Supplements for Optimal Hormonal Balance: Hype or Reality?

scratching head

Recently, during my work break, I went for a coffee with two female colleagues. One colleague talked about her recent complaints during menopause and how challenging it is to obtain useful information from the general practitioner regarding the use of supplements. That’s why she took matters into her own hands and started searching for in-depth information about using supplements for better hormone balance. My other colleague, who has already gone through this phase, mentioned that she has never used supplements but instead eats fatty fish twice a week, follows a healthy diet, and exercises. Both of them turned to me. One colleague said, “You don’t have to think about this yet; you still have some time.” The other colleague said, “But it’s better to be prepared before the symptoms strike.” I laughed.

We all know that hormonal changes occur in our bodies during puberty. But how do our hormones handle the dirty thirty? Can we assume that everything is fine hormonally, or are there certain things that are good to know? And are those trendy supplements really the holy grail for optimal hormonal balance? Or is it just another social media hype that we all fall for? During my research, I came across a few interesting facts that I would like to share with you.

scratching head

UNLOCKING THE TRUTH: WOMEN ALSO HAVE TESTOSTERONE

Did you know that testosterone naturally occurs in the female body, although in much lower amounts than in men? And men also have estrogen and progesterone in their bodies. Testosterone plays a crucial role in various bodily functions for women, including building muscle mass and strength, maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis, influencing libido levels in women, regulating the menstrual cycle, and influencing energy and vitality levels.

While testosterone is naturally present in the female body and important for health, it’s essential to note that excessive testosterone in women can lead to unwanted side effects, including acne, unwanted hair growth, mood swings, and an increased risk of certain health problems. For instance, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common hormonal disorder, involves an overproduction of testosterone.

HORMONES AND AGE

During my research, I looked for “hormones from the age of 30” (with all possible variations), but I couldn’t find any articles that specifically distinguished this age threshold. The age categories generally considered when discussing hormonal changes are, of course, puberty, menopause, and the age range of 18 to 45 years (Maastricht UMC). Some women may experience early menopause as early as their 35s, but I will omit these exceptions in this article. Does this mean that, generally speaking, unless there are lifestyle changes such as diet or exercise, nothing changes in hormone balance from the age of 30? I decided to ask the hormone coach about this.

ADVICE FROM THE HORMONE COACH

In response to my question about whether it is beneficial to take preventive supplements, she wrote the following answer: “Taking supplements is not the solution. It is important to look at the cause of the imbalance and oestrogen dominance, where does it come from? There are many possible causes often related to diet and lifestyle. This is the foundation. With supplements, you are essentially extinguishing fires rather than truly solving the problem. However, there is an exception. If (young) women experience menopausal symptoms, it can certainly be beneficial to use bioidentical hormones. Only when experiencing symptoms, particularly if they occur at a young age. This can help reducing various conditions associated with menopause, such as cardiovascular diseases, breast cancer, osteoporosis, etc.

SO... TO TAKE OR NOT TO TAKE SUPPLEMENTS?

Wel of geen supplementen?

I thought to myself, “Let me see how my hormones are doing,” and then I took a free hormone test on the hormone coach’s website. However, the results didn’t give me a reason to start using supplements for a healthy hormone balance. For now, I’ll stick to my good old habits: eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep. So, dear hormones, please stay balanced for the time being, thank you!

Wel of geen supplementen?

I thought to myself, “Let me see how my hormones are doing,” and then I took a free hormone test on the hormone coach’s website. However, the results didn’t give me a reason to start using supplements for a healthy hormone balance. For now, I’ll stick to my good old habits: eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep. So, dear hormones, please stay balanced for the time being, thank you!

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