This is my experience of my hormonal balance on a low carb, high fat diet.
I started LCHF because I had IBS but as a result of eating this way my hormones have become much more balanced as well.
I do not eat any grains including rice, and I will give you a good reason for this down the page. I eat meat, fish, eggs, plenty of good fats, lots of above ground vegetables (especially greens) and I also include onions and garlic. This is pretty well all I eat.
I am 52 years old and let me begin by saying I was a healthy eater before I started alkaline low carb, high fat (LCHF). I hadn't eaten gluten for years and I ate good food, although I had been vegetarian for a number of years to, I believe, the detriment of my health. I am not celiac by felt better without gluten. I never ate frankenfoods!
By age 52 my menses were becoming very irregular, premenstrual tension was getting worse with every year, hot flushes every night and I would spot blood at any time in my cycle.
I had been like this for a couple of years and just perceived this as a normal part of perimenopause.
After being on alkaline LCHF for 8 months my menses went back to a 28 day cycle and there was no more spotting.
Prementstrual tension was a lot easier and the colour of my flow was better than it had been for years. I used to have, in my 20's, what Chinese medicine calls, blood stagnancy and I had been treated for this with acupuncture.
After more than 12 months on an alkaline LCHF I went on a trip for 6 months to Italy and while I didn't eat pasta I did eat some bread, fruit, dairy and sugar occasionally. After about 5 months of this my periods became irregular again, menopausal flushes reoccurred and premenstrual tension became worse again.
I went back on Alkaline LCHF strictly 10 months ago. I thought I would healthy again in a jiffy. I was so wrong. I paid for my Italian tour even though, most of the time, I had eaten LCHF.
I am now back to regular periods again, no hot flushes, premenstrual tension is still more than it was but getting better.
I think what happened was that I had healed to a great extent, but putting that extra load on my body was too much as my body really was still in the beginning stages of healing. Especially eating wheat was a big mistake.
When I started alkaline LCHF diet things didn't just get progressively better. There were times when things looked worse and I would freak out and think it's because the diet is not good for me.
I just want to reassure anyone starting out on LCHF hoping to get better quickly and easily that symptoms won't just go away like that. It takes time and courage to persist through what looks like things getting worse.
When I went back on ALCHF again my breasts were very sore for months. This hadn't happened the first time on ALCHF, but my body readjusting the hormonal balance now it had the correct nutrition again and the sore breasts went away and haven't recurred.
When the body starts to heal there will be healing reactions. The reason for this is the body starts to bring to the surface problems that on the old diet it just didn't have the necessary nutrition to deal with. These healing reactions are numerous but if you are on a good LCHF food program you can trust that these reactions are your body healing.
Our body just does it best and it's best, when nutrition is low and toxicity is high, is sometimes just to keep us going. It puts all the problems it can't deal with down into deeper layers of our body. For example asthmatics often get arthritis later in life.
As our diet improves radically the body can start to deal with these problems and will bring problems, we didn't even know were still in our bodies, up to the surface. We will then start to feel the uncomfortable symptoms which we thought were gone or at least had lessened. The body being able to bring things to the surface is a very good sign. The body is becoming capable of healing deep imbalances.
How long does it take to heal? A young person will heal much quicker than an older person. Youth has so much more resilience and older people have so much more 'water under the bridge', with a lot more toxins and more deeper level issues to deal with.
A word about cheating: Some people seem to get away with cheating, maybe they aren't so sensitive or perhaps their layers or illness are deeper and don't respond on the surface as much (I suspect this is the case with my husband as we have found out he has Osteoporosis and Alzheimers, very deep layer issues)
He seemed to get away with cheating and I couldn't. When I cheated I would feel awful for days. When I say cheat I mean eating for instance a gluten free Cannoli. I pay big time and he never used to. But the more we are really strict and the longer we are on LCHF I notice he is starting to surface react like me. I see now this is a good sign that his body is becoming well enough to express it's pain.
Now I will explain one reason (of many: protease inhibitors, phytates, lectins, glutens(yes types of glutens have now been found in all grains) I have absolutely given up eating grains. I will only talk about grains in relation to balancing hormones as this is the question I am answering at present.
Eating any kind of grain will create high blood sugar levels, this is noted by Dr Wiliam Davis in his book "Wheat Belly". This rise in blood sugar levels will in turn raise the hormone, Insulin.
Insulin, cortisol, and the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and all the other hormones work in a symphony of interconnectedness. Thyroid symptoms indicate a thyroid problem. Blood sugar symptoms means there is an insulin problem. Symptoms around sexual function indicate a sex hormone problem. And high stress means a cortisol problem. We are told that if your thyroid hormone, or if your testosterone was normalized, you would feel fine, but the hormonal system really does not work like this.
An enzyme system found in the liver converts cholesterol into Pregnenelone, the top hormone in the hormonal cascade. High levels of insulin will cause liver dysfunction which will prevent or severely impede this important conversion.
Sex hormone binding globulins (SHBG) are produced by the liver as well. As the livers function is greatly impeded by insulin spikes the liver won't be able to make enough SHBG. Without SHBG, too much free estrogen is available creating high levels on estrogen in the body.
The hormone DHEA "the youthening hormone", has been shown to be greatly reduced in the body by insulin spikes.
Have you noticed the increasing number of men with breasts in today's world? These men aren't necessarily fat, the breat tendency is coming from an excess of estrogen from eating a high carbohydrate diet (which is usually mostly eating grains and sugar) causing these 'man boobs' even in younger men.
(adapted from Cassie Bond's blog AlkalinePaleo.com)