Sex Hormone Imbalances

Hormone balance is ESSENTIAL in order to lose weight; any imbalance with your sex hormones will dramatically impact your ability to lose and maintain your weight. This section will help you understand the importance of balancing your hormones to help you lose weight and give you some tools to do so.

Hormonal Balance – Determining What to Do

Hormone production and interaction in the body is an incredibly complex topic. However, basically hormones are chemical messengers in the body. If communication between the hormones breaks down due to hormone imbalances, the body will not be able to function correctly.

Hormones are primarily made from cholesterol, proteins and essential fats.1 The following chart illustrates how sex hormones are synthesized in the body.


One can easily see how imbalances in one hormone can quickly translate into imbalances in many other hormones, and this illustrates a key point to understanding the complexity of hormone balance: ALL your hormones impact one another. Said differently, if we are going to rebalance your sex hormones (i.e., estrogen, progesterone, testosterone), we also have to look at stress (which affects cortisol and DHEA), thyroid health (i.e., thyroid hormones), sleep (growth hormone, DHEA and testosterone) and insulin resistance (insulin) and bring balance to those areas as well.

How Hormone Imbalances Impact Weight Loss

There are several hormone imbalances that can negatively impact the ability to lose weight and keep it off. Here are several of the most common:

Imbalances between estrogen and progesterone

Imbalances between estrogen and progesterone will often increase cravings in women. This is thought to occur because estrogen has a serotogenic (i.e., it can act on serotonin receptors in the body) effect; when estrogen levels drop too low, mood can be adversely affected.  Low moods often create cravings for sweet foods, because consuming these foods will momentarily raise serotonin levels in the brain.2 This occurs because an increase in blood sugar will cause increased uptake of tryptophan into the brain, and tryptophan is the immediate precursor of serotonin. However, this is short lived (because the underlying imbalance is still there) and creates a vicious cycle of craving and eating sweet foods. Low progesterone levels can also affect mood by lowering gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA). 2 In addition, estrogen excess in men and women will promote fat storage.

Imbalances in testosterone, DHEA and/or progesterone

High levels of testosterone, DHEA and/or progesterone in women promote insulin resistance, which will increase fat storage, depress the mood and increase cravings. Elevated levels of testosterone, DHEA and/or progesterone can also increase adrenaline levels.1 Adrenaline and insulin counter balance one another in the body, so if adrenaline levels remain elevated, insulin levels usually rise as well; over time, this leads to insulin resistance.1

Low levels of DHEA and testosterone in men and women can also negatively impact weight loss. If either of these key androgens is too low, it will decree the body’s ability to burn off fat and build muscle.

It doesn’t take long to realize that this could get pretty complicated really fast! That is why professional guidance is often necessary to help you reach your goals.If you’d like more information about getting the support and guidance you need, learn more about our Optimal Body Balance Program.

Identifying the cause of your imbalances

Sex hormone imbalances can be caused by numerous factors, including those listed above – stress, thyroid health, sleep imbalances and insulin resistance – but they are also greatly impacted by nutritional imbalances and environmental chemicals, particularly those called ‘xenoestrogens’. These are chemicals, found in many plastics and pesticides (and some drugs), that can mimic estrogen in the body and cause a great number of detrimental hormone imbalances over time.

There are several tests that can be taken to determine your specific imbalances; you can start by using our Female Hormone Questionnaire to determine which hormones may be imbalanced. If you want to get more specific information, you should complete a salivary hormone test (these tests can be completed in the comfort of your own home and sent into the lab; we will contact you with the results and provide specific recommendations):

  • Menstruating women can run the Female Hormone profile (charts estrogen and progesterone throughout the menstrual cycle) or the Comprehensive Female Hormone profile (charts estrogen and progesterone throughout the menstrual cycle as well as cortisol rhythms throughout the day, DHEA and melatonin cycles to give additional information about adrenal/stress reactions and sleep cycles).
  • Non-menstruating women can run either the Menopause Profile (estrogens, progesterone, testosterone) or theComprehensive Menopause profile (estrogens, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, DHEA and melatonin).
  • Men can run either the Male Hormone profile (testosterone) or the Comprehensive Male Hormone profile (testosterone, cortisol, DHEA and melatonin).

Addressing the Imbalances

Running one of the above salivary tests will help determine your exact imbalances allowing us to tailor a program to rebalance your hormones. In lieu of a test, the following will get you started rebalancing your hormones naturally:

  • Follow the Vital Life Dietary guidelines; these are general guidelines for overall health.
  • Address your basic nutritional/hormonal needs with either Wellness Essentials for Women or Wellness Essentials for Men.  Women will also generally benefit from helping to rebalance the balance between estrogen and progesterone withEstroFactors. Add specific support based on your questionnaire or testing results.
  • Exercise – research has shown time and time again that getting 30 minutes of exercise five or more times per week will help rebalance hormone (and neurotransmitter) levels, as well as improve sleep, alleviate stress, improve insulin sensitivity, increase energy, burn body fat,… Get the picture?!! Do something you love to do, something you look forward to, and do it daily!

If you have specific questions about hormone imbalance see

For more information:

Natural Approaches to HRT – a complete recorded seminar that will teach you about hormone imbalances, how to identify and address them, and provide specific protocols, including dietary, supplemental, exercise, yoga, breathing, hydrotherapy, pressure point and many other therapies you can do yourself to help your body achieve the hormone balance you are looking for.

Optimal Body Balance Program – a comprehensive, individualized weight loss program that identifies and addresses your specific areas of weight loss resistance


References – hormone balance

1.    Schwarzbein, Diana and Marilyn Brown.  The Schwarzbein Principle II. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, 2002.

2.    Ross, Julia. The Mood Cure. New York: Penguin Putman, 2002.