Moody, Fatigued & Sleepless: Hormones and the estrogen-progesterone connection

Published on Tue Oct 20, 2015 - 2 min read

Published by: Bryan Bradford

By Bryan Bradford, Chief Nutrition Officer of Sunflower Shoppe Natural Foods

October 20th, 2015

Estrogen dominance is a term that describes a condition where a woman can have deficient, normal or excessive estrogen, but has little or no progesterone to balance its effects in the body. Even a woman with low estrogen levels can have estrogen dominance symptoms if she doesn’t have enough progesterone.

“Estrogen dominance” was first made popular by Dr. John Lee, as he believed that too much estrogen and a lack of progesterone was the major cause of all women’s hormonal issues from PMS to Menopause.

But the term “estrogen dominance” actually makes the hormone estrogen sound like a bad guy, something that needs to be reduced or eliminated. Both estrogen dominance and the lack of estrogen that create many of the unwanted symptoms of menopause and PMS, which is why so many doctors will use Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

The list is long, but a few of the most common that we hear of at the Sunflower Shoppe are:

  • Mood Swings

  • Insomnia

  • Hair Loss

  • Lack of energy

  • Trouble concentrating

Let’s take a look at just a few of the benefits estrogen and why we need it.

In the brain estrogen:

  • Helps maintain body temperature
  • May delay memory loss
  • Helps to regulate parts of the brain that prepare the body for sexual and reproductive development
  • Increases serotonin and the number of serotonin receptors in the brain
  • Modifies production and the effect of endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain
  • Protects nerves from damage and possibly stimulates nerve growth.

Estrogen impacts our moods, sleep quality and energy levels. We need estrogen to make both Serotonin and Thyroid hormone. Labeling it as a “bad guy” that dominates other hormones can be confusing. It is a balanced hormonal state that we are striving for in order to feel our best. Most of us would like to know what the “magic pill” is that we can take to make it all right again, and find it hard to hear that it is really our lifestyle choices that are the single biggest factors in the production and storage of hormones.

Here are the 4 major causes of hormonal imbalance:

  1. Stress

  2. What we eat and when we eat it

  3. Inflammation

  4. Toxins

The good news is, we want to help you create an action plan that is more than just a band aid for symptoms, but an actual shift in lifestyle that can create lifelong balance and restore the systems of the body that are breaking down causing the imbalances in the first place. There are supplements and nutritional programs that we can talk with you about.

Guessing your hormone levels based on symptoms is usually inaccurate, so have your levels tested regularly. Ask us about this too.


The content and opinions expressed in this “Shoppe Talk” blog are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any illness or to provide medical advice. We are not medical doctors and we do not prescribe medication. If you have any questions about the relationship between nutrition and supplements, we recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified and licensed health practitioner. Our opinions are based on the literature and data from a variety of medical doctors, chiropractors, naturopathic physicians, biochemists and other professional researchers. You are encouraged to make your health care decisions based on your own research and the advice of a qualified health care professional.

Published By:

Bryan Bradford

Bryan Bradford is the lead nutrition specialist, Certified Health Coach and Chief Nutrition Officer and one of the founding family members of Sunflower Shoppe.

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