Contrary to popular stereotypes, “hormones” – or hormonal imbalances – don’t affect only teenagers. Instead they can occur in people of all ages. Even small amounts of a hormone can result in major changes in the body, and hormonal imbalance can lead to serious conditions, like thyroid disorders and diabetes.

Especially for women experiencing menopause, hormone replace therapy (HRT) is a common approach for treating hormonal imbalance. However, it’s associated with a range of potentially dangerous side effects – among the most serious being blood clots and strokes.

Before turning to HRT, it’s worth considering a range of natural remedies, which may be effective in treating milder symptoms of hormonal imbalance.

The health basics

Proper diet, sleep and exercise can all help regulate your hormones and keep hormonal systems in good shape.

In terms of diet, it’s best to limit your intake of caffeine. Instead replace caffeinated coffee and tea with beneficial herbal teas. Also avoid or reduce your consumption of polyunsaturated fats, given the science indicating their effects on the body.

Sleep is vital. If you’re not getting enough sleep at night (7 hours at least), your hormones are going to be out of balance.

One last piece of advice, which goes without saying, is exercise. If you’re sleeping and eating well, some daily cardio will do wonders for your hormonal balance. If you’re in need of greater balance in your diet and sleeping patterns, it’s a good idea to start off with some shorter bursts of lifting weights. This can trigger a range of beneficial hormonal reactions.

Helpful natural supplements

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need any supplements. However, most of us don’t have the perfect diets, and the right supplements can help make up for this.

Maca is a tuber in the radish family that’s known to boost hormonal production and libido, thanks to its high mineral count and essential fatty acids. Women using maca may experience less PMS and increased fertility, and men may experience increased sperm count and libido, and better sleep. It’s available in both powder and capsule forms.

Gelatin is also recognised as containing hormonal balancing agents. It can supplement your intake of calcium, magnesium, protein and phosphate. As well as supporting hormone production, it aids in digestive health and helps to soothe inflammation associated with hormonal imbalance.

Buchu is a miracle herb that grows only in South Africa’s Western Cape. The essential oils drawn from its leaves are known to have a wide variety of healing properties. Among other components, buchu includes vitamin A – which aids eyesight and healthy skin, and guards against bacterial and viral infections – and vitamin B, which helps balance the hormones and promotes increased energy and healthier skin, hair and eyes. Getting a regular dose of buchu has become much easier than in the past. BuchuLife produces a range of buchu-infused products, including a range of sparkling herbal waters, which can aid in hormonal balancing at the same time as refreshing and revitalizing you. As is the case with all nutritional advice, it’s best to speak to a professional such as a qualified nutritionist before making changes to your diet. However, don’t discount the value of various time-honoured natural remedies.