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    • 9 min read

    Written by: Dr. Alison Gottschalk, ND

    It’s time to take care of yourself. You’re here to prioritize your hormonal health and get back to feeling more like you. It’ll take time, effort, organizing, and planning. Feeling intimidated and lonely? Perhaps even scared of the undertaking? It’s normal to feel this way but health experts at Smart Solutions have created this holistic, individual 21-Day Hormone Reset Guide to balance your hormones and leave you feeling better than before.

    “Do I even need a hormone reset?”

    It can be confusing to know if you need to do a hormone reset. Subtle changes can occur over the years and can easily fly under the radar. Your premenstrual symptoms could be getting more intense, or you could be transitioning into perimenopause and experiencing symptoms similar to PMS.

    Ask yourself the following questions to understand if your hormones are telling you it’s time for some extra care:1

    •  Low mood, or overwhelmed 
    • Irritable, or quick to anger 
    • Breast tenderness 
    • Vaginal dryness 
    • Frequent UTIs 
    • Hot flashes 
    • Night sweats 
    • Irregular cycles (long or short) 
    • Spotting or light periods 
    • Heavy and/or painful periods 
    • Difficulties initiating sleep 
    • Difficulties maintaining sleep 

    If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, cyclically, it’s time for a hormone reset!

     This hormone reset is going to consist of 3 simple pillars which you will be incorporating daily for the next 21 days:

     Food as Medicine

     Let’s implement two guides when going over the dietary section:

    1.  Always listen to your body, knowing that what is right for someone else, may not be right for you. With that said, we will go over key research pertaining to hormonal health.
    2. Life in moderation will never go out of style. If you can't imagine eating this way long-term, we’ve become too strict.  Our goal is for long-term sustainability, not a quick fix.  Make adjustments accordingly, so this is feasible long-term.

    The food we regularly consume can have a substantial impact on how we feel.  Adequate protein, plenty of vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains have all been linked to lower symptoms, with worsening symptoms associated with consuming highly processed foods, sugars, and saturated fats.2

     Here’s a no-nonsense list of foods for the best hormone balance, which should be part of your daily diet:

     You need protein.

     Here’s how much protein you need in a day:

     1.2-1.5 g X body weight (kg) = amount of protein you need.  

     Listed below are food examples, with listed protein amounts for both plant and animal sources:

     

    Food

    Serving size

    Amount of protein (g)

    chicken, steak, or turkey

    3 oz

    25 - 28

    salmon, tuna, or shrimp

    3 oz

    20 - 22

    2 eggs

    2

    12

    Whey Protein – we love Progressive’s Harmonized Protein

    1 scoop

    27

    Vegan Protein – we love Progressive’s Fermented Vegan Protein

    1 scoop

    22

    Soy, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, almonds, or flaxseeds

    1 oz

    6-12

    Pinto or black beans, lentils, chickpeas or edamame

    ½ cup

    8 -11

    Greek yogurt

    6 oz

    14 - 18

    Cottage cheese

    4 oz

    14 - 18

    Regular yogurt, soy or skimmed milk

    1 cup

    8 - 11

     

     Do not be afraid to eat healthy fat.

    Eating fat does not equate to an increase in body fat, which is a common misconception.  In actuality, the intake of extra virgin olive oil was associated with a lower waist circumference and fat mass percentage9, as did the consumption of nuts (ref), such as almonds and walnuts. 

    Here are some of our experts’ favourite forms of healthy fats:

    • Olive oil is the preferred, best poured onto already-cooked foods, or salads. Aim for olive oil to be your primary oil.
    • Avocado can be incorporated into smoothies, on salads, or as part of meals. My updated saying: An avocado a day, keeps the doctor away.
    • Avocado oil is excellent for cooking at higher temperatures, as it has a high smoke point. With that said, olive oil is still preferred based on its anti-inflammatory properties.3
    • MCT oil is the medium-chain triglyceride derived from coconut oil, liquid at room temperature.
    • Coconut oil is a plant-source of saturated fat which can increase cholesterol markers including both LDL and HDL, but has not been associated with increasing inflammation.4 This is a great oil to have in moderation.
    • Almonds or walnuts as a mid-afternoon snack, sprinkled over salads, or as part of meals.
    • Grass-fed, organic butter or ghee, assuming you don’t have a sensitivity to dairy.

    Do you know why we prefer broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, for supporting hormonal health?

    Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels srouts, contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C).  I3C converts into DIM within the body, and both I3C and DIM have benefits for optimizing estrogen breakdown, into the preferred forms that have protective health benefits on overall health.5

    Aim to have as many portions of green vegetables you can, daily.

    • Broccoli & cauliflower
    • Zucchini & cucumber
    • Kale, spinach & romaine
    • Brussels sprouts & cabbage
    • Asparagus
    • Green beans & peas

    When we increase our vegetables, we are adding in both soluble and insoluble fibres.  Adding fibre is essential for proper digestive functioning, to allow us to have more regular, daily bowel movements.  Approximately half of your plate should be vegetables, aiming to have at least one green vegetable on your plate per meal.

    The two preferred ways to incorporate fibre are through seeds and through green vegetables.

    Pick two of these seeds, to incorporate daily.

    2 tbsp total - of the same one, or mix-matched):

    •  Flaxseeds (ground)
    • Chia Seeds
    • Hemp hearts
    • Psyllium husk (ground)
    Don’t skimp on carbs:

    Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap and we have fad diets to blame. Not all carbs are your enemy, and we need this entire food group for sustained energy. That being said, not all carbohydrates are made equal and it’s important that you fuel yourself with the right kinds. Rule of thumb: go for whole grains. Unrefined, whole grains have the fibre which helps keep blood sugar balanced. Anything processed and white (think white bread, pasta, cookies etc.) will spike your blood sugar quickly.

    Be sure to incorporate these whole grains, about ½ a cup, in each meal:

    • Millet
    • Quinoa
    • Bulgar
    • Whole grain bread and pasta
    • Rice
    • Barley
    • Steel cut oats
    • Amaranth

    Tweak your lifestyle

    For long-term hormone balance, it’s important to not only think about what you eat but also how you live your life. Let’s discuss key lifestyle factors that influence hormone balance.

    Get your Zs

    When poor sleep starts to impact your energy the next day, worsening brain fog, then we must implement support.  Here are some sleep hygiene tips to include:

    •  Avoid caffeine past 2 pm. Not only can caffeine make it difficult to initiate sleep, it also has specific implications during the perimenopausal phase. Caffeine has been shown to worsen hot flashes (use above reference).6
    • Avoid screen time a few hours before bed. Although blue-light blocking glasses are popular, the benefit on sleep is not reflected in current research.7
    • Specific herbal support for sleep is available as well. Black cohosh has shown significant improvement on hot flash severity during early menopause, after an 8-week period,8,9 benefiting sleep quality in women susceptible to sleep disturbances.10 Salvia officinalis, known as Sage, has shown benefit in sleep quality, by lessening hot flashes at 4 weeks,11 and reducing the total number of hot flashes by 50% in 4 weeks, and 64% by 8 weeks.12
    Manage your stress

    When you feel as though you’ve been in a state of burnout for too long, or when stress starts to impact your quality of life; this is when we need to implement support:

    • Practice gratitude in the form of daily affirmations each morning or using a gratitude journal.
    • Acupuncture has been shown to improve sleep quality, lessening insomnia during perimenopause.13,14
    • When looking at low mood during perimenopause, acupuncture was shown to be superior to anti-depressant medication.15
    • Adaptogenic herbs, such as Ashwaghandha, are wonderful for building up both mental resilience and physical stamina, having benefit on reducing stress levels.16
    • Strive for daily movement, even if it’s 20 minutes of walking. Exercise has many benefits.  Women who biked or walked on the treadmill over 16 weeks, 60 minutes three times per week, showed improvement in quality of life, general health, and emotional, mental and physical health.17

     Your Supplement Protocol:

    Of course, diet and lifestyle support are the key focus during this hormone reset BUT it’s also very important to get additional support from supplements.

    The right ingredients in your supplement can make a world of difference in supporting the liver and encouraging hormone balance. The two key hormones that are in constant flux during the cycle are estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are produced by the reproductive organs, namely the ovaries, and the liver helps with eliminating the hormones once their job is done. Problems can arise when the liver is “sluggish” and there is an imbalance of these hormones.

    You need two key supplements to help balance hormones by supporting the liver and its phases of elimination:

    1. Estrosmart
      • What’s in it:
        • Liver-supporting herbs like turmeric, green tea, DIM and I3C
      • It’s designed to:
        • Helps maintain healthy estrogen-to-progesterone balance
        • Help reduce the severity of recurrent breast pain
        • Helps support estrogen metabolism
        • Help support liver detoxification
      • How much do you need?
        • 2-4 capsules daily with food
    1. Cyclesmart
      • What’s in it:
        • Liver-supporting herbs like Broccophane® Broccoli Extract, turmeric, green tea DIM, and I3C
        • Hormone-balancing herb chasteberry, also known as, vitex!
      • It’s designed to:
        • Helps stabilize irregular periods
        • Helps relieve PMS symptoms
        • Helps supports healthy estrogen-to-progesterone balance
        • Help to reduce the severity of recurrent breast pain
        • Helps support estrogen metabolism
        • Helps support detoxification
      • How much do you need?
        • 2-3 capsules daily with food

     References:

    1. Shifren, J. L., & Gass, M. L. S. (n.d.). Clinical Care Recommendations: Chapter 1 Menopause. The North American Menopause Society. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://www.menopause.org/publications/clinical-care-recommendations/chapter-1-menopause
    2. Noll, P., Campos, C., Leone, C., Zangirolami-Raimundo, J., Noll, M., Baracat, E. C., Júnior, J., & Sorpreso, I. (2021). Dietary intake and menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women: a systematic review. Climacteric : the journal of the International Menopause Society, 24(2), 128–138.
    3. Santangelo, C., Vari, R., Scazzocchio, B., De Sanctis, P., Giovannini, C., D'Archivio, M., & Masella, R. (2018). Anti-inflammatory Activity of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Polyphenols: Which Role in the Prevention and Treatment of Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Diseases?. Endocrine, metabolic & immune disorders drug targets, 18(1), 36–50. https://doi.org/10.2174/1871530317666171114114321
    4. Neelakantan, N., Seah, J., & van Dam, R. M. (2020). The Effect of Coconut Oil Consumption on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials. Circulation, 141(10), 803–814. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.119.043052
    5. National Center for Biotechnology Information (2022). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 3071, 3,3'-Diindolylmethane. Retrieved January 23, 2022 from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/3_3_-Diindolylmethane.
    6. Wu, K., Zhou, Y., Ke, S., Huang, J., Gao, X., Li, B., Lin, X., Liu, X., Liu, X., Ma, L., Wang, L., Wu, L., Wu, L., Xie, C., Xu, J., Wang, Y., & Liu, L. (2021). Lifestyle is associated with thyroid function in subclinical hypothyroidism: a cross-sectional study.BMC endocrine disorders21(1), 112. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12902-021-00772-z
    7. Faubion, S. S., Sood, R., Thielen, J. M., & Shuster, L. T. (2015). Caffeine and menopausal symptoms: what is the association?. Menopause (New York, N.Y.), 22(2), 155–158.
    8. Lawrenson, J. G., Hull, C. C., & Downie, L. E. (2017). The effect of blue-light blocking spectacle lenses on visual performance, macular health and the sleep-wake cycle: a systematic review of the literature. Ophthalmic & physiological optics : the journal of the British College of Ophthalmic Opticians (Optometrists)37(6), 644–654. https://doi.org/10.1111/opo.12406
    9. Mohammad-Alizadeh-Charandabi, S., Shahnazi, M., Nahaee, J., & Bayatipayan, S. (2013). Efficacy of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa L.) in treating early symptoms of menopause: a randomized clinical trial. Chinese medicine8(1), 20. https://doi.org/10.1186/1749-8546-8-20
    10. Mehrpooya, M., Rabiee, S., Larki-Harchegani, A., Fallahian, A. M., Moradi, A., Ataei, S., & Javad, M. T. (2018). A comparative study on the effect of "black cohosh" and "evening primrose oil" on menopausal hot flashes.Journal of education and health promotion7, 36. https://doi.org/10.4103/jehp.jehp_81_17
    11. Jiang, K., Jin, Y., Huang, L., Feng, S., Hou, X., Du, B., Zheng, J., & Li, L. (2015). Black cohosh improves objective sleep in postmenopausal women with sleep disturbance. Climacteric : the journal of the International Menopause Society18(4), 559–567. https://doi.org/10.3109/13697137.2015.1042450
    12. Wilfried, D., Nina, C., & Silvia, B. (2021). Effectiveness of Menosan® Salvia officinalisin the treatment of a wide spectrum of menopausal complaints. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial. Heliyon7(2), e05910. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e05910
    13. Csupor, D. et al (2019). Vitex agnus-castus in premenstrual syndrome: A meta-analysis of double-blind randomised controlled trials.Complementary therapies in medicine, 47, 102190.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2019.08.024
    14. Zhao, F. Y., Fu, Q. Q., Spencer, S. J., Kennedy, G. A., Conduit, R., Zhang, W. J., & Zheng, Z. (2021). Acupuncture: A Promising Approach for Comorbid Depression and Insomnia in Perimenopause. Nature and science of sleep13, 1823–1863. https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S332474
    15. Li, S., Wang, Z., Wu, H., Yue, H., Yin, P., Zhang, W., Lao, L., Mi, Y., & Xu, S. (2020). Electroacupuncture versus Sham Acupuncture for Perimenopausal Insomnia: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. Nature and science of sleep12, 1201–1213. https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S282315
    16. Xiao, X., Zhang, J., Jin, Y., Wang, Y., & Zhang, Q. (2020). Effectiveness and Safety of Acupuncture for Perimenopausal Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM2020, 5865697. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/5865697
    17. Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Joshi, K. (2017). Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine22(1), 96–106. https://doi.org/10.1177/2156587216641830