What is Hormone Imbalance?
A recent survey of 2000 American women has shown that 43% of women have experienced symptoms of hormonal imbalances. But what are hormones? How do they become imbalanced? And what are the symptoms?
Hormones are chemical signals produced by the endocrine system, which send messages to various parts of the body and help keep it regulated. There are many types of hormones and they help growth and development, metabolism, sexual function, reproductive growth, health, cognitive function, mood and body temperature.
The hormones secreted by the endocrine system are tiny, so small imbalances such as too much or too little of a hormone can cause major symptoms.
What causes it?
There are nearly 50 different types of hormones in the body, with each playing crucial roles. There are a number of reasons why men and women can experience imbalances but our lifestyle and diet can play a huge part.
Stress – our body’s ability to deal with stress is an evolutionary trait to deal with threats, but in the modern world even though those threats do not exist, our body still responds in the same way. Instead bills, getting to work late, caring for your family, work pressures all create stress which raises the body’s cortisol levels. High levels of cortisol can result in muscle loss and loss of concentration.
Alcohol – when alcohol enters the blood stream it effects the functioning of the bodily organs more specifically the liver, which plays a key role in regulating the estrogen levels in the body (for both men and women). This creates a surplus of estrogen in the body, which can cause symptoms such as breast tenderness, mood swings, loss of sexual drive and headaches.
Food – all animals either organic or farm raised contain hormones. These hormones are often identical or similar to our own. So consuming dairy and animal products will increase the hormones in our body and create an imbalance of our own hormones.
What are the Symptoms?
Both men and women can experience the same symptoms, but there are also symptoms which are gender specific.
- Weight gain
Usually your weight is managed by the amount of exercise and the calories you consume, calories out versus calories in. Though sometimes it is not so straightforward, key hormones which regulate weight are insulin, testosterone (yes even women have testosterone), oestrogen, progesterone and DHEA. An imbalance of these hormones can create stubborn weight around the hips, and around the middle of the body.
- Low Energy and fatigue
If you are getting your 7-8 hours of sleep but still feeling tired throughout the day it could be because of a hormone imbalance in either:
Cortisol – we release this when we are stressed, too much can make you tired
Thyroid – this is responsible for how your body metabolises food, having an overactive or underactive thyroid can make you feel tired
Testosterone – known for building muscle, hair growth and libido, low levels in women have been known to cause weight gain fatigue
Estrogen – this hormone comes in three types, E1, E2 and E3. When these are out of balance it can increase risk of cancer, heart disease and fatigue. 
- Menstrual Issues
A menstrual cycle is considered irregular when the first day of your last period to the first day of your next period is either less than 24 days or more than 38 days apart. This can be caused by imbalances in the hormones estrogen and progesterone which regulate the menstrual cycle.
- Mood Swings
If you have felt happy and elated one moment and then frustrated and angry all of a sudden, you probably had a mood swing. Estrogen is very closely linked to emotions in women as it effects the feel good hormones of serotonin and endorphin.
- Skin Issues
Changes in hormone levels can affect the skin in various ways and imbalances can cause:
Acne – too much testosterone increases the production of the skins natural oils which blogs pores, capturing bacteria and causing acne.
Wrinkles and fine lines – Oestrogen is needed for collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin, which are essential for beautiful skin, therefore it is essential we have enough.
Dry sagging skin – low levels of oestrogen and thyroid can make the skin dry and saggy
Brown patches – also known as melasma, chronic reduction in cortisol can cause melasma outbreaks.
Rosacea – this is when the skin is red and blotchy and is a result of low oestrogen. Low levels makes the skin more prone to skin inflammation.
The body’s estrogen and progesterone hormones promote sleep in the body, low levels can cause night sweats, disrupted sleep and low energy levels.
Hormones and anxiety are actually related, as hormones influence neurotransmitters in the brain which can make you feel anxious.
Cortisol and Adrenaline – these hormones are your stress hormones, and are increased in times of stress. This then cause’s anxiety, your anxiety then causes more hormones to be released, which creates a viscous cycle.
Estrogen and Testosterone – these are your sex hormones and when we do not have enough of these it can cause anxiety
Thyroid – an overactive thyroid can cause anxiety and cause an increased heart rate, shakiness and sweating. 
How Maca can restore Balance
Maca powder is an incredible ancient superfood native to Peru, it is known for giving the body long lasting energy and is often referred to as the Peruvian “ginseng”. It is also a natural hormone balancer and a natural adaptogen so it helps your body deal with the symptoms of stress.
People have used maca root for hormone balance for centuries, it does this by stimulating the hypothalamus and pituitary gland which are referred to as the “master glands” of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is a collection of all the body’s glands which produce hormones. So stimulating the “master glands” can stimulate the following hormones:
Growth hormone – stimulates growth in all our tissue
Thyroid hormone – key for your metabolism
Adrenocorticotropic hormone – stimulates adrenal glands to produce cortisol
Follicle stimulating hormone – linked with estrogen production and growth of egg cells in women and sperm production in men
Luteinizing hormone – linked to the production of estrogen in women
Prolactin and Oxytocin – helps produce breast milk for women
Endorphins – these help relieve pain and linked with the “pleasure” part of the brain
So as you can see stimulating the “master glands” can help regulate all the hormones in the body and keep your body’s hormones in homeostasis.
Maca powder benefits for women
As it naturally balances hormones in the body, it can help women by reducing and stopping symptoms as described above:
- Stop hormonal related weight gain
- Boost energy levels
- Keep menstrual cycles regular
- Stop mood swings
- Stop Hormonal breakouts
- Help you get a better night sleep
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce PMS pains
- Improve fertility
- Increase sexual drive
- Reduce menopause symptoms
How to Use Maca Root Powder?
Maca has a natural caramel/malt taste so can be a great addition to your porridge or smoothie. Just add 1 teaspoon daily and see the amazing maca powder health benefits.
 D. W. Sanphasitvong, "A Hormone Imbalance Could Be Making You Tired," 22 May 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.vitallifeintegratedhealth.com/articles/a-hormone-imbalance-could-be-making-you-tired.
 D. N. A. MOKHTAR, "Bad skin? Blame it on your hormones," 13 October 2013. [Online]. Available: https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/viewpoints/womens-world/2013/10/13/bad-skin-blame-it-on-your-hormones.
 A. Cuncic, "How Hormones Play a Role in Social Anxiety," 28 February 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.verywellmind.com/effect-of-hormones-on-social-anxiety-4129255.