Balancing hormones

SaladHow much does stress really affect the body? We all know that it plays its part in depression, heart health and other conditions, but actually it has an enormous effect on our hormones which can affect you in many different ways. Kimberley Gridley, a homeopath, nutritionist, specialises in Natural Hormone Balance for Women, based on functional medicine.

Kimberley sees women of all ages, but not surprisingly many of them have faced high levels of stress. Too much stress exhausts the adrenal glands, which provide the adrenaline for the ‘fight and flight mechanism’. Common issues are weight gain, emotional ups and downs, periods and PMT, menopause and hot flushes, fibroids and endometriosis. Many are struggling with lack of energy and tiredness, as well as Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia.

In addition to saliva and blood tests to check for hormonal imbalance, Kimberley asks patients about their diet. She also runs a diagnostic test called a heart rate variability test (HRV) which indicates how the hormones are coping, how you burn calories, whether you are struggling with stress levels, and what metabolic type you are.

Functional medicine is a personalised approach to healthcare which focuses on why we have disease and getting to the root cause of the problem. Each person is treated as an individual and their particular health issues are addressed. This is in stark contrast to conventional medicine which often treats disease with drugs in a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Once Kimberley has all this information she prescribes homeopathic or herbal remedies, vitamins and minerals, and other supplements such as Omega 3s or probiotics. She also draws up a diet that is suited to your type, but is very likely to consist of a lot of vegetables.

Kimberley practises at the Nelson’s Pharmacy at 87 Duke Street, London W1K 5PQ, 020 7079 1282, www.nelsonspharmacy.com . See Kimberley’s website  where you can get a free copy of Hormone Balancing Eating Plan: The Low GI Companion e-book.

Find out more about functional medicine by watching Dr Mark Hayman on YouTube. 

Finding an alternative – PMS

Do you feel like throwing things, or storm around the house wondering why everyone is so untidy, or perhaps you just want to cry?  Sometimes you feel like walking out or picking an argument, you might even be a completely different person before a period from who you normally are.  Sue Leach, practising homeopath, provides some helpful advice.

Is this you?

• Tired, feeling dragged down by everything, craving chocolate and everything is a chore. A normally organised person but when pre-menstrual feels harassed and in desperate need of peace and quiet.  Banging doors, stomping around the house and feeling like a martyr.  Benefits from exercise, but is definitely off sex.  Sepia  is the answer.
• Feels tearful and weepy and everything and everyone upsets, hurts and offends you.  If your partner is late home it feels like the end of the world.Pulsatilla  can help.
• Angry, irritable, completely unreasonable, feel there’s never enough time and could even resort to road rage.    When not pre-menstrual ambitious for whole family, go-getting, good at juggling normally, and more laid back.   Nux vomica    is right for these symptoms.
• Someone who feels spiteful and malicious before a period and can feel irrationally jealous, to the point of checking their partner’s phone or emails. Once the period comes they cannot believe they’ve behaved so badly. Lachesis   is great for these symptoms.
• Weepy, loss of confidence, insecure about abilities as a parent, and irritable with the family. Feel so bad that could even consider leaving home. Conversely is very domineering and overbearing.  Lycopodium   fits the bill.
• Yes Chocolate is a homeopathic remedy for someone who craves chocolate, but is also very romantic under normal circumstances.  With PMS feels isolated, unloved and rejected, and nostalgic when hearing a romantic song.  Although they may say ‘Don’t ever leave me,’ they may be the one that leaves!  Feels much better for eating chocolate.  Chocolate is the remedy to take.

Sue says, ‘You can try 30c remedies, but they may not be strong enough, so better still consult a professional homeopath.’

Sue’s herbal tips:

• Agnus castus helps to regulate the cycle and calm it down, easing PMS
• Cramp Bark ‘take as soon as you get menstrual cramps’ every four hours for two days.

Selected products  
Sepia 30c Nelson’s 84 tablets £5.30
Pulsatilla 30c Nelson’s 84 tablets £5.30
Nux vomica 30c Nelson’s 84 tablets £5.30
Lachesis 30c Nelson’s 84 tablets £5.30
Lycopodium 30c Nelson’s 84 tablets £5.30
Agnus Castus powdered fruit capsules Bio Health 400mg x 60 capsules £6.75
Cramp Bark Swiss Herbal Remedies 50ml £10.50
Get 5% discount on these products with the promotion code: HSoul1 at www.superfooduk.com

Contact Sue Leach, MA LCPH RSHom at http://www.newforesthomeopathy.co.uk/ or 01590 624020 (Lymington, Hants)
For nutritional advice from Ian Marber go to: PMS can be prevented
And PMS solutions for physical and mental symptoms:

PMS can be prevented

Change your diet and feel the benefits quickly – says Ian Marber, a renowned nutrition therapist, broadcaster and author of health books. He is the founder of the Food Doctor, a brand that is becoming more and more known for its healthy cereals, nuts and seeds, and snack bars.

According to Ian,  PMS affects over 40 per cent of women of childbearing age (13-54 years) between ovulation and the onset of a period each month. There are 200 known symptoms.  Also see PMS solutions.

Some of the most common symptoms are:

• Feeling bloated
• Feeling irritable
• Wanting to cry
• Nervous tension
• Weight gain
• Confusion
• Fatigue
• Sore breasts
• Fluid retention

‘We gauge symptoms on a 1 to 10 basis which gives us something to measure the severity by, using the established groupings of symptoms. For instance PMT A which is experienced by 66 per cent of women with PMT incorporates: anxiety, irritability, nervous tension, self-destructive behaviour and mood swings. While PMT B
Includes abdominal bloating, sore breasts, swollen breasts, weight gain, fluid retention and swelling of extremities (fingers and toes).

‘There are many other factors that may be affecting how you feel during the pre-menstrual days such as stress, weight gain or obesity, blood sugar imbalance, magnesium deficiency, poor diet, prostaglandins and essential fatty acid imbalance and an imbalance of hormones.

Feeling uncomfortable:

‘Inflammation and discomfort are often linked to prostaglandins, indicating that there is not enough intake of essential fats. Evening primrose oil gives you the essential fats in the right form and as you need all the Omegas – 3, 6, 7 and 9, eating plenty of oily fish, nuts and seeds helps to prevent PMS – better than trying to cure it.

Blood sugar levels:

‘Often with teenagers there is a correlation between the way they eat and the way they feel, and frequently their blood sugar levels are going up and down because of their diet. When they see how quickly they benefit by giving up sugar for a couple of weeks before a period they are quite happy to comply.

‘Irritability is also linked to blood sugar levels. When these aren’t balanced more insulin and testosterone are released into the body which results in aggressive behaviour.

Effects of insufficient magnesium:

‘Low levels of magnesium are connected to cramping in PMS. Sugar and alcohol can knock out magnesium levels and need to be reduced. If you have enough magnesium muscles contract and relax in the right sequence. I sometimes suggest 200mg of magnesium initially, but also recommend getting it from dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds.

‘PMS is debilitating and can have an adverse effect on personal relationships, social activities, job performance and attendance. As many as 60 per cent of women who get PMS have a peak of symptoms in their 20s. But everyone can make a difference with diet which is an easy change to make. You don’t have to wait long to feel the benefits.’

Foods to avoid:

• Carbohydrates – refined sugar, sweets, chocolate, cakes, biscuits and even potatoes, rice and bread that are high in fast-releasing sugars.
• Fats – saturated fats in red meat, dairy foods, fried foods, processed foods as they cause weight gain and hormonal imbalance.
• Stimulants – coffee, tea, colas, which all contain caffeine and affect blood sugar levels.

Foods to increase:

Essential fats – from nuts, seeds, cold pressed oils, oily fish to help restore insulin sensitivity and restore prostaglandin metabolism.
Complex carbohydrates that are slow-releasing – including whole grains, legumes, brown rice, wholemeal flour, highly coloured fresh vegetables and fruits like carrots, red, yellow and orange peppers, berries, apricots, which are high in antioxidants and prevent damage to cells from free radicals.
Protein – from turkey, chicken, tofu, lentils, brown rice, fish, sugar-free natural yoghurt which encourages ‘friendly’ bacteria.
Fibre – fresh, raw fruit and vegetables, wholegrains (preferably avoiding wheat), oat and rice bran, pulses and lentils. Dietary fibre helps to stabilise blood sugar response and supports probiotic intestinal bacteria, which also play a key role in hormonal balance and metabolism.
Fluid – Drink two litres of water daily — taken away from meals and sipped slowly to avoid stress on the kidneys. For variety drink diluted fruit juices, organic vegetables juices and herbal teas.

Stress has such a damaging effect on the body and makes symptoms worse, so Ian also recommends joining a relaxation or yoga class and going to counseling or life coaching; doing a regular exercise programme; and maintaining a nutrient rich diet.

See also: How Not to Get Fat with Ian Marber. To find out more about PMS and other health issues visit The Food Doctor website

See PMS Solutions