Article: Nutrient Power - Keeping Your Hormones In Check

Nutrient Power - Keeping Your Hormones In Check

By Ann Vlass N.D; B.Sc (Hons)

Naturopathic Doctor and Medical scientist Ann Vlass shows us how ‘high potency’ nutrients have powerful hormonal balancing effects on our body. These nutrients can have specific effects on biochemical pathways in the body leading to influences on aging, cardiovascular health, fertility, hormonal regulation, energy production and mood support, but firstly, it is important to know what a high potency nutrient is!

Not all forms of nutrients are made of the same stuff. If you have taken a nutrient that has not worked in the past, then read on... Many cheaper supplements contain substandard forms of nutrients, synthetic forms which are toxic in high doses and often very poorly absorbed, cheap sources, very low levels of active ingredients, unwanted binders and fillers that have potentially harmful effects on the body, and imbalanced formulations without synergistic nutrient relationships.

When you swallow a nutrient tablet, the active ingredients are released to your stomach and then pass through the small intestine where they are (supposed to be) absorbed into the bloodstream. Nutrients from poor quality tablets get destroyed by the acids in the stomach and most of them go down the toilet, with your money! So don’t be fooled by glossy adverts and marketing.

‘High Potency’ Nutrients:

Nutrient selection can be likened to purchasing a car- the range is broad. You either go for the rolls Royce or the Hyundai. They both are cars, and take you from A to B, but their performance power is uncomparable. This means that the cheapest possible ingredients can be used as well as the cheapest excipients which bind the ingredients together, and when it is bottled up with a glossy label, you may not think there is much difference, but the effects on the body (or its performance) is completely different. For example, there are many forms of calcium supplements on the market, and a very common form of calcium carbonate is recommended to millions of people daily. This is an inexpensive calcium source (it is found in “chalk”) requires strong stomach acidity to absorb into the body otherwise it does not breakdown adequately, and one important factor affecting calcium absorption is how well the supplement dissolves. Particular nutrients such as vitamin D3, magnesium and manganese are required for maximum absorption of calcium also.

So how do you know what a high potency nutrient is and what other nutrients are needed? 

High potency nutrients are usually sourced by clinician Naturopaths only. Naturopaths are trained extensively over many years to source only ‘high potency’ nutrients for their patients only, and to know when a particular combination of nutrients is required to best affect the biochemical pathway intended in the body. For example, when I treat my patients, I will check the tongue, hands, nails, eyes, and collect personal information to help me build a clinical profile of which nutrient combination are needed. Specific testing at the clinic may be required to assess nutrient status such as zinc, and other pathology tests may be ordered. This way, I can individually assess the nutrients specific to their individual profile. The information gathered and the high potency nutrients chosen can have profound effects on the body, and hormonal health.

Some Power nutrients and healthy progesterone

Pyridoxal-5-phosphate (PLP) is an activated form of vitamin B6 and is much more efficient or bio-available form than the standard vitamin B6. The three major forms of vitamin B6 are pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine, which, in the liver, are converted to pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP).

PLP must be taken under a qualified naturopathic supervision. It plays a major role in human metabolism, and is considered to be vital for the proper processing of amino acids to build proteins as well as some of your hormones, particularly progesterone. It also aids the formation of neurotransmitters and is essential for mental process and moods. It has been found to increase progesterone levels thereby reducing progesterone deficiency symptoms such as breast tenderness, fluid retention and PMS. Women taking the oral contraceptive pill are usually deficient in this particular B vitamin. 

Some particular flavinoids, particularly luteolin (derived from Perilla), apigenin (derived from Parsley) and quercetin, have been shown to inhibit the breakdown of progesterone. Quercetin also has a secondary action to increase the secretion of progesterone.  

Methylating Nutrients: a synergistic balance is needed

Controlling methylation pathways in the body will help to lower elevated homocysteine (a sulphur containing amino acid) which can have disastrous consequences on the body. Specific methylation nutrients are important for decreasing the likeliness for a mood disorders, stroke or heart diseases, osteoporosis and even Alzheimer's.  There are links with genetic disorders such as Down’s syndrome also. In fact, all my infertility patients will be assessed for homocysteine related issues, as elevation can have consequences on miscarriage risk factors and birth defects. 

These power nutrients must be assessed for correct biochemical balance. They include folic acid, B6, B12, and amino acids such as methionine, SAME, betaine trimethylglycine. 

Power nutrients and healthy oestrogen

Oestrogen is a powerful hormone that can be both protective and a driver of diverse conditions such as breast cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease and autoimmune disorders. Excessive endogenous and/or exogenous oestrogen exposure is a well-recognised driver of many reproductive and menstrual conditions; and how oestrogen is metabolised is critical to female hormonal health.

Methylation nutrients also affect liver metabolism in the body by promoting the detoxification of 2-OHE to 2-methoxyoestrone – a form of oestrogen that is then readily excretable and anti-carcinogenic, compared to other more potent forms of oestrogen including 16-a-hydroxyoestrone (16-OHE which is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. On the other hand, the less active 2-OHE is often called the “good” oestrogen as it is only weakly oestrogenic and is not associated with disease.

DIM (Di-indole methane) helps the liver convert oestrogen into a healthier form also. It is beneficial for conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis & fibroids. DIM also helps correct androgen (e.g. testosterone) excess, a common cause of acne, especially sore, cystic acne. The dose is dependent on body weight.

Broccoli sprouts rosemary, curcumin, B vitamins, zinc and resveratrol can also provide comprehensive support for healthy oestrogen metabolism.


This article is reproduced on