Taken from the article: "Breaking the cycle" by Brenda McCormick 14 June 2019, Irish Tatler
Up there with the most powerful chemicals known to the human body, it's time to start showing hormones the respect they deserve and stop using term 'hormonal' as an insult.
Most of us learn a little about our bodies and reproductive systems while in school (and going through puberty) but are less than an expert on what happens within them each month.
Unless we are trying to get pregnant, or are having some sort of issue - like raging premenstrual syndrome (PMS) - our hormones and the effect they have on us tend not to be at the forefront of our minds.
But those hormones dictate much more than simply when we have a period - and keeping them level is something a lot of women battle with but don’t often talk about.
These changes in hormone levels can have "powerful effects on our bodily system, emotions and mood," said Dr Emma Ross, co-head of physiology at the English Institute of Sport (EIS).
Your Hormones Matter
Our hormones can be responsible for our general health, mood, focus, energy levels and sex drive – so knowing what you’re dealing with is the first step to getting to grips with them. The so-called sex hormones have specific roles and work together in harmony, although external factors can impact on them.
Familiar modern life traits such as stress, poor diet and a lack of exercise can disrupt them, resulting in things like fluctuating energy levels, mood swings, skin problems and period issues.
Four main sex hormones
Oestrogen is produced by the ovaries around days five to seven of your monthly cycle. It peaks at day 14 when it initiates ovulation and the subsequent depletion triggers the start of a period. Outside of that function, oestrogen stimulates bone cells and is important for heart health. It also stimulates collagen production, improving skin tone and elasticity influences the metabolism and helps keep the mind sharp.
Produced after ovulation, progesterone helps the body prepare for and support a healthy pregnancy. Other health benefits include a calming effect on the nervous system and mind, and it can keep the stimulation of oestrogen under control.
While it’s thought of as a male hormone, women produce a small amount of testosterone. It’s helpful for good energy levels, cognitive function, metabolism, sex drive, muscle mass and focus.
FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE (FCH)
Produced by the pituitary gland, FCH helps to bring on puberty and your monthly cycle. It also stimulates the growth of ovarian follicles, enabling an egg to be released every month. Levels increase during perimenopause (which can be at any stage from the late thirties to early fifties).
Nutrients to know
Our bodies are complex systems and nutrition and overall health play important roles in keeping the thing on a (relatively) even keel, hormonally speaking. For general and hormonal health, you should make sure to get adequate amounts of the following into your diet:
- Vitamin B6 contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity, the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
- Iron, Zinc and Iodine contribute to normal cognitive function.
- Biotin, Iodine, Vitamin A, B2, B3 and Zinc contribute to the maintenance of normal skin.
- Biotin, Selenium and Zinc contribute to the maintenance of normal hair.
- Selenium and zinc contribute to the maintenance of normal nails.
- Vitamin B6, B12, Copper, Iodine and Biotin contribute to the normal function of the nervous system.
- Vitamin A, C, D, Zinc, Selenium, Copper and Vitamin B12 contribute to the normal function of the immune system.
- Vitamin B1 contributes to the normal function of the heart.
- Antioxidants including Citrus Bioflavonoids, Lycopene, French Maritime Pine Bark, Lutein, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta Carotene and Polyphenols including Green Tea, Pomegranate Seed and Grape Seed.
Triumph Monthly Cycle Supplement
Triumph Cycle Supplement from Vitropics works around the three phases of the menstrual cycle.
“The more we talked to other women, the more we understood the need for a supplement that changed throughout the month,” said founders Donna Ledwidge and Renée O’Shaughnessy.
Rather than one formulation, the brand offers three – for use during the menstrual, pre-ovulatory or post-ovulatory phases.
Taking the monthly ebb and flow of as its guide, the formulations are designed to offer a blend of nutrients relevant to what the body needs at the time of the month.