How hormones affect the skin
Whether you've cut out junk food, abstained from alcohol or gone the whole hog with a juice cleanse, it's probable we've all tried a diet detox. But how many of us have thought about going on a hormone detox?
Skin break outs, low libido, hair loss, migraines, weight gain, urinary tract infections and cravings could all be tell-tale signs that you're in need of a hormone purge. For women heavy or no periods, increased PMT, recurrent yeast infections and breast tenderness are other indicators, while men can suffer from an enlarged prostate.
Both sexes can suffer with excess hormones, but it's particularly prevalent with women who are on hormonal methods of birth control. And while there are no quick fixes, the good news is it is possible to detox these excess hormones.
"The liver has the main job of detoxifying everything that comes in from the outside and inside the body. Optimal detoxification is key to hormonal balance," Nutritional Therapist and Detox Facilitator Karen Devine told Cover Media.
"If we supply our body the nutrients it needs from food, the liver will be able to function at its best. However if the burden of toxins, including excess of hormones, come into the body faster than it can detoxify, it can overload the liver and symptoms such as above maybe experienced."
By improving diet, eliminating chemicals and supporting the detoxification pathways, the body will be able to rid itself of the hormones.
Firstly though, the supply needs to be stopped. Obviously if you are on birth control it's not as easy as that, but it's an option that can be discussed with your doctor.
Hormones are found in many other places too; especially in our diet through products produced by hormone-reared animals.
Also be aware that chemicals, known as endocrine disruptors, can mess with our bodies. These are found in things like plastic bottles, tin cans, personal hygiene products and make-up.
Removing/reducing sugar, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods from your diet is also advisable.
"They provide nothing for the body and interrupt hormone balance which is so delicate," Karen explained.
"Weight gain can be another problem for hormone imbalance as carrying excess weight increases levels of oestrogen. Fat tissue increases aromatase which is an enzyme in the body that converts testosterone to oestrogen hormone.
"Rapid weight loss is also not a good idea unless it is supported by a vast intake of nutrients as fat cells release oestrogen into the blood stream when broken down."
Once you have cut factors out of your diet and life it's time to increase nutrients for optimal detoxification and elimination. Here are Karen's key dietary inclusions:
Go organic with meat. Don't eat the fat
Switch to organic or plant based milks, such as almond or coconut
With cheese, eat goat or sheep produce as they are not so commercially raised
Eat plenty of fibre from plant foods
Take in lignans from seeds; flax seeds are the highest source
Eat foods packed with amino acids like fish, lean meats, eggs and leafy greens
Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables to deliver high levels of phytonutrients
Tuck into broccoli (especially the sprouts), cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy and Brussels sprouts for a hit of indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane, needed for oestrogen detoxification
Eat watercress, beetroot, lemons, leeks, radishes and asparagus to improve bile flow
Juicing will give you a concentrated dose of nutrients
Consider a colonic and/or bowel cleansing for bowel elimination