Now that we have gone through the factors that interfere with the work of our endocrine system and we know how to reduce their negative impact, we need to get to the question on how to build a healthy hormonal system.
Already in ancient times, Hippocrates has said that “all diseases begin in the gut.”
It obviously applies with full force in our case, so in this article, we will go back to the basics.
Namely – food and how certain foods can serve as building blocks for the synthesis of certain hormones.
The importance of cholesterol for the endocrine system
Perhaps here is the place to mention that the number one building material of all hormones and all androgens, is cholesterol, so let’s start by saying that cholesterol-lowering medication makes our hormonal system particularly vulnerable.
Vegans (especially for many years) are part of this affected group.
They are also suffering from sex hormones synthesis because their diet is mostly deficient in saturated fat or cholesterol, respectively.
Usually, as an alarm for low sex hormones, we report these extreme conditions: anorexia, bulimia, excessive workouts.
The connection between gluten and endocrine system
Under the radar, however, remains another enemy of the endocrine system – gluten.
In the recent years, it has become somewhat fashionable to talk about gluten tolerance and intolerance, and the facts suggest that this is not unreasonable.
I will recall that gluten is a protein that can be found in macaroni, bread and generally in large portions of cereals.
The usual symptoms of gluten intolerance are diarrhea, swelling and stomach pain.
Many women also experience irregular periods and difficulties with conception.
Some medical practitioners now associate gluten intolerance with fluctuations in the estrogen levels, and this results in amenorrhea, infertility and reduced ovarian reserve.
Alcohol and caffeine
Other proven enemies of the hormone system are alcohol and caffeine, as the sensitivity to both substances is individual.
Caffeine gives you a temporary boost of energy by raising the cortisol levels.
As we already know, the high chronic cortisol “steals” from the pregnenolone and blocks the progesterone receptors in women.
Gynecologists often associate it with PMS symptoms.
Exhausting workouts and endocrine system
The exhausting workouts are also something most women should give up to enjoy a balanced hormonal system longer.
The intensive workouts can alleviate the symptoms of estrogen deficiency, but only if you have a normal weight and a good fat/muscle mass ratio.
In overweight women, this could lead to vasomotor disorders.
The intensive workouts, on the other hand, work well for the increase of testosterone in men, especially if combined with a cyclical diet.
The latter is bad for the female sex hormones.
Top 6 Foods That Support Healthy Endocrine System
Once we have clarified some of the threats for the hormones, here are some of their proven “friends”:
It turns out that pine pollen contains bio-identical testosterone, just like the herb Vitex Agnus Castus contains bio-identifiable progesterone.
So the pine pollen is a hormonal stimulant for men and Vitex is a hormonal stimulant for women.
2) Bee pollen and royal jelly
Bee pollen and royal jelly work equally well for both sexes – some of the best precursors and great building materials.
3) Coconut products
There are many hormonal precursors in coconuts, and one of the best, of course, is pregnenolone.
Unless you suffer from metabolic disorders, your body can convert coconut products to cholesterol, and then to pregnenolone, which is a direct precursor to progesterone and the androgens.
Suitable coconut products are cold pressed coconut oil, coconut cream, fresh young coconut.
Keep in mind that the mature coconuts that are commercially available are quite rich in insoluble fiber, resulting in their difficult digestibility in the gastrointestinal tract and reduced absorption of beneficial substances.
Apart from being a powerful adaptogen, maca is already well known as “hormonal” food.
Along with coconut products, it is food that plays a key role in the building of a healthy endocrine system.
Although the research around maca is extremely controversial, more and more researchers are uniting around the thesis that the key to the hormonal effect is in the fact that maca acts on the hypothalamus, which is thought to be the brain center of sex hormones.
The hypothalamus is downstream, and the pituitary is stimulated to produce more luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in a way that promotes the secretion of testosterone, progesterone, and DHEA from the adrenal glands and gonads.
Pomegranate helps with the estrogen balance by serving as a “hormonal adaptogen”; it increases the estrogen when the body needs more of it and blocks its action when the quantity is too much.
Pomegranate juice, on the other hand, shows a rise in the testosterone levels in the saliva in males and females. The dose of that is one cup daily.
Colostrum contains some hormones and growth factors.
The effects on the insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) have also been proven to make it a key factor in the building of the hormone system in adolescents.