Hormone imbalances can impact women at many stages throughout their life, this can be especially amplified during menopause. Finding appropriate support that balances your hormones naturally can be confusing and it’s hard to know where to start.
Why I created Fem21
Fem21 is a wonderful all-natural supplement not just for hormone balancing, but the transition from peri-menopause through menopause and beyond. It targets the key systems of the body which influence symptoms such as hot flushes, mood swings, night sweats, sleeping issues and irregular periods. It’s not just our hormones that need support. Our adrenals, liver and gut have equally important roles to play to help us feel happy and healthy.
Throughout my 15 years of experience as a Naturopath, Herbalist & Nutritionist specializing in women’s health, I’ve seen many women with health issues at this time in their life. Their symptoms can be complex to also include fatigue, chronic pain, weight problems, heavy periods – and the list goes on. Diet, lifestyle, activity levels, stress levels, weight and nutritional status can play a big part in the severity and longevity of menopausal symptoms. I feel that the reality for many women in their 40’s-50’s is they’re stressed, working and juggling family, plus other commitments and not putting themselves first. Often, they don’t have the time or energy to put into their health.
A strong foundation for health includes:
- Good nutrition and a clean diet: make sure to include a variety of leafy greens, bright coloured vegetables & fruits. Limiting excess dairy & gluten based foods where possible, or experiencing with alternatives. Ensuring food is fresh, not packet based – focusing on quality rather than quantity. Review your sugar loaded ‘treats’ and stay clear of anything with processed or refined sugar.
- Drinking at least 2 litres of water every day: Keeping a drink bottle on hand is a good idea and ensure you are drinking quality water that still has plenty of minerals from the earths natural sources.
- Good quality sleep: I recommend at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep everynight.
- Being active at least 3 times a week: Whether it’s a walk, yoga, dancing or something higher in cardio
- Managing stressors: Both internal such as mind chatter or joint stress & external stress such as work or environmental stress.
It’s with this foundation the body has the resources to heal, re-balance and function optimally. If you’re feeling like you’ve done all the right things and you’re still struggling with your hormones – an all-in-one formulation like Fem21 is a great place to start. This supplement ensures the body is fully supported throughout menopause with ingredients for:
- encouraging healthy hormonal metabolism,
- healthy liver function,
- good digestion, including introducing good bacteria to the gut,
- adrenal & thyroid support for energy,
- reducing oxidative stress
- alkalising the body
- reducing systemic inflammation
When it comes to menopause it seems simple, our ovaries just stop releasing eggs at ovulation and therefore our output of estrogen & progesterone from the ovaries stop. The tricky part is the fluctuations beforehand and the making of oestrogen & progesterone from afterwards to continue to support our health.
Here I’ll dive into a few of the key systems that require support through menopause and how we do this naturally with some of the ingredients in Fem21:
Black cohosh is the herb I have used in practice for many years for balancing oestrogen symptomatically. It helps reduce hot flushes, night sweats, improves libido, skin health, vaginal issues. It unfortunately has a gotten a bad reputation due to some past research that was released around Black cohosh causing liver issues. In my experience combining this herb with liver supportive herbs has negated any safety issues and women continue to get great results with it.
I also recommend cruciferous vegetables like Broccoli which contain Indol-3-Carbynol. This works on oestrogen metabolism and helps to lower testosterone/androgens. When our body is holding on to too much potent (or toxic) oestrogen it can be very difficult to lose weight and we are more prone to cellulite and fluid retention.
Chaste tree is a herb that works to regulate ovulation & cycle length. It also helps to increase progesterone, which plays a big part in managing menopausal symptoms. After the ovaries stop ovulating post-menopause, then the chaste tree helps to regulate dopamine and thereby reducing hormonal fueled emotional states like irritability. Chaste tree can also help with melatonin production, which can result in a better nights sleep.
A healthy adrenal system is vital for our stress response, energy levels and quality of sleep. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress and lowers progesterone levels. Cortisol is made from progesterone. After we stop producing progesterone from our corpus luteum after ovulation our adrenals help to make progesterone from pregnenolone.
If we are stressed, “running on adrenaline”, “always on the go” or our adrenals are burnt out – then pregnenolone is converted straight to Cortisol, leaving us deficient in progesterone. Lifestyle adjustments to maintain a healthy emotional balance, lowered stress levels and reduced stimulants like caffeine & alcohol are vital for our adrenals. Nutrients and herbs can also help our adrenals immensely especially B-vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, Licorice, Siberian Ginseng & Withania.
Our liver is where the majority of our hormonal metabolism is taking place, and is one of the vital organs which keeps us healthy and filters out toxins.
When it comes to hormonal metabolism of toxic estrogen, the liver filters these hormones out and dumps them into the bowel to detoxify them out of our body. Supporting liver function through diet & lifestyle choices includes reducing chemical exposure, eating organic when possible, minimizing processed foods, reducing the intake of alcohol, caffeine and medication (where possible).
Herbs that help to support liver function include Milk Thistle, Dandelion, Kale & Rosemary. These herbs/foods also work well to decrease oxidative stress in the liver (antioxidants) as well as throughout the body.
Digestive function is crucial to nutrient absorption & elimination of toxins. Fibre leads to clearing the bowels of the toxic metabolites from the liver’s detoxification processes. Plus it prevents recycling of hormones by binding them up to remove them from the body.
Slippery Elm reduces inflammation along the digestive track and can improve “leaky gut syndrome” which creates systemic inflammation & puts more pressure on the liver. Psyllium husks is a wonderful fibre which regulates bowel motions and clears out any built up faecal material in the colon. Multi-Strain Lactobacillus, Bifidiobacterium & Saccharomyces all work to re-inoculate the bowel with good bacteria and reduce inflammation.
This article is for educational purposes only. Always seek health advice from your healthcare professional before taking any supplements, as it may interfere with medication you are currently taking.
BHSc. (Nat) – Naturopath & Creator of Fem21