Is Dairy Messing Up Your Hormones?

If you’re struggling with hormonal imbalances, maybe you’ve already been given the suggestion of cutting dairy out of your diet. This is because for many people, consuming dairy has a very negative impact on their hormone levels. Maybe you have a diagnosed hormonal condition such as endometriosis, a thyroid disease, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Or maybe you just deal with some common symptoms of a hormonal imbalance such as PMS, weight gain, and acne. If you fall into any of these categories, you may want to consider ruling out whether or not consuming dairy products makes your condition worse. Keep reading to learn more about why dairy has the potential to affect your hormones in a negative way.

Dairy and Inflammation

Dairy can increase inflammation in some people. It is especially inflammatory to people who suffer from autoimmune conditions and digestive problems such as IBS, leaky gut, SIBO, and any sort of imbalance in the gut microbiome. Also, many people are lactose intolerant, which means they lack the enzyme needed to break down the specific type of sugar that is present in milk. When people who are lactose intolerant consume dairy, this can certainly lead to a lot of gut inflammation.  For people struggling with hormonal conditions such as endometriosis or PCOS, this inflammation can make their condition worse, further exacerbating their symptoms. If acne is one of your biggest symptoms of hormonal imbalance, it’s important to know that inflammation triggers acne breakouts and other skin conditions, so consuming dairy products can make these issues worse for many people. 

Hormones in Dairy 

All milk contains hormones, no matter what type of milk it is, because it’s purpose is to provide nutrients and hormones for the growth of the animal’s offspring.  A few of the hormones found in milk include prolactin, progesterone, estrogens, corticoids, and androgens. Some people don’t notice any negative effect on their own hormones when they consume dairy, but for others, the consumption of the hormones in dairy can wreak havoc on their endocrine system. And today, many conventionally raised dairy cows are given extra synthetic hormones to increase their milk production, which further increases the amount of hormones in milk which can cause disruptions to the hormonal system. Dairy also contains a hormone called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 can increase androgen hormones in the body, such as DHEA, testosterone and DHT. Elevated androgen hormones are common in women with PCOS and elevated levels are also a common cause of hormonal acne.

Putting Dairy to the Test 

If you suspect that dairy may be exacerbating your hormonal symptoms or making your current condition worse, the best thing to do is to put dairy to the test. If you’re currently consuming dairy in your diet, you can give your body a trial period of eating dairy free for a little while to see if your symptoms improve. Sometimes it’s hard for people to tell if eliminating dairy is improving their hormonal condition, but for many, they will notice an improvement by simply eliminating dairy from their diet. G-Plans is a great option for people who would like to eliminate dairy from their diet and still eat a variety of recipes that taste amazing!

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