Is Intermittent Fasting Disrupting Your Hormones?

Natural Medicine Overland Park KS

Intermittent fasting has been used as a weight loss tool for years. Recently, it has become popular again amongst the health and fitness world as numerous individuals have shared their success stories. Intermittent fasting takes a different approach to the typical diet. Rather than emphasizing which foods a person should eat, the diet focuses on when a person should eat. In general, intermittent fasting is an umbrella term for an eating pattern, which alternates cycles of fasting and eating. While there are research studies showing the promising effects of intermittent fasting, intermittent fasting is not for everyone. Research studies have shown that intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial for some women as it is for men.

How does intermittent fasting affect women differently?

Research studies continue to explore the effects that intermittent fasting has on the body, particularly in women.  It turns out that intermittent fasting may affect women differently than it does men. While there have been a number of studies showing the positive effects of intermittent fasting including weight loss, and diabetes control, this isn’t always the case for women. In a study published by Obesity Research, the authors found that blood sugar control actually worsened in women after three weeks of intermittent fasting. The same results were not found in men. In addition, many women have also stated that they experience shifts in their menstrual cycles after starting intermittent fasting. This shift is most likely due to the fact that female bodies are extremely sensitive to extreme caloric restriction.

Calorie restriction in women can cause a mass of unwanted side effects including hormone disruption. When calorie intake is too low (from fasting for long periods of time or too frequently), the hypothalamus, which is the part of your brain that controls hormone production, is affected. According to the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation, this can disrupt the natural secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which helps to release two reproductive hormones called luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). When there is an insufficient amount of hormones produced or hormones are unable to communicate with the ovaries, risk of irregular periods, infertility, poor bone health, and other adverse health effects increase. Studies performed on rats have also shown that intermittent fasting for 3-6 months caused a reduction of ovary size, as well as irregular reproductive cycles.

These side effects are serious and should be considered before starting an intermittent fasting diet. Hormones play a vital role in everyone’s body. A hormonal imbalance, even a minor one can have a cascade of negative short term, and long term effects on your health.

Should women try intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting may have not be as beneficial for women as it is for men. Women who are interested in trying intermittent fasting should consider a modified approach, in order to reduce any adverse effects. Fasting for shorter periods, or fasting for fewer days may help negate any severe side effects.

If you would like to try intermittent fasting or you are experiencing symptoms from a hormonal balance due to intermittent fasting, consider consulting with a doctor of natural medicine Overland Park KS relies on, who can assist you. A treatment plan will be created to help establish hormonal balance and improve your overall health.

Contact LifeWorks Integrative Health, for their insights about intermittent fasting for women and its potential side effects, as well as alternative medicine. 

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