How to Balance Your Hormones Naturally

Medically Reviewed By Danielle Hildreth, CPT
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Hormones act as chemical messengers to control functions throughout the body. Possible ways to naturally balance your hormones include eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, managing stress levels, and getting enough sleep. Hormones regulate appetite, sleep, metabolism, and many other processes. Your body usually keeps hormone levels within tight ranges. While you cannot necessarily control them without medication, you can help promote optimal hormone health through different methods.

This article explains ways to support a healthy hormone profile.

Diet

A woman sleeping in her bed
Lucas Ottone/Stocksy United

Your body depends on a healthy diet to make hormones. There are three broad types of hormones:

  • peptide hormones, which are chains of amino acids of varying lengths
  • steroid hormones, which come from cholesterol
  • tyrosine derivative hormones, which come from a single amino acid

You need adequate protein and fat in your diet to support these hormones. 

Your body can make many of the amino acids it needs. However, there are nine essential amino acids you must consume in your diet:

  • histidine
  • isoleucine
  • leucine
  • lysine
  • methionine
  • phenylalanine
  • threonine
  • tryptophan
  • valine

Complete proteins contain all essential amino acids. Animal protein is a good source of complete protein. While most plant proteins are incomplete, you may be able to get all of the essential amino acids by eating various plant proteins.

Vitamins and minerals are also important for balanced hormone levels. For example, iodine is necessary for thyroid hormone function.

It is best to get the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients through your diet. However, sometimes supplements can help. Ask your doctor about supplements that might benefit your overall health.

Exercise

Exercise is another key to overall health, including balancing your hormones. Exercise builds muscle and improves mental well-being.

Exercise stresses your body, but afterward, it lowers levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. It also stimulates the release of glucagon, a hormone that regulates your blood sugar levels and can increase insulin sensitivity. 

There are many other hormonal benefits to regular physical activity. For example, exercise helps regulate the amount of body fat you have.

Body fat can be a source of estrogen. Therefore, higher body fat can lead to higher estrogen levels, especially in postmenopausal people. This has implications for estrogen-dependent conditions, such as breast cancer, because high estrogen levels can increase breast cancer risk. 

According to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. You can break this up however is best for you. In addition, mix in two days of muscle-building activities.

Stress management

Several hormones are responsible for the body’s stress response. Three of the main ones include:

  • cortisol
  • epinephrine, or adrenaline
  • norepinephrine

A 2017 review found that a high concentration of stress hormones can affect brain function, memory, and learning. It can also impair your immune system function, heart health, and digestion. 

Managing stress can help lower stress hormone levels and reduce these effects. According to the American Heart Association, knowing how to manage stress can keep you feeling mentally, physically, and emotionally well. Some possible stress management activities include:

  • being with pets
  • deep breathing
  • getting out into nature
  • hobbies
  • meditation
  • meeting with friends
  • positive self-talk
  • reading

Adequate sleep and proper sleep environment

Sleep is another factor that can influence hormones. Hormones that are involved in sleep and your circadian rhythm include:

  • cortisol
  • ghrelin
  • growth hormone
  • leptin
  • melatonin

These hormones can affect several bodily functions, including appetite, insulin sensitivity, and fat metabolism. Various health conditions have links to sleep deprivation, including diabetes and obesity.

Getting adequate sleep and maintaining a proper sleep environment can help balance your hormone levels. This practice of healthy sleep habits is called sleep hygiene. It generally consists of the following tips:

  • Aim for 7–8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Avoid alcohol and stop consuming caffeine several hours before going to bed.
  • Do not eat too close to bedtime, and limit food to a light snack.
  • Do not get in bed if you are not sleepy, and get up if you do not fall asleep within 20 minutes — find a relaxing activity that does not involve electronics or a lot of light.
  • Do not exercise close to bedtime.
  • Keep a regular schedule of bedtimes and wake-up times, even on weekends.
  • Limit the use of electronics and bright lights in the evening.
  • Make your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool.
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Reduce the amount of fluids you drink before going to bed.
  • Use your bed for sleep and sex only.

When natural methods are not enough

Some people, especially those experiencing menopause, may experience hormone imbalances that require a doctor’s attention. In these cases, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be an option.

HRT typically involves replacing hormones through pills, skin patches, creams, or other methods. While HRT can help relieve the symptoms of hormonal imbalances, it also comes with some risks. These risks may include:

  • blood clots
  • strokes
  • heart attacks
  • gallbladder disease
  • breast cancer

Your doctor can help you determine whether HRT is right for you.

Learn more about HRT here.

Summary

Hormones are involved in nearly every process in your body. They are the chemical messengers that run your bodily functions.

Your body has processes for balancing your hormone levels. Your lifestyle habits can influence these processes to some extent.

Practicing healthy living habits can help keep a healthy hormone profile. However, true hormone imbalances need a doctor’s attention.

Contact your doctor to discuss additional ways to balance your hormones.

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Medical Reviewer: Danielle Hildreth, CPT
Last Review Date: 2022 Sep 21
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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