Dr. Kari Young
Hormone Imbalances & Autoimmune Disease
Hormonal imbalance is among the top root causes of autoimmune disease, and women are 300% more susceptible to triggering autoimmune disease.
Hormones play a significant role in the functioning of our bodies, including appetite regulation, sleep, and libido. Millions of people globally suffer from hormone imbalance, and experience weight dysregulation, low energy, brain fog, or moodiness.
There are 50 different hormones that exist in our bodies, and 6 specific hormone imbalances are direct contributors to autoimmune and other chronic diseases:
Estrogen dominance occurs when estrogen levels are too elevated in proportion to other sex hormones. When this hormone is elevated, serious health issues and symptoms can arise, such as:
Increased risk of cancer
Anxiety and mood disorders
Poor gut health
Irregular menstrual cycles
Uncontrolled body temperature
Two main sources of estrogen dominance include chronic stress and artificial estrogen found in our environment.
Common sources of artificial estrogen are found in birth control pills, conventional dairy (loaded with hormones), Bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, and parabens.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiencies are linked to autoimmune disorders as well as heart disease, cancer and dementia.
Common symptoms of vitamin D deficiencies include fatigue, body pains and weakness, frequent infections, osteopenia, osteoporosis, and bone fractures.
Getting outside for healthy sun exposure is a great way to enhance vitamin D levels, naturally. If you are supplementing, ensure that your vitamin D3 also contains vitamin K2.
High insulin levels, also referred to as insulin resistance is mainly caused by an excess of sugar in the body. The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin which communicates to your cells to take up sugar. When you consume too much sugar, your body over produces insulin. Over time, this could cause the cells to overload and to stop responding to the insulin.
As a result, insulin resistance may cause fatigue, acne, high blood pressure, cravings for sweets, weight gain, frequent urination, and dark spots on the skin.
Chronic stress causes elevated cortisol, and the impact to the body is similar to that of insulin resistance. We all experience normal stress, and this is perfectly fine since our bodies are designed to manage normal levels. However, chronic ongoing stress is dangerous and one should find ways to manage this.
When chronic stress causes an overproduction of cortisol, this can lead to a catabolic state. Just as with insulin resistance, an excess of cortisol will teach your body to become resistant to cortisol.
Common symptoms include feeling tired but wired, heart palpitations, sleep problems, dizziness upon standing, and low blood pressure.
Low thyroid (hypothyroidism) is among the most common hormone disorders. Hypothyroidism causes the body’s metabolic system to slow (hypo-), which can lead to the symptoms of constipation, weight gain, hair loss, loss of eyebrows, dry skin, low energy, and autoimmune disorders.
Most people with hypothyroidism actually have Hashimoto’s, which is an autoimmune disease causing the body to attack its own thyroid.
Like cortisol, our DHEA levels are produced by the adrenal glands and are heavily impacted by chronic stress. DHEA is a foundational hormone, and when deficient, they cause premature aging of the body and can deteriorate the immune system.
The most common symptoms include loss of alertness, pain and weakness of the body, reduced bone density, low libido, dry eyes, deep fatigue, weight gain.
Causes of Hormone Imbalances
Xenoestrogens are chemicals found in everyday items, like estrogen. These chemical compounds are commonly found in conventional personal care products from soaps to cosmetics. They can also come from plastic packaging and can leach into our foods.
The body cannot tell the difference between the real estrogen and xenoestrogens, which causes increased levels of estrogen in the body.
Food and Water
Our food and water is the primary cause of toxins in our bodies. I always recommend organic foods in order to avoid consuming hormones, antibiotics, parasites, etc.
Fungus, Yeast and Parasites
Estrogen dominance and hidden toxins feed pathogens like fungus, parasites, and yeast. These pathogens can actually produce and release additional toxins into the body. They thrive on a diet high in carbohydrates, sugars, and trans fats.
4 Easy Solutions to Optimize Hormone Balance
#1 - Open the Drainage Pathways
A drainage pathway in poor health can lead to disease and autoimmune disorders. The healing process starts by opening the colon, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, lymphatic system, and gut.
Pathogens such as fungus, yeast and parasites need a way to exit, at the cellular level. Poor drainage pathways block pathogens and toxins in the body, and unless the drainage pathways are open, any detox measures will result in detoxification of the body, which may make any health problem even worse.
#2 - Eat Whole Foods & Healthy Fats
You can easily reduce the burden on your organs by adopting a whole food diet, low in carbohydrates. Eliminating grains altogether is an effective way to reduce your body’s level of sugar. Sugars feed yeast, congest the liver, and promote insulin resistance and chronic inflammation in the body.
Incorporate saturated fat, omega-3 fats, and cholesterol into your diet. These are essential for health and are the building blocks of hormones and cell membranes.
Conversely, bad fats such as vegetable oils, margarine, canola oil actually go rancid in the body and cause chronic inflammation and disease.
#3 - Go Non-Toxic
Replace all conventional household cleaners and personal cleaning products with non-toxic options.
I recommend using EWG’s Skin Deep to scan your current products to determine whether they are safe or actually causing you and your family harm. You may be surprised to learn that many of your daily products may be cancer-causing or endocrine disrupting.
#4 - Get Restorative Sleep & Manage Stress
So many people are sleep deprived, and restorative sleep is one of the most powerful tools we have to enable the healing process. Prioritize and establish a routine in order to achieve at least 8 hours of sleep each night. This will help to balance your hormones, manage stress and keep extra weight off.
Manage your stress by taking regular walks, get daily sunlight by going outside throughout the day. There are many emotional health strategies that may be a great fit for you. Test them out, and choose what feels right - yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, a bath, ;listening to relaxing music, a hobby etc.