Hormones are chemical messengers, produced by various glands and organs which circulate throughout the body, playing a role in functions like sleep, libido, reproduction and more. The body produces many hormones, but the female sex hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone are responsible for the monthly changes in physiology, mood and more. The balance of these hormones is important for female health and if they are out of balance this is when symptoms can occur.
Hormones can be affected by many factors including medication, diet, lack of exercise, toxic load, as well as stress. Hormone imbalances are becoming more and more common, with conditions like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), endometriosis, infertility and severe menopausal symptoms becoming more prevalent. Symptoms like irregular periods, fatigue, low libido, bloating, cramps and unexpected weight gain can indicate that hormones are out of balance.
Beyond healthy lifestyle choices – including a nutritious diet, regular exercise and healthy adaptations to life’s daily stresses – there are plenty of ways to support female health including hormonal and reproductive wellness. We need to optimise the endocrine system and bring balance to the hormones, to restore health, vitality and wellness, and medicinal mushrooms can provide extra support in the area of female health. Medicinal mushrooms contain many compounds that help to modulate the immune system, counter-balance stress on the body and support detoxification processes, all of which are vital to support hormonal balance.
Medicinal Mushrooms to regulate Hormonal Imbalance:
Reishi mushroom is an excellent liver tonic, and can help support the liver to eliminate harmful toxins in the body. It is also very calming, and its adaptogenic nature is supportive of the adrenals against the negative effects of stress which can cause all sorts of issues with hormonal balance.
Maitake is another useful mushroom for restoring hormonal balance and supporting female health. It is particularly beneficial at supporting blood sugar balance and insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance and excess fat can lead to the storage and release of oestrogen and inflammatory markers in the body, Maitake can minimise these negative effects. It has been shown to be beneficial for those suffering from PCOS due to its beneficial activity on insulin sensitivity, and decreasing inflammation, and studies have shown it helps to induce ovulation and regulate menstrual cycles in those suffering with PCOS.
Menopause is a time of huge stress and change for the body, it’s an inevitable part of the aging process and many women report negative symptoms. Cordyceps mushroom has been shown to counteract the symptoms of low oestrogen like irritability and mood swings. Cordyceps mushroom has always been considered in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as a valuable mushroom for hormonal imbalance, as well as supporting vitality and libido which can be affected during and post-menopause.
Lion’s Mane mushroom can also be useful for menopausal support with its brain supporting benefits. A study in 2010 showed menopausal women who used Lion’s Mane for 4 weeks had reduced anxiety and depression and improved overall well-being.