How Is Your Diet & Lifestyle Affecting Your Hormonal Health?

In a previous article, we spoke about the role of progesterone supplementation in maintaining your health; particularly as ageing changes natural hormone production. There are also many dietary factors that may be railroading your attempts to hormonal balance.

While most people know that:

  • excessive alcohol consumption;
  • a high intake of sugar and processed foods; and
  • the contraceptive pill;

can all lead to hormonal problems; these are generally things that most health conscious people are already avoiding. There are however, many other common pitfalls that are more subtle and can sneak their way into even the healthiest diet and lifestyle.

Sneaky Chemicals Causing Hormonal Havoc

The worst problem with many of these chemicals is how common they are in our modern world. Significant levels of toxicity of all the chemicals we will look at in this article are found in nearly all our clients. While authorities have set, what they deem safe levels for many of these, few, if any studies have taken into account our bodies response to a cumulative and combined load.


As you would expect, additives are a major source of trouble if you’re trying to keep your diet squeaky clean. Those unusual names at the end of the ingredients list is often a major contributor to health and hormonal problems.

Voted by our staff as the additive with the hardest to pronounce name; this tongue twister is taking more and more of the spotlight. Phthalates are commonly found in gelling agents, stabilisers, and emulsifying agents, making it a regular part of:

  • all fast foods;
  • processed foods;

If you’re living the healthy life, you might think you’ve dodged this pitfall. Phthalates however, are also commonly found in the capsules or casings for many pharmaceutical and nutritional supplements that are enteric coated. If you’re taking low reflux or enteric coated fish oil tablets, check to make sure that you’re not contributing to hormonal havoc through a daily intake of phthalates.


Fluoride is interesting to write about as it evokes such strong emotions, both for and against its use. In Australia, much of our water supply is now fluoridated, and unless you have tank water, or other filtered water source, it is hard to avoid.

Much of the research around the safety of fluoride has focussed on high doses and single or short-term exposure to set relative toxicity levels. Fluoride, like many other endocrine disrupting chemicals, is cumulative in our bodies.

Research that looked at low dose cumulative effects of fluoride exposure found fluoride reduces levels of the messenger hormones that control the ovulatory cycle (1). Any disruption to this regular cycle will naturally lead to an imbalance in hormonal levels.

In our clinic, we often recommend people increase their water intake. It’s important though, that to avoid hormonal havoc increased water is clean, filtered water, to avoid fluoride, and other chemicals.

Heavy Metals

The majority of clients we see in our clinic have some form of heavy metal toxicity. Whether coming from mercury, lead or cadmium.

While our exposure to heavy metals is decreasing as more people become aware of the dangers; heavy metals are still definitely one of the top three contributors to hormonal havoc.

There are several ways heavy metals sneak their way into your diet and lifestyle:

  • silver / mercury dental amalgams regularly release vapour while you eat;
  • pipes, plumbing and painting in many old houses still contain lead;
  • seafood from many areas is quite high in mercury due to pollution;
  • low quality fish oil supplements often contain surprisingly high levels of mercury;

Heavy metals lead to hormonal havoc in two main ways:

  1. Heavy metals will often accumulate in tissues that produce hormones such as hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and ovaries. The resulting damage and changes in these organs lead to problems producing the correct levels of hormones; (2)
  2. In the body heavy metals function in much the same way as estrogen’s, increasing the overall level of oestrogenic activity. (2)

Detoxifying to Help Hormonal Health

If you’re experiencing hormonal havoc, talk to our Naturopathic team to find out how we can help.

Our experienced team can help:

  • identify problems in your diet and lifestyle that are leading to hormonal imbalance;
  • implement dietary strategies to improve your overall hormonal health;
  • help to detoxify and eliminate the toxic burden that is affecting your hormones.


[1] Ortiz-Perez, Rodrıguez-Martinez, Martinez, Borja-Aburto, Castelo, Grimaldo, de la Cruz, Carrizales, and Diaz-Barriga. Fluoride-induced disruption of reproductive hormones in men.Environmental Research,2003

[2] Tan, Meiller, and Mahaffey. The endocrine effects of mercury in humans and wildlife.Critical Reviews in Toxicology,2009o