We recently started a new Facebook group and I found that some of our new members were complaining of ‘low hormone levels,’ so I thought that would be a good topic for discussion.
Though usually undiagnosed, I’d say ‘low hormone levels’ is an epidemic these days. Let’s learn about what that term even means, how you can be diagnosed, and what you can do about it!
What are ‘Low Hormone Levels’?
When people use this term, they are usually referring to low levels of steroid hormone. Steroid hormones are a class of hormones that include cortisol (made by the adrenal glands to give energy and manage stress) estrogen hormone (your dominant female hormone) and testosterone (a hormone you need for good sex drive and muscle mass.)
Here is a little background from Wikipedia:
“The natural steroid hormones are generally synthesized from cholesterol in the gonads and adrenal glands. These forms of hormones are lipids. They can pass through the cell membrane as they are fat-soluble, and then bind to steroid hormone receptors (which may be nuclear or cytosolic depending on the steroid hormone) to bring about changes within the cell.”
Steroid hormones do a lot of jobs that keep you feeling well. They:
Balance your blood pressure
Balance you blood sugar
Give you energy
Keep your skin toned
Put minerals into your bones
Help you think clearly
Help you have easy periods, be fertile, and have a smooth menopause.
How Do I Know If I Have Low Hormone Levels?
There are two ways to know, although one is less certain than the other!
The first way is through symptoms. Common symptoms of low steroid hormone levels are:
Low sex drive (these first two are the most common and important)
Low blood pressure
Poor vaginal lubrication
Chronic pain, especially in the evening
Can’t recall thoughts /think clearly
Sugar and carb cravings
Unexplained weight gain
The definitive way to know if you have low hormone levels is through lab testing. Along blood labs can give you a snapshot of your estrogen and progesterone, they don’t give a robust picture that is enough to help you have targeted treatment.
In our practice, we really love using the DUTCH test (Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones) to measure hormone levels.
The DUTCH test is an easy urine test you can take at home from anywhere in the world. It tells you about your cortisol levels through the course of the day, your female hormones and how you metabolize them, your detox capacity, your melatonin levels and more.
What Can I Do About Low Hormone Levels?
If you do decide to run a DUTCH test with us, your supplement and lifestyle protocol can be very targeted.
However, I think there are some things you can do safely at home to support low estrogen levels, and I’ll outline them here. Do these whenever you are feeling low energy:
Lay completely horizontal and rest for 3-20 minutes (your steroid hormones help balance blood pressure and this gives them a break)
Squeeze ½ - 1 whole organic lemon into a glass of water and drink
Have a generous pinch of sea salt and follow with water. Repeat until you are feeling better up to ½ teaspoon salt. (Do not do if you have high blood pressure.)
Rub essential oils of basil and rosemary into your palms with a bit of carrier oil like coconut oil or grapeseed oil. Inhale for a few breaths and then rub over your kidneys. (May increase blood pressure.)
Avoid blood sugar swings by eating often and including fiber, fat and protein. Avoid simple sugars that will make you crash like alcohol, coffee, pasta, cookies, etc.
Please always check with your doctor before starting this or any other new protocol.
It’s important to realize that your hormone levels don’t lower ‘for no reason.’ Yes, they will lower with age, but it shouldn’t be so much so that you feel like junk.
So you need to assess everything in your life to get an idea of where you are being drained.
Are you eating foods that are void of nutrition (sweet coffee drinks, chips, etc.)?
Are you overworked and not getting rest?
Are you not getting enough sleep at night?
Are you around people who bring you down?
Beyond the basics, much can be off balance that will disrupt your hormones:
Heavy metal exposure
If you’ve already done the basics and are eating well and trying to meditate, etc, it’s probably time to work with a practitioner who is trained in functional nutrition. The state-of-the-art testing we offer can identify these root causes and our detailed protocols can directly work to correct them.