that, dandelion has anti-inflammatory effects and soothes your body.
You can take this extract as a tea, or even put it in your salad but it has a slightly bitter taste to it. So take it as a supplement, since it’s the safest option and will also give you more optimal results.
#7. Dong Quai
Dong Quai, also known as female ginseng, has been used as a natural remedy in Chinese traditional medicine for thousands of years. It’s used to balance female hormones and alleviate symptoms of PMS and menopause.
That’s because Dong Quai normalizes your estrogen hormones. This also leads to easier weight loss and a healthy weight.
With Dong Quai, you will enjoy the long-term benefits of good female reproductive and emotional health.
Additionally, Dong Quai boosts your immune system, increases blood circulation. and reduces nerve pain.
#8. Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh is a phytoestrogen that helps your body maintain normal estrogen levels. So, if you suspect that your estrogen levels are too high, this natural supplement will help you.
This is also one of the best supplements for menopause since it alleviates symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, and sweating. It’s also a good solution for severe PMS symptoms and painful menstruation.
However, don’t use this herb if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. You should also avoid mixing Black Cohosh with Vitex, Ginkgo Biloba, and Saw Palmetto. There are also some side effects reported, such as rashes, muscle pain, and nausea.
#9. Raspberry Leaf
Raspberry leaf is a powerful natural supplement that aids women’s health and hormonal balance. It is mostly known to alleviate painful menstruation and menstrual cramps.
Raspberry leaf extract has antioxidant effects. It cleanses your body from any toxins that disrupt your natural hormonal balance. It also stimulates your metabolism, so it’s great for weight loss.
Raspberry leaf is also known to help with fertility problems, stimulates labor, and results in easier childbirth.
If you want optimal results, take raspberry leaf extract as capsules since they’re more potent than raspberry leaf tea.
#10. Ginger Rhizome
You might have used this supplement in your food, or as tea. Ever heard of ginger?
But did you know that ginger reduces the production of certain lipids that cause painful menstruation and PMS symptoms?
So taking ginger can reduce these symptoms, as well as headaches, mood swings, and nausea. It also has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.
This supplement can significantly improve your hormone balance, normalize irregular periods, and result in better weight control.
#11. Milk Thistle
Milk Thistle supports the proper functioning of your liver.
And what does that have to do with your hormones?
When your liver is congested with toxins, its functions are disrupted and it can’t remove the extra estrogen that accumulates in your body. So, the result is more estrogen and weight gain.
Milk Thistle will cleanse your liver and aid its healthy functioning. This way, you will balance the estrogen levels in your body and reduce your weight. Milk thistle is also great for reducing acne and blood sugar levels.
Schizandra helps your adrenal glands to produce normal levels of the stress hormones even in times when you feel under pressure. This prevents your body from overproducing cortisol and you don’t disrupt the healthy hormonal balance.
Schizandra also improves the functioning of your liver by cleansing it from all the accumulated toxins. This way, your liver regulates essential weight-controlling hormones like estrogen and you get all the benefits.
Apart from that, Schizandra improves your libido, decreases inflammation, and increases your energy levels.
So, you feel better inside and out!
Berberine reduces the secretion of the hormone leptin. This way, you don’t feel as hungry and you experience fewer cravings for unhealthy foods.
Berberine is also great for fat loss since it reduces the enzyme responsible for storing excessive fat.
This herbal supplement also helps you to maintain healthy blood sugar levels which, in turn, normalizes your insulin levels and reduces your food cravings.
Berberine is great not only for weight loss management but also for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Hormone imbalance is a common issue among women nowadays. There’s simply way too many unhealthy foods and environmental conditions that affect our hormones and overall health.
So, maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stimulating your hormonal functions with the help of natural supplements will get you back on track and make those few extra pounds go away.
And the best part is you will finally feel better, have more energy, and regain your healthy glow.