Vitamins for Hormone Health
Vitamins are chemical compounds the body needs for metabolic and DNA functions, but cannot create itself. There are 13 recognized vitamins.
Vitamin A- (the vision vitamin) It plays a critical role in maintaining healthy eyes. It is a fat soluble vitamin. It plays an important role in immune function, cell growth, and embryonic development. It comes in 2 forms: Retinol which is the preferred types found in animal liver and egg yolks, and Beta-carotene found mainly in fruits and vegetables. Beta-carotene must be converted into retinol by the body to be used. Which means plant sources of the vitamin aren't as bio-available, as animal sources.
Studies have shown that Vitamin A can positively impact thyroid function. It also plays a role in balancing estrogen levels to maintain uterine wall thickness. If heavy periods or thyroid issues are a problem, adding vitamin A, may help.
Vitamin B-(energy vitamins) Their main role is to convert food into fuel. Many of the B vitamins share some common functions. B6, B12, & B9 (folate) play an important role in keeping estrogen levels in check. Women who are not getting enough of these B vitamins can develop estrogen dominance. Symptoms include: PMS, menstrual migraines, and heavy/painful periods.
Many of the B vitamins, as well as C, zinc, and magnesium are used to help our bodies respond to stress. They help produce hormones like adrenaline and cortisol which are necessary for effectively handling stressful situations. B vitamins are also used to make neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine which support happy moods. This is an important factor in cognitive functioning. B vitamins play a critical role in estrogen regulation, stress response, cognitive functioning.
Best sources of Vitamin B include: fish, beef liver, and other organ meats, starchy veggies, and fruits (not citrus).
Extra Vitamin B facts- For those with the MTHFR mutaion -methyl folate is the recommended supplement. B12 is bound to protein in the food, and is released in the stomach by acids. For this reason, clients on antacids may be at risk for B12 deficiency.
Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid (The repair vitamin) It's role is tissue repair and healing. Vitamin C is involved in protein metabolism, and is required for the production of collagen, L-carnatine, and certain neurotransmitters. Collagen is an essential component of connective tissue and wound healing. Vitamin C also acts ans an important antioxidant and has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants including vitamin E. It's found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, red & green peppers, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries, brussel sprouts, and cantaloupe. Multiple studies have shown that it helps to increase the production of progesterone. Vitamin C is important to the function of the adrenals which require large amounts of it. When the body is stressed Vitamin C is released from the adrenal cortex. Vitamin C supplements may be helpful during times of great stress.
Vitamin D (The Bone Vitamin) Vitamin D is essential to both men and women. For women it can be thought of as the period vitamin because of it's important role in improving fertility, menstrual cycle regulation, PCOS, and PMS. In men, vitamin D is essential for the development of sperm, semen quality, and sperm count. Vitamin D boosts testosterone levels which can boost libido. It's made by exposure to sunlight. However, few people actually get enough exposure to maintain adequate levels. It's not common in many foods. Although it is found in some fatty fish: Mackerel, salmon, and tuna. Supplementation should be done with the D3 version and not the D2 version to ensure bio-availability. It's very important to get levels tested to determine supplementation.
Vitamin E Tocopherol (The Immune Vitamin) Is a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect cells from stress. Sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts are rich sources of tocopherol. Olive oil, tomato, avocado, spinach, asparagus, swiss chard, & broccoli are excellent sources. The amount of vitamin E increases with the amount of fat in the foods. Vitamin E supplementation should be taken with healthy fat in their meals. Vitamin E has been shown to play a role in fertility through it's antioxidant effects on the cells that produce sperm and eggs.
Vitamin K (The blood coagulation, bone metabolism, and prevention of calcification vitamin) K1 is most commonly found in green leafy vegetables and broccoli. K2 is usually found in animal livers and fermented foods. Deficiency is commonly seen in those who don't eat leafy green veggies. Severe deficiency can result in hemorrhaging. The body has the ability to recycle it.
Vitamins are crucial to hormone health. I've created a document, Micronutrients for Optimal Health, that summarizes all of these in details. Message me, and I would be happy to share it with you.