This is the first of a series of blog posts on how hormone balance is key for MS. I’ll be going into a huge amount of details about how the MS diet can make a huge difference to keeping your hormones at the right levels and your symptoms at bay.
I also have something hugely exciting to share with you at the end of the post. It’s a wonderful product that I’ve been working on for a couple of months. I think you’re going to be just as excited about it!
Hormonal Balance & MS Health
I have known for a long time that keeping the gut heathy is integral to hormonal health which both have a positive effect on MS. I would actually go as far as to say that when your microbiome (colony of good bacteria in the gut) is happy and your hormones are balanced, MS progression grinds to a halt. Our hormones, particularly the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone seem to have neuro-protective effect and help to keep MS at bay. This is obviously when they are at the right levels. It’s a fine balance to maintain but luckily the body will automatically do this for us provided that we are giving it the right raw materials (MS diet). Here is a quote from the, well known, Mayo clinic on this topic:
The function of hormones has expanded to include immunomodulation and neuroprotection in addition to their classic roles. The story of how hormones influence inflammation and neuron and glial function is being slowly unraveled. There is increasing evidence that estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone contain immune responses and influence damage repair in the nervous system.
I find this statement absolutely astonishing. Have you found this to be true for you and your MS? I’m sure that many of you have noticed that your symptoms change (for worse or better) during hormonally unstable times such as your time of the month, pregnancy and of course, the dreaded menopause.
There is a lot to say on this topic but I’m going to skim over it in this post and share a personal account of how changing hormone levels have had a marked effect on my MS. I’ll go a bit deeper and present some of the other research in subsequent posts.
My Changing Hormones Account
I have two beautiful children and at the start of both my pregnancies, I developed MS symptoms. However, it was at the start of my second pregnancy that I had one of my worst relapses. My right hand went completely numb. I could hardly feel it let alone write legibly with it (I’m right-handed). I also developed an intense sensation of itchiness on the right side of my neck that was unbelievably frustrating. No amount of scratching could relieve it. I couldn’t sleep or focus on anything. It was torture.
Luckily all these symptoms faded after a month which was hugely helped by the start of the MS diet. However, I realised that my intense relapse had to have been connected to the influx of pregnancy hormones and changing levels that my body just hadn’t been used to. The rest of my pregnancy was perfect, which again was due to the MS diet but also to the stabilisation of my pregnancy hormones.
Research has actually shown that during pregnancy, on average, women experience less relapses and report feeling much better. This is because estrogen levels increase during pregnancy and seem to have a protective effect. As estrogen levels decrease after the birth, there is an increased risk of a relapse. I did have a minor relapse a few months after giving birth which is also around the time that the hormone levels start to return to normal. I was actually expecting this as I had read about it during my pregnancy.
Even now, around the time of my period, I feel a few residual symptoms creeping back. They don’t hang around for long but it’s almost like the inflammation levels around those areas of damage increases a little during that time of the month. This is the time in the menstrual cycle where estrogen and progesterone levels start to dip down to their lowest point on the cycle. This seems to be the cause of inflammation.
During menopause, estrogen is no longer produced by the ovaries and is made in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands and in fat tissue. Estrogen is still produced in the body, but in lower amounts. However, the most significant hormone change of menopause is the lack of progesterone. I’ve spoken to countless women who have noticed a marked progression in their MS during Menopause. All of a sudden RRMS becomes SPMS. I’m not saying this will happen to every women with MS but it certainly is a concern and something to keep in mind. We all have very different bodies and some will feel this effect more strongly than others.
All of this first hand evidence makes me think that MS could be far more connected to our fluctuating hormone levels than we thought. All of our body systems are intimately connected and it’s no surprise that the immune and hormonal systems have such a strong reliance on each other. It seems that when hormone levels go out of balance, we are far more likely to experience autoimmune activity.
Natural Hormone Balancing
So obviously the key is to find ways to naturally balance our hormones. HRT, although a miracle worker, definitely increases the risk of breast cancer, Type 2 diabetes, Osteoporosis and Dementia. These are serious conditions that, in my opinion are not worth the risk.
Unsurprisingly, food, is actually the best way to naturally balance hormones and on this note, I want to tell you about an exciting new hormone balancing product that I’m helping to produce. It’s called MightyMix!
Myself and my friend Anna started developing MightyMix to fix our hormonal imbalances. Anna doesn’t have MS but she starting going through early Menopause because of chronic stress. She started experiencing all kinds of debilitating symptoms and knew that she had to find a natural way to balance her hormones and get her life back. After experimenting with a number of different combinations (she’s a very clever biophysicist), she came up with a specially formulated combination of eight super seeds that support the body in keeping hormones balanced. It also has loads of other benefits for digestion, skin and mood.
Anna is a completely different person when she is taking MightyMix (her husband thinks so too!). She says that when her hormones are balanced, she can live life with a sense of every day joy. She also finds that she has the energy to deal with the stresses of life more effectively. MightyMix has also made a huge difference to her digestive processes and she is less bloated and more regular.
On my side, I have noticed that MightyMix takes away all trace of sugar cravings and helps me feel balanced and energetic. I absolutely love it!
MightyMix contains raw and organic ingredients that naturally balance female hormones. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds contain special compounds called Lignans. Lignans are phytoestrogens and they have the remarkable effect of helping the body regulate its estrogen levels. Lignans reduce the effect of estrogen when you have too much and raise it when you have too little. When our hormone levels are balanced we feel energetic, clearheaded and able to handle the stresses of life. Our chances of developing a serious condition are also vastly reduced.
We are very excited to introduce this product to you! It’s a fantastic and very convenient mix that you can add to your porridge or smoothie in the morning or have on it’s own with some plant milk and fruit. I’ve even sprinkled it on top of my main meal and it adds so much flavour and crunch.
Here are the ingredients and their benefits for your body. I’ll be going into much greater detail on these incredible little powerhouses in my next few posts.
These little powerhouses are jam-packed with hormone balancing Lignans and Omega 3 fatty acids. They also have incredible antioxidant benefits which means that they kill free radicals that distrupt bodily processes and cause disease. It’s important to note that flaxseeds need to be milled to deliver these benefits. We carefully mill our flaxseeds and keep them at low temperatures so that the nutrients don’t decrease.
These seeds are so tiny but they pack a huge punch. Like flaxseeds they are also beneficial for balancing hormones and increasing Omega 3 levels. They are also full of plant protein, dietary fibre and antioxidants. They also boost energy levels and metabolism!
Sesame seeds have many fantastic benefits for health but are often overlooked. They also contain Lignans which are compounds that help to make sure we have just the right amount of estrogen in our bodies. They are a great source of vitamins and minerals and help to fight cancer and diabetes. They also lower blood pressure and improve heart health.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and iron which boost immune and heart health. Pumpkin seed oil is rich in natural phytoestrogens and studies suggest it may help with hot flashes, headaches, joint pains and other menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women. They also help the body produce more of the sleep hormone, melatonin which increases quality of sleep.
Contrary to popular opinion, buckwheat is not a grain. It is a seed and a very nutritious one at that. It is also gluten-free and doesn’t contain any wheat. Buckwheat is a fabulous source of plant-based protein and contains twelve amino acids, the building blocks of protein. This means that it fills you up and keeps your blood sugar levels more stable for longer. It is also high in fibre to improve digestion.
Millet is also a gluten-free seed that is often mistaken for a grain. It aids digestion with its fibre rich compounds. It can help eliminate problems like constipation, excess gas, bloating, and cramping. Recent research has also revealed fibre to be one of the best and easiest ways to prevent the onset of breast cancer in women. We love that the fibre in millet combines with the Lignans in the other seeds to produce a potent hormone balancing mix.
For a long time, hemp seeds were shunned for their nutritional benefits because of hemp’s relationship to medicinal varieties of cannabis. However, hemp seeds are not a drug and do not cause any psychotropic reactions. Instead, they may provide significant health benefits. They are rich in Gamma-Linolenic acid (GLA) which is a necessary building block for some prostaglandins. These are hormone-like chemicals in the body that help smooth muscles, control inflammation and body temperature. Researchers have found that that GLA supplementation is necessary for proper hormone health. This could be why many women suffering from PMS symptoms have been helped by it.
Sunflower seeds, like nearly all seeds, provide a healthy source of essential fatty acids. They are particularly rich in Omega 6 fatty acids. They are also an excellent source of fibre, amino acids, B Vitamins and phytosterols. They help to balance hormones, blood sugar levels and improve skin health.
Allergies to these seeds are rare, however, please read through them carefully to be sure sure you are not allergic to nay of them.
How to Order
We have literally just finished putting the website up and are ready to take orders! Our launch price is £8.49 (Usually £9.99) including delivery. Just go to the MightyMix website, click on buy now and then you can place your order. Unfortunately, the product is only available in UK at the moment.
MightyMix needs to be treated as a supplement rather than a breakfast cereal or meal. It contains very concentrated nutrition and you don’t need a lot! The serving suggestion is 2 tablespoons a day which means that a 160g pack will last you about 10 days. It’s best to eat it all within 10 days as some of the seeds start to lose their nutrients as they are exposed to oxygen and heat.
I really think this mix will make a huge difference to the way you feel on a daily basis.
I’m not claiming that MightyMix will completely cure your hormone imbalance. It’s not a miracle formula or anything like that. It does contain concentrated nutrition that will support the body in making the right hormones in the right amounts.
I would love you to give it a try!