When it comes to bodybuilding, testosterone gets way more attention than estrogen does. That does not mean that female hormones are not important, as the wrong imbalance can affect men and women alike. Here’s what you need to know about women’s hormones to ensure they do not negatively affect you.
Effects on Menstrual Cycle
A woman’s hormone levels can fluctuate widely based upon where she is at in her menstrual cycle. Studies show that a woman’s metabolic rate (the rate at which calories are burned) is highest in the week leading up to the start of her cycle. Females can experience an increase of anywhere between 2.5% and 11%; however, the down side is that appetite and cravings tend to increase during this time as well. Women must carefully watch their diet right before a menstrual cycle to ensure they are able to benefit from the upswing in their metabolic rate.
Female Hormones and Estrogen Dominance
When women have unusually high levels of estrogen, yet lack the requisite amount of progesterone, they develop a condition known as estrogen dominance. A female who is estrogen dominant before menopause may subsequently gain weight around the hips and thighs. After menopause, she may store weight around her midsection, particularly if she also experiences an increase in cortisol and insulin. Dr. C.W. Randolph, a renowned hormone expert, claims that men may also become estrogen dominant, but to a lesser degree than women. Males who are estrogen dominant will experience some of the same symptoms, including weight gain in the midsection.
Dr. Randolph also notes that fat cells tend to produce even more estrogen, meaning those who already have an imbalance in female hormones are likely to continue putting on weight. This can cause thyroid disorders, which could result in a person’s metabolism being slowed even further. Insulin levels may also spike, resulting in unusual cravings and a constant feeling of hunger. In that way, estrogen dominance can really wreak havoc on an individual’s weight loss efforts, while also increasing the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Correcting a Female Hormone Imbalance
Studies have shown that regular exercise can lower estrogen levels by as much as 13 percent. Those who are struggling to lose weight may also want to consider a supplement containing calcium d-glucarate and indol-3-carbinol. Calcium d-glucarate balances the body’s female hormones, and has been known to lower estrogen levels in animals. Indol-3-carbinol is another substance that balances the hormones, and is highly regarded for its ability to detoxify the body. Studies have also shown that indol-3-carbinol reduces a woman’s risk of breast cancer by impeding the estrogen receptors in breast membranes.
If you are to maintain a healthy weight, you must do more than just eat right and exercise. Female hormones are also important, so you should keep an eye on your midsection and undergo a blood test to check your levels if you notice sudden weight gain in this area.