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Hormonal balance is vital to your overall health—especially if you’re having issues with fertility. Many fertility issues—for both men and women—stem from hormones gone haywire. Hormonal imbalances can be caused by a number of different factors, from what’s on your dinner plate to your everyday stress levels.

We’ve put together a great list of things you can do right now to help balance your hormones and get your body on track for optimal fertility.

Decrease Stress

Decreasing stress is easier said than done, but it’s a vital part of creating balance in your body’s intricate endocrine system. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol which can disrupt your sex hormones and cause your fertility to plummet.

Some quick tips to help destress your mind and body include acupuncture, massage, meditation, epsom salt baths, reading before bed, developing a steady exercise routine, or taking an adrenal gland supplement that helps your body manage stress at a cellular level. The right combo of nutrients such as; ashwagandha, rhodiola, L-Theanine and even melatonin helps improve your body’s stress resilience and strengthens your stress response.

Improve Body Composition & Increase Exercise

Excess fat on your body can play a big role in disrupting your hormones. It’s a little cat and mouse in the sense that stress can cause excess fat, and having excess fat can further worsen your body’s physical stress. Increasing your muscle mass by regularly exercising is one great way to help rid your body of excess fat, clear your mind, and regulate your stress levels. Also, a clinically guided detox, can be just the thing to rid excess toxins out of stored fat!

Also, keep an eye on your diet. Diets rich in leafy greens, organic vegetables, and sustainable proteins will certainly help balance out your body composition and contribute positively to your overall health.

Decrease Toxins & Increase Nutrients

Toxins are an unavoidable part of life. Air pollution, non-organic foods doused with pesticides, smoking cigarettes, and unfiltered tap water can all contribute to more toxins being introduced into your body. Take stock of all the things you’re consuming in your daily life to see what sort of toxins may be affecting your body, and see what you can cut out right away.

Buy organic produce. They will help reduce your exposure to pesticides and chemicals farmers use on crops. If you can’t, check out the Environmental Working Group’s annual release of the Dirty Dozen, or the most pesticide-saturated foods. Try to avoid eating too many processed foods, even if they’re labeled “organic”. (Tip: Those organic processed foods can be expensive and are probably the things that are busting your healthy food budget!)

You can also filter your water, quit smoking if you still smoke, and load up on antioxidants to help combat toxins in your body. Nearly everyone in our office is drinking NutriDyn’s Fruits & Greens, which is a super antioxidant drink with the power of 20+ servings of fruits and vegetables—it’s a really great option for busy folks to get their daily dose of antioxidants.

Balance your Blood Sugar

Making sure your blood sugar is at a health level is vitally important to your hormonal health. We can check your blood sugar in office during our Functional Physical to determine where your levels are, and help you with a plan to get them back at healthy numbers. In the meantime, make sure you’re cutting back on excess sugar in your diet from drinks and sweets, and eating lots of healthy organic vegetables.

Get Good Sleep and Fresh Air

Don’t underestimate a good night’s sleep. Your body needs proper rest to be able to rebuild and restore after a busy day. Make sure you’ve developed good sleep hygiene, including a smartphone cutoff time to reduce your exposure to harmful, sleep-defying blue light right before sleep. Try using an eye mask if you have trouble with light, or talk to us about time-released melatonin that will help you get to sleep and stay asleep in a completely natural way. And don’t forget to get fresh air, it can help you relax and sleep better at night, too.

If you have any questions about hormone imbalance, fertility issues or what we can do to help get you on track, give us a call at (612) 922-8100.

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Thank you Jennifer Colletti for this beautiful guest blog post! You can learn more about Jennifer at her website, jenyoga.net

“Tend and Befriend”

Years ago I studied with an amazing Ayurveda doctor by the name of Dr. Claudia Welch. At that time she introduced me to a concept called “Tend and befriend”. The idea is that, as women, we tend to each other, befriend each other and take care of one another, as women did maybe 100 years ago or so.  As women, we help each other through every day life, our joys, challenges and sorrows. We circle around each other and “Doula” each other through life.

I love this concept, I love the idea, that we as women care for one another in a deep and mindful way, offering support and love that goes deeper than our social media world.  We care for each other as we did when our great great grandmothers were living, or maybe even longer ago, when we had a deeper commitment of time to give back to those around us, and we didn’t have 24/7 schedules.

I have worked with women seeking pregnancy for over 7 years, most of them have had an infertility diagnosis. Many of those women go through my Fertile Grounding Yoga 8 week workshop where together; we practice yoga, we talk, share and commiserate on all the challenges and struggles around getting pregnant, pregnancy loss, the time loss, dis-empowerment, and more. We learn, we cry, we grow, and maybe most importantly of all, we “Tend and Be-friend”.

When I began teaching yoga to women having trouble getting pregnant, I knew I wanted to create a community, I knew I wanted to create a place where women could sit in circle, share, and be there for one another. I had an infertility diagnosis myself, and felt very isolated with that diagnosis. I felt like there was no one to talk to, or share with, and it was a rather taboo subject. I knew there had to be a better way. So I combined my yoga teaching experience, with my fertility journey experience, and created a workshop for women where they could sit next to someone that was going through the same thing they were, a rarity.

As we sat in each of my workshops, what I hoped for happened! The workshop created community, connection, friendship, love, and commitment, it was so beautiful! I was so heart-full and humbled to see this connection happen. I watched women step out empowered, and encircled with life long friendships.

The truly amazingly thing that happened, that I didn’t expect at all, was those women that committed to each other, learned together, practiced yoga together and supported one another, and stayed connected after the workshops ended had a higher pregnancy success rate than those that didn’t. It was astounding to me what affect community had on the nervous system, and healing of the body. I had no idea this would happen. Then one day I recalled Dr. Claudia’s conversation about women “tending and befriending”, and I knew I had witnessed exactly that situation. Each one of the circles of women, were “Tending and Befriending” calming their nervous systems in a deep and profound way, and creating more success than I had even expected.

 

Join Jennifer for class, a workshop or work one on one with her in her Fertility Coaching Program.
Fertility Yoga
Part yoga class, part support group, come and circle with women, share your story in a circle of support, and finish with a restorative yoga class.
7:30-8:45pm every Wednesday
Yoga Center of Mpls, 4200 Minnetonka Blvd, St. Louis Park, MN 55416

http://jenyoga.net/index.php/yoga-class-schedule

Fertile Grounding Yoga 8 Week Workshop
September 16th-November 11th
Yoga Center of Mpls, 4200 Minnetonka Blvd, St. Louis Park, MN 55416

Join Jennifer Colletti and optimize your fertile health in her sought after 8 week workshop. In each session, you’ll practice yoga, experience a featured educational segment (nutrition, coping, non-toxic living, art, Ayurvedics, holistic therapies and more), meditation, guided journal writing, and conversation. You’ll explore how holistic therapies improve fertility, learn how food can effect your fertility, and find ways of coping with your every day stress, and the stress of this fertility journey. This workshop is both life changing and transformational!
Click the link to find out more and register

http://jenyoga.net/index.php/archives/4154

 

One on one Fertility Coaching

Are you ready for deep one on one healing? Ready to optimize your fertile health?  Jennifer will support you through lifestyle and nutrition changes that you will shift your body, change the stress and amplify the healing in your life. She will support you and help you set achievable goals that improve your fertility, your health, and optimize your well being.   Click on the link below to set up a “Break Through Session”, and begin your healing journey.

http://jenyoga.net/index.php/fertility-health-coaching

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hyacinth-1402847_1280What if I told you giving your gallbladder a little TLC could relieve PMS symptoms? It sounds a bit crazy, but Lauren of Empowered Sustenance explains how it plays a crucial role in keeping your hormones in balance:

“You may not have considered the crucial role your gallbladder plays in hormone health. As a matter of fact, a poorly-functioning gallbladder paves the way to PMS and hormone hell.

How does the gallbladder tie into PMS?

  1. The liver synthesizes bile. It packages up old hormones – including estrogen –  and toxins that need to leave the body in the bile. Then it ships the bile to the gallbladder.
  2. The gallbladder stores bile and secretes it into the small intestine when we eat a meal with fat. The bile breaks down the fat, so we can absorb it, and then the old hormones/toxins in the bile exit the body with the feces.
  3. If your gallbladder is not functioning well, the bile become thick and stagnant in the gallbladder. As a result, the body reabsorbs the estrogen it needed to eliminate, contributing to estrogen dominance.
  4. To make matters worse, you can’t properly digest fats with thick, stuck bile. And the body needs to digest fats in order to synthesize hormones.

In a nutshell, poor gallbladder function equals the reabsorption of old estrogen and a deficiency in the building blocks required for new hormones.”

For more on how to eliminate PMS naturally, read the rest of the article here. In the meantime, schedule a Functional Physical to check in on your health and see how you can support your body to properly balance hormones.

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Balancing hormones is a complex project because each one of them is in interplay with other hormones and the difference in ratios can impact the body in a variety of ways. One hormonal ratio important to athletes or highly active individuals is the relationship between testosterone and cortisol. When engaging in high intensity training over longer periods of time, athletes can edge into burnout, evidenced by an imbalance between these two hormones. A study of endurance cyclists supplementing with Ganoderma and Cordyceps showed positive results in preventing this state of burnout:

” The results show that, after 3 months of supplementation, the testosterone/cortisol ratio changed in a statistically significant manner, thereby protecting the athletes from (nonfunctional red-teaoverreaching (NFO) or the overtraining syndrome (OTS).) PMID: 24799948 Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:979613. doi: 10.1155/2014/979613. Epub 2014 Apr 1. PMID: 24799948 …We report the effects of a brief 3-month trial of two fungal supplements, Ganoderma lucidum and Cordyceps sinensis (3 capsules of O. sinensis and 2 capsules of G. lucidum per day), in 7 healthy male volunteers, aged between 30 and 40 years, who are all amateur cyclists that participate in “Gran Fondo” cycling races. This trial investigated the effects of fungal supplements on the level of physical fitness of the athletes by monitoring and comparing the following biomarkers just before and after physical exertion: the testosterone/cortisol ratio in the saliva and oxidative stress (DPPH free radical scavenging activity). A decrease of more than 30% in the testosterone/cortisol ratio after race compared to before race was considered as a risk factor for nonfunctional overreaching (NFO) or the overtraining syndrome (OTS). Endurance cyclists taking Ganoderma and Cordyceps: The results show that, after 3 months of supplementation, the testosterone/cortisol ratio changed in a statistically significant manner, thereby protecting the athletes from (nonfunctional overreaching (NFO) or the overtraining syndrome (OTS).) NFO and OTS. Antioxidant activity was measured by quantifying the scavenging ability of the human serum on the synthetic free radical DPPH. After 3 months of fungal supplementation, the data demonstrate an increased scavenger capacity of free radicals in the athletes’ serum after the race, thereby protecting the athletes from oxidative stress. PMID: 24799948 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC3995149″

This fascinating PubMed research showed the effectiveness of balancing hormones through natural supplementation and preventing imbalance in hormones. Both of the supplements mentioned, Ganoderma and Cordyceps, are ingredients in Organo’s Red Tea. Pick up a box for your favorite cyclist or athlete and prevent burnout while sipping on a tasty cup of tea containing these two powerful ingredients.

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relaxation-1082170_1280Many couples struggling with infertility hear the common but often frustrating advice to “just relax” during their fertility journey. While the physical and emotional challenges of infertility can make this advice seem trite or relaxation seem out of reach, it is necessary to acknowledge the hormonal implications of stress and how the chemical stress response can actually play an important role in hormonal imbalances. Women in particular, with delicately balanced hormones at play, can be even more susceptible to the impacts of stress and if you are a woman who is battling PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome), stress responses are even more of a concern.

Dr. Fiona McCulloch BSc ND, shares her thoughts on the interaction between stress hormones and female sex hormones (especially in relation to a PCOS diagnosis) in an article for PCOS Diva:

“As I’m sure you already know, stress is bad for humans, period. That said, for women with PCOS, stress can seriously imbalance the delicate interplay between hormones and can even interrupt the progress you are making as you put in the hard work to change your diet, exercise and balance your hormones with supplements or medications. Firstly, I just want to go through a little bit of anatomy and physiology with you. The adrenal glands are two small, triangular glands that sit right on top of your kidneys.  These glands have a very special job to do: they secrete crucial hormones in response to stress. The outer part of the adrenal gland is called the cortex, and it secretes cortisol and male hormones (androgens) like DHEA. It’s really important to know that the adrenal cortex is controlled by the pituitary gland, which is a small, pea-sized structure within the brain. The pituitary is actually considered the “master gland”, as it controls most of the hormone function in the body, and the connection from the brain to the adrenals is called the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA axis).” | Read More on PCOS Diva

Dr. McCulloch goes on to explain that these pieces of the hormonal puzzle are more intricately connected than we often realize and can create quite the domino effect if one gets out of balance. She explains what makes women with PCOS so susceptible to imbalances due to stress:

1.    Women with PCOS have low progesterone, a hormone which is “stolen” by the adrenals to be converted into cortisol in stressful situations, causing progesterone levels to sink even lower.

2.    Women with PCOS actually make more cortisol than women without PCOS.

3.    Women with PCOS have higher statistical rates of anxiety, depression, and other emotional disorders.

4.    A primary component in PCOS is insulin resistance, another disruption in hormone interplay.

5.    High cortisol levels interferes with how other hormones are utilized by the body rendering them less effective.

She then lists ten ways to help keep stress levels in check. Find the full article, elaborating on the five points above and including the ten stress reduction tips at http://pcosdiva.com/2013/10/stress-and-adrenal-health-in-pcos/.

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strawberries-828627_1280Puberty… would anyone want to relive those years? For most they consisted of discomfort, embarrassment, and surprise as one navigated the swiftly changing flow of raging hormones. Who was I today? Angry, sad, exuberant? Which face did I have: smooth and clear or riddled with acne? And why don’t my clothes fit right anymore?

Change is hard; it’s especially hard when you’re in your preteens. But the changes don’t have to be so sudden, so drastic, or so dreadful! Functional Medicine can find ways to support a healthy and smooth transition through puberty by maintaining balance in the body even as it changes. Schedule a Functional Physical to get started! Call 612-922-8100.

 

 

 

 

 

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